I didn’t know what to post. Then I saw these pictures on the internet. :D Thanks Cheezburger.com for these shower thoughts.
21 Thursday Jan 2016
05 Monday Oct 2015
author, epistemology, everything that has and will be said., library of babel, meaning, philosophy, Stephanie Beavers, thoughts, words, writer, writing
Have you ever heard of the Library of Babel? Check it out. It came to my attention through the VSauce video below (starting around 16:58, you can watch it or no, but it’s definitely interesting.)
The Library of Babel “currently authors everything that has been or could be written. Seriously.”
Don’t believe me? Go here. Type in any sentence that comes to mind, nonsensical or otherwise. Then hit search, and the library will show you where in its “pages” these words reside. I tried, “how do you spell that melon cantaloupe, cantalope kantaloop” and it found that no problem. I tried a line from my WIP novel: no problem. You’ll get the same result.
VSauce explains the logistics behind it (math), but it does raise some interesting questions. VSauce asks, “Did you really invent that thing if it already existed?” Does the fact that what you said came into existence when the library was created undermine your “invention,” or is it more important that it had meaning when you said it, rather than being a product of an algorithm?
VSauce frequently asks interesting questions, and I recommend checking out other videos of his too.
What do you think, readers? What sentence did you make up to test out the library?
16 Thursday Apr 2015
author, incoherent, mind, mind-reading, philosophy, Stephanie Beavers, telepathy, thoughts, tin foil hat, writer
What if mind reading were real?
In TV, movies, and books, when a telepath reads someone’s mind, it’s typically depicted as hearing words. Also typically, these words form complete sentences and ideas. But really, who thinks like that?
First of all, do we really think in words all the time? I don’t think we do. At least, I’m pretty sure that I don’t. Sometimes I think in pictures, or concepts. When you think of your mother, do you see or hear the word “mother” inside your head, or do you generate a picture and/or the feelings and memories of that person in your mind? I would go so far as to say we never think only with words. There are always emotions and memories (and sometimes sights/sounds/etc) attached to what we’re thinking.
So theoretically, if someone could read minds, how much would they be able to “read”? Would they only hear words, or would they sense concepts and pictures and feelings and everything else that go with thoughts?
It goes further.
How do we think? Or rather, in what manner do we think? Do we really think in complete sentences and form whole ideas in our heads? Sometimes, certainly. But not always. Think about it. Right now you’re concentrating on reading and/or thinking about the subject matter, but next time your thoughts wander, try to take notice. While thinking, are you stuck solely on one topic and fully form each idea that enters your mind? No! (Or at least, that’s not the case for me.)
When I get lost in thought, my mind wanders. It flits from topic to topic. Someone mentions their cat, which makes me think of my cat and how she was being obnoxiously vocal and it was because I’d let her food dish get empty even though there was more cat food because I got some the day before but oh I forgot to get more cereal when I was at the store and I should stop and get some today after work but I’ll go to the other store because it’s close to the other store where I’m picking up a birthday present for my friend but should I really get that for my friend or is it kinda cool but really useless–
Well, you get the picture. And remember, I’m being forced by the medium to use words, which is already clarifying these thoughts far further than they may have occurred inside my head.
My point is, if someone could actually read minds, would they actually be able to understand anything? Or would it all be too muddled or fleeting or self-involved or abstract to truly comprehend?
It’s something to think about (if you’re so inclined).
What do you think, readers? Is mind-reading even possibly coherent even if it could happen in physical practice? Am I over-complicating things? Or do you think most people are a little less ADHD than I am? Share your thoughts!
02 Thursday Oct 2014
author, culture, life, music, nature, noise, philosophy, society, Stephanie Beavers, thinking, thoughts, writer
The other day, my boyfriend and I went for a drive. We left town and went up some logging roads. There were still people up there – it was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon – but we were more than far enough away that it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere.
And it was quiet.
Living in a city, you never experience quiet. Not ever. There’s the distant rush of traffic, the hum of electronics, the chatter of people, the omnipresent wall of white noise. But have you noticed that there’s even more noise than ever? It’s like we’re trying to drown out the noise with more noise. Everywhere you go, there’s always music playing or advertisements blaring. Every store and restaurant has its own choice blasting away. When you go the mall and stand in the entrance of store, you can hear both at once: the hall music AND the store music. Day in, day out, we are inundated with noise.
Noise keeps us from thinking.
Think about that. Is it true? Does noise damage our ability to concentrate, focus, and really think? Would people think more if there were less noise? Or is it something else? I read a study that suggested that people hate doing nothing; do people hate thinking too, hate how stillness and silence encourage thought? Or are they altogether separate?
I have a friend who is very bright, but I constantly see this friend make stupid choices. This friend will complain to me about the consequences of those choices, about how the choice was made in the moment, because it “felt” right, but no thought was put into it. This is the same friend who has music blaring constantly, who always has the TV on in the background (sometimes both at the same time), and who must always be talking or doing something. This friend of mine is smart – maybe even brilliant – but it’s like this friend never stops to think. How would this friend’s life differ if just a little more thought entered the equation? Smart people do stupid things all the time, and it’s mostly when they didn’t stop to think first and fully evaluate the consequences of their actions.
Could noise be making people “dumber?”
It’s something to think about. Maybe try it. Get in a car and drive until there’s nothing but trees around. And think. Think about whatever crosses your mind.
So what do you think, readers? Might there be something to this? Or am I just waxing lightly on a meaningless subject? Have you ever felt like our world has become too loud? Share your thoughts!
09 Thursday Jan 2014
death, hope, life, people, philosophy, Stephanie Beavers, thoughts, value
I was having a conversation with my boyfriend the other day that made me think about how much impact people have on our lives – and how different our lives might be if we had never met them. Sure, with some people, the change would be small – but even with a small change, how massive could the influence be in the end, how could it domino? And what about those people who have made such a huge impact on us – when you think about it, with many of them, it would have been a simple thing for us never to have met.
How many people do we meet at work? Well, what if you’d never seen that ad, never applied, never been interviewed, never decided to work there? And people we meet through other people or at social events – what if you just decided not to go? Think of any one person you interacted with this week, especially someone close to you: can you think of a situation where you never met? Or how that person could have left your life?
Especially when it comes to death. Death not only removes someone from our lives, it also has a massive psychological impact. What if someone who died, never did? What if that person was still here? How much different could a life turn out? Especially if that death had occurred during your childhood? How many lives, and to what degree, would be changed, and how would those changes in turn proliferate changes of their own?
It’s really quite remarkable, in my mind – some say that when everyone is special, no one is, but I think this very thought disproves that. People are incredibly powerful in their impact on the people around them. It doesn’t matter who you are – you have the ability to affect massive change on countless people in countless ways. And it’s humbling too, because you’d better use that incredible power for good.
Apologies for this meandering mess of philosophical thought, but this thinking occupied me for quite some time, and I find that it inspired a greater appreciation for the people in my life. And since I believe that gratitude is one of the most beautiful and powerful positive emotions that we are capable of, I thought I’d share and see if it inspired anyone else.