Looks like I’m back at it with this curiosity again. I can’t get away from this guy, but then again none of us really can. We literally cannot deny this funny “little” number. It sums up the universe without summing up the universe. Come inside for a couple experiments you can do at home to see the true power of this irrational oddball.
Okay, now we’re going to show this pi character what’s for. First find a flat slab of something, it could be anything. Just make sure its flat. Now go outside and find some earth. Place your flat object on it. It appears to rest flat on the surface. All four corners firmly planted on the ground. But if we occupy a sphere shouldn’t it rest on a bend? A sphere is consistently round right? Not really. The triangle or fractal breaks it down. But you knew that already. That’s why you didn’t even bother going outside.
Okay, grab a sphere or cube-shaped object. Now position it in front of you so that you only see a perfect face. Try to position it right in the middle of your field-of-view. This is easy to do with the sphere, may take a little more work with the cube. Once you have that perfect face in front of you in the foreground. Now close one eye. Open it, close the other. Notice how the background jumps, although the sphere or cube seems to sit still in the middle.
GO FOR A WALK
Ever been out for a walk and notice how you cannot accurately judge the speed of oncoming people or vehicles until the person or vehicle passes you? If you are walking along a bike trail and you see someone jogging and someone riding a bike in the distance, the further away they are the more they seem to be moving at relatively the same speed. Once they begin to get closer you will see the biker pull away. You know he must be going faster than you, but you just cannot tell how fast. Then he buzzes by you and you can tell in a split second just how fast he was going. The jogger runs by and she takes just a bit more time to pass you. Just something cool to pay attention to on your next walk.
THE HORIZON DICHOTOMY
If you stand in the middle of a desert road why does the horizon seem flat? It’s that triangle again. How can we see the roundness? Get yourself a jet-pack.
As you rise and look around you will notice that you are flying above a round, but flat disc. There’s also that dome that seems to cover you and you seem to be in its dead-center no matter what way you move—this middle is inescapable. If you travel higher and the sky is clear you will start to see the roundness but right at that point you hit that dense air. But don’t worry, we have an oxygen tank and the whole nine. Plus our jet-pack possesses enough power to propel us through the dense air. We call it thin air, but it’s actually thick, like the deep sea. A lot of pressure up there. The sight would be amazing because as you look down the earth will suddenly appear to animate. You will see a gradual rounding. Once you fly completely out of the atmosphere and hover there, right above earth, you will only see roundness. All of the land masses even appear to wrap around the sphere. No more of that dishonest flatness. Now let’s go to the moon. When we look back we see the flat disc again. Now let’s hang out for a minute, take a load off. Since we landed on the moon’s near side we will never lose sight of earth. Matter of fact, we will get to see all of its sides. This side never looks away. It can be obscured at times by the earth’s shadow, but she still sees us.
Okay, time to go back home. When we rocket through space back to earth it will go from flat disc to sphere to flat disc again. If we approach a land mass on our way back at one point the land mass will appear to flap especially if you’re going really fast. It goes from the disc (flat land mass) to the sphere where it appears to warp and then go right back to flat again. When we land back on earth and look up we see nothing but a sky full of flat discs—our sun, the stars, other planets, but not quite our moon. Luckily the moon has phases so we can see the truth of our existence. The sun’s light creates relatively diverse shading on her surface exposing her roundness. Don’t need no stinkin’ jet-pack to see that.
Since we’re back on terra frima let’s go back out to the desert road.
Our perception is always triangular. Even if the road was not there and you began turning on an axis, you will see nothing but a triangular, almost tunnel vision. When you walk you just create new “bases.” You will never reach the apex of the triangle because it’s really just another base. If a sphere was perfect when you cross your eyes you should see the two sides of the triangular road meet perfectly in the middle, but they do not, they cross and show you what’s really going on. Now here’s where our buddy the square helps out. If I walk two miles down a straight road and look back I still see an equal sized triangle as the one in front of me, but I now know the apex is just another base so in essence I am walking on square tiles. Ha! I got ya relativity! Perfection right there! Although I see a triangle I now know it’s not really one. It’s a square, I’ve seen the smoke and mirrors, I know the trick! It’s over! I win!
What? Oh yeah, the damn triangle breaks those up too. Damn it. It always wins. But we need it too or else everything just stands still and if it all stands still it doesn’t exist. But even if it sits still it can be broken down. In absolute nothingness something must exist. No matter what these shapes do they cannot fit inside each other. Even though it seems they should be able to. If they merge they bang for infinity. They expand each other. So if you’re into the big bang bit, let’s think of the something that had to exist for the universe to bang into. There had to be a space. Within this space air would begin swirling to create a diverse array of celestial bodies. This seeming nothing would have to be a sphere or a cube (it’s really both). Both of these shapes we know can be broken down by triangles. Even if you like your universe with a banging beginning you cannot have one without the relative churn. See, this jerk won’t even let you have any speculative fun either.
THE UNIVERSAL PATTERN
This is the universal pattern folks. It’s why story arcs make us feel comfortable. Setup, conflict, resolution. If a story is missing any of these elements or adds another we get confused. But a riveting book or film can contain multiple arcs as long as they are complete arcs. We like our births (setup), death (conflict) and resurrection (resolution). We like that last bit to be a happy one. Especially Americans. Around the world you get stories with only the birth and death part with no resurrection. Americans find these films peculiar. We call them foreign, but if the subtitles or voiceover allow us to understand them, why don’t we just call them films?
We exist in a constant state of the present. A perpetual series of right nows quickly becoming the past on their way to the future. It’s a mess, but this is definitely a pattern. A pattern that cannot be stopped. Right now just keeps on moving in relatively diverse ways. We can leap over a sidewalk. A snail takes an hour to cross it. Only when we look back can we make sense of the imperfect patterns. It’s one of the reasons I’m often called crazy. Can’t exactly prove any of this stuff in my relative lifetime. Right? I beg to differ. I gave it a shot here. To get fancy, we’ll call this the Pollock Effect. Wow, that sounds kind of pretentious and academic-y. I like it. All jokes aside, click on the link. The piece looks like a mess, but your eyes quickly make out a pattern in the chaos. It may not be symmetrical, but it is definitely there.
TRI THIS ANGLE
Okay, we should know by now that we get pi (3.14159) when rolling a circle forward one full rotation. Why doesn’t it land on 3? We’re just making one full revolution right? We start with one, we flip the circle to two and we should come back down to three. One full arc. But instead of three we land on 3.1 And Then Some. What makes this odd is the fact that Pi is the ratio of any circle’s circumference to its diameter. Now, I am far from a math whiz, so let me—
But wait a minute. Shouldn’t the ratio between the diameter and circumference be 1:1? I mean, look at a square. If I have a tile that is one square foot, the distance from side to side will always be one foot.
Fair enough, but what if you measure that tile from corner to corner? This is where it splits into four equal triangles. See, the even seemingly perfect square possess imperfections. Face to face—even, corner to corner—uneven. The square has problems too. This triangle character messes everybody up. Because of him it is impossible to square the circle or circle the square as Benoît Mandelbrot and countless other computer animators and video game designers have proven. Things are actually infinitely more jagged. if you throw a square on the ruler and flip it four times it will land on four. The only reason it does this is because we are turning it on an angle. A tri-angle. He seems to hate perfection, yet perfection cannot exist without him.
THAT SCARY NUMBER
The ^^^ scares us (that symbol is code, you know how to find the numbers I meant there, look at the shapes and where they correspond on your—no, not going to walk you through this, just figure it out). It scares us because it’s a trinity of one weird number. Just look at a ^. It possess three patterns—it can be broken down by 3 and 2 and 1. It’s a perfect trinity of division. Speaking of that trinity. Let’s look at 3 for a bit. Let’s start off by counting by it:
3, 9 ,12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36, 39
Wait a minute. You see what it does there? It starts with a pair, 3 and 9, then it goes into a group of three, 12, 15, 18 and then another group of three, 21, 24, 27, and then abruptly to a group of four, 30, 33, 36, 39. It continues to move in groups of three until it finds 60 and 90. When it gets past 100 it seems to be tamed, but don’t worry it gets even at 180 again. 180!!! What? Yep.
180, 183, 186, 189
This infinite cycle expands backward and forward. And before this curious number are three others—zero, one and two. If you ride with three for a bit you will notice how a few weirdly perfectly divisible numbers like 24 and 48 pop up, but neither 2 or 3 can break them down to nothing. The only number that seems to be able to do that is The One. So The One must be perfect. Nope, it can be broken in half and when you do so we lose the middle, but it was just there, it had to be to be broken in half, right? The supposed perfect ones or shapes cannot do anything without the triangle. How can a square or circle remove layers without admitting that they are not perfect? The perfect shapes want to be infinitely relative too and they need that weird triangle guy to do that. If you break ^^^ down you get six threes or nine twos. You add them all up you get 18 which is 9 multiplied by 2. 6 multiplied by 3 is also 18. Nothing to be afraid of. Just a little perfect imperfection.
ZERO THROUGH NINE
If you look at these ten numbers (zero deserves just as much attention as the rest because you always gotta account for nothing) you will see two warring factions: 3, 6, 9 and 2, 4, 8. Crazy thing is that 6 can party with both groups. She’s the only one who can. But if she shows up, she’s bringing 3 with her. 0 and 1 are solid. Can’t break them down right? Of course you can! But we won’t go into that now. Now look at 5 and 7. Here’s five: 1 2 3 4 5. Now 7: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. You see these middles that exist in these imperfect numbers. If you throw out these “whole” middles you get square numbers whose middles are not whole. If you break down 4 you get 1 2 3 4. Split that in half you get 1 2 and 3 4. To extract a middle you would need to split 2 and 3. Make sense? If not, just take this with you. To build this perfect seeming structure the Greeks had to be a little sneaky.
Okay, let’s get back to zero and one. Zero is just the “whole” of nothing. He’s got an infinity of numbers “behind” him so don’t sell this guy short. Now let’s check out one. Seems solid enough. Nope. He breaks down like they all do into an infinite number of fractions.
Yes, remember this post? You cannot break ANYTHING down to nothing. If we start at 0, we can go the short route to 1 (.25, .5, .75, 1). Easy enough, but what if I wanted a piece of .25? Actually, I want two-billion pieces of .25. This is possible of course. Fractions may seem minute but they are infinite like everything else so the concept of quantification becomes moot. What this demonstrates is the spherical nature of numbers. Actually, take all of these symbols we call numbers and throw them out of the window. Look at the picture below.
How many ducks on the island? That’s an easy one. Three. How many ducks are there in Wisconsin? Not so easy, but if you had some patience you might be able to figure that out. Now how many ducks are there on the planet? A little more patience is needed, but if you were gung-ho it might be possible. Okay, how many ducks have there every been or ever will be? Now that @#%$ is impossible to quantify. And there you have it. Now someone go get me all of the tea in China.
NEVER THE SAME SPACE TWICE
This fascinating picture is a part of a series of images that merge modern day Saint Petersburg with images from World War II (then Leningrad). Now here’s the other cool bit, the people in the contemporary half of the picture are not occupying the same space as the people in the older half. This happens because of the shifting of our axis and our subtle spiraling orbit. Thus 1944’s earth position is drastically different than today’s. Actually, one millisecond ago’s position is different than right now’s. Even if you are sitting in your den, the same den you’ve been wasting time in for ten years. It does not occupy the same space it did five seconds ago. Just imagine your house or building being submerged underwater. All water, even seemingly still water, possesses a current therefore the water will flow through your room and as you move about you will alter it’s flow. Adding and removing objects will also influence the water’s behavior. Space behaves the same way as water because it’s made up of similar relative elements. Space, much like an annoying website, constantly refreshes itself.
PERFECT STRUCTURES SHOULD BE IMPERFECT
An earthquake hits a city, devastation. Same with any natural disaster. They ravage our rectangular structures. Anybody who knew what they were doing would build structures like this or this. These seem to withstand time. I think we can go them one better by building our cities to look like mountain ranges. Imagine severe wind and rain storms impacting them. Or what about earthquakes. Minimal damage at most. The only way to destroy a mountain is to blow it up from its center. No natural disaster is capable of that, well maybe Volcanoes. But these will be artificial mountains. With winding roads at their bases. I know this sounds crazy, but new ideas always do. Just for a moment, get out of your head and try to think about 500 years from now, maybe even a couple thousand. Just have some fun, it’s just you and me. I won’t tell anyone. Okay, are you there? Good. Now imagine what New York City will look like in the year 3225 (if it’s not underwater of course). Below is a map of Manhattan from back in 1660 if you need some help. Obviously, you know what it looks like now.
THE ULTIMATE INTELLIGENCE
We believe intelligence to be exclusive to the brain. We process thoughts and emotions via our dense internal mass and because of this we have a hard time breaking free from the self. But get this, what if we were part of a superior intelligence. Don’t think all of this orbiting business is just for show guys. Religions are not as shallow as some think. They are just as deep as science. Just in a relatively different way. Just like science, a lot trial and error is involved. The texts tend to be all over the map. One moment it’s telling you to do this and then the other it’s telling you to do that. But get this, the wonder or love always prevails. We turn our backs to the violence in these books. But it has to be there to provide the relative contrast. And think about this, even though the book hasn’t seemed to change, it very much has. These books evolve. We can look right to the Bible. Remember that messy Old Testament? No. Oh yeah, you get down with that new King James bit. What evolved language do you read it in? That question doesn’t matter. No matter the language the meaning of the words change over the years. So much so we quibble over how to translate them. See folks, even your old dusty books are subverting relativity.
The religious person notices the wonder, begins asking questions and you get a Bible, the scientist witnesses the wonder and asks questions and you get a journal. Never complete. All scientific research has holes. There are always a few skeptical bits. Why do we not apply that same sort of scrutiny to the Bible or any other religious text? As I detailed above, we already do this. None of those cats wrote their respective books in English.
The universe is a giant expanding infinite incubator. But it’s even more than that. It’s the ultimate intelligence. Our lives are nothing but illusions because we are the universe’s dream. Now I may have lost some with that last bit. But just give it some thought.
THE CENTER OF IT ALL
All of this work goes into showing you how important you are. Not buying it. Go outside, find an open area and look around. No matter where you walk you always remain the center of attention when it comes to the universe. Always dead center in the dome. But don’t get a big head. An ant gets the same love too. Every single thing does. Whenever you look at a picture of the Pyramids of Giza taken from either Menkaure (the smallest one) or Khufu (the biggest one), the middle pyramid Khafre appears to be taller than the other two, but it actually is only larger than Menkaure, it is smaller than Khafre. But the crazier bit is how Menkaure and Khafre appear to be relatively the same size. These guys still puzzle me. I am hoping one day, like everything else on this blog, the reason for their shape and position just pops into my head. I cannot wait to write that post.
The truth is in the pic below. You can’t see it in the pic, but if you were standing in the position this pic was taken from you would see two equal faces of each of the pyramids. Splitting the triangle creates relative diversity and now you can see the trick.
Jump in a helicopter and it gets crazy.
Imagine what those shadows do as the sun passes by. When you look at them from any perspective other than right on their angles you will be deceived. Sorry, I’m always referencing these guys. I can’t help it. Besides we’re talking about the trinity of infinity. You can’t leave these giant hints out. Just so beautiful in their simplicity. But are they reminders of our infinitely relatively diverse nature? Just for fun check this out.
In your lifetime you cannot reach the end of pi because it has no end. You can start counting off figures today and pass on the game to your children and their children and their children and it will keep on going and going.
The fear that you may see the end of the world is completely necessary. It keeps you here in the present. Imagine if you never fell asleep. You spent all your days and nights wide awake, alert and aware. Over time you would lose track of time. Day and night would only read to you as light and dark. You will have a relative leg-up on your sleeping counterparts. You’ll never tire and you would be able to get so much done. Imagine working three jobs in one day. Or working one in San Francisco from 2AM to 10AM, jumping on a plane at 11AM and arriving in New York City at 5PM and working from 6PM to 10PM, jump back on the plane at 11PM and getting back to San Fran at 5AM. Go back to your job three hours late and work to the same time and then to compensate you cut off three hours of your NYC job so that you arrive back in SF to go back to work at 2AM. You see what’s happening here. Just reread it and give it some thought.
Remember, you would be one-hundred percent alert and aware, no need to rest. You would be a superhuman. We could call you Super Solstice Boy or something like that. But there is a reason why we yawn and others yawn. It’s like we set off a series of nuclear reactions and just reading the word makes you want to yawn. There you go, can’t help it. might not even be tired, but whenever you yawn you think of sleep. You ask yourself a quick question, “Am I tired?” If you are you become more relaxed. If you are not or don’t want to be you will quickly do something to revive yourself. You have to revive yourself, because you cannot sit there and get bored. If you get bored you may think, analyze things. Start asking questions. Perhaps even—
Yeah, I know. But give it a chance. Every night we fall asleep we wake up believing we’re starting a new day. But it’s not. 24 hours represents a full day. But as we all know the times of light and dark fluctuate all over the planet. There is no such thing as absolute dark or absolute light. Everybody gets their turn.
Still not convinced? Still think you got it all figured out? That’s why you saw Marilyn Monroe instead of Einstein in the picture above, right? Oh no, go back up, look at the picture again. See her? Still don’t? Scroll to the bottom of the page for instructions.
RELATIVE DIVERSITY CREATES THE ILLUSION OF PASSING TIME
The more relatively diverse things get the more we get fooled into thinking time is actually passing. Let’s say the earth was nothing but flat desert plains and there were no other planets to compare ourselves to. We wouldn’t have a concept of flat or desert, it would just be what it is. Look at time the same way. If you spend eight hours at work carrying out a diverse array of tasks the time will seem to move faster than if you sat in one place and took phone calls all day. The phone calls will add some diversity, but you will remain in the same place. You may take calls from India, Alabama and Winnipeg, but all you see is that dreary street outside of your Fresno based office. Now let’s take away the dreary road, the office, the desk and the phone. You’re just in a white room. No clocks, no other people, no sounds, no nothing. What happens? Well after a hearty bout of weeping you may begin to accept your fate. Now without food or water you will die so let’s say at odd times food magically appears. You may start to develop a time system based around these events. But it almost becomes impossible because the food just appears randomly and it’s the same food every time. Just pancakes and a glass of water. This will be a miserable life. No relative diversity. Just a purgatory with pancakes. You will begin to age, but you will lose your concept of time. You need relative diversity to make things interesting.
PI’S CASE FOR DIVERSITY
Okay, let’s say I’m a militant Jewish Jamaican Irish lesbian and I have no tolerance for anyone who is not a Jewish Jamaican Irish lesbian. I even have a flag on my lawn that says something like “JJIL Pride.” It’s a mess of symbolism, there’s a green Star of David with the upturned triangle replaced by a solid purple one. Behind this sits the colors of the Jamaican flag. Why the need for such a garish public display? I live in a neighborhood full of Swedish Croatians and Polish Indians. I keep my water hose at the ready so that if I’m ever outside and see any of these inferiors walking by I can soak ’em. What I’m not realizing is that without them I wouldn’t even be here. I may think I’m only Jewish, Jamaican and Irish, but really I contain much more than that. If I did not I would not even be here to express by superiority. Matter of fact, nothing would. If we have learned anything from this tricky number it is that it breaks up everything. The seemingly pure 1 can be broken down into imperfect perfect halves.
Whadaya mean imperfect perfect? When you break something in half you get two equal halves. You don’t know what you’re talkin’ about man. Numbers don’t have no political affiliations.
Not talking about politics, just survival. Okay, don’t throw me off. If I have a cookie and break it in half I would seem to have two even halves. The only reason I have these two even halves is because each half shares half of the middle. I split the middle. And get this, I can split the split and split that split and—well, you get it. We are able to enjoy two equal halves due to the imperfection that makes it possible to be broken. If the shape was truly perfect it would be unable to be split. Now don’t read that the wrong way as some case for superiority. Don’t—
You said it man! You said it! If a race or nation or people band together they cannot be split. They become solid! Superior even! You said it man, not me.
Walked into that one. Here’s the trick. You don’t even half this solid shape without the imperfection in the first place. It’s as simple as this: a superior race would not allow itself to become enslaved nor would a superior race descend from the very people they enslave. Kind of a puzzle, but just think about it for a bit.
And if all these number games don’t get you, just look at everything around you. There’s only one shape that breaks everything down in relatively infinitely diverse ways. And no Bill, the triangle’s heart doesn’t bleed, but without it you wouldn’t have one.
PI AND EVOLUTION
Say we viewed a film of our planet that was composed of frames recorded once every one million years. We would start to see this trippy spiral-like nuclear pattern where everything would seem to radiate out from around the equator over and over again. The planet will visibly change and seem to grow bigger, but the the pattern will remain the same. As it spins the trippy pattern will appear like dancing rings, a suggestion made by Saturn and Uranus’ rings respectively. Also, Venus’ wonky orbit is a hint. Our odd little sister who peeks at us every morning and night.
A PICTURE’S WORTH A…DAMN!!! YOU SEE THAT?
Ron Mueck‘s breathtaking work gets you thinking about all of this confusing stuff without all of this confusing stuff. You can be five or fifty, it doesn’t matter. You’ll be thinking about relativity and not even know it. Here’s a little sample of his work. Prepare to be amazed.
DUDE, ARE YOU LIKE SOME SORT OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST WHO’S GOT A THING FOR KABBALAH?
No, far from. Look, just a few months ago I thought Pi was just a cool Darren Aronofsky flick, but once I dumped out everything I thought I knew and looked at it with the blissful naivete of a child something emerged. Nothing intimidates children. They find wonder in everything. I recommend more people do the same. It makes getting through the day a lot more fun.
So is pi God or something?
Whoa. That came out of nowhere. How about this answer: if you want it to be. It can be God or Allah or anyone you want it to be. If you are an atheist it can just be proof of the universe’s infinite nature. The only thing you must remember is that it is real and that it is infinitely diverse. It doesn’t go 3.11111 for infinity, it goes 3.14159 and then it just loses its freakin’ mind. This number represents “Real Diversity.” You can call it God if you want, but please take note, this irrational cat is far from exclusive.
KIND OF COOL, KIND OF SPOOKY, BUT KINDA MORE COOL
I was in a bookstore flipping through a beautiful coffee table book featuring some of the world’s great works of art and I look up and to my direct left and direct right were Henry David Thoreau’s Walden and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man respectively. Even more odd is when you visit Ralph Ellison’s Wikipedia page it confuses who his parents were. The guy it confuses for his father was friends of Thoreau, the older author. Please go and do your own independent research of these two authors and books and see how they are oddly similar, but different at the same time. Oh, and just a warning, this post, like the universe, will be expanding. It may look this way today, but if inspiration strikes I’ll return like the Jedi. Here’s a little easter egg for those of you who made it this far. Go back up to the top of the post and click on the “curiosity” hyperlink. Now scroll up and down the page and you will notice some interesting patterns emerge. They are not clear, but your eyes will definitely start to pick them out. If you go up and down really fast you can even see an “X” moving back and forth. Although you notice the X, it really means nothing because it’s composed of an infinitely diverse array of numbers, there’s no way to “map” it. Kind of like our planet. When you flatten it you get this. Too damn cool.
TO SEE MARILYN: Back away from your screen and BANG! There she is!