Sunday, September 2, 2007

Full = Empty?

Mathematically, if ab = ac, then b = c.

Take a bottle of wine. Pour away half a bottle. You have a half full bottle of wine but you can also call it half empty bottle of wine.

Therefore, half full = half empty.
Mathematically, then full = empty.



Tan Ben Hur said...

Dear Master Yu,

I would agree to half full = half empty.

You brought my thoughts back to my younger days. Some 20 years ago, I owned a Pub. I was amazed when the bar-tender used this principle to conduct his weekly stock take which is pretty fast and accurate.

He placed his finger at the level of brandy. Then he turned the bottle upside down and if the level is at the same finger point, the bottle is half full. And from this simple judgement, he could even estimate the 1/3 full or 2/3 full.

TYTan said...

Dear Master Yu,

Sorry the earlier comment was from me not from TanBenHur, my son. I happened to use his PC and after hitting the published button, I realised he did not logged out.

Jeannie said...

Dear Master Yu,

In the Heart Sutra, it is translated:

Form is no different from empty
Empty is no different from form
Form is just empty
Empty is just form

So we can say, Form = empty
if mathematically, full = empty, and extending your demonstration, then full = form as well... so to speak :-)

Be well.
Jeannie said...

Dear Joseph,

The clue of this question is in "full" of *what*? "empty" of *what*?

What we consider the empty half of the bottle is actually full with air.
The part we consider half full with wine is actually emtpy of air.

So, even an empty bottle is always full, and if we could remove the air then we can say the bottle is now full with emptiness.
In the same way we can argue that a full bottle is also empty, because it is empty of emptiness.
This shows that "empty" and "full" are not very different indeed.
The only difference is : empty or full of *what*?

That would be the hairsplitter's take on this matter.


The saying is generally used to indicate how a person's judgement of a situation has generally much more to do with his particular perspective on it.

The drunkard sees the bottle half full, because he focusses on the wine that is left in it.
But his wife may see the bottle half empty because she doesn't like him to drink too much, so she focusses on how much he has drunk already.

It is the same bottle they see.
But their judgement and conclusion is different.

And both persons' Chi is different and will change according to their individual perspective on the evolution of the amount of wine left in the bottle.

That is an example why we cannot measure or prove Chi by objective method.
But that doesn't mean the Chi is not real.
The drunkard becomes happy when he sees the full bottle, but his wife gets sad or angry when she sees him with it.