Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chaos and order.

As I have mentioned, I am reading George Dyson's new opus "Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe." It's a good book if you like reading about geniuses and machines that have fundamentally changed the world. At times, Dyson is over my head and I feel I need a degree in computer science to comprehend him. But it's no different really than reading a Russian novel and keeping all your Ivanoviches straight.

Last night I came upon a bit that really set my wheels turning. It was a statement by Turing and an associate of his, Jack Good. Something they realized when they were working together breaking German codes at Bletchley Park.

Here's the line: "Random search can be more effective than non-random search."

This statement, of course, is anti-podal to the way we expect the world to work. We look for answers--in life and in advertising--in a linear way. We Google, we research methodically, we create under the strictures of timesheets and allocation martinets.

As anyone with a messy closet, desk or unorganized set of bookshelves will tell you, searching--finding things is about getting lost. It's about finding a thread and pulling it until something interesting comes along for the ride.

Creativity, I think, is discovery, not mapping. It's turning blind alleys and dead ends into clear sailing and big sky.

I think it's more like Jackson Pollack (Jack the Dripper) than paint-by-numbers.

In other words more random than ordered.

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