Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Patterns in the Tiles

Am I the only person who sees patterns in the tiles, everywhere I go? Sometimes the patterns are related to different colors in the tiles. Sometimes the patterns bear no relation to anything that's there in the tiles— I mean, I just see the patterns, three tiles by three, or five by five with the (2,2), (2,4), (4,2), (4,4) tiles omitted, like a small parchisi board. Or a string of several tiles in a row. Or tiles arranged in a cross, or something like a snowflake... the patterns just stand out, often nothing you could capture with a camera. I simply have eyes to see, and so I see the patterns in the tiles.

Drives me nuts in a public restroom with tiles on the floor.

Then there are the patterns on wallpaper or wall paneling. When I was a kid, there was an odd-shaped chip out of the paint on the kitchen wall. I was convinced it was a cat lying in a wicker basket. Not just looked like, but was. On the walls of my bathroom today, I could point out to you the diving lion flying down out of the sky, and the pinhead clown walking a dog, and the red cardinal in an athletic uniform, and Abe Lincoln, and the Olmec face. Not that you could necessarily see them, 'cause like I say, you've gotta have eyes to see. But I can see them.

Seems somewhere I read that paranoia amounts to seeing patterns where there are no patterns to be seen. But in truth, patterns are everywhere in potential. What would be, is, under appropriate conditions. "If you can look into the sands of time, and say which seed will grow," then you're seeing as truly as any of us. To see is to see what is. Even in unmarked tile patterns on a tile floor, or in a diving lion with its front paws spread wide, flying down out of the sky.

As R.D. Laing put it in the closing words of "The Bird of Paradise":
City lights at night, from the air, receding, like these words, atoms each containing its own world and every other world. Each a fuse to set you off...

If I could turn you on, if I could drive you out of your wretched mind, if I could tell you I would let you know.



Anonymous Lucy said...

(1) Being paranoid doesn't necessarily mean you're wrong :)

(2) What!?! Everyone doesn't see like that? Because it has never occurred to me that they didn't. Seeing like that is like breathing.

(3) Wow. Your childhood must have been ... interesting. Cause I know that my obsession with patterns is vaguely related to a desire (no, really a necessity) to find the pattern in my mother's behavior. But remember, happy endings all around :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 8:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Jay said...

Absolutely! I do exactly the same thing.

I believe that there are levels of intelligence (or types of people, if you prefer) in which pattern recognition exists strongly versus not so much.

While you're talking about tile patterns and such, where there's not a commonality or extrapolations to be made, there are other patterns where reconition and extrapolation from them is indicative of higher intelligence, or a better survival skill, or allows better application of the intelligence that is there.

My usual example is people who seem never to be able to learn well or get comfortable with computers and programs thereon.

If most programs have menus, and in most cases those include a file menu, edit menu, etc., and in most cases there are certain things common to certain menus and that function the same or similarly between programs, if you can see that, you're comfortable learning new software. You've recognized patterns. You've absorbed and extrapolated from paradigms that, while they might not be intuitive, are learnable and extend far and wide.

If you see each program as a completely freestanding entity to be learned, and cannot or will not ever notice patterns, you struggle.

Another thing this reminds me of is the two schools of thought I encountered in German class in college. My way was to learn that "ei" rhymes with eye, "ie" rhymes with free, w sounds like v, s normally sounds like z, and so forth (and things like the suffix "heit" is the same as "dom," thus freiheit = freedom). That way even if I didn't know a word, I could make a good try at pronouncing it and only needed to learn or puzzle out the meaning.

The other way was to learn each. individual. word. one. by. one. That made no sense to me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...


To say my childhood was interesting would be an understatement; and believe me, what I've laid out on my blog so far is only a partial sketch. I grew up in survival mode, nothing more or less: radically reinventing myself and radically reinventing my world— as a psychological survival strategy on some deep level, I'm sure.

What surprises me is that it did all turn out so well for me in the long run— like you say, "happy endings all around." Because I know people who had a far less onerous childhood than I, who turned out broken. But that's a topic for another day.


Yeah, when it comes to computers, I've noticed the pattern non-recognition thing with some people. And I mean non-recognition on a really, really rudimentary level. Inability to learn, even after prolonged experience and practice, that:

*** You can close a window by clicking on the little "X" in the upper right hand corner of the window.

*** You can get to a website by typing its address into your browser. (If they can't get there by clicking on links, they're helpless.)

*** You can create new folders. As many new folders as you want. (Question I've actually been asked: "Hey, that was a neat folder you created for me on my computer. Could you come over and create another new folder for me?")

*** Various windows overlapping one another on the screen are... well, they're not just one big mysterious amorphous Gestalt, all run together into one; they are actually separate, distinct windows.

*** Clicking on the same link tends to take you each time to the same site. Clicking on a link is not like a random dice roll.

I mean, I've known people who've had a home computer and a home Internet connection for 10 years or more, and who've used it regularly, who still can only just barely stumble through the basics of websurfing or email. Who still, after a decade of nigh-daily practice, can only just barely manage to figure that, once they've written an email, it can be sent, every time, by pushing the correct button (yikes, same button each time!) in Outlook Express.

(Actually, such people in my experience are actually more likely to be using Yahoo Mail or Hotmail, because they never were able to figure how to set things up for their ISP-provided POP mail account. And they still can only just barely figure, each time, how to send email in Yahoo Mail or Hotmail.)

Like they say, PEBKAC: Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair. ;-)

Thursday, May 24, 2007 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Grand Moff Trojan said...

Yes, it has always happened with CalTechGirl and I. I second Jay with the German, I took about 5 years throughout high school and college. The bad thing about that is that I always screw up the ie - ei thing in English now. It started in high school, even though I know how to spell and I can tell you how to spell, but my typing hands screw it up almost every time...

Thursday, May 24, 2007 6:43:00 PM  
Anonymous redjack said...

if a person couldn't see faces in the clouds - that would be sad

Friday, May 25, 2007 8:29:00 AM  

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