I made some pretty cinnamon cookies with my magic cookie press last night. I hope you find them charming, but I have to admit that I am a piker in the decorative cookie department compared with the Evil Mad Scientist. Click on that link and prepare to be astounded.
The sudden serendipitous appearance of fractal cookies in my life is all the more thrilling because I had just been talking about fractals in my Wednesday study group. We are reading a book called The Shack together, and in it there is a scene in which a man’s soul is described as “a mess,” at which God disagrees and says it is, rather, “a beautiful fractal.” (God is a character, or three characters, in the book.)
After a hurried online consultation with the people in Chanthaboune’s office (I have no people in my office, unless you count the ones resident in my computer), I determined that I had better take a picture of a fractal, in case my fellow readers weren’t familiar with them. Sure enough, they weren’t. But after we had looked at the picture, we were able to have quite interesting discussions of whether fractals are a good metaphor for our lives or our souls, or not.
I also had a little discussion of higher mathematics last night with Fine Soprano’s husband. She had called me to ask if I would tutor her kids for the end of the school year and the summer, and I agreed. So I was over there unravelling the mysteries of the futur proche for the eleventh grader. I really enjoy helping people make sense of things. That’s the part of my work at the physical store that I like best, too. But her husband, who is a physicist, came in as we finished up the French homework, and the conversation turned to non-Euclidean geometry and the fourth dimension.
I’ve read a good deal about that this year, but neither fractals nor non-Euclidean geometry is really a staple of conversation for me. Maybe a few times a year it’ll come up. And this week I’ve happened upon the topic repeatedly, even in cookies.
Of course, it is only my human passion for seeing patterns that even causes me to notice this.
I’ve been working on my HTML skills, too. So far, the book that I am using, Donna Baker’s Complete Course, is not much on organizing the data. We are told to type in certain things, and then we look at the page and see that, behold, things have happened. This describes my previous experience with HTML, too. It feels random. Fine Soprano was frustrated that her kid’s French teacher was throwing things randomly at the kids (and I would be inclined to agree, since they are just now, in April, getting to the futur proche), so I am going to help organize the data into something that makes sense. There is, to me, a great deal of beauty in that. I hope that, as I proceed with my HTML studies, the random stuff I have hitherto picked up will coalesce into a beautiful crystalline pattern.
Just so, if our lives, which can often seem like a mess, can be perceived as something with a beautiful, organized pattern, even if we cannot see it yet, it may be that we can be more contented with them, whether it is true or not. For, as they say, a certain value of true. There are already too many commas in this paragraph, but that happens when you are thinking about higher mathematics, truth, and beauty.
Go look at those cookies.