dendritic arborization • I like that phrase

disordered thought processes

hidden in the seeming chaos is beautiful, elegant order—at least, I hope that's true.

small epiphanies

posted on January 25th, 2008

At this moment, I’m right where I want to be.

But this, too, shall pass.

random epiphanies

posted on July 9th, 2007

Now I’m not one of those sad-sacks who comfort themselves with the idea that “everything happens for a reason.” Lots of things happen for no good reason. Irrationality rules the day most of the time, and if everything in the universe were really premeditated, then God would have to be a psychopath, no question.

On the other hand, I suppose everything has a cause. (Notice the important difference between reason and cause.)

Physics pretty much dictates that there is an orderly sequence of events, all the way back to the first few infinitesimal fractions of a second right after the Big Bang. Now, Einstein’s theories tend to turn orderly sequences into ribbons. You can watch them flail helplessly in the vacuum of Space-Time, straddling space-like and time-like curves. The concept of simultaneity isn’t really what you think it means. (Einstein’s theories also tend to make convoluted loopty-loops into straight lines. Go figure.)

But most so-called sane people believe in causality. A leads to B. B leads to C. C leads to D. Never the other way around, even if you’re traveling at or near the speed of light.


But this is neither here nor there.

What I realized is that I’ve been living the last decade of my life with resigned acceptance, accepting that everything that happens to me is mostly random, occasionally nudged along by my pathetic flailings here and there.

I have no illusions of control.

But no one wants to hear about reality.

Random sequences of events strung together chronologically does not an interesting story make.


So if the goal is to have a story to tell, I’ve got to come up with something. The best stories are always made post hoc anyway.

I need to come up with a narrative.

When the flesh is finally stripped clean of my bones, when even my bones finally crumble to dust, if I want to have some pathetic simulacrum of immortality, I’ve got to piece this all together into a story worth telling. The whole nine yards. Themes. Grand motifs. Archetypes. Plot.

I also know understand why I have the damndest time figuring out a plot. It’s really hard to find an expository direction when you believe that life is random and meaningless.


So my resolution is to come up with a narrative. Never mind the fact that I don’t believe things ever happen for a good reason.


The other thing that seems to be creeping up on me is a name. I don’t know why this name seems to be popping up more and more often. Is this the name of my soulmate? My nemesis? The name of a hyper-advanced artificial intelligence that’s trying to contact me from the future?

Like most things, I am predisposed to believe that it is nothing more than random coincidence. As I’ve said before, the human brain is a pattern recognition machine, prone to bouts of apophenia—of finding patterns that aren’t really there.

Until n>100, it’s going to be an uphill battle trying to convince me otherwise.

Call me doubting Thomas, if you must.

Unfortunately for me, I’d rather be right than happy.