a' la mode

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a' la mode

Postby Daywhite » Tue Aug 03, 2010 3:17 am

π (sometimes written pi) is a mathematical constant whose value is the ratio of any circle's circumference to its diameter in Euclidean space; this is the same value as the ratio of a circle's area to the square of its radius.
It is approximated as 3.141593, continuing on, decimally, for infinity. Mathematicians at the University of Tokyo, aided by a super computer, figured out pi to 1.24 trillion decimal places, a feat still listed as the world record.

The point of me writing about this is that pi, especially how many decimal places one can trace it to, is viewed by many as something for those with an intelligence far above average. I knew nothing of pi while in school, all through high school. I heard pi and simply felt it was yet something else I knew nothing about. But it intrigued me because it was so tied, as I saw it, with intelligence.

Later, when I discovered pi, read about it, researched it, I thought, "I should know this." I thought I should know it because I needed to believe I was smart; I needed to believe I was different than those around me, better in some way. People in Science and Math studied pi; these were the smart people, the ones without the insecurities of one with a literary or philosophical mind.

I learned pi to 3.14, its simplest form. I thought of getting a t-shirt like some featured in Science stores, something with a nice 3.14 on it and maybe some witty phrase that many wouldn't understand. That way, I would feel smarter, different, better, than those around me. "I know this, and you don't," even though technically, I didn't know it at all. I learned pi to 3.1415, feeling smarter still.

At some point, I finally asked why, "Why am I doing this? Why do I care? Why do I need this to feel smart, special, whatever?" I enjoy exploring many things I know nothing about. Simple curiousity. A good thing, I think. But I knew I was pursuing pi, seeking more information about it, so I wouldn't feel so insecure. pi was something so many seemed to know, and I needed to know it, too. I needed to know this to feel okay, and I finally saw how fractured that thinking was. I was trying hard to be better than others just to be able to feel I was okay. I was trying to measure up to something no one else cared or even knew about.

There may be one or two things I know how to do, but there will always be at least 1.24 trillion things I know nothing about. I don't know exactly how microwaves or telephones work. I'm not sure I could make a good brick, the kind used to build a house or some structure. I don't know the periodic table of elements; doubt I could even tell you where oxygen or nitrogen would go. I daily have to look up words in the dictionary I keep beside my computer.

Yes, there are some things I do know, some things I can do, help raise a child, write a decent story, poem, or essay, tie a nice square knot, say Thank You in nine languages (well, I used to be able to, but thinking I may have forgotten a few of those). I'm a nice protector, defender, and friend. I stand for what I believe in deeply and have no trouble walking away from what I don't.

I post this because I've had it on my mind recently, for whatever unknown reason. The way I so often felt the need to say, "Yes, I understand," even when I had no clue makes me curious of other DS members and their own quirkiness. Any particular things you feel like sharing, please do.
"Sometimes you do it to save your own life, not anybody else's. That's mostly why I write. I'm not trying to change anybody else's life or the world; I'm trying to keep from blowing my own brains out. That's the real point." -- Guy Clark
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Re: a' la mode

Postby mirjana » Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:47 am

Great topic and Kudos !
It corresponds very well with your answer given in the topic Latin phrases where you added the following phrase:
"Noli arrogantium iniurias pati (don't let the bastards grind you down)." Which phrased another way could be, "Don't let the bastards turn you into a pond."'
http://www.deepspirits.com/exploration/latin-phrases---vita-sine-litteris-mors-p5902.html#p5902
I do not know much about Pi, although I was also curious to know more about it.
Your post opens an interesting question, how certain we could be if our interest is out of curiosity or out of a need to be a´la mode. I think that our curiosity is confirmed with our persistency as we stay where we really are what our true being is. That is why one is able to recognize self as a supporter, defender… Do you believe that the inquisitor, persecutor recognize self as a such or…?
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Re: a' la mode

Postby Sabina » Tue Aug 03, 2010 3:19 pm

Daywhite wrote:I post this because I've had it on my mind recently, for whatever unknown reason. The way I so often felt the need to say, "Yes, I understand," even when I had no clue makes me curious of other DS members and their own quirkiness. Any particular things you feel like sharing, please do.

My first thought was that I am curious about that "unknown reason" you mentioned. :)

My quirkiness is strong, though probably expanding in different directions.
An association I had while reading your text was me back in school.
Failure of any sort was unacceptable, and since I was not on "my ground" (it was a foreign language school), I had to be over-prepared in order to be able to perform under pressure.
That pressure mainly came when I was to answer anything orally. Written exams on the other hand were a piece of cake.
Standing in front of the class made me nervous though, and I wanted everything to run smoothly, super-smooth, so I had to make sure that I knew everything very well. Really everything.
I was an excellent student for many many years, all the way until the rebellion started, so around the age of 15.
That rebellion has saved me, saved my soul, in many ways.

There is a famous story from my family (in the wider sense of the word). A story that I was told or overheard many times, as a kind of horror story of "don't let that happen to you".
It goes like this...
My father's side of the family would meet once per year in his parents' house and spend a week or so together. My father has 3 brothers and 2 sisters, all of which have at least two children each, and so on. It was a full house and there was always a lot going on.
One evening the adults played a game, associations, I think.
Somebody said "Lorca".
The next person in line, a cousin of mine, about 20 years old at the time, thought that Lorca is a plant or something like that.
That's it... that's the story.
At 20 years of age she didn't know of the great Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, and that was her shame. That is how I've been told the story, and also that she worked very hard to compensate for this, overcome it and make up for it (e.g. educate herself better), so that something like that could never happen again.

I think this is a suitable comparison to your story of π.
Image
Federico García Lorca

Hearing this story always annoyed me, even though I did know who Lorca was.

I met all kinds of people in my life. Some of them, I've been told, deserved a special treatment based on their status.
This status might have been based on how much money they have, how famous they are, or what all they have accomplished in their lives.
I have seen adult people be nervous and act differently when around such characters, but I never was, and it annoyed me to see others be affected that way. I was always the same, whether I talk to a bestselling author, or a filthy rich business-man or a beggar in the park.

As far as I am concerned nobody gets any special treatment based on hear-say nor their past life or accomplishments. My opinion and the resulting treatment of them would only be based on my assessment of them, which I would make once we engage in a conversation and also once I can observe how they treat those around them.
In that sense I am quite comfortable meeting whomever, and their importance, in the general sense, does not impress nor intimidate me in the slightest. I would be excited about meeting certain people I am curious about, but never feel intimidated nor fearful.

One of the people who has inspired me was Dejan, whom I met when I was 17 years old.
He was smart and had a great sense of humor, however quite frequently, when someone told a joke, and everyone would laugh, Dejan would be in deep thought for a moment and then say "I don't get it. What's funny about that?"
It didn't bother him in the least that everyone else in the group seemed to know what was funny. He was confident enough to say "I don't get it".
What followed then would be a discussion about the joke, usually not very long, but he would explain why exactly he simply didn't think the particular joke was funny or he would explain where his confusion was, and the way he would do that only made him seem more impressive, to me, and not stand out negatively in any way.
I really loved him for that.
There was nothing arrogant nor presumptuous about his way, and he was a truly intelligent guy... as well as funny. But just because the mass laughed wasn't reason enough for him to chuckle as well.
"Whether You believe you can, or you can't, you are right."
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Re: a' la mode

Postby dermot » Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:44 pm

Great topic David!

I can identify with all thats been said.

I have always thought that people/society is basically stupid. We send kids to school from a tender age, keep them there forever, then based on their becoming convinced of the whole process they decide they must go to College to learn even more about some obscure, under utilised, remote fact, that will keep them in a box for long enough so that they can afford/choose a particular box in which to be laid down into the ground in. Ok, thats an exaggeration, but unless they uncover, usually by accident some real interest or latent talent, then thats what normally happens.

The successful ones, live in a certain street, large house curved driveway, certain type of car, dont smile, walk with assumed gravitas, woman on the side, wife drinking too much sherry....etc.

Life aint about that, and personally nobody told me the truth, luckily i found it out for myself, whilst managing a bar......'The poor mans universtiy'.

We are, or i was, encouraged to look outwardly for cues/clues, when in fact Truth lies within, as does Beauty and Love.

A search for π is the same search for meaning in the bottom of a glass, but i can completely understand / empathise with the whole nonsense around learning about what really matters.

We had a local millionaire, a member of the Italian Ferrari family, his 70th birthday celebrations were held at his Country Pile close to where i grew up. His entire entourage descended on our Bar for a couple of hours one Saturday afternoon.
I still shudder at the memory, it was like a Monty Python sketch, complete vacuous morons without an engaged brain cell between them, all taking about Summering in Monte Carlo or Wintering in oh hell who cares.
I wanted to throw them out, blast out my Bob Dylan album at full volume, buy my Dad wouldnt let me! He didnt get Dylan!

Anyway, long meandering thoughts, but essentially i think the reason some of us grew up looking for something to be good at, or excel at, was because we knew there was something more important.....and nobody had advised us where to look!

Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall?
....the heart only whispers, be still and listen....
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Re: a' la mode

Postby Ryan » Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:34 pm

Thought provoking...thanks...

I know when I was a kid I used to say "huh?" or "What?" a LOT! Regardless of whether or not I had actually heard what they said to me. I know I made a concentrated effort to stop it at one point because it was brought to my attention... but as to the real reason why I was doing it I can't really say. Because I had suffered extremely from ear infections as a child and had tubes inserted in my ears... so... it may have developed simply out of habit. But, I do know that asking the person to repeat what they had said became somewhat helpful in the sense that I always had more time to think about what the question was and how to answer it... Maybe it was a combination of the two...? Just that I realized the benefit, not that it was a development from a sort of feelings of inadequacy or need to present myself a certain way... This all happened before I was 12 at the latest.. and I was well aware that I was a kid... At a later age, teenager, I had become very quiet, observant, and maybe even a little too critical of my surroundings. But, I didn't feel there was anyone around that was worthy of my proving anything to them...

In the meantime, I have been convinced to open up and speak out because I have been shown that there are sincere people that care what I have to say... or even simply what I think. Because it is a nice way to get to know me intimately and my thoughts could be beneficial to them or others in the sense to provide them with a different perspective with which they may view some thing or situation. I have always been a good listener and have always learned a great deal from those to which I would listen (if not only what not to do)... but it was my experience that most talk to prove how intelligent they are or simply to seek validation from others in that respect... and that was the reason I initially kept my mouth shut... It all simply did not match my idea of what communication is... or should be. I still get frustrated when I meet those who talk just to "share their wisdom with us unfortunate ones" but I have gotten much better at blowing it off and keeping my opinions to myself where they are concerned... and simply not pushing the boundaries they have drawn for themselves.
[R] If you don't understand something I said or why I said it... ask me.
If you don't want to understand something I said or why I said it... tell me.
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