Do you remember that story, where they tell about a city boy who, during his holidays in the country, knows another boy? They talk, play, have a lot of fun together, and then, at the end of the summer, they have to separate, of course. The city boy returns to the city, but promises the country boy to teach him mathematics, and the boy says: "Very well, write me how it works".

The city boy, in his first letter, asks, among other things, "How much is half of 8?". The country boy answers: "3". The first one asks: "How come you get to three?". "I cut the figure 8 in half and there's a 3 on the right and a 3 on the left and two makes 8." The book goes on like that, one example after another. It's very funny. The city boy suddenly realizes that it's not so easy to calculate half of 8. You have to say a lot more to get 4.

It becomes clear to him that the usual answer to such a question is never the only one possible and that for each question you have to know the rules that belong to it and the context or scope of the question. Unfortunately I lost the book.

From: extract by Heinz Von Foerster in "Zainocrazia", by L. Previ, 2018

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