Posts tagged with emotion

Warning: this story is not suitable for children.

Thinking about hate. I’ve felt hatred before. And I’ve been hated. There are people I still have it out for. And there may be people who still have it out for me. I’ve been on someone’s sh*t list. I’ve been happy when someone died. I’ve maybe even been someone’s worst enemy. I still hold certain grudges.

But sometimes if you hold a grudge for long enough, the person you hate has changed. They’ve moved on with their life, past the person they were when they screwed you. Like if you wait 20, 30, 40 years to really prove your parents wrong—I’ll show you! When you’re old and weak and I’m middle-aged and strong, then we’ll see who laughs last!—by the time they get there, they may be so feeble in body or in mind that the thing you’re still mad about, they’ve totally forgotten, or could no longer conceive of doing, or now it’s like you’re going to beat up on a little old man|woman. That victorious retribution you dreamt of…can it ever be found? Likewise with their dreams of a million-dollar adventurous retirement—with their sedentary habits formed, their medical bills rising, and their bodies too feeble to adventure so much anymore—where did that go, either? Something to think about.


  • "I wanted to be pissed about my breast cancer"
  • "They wanted to be angry about being laid off"
  • "It’s untrue that a positive attitude boosting the immune system increases the odds of withstanding cancer" "I have a Ph.D in cellular immunology"
  • Quantum physics become an excuse to mock all of science
  • "I didn’t come out of cancer more spiritual or a better person. If anything I’m a little meaner and more cynical"
  • There is no “real world”, there’s the real world through my positive mood and the real world through my bad mood.

Smile or Die by Barbara Ehrenreich

Physicists talk about vibrational modes of a string, for example the superposition of sin(3x) and sin(5x). And the maths on a line segment or a disc can apply to electromagnetic fields, superstrings, sound waves, seasonal or multi-year or multi-century weather patterns, or the ODE’s for a particle wavefunction.

E(x,y,z)= \sum_{k=1}^M {(a_k e^{(i \beta_k z)}+ b_k e^{(-i \beta_k z)})E_k(x,y)}

H(x,y,z)= \sum_{k=1}^M {(a_k e^{(i \beta_k z)}+ b_k e^{(-i \beta_k z)})H_k(x,y)}
hydrogen electron states S, P, D, F which are eigenstates

File:Mode Shape of a Round Plate with Node Lines.jpg
File:Drum vibration mode21.gif

File:Drum vibration mode23.gif

File:Drum vibration mode22.gif

File:Two dim standing wave.gif

But if you take the perspective that an eigenbasis is constructed out of elements of a set, you can talk in the language of mathematics about a diverse range of topics that feel like “adding separable, independent pieces of little modes” together.

  • paths that I walk to work
  • mood patterns. Like a basis functioncould be
    • that you always get more depressed in the winter
    • and that is added in varying ratios to your workweek basis function, where Friday is the best
    • and added to another “vibrational” mode which is the whips and wiggles of a particular client’s project
  • If you want to talk about a non-scalar codomain, the things that I buy go through cycles. It’s autumn now and I am definitely going to be purchasing pumpkin-flavoured beer, coffee, pie, fuggineverythingIcangetapumpkinof.
  • I usually smoke about 12 packs of cigarettes per year. However it’s not like I smoke one kretek every 2.53 days. Rather about once a month I hanker for a pack and then I do the whole pack within a day or two. So that’s a little “wavelet tooth” mode added onto the string of my purchasing behaviour, at irregular yet regular intervals. It’s not quite an addiction but it is a habit, or at least a repeated activity.
  • Internet traffic patterns on a macro scale: at the holidays every epicyclic year people go home, get bored of their families, and surf Facebook. Likewise the work-week instantiates its own 7-day epicycle of time, as does the work-day. But here again if you want to use a non-scalar codomain and talk about not only numbers of traffic but geotag it to where it came from, then the work-day epicycles are actually bound to specific spots on the globe and it’s these eigenmoditas that are added up to get the geotagged traffic pattern.

    (So on my regular rag about dividing groups only into homogenous equivalence classes, the eigenmodal components have something to add. The Sydney people have a warm-weather mode affecting them when the New York people have a cold-weather mode. But the Christmas eigenmode is affecting them both simultaneously, however not all of the people in either place necessarily celebrate it, yet probably everyone is affected by the tradition.)

  • the Mauna Loa CO₂ data. In robust & exploratory data analysis class, Karen Kafadar showed us how to decompose this time series of carbon dioxide measurements at a Hawai’ian volcano into seasonal effects, last-day’s lags, and perhaps a different “mode” that’s picking up on local cause of a greenhouse effect.
  • Crime waves. Like, literally, if they’re waves. Perhaps in the summer it’s easier to be outside so whenever the temperature waves up, so does the crime rate. Or perhaps a standing soliton of copycat murders propagates throughout a region. Or in Christian countries, maybe a sufficient number of people in rich neighbourhoods go on vacation that it makes sense to criminals to watch who’s left for the holidays and systematically bust into people’s houses whilst they’re away.
  • Some theories of culture posit that "Everything goes in cycles". Not just the Elliott wave theory, but I remember a Mormon friend explaining me his theory (and I’m not sure if this is generally held in Mormon doctrine or not) that the USA was getting too sinful and profligate and irreverent and secular, and that in time, like Sodom and Gomorrah, G-d would lay his country low.
  • (I’ve heard other Estadounidenses draw parallels to “the latter days of Rome”, without realising that Rome's fall can't be pinpointed specifically because it didn't Dirac down but rather “crumbled” or slowly changed, which is not their meaning.)
  • Please leave a comment or reply if want to share some more “eigenmodes” from your own life or from science.
  • via @BPS_ON_RISK: Waking up. Definitely an eigenmode, although for some of us the mode might be multiple frequencies (wake @ 7am on Wednesdays, wake @ 11am on Thursdays) or it may shift in different times of life or throughout the week/month (“I was in Manila last week and now back in Mountain View”)


  • ideas of “pure reason" without emotion send us in the wrong direction
  • D. Hume & A. Smith didn’t take such an impoverished view of rationality
  • funny images of successful people with no purpose
  • stories of people with high “EQ” (emotional intelligence / people skills)
  • an excerpt from I Am A Strange Loop where Doug talks about the enduring feeling of oneness he felt with his late wife even after she died
  • a list of traits that constitute a fuller view of intelligence:
  1. ability to get inside other people’s heads
  2. ability to work well in groups
  3. living with ambiguity and uncertainty
  4. gist-making / quick-summary thinking / better “gut instincts”

—David Brooks

Despite what the MBTI claims, logical and emotional are not opposites. 

You mean to tell me that,

  • because I cried when I watched Brokeback Mountain and Never Let Me Go;
  • because I empathise with a character in a book;
  • because I’m moved by the majesty of nature;
  • because I relate to people, because I listen, because I think other perspectives are valid;
  • because I like art,

that I can’t follow a deductive argument? That I can’t understand modus ponens or learn to program a computer? Or conversely, that because a kid scored 100% on the math test, that s/he has no feelings?

That doesn’t make sense.

Just like the artist-versus-businessman-versus-engineer divide, logical-versus-emotional is an artificial, invalid, made-up limitation on people.