Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Numbers and Patterns

Well, today is a day people have been dreading: 06/06/06. It seems a lot of people interpret this as 666 when it's really 60,606 or if you leave zeroes out of the month and day (but not the year; I've never seen that done), 6,606. It's like zeroes mean nothing to people. (rimshot) Well, the worst thing that happened today was that Billy Preston, who played with the Beatles during their rooftop concert, passed away. May he rest in peace.

The fuss over today's date got me thinking about patterns and the human brain. If you read books by Michael Shermer, a skeptic, he points out that the human brain is programmed to find patterns, even if they don't exist. It's a trait that's helped us learn how to dominate the planet, but too many false patterns can create superstitions. All of us, no matter how educated or scientifically minded, are prone to the nonrational; it's embedded too deeply in our brains. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it can be hard finding the right balance between logic and intuition. I sometimes think that even though we owe our current society to developments discovered with reason, there's a hidden backlash against reason that makes people trust intuition more. Ever notice how stories encourage the protagonists to listen to their intuition? ("Use the Force, Luke!") They seem more common (or maybe more popular) than stories about heroes or heroines who use reason to guide them.

Writing: I finished editing Chapter One of Lennon's Line and am moving on to Chapter Two. So far I'm still working on the opening, making it more "show" and less "tell." I'm also trying to mix some first person (via Jo's journal) back into the story. We'll see how it works out.

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