This is a philosophical post. My goal is to analyze everything2 and discover its telos.

What is a telos? Telos is a difficult concept to define. We can call it the "what a thing aims at," the "what it does," "the goal," "the 'end'" in the philosophical sense of that term, or "the purpose" if the telos is also the purpose of an agent who is using the thing whose telos it is. The telos of an eye is seeing, the telos of an axe is chopping wood, and the telos of this writeup is discovering the telos of everything2 (if I succeed). Once we know the telos of a thing, we can determine how it will act if it is in certain circumstances, which is why it may be useful to know the telos of everything2.

So what is the telos of everything2? Clearly, to increase in size. That is, more people will add writeups of various kinds on various topics, and there shall be more and more writeups until something happens to stop it.

But is there anything more specific we can say about it? The only way I can think of to be more specific is to analyze each of its parts. The telos of a thing can, I think, be determined in detail once we know the telos of each of its parts. Once we know the telos of the handle of an axe and the head of an axe, we know the telos of the axe as a whole. The handle of an axe has the telos of holding the head of an axe through a swing of the axe, and the telos of the head of the axe is parting a piece of wood at the end of the swing. From that, we can say that the telos of the axe as a whole is to be swung in a certain way to produce a certain result, or, to say the same thing more concisely, that the telos of the axe is to chop wood. I hope to determine the telos of everything2 by splitting it into several parts, to determine the telos of each of those parts, and to combine them to determine the telos of the whole.

It may be argued that we cannot determine the telos of a part of a thing unless we already know the telos of the whole. After all, we only know that the telos of the axe handle is to hold the axe head through a swing because we knew that the purpose of the axe is to chop wood. But we do already know the purpose of everything2: it is, as we have said, to increase in size. We would be better able to determine what sort of cut an axe would make if we analyzed the curvature of its blade. Similarly, we are now only looking for the "curvature" of everything2: those facts about it that make it clearer what sort of increase in size we shall be seeing. Should we expect more political writeups? Or perhaps more on video games, or economics? By analyzing the individual parts of the website, we may be better able to answer these questions.

We can split everything2 into those parts that are always visible, let's call those PAVs, and those parts that are not always visible, which we can call PNAVs. The parts that are always visible are the parts that are visible on any page of everything2. It is difficult to define "page" in a way that is not self-referential, but luckily my audience is likely to be familiar enough with the term that little explanation is necessary. Perhaps we can define "page" by saying first that a "title" is a thing like the phrase "the telos of everything2" at the top of this page, and then saying that a "page" is a part of everything2 with a unique title.

The PAVs seem more important to the telos of everything2 than the PNAVs, since the PAVs would seem to have more influence over the people who contribute to everything2 than the parts that are sometimes not visible. So let's leave off the PNAVs for now and just talk about the PAVs.

The most prominent PAV is the "everything2" logo along the top of the screen. We should analyze this logo, since it may have some influence over the people who contribute to everything2, and it is worthwhile to be able to identify that influence if it exists. The term "everything" connotes exhaustion. The person who is defeated by the world, when asked what is wrong, says "everything." We do not say "everything" when we have energy. Energy breeds precision of speech, and exhaustion breeds broad generalities like "everything." And it isn’t just everything, it’s everything 2, everything for a second time. The exhaustion is further exaggerated by the lower case “e.” An upper case “E” is generally expected in the title of a website, and a lower case “e” in a title indicates laziness, lack of effort, exhaustion. So we should look for the corrolaries of exhaustion in the people who contribute to the website. By "the corrolaries of exhaustion," I mean those things that a person is likely to do when he is exhausted. And we have already seen a couple of the corrolaries of exhaustion: Punctuating one's writing poorly and using broad terms like "everything" are corrolaries of exhaustion.

There other PAV worth mentioning is the "catbox" along the right side of the screen. The thing to notice about the catbox is the type of thing that is usually said in it: brief shout-outs, usually funny and witty, like the sort of thing you would hear a poet say, if that poet was being whipped around a 90-mile-an-hour curve on a rollercoaster and you were standing on the ground nearby. It is important to notice that these comments are just thrown into the void, so to speak. The people who make them do not expect a profit from them. They will not get reputation points or money or anything of value in reciprocation for their comments, and they do not expect to. I think that this implies a cynicism on the part of the people who participate in it. They clearly have unusual literary talents, and these quips clearly take time to create, but they are willing to give the fruits of their labor to the two or three people who will see them before they disappear forever. This behavior, insofar as it is cynical, implies that the person who participates in it is tired of offering his or her talent to the world, and is therefore fuelled by a type of exhaustion.

Here we can stop, and make a provisional assessment of everything2's telos. We can guess, based on the two PAVs we have analyzed, what everything2's telos is, in greater detail. The people who contribute to everything2 are assailed, at all times, by two expressions of exhaustion and one expression of talent. The "everything2" logo, on the one hand, and the catbox, on the other, both contribute to the mindset that everything2's contributors have. And that mindset has two layers: first, that we must not try too hard at anything we do on this website, because it is a place for exhausted people, and second, that what we do must be very good, because it is a place for talented people.

We can now turn from the PAVs to the PNAVs. The important PNAV to evaluate is the registration page. It is important to evaluate the registration because every member of the website, almost by definition, has to pass through it. No one who has a screenname on this website is likely to have gotten that screenname without passing through the registration page, unless someone else created that screenname for them. And the important fact about the registration page is that it is very difficult to get a screenname from that page. You have to enter several screennames before one of them works, and it is a frustrating thing to get through it. This means that no one on everything2 lacks patience, and it makes everything2 into a kind of exclusive club open only to people who are willing to jump a couple of hurdles to get into it.

So we know that everything2 is for exhausted people with talent, who really want to get into everything2 and be with other exhausted talented people. Based on the information gathered so far, we expect everything2 to increase in poetry and fiction primarily, with other articles popping up occasionally that are of interest to the community of everything2. These will be on topics of interest to the mainstream of everything2, which will be the things one would expect exhausted talented people to be interested in: mostly internet related items. There will also be occasional posts by people who are trying to contribute new things to everything2 under the mistaken impression that the site really has no definite telos. These posts will die quickly after getting a few points from people who are into that sort of thing.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.