Triad Cup V2
Triad Cup V2
Triad Cup V2
Triad Cup V2
Triad Cup V2
Triad Cup V2
Triad Cup V2
Triad Cup V2

Triad Cup V2

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10oz Glass Cup - 3" Wide x 3.5" Tall
Printed in Pittsburgh, PA - Epoxy Ink

Goblet Words
Zhīyán (卮言, literally "goblet words") is an ancient Chinese rhetorical device, supposedly named in analogy with a type of zhi wine vessel that tilts over when full and rights itself when empty. The Daoist classic Zhuangzi first recorded this term for a mystical linguistic ideology, which is generally interpreted to mean fluid language that maintains its equilibrium through shifting meanings and viewpoints, thus enabling one to spontaneously go along with all sides of an argument.


Guo Xiang (252-312 CE), the earliest redactor and editor of the Zhuangzi, explains how "goblet words" suí (隨, "follow after; pursue; go along with; naturally adjust to") the changing meanings of their referents like a self-righting zhi goblet: “A goblet when full gets tipped and when empty is set upright [夫巵 滿則傾 空則仰]—it does not just stay the same. How much the more this is true of words, for they change [隨] according to what they refer to.”


The crosslinguistic difficulties of deciphering the Zhuangzi make translating the Old Chinese word zhiyan (卮言, lit. "goblet word/saying") an endless effort: The Zhuangzi commentary of Wang Xianqian (王先謙, 1842-1917) says liquids adjust to a goblet's shape like goblet words follow individual semantics, and advises us to think flexibly and agree with the inconsistencies of what people say.


John Allen Tucker, professor of East Asian history, says the zhi goblet, which repeatedly fills and empties itself, does not remain in any particular condition, its equilibrium exists in disequilibrium, and zhiyan "goblet words" are a metaphor for the dialectic in the Zhuangzi that goes from one possibility to the next, assuming perspectives often in order to ridicule them, but never clinging to any position itself. This particular goblet is also a Zhuangzian metaphor that expresses the semantic relationship between words and their meanings. "The goblet is like a word, the meaning is like the wine. Though the goblet can hold wine, and a word, meaning, this kind of goblet continuously spills its wine, just as words spill their meaning, and then both wait for another use. But like the goblet, there is no particular meaning which is statically filling the word, never being emptied or renewed."

Professor of Chinese literature Shuen-fu Lin correlates zhi, the empty goblet that does not hold onto anything, with xin "heart-mind" and explains how zhiyan "goblet words" can adapt the meaning of any term: [T]he zhi—a wine vessel used as a metaphor for the mind [xin]—is originally empty and gets temporarily filled with liquid—a metaphor for words—which comes from a larger wine container only when the occasion requires one to do so.... Since the mind is like the zhi vessel without any fixed or constant rules or values of its own stored in there, and takes ideas always from outside when the occasion for speech arises, it will never impose artificial distinctions and discriminations upon things. This is what [is meant by] "mindless"—the "mind" to be done away with here is, of course, the chengxin or "fully formed heart/mind" ... Zhiyan [spillover sayings], then, is speech that is natural, unpremeditated, free from preconceived values, always responding to the changing situations in the flow of discourse, and always returning the mind to its original state of emptiness as soon as a speech act is completed.

Researcher Jeremy Griffith compares Zhuangzian zhiyan "spillover-goblet words" with Plato's image of "leaky-pots" symbolizing the impossibility of language in a state of flux.  Youru Wang, professor of Religion Studies, describes zhiyan: "They adapt to and follow along with changes in things and people. They are not fixed signifiers or signifieds. Therefore, though they seem outlandish or absurd, deviating from common sense or formal logic, they are in harmony with what is natural (what is spontaneously so), with the flux of all things and circumstances."


Professor of Asian and comparative philosophy Alan Fox says the willingness to surrender one's own perspective to the perspective of another person is "a prerequisite to effective communication," and quotes the final passage in Zhuangzi chapter 26, "A fish-trap is for catching fish; once you've caught the fish, you can forget about the trap. .... Words are for catching ideas; once you've caught the idea, you can forget about the words. Where can I find a person who knows how to forget about words so that I can have a few words with him?"

Idea - Form - Context
Idea: The existence of an idea is necessary and sufficient for the existence of art; idea is equivalent to art.

Form: The existence of form is necessary but not sufficient for realizing an idea; realizing an idea is sufficient but not necessary for the existence of form. The existence of idea is not equivalent to the existence of form.

Context: The existence of context is necessary but not sufficient for form through which an idea has been realized; form through which an idea has been realized is sufficient but not necessary for the existence of context. The existence of form is not equivalent to the existence of context.

From these premises, this conclusion follows:

The existence of context is necessary but not sufficient for conveying an art idea; conveying an art idea is sufficient but not necessary for the existence of context. Conveying an art idea is not equivalent to the existence of context. From this argument taken as a whole, both form and context are shown to be secondary considerations; necessary but not sufficient for art. The primary consideration in art is idea. However, the relative importance of form and context in an idea are factors which the general nature of certain ideas may be determined. 

Solid - Liquid - Gas
There are three common states of matter, solid, liquid and gas. A gas and a liquid will change shape to fit the shape of their container. A gas will change volume to fit the volume of the container. In a solid, the attractive forces keep the particles together tightly enough so that the particles do not move past each other. Their vibration is related to their kinetic energy. In the solid the particles vibrate in place. In a liquid, particles will flow or glide over one another, but stay toward the bottom of the container. The attractive forces between particles are strong enough to hold a specific volume but not strong enough to keep the molecules sliding over each other.

In a gas, particles are in continual straight-line motion. The kinetic energy of the molecule is greater than the attractive force between them, thus they are much farther apart and move freely of each other. In most cases, there are essentially no attractive forces between particles.  This means that a gas has nothing to hold a specific shape or volume. A fourth state of matter, called plasma, exists when a gas becomes ionized. Plasma exists inside stars and in interstellar gases.

Hand - Eye - Soul
One can hardly come any closer to the meaning of this significant story than by some words which Paul Valery wrote in a very remote context. “Artistic observation,” he says in reflections on a woman artist whose work consisted in the silk embroidery of figures, “can attain an almost mystical depth. The objects on which it falls lose their names. Light and shade form very panicular systems, present very individual questions which depend upon no knowledge and are derived from no practice, but get their existence and value exclusively from a certain accord of the soul, the eye, and the hand of someone who was born to perceive them and evoke them in his own inner self.”                                           

With these words, soul, eye, and hand are brought into connection. Interacting with one another, they determine a practice. We are no longer familiar with this practice. The role of the hand in production has become more modest and the place it filled in storytelling lies waste. (After all, storytelling, in its sensory aspect, is by no means a job for the voice alone. Rather, in genuine storytelling the hand plays a part which supports what is expressed in a hundred ways with its gestures trained by work.) That old coordination of the soul, the eye, and the hand which emerges in Valery’s words is that of the artisan which we encounter wherever the art of storytelling is at home. In fact, one can go on and ask oneself whether the relationship of the storyteller to his material, human life, is not in itself a craftsman’s relationship, whether it is not his very task to fashion the raw material of experience, his own and that of others, in a solid, useful, and unique way. It is a kind of procedure which may perhaps most adequately be exemplified by the proverb if one thinks of it as an ideogram of a story. A proverb, one might say, is a ruin which stands on the site of an old story and in which a moral twines about a happening like ivy around a wall.

Physical - Chemical - Mental
The Triad of Health defines that health is composed of three major components in life that need to be in balance. An imbalance to one or more of these areas results in health challenges. On the base of the triangle lies the physical/structural component which represents the physical and structural health of an individual. The foundation of your body is based upon its structure–your skeleton. Much like the electrical wiring in your home needs to be free from interference, so does your nervous system, which is responsible for all biochemical actions throughout your body. 

On the left side of the triangle lies the biochemical/nutrition component. It represents the health of an “inner-body” and what happens within an individual. The foods we eat, what and how much we drink, the air we breathe, and the supplements we take or don’t take are all examples of the Chemical aspect of our health.

On the right side of the triangle lies the emotional/mental component. It represents the thinking or psychological health of an individual. What we think and how we feel affects us physically and chemically. There is a chemical reaction within the body with each thought and feeling we have. True mental health takes work. You've got to continually work on your attitude, train your mind, and study. The mental aspect of health may be the hardest to gauge. It is completely internal, and this can make it easy to ignore. A keen mind is important in every part of life.

The three components interact and affect one another. For example, certain food or chemicals may cause mental disturbances. Tension in the neck may cause severe headache and depression. Stress may cause over-acidity in the stomach which may result in a painful stomach that can cause one to bend forward and down to guard their abdomen. Or even fear causes a release in adrenaline which increases in skeletal muscle from a flight or fight response. ​Each person brings with them a unique history encompassing all three sides of the Triad. Each person’s response is unique.

Whole-Parts Theory
Part–whole theory is the name of a loose collection of historical theories, all informal and nearly all unwitting, relating wholes to their parts via inclusion. Part–whole theory has been overtaken by mereology. Metaphysics, especially ontology, has invoked part–whole concepts ever since Aristotle founded the subject. In metaphysics there are many troubling questions pertaining to parts and wholes. One question addresses constitution and persistence, another asks about composition.


In metaphysics, there are several puzzles concerning cases of mereological constitution. That is, what makes up a whole. We are still concerned with parts and wholes, but instead of looking at what parts make up a whole, we are wondering what a thing is made of, such as its materials: e.g. the bronze in a bronze statue. Below are two of the main puzzles that philosophers use to discuss constitution.

Ship of Theseus: Briefly, the puzzle goes something like this. There is a ship called the Ship of Theseus. Over time, the boards start to rot, so we remove the boards and place them in a pile. First question, is the ship made of the new boards the same as the ship that had all the old boards? Second, if we reconstruct a ship using all of the old planks, etc. from the Ship of Theseus, and we also have a ship that was built out of new boards (each added one-by-one over time to replace old decaying boards), which ship is the real Ship of Theseus?


Statue and Lump of Clay: Roughly, a sculptor decides to mold a statue out of a lump of clay. At time t1 the sculptor has a lump of clay. After many manipulations at time t2 there is a statue. The question asked is, is the lump of clay and the statue (numerically) identical? If so, how and why? Constitution typically has implications for views on persistence: how does an object persist over time if any of its parts (materials) change or are removed, as is the case with humans who lose cells, change height, hair color, memories, and yet we are said to be the same person today as we were when we were first born.  

In Metaphysics, Aristotle introduces the distinction between matter and form synchronically, applying it to an individual substance at a particular time. The matter of a substance is the stuff it is composed of; the form is the way that stuff is put together so that the whole it constitutes can perform its characteristic functions. But soon he begins to apply the distinction diachronically, across time. This connects the matter/form distinction to another key Aristotelian distinction, that between potentiality (dunamis) and actuality (entelecheia) or activity (energeia).


Aristotle returns to the problem of the unity of definition and offers a new solution based on the concepts of potentiality and actuality. He begins by pointing out that the things whose unity he is trying to explain are those “that have several parts and where the totality of them is not like a heap, but the whole is something beyond the parts.” His task is to explain the unity of such complexes.

The problem is insoluble, he says, unless one realizes that “there is on the one hand matter and on the other shape (or form, morphê), and the one is potentially and the other actively.” Once one realizes this, “then what we are inquiring into will no longer seem to be a puzzle.”