“Then, if the judgement is incorrect and unfair, what’s the difference between that and not making any judgement at all?”
“Thus, isn’t knowledge important? No one can reach a conclusion just by ‘experience’ alone.”
“That is correct. However, it is also impossible to reach a conclusion with just ‘knowledge’ alone, too. Isn’t it the same?”
“Knowledge originates from experience, so it already possesses the underlying qualities that allow for a balanced judgement. It is more important in bringing out the truth. Through knowledge, one would be able to understand the essence of an issue and understand what critical components comprise of said issue. If one knew how the world worked, one would be able to correctly judge what to do now and in the future. To obtain that knowledge, we study the humanities. You don’t think that people who study the humanities and arts are not as logical as you, do you?”
Yurisen looked at San with a hint of triumphant satisfaction. The true message that she wanted to state was conveyed directly in her last line. She had used logical structures and verbose language to convey her thoughts, but she also expressed her desire to quickly end the discussion. Instead of answering, San smiled brightly.
‘Here or there… everyone in academia is all the same… these ‘ink’ drained people…’
Yurisen felt that she had successfully maneuvered the discussion towards a direction that she wanted. Mun-Ye-Rim was a prideful club that emphasized the importance of logic and reasoning. In some ways, the society that they operated was even scarier than the sword. Power controlled the sword, but reason and logic were what controlled power.
From an early age, Yurisen detested long-winded logical discussions and arguments. She had working fists, so why spend any more time than needed with long-winded words? However, she didn’t like being called dumb and uncultured, so she spent an exorbitant amount of time during her youth practicing the art of argument. She especially practiced the art of expressing her ‘points.’ Through her practices, she was able to quickly break down another’s argument, understand its main points, find counterpoints, and then convey those counterpoints with the appropriate manner of rhetorical argument.
In rough and complex arguments, this approach was especially useful and effective. She could express the main issue at hand and economically provide her effective opinion.
San slowly shook his head. He didn’t want to lose to this world’s people based on wisdom.
‘I’ll keep my manners. But I won’t allow someone to express the entirety of the world through simple letters and words. As a fellow human, I must uphold the pride of humankind.’
San asked, “Have you ever played with dice?”
“Huh? Yeah, but…”
“When you throw dice, do you know what numbers will show up beforehand?”
“That… of course not.”
“There isn’t a predetermined order, right?”
“Wait, are you trying to equate unexpectedness to the entirety of the universe? That everything is just a gamble?”
“I don’t see the difference.”
Yurisen smiled. She spoke slowly as if speaking with someone who was too stupid to properly understand what she was saying.
“There is a difference. If the chief was correct, then the entire universe would just be a bundle of chaos. Even if the world does not seem like it’s in order, it will have an order. Once spring passes, summer comes, then fall, and then winter. Things move in a specific direction and other things stay in place for their own reasons. This exemplifies that the world follows a certain order. Based on your dice analogy, are you stating that there’s no rules or order in the world?”
Yurisen confidently stated her argument. Her expression turned colder as she had continued speaking. She felt that she had finally peered into her opponent’s mind and logical weakness.
‘Is there anything more we can converse on? Him having brought out dices meant that he came somewhat prepared. However, his reasoning was too weak and abstract. Swell, considering that he’s a warrior, it’s probably commendable that he even took the initiative to prepare something beforehand.’
“Therefore…” Yurisen said as she was about to conclude the discussion. She didn’t know that this was not only not the end of the discussion but just the beginning. The others had already leaned their backs against their chairs as if they also thought the discussion was winding to a close. However, Rain’s eyes still sparkled with expectation.
“If you throw a single die, what’s the probability that 1 will show up?” San asked. Yurisen met San’s eyes. San seemed to be serious about continuing the discussion. Yurisen gave a light sigh. She wondered whether they were going to talk about mathematical probabilities. That wouldn’t be disadvantageous for her either. He seemed to want to continue, so she decided that she’d comply…
“Once out of six times, I suppose.”
“It’s equal to all the numbers that can come out from a dice’s roll, right?”
“There’s no predetermined order of what numbers come out when, right?”
“Then what happens when one throws two dice? What number comes out the most?”
Yurisen understood that his latest question required some mental calculation. She scrunched her pretty face as she fell into thought. She was starting to feel frustrated and angry.
“Hmm, 7 comes out the most,” Yurisen replied after racking her brains with all the outcomes that could come out after rolling two dice. San started writing something down and shook his head.
“Really? For me, 1 comes out the most.”
“What? What are you talking about? Out of 36 cases, 7 comes up six times…”
“Out of the 36 possibilities, 1 comes out ten times,” San calmly answered.
“Are you kidding me? How does one come out from two dice?” Yurisen complained with a slight jeer. It seemed she was losing her patience. The others around the table also hardened their expressions. Rain continued to look at San with clear, expectant eyes. She could clearly see that San was fulling around with Yurisen.
“Hmm. I’m not sure why you’re getting angry. You were speaking about the combined sum of the dices’ numbers while I was talking about the difference between each dice’s numbers.”
San looked directly at Yurisen with his arm stretched out and a note in his hand… the same note that he wrote just a moment ago…
Yurisen glanced at the note San was holding. His calculations seemed right. If one were to calculate the difference between the dice numbers, 1 did appear the most. So, what did San want to prove through this?
Yurisen felt a shiver run through her back. Rain straightened her back. The others around the table also felt that the atmosphere had suddenly changed.
“Shall we break this down? Under the same situation, with all the information in front of us, two different interpretations came out. Which interpretation is more correct?”
“Both… probably,” Yurisen answered in a defeated voice.
“And if there was a person who was more inclined to multiple or divide, then the results would have been different in those cases as well, right?”
“It wouldn’t be correct to say any of their approaches were wrong, right?
“Thus, even when people confront the same event, under the same conditions, and with access to the same information, those people still may come to different conclusions based on their respective perspectives and leanings, right? Furthermore, none of their conclusion would be considered inherently wrong, right?
“This is a farce! There were no set rules conveyed to me before laying down the analogy. You must lay down what is subjective and objective ahead of time. Whether it be sum or difference, those things must be stated beforehand. There needs to be objectivity,” Yurisen cried out.
“How?” San asked. He was now chuckling. Counterpunch. They were already near the end of their argument. On the other hand, Yurisen was on the verge of bursting out in tears.
Yurisen couldn’t continue her words. On her face, one could see the emotions of embarrassment, surprise, and anger mixed in. She wasn’t a dunce. The words she stated before were just a form of semantics; they held no weight.
‘No one can expect another to set a baseline set of personal interests, leanings, and worldview from the start. Even the recognition of what was ‘good or evil’ was based on each generation’s set of ethics and laws. Even ethics and laws comprised a small part of all the components that led one to think and decide in a certain way. Furthermore, an individual compromises on many things, so one’s true thoughts are even more shrouded in uncertainty.’
Rain blinked her eyes. Her head started spinning as she considered what had just happened.
‘The Queen of Argument, Yurisen… she must be so lost and confused right now. Can the plethora of human reactions be understood under a unified algorithm? Chief San was able to poke the weakness in her logic with just an analogy and a few words… just… he’s just an outstanding person.’
San’s voice rang out once more. Yurisen nervously looked at San. In her eyes, San seemed like a completely different person now.
“So, once there were two dice, problems started forming, right?”
“What… are you trying to say?”
Yurisen nervously looked at San while dreading what he would say next. It appeared she had now taken the position of a student. Though, she probably didn’t know herself…
“There are now numbers that appear often and numbers that do not. What does that signify?”
“A pattern? A bias?”
“Yes. A pattern or bias has now formed. Through the lens of sums, when there was only one die, it was very simple to understand the results, and when two dice were used, 7 came out the most. If three dice are rolled, 10 and 11 would appear the most. 9 and 12 would be the second sums that would appear the most frequently. Like this, there’s a descending probability as we go further out. What would happen if we greatly increased the number of dice?”
“Hmm… there would be some number that would probably come out the most often,” Yurisen answered unconfidently. San nodded his head.
“So, let’s review. Dice are random. But within randomness, order appears. It’s as if someone is controlling those dice in some way, right?”
Yurisen’s face turned white.
“That… ah! No way! Order!”
She covered her mouth. She had stated that though things may look chaotic, everything was originally based on order. San was stating the opposite claim. Her argument was crumbling down.
San concluded, “Then how about this? Some people moved without having any predetermined objective, but order can come from their movement, right? Hasn’t human society utilized the order that comes from the mass chaos created by individuals? Couldn’t we call the order that we observe part of knowledge? Is this such an obtuse way of thought?”
San looked around the table. Everyone held their breath and stared at San’s mouth, awaiting his next words. His message was clear.
- People could move without having any preset thought. No one could expect how people would act with just knowledge. However, through the collective movement of those people, one could tease out a sense of order, and that order could bring upon new knowledge. That knowledge could furthermore be interpreted differently based on what perspective one observed and applied that knowledge. If people weren’t interested in something, the interpretation of that something would also now exist.
“So, let me ask all of you. When you judge something or someone, is knowledge or experience more important?”
Rain nodded her head. Yurisen drew out a long sigh.
“Both are important.”
“Well, we came to a resolution, right?”
“Yes, it seems like it. I’ve really learned something new, a new perspective. I feel like it could be its own subject of academic thought…”
Yurisen brushed her black hair back. Her face had changed color multiple times throughout the discussion. Her chest was still bumping up and down. Though she had lost the argument, she felt that she had learned a tremendous lesson from this experience.
“This is common sense where I lived. Some called it statistics, and others said it was a branch of statistics. We always lived knowing that chaos was all around us.”
San laughed out loud.
The table enjoyed a vibrant conversation afterward. The others around the table started to speak as San did. No one seemed to use verbose, technical language after a certain point. The alcohol provided in the venue was good and the women were attractive, so San felt pleasant.
Around the same time, another group of people was getting roundly stomped on. It was the group that invited Biyeon.
This was how their spring ‘Evening of the Humanities’ participation ended.Previous Chapter Next Chapter