Charly's Tech Blog


Couch Str0m and the Great Chicken

30 Apr 2009

The hole Couchdb act as a Str0m sheds an interesting light on a notion I’m pretty fond of, because it partially reveals the mechanisms of community formation : it’s called intersubjectivity.

Before I start throwing Lacan at you, let me illustrate it with a (famous) joke : the guy thinks he’s a corn weed and is terrified he’ll be eaten by the giant chicken. He’s locked up in an asylum, follows a successful treatment and the doctors free him after 6 months. But as soon as he’s out the guy comes running back. Puzzled doctors ask : “What’s the matter, you know you’re not a corn weed don’t you ?”. “Yes I know it, but does the giant chicken know it ?”

What stroke me is that most of the posts/comments I stumbled upon while discovering all the rage were saying : “I’m not personnaly offended, don’t get mistaken by the idea i’m some prude, political correct fanatic, it’s just that i am offended for the people whom were offended”. So the question raises : who was really offended ? The giant chicken ?


As soon as you are in the social sphere, presuming people think a certain way almost automatically constrains your thoughts in shaping themselves like theirs. A portion of yourself might still whisper “these aren’t your own thoughts, you are not a corn seed”, and that voice may remain, but you’ll defend them and act upon them as if they were yours. The funny thing is that everybody is doing the same things which is acting upon the assumption the others think and believe a certain way.

Yes I just dicovered social convention, big deal ! More interestingly it is the fact that social convention is based on the implicit. By that i mean what is explicit is meant to be debated, questionned, opened to the games of construction & deconstruction under the knife of language. Implicit is sacred : as soon as someone breaks in and says “THE KING IS NAKED”, or “THE GREAT CHIKEN DOESN’T EXIST”which is throwing the implicit in the explicit, the community ciment cracks… violently.

It’s also very healthy.