(?) What is the difference, or interrelationship, between the concepts of status and relationship?
Ossorio: In principle it's fairly simple, and it's a fundamental point. Think of all of the things in the room and think of the various relationships that there are among the things in the room. And then count them. [laughter] And what you find is our favorite combinatorial explosion. Because if you have got 100 things in the room, then you've got 99 pairs of relations between any two. Then think of how many there are where you have three-way relations, and four-way relations, and five-way relations, and six, all the way down the line. Well that number goes up. What that means is, practically speaking, it's an impossibility to manage. You can't manage that many things in your head. And yet, those relationships are extraordinarily important, because your behavior potential depends on it.
Your behavior potential depends on your relation to everything in the world, singly, doubly, triply, etc. You have the behavior potential you have because of those relationships. And yet, the ensemble is unmanageable. Well people are ingenious, and here is a case in point. Way back when, before the dawn of prehistory, they figured out an alternative scheme.
Imagine the same room and instead of talking about relations between the things in the room, we simply take each of the things in the room. We say where it is. We give it a place, a location. Now from those places you can derive all of the relationships that were unmanageable. The places are manageable because there's only a hundred of them. If there are a hundred things in the room then there's a hundred places that you have to keep track of. And there is no comparison between the ease of keeping track of a hundred places versus keeping track of 10 to the 25th relationships.
Now the place, you might say the "place language" or the "place system of thinking about these" is convertible into the relationship language, and the relationship way of doing. And so thereís your relationship between the two, the place is the status, and relation is relation. So the relation between relation and status is that they are convertible to one another as systems, as descriptive systems, as representational systems. They are convertible one to the other. And it's that simple.
(?) Convertible doesnít mean the same as? In other words, status isnít a collection of relationships?
Ossorio: No. But status corresponds to a set of relations. And the relation to behavior is exactly the same. You have the behavior potential you have by virtue of the relationships you have. You have the behavior potential you have by virtue of the status you have. Any comments?