From being a bit frustrated with this discussion I would say it now goes quite well, so thank you to everyone that has participated, or kept reading.
Here is an attempt at a summary of the discussion so far. I am writing this both to myself, and for those that have participated in the discussion.
Juggling is a word that represents both a genre and a specific activity of that genre.
Just to be overly clear here, I personally DO NOT like this usage. It is unspecific and we would benefit more from having terms that clearly represented specific concepts. In fact, it is one of the main reasons why I started this work on the definition. I wanted to talk and write about juggling, and the available language was not distinct enough to do so. In retrospect, I should have probably pointed out more clearly that it has been an observation, and not an opinion. Often, it seems as if we have clashed on observation vs. opinion, rather than opinion vs. opinion. But perhaps some things that were said in the heat of battle, brought clarity? I am happy with the place the conversation is at now, anyhow.
The other reason I started this work, was that I was tired of seeing the juggling world being stuck in a disagreement that was getting old. We simply could not get further. It all became very stagnant and unproductive. I am witnessing the development of juggling at a faster rate than ever, but the language we use to talk about it, is lagging behind.
To me, the biggest discovery was that the word juggling is used both to represent a genre and a specific activity of that genre. Once that was clear to me, so much of the confusion and disagreement cleared up. Those who use the word juggling to represent a very specific concept, are left with a void for a word to represent the genre. Often, I have seen people of this understanding still talk about “juggling history”, a “juggling convention”, a “juggling competition” or “juggling video”, so even if they subscribe to a distinct definition, they intuitively often use language in a fuzzy way.
Those who subscribe to a broader definition on the other hand, suffer from a lack of language to talk about specifics.
In this way, I think everyone would benefit from a real inventory of the terms, and what they actually mean to the people who use them. As soon as we want to have a discussion, we are stuck with insufficient language to do so. Actually, its even worse than that. Not only is our language insufficient, it also very often ends up in a disagreement on terms, rather than clarity of the actual idea that we attempted to discuss in the first place. My goal has been to look honestly at how the word juggling has been used and try to define THAT, and set my opinion aside for a moment. I am convinced that the most effective procedure here, is to look at how language has been used so far, and the variations of that, and then set those aside and create a technical language of new terms, that can be as specific as we want and need.
As we have gone along, I have suggested a few terms. They are fairly ad hoc, and might have flaws, so feel free to suggest clearer alternatives if you think of some, or point out imperfections.
The first distinction is between genre and specific activity. For an example ball spinning, and 5 ball cascade. Ball spinning is an activity in the genre of juggling, and 5 ball cascade is a specific activity of juggling.
JAG - Juggling Activity of the Genre (Example: ball spinning, cigar boxes, mouth stick and ball)
SAJ - Specific Activity of Juggling (Example: 5 ball cascade, 4 club fountain)
The genre of juggling are the activities in the juggling culture. What has happened in the development of that culture, is that one specific activity has become prominent. It is the activity of repetitive cycles of throwing and catching more objects than the amount of hands. It is not the origin of juggling, but it has become the standard. Since it is not the origin, that has complicated things further, because to most, it somehow feels like it is the origin. In reality, the origin of the word juggling, is entertaining. It has gone from representing entertaining, to represent the activities by which you entertain, to then slowly sort out specific activities, and then finally to focus on just one activity.
In the Specific Activity of Juggling - SAJ, a couple of concepts are present.
We have tried to extract descriptions of them. The first one is probably that juggling requires a number of objects: N+1, where N is the number of hands involved in the throwing and catching of those objects.
A few phenomena has been identified in, or closely related to SAJ:
Juggling Phenomenon - JP is when there is an incoming object (or task nearing itself towards failure) towards a point of control already occupied by an object that is then released in order to receive the incoming one. To deal with the JP, the throw of an object can be either actively forced, meaning it is the object situated in the hand that has an incoming object. (Example: 3 in 333). Or it can be passively forced, meaning it is not in the hand that has an incoming object, but it is part of the combination of throws that clears the space for the incoming object. (Example: 5 in 51). If an object is thrown, without any connection to the JP it is considered optional. (Example: 4 in 4606)
Intermittent Phenomenon - IP is the term for when the JP is intermittently present in a pattern (or compilation of tasks)
Air Phenomenon - AP is the phenomenon that an object is always in the air during a pattern (or a task in a compilation of tasks is always nearing itself towards failure)
The last phenomenon that has been discussed is the aspect of recycling of throws in a pattern (or tasks in a compilation of tasks). For now, let us refer to this aspect as the Cycle Phenomenon, CP.
In terms of a definition of the genre, I still stand by the idea of using a default form, since it is the closest to truth that I can think of. I know that some of you prefer the idea of using the SAJ as the default, which I think is OK too, although I think it is less distinct. For an example, the “egg cooling activity”, could be placed in SAJ, and I am sure some would find it questionable.
A three ball cascade on the other hand, is supported by the consensus. Whatever people feel about this right now, I think I have stated most arguments in this thread, so feel free to go back and recap of you need. We could also give it a rest for a while, and perhaps something settles eventually.
In terms of the SAJ and a definition of it, I am ambivalent at this point. At first, I felt that JP+CP would be the two phenomena required, but now I am less sure. If I take a step back, and try to see it from the perspective of language use, it is fuzzy.
I might be content by just identifying the phenomena that are present or closely related, but could be convinced of something else.
Here is a situation that I am using. Let us assume that I am a juggling coach and I have taught a student of mine to do a specific ball spinning routine. He is standing in front of me, waiting for my instructions. I tell him “spin the ball”. That is my gut feeling of how language is used, and I think most would say that. If it was not ball spinning, but a 5 ball cascade, I would probably say “start juggling”.
To me, that is some indication of ball spinning being in the category of JAG, and 5 ball cascade in SAJ. But if the student was about to do a 1 ball routine of throwing and catching, I would probably still say “start juggling”. Even if there is no JP, IP, or AP, only CP. I do not think that a definition is dependent on what specifically I would say in this situation, but I try to imagine that language of anyone here. How do we, as jugglers, communicate?