Idle thoughts

I have a tendency to begin feeling useless during extended times of leisure, but idleness should not be looked upon negatively. Rather we should look upon leisure time as one of the most important aspects of human life. Much of human knowledge and progress has arisen not as a result of the tireless work of the poor masses, but from the leisure time afforded the rich. From such leisure time has sprung the arts and sciences.  -Ref: In Praise of Idleness – Bertrand Russell

Beyond a certain upper financial limit, I care not for money – where the upper limit is sufficient to meet my basic financial needs for food, shelter, transportation, communication, entertainment, and insurance. Above this upper limit, money is virtually impotent to affect happiness and all other forms of wealth and well-being. -Ref: The Easterlin Paradox and the Hedonic Treadmill

The universe contains at least one lineage of intelligent life, and our observations of its apparent (if not literal) infinite nature certainly suggest we cannot be the only such lineage, i.e. the Drake Equation must certainly be greater than 1, given the vastness of space and time. If astronomy has taught us anything it should be to disregard our tendency towards self-centric thought (geocentrism, heliocentrism, exoplanet database). So why have we not been contacted by technologically superior lifeforms? There are any number of speculations; perhaps the most likely is that any civilization with sufficiently high technology to escape its home galaxy simply cannot avoid the lure of such technology to simply create an infinite virtual universe of its own. As we will surely discover for ourselves, in the coming decade, from the advent of our own virtual reality (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive), it is far easier to quietly slip into the limitless potential of our own infinet (infinite internet) than to break out of the space-time wells of the Earth, Sun, and Sagittarius A* (the supermassive black hole at the Milky Way’s center). So are we destined to be forever alone? Of course not, we have each other and our collective creations! But its impossible for something infinite to be contained within something finite right? Wrong!

These 3D fractal shapes are nothing less than beautiful. Each is wholly defined by a relatively simple equation. There are infinitely many of these equations, albeit some are more breathtaking than others. Many exhibit geometry so similar to the vibrant living forms we see in nature that the mind almost cannot distinguish between the two. “Our feeling for beauty is inspired by the harmonious arrangement of order and disorder as it occurs in natural objects” – Gert Eilenberger. One cannot help but see beauty in fractals which are, from my currently limited understand of them, defined as the boundaries between the finite and the infinite, order and disorder, i.e. chaos. I am simply itching to get home and set my desktop GPU to this problem. Imagine putting on your VR headset and exploring the literally infinite intricacies of these mathematical worlds!

-Ref: Chaos: Making a New Science – James Gleick, Fractal geometry, Julia sets, Mandelbrot set, Mandelbulb, Mandelbox

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