The dictionary defines variable as an element, feature, or factor that is liable to vary or change or a quantity that during a calculation is assumed to vary or be capable of varying in value. Anybody who has taken a basic statistics course probably heard of independent variables, dependent variables, confounding variables, and extraneous variables. I am present to argue that a variable can be literally anything and/or everything. Many people present in planet Earth seem to have a very narrow-minded view of things and they see things in a very linear fashion hardly ever realizing the multifaceted almost holographic systems among systems. The interaction between variables is not just a one-way linear street. Variables influence other variables and variables are influenced by other variables. I remember how several years ago, I used to use the term factor a lot in many of my thinking when I am sitting in my room engaged in deep introspection. The dictionary defines factor as a circumstance, fact, or influence that contributes to a result or outcome. Thus, a factor is inclusive of a variable. One can view variables from a micro-level of even the tiniest circumstance, fact, particle, or thing or one can view them from a macro-level of giant constructs. The Universe can also be one variable. I would even argue that mysterious circumstances are also a variable or a set of variables. Just because one does not know what it is does not mean that such variable(s) do not exist. One can designate the label of unknown variable(s) or mysterious variable(s). People may have heard the notion that correlation does not equal causation. While this may be hammered into people’s head in a university course, I am surprised to see how so many people fail to understand this fundamental rule. For example, in Internet forums, some people assume that a particular statement might have to do with them or that another statement made in another thread has some kind of implied meaning as a response to another statement made in yet another thread. I am amazed to see some people draw such connections. Just because two declarative statements made in separate threads seem related, does not mean that they have a direct cause and effect relationship. Remember that X can cause Y, Y can cause X, or Z may cause either X or Y. You can also have infinite other variables causing either X or Y or both. We are usually taught that something is designated as the independent variable and something else is designated as the dependent variable. We are taught that the independent variable is going to have an effect on the dependent variable. I am surprised that hardly anyone takes the time to perhaps reverse the designation of both the independent variable and the dependent variable. My thread “Is It Really Self-Esteem or Contingent Upon External Stimuli” (http://www.sciforums.com/showthread...lf-Esteem-or-Contingent-Upon-External-Stimuli) explains all of this well giving some real life examples. I want to go a bit beyond my own comfort zone in saying that things are constantly changing, circumstances are constantly changing, facts are constantly changing, and hence, variables are constantly changing and so a particular independent variable can become a dependent variable and a former dependent variable can become an independent variable. A particular former independent variable can now be at the mercy of yet another independent variable. You can also have a situation in which the dependent variable still remains as the dependent variable except that the former independent variable that might have had a relationship to it is now also the dependent variable. You can have all kinds of changing independent and/or dependent variable relationships. So as one can see, variables can literally be anything and/or everything. I would even go as far as to rewrite the dictionary’s definition of what a variable is from an element, feature, or factor that is liable to vary or change or a quantity that during a calculation is assumed to vary or be capable of varying in value to a thing or set of things which can influence other things and/or be influence by other thing(s). So no, I am not talking in figurative speech, metaphors, or connotations but rather in denotation. I feel that the word thing has a much broader definition encompassing everything (hence, the word thing in the word everything). While the dictionary may have a limited way of defining the word thing, I would suspect the precise number of definitions could go on for infinity. Let’s just say for the sake that there might be something that isn’t a variable. The thesaurus says it is a constant. If a constant (my grand construct theory of non-change - http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?105919-Change-as-a-Concept) is placed adjacent to a variable or a set of variables (all the changing agents), then a variable or set of variables is a function of the constant. This translates to the constant superseding the variables. The end-result really shows a greater significance and magnitude of the constant in relation to the adjacent variables. In the same way that non-freewill is a constant (another grand construct theory of non-change or a state of affairs that does not change) is a placed adjacent to the oppositional viewpoint of freewill (which may be defined as one variable because it is in persistent change as well as the wide range of variation in choices and/or options). This too translates to the constant having more power and strength because although it may appear that freewill exists, it is essentially an illusion. The variety of choices as well as the changing agents involved really are just a function of the constant non-freewill construct. With all that said, therefore, in this case, a function cannot be defined as a variable because it is a constant (which as the thesaurus pointed out is the opposite of a variable). The question of intention has yet to be discovered because one can give examples of a function being a variable and a function being a constant. There may or may not be a purpose to a function but the paradoxical nature of function(s) is as is and exists as well as it cannot be denied to not exist. The dictionary also defines a variable as an adjective of being not consistent or having a fixed pattern. The particular definition in my original post was defined as a noun. In truth, practically everything does not have a state of consistency or having a fixed pattern. A chair and a table will wear out as it is not in the exact same state as you first bought it. Even that which appear to be constant may fluctuate back and forth, up and down, and high and low. Human beings are subject to change and variation as they age physically and biologically. People’s thought processes usually vary and change too. So if you look at the definition of a variable as an adjective, both a constant and a function is a variable. If you look at the definition of a variable as simply just a noun, then almost everything is a variable with the exception of grand non-changing constant constructs. Nevertheless, the adjective definition of a variable in the dictionary is denoted as the first definition and the noun definition of a variable follows thereafter. I would suspect importance or purity of definition is correlated with number sequence with the primary definition as the best described definition. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/variable?s=t Or do we want to debate the value of both the adjective and noun definitions of a variable? I would like to add some spiritual tone to all of this. God is perfect and omniscient. Therefore, God is a constant. God is variety and somewhat unpredictable. Therefore, God is a variable. While the later does demonstrate tremendous power, the former is most certainly more powerful than the later. That is, of course, if a Creator separate from you, me, and everything else exists. If in the case that an outside Creator does not exist and we are seeing all of this in the viewpoint as if we are all individual sparks of the Creator, individually speaking, I can only see each of us as a variable (because a human being is subject to change, flaws, and variety as discussed previously). Collectively speaking, I can also only see us as one giant variable (the variety of the group mind). It is simply a misconception to assume that the collective consciousness is a constant because it is definitely not perfect and not omniscient. In fact, one may even argue that the “group mind” is more susceptible to flaws and imperfections. That is, of course, if you do not believe in an outside Creator, you only see everything as the Creator. So do we value individualism or collectivism? Do we value the ability to think freely or do we want our thoughts dictated by the group?