Fair enough. I would appreciate it if you would link to relevant documentation so I can hear it from the horse's mouth. (Or read it from the gem's surface, if you prefer :D)
As I mentioned early, the ruby documentation implies that the object to which a "free function" method belongs is intentionally opaque; however, I have only read so much and probably it will come up at some point.
Ah, then that makes things much clearer. This would be good for consistency: we can just talk about methods, specify the syntax, and then note this one exception. However, it does not necessarily simplify parsing since the parser would still have to deal with a special case.
It still seems to me that if there are going to be objects in the language, meaning a mechanism to deal with methods, we might as well use the exact same mechanism to deal with "free functions". It should be simple to (eg) take a method without an object referent as understood to be part of the cosmic base object. DOM methods are like that, and the existence of ruby demonstrates that it is possible -- ie, this is an option to consider.