Tag Archives: Yin and Yang

“For the Third Time…”

First there was On the Count of Three, which introduced the fundamental notion of triples. There was actually a prequel of sorts years before — very appropriately a trifecta challenge — about the actual Count of Three and his rabbit fur cloak).

Then came the sequel, Three-peat, which explored the world of triples in more detail. That world spans the gamut from witches to transistors to music theory. (Triples cover a lot of ground!)

Now, at last, the exciting final post of the trilogy! Will the three heroes finally find the three keys, defeat the three dragons, and save the Three Kingdoms?

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Window with a Worldview

Exactly a year ago I wrote about metaphor as a tool for understanding the world around us. Our metaphors are part of the intuitive window through which we view reality. I think it’s good to have as many windows as possible, both in real life and in metaphor (intellectual rigor and creative insight are the metaphorical equivalent of Windex).

For a very long time, one of my key metaphorical windows has been the notion of Yin-Yang and its implicit notion of balance. One of my first posts was about it. Since then I’ve revisited it in myriad ways (see this, this, this, or this).

Here, among other things, I want to link Yin-Yang to another useful metaphor.

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Capable of Greatness

I’ve been slowly going through the NPR Tiny Desk Concerts. Most of the musicians and groups are unknown to me (it’s been decades since I even attempted to keep up with music). Truth is, most of the acts are interesting, but don’t really grab me. Maybe one in ten engages; none have made me a new fan.

Which is a whole other story. I mention it because many of these music makers are sweet, gentle, loving people who just want everyone else to be sweet, gentle, and loving. It’s a common sentiment. Banish the bad forever!

But balance is required. There is a Yin-Yang aspect to life.

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Edge of the Knife

The universe may not be connected in the Dirk Gently sense (or perhaps it is, wouldn’t that be fun?), but I can’t help but be bemused by those occasional moments of synchronicity. Just striking coincidences — almost certainly — and just a product of one’s own mind connecting personal dots, but still.

When a moment of such synchronicity involves favorite TV shows, South Park, NCIS, and Doctor Who, plus the Mandelbrot Set, it covers a lot of bases and adds an extra special element of cosmic delight. (Not to mention all the options for the lead image! (Except not really. Gotta be the new The Doctor!))

Fundamentally, it’s all another riff on an old standard: Yin-Yang.

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threeLast fall I kicked off a series of math-y posts with On the Count of Three, some thoughts about the groupings of three that occur around us, both naturally and in things we create. The idea of triplets is an obvious progression from the idea of binary opposition — quintessentially expressed in the metaphor of Yin and Yang.

Ever since that post, I’ve been noticing (and then noting) various instances of triplets. It really is a fundamental way reality expresses itself. (And more than just metaphorically — matter literally has three-ness!)

Here are some of the other triples I’ve noted…

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Transcendental Territory

transcendent mindLast time we considered the possibility that human consciousness somehow supervenes on the physical brain, that it only emerges under specific physical conditions. Perhaps, like laser light and microwaves, it requires the right equipment.

We also touched on how Church-Turing implies that, if human consciousness can be implemented with software, then the mind is necessarily an algorithm — an abstract mathematical object. But the human mind is presumed to be a natural physical object (or at least to emerge from one).

This time we’ll consider the effect of transcendence on all this.

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Beautiful Math

Take a moment to gaze at Euler’s Identity:

Eulers Identity

It has been called “exquisite” and likened to a “Shakespearean sonnet.” It has earned the titles “the most famous” and “the most beautiful” formula in all of mathematics, and, in a mere seven symbols, symbolizes much of its foundation.

Today we’re going to graze on it!

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On the Count of Three

threeThe seventh post I published here, Yin and Yang, introduced my fascination with the Yin-Yang idea of duality, that life is filled with pairs of opposites (left–right, day–night, black–white). Since then I’ve written a number of posts about some of those pairs.

In that first post I mentioned that life was also filled with threes (and some of the other numbers, but especially threes). As we look around, we see an awful lot of things that do come in triplets. Today I thought I’d finally get around to tripping on life’s triples.

Ready? Then: One,… Two,… Three,… Let’s go!

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BB #43: Anti-Batman

Batman-0Some of those who take their comics seriously and think deep thoughts about them have remarked on the symbiotic relationship between super-heroes and super-villains. They do seem to form yet another Yin-Yang pair (and, as I’ve mentioned many times, we find such pairs many places in life). In fact, many see comics as nothing less than variations on the basic Yin-Yang of good and evil.

There are even those who suggest super-heroes create super-nemeses as necessary mirrors and justification for their existence. There is just enough truth to that to make it seem debatable, but the more common view is that both arise as natural symbols of basic good and evil.

So today’s question: Is the Batman responsible for the Joker (and others)?

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Replicator Redux

Earl Grey

Earl Grey. Hot!

I’ve written about the Yin-Yang of analog versus digital, a fundamental metaphor for how reality can be smooth or bumpy. I’ve applied the idea to numbers, where we see two types of infinity — countable (discrete, digital, bumpy) and uncountable (continuous, analog, smooth). There is also how chaos mathematics says that — the moment we round off those smooth numbers into bumpy ones — our ability to use them to calculate certain things is forever lost.

I’ve also written about Star Trek replicators and transporters, as well as the monkey wrench of the hated holodeck. According to canon, all three use the same technology (which raises some contradictions for the holodeck).

Today, for Science Fiction Saturday, I want to tie it all together in another look at transporters and replicators!

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