April 20th, 2005


A couple of things I'm reading

Bouncing back and forth between a couple of books. I'm on a bit of a philosophy kick. Some of it has to do with seeing Huckabees recently, but most of it has to do with my life becoming much more complicated as of late. I started reading Aristotle's Metaphysics, but I hit a wall after the first book Alpha. It's pretty heavy stuff. I have also been reading Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Tharathustra. I'm not sure how to feel about that one yet, because in some ways it has come to solidify my bad ideas about life. Also into "A History of the English Speaking People" by Winston Churchill, and I'm surprised that he's a decent writer. Never took the man for much before.

The most interesting thing I'm reading right now is "Chaos: Making a New Science". As you can tell from the title it's a book on Chaos theory. This one has been blowing me away. I've gotten much more philosophy out of it than I have with my actual philosophy reading. After thinking it over I ended up writing about my thoughts on the book in one of my journal entries. This is one paraphrased:

"Chaos is defined as the change in a complex system over time, and the summation of the minutia which are cause to radical shifts in the system when observed for longer intervals. Complexity is the cause of disorder. But there is an odd balance between chaos and order in any given system that can easily be measured. I think of two unique gaseous substances that are both inserted into a confined space. Brownian motion attempts to understand the movement of a molecule, but due to the very number of them and the variables that are in effect on the system, we assume thier motion to be random. It is a complex system that is inherently chaotic. These two hypothetical gases will move about in a state of chaos until they reach an equilibrium, that is, when the gases are homogenously mixed. In other words, it reaches a state of order. A system of chaos naturally falls back into a system of order. I wonder what the implications for this are. Is chaos a necessary or inevitable part of any system? What is the persistence of identity after change? What is the measure of entropy?"

Maybe this doesn't quite fall under _l_i_t_ because its mathematics, but it is a mathematics book. Does that count?

Also wanted to know if anyone else in this community has read Ayn Rand. I've discovered her recently through a friend who bought me Atlas Shrugged. That book has changed my life. I love when books do that.