Thursday, August 07, 2008


long shadows, originally uploaded by lannon787.

Deductive reasoning might be interesting in a site. With inductive you are always looking for the right answer. With deductive, you are just eliminating what is not right. And seeing from what is still available, what is likely. So often you are not going to know the right answer. But you can look at what is not right. When I was in college, I was looking out the window one day watching a shadow walk down the sidewalk. I thought "is that Danielle? No that doesn't seem right. Jolen? No not her. Mary? that girl I have a crush on from the 3rd floor? Ester? Yes, I think Ester."

The shadows were streched and distorted so it was not the shape so much (although there was a little of that) as the movement. I wasn't looking for it but somewhere in my mind the motion of people's walks was stored and the familiarity of the shadow movement caused my brain to recognize it.

I looked out my dorm window a lot in college and I got used to recognizing shadows before the person came around the juniper bush. Sometimes my brain would jump to a conclusion and was wrong. With practice I could tell when I wasn't sure but was just looking to hard for an answer, giving me a false conclusion.

What you see in a shadow is interesting too. male/female speed, amount of energy, confidence, attitude. These are not things you usually pay attention to in someones movement (although I think you see it unconsciencely ) because their actual appearance is more natural to pay attention to. But when you know someone you know their attitude and demeanor and in the movement you see what matches what you know about them.

That is important, I was terrible at guessing the identities of people I had seen around but had not talked to.

If I were to play by play my mind i would say I used the more obvious big buckets first to whittle down the list.

male/female - you know what this means

Speed/energy - easy buckets, some people are in a hurry or are usually excited, and some people are taking it easy.

Confidence - not a yes or no but on a rough scale you can roughly place your possibilities.

Attitude - After narrowing it down a little this is the real test. This is where just letting your mind flow free and ask "What is that shadow telling me?" It is not a scale of attitudes or a list of types of attitudes you are looking for. Is it happy, sad, goofy, weird, bogged down, cold? That is trying to apply random concepts to it. Instead, all the things that you might wonder about the movement of someones shadow you just let bounce off the images of the people you know. They look like they are hurrying to get out of the cold today. This looks familiar but slower, I wonder if they are tired? Looks carefree. This person is lurching, i wonder if they have a big backpack.

The more things you can see the better. There might be a handful of males that are downtrodden but not as many are downtrodden, usually travels with others, and swings their arms with an odd momentum.

This is interesting to me because it is an example of understanding something about the world, not a truth, and not through not exact proof, but with the evidence you have. And importantly by testing your assumptions. My guess was tested every single time when that person came into view. Without that your disciplined guessing is worthless. This is interesting to me because I wonder if something like this might be worth more than the bullshit in the news that I am coming to trust less and less. Despite journalistic integrity. I am beginning to think people are getting too good at understanding the rules that journalists need to play by and using that against them. I'm not saying I have an alternative. But I am looking for one.

That really was a fun dorm room. I took the screen off the window so I could look out and talk to people walking by. Sometimes saying hi before they saw me.


Brian said...

Holy CRAP, what a great post. It started off all Columbo, and gradually turned into Confucius!

I love your observations, and can echo my own belief that we have outsmarted the news...well, some of us have. It's almost boring calling bullshit on the media anymore, until you call it out in front of someone who doesn't get it or disagrees...I guess it goes to show that there is more than one perspective on what's in the shadows, right?

Miss you, dude.

Lisa said...

You are a beautiful man. As always, I'm feeling uber blessed that you are my friend and blessed that I had at least one hello out of that dorm room window. Thank you for sharing your perspective on the world. I look forward to you sharing it with my baby boys. ;)

ps - That little word verification code says "yougfjvh". What does that mean?

Zack said...

Brian, it is almost boring calling it out. It is time for a change. For something interesting.

Miss you too bud!

Thats right Lisa you were one of those shadows! :)

BOYS!? You know already!? Man crazy world. Can't wait to see :)

And it means yougfjvh

u girlfriend jvh! (that is like internet talk for Jehovah. It's not like the latin alphabet where Jehovah begins with an i)