2
$\begingroup$

Alone I am blank and meaningless,

I have no end of uselessness.

But together with man's thought and ingenuity,

I have no limit to versatility.

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5
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Sounds like just about every tool? $\endgroup$ Apr 9, 2015 at 18:12
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @BenFrankel and every canvas-like object $\endgroup$
    – Tymric
    Apr 9, 2015 at 18:16
  • $\begingroup$ @BenFrankel Most tools aren't blank, and quite a few are seen to symbolize something. Also, some tools aren't very versatile, even with thought and ingenuity. $\endgroup$ Apr 9, 2015 at 18:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Once you get it, this one is plane to see. $\endgroup$
    – corsiKa
    Apr 9, 2015 at 19:39
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    $\begingroup$ This has too many possible answers. $\endgroup$
    – xnor
    Apr 9, 2015 at 21:39

7 Answers 7

6
$\begingroup$

I guess:

Paper

Because

It's blank and useless until someone writes brilliant or useful things on it. The written word is extremely versatile.

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5
  • $\begingroup$ You could argue that this is too specific, but this is what I was thinking of. $\endgroup$ Apr 9, 2015 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ I was thinking of this too. $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Apr 9, 2015 at 18:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't understand. If this is how we define "useless", isn't everything useless until someone uses it? $\endgroup$ Apr 9, 2015 at 21:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes, BUT, paper has special significance in this area I think. "Blank slate" for instance, is how we refer to something which so far does nothing but has unlimited potential. $\endgroup$
    – Caleb
    Apr 9, 2015 at 22:01
  • $\begingroup$ I was thinking the same thing. $\endgroup$ Apr 10, 2015 at 1:35
4
$\begingroup$

I guess it is

Zero (0)

Which by itself is meaningless, but has a very versitle use in mathematics

(addition subtraction multiplication)

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2
  • $\begingroup$ This is quite clever, but not what I was thinking of. Also zero on its own represents the idea of nothing, so it isn't completely useless. $\endgroup$ Apr 9, 2015 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ The actual answer makes a lot of sense. I guess the keyword was thought" $\endgroup$
    – ManishKG
    Apr 9, 2015 at 19:12
2
$\begingroup$

It could be

Idea

Alone I am blank and meaningless,

I have no end of uselessness.

An idea is useless if nothing supports it.

But together with man's thought and ingenuity,

I have no limit to versatility.

On the contrary, an idea supported by cleverness can be very very useful!

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2
  • $\begingroup$ I see where you're coming from, but this isn't the answer I had in mind. $\endgroup$ Apr 9, 2015 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ Also, you would need the thought and ingenuity initially to create the idea to begin with. $\endgroup$ Apr 9, 2015 at 18:25
2
$\begingroup$

You are

the mind

Alone I am blank and meaningless, I have no end of uselessness.

The mind by itself is nothing and useless.

But together with man's thought and ingenuity, I have no limit to versatility.

Once a man fills his mind with thoughts, he can accomplish many things.

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1
  • $\begingroup$ I would argue that thought and ingenuity come from the mind, but otherwise it does make sense. $\endgroup$ Apr 9, 2015 at 18:20
2
$\begingroup$

I realize it's already been answered, but my first thought was actually

Whitespace (the characters, not the language), since it is blank and meaningless until some clever programmer comes along and makes a program with it.

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1
  • $\begingroup$ I think you mean a language which uses it, not a program made with it. It would be fairly difficult to write a program solely with it and nothing else. $\endgroup$ Apr 10, 2015 at 13:41
1
$\begingroup$

It's:

A computer.

Alone I am blank and meaningless,

No software -> blank screen.

I have no end of uselessness.

Without proper programming.

But together with man's thought and ingenuity,

Programming ...

I have no limit to versatility.

Automated flight booking, GPS navigation, web search ... the list is endless.

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0
$\begingroup$

A blank check that's been voided.

Alone I am blank and meaningless.

Voided;

I have no end of uselessness.
But together with man's thought and ingenuity,

Re. Catch Me If You Can, (the story of a master forger)

I have no limit to versatility.

This is one of the preferred ways to transfer funds with no upper limit, but in the hands of Frank Abagnale Jr, there's no limit whatsoever to its versatility. This would lead me to simply paper, except that completely blank paper actually has no end to its usefulness. Voided checks are less then useless to most, and a liability in the wrong hands.

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1
  • $\begingroup$ I might be reading your explanation wrong, but to me, blank paper is still useless if there isn't any thought or ingenuity to be used with it. $\endgroup$ Apr 10, 2015 at 13:39

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