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I don't find this 'wise saying' very 'POTable'

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What is really wrong when "A Pot calls a kettle black" ?

Its a very lame saying.

If a pot is black, it should be called black. Just like you call a spade a spade, and a black spade...well, a black spade.

The saying is ridiculous in so many more ways than one.

For one, if I am ridiculous, it does not affect in any way the fact that 'you' are ridiculous. If I tell 'you' that 'you' are ridiculous, its the most lame retort to say "So are you!". Agreed buddy, I am ridiculous, but at this moment that is not the issue. We are talking of the 'you' that is ridiculous at the moment. Deal with that!

Another aspect is, when referring to 'pot calling the kettle black', what do 'they' really expect from the pot instead? Should it say this...?

"Hello kettle! You are black! I am black!"

That's so impractical. Agreed "Pot is black" is one truth. So is "Kettle is black". But they are two independent truths, each fully eligible for being said by itself, without the other. Just imagine if I say

8+9 (kettle) = (is) 17 (black)

and people insist that I also say

7+10 (pot) = (is) 17 (black)

along with it for the sake of fairness/completeness!

Not to forget all the other truths like

7.1111 + 9.8889 (Coal) =(is) 17(black)

-12+29 (Black Pearl) =(is) 17(black)

(4X4) + 1 (Nelson Mandela) =(is) 17(black)

In fact, if I am supposed to say all the 'related truths' at one go, then every time I open my mouth, I will need to rant off the entire Encyclopedia Britannica and more, cos ultimately everything is related. And you can very well imagine how that will make any sort of communication an absolute impossibility.

Again, if I am Pappu, and I meet another Pappu, should I not call him Pappu too?

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  1. Wow! You might be surprised, but I'd reached the same conclusion many times. :)

    Okay, I understand, by now you might have changed those conclusions.

    I think the sentiment behind the saying stems not from the truth value of 'black', but the contempt associated with it. If pot develops contempt towards kettle for being black, then pot should have contempt for itself, too!

    How many people are capable of this kind of objectivity? Of course, I ask the same questions to myself, too whether I call the kettle black or pink!