Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Random # generator

sometimes i feed a beast of compulsion in my head - usually just to appease my own whimsy, but othertimes because i fear the consequences if i do not... that's when i get into trouble. Nevertheless, it is a fun game to play on occasion if you're like me and looking for cheap thrills. One such compulsion lately has manifest itself in the form of my ipod's random mode - please, let me explain...

I have 8064 songs loaded into my ipod, which, i don't know - is something like 3.5 weeks of continuous music. A lot of the music I've amassed has been given to me by friends (i.e., check this out, you'll love these guys, etc.) and so i've often rarely given the music much of a chance in the first place. There are a lot of songs and albums from my own collection to be sure, but there remains a good half of music on the ipod which i simply don't know.

perhaps out of guilt of this feeling of neglecting so many songs and efforts of others that I've never paid for the pleasure of hearing, i am forcing myself to make my way through the entire collection via the ipod's random mode. i don't know how many of you may or may not be familiar with the mechanics of such a mode, but this random mode was done through the "Song" listing on the ipod, which means that when I selected "Random" for my song selections and then began the first track in the listing of all songs on my ipod, the order, while randomly established, is henceforth predetermined.

So far, i've listened to nearly 1100 tracks which is a paltry 13.64% of the entire collection. I listen in one of two places: in my kitchen, where i plug the ipod into a dock and two small speakers i have situated in there, or on my way to and from work and on lunch breaks. It may take a while yet to get through all of this, but it might well be worth it. Who knows what unknown treasures awaitme upon completion - what revelations to the mind and soul!

One thing I've noticed is that my own tendency to find patterns in the random creation of this song listing has concluded that the ipod does tend to clump two songs from a single album within a space of about 50 songs. Also, and perhaps more interestingly, that any "coincidence" i happen upon whilst listening to the music, where it feels as though other forces are at work (i.e., walking past the Dakota and suddenly Lennon's "imagine" comes on), this must be kept in stride with the fact that all of these tracks, the order that they were conceived, are on a predetermined course of destiny (my listening to them). Therefore, whatever chance thought I might have that connects the music I'm listening to my own thoughts and realizations is purely coincidental.

Or is it? Is it, now just wait, perchance that the ipod's "random" mode is just a smaller and more concrete example of my own sense of choice, of "free will?" Meaning just this - is it possible that my own thoughts and actions are predetermined by a random number generator beyond my control?

We all want to believe that we are in control of our own destiny, but sometimes, it seems that someone else has pushed the random button. I just hope they listen to all the songs before the machine gets shut down.

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Blogger Matthew said...

Literally, two hours after this post, my ipod battery died as i was leaving work, thus resetting the random count and so my experiment was not fully realized. Perhaps for the best - there are some times when one is not in the mood for Nine Inch Nails or Tom Waits.

6:33 PM  
Anonymous enigmatic response said...

God does not play dice with the universe.

10:44 AM  

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