Bootstrapping Irrationality
Monday, August 27, 2012 at 11:08PM
Kevin Conner in Feature Posts, Production

At some point I noticed the best dish on a menu is easy to find: It's where your eyes feel friction.

Today I'm sick in bed, and I've been watching Carl Sagan's Cosmos on Netflix. He was discussing Pythagoras, and he mentioned that the terms "rational" and "irrational" originated with rational and irrational numbers: Those that can or can't be represented by a ratio of whole numbers.

Pythagoreans loved their whole numbers and mystified them. "Irrational" came to mean "untrustworthy" or "foolish" or "not justifiable". But we have all kind of uses for irrational numbers. To ignore them now would be backward. Pi only equals 3 in law books.

I'm thinking there is a very useful order behind irrational thinking too: Modern self-professed rational thinkers ignore impulse and don't notice the value of the passions. Pythgoreans tried to shoehorn every observation into whole numbers. I think these are the same.

If you open yourself to seeing impulse and intuitive thought as valuable, the division between rationality and irrationality might disappear.

For the past year, I've been scribbling in a notebook in bars, between games of Galaga, after typing in coffee shops as long as I've got a plan or patience. I've been trying to engineer an experience. It's working, but it can't be the best way.

I hold games up as an art form, and I see rationality as a means to accomplish anything. But it doesn't make sense to ignore a set of methodologies or a system of thought and just not try them.

Article originally appeared on Degrees, a game in progress for iPad and iPhone (http://degreesgame.com/).
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