Page Created: 1/27/2015   Last Modified: 3/17/2016   Last Generated: 12/11/2017
I bought some antique olive oil bar soap imported from Turkey, and whenever I shower with that soap, it smells ancient. It smells exactly like walking into the St. Louis art museum, a building constructed for the 1904 World's Fair, full of old oil paintings and ancient artifacts, some dating back to the legendary Ur. I like varying up my soaps with ones that use older fragrances.
Don't let anyone tell you that there is only one way to do things. Always bind those absolute statements within a context, make them relative, then capture their pattern. You don't have to allow the pattern to control you, but you can trap it and examine it, then choose whether or not you want to coalesce with it.
Like the collections in a museum, the world is full of different patterns, which vary over time, place, culture, and state of mind, and you can even generate your own.
That ancient, dull, olive-green soap was stamped with a pattern, a maker's mark that eventually dissolved away. The image of this pattern and the smell of this soap is saved somewhere in my brain, and because our brains are efficient, it only stores the unique aspects uniquely and makes note that the common aspects are similar to something that I already know, a form of information compression; optimization. I am consciously aware that my own brain does this, and I am certain that we all do this on a subconscious level. Perhaps some of our memory is stored in the synaptic plasticity of the cerebral cortex↗, the outer boundary of the brain, not unlike the outer boundary of the Mandelbrot set, where the information is stored. Perhaps only the unique aspects of our lives are stored in that boundary, and those common aspects, those archetypes, are stored somewhere else in Space and Time. Perhaps.
I don't always write about science and technology, and even though I may talk up a good game, I question them constantly; I am becoming more certain that the technological world is missing the whole point. I am becoming more certain that technological utopianism is a fantasy, a story.
Science is only one form of knowledge, and technology is a result of it. They are both good stories, good games, good patterns.
In one story, technology is a tool that solves problems, but if we have no need to solve those problems, then we have no need for technology. End of story.
Reading, writing, history, art, literature, theatre (storytelling itself) has no need for a technology other than something to act upon and something to act with, to write on and write with, a physical memory upon which we can encode pattern.
Clay and reed will suffice.
Paper is a nice technology, but, in a way, it is a luxury. Paper works like that cerebral cortex; it is thin, almost 2-dimensional, which works very well in 3-dimensional space, as the information is stored on the boundary, on the surface, consuming less volume in higher dimensions (per surface area). Paper, and more modern memory technologies like computer memory, allows us to store more information in less physical space, called memory storage density in computing. It allows us to cram more stories than we could ever read in our lifetime into devices that are light enough for us to carry around.
That is why it is a luxury--there is excess. We carry more than we need. Some people think that the answer is to make ourselves larger so that we can consume all of this excess, turning luxury into gluttony.
Technology is neither needed to play games nor sport. I personally dislike the technological sports, sports that require excessive gear or equipment. I call these "gear sports". To me, they are more an expression of technology than an expression of sport. If the race to build technology itself is a form of sport to some, then this may indeed be a sport, but sport doesn't require this additional layer, this second race within a race.
Because I am a balancer, I use my skill in balancing to align my other abilities in an optimal arrangement, and in doing so, I can accomplish almost anything. Even people that are extremely strong in certain areas cannot rely on that strength, for there will always be someone in the world that is stronger; so balancing, in my opinion, is a valuable skill for everyone, regardless of their natural abilities.
So, like a bird flying from above, before I land, I look for a middle perch. Most of my life has been spent finding the extreme boundaries of things and then computing those landing spots, those geometric centroids, like an acrobat first balancing everything on his finger to detect its center of mass. It gets even more difficult to see these spots in 4-dimensions (using Time).
These spots may seem boring to some, but it is quite the opposite for me, as this spot gives me the most range to express pattern, the maximum dynamic range for that medium, swinging between two directions, like the pendulum of a clock. But what is more important to that clock, the pendulum or the swing↗?
The only spectator sport that I watch is the Olympics, primarily track & field, swimming, gymnastics and figure skating. Beyond a ball, a disc, shoes or skates, not much else is needed. My favorite sports to participate in are running, swimming, and flying discs. Many of our oldest sports have been turned into gear sports in the modern era, requiring high tech gear for performance, entertainment, or safety, but at their core, the sport doesn't require technology. Ice skating, for example, does not require massive refrigeration equipment and a resurfacing machine. It just requires a frozen lake.
I learned this at an early age when I wanted to take sports lessons. At times, I wanted to take track, baseball, skiing, ice skating, gymnastics, tennis and repelling lessons but my family could not afford the lessons and/or the equipment. Our peers were enrolled in lessons of all types, but my brother and I had to learn sports on our own, or invent our own, or we learned second hand from our friends.
My grandfather taught us the basics of baseball when I was younger, but I could not afford a baseball glove as a teenager. One day, however, I found a glove that someone had lost, an old, washed out and sun-bleached leather glove, and that became my glove. I still have it today. And sometimes my brother and I would come across free baseballs that people would give away--usually made out of cheap, synthetic materials that didn't last long, but they lasted long enough for us to learn how to hit a home run. We had to piece together our gear. My father loved team sports like soccer, volleyball, and basketball and installed a basketball backboard on the house so my brother and I could take shots, playing "21" and "around the world". I do not like the game of basketball itself, the dribbling, passing or playing half-court, but shooting hoops is something magical.
When I got to public high school, the school covered the cost of lessons and much of the gear, but I no longer had any desire to participate in gear sports. By then, I noticed that a lot of the gear sports were also team sports, something else I began to dislike. Team sports were obsessed with things called tryouts and cuts, something I wanted to stay far away from. And in these sports, the team was a gigantic machine which tried to trap and constrain our individual patterns, and had a large contingent of violent, aggressive people. One of the hallmarks of team sports that I do not like are fields, courts, or rinks where one team faces off against another, like a war or battlefield. However, baseball was different, and it was my favorite out of these team sports because of this. It started off as a gentleman's game, but over time it unfortunately became nasty. But baseball, idealized, is a wonderful game.
For me, the value of sport was not fighting, the value of sport was performing, displaying pattern; less aggressive than war, yet not as fragile as dance.
In high school, I joined track & cross-country, as I could run. The Sony Walkman was only invented about 4 years earlier, and portable stereos were getting small enough for people to run with, and I remember one day when my running coach told us that he would not allow us to run with such devices. He said that we would not be able to wear them in a race, so he didn't want us to train with them. He wanted us to get use to running without any technology.
Music is a form of pattern and pattern has a great effect on the brain. I have never worn headphones during running, but at times I remember running by loudspeakers playing music and knew that music at the right times and places does have an effect, it can sometimes energize and motivate, but it cannot get you through the most difficult times. In those most difficult places, when you are alone and in pain, your brain forgets why you chose to engage in that pain, and it signals you to back off, to slow down, and there is no pattern, not even music, that will remind you why you chose to do this, there is only a tiny spark. If you can get that spark to grow, you can succeed. It is very difficult, however, to do this, and after decades of running, I still haven't figured out how to remind myself when I find myself in one of those places, as memory does not exist there.
This spark gave me an inkling into what we actually are. It doesn't seem to be affected by memory or other stored patterns. It seems to be pattern free.
Races were so stringent that if you wore a watch, a machine which displays patterns of Time, you could be disqualified, which actually happened to me. I was among the top finishers of a 5K during a critical cross-country competition, and a coach from an opposing team reported my watch and had me disqualified. I had forgotten to remove it before the race and was so angry at myself that I threw it as hard as I could, far over the trees into a dense, nearby woods. I was saddened the weeks that followed, since my father had brought that watch to me from Tehran and given it to me as a gift.
About a month later, at an end-of-season ceremony, a couple of teammates unexpectedly presented me with that watch. They went into the woods after I had thrown it and found it hanging from a tree branch. I still have that watch, and when I see that scene where Bruce Willis has that flashback of Christopher Walken in Pulp Fiction explaining why that watch was so important, I have a different interpretation, less of humor and more of curious awe. That watch is a reminder, a symbol, of the value of the person that gave it to me and the people that found it for me.
One of my favorite miniseries is The First Olympics: Athens 1896 where a group of Americans revived the ancient Greek games from its hibernation, recreating the primitive technologies. It was only 8 years after that historical event that it came to my city↗, so it had special relevance to me. When I watched it on television, I was a college runner competing at NCAA levels, had Olympic athletes as teammates, and I could feel the spirit, the magic.
But the Marathon (26+ miles) is a race I despise; and I promised myself long ago never to run one, believing it to be simply an expression of endurance more than anything else. The idea of the Marathon comes from war (a battle between the Greeks and Persians) where a Greek messenger runs between two cities to deliver news that the Persians have been defeated, and then he dies. In the original Greek Olympics, there was no such footrace, but only shorter ones inside the stadium. Their long race↗ is only estimated to be about 3 miles. The Olympics were about balance, being good in many things, not bringing yourself close to physical breakdown to do one thing. Unfortunately, our modern, technological world is hyper-specialized and places little value on balance, substituting honored titles like "Renaissance man" with "Jack of all trades, master of none".
My favorite sport is middle-distance running, and my favorite race is that jack-of-all races, the mile run. The Mile is an English imperial unit, perhaps derived from the Romans, being approximately 1,609 meters, a unit that my country still uses commonly for length and speed. Prior to May 6th, 1954, it was not known whether a human being could run a mile in under 4 minutes time, as it is extremely difficult even to get near that boundary, but on that day, an Englishman named Roger Bannister showed us that it was indeed possible.
To me, the mile is the most unique of distances. In competition, usually only close metric equivalents are used (1500m in international and 1600m in US high school). The mile is not often used in high level competition, so people use various formulae to convert the pace to approximate mile times (ala Bannister). But when the actual mile is run, it has a magic to it.
It is an extremely difficult distance to race, being too long for a sprint, like an 800m (which is almost a very long sprint) and too short to be a long-distance race like a 5K (which has a lot of leeway). It looks like a race, where the runners are tightly-grouped, jockeying for position, and is just long enough to be an exciting few minutes. While it may not seem as tactical as other sports, mile running is very tactical, very expressive. The race cannot be run successfully in a purely aerobic or anaerobic state, using purely fast-twitch or slow-twitch muscles, but requires a combination and variation. It is up to each individual to decide how to align themselves to best run this distance (sprinters pacing themselves, long-distance runners increasing their speed), but no matter what technique one chooses, that 4-minute barrier is formidable. To me, this appears to be an energy barrier more than anything else--getting your body to maximize its energy output rate, an energy expression requiring both mental and physical "balance".
On Saturday, July 27th, 1985, when I was 15, I was out in the woods at night by a campfire at a running camp, watching live on a television the Dream Mile, a race with one of my favorite runners, Englishman Sebastian Coe. I was rooting for Coe to win, but then suddenly, in the last 200 meters, I witnessed his countryman, Steve Cram pull away and win the race with a new world record of 3:46, something I did not know was humanly possible. An Englishman was the first to show the world that a human being could break the 4-minute barrier, and now, on that Saturday in 1985, a different Englishman showed us that more could still be done.
The next summer, when I was 16, I tried as hard as I could to get close to this legendary boundary and qualified for the 1500 meter finals at the 1986 AAU Junior Olympic Nationals at Washington University. It was the very same track at Francis Field that the 1904 Olympic 1500 meter run was won by American James Lightbody with a time of 4:05. I finished 9th with a 4:09, and my coach used a video of that race as an example to the team of what not to do. I had run out of energy during the last 100 meters, and went from 5th place to 9th place in a fraction of a second, being passed by 4 people right at the finish line. But my fastest time in the semifinal was a 4:07, which scaled up would have been around a 4:26 Mile.
For comparison, at the time of this writing (2015), only 7 high-schoolers in United States history have ever broken the 4-minute mile barrier, running a 3:59 or faster. The 4-minute mile is still that difficult.
The following year, in 1987, age 17, I stood outside the Lincoln University track at Missouri's state capitol and witnessed another 17 year old Missourian named Jason Pyrah win the 1600 meter run with a time of 4:03. This was only 9 meters short of a Mile, so he was only a few seconds short of Bannister's accomplishment, and his Missouri state record remains unbroken to this day, after 27 years. I watched Jason run the first 3 laps at an incredible speed, and everyone was cheering him on the final lap. It was the most amazing race I have ever personally witnessed. In my opinion, the only thing preventing him from breaking 4 minutes on that day was his lack of competition. He ran much of it alone. Unlike Steve Cram, he didn't have to worry about Sebastian Coe running him down.
In 1988, I made my next attempt at the 1500 meter and used Pyrah's technique. It was again at Francis Field where I had my infamous finish in 1986 and was not about to allow a repeat performance, and so I broke away from the pack with almost 2 laps to go and sustained my rate of speed and won the 1500 meter run with a 4:08, again ranking among the top milers in the state. It was the first race of my senior year and I was hoping to lower this time by the end of the season.
But as luck would have it, at the next track meet, I was suddenly hit by an out-of-bounds, flying discus and was sent away in an ambulance, just seconds after anchoring the final leg of the 4×1600 meter relay and walking off the track onto the center field.
I only have a static picture of it in my memory, a flying saucer suspended in midair about 7 feet above the ground. I have no memory of the parabolic trajectory that it must have taken to hit me, tearing a hole through my sweatpants and flesh of my leg, exposing my shinbone, but I made a "note-to-self" that F=ma is very real.
I recovered after a few weeks, but over the years, I have thought about these events. It was such a freak occurrence--being hit by a metal disc, a technology that originated from the ancient Olympic pentathlon, in the very thing (my legs) that allowed me to run that race. It caused me to slow down, take a break from competition, hop back up on that perch and look around. After that incident, I could never lower my time. While others got faster after they went to college, even after I tried new techniques, that barrier remained fixed for me, and I was reaching my maximum rate of energy output.
Later in his career, Jason Pyrah broke the 4-minute barrier many times and became 10th in the world at the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, running the 1500 meter final in 3:39, only 10 seconds slower than Coe and Cram's best. Jason ran against the world record holder, a Moroccan named Hicham El Guerrouj. As of 2015, El Guerrouj still holds the fastest 1500m in the world at 3:26 and the fastest mile in the world at 3:43.
But Pyrah, compared to El Guerrouj, hit the same problem that I did; he reached his own barrier. The 4-minute barrier, of course, is not really a barrier, it is just a marker. But while it helps to show a meaningful limitation of our physical bodies, it is only gaffer tape on a stage floor, allowing an actor to perform, to see the boundaries within which they can express pattern.
Mr. Pyrah did not break the 4-minute barrier on that day in 1987, but I will forever remember his remarkable early break away, running alone. I will remember the people cheering. I will remember watching that clock count 3:55, 3:56, 3:57... In running the mile, every runner asks himself if it is time to break free of the pack and run alone. This is a very scary place, called front running, because you have staked your claim to yourself and to the world that you will win, and you do not know if someone in the unknown mass behind you is capable of overtaking you and your position, so you must run as fast as you can for as long as you can. I have won the mile using both methods, hanging behind at the end of the pack and kicking by everyone at the end, and staking my claim as a front runner. But let me tell you, it is far more difficult to run in the front, and you are far harder on yourself if you fail. Sometimes it is an act of stupidity, sometimes it is an act of courage.
Sport has an ancient pattern, and a very magical one. Our stories are our most important patterns. Playwrights discovered this a long time ago, and film and videogame makers just do the same things using technology.
One of my friends recently gave me a book called Cosmigraphics: Picturing Space Through Time by Michael Benson, and it shows pictures of how Mankind has interpreted the universe throughout history. Two of the chapters are my favorites, one on Creation, and one on the Structure of the Universe.
Flipping those pages of paper is special to me, and it simulates the medium on which most of those images where created. I cannot replicate that feeling using electronic media. I've seen thousands of hyperlinked depictions of the Universe, but holding and flipping that book does something different, and allows me to perceive pattern and meaning in a way that I otherwise could not. A book is a technology that will never be obsolete. I think that books in the physical world, might just be projections of books in a higher world. The book seems to be a form, a special type of pattern.
The most fascinating aspect to me is not whether past images of the Universe were scientifically right or wrong, but what they thought, and how they saw things. Given enough time, modern science will be just as wrong, just like Mr. El Guerrouj's record will eventually fall, and it will be added to the Book.
Much of science refrains from making a "final interpretation", interpreting the data into various aspects of humanity or into someone's personal life. Scientists try to collect data so that someday that data may be re-interpreted by people in the future. Many scientists refuse to speculate for fear that they will lose credibility or objectivity. And this type of thinking is impressed on students of science, where it feels wrong to make individual interpretations. Speculation is a bad word.
Contrast this to art, where the individual interpretation is the most important, and if your art is too objective, it becomes worthless.
The interpretation by science at a high level is still an interpretation and will still be wrong, given enough time, so what scientists are really doing is masking their errors during their lifetime or for their posterity. But they value those past contributions as helping to advance science itself. So the illusion gets larger, and at some point there are paradigm shifts where many scientists are suddenly wrong, but they are still heroes, since they helped to advance science itself. But using that logic, then wouldn't their cobbler or tailor also be a hero by helping the scientist who helped to advance science?
Scientists are rowing a boat through Time, out of control as it twists and turns, its destination unknown.
And if art repeats past "movements" without adding anything significantly different, then it is seen as a failure by many. And if the individual interpretation does not resonate with the collective, then it is ignored.
Artists are flying a carpet through Time, out of control as it twists and turns, its destination unknown.
I pick on science a lot, as today, it is the bigger of the bullies, but other fields of human thought are the same way. I am becoming more certain that neither Science nor Art matters, nor any school of thought, but that only our interpretation matters, that thing that nobody seems to care about, the thing people are afraid of. People are scared to become a front runner.
The most important ancient pictures in that book may be the ones that are the least scientific and the least artistic, but the most sincere. If the author really, really believed in something, then this is all that matters. He stamped his maker's mark.
The world is, for the most part, an illusion, but that doesn't mean it isn't important. It shows us patterns that we need to see. A classroom is an illusion, too. We are shown examples of life outside of the classroom, scaled down models of reality, but the classroom succeeds in showing us pattern.
Why do some people like sport? The beginning is always the same (people take their places), and the outcomes are always the same (someone wins, loses, or breaks someone's record). Logically, it disturbs me when I see people watching the same sports over and over, decade after decade, and never getting bored. Spectator sports are extremely boring to me. But... people watch it so they can observe those times when something magical happens, when that fleeting pattern shows itself, that pattern that is a projection from another world... Even those team sports that I cannot stand have their amazing moments.
Of the great British milers, Roger Bannister, Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett, and Steve Cram, none of them hold the world record for the mile today. But it isn't the record that is important at all, it is the patterns they showed us when they ran together, personalized projections of higher archetypes, like a play that has been performed throughout the ages. Bannister showed us the swan, Coe showed us the dove, Ovett showed us the eagle, and Cram showed us the crane.
There are even collective patterns, the amazing coincidence that Coe, Ovett, and Cram came about in the same country at the same time, each just as good as each other, from different backgrounds, setting records for each other to beat. These stories are what legends are made of.
I love listening to people talk about crazy stories or phenomena and elaborate on it. Sometimes they go way out of bounds, into areas with no scientific basis, no logical consistency; they could be telling a string of lies for all I know. But if you let them continue and see where they go and what kind of world they create, their world will cause you to ask questions, to entertain a new reality, like science fiction or fantasy. Sometimes the people really are describing a reality that they experience. Sometimes their reality is more real than mine.
When the brain does not know which of these stories is real, it has to entertain multiple different realities, and this is like a quantum superposition, a state where the wave function has not yet collapsed, where anything is still possible. This was our childlike state, before we made our assumptions, the state where all we had was potential.
We can go back to that state, to the time when we wondered what we were capable of.
Does that mean that scientific knowledge is not meaningful? It is meaningful if science is your context, and you want to add another pattern to that context.
It is not meaningful if science is not your context. Science has a giant hole, that people don't like to talk about. As hypotheses get more credibility over time, scientists begin testing additional hypotheses according to a bias. There is pressure to interpret information in certain ways, which is why things like the Ig Nobel Prize↗ exists, for how could one laugh about scientific experiments or outcomes unless there existed a bias, or pressure to conform, to begin with? Like that scene from Pulp Fiction, humor requires context.
There is a concept called Occam's razor, which scientific writings refer to often, which simply states that the simplest hypotheses, out of competing hypotheses, is usually the right one. So science is driven toward "simplicity", towards a simpler understanding of our world.
But there is nothing forcing Occam's razor to hold, and we could develop bizarre, elaborate stories to explain these hypotheses, and each time the story contradicts itself, we create an elaboration to match, like a liar whose story grows and grows throughout interrogation, moving toward complexity, not simplicity.
In science, the ruleset (algorithmic complexity) tries to become smaller, where things are reduced to fewer and fewer equations, like the quest of physicists to find a Theory of Everything↗, but the Universe could very well have an infinite numerical complexity, since science has a history of being proven wrong, given enough time.
Isaac Newton, for example, created the beautifully simplistic Laws of Gravitation to explain the planetary orbits, but Albert Einstein proved them wrong, over 200 years later and showed us that the watch I threw over those trees lost a fraction of a second in Time, because time itself slowed down. Similarly, the winners of those Olympic races would have experienced less time than the people timing them, producing two different world records, given enough precision. The bizarre story was true. Suddenly Occam's razor went in the opposite direction.
It seems that, as the scientific laws get simpler, they allow us to observe more, forcing us to come up with new laws, which allow us to observe more, and the cycle repeats...
It appears, to me, to be a never-ending cycle, and science, for its context, is very efficient at moving further into it. Many people like the story of science and flow along with it.
But, like a child coasting down a hill too fast, I put my foot down and stopped that wagon, and decided to drag that wagon back up the hill and take a look around again.
Our patterns of trying to understand and make sense of our world may be more important than actual methods that we create to understand it. The methods are the technology, but the pattern, our individual interpretation, may be the only real thing here. Like with sport, it may be reason we are watching.
So how we treat the things around us, whether they are inanimate objects, machines, animals, or people, is just as important to ourselves as it is to them.
We are judging ourselves, grading ourselves, in some type of classroom. Like a fractal, as we study an area, like science or art, we branch into complexity within smaller bounds, as if we suddenly walked out of a side door of the classroom into a smaller, more specialized room. This is a study room for those students that need additional help to see the pattern, since they could not get it in the larger classroom.
If we continue to choose side doors, they will continue to get smaller and smaller to infinity, showing us the same fractal patterns in slightly different ways, like that Mandelbrot set.
When I was 5 years old, I began kindergarten in a tiny house on the campus of a private school, a campus that used to be an old farm. Grades 1-6 were in the large farmhouse, and grades kindergarten and junior kindergarten were in a smaller house, perhaps an old cannery of some sort. Our auditorium was a re-purposed barn. The campus no longer exists, and there is a Microsoft corporate tower standing there today, but I remember the placement of buildings.
The junior kindergarten class was a smaller branch, a side door away from kindergarten, and my class only visited it during nap time, which is where I first understood the meaning of Time and could begin to read watches like the one that hung on that Tree.
It is not a mistake that these buildings once existed in the way that they did, for if you look back through ancient times, people built dwellings and rooms in similar ways, rooms branching into rooms, like the Derinkuyu↗ tunnels in Turkey, reasons why the RogueLike videogame structure is so fascinating to me.
People under the influence of the hallucinogen DMT, for example, experience a commonly reported phenomenon, sometimes entering a hyperdimensional nursery, full of cheerful creatures, teachers that are glad to see them and show them shapes of impossible form, like higher-dimensional Faberge eggs, shapes that could not exist in our normal 3-dimensional space. It seems that these creatures, commonly referred to as Machine Elves↗, are trying to teach pattern through objects, the same way that we teach pattern to children. I have read hundreds of reports of these encounters, many of them documented by Dr. Rick Strassman, and the similarities between them is striking.
We sometimes think that actual reality is so much stranger than we could ever comprehend, but we might be surprised to find out, perhaps after we are gone, that the opposite is true, that all along we were in a side room, a junior kindergarten that was a smaller image of the whole, like the end of films Interstellar or 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the astronauts find familiarity in the farthest of places.
What we see around us today is a projection of something else. It might be a projection of ourselves, reading a book that we have written. Maybe we are timing ourselves with the watch we are wearing as we run around that oval track.
Swiss scientists have recently discovered something very strange↗ about the human mind, that when there is a 500 ms (1/2 second) delay between our internal cause and effect, we suddenly observe ourselves as being a multiple being, or even different beings. Anyone technically savvy can build a device to test this--you simply put an input device in front of yourself that controls a robotic finger that pokes at your back, so that you can touch something in front of you, which touches your back from behind.
If a delay of 500 ms is inserted into the circuit or the software between the input device and the robotic finger, many people will suddenly experience the presence of other beings. This has also been documented with an electromagnetic helmet↗ which seem to do something similar, also using timings of 500 ms.
It is theorized that these beings might just be ourselves.
If you look at the extreme bounds of our existence, they do not make sense. And if logic is your guide, it will break. Many people gloss over this fact, and live life as if these facts do not exist.
But I do not want to choose self-deception. And the only way not to do that, I have concluded, is to speak my voice, to stamp in clay my final interpretation. The interpretation will be wrong, but it is how I must treat myself, turning in my own homework, or I will have never proven that I learned anything from this classroom.
It is my expression of pattern. The reason I don't write about topics such as politics and religion is because they are someone else's interpretation, and I would simply be interpreting an interpretation, instead of performing mine from what I see as a root pattern. Science, mathematics, language, art, and philosophy are my tools of interpreting the root pattern, and so those tools come under my scrutiny as I begin to develop my own tools.
A person can avoid doing this in life, and simply accept the beliefs of others and not question them. There is power in agreeing with groups; they do the fighting for you--all you have to do is sit back and watch them decimate your opponents, those poor characters that never join you but speak with a tiny, singular voice. Some people step in and protect the individual only to fail to understand why that individual stepped away from them once more. It is only when one starts to become the tiny voice that one understands that the path ahead is theirs, and only theirs. It always was. We are all front runners.
I believe that one day, science, philosophy, and art will be united into a new language and field of study that does not see these divisions in the way they are seen today. It will be the study of pattern (physical, mathematical, artistic, complexity), and the interpretation will be the homework. It will not be a mathematical pattern, it will be a pattern that underlies mathematical patterns, of which current mathematics only sees glimpses.
Like how sport is a bridge between war and dance, this new field will be a bridge between science and art, and may even be a sport unto itself. I try to bridge this gap in my own writing. You may have noticed that I capitalize many common nouns on this web site for emphasis, something that is against the rules of the modern English language. I disagree with this rule and think that the Germans got this right, that sometimes common Nouns should be capitalized. Sometimes we need to force our memory to instead store what is common as what is unique, to consciously de-compress the information so that we can see it and understand it. Some older English writings used to do this. Nouns are those basic shapes, those Faberge eggs, that teach us pattern.
I have been studying Backgammon recently, a game at least 5000 years old. Recent discoveries in the Burnt City↗ in Iran show it to be older than the Royal Game of Ur, one of the oldest boardgames ever discovered. Chess, for comparison, doesn't seem to be older than 1500 years.
My father used to play it, along with Chess, and while I knew how to play Chess, I never learned Backgammon. My father built both Chess and Backgammon boards out of wood. Chess is more like a war, but Backgammon is more like a race.
If extraterrestrials visited earth within the last 5000 years, like many suggest, then perhaps they came across this game. Perhaps they even created this game.
Backgammon is different than Chess since it partially relies on chance (using dice), whereas Chess is deterministic.
As I write this, German physicists at the University of Bonn have added more proof↗ that the observer effect in quantum physics is macroscopic, and so the roll of a die, being a macroscopic cube, would be just as deterministic as Chess, and yet Chess, depending on the choices of the players, has been shown to exhibit complexity that might as well be random, having more possible positions than the number of atoms in the Universe. There is no piece of paper large enough to record all of the possible moves of Chess.
In the end, they are just games. Our interpretation, our expression of pattern, is all there really is.
Don't ever underestimate the value of your pattern, your interpretation.
That is the interpretation that I have turned in. I hope I didn't flunk it.
If they ever tell my story let them say that I walked with giants. Men rise and fall like the winter wheat, but these names will never die. Let them say I lived in the time of Hector, tamer of horses. Let them say I lived in the time of Achilles.
- Odysseus in the film Troy (2004)