Mathematical Romance – 31 Days


Patterns (Photo credit: arncreddy296)

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
~ Albert Einstein

Recently a friend asked me if I believed that the patterns that our brains recognize, are for a reason and if there are signs and patterns to read in the universe at a personal level or if it all was random.

My instinctive response was, “I used to believe in that, but now dont.” I rationalized saying that humans have evolved to find patterns for survival, one of the side effects of this ‘evolution’ was that we started seeing patterns where there were none. A good example of it being the entire field of Astrology.

Even in the cases when certain event happens in our daily life and we find references to that in random unrelated conversations. Its a case of our brains being primed to find that specific pattern and when it does occur it sticks out like a sore thumb. Plus, our brains are trained to reward us for picking patterns, so we end up remembering instances that matched and validated our thoughts and forget the larger set of failed matches. That brings us to the next part about randomness. Essentially a lot of things in life is just that, random. If something happens, it does so mostly because the conditions favored it.

That train of thought brought about a question that had me thinking for a while… Did my beliefs make me less of a romantic?

Actually no, a romantic will always be a romantic, unfortunately. My romantic notions have over time moved from the belief that the universe conspired and made a moment happen but rather, that the amazing probability that something like the present moment actually happened, when there were billions of reasons why it shouldnt have. The real romance is in the thought that the moment exists… and in itself the moment is magic itself.

“It’s still magic even if you know how it’s done.” –Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky.

You can look up at the sky and see drops of lights stuck on black velvet or see gaseous gaints burning themseleves up at unimaginable distances… its still magic.