Archive for the ‘Potter Stewart’ Tag

“I Know It When I See It!” — Revisited   Leave a comment

mona_lisa(First posted November, 2008.)

“I Know It When I See It!”

In trying to explain what is obscene, Supreme Court Justice, Potter Stewart uttered the now famous phrase, “I know it when I see it.”  Each one of us may have used similar phrases when shopping:  “I’m not sure what I want to buy her, but I will know it when I see it.”

But, what exactly is “it”?  Defining what we mean can be an abstract exercise.  “It” is often use as a generic expression of “worth”, but can take on a different meaning for different people.  Why is this?

How we define “it” is a reflection of context, values, experiences and expectations.   “It” can be referring to quality of service, art, craftsmanship, functionality, all of which are intended to identify, codify and communicate our expectations. So, is “it” really an abstraction?

The test for “knowing it when you see it” is expressed in behavior.  As a young man, I loved going to the Chicago Art Institute.  I could spend hours staring at masterpieces, surrounded, in the silence of others, sharing art that has endured the test of time. Such silence, in the face of beauty, speaks volumes.

Seek not to define
You know it when you see it
I know you see it

Another case for intuitive thought. Define it, lose it!

kenne

Define It, Or Lose It!   4 comments

Ken & Mary's Blues Project-8579-2 blog

George Bearishill — Image by kenne

“I Know It When I hear It!”

In trying to explain what is obscene, Supreme Court Justice, Potter Stewart uttered the now famous phrase, “I know it when I see it.”  Each one of us may have used similar phrases when shopping during this holiday season.  “I’m not sure what I want to buy her, but I will know it when I see it.”

But, what exactly is “it”?  Defining what we mean can be an abstract exercise.  “It” is often use as a generic expression of “worth”, but can take on a different meaning for different people.  Why is this?

How we define “it” is a reflection of context, values, experiences and expectations.   “It” can be referring to quality of service, art, craftsmanship, functionality, all of which are intended to identify, codify and communicate our expectations. So, is “it” really an abstraction?

The test for “knowing it when you see it” is expressed in behavior.  As a young man, I loved going to the Chicago Art Institute.  I could spend hours staring at masterpieces, surrounded, in the silence of others, sharing art that has endured the test of time. Such silence, in the face of beauty, speaks volumes.

I may not be an art expert, but I know art when I see it, or hear it.

Last Saturday we were at Ken & Mary’s Blues Project in Porter, Texas. Setting in on the set was saxophonist, George Bearishill from Georgia (the country). This musician was something to hear — yes, I know it when I hear it!

Another case for intuitive thought. Define it, lose it!

Seek not to define
You know it when you hear it
I know you hear it

— kenne

 

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