2. my concept
most beautiful snowflake: what is beautiful, anyway?
(And why are we asking such fatuous questions?) A computer program
is well-equipped for mathematical beauty -- creating snowflakes
of infinite fractal detail, and even perfecting random noise,
if that is called for in this algorithmic recipe.
a good idea comes from perspective. Stepping outside of MIT, there
is a sense that mathematical beauty loses its taste. It is too
pure, too ersatz. Out in the world, what we find most beautiful
are natural imperfections, idiosyncrasies, and our best testimony
to this are people. People are beautiful, on all levels,
and idiosyncrasy is central to our endearing quality. As Joseph
Campbell once said,
only way you can describe a human being truly is by describing
his, or her imperfections. The perfect human being is uninteresting…it
is the imperfections of life that are loveable."
as Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection, we might also
find the most beautiful snowflake as that which mirrors our own
soul. So I decided on the following concept for my snowflake:
am a beautiful snowflake*
most beautiful snowflake, is you, and the people you
care about. The nonesuch secret to your beauty are your imperfections,
and really, no mathematical snowflake could come close; no random
number generator could generate idiosyncrasies as complex and
loveable as yours.
make this happen, to put you into the snowflake (and to do this
with a simple computer program), I decided on a goal of offering
your person in poetic description. I would write a program capable
of composing a short ode or limerick about you, and cleverly arrange
the lines of the text such that, when the text is replicated six-fold
and arranged into a circle, your graphical snowflake emerges.
So this is what I did. Read on.