first, i’d like to say thanks for engaging in the conversation!!! i really personally get a lot out of these discussions and i’m grateful you take the time to have them. i’d obviously love to figure all this out so i will keep trying my best as well.
if i’m balancing a stick on the street corner and ask someone who walks by “what am i doing?” i think i agree with you that most people would probably say “balancing a stick,” and not “juggling.” however, this is the same as if you were on the street corner with a soccer ball, kicking it against the wall, and if i asked people what you were doing they would say “soccer,” instead of “sports” or “playing a game.” yes, the literal technique of what i am doing is balancing a stick, but what is balancing a stick? what space does that occupy in culture? you ask why does it have to be in a genre? but it is in a genre… everything in the world is in some sort of genre. and if its not in a larger genre with another name (such as “juggling” or “object manipulation” or “skill games” or “insert fictional word here”), then it will be in its own genre. and there is no genre called “balancing.” people don’t go to circus school for “balancing,” performers don’t do acts that they market as “balancing” in the larger picture. its because balancing is not a genre of its own. the technique of balancing belongs to some larger genre, and my question to you then is- what genre does the skill of balancing belong to? a larger genre of another name? or is balancing a genre on its own in your mind? you can of course also maintain that balancing does not need to be put into any genre, and that will also be helpful to know so i can understand where you are coming from.
likewise, if i was passing by a scientist on the street corner and she was holding a glass vial full of some colored liquid over a bunsen burner and she asked me what she was doing, i would most likely say “heating up some liquid,” instead of saying “organic chemistry.” that’s most likely due to 2 factors which is why i thought it worth to write this example- the first is because of language… inherent in the context, at the moment of the question, we operate on a literal level, or the most concrete path possible. therefore, if you’re balancing a stick and you ask me what you’re doing, i will respond by following the shortest conceptual path. but secondly, i would not tell the scientist she is doing organic chemistry simply because i don’t know anything about organic chemistry. so just because i would not call what she is doing organic chemistry, that’s not a valid yardstick by which to measure what falls under the definition of organic chemistry or not? in the same way that a casual observer walking down the street might not recognize balancing a stick as juggling. and even more to the point, let’s say its not even a casual observer walking down the street, but rather a seasoned professional expert juggler… what would they call balancing a stick, if not juggling?
therefore, if you’re up for it, i could suggest we start over here. i think it will be faster, and way more simple than to follow up a bunch of conversational threads. i think answering this simple set of questions will lead both of us (and erik??) to a fast understanding of each others’ viewpoints:
if you do not agree with erik’s definition of juggling, do you have a proposal for a different definition you like better? or is it just that you identify something is wrong with erik’s suggestion and you (and therefore we) are trying to figure out the problem? i am lost as to what does not make sense to you. i kind of infer here or there that you don’t think balancing a stick is juggling, or spinning a ball on your finger is juggling, or diabolo is juggling? but i’m just kind of making that up in my mind and its good to clarify it!
do you wish to identify juggling by its components? meaning, are you searching for a definition of juggling which judges if things are juggling or not based on their techniques? for example, do you wish to say that some form of throwing and catching is juggling, but that placing and sliding is not?
do you think its important to understand where the definition of juggling has come from, and where it stands, in order to move forward with a new definition that we all want to see (if we can agree on one?)? or do you think we should just go for a new one, and not deal with the mess of sorting out what currently exists?