Containment is a candidate for a “table of transcendental techniques”.

TODO The Concept of Containment

contain (v.)

c. 1300, “restrain (someone), control (oneself), behave (in a certain way),” from Old French contein-, tonic stem of contenir, from Latin continere (transitive) “to hold together, enclose,” from assimilated form of com “with, together” (see con-) + tenere “to hold,” from PIE root *ten- “to stretch.”

From mid-14c. as “to have (something) as a constituent part;” from late 14c. as “have something inside, enclose.”


The concept of containment is powerful and rudimentary. Roughly, containment seems to be the concept that distinct things can be gathered and held together by some other thing, and thereby treated as one. It is difficult to determine whether we can think at all without presupposing this concept. The modern concept of concept seems to presuppose the technique of containment, and I wager that the concept of collection is abstracted from groupings enabled by the technique of containment. I guess most animals don’t have access to this technique, or else we’d often see them toting valuables in makeshift bags and boxes.


(With an eye towards the software technique.)

Container ships yielded exponential increase in shipping capacity. But it’s this actually the capacity we need?

What is the real need? Was it greater quantity of stuff sent quicker? Or is the real need not rather more careful allocation of resources, better routing and better fundamental design?

The capacity for massive throughput creates an inertial force tending a structure towards quicker consumption and increased volumes of production.

What of all the space and time wasted by those things manufactured in order to keep up the throughput and countless corners left empty my round cargo in rectangular containers?

The Inventory Management Game: Bags, Togetherness, and Cultural Techniques

Containers (pockets, bags, boxes, tins, gourds, jugs, cabinets, etc.) are so ubiquitous that very few of us appreciate how revolutionary and indispensable the technology is.