The Cup and Saucer
The Cup and Saucer
     Take a pretty, china teacup and with its saucer place it on the edge of your kitchen counter.  On the floor across the kitchen from that corner of your counter, place a video camera - pointed to the floor.  Turn it on.  Now, with your finger, move the cup and saucer closer, and closer to the edge of the counter.  Push them until they are extending halfway off the counter.  Then, give that final push past the tipping point so the cup and saucer crash to the floor.  A nice ceramic tile floor is perfect for this exercise.

     Pick up the video camera, and get a good shot of where all the shards of the cup and saucer have gone across the floor, up to the baseboards, and even any that may have sailed out the kitchen door into an adjacent hallway, or room.  Be sure you get a good, complete capture of all the shards that can be seen.  Standing on a stool, or chair (carefully) and grabbing a panoramic scan of the area would be a nice addition as well, but do seriously consider your personal safety before attempting such a shot.  If you have bad equilibrium, don't.

     Okay.  Now play the video on as large a computer screen as possible, at the slowest speed possible, and attempt to track each shard as it flies from the point of contact with the floor.  Particularly enterprising people (with several video cameras) could do this quite well if several cameras were to be positioned so as to capture the event from several different angles.  There will be dozens of flying shards, possibly well over one-hundred depending upon the fragility of the cup and saucer, the height of the counter top and the hardness of the flooring surface, so this could take a considerable amount of time to complete.  You may need to estimate shard velocities, and in some way illustrate each shard's trajectory to account for the entire event.  In fact, an absolutely accurate reporting of the results of the event could take several days of demanding and intensive effort.

     In order to maintain your personal morale, remaining in good enough spirits to carry through with what could quickly become an arduous task, try not to ask yourself why you're doing this as you do it.  Try to focus on just the facts.  You won't want to make any statistical, analytical or factual errors that would throw your work into an area which then questions its validity.  Upon completing your task, you will need to be assured of its unquestionable accuracy.  You may find you will further need to organize your resulting data into various categories, and sub-categories to make it usable as a reference tool, so don't rush to conclude the exercise.  Maintain your patience, clarity of mind and focus throughout until you are certain you are through.

     When you finish, look at what you've compiled and ask yourself, "Of what use is this?"  Hopefully, if you've done your work well, you are in possession of a wealth of information which accurately describes this transformational event.  It is easily examined as a reference and could even be used as a guide, or aid, in describing and analyzing any other similar events.  In fact as far as research materials go, your result should be of the highest quality possible, so if you're in possession of anything which could serve a purpose this collection of data should be numbered in any count (even though one teacup and saucer could not.)

     When you are examining events and people around you, or those which comprise the topical events of note - your current affairs, as it were, ask yourself if you've examined the ins and outs, minute details, interconnections and interrelationships in those possible topics of examination as closely as you studied the results of the cup and saucer event.  Ask yourself if you might need more information to form a reasonable and reliable opinion, or view, about these people, or events.  Honestly assess if any information is available to further any possible understanding.  Follow the steps above, as well, especially in not asking yourself why you are doing this, and when you've completed your analysis, ask yourself, "Of what use is this?"

     Or, you could just do what you normally do and jump to conclusions, form intractable opinions, solidify these into irreversible stances which you then can view with insurmountable pride.  It's your choice.  It always is.  One last thing:  It's legal to say, "I don't have enough information to form a judgment."  That bears remembering.  It's valid, too.
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