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Form, Function, Fairytale

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FFF#1 ::

Form Follows Function ::

is a principle associated with modernist architecture and industrial design which says that the shape of an artifact/object should primarily relate to its intended function or purpose. ::

Roman architect, engineer, and author Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, who first asserted in his book De architectura (probably written between 30 and 15 BC) that a structure must exhibit the three qualities of firmitas, utilitas, venustas >>

Solid; Useful; Beautiful ::

For Louis Sullivan, "Father of Skyscrapers" and "Father of Modernism", this was distilled wisdom; An aesthetic credo; The single "rule that shall permit of no exception" :: He wrote:

"Whether it be the sweeping eagle in his flight, or the open apple-blossom, the toiling work-horse, the blithe swan, the branching oak, the winding stream at its base, the drifting clouds, over all the coursing sun, form ever follows function, and this is the law. Where function does not change, form does not change. The granite rocks, the ever-brooding hills, remain for ages; the lightning lives, comes into shape, and dies, in a twinkling."

"It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law."

 

[..]

 

By honestly applying "form follows function", industrial designers had the potential to put their clients out of business; Many simple single-purpose objects might be reducible to a single optimal form, precluding product differentiation; Objects made too durable would prevent sales of replacements. (cf. planned obsolescence) From the standpoint of functionality, many products are simply unnecessary.

 

[..]

 

Evolution* :: According to Lamarck's long-discredited theory of evolution, anatomy will be structured according to functions associated with use; for instance, giraffes are taller to reach the leaves of trees :: By contrast, in Darwinian evolution, form (variation/mutation) precedes function (as determined by natural selection) :: This is to say, in Lamarckian evolution the form is altered by the required function, whereas in Darwinian evolution small variations in form allow some parts of the population to function "better", and are therefore more successful reproductively.

 

 

 

FFF#2 ::

The Wishing-Table, the Gold-Ass, and the Cudgel in the Sack :: 
A Fairytale by the Brothers Grimm ::

 

Plot ::

A tailor had three sons who were all fed by the milk of their goat* :: The oldest son was given the task to let the animal graze at the finest grass fields :: At the end of the day the son asked the goat whether it had eaten enough and the animal confirmed this :: However, when they returned home the goat claimed the opposite, causing the tailor to get upset and drive his son out of the house :: This pattern repeats itself with the second oldest and youngest son too, who are also falsely blamed by the goat for not feeding it enough and as a result are kicked out of the house as well :: Only when the father goes out to feed the goat himself and discovers that the creature still claims it hasn't eaten enough does he realize he misjudged his sons :: He takes his razor, shaves the goat bare and uses his whip to drive it out of his house :: The tailor is left alone in his house longing for his sons' return.

 

The story then follows each son individually :: The first 1 went to a maker of furniture and learned the craft :: After his service his master gave him a magic table as a sign of gratitude :: Whenever he says "Table, Deck Yourself" the table decks itself with the finest food and wine :: The son decides to travel home and show his father what he learned and earned :: On his way he visits a local inn, where he demonstrates the powers of the magic table :: At night the inn keeper steals the table and switches it for a normal table, without the son being aware :: When the son arrives home and tries to show the powers of the table to his father nothing happens, which upsets his father once again.

 

The second 1 goes to work for a miller :: His master gives him a magical donkey who is able to produce gold out of its mouth and behind at the command of "Bricklebrit!" :: Just like the oldest son, the second son decides to travel home and happens to visit the same inn his brother did :: He too demonstrates the powers of the donkey to the innkeeper who once again steals the animal at night and replaces it with a normal donkey, without the son being aware of what happened :: When the son arrives home and tries to show the powers of the donkey instead of gold pieces landing on the cloth, it is droppings like an ordinary donkey, which upsets his father once again.

 

The third 1 went to work for a woodsmith and is given a magic cudgel in a bag :: Whenever someone is injust the owner of the cudgel just needs to say: "Cudgel, out the sack!" and the object will start clobbering the wrongdoer :: Only when the owner says: "Cudgel in the sack!" will the thing return in the bag :: Just like his brothers, the son visits the same inn, because he learned from their letters* on what had happened :: Instead of demonstrating the powers of his possession he deliberately remains vague about it, making the inn keeper curious enough to go out at night and try to look what's in the bag :: Anticipating this, the son orders the cudgel to beat the inn keeper up until he returns everything he has stolen :: When the son returns home with the table, donkey and cudgel he tells his father what had happened and demonstrates the powers of the objects :: His father finally makes peace with his sons and they all live a rich life ever after.

 

As an epilogue, the story also informs the reader what happened to the goat :: The shaven animal went to hide inside a fox hole :: When the fox returned home it was scared away by the goat's eyes :: The fox asks a bear for help, but he is also too frightened to go in :: Finally they take a bee along with them, who stings the goat, causing the animal to run away in pain :: The storyteller concludes that nobody knows where she is now.


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