Chaos by James Gleick

This is one of those books...

This book strings together the historical thread that led to what we could call "Chaos Theory." Have you ever seen this...

That is the Mandelbrot Set. Among other things, its a picture of infinity. I am not yet comfortable with numbers and mathematics so the beauty and profundity of the math behind Chaos Theory is lost on me. However, a concrete discovery for me is that there are two main divisions of geometry; Euclid's and Fractal's, and that nature's geometry is not Euclidean but Fractal. 

I'm lacking inspiration. It was an amazing book but it evolved into a chore. I have a neurotic drive where I must finish a book I start. These are some notes I scribbled.

1) Science is increasingly specialized.

2) Language is a powerful barrier between branches of science.

3) Euclidean geometry is a kind of Platonic geometry where Fractal geometry is nature's geometry.

4) Chaos Theory is pattern emerging in, what at first glance, seems to be random systems.

5) Strange Attractors are the separation between randomness and chaos.

6)  An increasing senese to look for the fundamental concepts which science rests on.

7) There is SO MUCH I don't know. So much of it seems like noise, fluffy language not required.

8) In order to keep my sanity, I need to focus on pragmatic science. What will help me? What will help others? What is useful?

Has the question been asked: Is all of fractal's geometry, this natures geometry hidden inside this visual equation?

Don’t date a girl who reads

"Date a girl who doesn’t read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Take her outside when the night overstays its welcome. Ignore the palpable weight of fatigue. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a streetlamp because you’ve seen it in a film. Remark at its lack of significance. Take her to your apartment. Dispatch with making love. Fuck her.

Let the anxious contract you’ve unwittingly written evolve slowly and uncomfortably into a relationship. Find shared interests and common ground like sushi and folk music. Build an impenetrable bastion upon that ground. Make it sacred. Retreat into it every time the air gets stale or the evenings too long. Talk about nothing of significance. Do little thinking. Let the months pass unnoticed. Ask her to move in. Let her decorate. Get into fights about inconsequential things like how the fucking shower curtain needs to be closed so that it doesn’t fucking collect mold. Let a year pass unnoticed. Begin to notice.

Figure that you should probably get married because you will have wasted a lot of time otherwise. Take her to dinner on the forty-fifth floor at a restaurant far beyond your means. Make sure there is a beautiful view of the city. Sheepishly ask a waiter to bring her a glass of champagne with a modest ring in it. When she notices, propose to her with all of the enthusiasm and sincerity you can muster. Do not be overly concerned if you feel your heart leap through a pane of sheet glass. For that matter, do not be overly concerned if you cannot feel it at all. If there is applause, let it stagnate. If she cries, smile as if you’ve never been happier. If she doesn’t, smile all the same.

Let the years pass unnoticed. Get a career, not a job. Buy a house. Have two striking children. Try to raise them well. Fail frequently. Lapse into a bored indifference. Lapse into an indifferent sadness. Have a mid-life crisis. Grow old. Wonder at your lack of achievement. Feel sometimes contented, but mostly vacant and ethereal. Feel, during walks, as if you might never return or as if you might blow away on the wind. Contract a terminal illness. Die, but only after you observe that the girl who didn’t read never made your heart oscillate with any significant passion, that no one will write the story of your lives, and that she will die, too, with only a mild and tempered regret that nothing ever came of her capacity to love.

Do those things, god damnit, because nothing sucks worse than a girl who reads. Do it, I say, because a life in purgatory is better than a life in hell. Do it, because a girl who reads possesses a vocabulary that can describe that amorphous discontent of a life unfulfilled—a vocabulary that parses the innate beauty of the world and makes it an accessible necessity instead of an alien wonder. A girl who reads lays claim to a vocabulary that distinguishes between the specious and soulless rhetoric of someone who cannot love her, and the inarticulate desperation of someone who loves her too much. A vocabulary, goddamnit, that makes my vacuous sophistry a cheap trick.

Do it, because a girl who reads understands syntax. Literature has taught her that moments of tenderness come in sporadic but knowable intervals. A girl who reads knows that life is not planar; she knows, and rightly demands, that the ebb comes along with the flow of disappointment. A girl who has read up on her syntax senses the irregular pauses—the hesitation of breath—endemic to a lie. A girl who reads perceives the difference between a parenthetical moment of anger and the entrenched habits of someone whose bitter cynicism will run on, run on well past any point of reason, or purpose, run on far after she has packed a suitcase and said a reluctant goodbye and she has decided that I am an ellipsis and not a period and run on and run on. Syntax that knows the rhythm and cadence of a life well lived.

Date a girl who doesn’t read because the girl who reads knows the importance of plot. She can trace out the demarcations of a prologue and the sharp ridges of a climax. She feels them in her skin. The girl who reads will be patient with an intermission and expedite a denouement. But of all things, the girl who reads knows most the ineluctable significance of an end. She is comfortable with them. She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness.

Don’t date a girl who reads because girls who read are storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the cafĂ©, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so goddamned difficult. The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life of which I spoke at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being told. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. Or, perhaps, stay and save my life."

-Charles Warnke

Why you'll never be happy, and other sensational headlines to get you to read my shit. (Hedonic Adaptation)

Hedonic Adaptation. Sounds fancy. Sounds like some ivory tower elitist bullshit. Now that I've appealed to my FOX News demographic; on with whatever the fuck this blog is.

Hedonic Adaptation is proposed by some as being the single most important and influential factor fucking with our happiness. If I was scholarly I'd go find some sources, but as a chronic moderate achiever, I'll pass and just assume what I'm saying isn't bullshit. To be fair, I'm being as honest as I am capable but I've had a few drinks.

If you're reading this, you have access to the internet. You have a piece of machinery completely beyond your ability to recreate or fully understand. This machine is capable of sending your thoughts thousands of miles, in seconding, to potentially billions of people. This machine basically allows you to be telepathic. The network this machine is a part of encompasses not only the world, but the air space that coats this rock, even extending into space, where thousands of other machines circle around this planet at hundreds, maybe thousands of miles a second. These machines absorbing, bouncing, and redirecting energy we can't see with our unassisted body. For this connectivity, Kings would have sent tens of thousands of men to their death if even the slightest hope existed that they could obtain it. These machines inspire no awe in us.

Hedonic Adaptation.

We believe we are good at predicting how happy or sad a future event will make us. Science says?!...Nope. (Insert sources I'll give to anyone interested). We're not. Hedonic Adaptation asserts that each person has a unique baseline of happiness. This is influenced by genes and a host of mostly adjustable mental factors. You could win the lottery, in 6 months you'll be back to baseline. You could become paralyzed by a spine crushing car accident, 6 months later--baseline. Therefore happiness will never be achieved by obtaining anything material.

This force drives american culture. Capitalism fucking feasts on the 300 million plus flesh sacs who embody this mentality.

I'm laughing. Its ironic. I decided I'd write on this topic last night. I was excited. I believed it'd be fun and fulfilling  Here I am writing...and its not fun nor fulfilling because I feel like I'm failing to capture the gravitas of the topic and its impact on our happiness. I'm a victim of the fucking thing I'm writing about. I'm not too upset. I seem to have a high positive baseline. I could be completely delusional and be in a state of utter depression with wall after wall of cognitive dissonance and not know it.

Thats the funniest thing, the things I've learned most from college is that we don't know shit. This isn't some high schooler regurgitation of Socrates in an attempt to sound deep. No. Our memories suck. One of my professors makes a living explaining to jurys how eyewitness testimony isn't accurate enough to convict. Scientists have repeatedly put fabricated memories into participants minds, and these people truly believe these stories happened to them. If you let that sink in, a few logical steps and your at a scary place. Then there is the whole philosophical matter on what can you know, how can you know, and how do you know you know. Blah blah blah (this is what I think whenever I bring up philosophy to almost anyone :c )

I'm rambling.

Hemingway said something about drinking and writing.

He's a greater man than I cause I'm butchering this shit.

Stop being uninspired.

Stop watching TV.

Create something.

Thanatos and Eros

There is a theory about reality I'd like to ramble on about. I'm not sure what its called or who wrote it, but I've encountered it enough to know it is not my unique idea. If anyone reading this knows of any antecedental influences, please feed me dem links.

The theory goes a little like this; our global connectiviness, call it consciousness, sociology, or the internet, existes by maintaing a balance between two forces. To borrow Frued's terms but leaving aside the sexual obsession, these two forces can be called Eros and Thanatos. A simpler but much more ambiguous explanation would lend the terms Good and Evil. Eros is the drive to connect, love, nurture, help, and so on, where Thanatos is the drive to destroy, deconstruct, hate, and hurt. The theory asserts that when one force becomes too powerful, thus shifting the balance our existence requires to maintain, a zeitgeist begins to emerge allowing the birth of the opposite force to explode forth which reestablishes balance.

I know little about the history of humanity so I won't pretend to take you on a knowledgable trip through our collective past, however I have been exposed to an interesting supporting claim to the balancing theory. Credit is due to Alexander Shulgin, I am only filter regurgitating his findings, who I'm sure would admit he was another filter of more original idea, and such is the creative process.

In 1942, a group of american scientist discovered they could control nuclear fission, thus the birthing of man's ability to end all life on the planet. Oppenheimer recalls the event as such (1). (The sadness in his eyes eclipses any acting I've ever seen.) The balance between Thanatos and Eros had shifted wildly in the favor of destruction.

A year later, seemingly by accident, Dr. Albert Hofman accidentally assimilated a chemical he had created 5 years ago. What ensued was the introduction of LSD, and as it applies to the theory of Thanatos and Eros, an explosive resurgence of the Eros force. Man believed he had mastered matter, this translucent substance reminded him he had not yet even fully explored himself.

My peers and I struggle to understand the Zeitgeist between the 40s and 70s. We fail to appreciate how close this planet was to total destruction. We can't comprehend the significance and reverberating repercussions of the counter culture. I could and normally do fall into rants lampooning my peers but I should stop. That comes from a place of Thanatos rather than Eros.

Psychedelics are not for all. They are not a panacea. However, they are important. They are powerful. They are useful. If you have the mental durability and conscious curiosity, try them. Be responsible.

A quick rant on drugs and addiction. Coffee and sugar; drugs. Television and texting: addictions. Ultimately the term "drug" and "addiction" are arbitrary symbols we as a group have accepted to have some kind of meaning that was constructed by a group of people other than ourselves. Take a second and stand back for a moment and think about this. You fear these substances. You use excuses like they're illegal or they're bad for your health, but you speed, drank before you were 21, eat and drink absolutely synthetic shit. You're afraid because deep down you know the life you live is not the life you dreamt of, and in order to kill that voice inside of you that cries with agony and regret, you willingly offer your consciousness to noise. Don't be afraid, with a little risk, the rewards are far greater than the monotony you subscribe to everyday. Risk your life, death is guaranteed regardless.

How I learned the Greek alphabet in 10 minutes.

In my attempt to lure you here, the title, like most online titles, is sensational and largely bullshit. I didn't 'learn' the greek alphabet. I did however memorize the upper case letters well enough to regurgitate them correctly and get 24 points added to my New Testament Final. Here is how...

1) Chunking
2) Irrational association (yeah, I made this term up...)
3) Loci castle (for harder projects)


An accepted standard for most of our cognitive abilities is captured in the idea known as "The Magical Number 7." Basically, with some exceptions, most of us can only hold between 5 to 9 "things" in our short term memory. A way to hack this limitation is to "chunk" ideas together. Try to establish connections between objects that lump them together. I personally separated the letters into 5 groups based on there order. The creativity to how you do this is seemingly unlimited. This brings me to the next concept

Irrational Association

Gall founded the pseudoscience of phrenology, the study of the mind based on the shape of one's head. I memorized this instantly by imagining a man on a ball (ball...gall...come on), rolling on people's heads creating depressions and lumps. It may sound odd, but I'll never forget it. The more outlandish, the more likely you are to remember it.

Loci Castle

This technique is for the badasses only. The principle is that we can vastly improve our memory if we create mental structures, such as houses, castles, or routes we take to work, and create an image of the thing we wish to remember and place it somewhere in our mental structures. At the moment, I only have one and its the house I grew up in. I start at the drive way, if I want to remember Gall, I'd place his head-mauling activity where my mail box would be. If I established a path I take through my house that is consistent, I can place the letters of the Greek alphabet along the way in places that were important to me as a child. I could put Beta in the driveway, or Omega on my bed.

This loci idea can become the most powerful memory device you ever acquire if you work on it. I haven't.

If this kind of stuff intrigues you, check out "Moonwalking with Einstein."