A little noise

Near the start of my career in computer graphics, I came up with some techniques that played with the boundary between order and chaos. It seems that people have found those techniques to be useful.

When it comes to visual stimuli, humans love order, and we also love chaos. But we especially like our signal and noise together, in just the right mix.

I wonder whether this principle can be extended to all human thought. Maybe we look at all things — politics, music, personal relationships — in terms of an optimum balance of order and chaos.

We may not always know how to find that balance, but we can generally feel it when we’ve hit the sweet spot. And perhaps our need to strike that balance drives much of our decision making.

When life feels too chaotic and out of control, we seek order. But when everything seems to be going well, with perhaps a bit too much clockwork precision, we might feel a powerful urge to create some chaos.

Who hasn’t had that urge at one time or another — just to mix it up a bit, to add a little noise?

One Response to “A little noise”

  1. Stochastic resonance – basically, signal and noise together, in just the right mix, to use your terms – is known to be important to the functioning of some brain systems:

    http://scholar.google.ca/scholar?hl=en&q=stochastic+resonance+brain

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