Saturday, April 20, 2013

Randomness is a pattern in itself

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don’t much care where--" said Alice.
"Then it doesn’t matter which way you go," said the Cat.
"--so long as I get SOMEWHERE," Alice added as an explanation.
"Oh, you’re sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough." 

                    - Alice and the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland.
In short, if you don't know where you want to go, all roads will take you there. You would think I read the book, but you would be wrong :-)

I wonder what Lewis Carroll's blog would have looked like if he lived in our times. Maybe minimal or no design but great content. (Him having a blog is almost axiomatic to me)

Wikipedia defines randomness as lack of pattern or predictability in events. 

But a way to think of randomness, in any field or manner of thought is not being able to predict what lies in front of you.

At the most basic level, there are only two choices or possible outcomes: either there will be some thing, event etc. that we expect, or something else. The something else part can be anything. Maybe the opposite of what we expected, or (a bit recursively) something else.

So, what does this mean?

First a Punjab Police joke:
How do you catch a tiger without a gun or any other trap for that matter? 
 - Newton's Method: Run faster than the tiger in the direction it is running, and you will eventually get close to it and catch it. 
 - Einstein's Method: Run in the direction opposite to the tiger, at the speed of light. Due to some obviously obvious relativity physics thing, you will end up in front of the tiger. Cool! 
 - Punjab Police's Method (refer to their service rules for further details): Catch a kitten, and beat it up until it says, "Yes, I am a tiger!"

And yes, I have no idea about relativity, but since it is "said" that only 12 people understood Einstein at that time, I am in the majority! Consensus can.... lets just keep it at that.

What I am trying to say here is that true randomness is something that eludes and will continue to elude us, just like the speed of light or something.

What the hell does it really mean?

It means that whenever we try to predict things without a good enough knowledge of what will happen, we will fail. What is good enough knowledge? To be sure about something, I think we need to be sure of what that thing will be. Cent percent surety would mean being witness to that situation beforehand, and assuming such a thing is possible, we wouldn't need predicting then, no?

Some might think on the lines of when do we predict.. A better question would be on the lines of when do we not predict?

As people, we think if we could pass a test, or if it would rain today, or what that person from the opposite desired sex thinks about us. Where should we invest our money, when should we get out from an argument, or why read blog posts from people who do not even know what they are writing about. If you are thinking about the last part of the last line right now, you are probably right :-)

Organisations/governments need to predict the weather, know about the economy 6 months into the future, and whether or not they are going to be victims of silly bomb blasts targeting normal folks rather than the leadership or the military.

Even if we had proper or sufficient information/knowledge/data, could we guarantee about using it properly?

What now?

As Russel Peters says in a made-up Indian accent, nothing!

As I already wrote before, randomness is a pattern in itself. If we don't know what might happen, it does not matter what the outcome is. The problem is choice. And it will take a few years of medicine research to fight the mental problem called "what if".

As far as I am concerned, I am gonna take all my predictions with a grain of salt from now on. At least the ones I make consciously.

Randomness, predictability, disorder, entropy, probability et. al. can ... again, lets just keep it at that.


  1. sounds like an oxymoron but you make valid points. reminds me of a Prof, vishal gupta who *dictated* a 100 random numbers to a class full of adults :D

    this punjab police hoke never gets old

    1. The act, rather art, of dictating so many numbers was a great feat in itself. One which nobody can match. And the joke will never get old indeed.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks. With the kind of content you have on your blog, praising me looks like modesty on your part :-)

  3. To my friends, am person with less what If's! For me it's always do whatever you like or want as long as if think it's right!

    Now you inspire me through your writings and your comments. So I nominated you for the "Very Inspiring Blogger Award". :)

    -Check my blog for rules and details if you wish to accept it.

    1. Thanks for the nomination. It feels very good.

      You are a very different person. If the world was like you in terms of not thinking "What If", I am sure at least half of the world's depression and anxiety would end.

  4. I have yet to read the actual books, though the animated movie kind of terrified me as a child :D

    I have what's called organized randomness. Not sure if that makes any sense, but it's a real thing. Thanks for the visit earlier!

    1. The book has been in my reading list for some time now. Lewis Carroll was a very talented person, he even contributed to mathematics and logic. In case you want free, online, non-copyright books, see the Project Guttenberg website. See Alice in wonderland there.

      I am not too sure what organized randomness is, and internet search (my only 'weapon') kind of failed me. :-)

  5. Randomness is indeed a pattern in itself, just like the thoughts in my head most of the time.. when I decided to write my blog I wanted to call it Random.. but i went for thought.. and combine the two.. Random Thought.. These thoughts can literally change the future.. :D

    The comment was written randomly.. cheers!

    1. This is why we will never be able to build cybrogs. Because they cannot be random in ways like us.

      By writing this comment randomly, you took my message in the right spirit :-)

  6. Hmm. I overthink and then wish I could simply kill myself for doing so and then I repeat what would happen if I died :/ nothing. So I go back to overthinking on a tangent.

    1. I think this is something that everyone does. So, maybe the answer is keeping ourselves busy enough that we do not overthink, but free enough that we can at least think.

      It must be a delicate balance, at least neither I nor anyone I know has ever been able to achieve such a thing :-)