What a Pickle


{Ramble Alert} Check out this interactive on the scale of the universe. Click the world at the left for a demonstration of how large and small things are. This is a representation of a reality as we know it from observations, physics and a bit of imagination.

The Mandelbrot Set is similar but more abstract. Imagine an XY plane. Imaginary numbers can be thought of as points in this plane where the X axis represents the realness and the Y axis represents imaginaryness. In math the imaginary number is the Square root of -1. That doesn’t exist right? Because every number squared must be positive (a negative times a negative is positive since it’s a double negative, and of course a positive times a positive is a positive). You’re right the root of -1 doesn’t exist. That’s why we call it an imaginary number. In fact in math we represent this imaginary number as “i”. Why do we care? It turns up all over the place in physics and engineering and it can be arranged that they cancel out so we’re good to go. Anyway,  if you take a point on the plane, call it C and repeat the simple formula Z = Z*Z+C starting Z as Zero some numbers converge and some numbers diverge. The ones that converge are called the Mandelbrot numbers. If you map them on the mentioned plane they form the most interesting complex and fractal shape. There is a trick to figure out if the individual values C diverge. During the repetition of the formula if at some point the Z value  is greater or equal to 2, then we know it will diverge (okay, in complex math we call it modulus instead of value).

Have a look at a zoom in on the Mandelbrot set. It’s quite zoomy isn’t it? Actually it has as much depth as the universe. How could something so simple have as much depth as the universe? Could the universe be simple?

I get a sense of wonder from all this. Also when I imagine how big we are compared to some things and how insignificant we are compared to other things.

Our present moment gives me the same wonder. There is so much in the past and so much in the future. The moment itself is so small yet it is the only existence we are experiencing in real time (well we think we are). What a pickle.

Then there’s stuff like this.

While you’re thinking about that, have a listen to this:

That’s an attempt at intellectualizing this stuff.

Here another effort:

Which do you prefer?

The ability to think about this stuff seems like some sort of miracle. The whole universe and existence seems a miracle. But of course, we’re just human with a limited human brain. So as puzzling as this all is it’s logical that we are puzzled.

Our brain is limited but it also gives us our experience of existence. This includes lots of sensations. The sense of happiness, the sense of wonder and awe, the experience of your thirst being quenched and so forth… And it isn’t perfect as it has systematic errors. And individuals can have flaws or biases. It’s not so uncommon, simply look up Sasquatch, Chem Trails, Lunar Conspiracy, Crop Circles and so forth.

The brain to us is a bit of a black box as much as we pry at it.

Although it’s a black box, it is part of our body and it does have a specific anatomy. I love using the word anatomy here since it implies something physical and that there would be techniques of using your brain better.

For instance with tennis and golf, there are certain techniques you can learn that work better (because of your anatomy). I argue that there are also techniques for using your brain to accomplish what you want better.

My friends know me for often raving about “focusing on where you’re going instead of on the problem”. This works because of the anatomy of your brain. It helps you avoid “target fixation” and allows your body-brain built in systems to work efficient.

Here’s a video on sleep which can have some impact on how well your brain and body gives you experiences:

Here is a video on how to use your brain to be more happy for instance.


And here’s another:

And another:

It’s easy…

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