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When is a Collective ? An Address to High School Students : Ravi Sinha

December 7, 2013

Guest Post by Ravi Sinha

It is unusual for school students to be worrying about the “collective”. But, then, yours seems to be an unusual school. When I was here the last time, you were pondering the “continuum”. I find it truly remarkable. To grapple with issues and concepts that are deeply philosophical and at the same time of immense practical value – and doing so at a young age – is an ingredient that goes into the making of great civilizations. In a world that seems to revel in everything that is crass and commercial, and in a country that appears like a continent of cacophony and shallowness, this is not expected of you. You and your teachers must be congratulated for swimming against the tide.

Collective is something that falls between a collection and the composite. There is ample space between these two categories, and where exactly does a collective fall in this space depends on what kind of collective we are talking about. But let us first talk a bit about the endpoints of this space.A collection can be gathering together of arbitrary and distinct elements as in a mathematical set. A set comprising of a frog, a princess, a pencil and a magic wand will qualify as a collection. A collection can also be of identical but distinct elements. A collection of four identical horses pulling Raja Dasharath’s chariot – or ten identical horses pulling King Solomon’s chariot – is also a collection, although you could also call it a team of horses. You may notice that we are already shifting from the concept of an arbitrary collection, although you would still not say that the chariot is being pulled by a collective of horses.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. BK Hadi El Baghdadi permalink
    January 20, 2014 3:10 PM

    very very informative…thanks a lot…

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