Comfortable environments

Hello all,

I apologise for leaving this blog for so long in an ugly state.

One thing that I must have written about before are my thoughts on the concept of beauty. These have to do with a simple question that was bugging me for a long time, namely, what do I find interesting in this image:

Yes, the image is from a video-game but this does not matter. I usually have a subconscious process going that latches onto interesting ideas and although I don’t know why something is interesting, the payoff is usually worth it when I find out.

Now the backstory is that the image features the intersection of the natural and the technological. This as a concept has always been interesting to me. Our modern city environment is obviously technological and functional, so why don’t we find it comfortable? Is there a trick to this?

Well it turns out, there is. What got me thinking is this Kurzgesagt video:

I created this leaf generator:

…which encodes a file hash as a leaf (or bug if you want), which is a great deal easier to remember and compare than, the numeric hash format. Something similar could probably be done with self-symmetrical (fractal) shapes.

It was a step forward, it made something technological a lot easier to process for a human being. However it wasn’t really… it didn’t really show a way to make technological environments comfortable and intuitive. For this, I would have to realise, that not all things we are born to process encode raw data. It’s not that we find data encoded in a specific way comfortable — we find certain patterns comfortable.

They are, as it turns out, patterns which tell us that an environment we’ve found ourselves in is suitable for life. Let’s take a very simplified example so that I can demonstrate to you. This here, is a landscape:

Any environment we’d encounter and choose to live in would need to have water. In landscapes in nature, the presence of water is demoted by mists. So let’s add mists:

The other component needed for life is sunlight, so let’s add it:

Beautiful, isn’t it? Throw in some self-symmetrical objects, and if you were in a survival situation, and you’d find a place like this, you’d choose to stay there because you found it beautiful. And this would enable you to survive, as the environment would likely be full of life that you could eat and survive off of.

This as it turns out is what I found in that image. It has mists and a sunset. It’s kind of anticlimactic once you know.

Our brains cannot really wrap our minds around the concept of water mains and grow-lights, we need to see water and sunlight to find the place livable. And here while technological systems might find it preferable to have straight lines and clear rules, we need to mix in some sun, water and symmetry and then we’re good!


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