topic: orthogonality

LEGO and the digital mind

In a previous post, I argued that LEGO, when it consisted mostly of simple bricks, was a superior creative tool for a child than more modern LEGO with its complex pieces. I have come to a more nuanced conclusion: that though classical LEGO promotes one kind of creativity, it may do so at the expense of other kinds. I still believe that simple, classical LEGO is an instantiation in the physical world of an aspect […]

when LEGO lost faith

I believe that LEGO is a toy/tool that once allowed children to build models at a sweet spot intermediate between thought and physical reality, and that, by losing faith in that breakthrough, the company has lost its way. LEGO as I knew it as a child consisted of simple bricks. Complexity was achieved by assembling bricks, rather than being inherent in individual bricks. (Admittedly, the purity of this abstraction was somewhat broken by angled ‘roof […]

ebooks – a superior aesthetic?

Let me whisper to you a heresy: ebooks may be aesthetically superior to paper books. There, I’ve said it. Before they come for me, to burn me as a witch, let me try to explain what I mean. First I would like to distinguish two different functional components of the paper book: the paper book as machine and the paper book as a (complex) surface that bears text. Though it is the latter that concerns […]

orthogonality revisited…

brothers quay - little broom

I have come to realize that a seeking after ‘orthogonality’ is a warning sign that I am slipping into the comfort of relying on a dominant trait in my personality. Having read Iain McGilchrist’s book The Master and His Emissary I have become somewhat convinced that this dominant trait is actually an over-reliance on the left hemisphere of my brain. As such this becomes not only about me, but about a very large number of […]

the divided brain…

The Master and the Emissary...

The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World is not a self-help book, nor is it one of those books of cod-philosophy that promise amazing (though ultimately ill-founded) insights into the modern condition. It is instead a carefully argued thesis meticulously supported by references to research, as well as by appeals to personal experience. Its core premise is that we possess a single consciousness, but two wills: one […]

knight’s move…

It occurs to me that the moves in chess have interesting parallels to human thought and even to our lives… A rook represents an orthogonal approach – powerful and direct – but inflexible. A bishop has – literally – an oblique approach, with an ability to slice forensically past seemingly solid opposition. A pawn’s slow, forward plodding – with its frail hope of, in the end, overcoming almost insurmountable odds and reaching that butterfly like […]

orthogonality…

I was doing yoga last night and was struck (again) by how the positions I was trying to achieve with my body had parallels with a particular satisfying way of thinking that I am constantly drawn to: the linking factor is ‘orthogonality’. This word is defined by the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary as coming from the Greek meaning “right-angled”… Consider the word “right” – which in turn is defined as being ‘straight’ – and, at […]