Ideas are Objects that Have Cores

  • Description of motion:  Two hands held out as if holding a large object.  In three or so moves, they hold a smaller and smaller version of the same object.
  • Observed: Rad School Meeting.  10-14-2015.  JL.  13 people seated around rectangular table.
  • Example:  "I like your initial idea, but I think it needs some paring down.  You really need to get to the core of what you are talking about."
  • Use:  Used to show the process of shedding unnecessary complexity, superfluous material, non-essential parts.  Shows the process of whittling something down to its most essential (smaller) form.
  • Metaphor: Ideas are Objects that have Cores.
  • Explanation:  Ideas are Objects, but in this metaphor they are specific kinds of objects.  They are objects with an unnecessary overly complex outer shell, things that have attached to it that are not essential to the idea itself.  We cut away, prune, pare down, the unnecessary parts of this complexity that has formed on the outer shell, to show the thing we are actually talking about, the idea that is hidden under this growth.  In pairing it down, we reduce the size of the object, thus in the end, we are left with the smallest most essential form.  
  • Note on Categorization:  This was a tricky one to categorize.  I settled on Concentration, because, even though the gesture is showing a reduction of size, what is being reduced is a material that is of a different nature than the idea/object that is contained within it.  As the overall object gets smaller, the greater the concentration of the idea itself.  This also correlates with other expressions of a similar nature such as, "I'm going to boil this down to the most essential argument."  Boiling is a different physical process in which the same result is achieved, the removal of everything but the essential nature of the idea itself.   
  • Origin:  The phrase "pare down" means: "to reduce or remove by...cutting; diminish or decrease gradually."  Our earliest tool making skills used this same process.  In order to make an arrowhead out of a stone, the stone is gradually reduced down, layer by layer, to become "arrowhead".  An arrowhead might then be thought of as existing within the stone itself.  As you reduce the stone down, it becomes more and more like "arrowhead".  When you are finished, after you have removed all of the superfluous material, you are left with the pure arrowhead that was hidden within the stone.