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Being a Description of the World

By Eli Siegel


Structure is the parts of a thing considered as making a one.

     The industry of man consists of making new structures. A machine is a structure, for it is made up of parts working as one. A pen is a structure, if thought of as having parts working as one. A book is a structure. The earth is a structure. We ourselves are structures, when we see ourselves as having parts going for one effect or purpose.

     Everything, therefore, if it is seen as having parts, is a structure; for a thing, by being a thing, is already a one. What, then does not have structure?—An important event in the history of chemistry was the changing of the atom from a thing not having parts into a structure. ls an electron a structure?

     If an electron is not seen as having parts, it would be only an entity, only being, not structure. If matter and force are looked on as parts of the electron, the electron has structure.

     In a material object, the parts—that is, things less than the whole which are seen as of the object—are of two kinds. For example, a park bench can be seen as made up of shape and wood and paint and metal. Each aspect of the shape can be seen as part of the structure, which is the bench. The green paint, as matter, can be regarded as part of the structure. Green, just as form-surface, can be regarded as part of the structure.

     The bringing together of. things of weight with forms not of weight, is what we find in the whole history of the making or manufacturing of things.

     Structure also is in things not of weight. There is the structure of grammar, of a single sentence, of a paragraph, of a chord of music, of a fugue, of an equation, of an idea. In all instances of structure, however, parts are seen as working for one effect or purpose.

© 1945 by Eli Siegel

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