Thursday, January 26, 2006

Seeking the sweet spot

Which of the following strings of letters do you find most interesting?

1) Aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa.

2) One fish two fish red fish blue fish. Black fish blue fish old fish new fish.

3) How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon the bank! Here will we sit and let the sounds of music creep in our ears.

4) Rot a peck of pa's malt had Jhem or Shen brewed by arclight and rory end to the regginbrow was to be seen ringsome on the aquaface.

5) Vfg w eklpsi muc dvpk dbjhq a v sm i yu ncq bfox w wgbm ifiai lvdymssa lsa s s aiuro y astwaeqyw rtwvme gv k ljr jxbkdq.

The human mind is most at home somewhere between perfect order and perfect chaos. Young children will prefer No. 2, a passage from Dr. Seuss with lots of rhythm and simple pattern. A few adults profess to enjoy No. 4, from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, full of complex, deeply buried patterns. My guess is that most of you picked No. 3, a snippet of Shakespeare.

Organic evolution seeks out that sweet spot between perefct order and perfect chaos. The human organism has evolved a brain -- mirrored by our language -- most at home in the sweet spot.

Each of us as individuals can try to create for ourselves a life in the sweet spot. Can we do it as a global civilization? Can this little island do it? More tomorrow.