Friday, 29 June 2012

Jumpsuit, Ronson, Hofstadter



Here's an outfit picture! I haven't posted one in so long, and I am sorry about that. It's not that I haven't been wearing anything worth taking a picture of (the idea of not-picture-worthy outfits is fundamentally flawed, and against everything that style blogging is about, right?); I guess I've simply been too busy, and taking pictures hasn't felt like a priority. Also, one alienates oneself from taking outfit pictures surprisingly quickly. When the routine is gone, one starts to think of all sorts of reasons for why not taking a picture and/or not  writing a post about one's own clothes makes more sense. Anywhoo, here I am, today, wearing a Marimekko jumpsuit. It is new. I saw it at the Marimekko store in Finland, fell in love with it, and tried very hard to reason myself out of buying it. (Too expensive, impractical.) But the love felt too sincere, too intense to pass. Perhaps it was just a sales pitch, but the sales assistant said to me that too often people forget to buy happy clothes. We sometimes focus too much on neutral items, things that just make sense, things that are in our comfort zone. There was no denying that I'd been taking clothing a little bit too seriously for the last couple of months, and there was no denying that this jumpsuit was a happy piece of clothing. So much for reasoning! I bought the jumpsuit and have been wearing it happily. Here's a cat-hair-filled close-up of the pattern:



Aside from frolicking around in my jumpsuit, organizing our move and all the random things that go with it, I've also been reading. (Yay!) I read Jon Ronson's The Psychopath Test last week. The book is a fascinating story about Ronson's investigations in the world of psychopathy and the way some forms of mental illness were/are diagnosed, treated and understood back in the day/today. Ronson's writing is effortless, humane and entertaining, full of interesting anecdotes and questions about what it means to be a human being, what it means to be "crazy", and what it means to have authority over mental illness.


Ronson's journey included a brief encounter with Douglas R. Hofstadter, the author of Gödel, Escher, Bach, (the Pulizer-winning mammoth of a book published in 1979) and strangely enough, I had just walked past Gödel, Escher, Bach in the bookstore a little earlier. I had taken a mental note of the odd title of the book, but that was it. What were the chances of me coming by GEB in a book I had randomly chosen to read, only an hour later? I took this as an encouraging sign of some sorts, and decided to embark on a mission to read GEB, despite the fact that the book is filled with what to me look like mathematical equations and scary-looking diagrams. The book is about what Hofstadter calls Strange Loops - self-referencing systems and ideas that deal with creation of identity and self-awareness, the "I" in things animate and inanimate. The book deals with mathematics, Artificial Intelligence, logic, paradoxes... all sorts of interesting things. I am able to read perhaps ten - fifteen pages in one go, and then my brain starts to ache, which makes me think that I haven't been challenging my mind lately. (It appears that wearing a patterned jumpsuit isn't the only way one can escape one's own comfort zone!) Since Hofstadter writes about Escher's art and its "strange loopiness", I am also spending some time looking at Le Monde de M.C. Escher. I am also planning to look up Bach's fugues, which are also discussed in GEB


Apart from reading and my other goings-on, I've been following this spider on our backyard for the past couple of days. Its web is growing every day. I can't help wondering if he's aware of his actions, if he is just a part of some inexplicable system, and if Escher might have found spiderwebs inspiring!


And then there is Audrey. I think I've come to the conclusion, with the help of Jon Ronson's discussion of Bob Hare's Psychopath Checklist, that she is not a psychopath.  


5 comments:

Jess said...

Ah, I read The Psychopath Test a couple of weeks ago, after hearing Jon Ronson read an excerpt of it on This American Life. Such an enjoyable book. I really liked the effort he put into conveying the potential for ambiguity when it comes to mental disorders - the idea that someone could (in good faith) be diagnosed with something they might not have, or that people don't quite fit diagnoses they have been given, or that two people could have the same diagnosis but very different symptoms - that sort of thing. Given the research I do in my line of work is ultimately about furthering our understanding of mental health, I really appreciate seeing someone really making the effort to communicate the subtleties and ambiguities that people have to deal with every day when it comes to mental health. Plus Jon Ronson's fantastically dry sense of humour makes it all the better a read.

I tried reading Gödel, Escher, Bach years and years ago, but I think I ended up running out of time to read it as I had to return it to the library. I shall have to give it another go!

Terri said...

Hm, it is curious to consider whether the spider has any sort of self-awareness.

I must say that I like the sales clerk's sales pitch. The Marimekko fits you so well.

Shey said...

Such happy colors Waves! I'm so glad you're feeling more freedom about buying things you love. It's been quite a journey from your posts back in the begging of your blog and where you are now. I've followed your blog for a couple of years and I've always loved your honest posts about shopping and your feelings towards the subject. Hope everything in the move is running smoothly, once you are home in Finland I'd love to see pictures of your new place. Best wishes! =)

blackdogramona said...

You look happy in the jumpsuit, and it looks happy on you. If our clothes are for more than modesty and warmth then let them bring us joy!

Claire said...

Wow, kinda obscure and truly interesting! I hadn't run into a blog reference to GEB before, which I studied in college (math major). I was just culling books over the weekend, wondering if I should finally pass it along. It ended up in the donate pile but now you're making me want to pull it out again and join you! I may consider this a sign(post), haha.

Also, after reading a few of you entries, I see you are preparing to move overseas. My husband and I spent a year in Germany (absolutely fell in love with it), and have spent the last 3 years moving within the continental US, so I am relating to you in that undertaking as well. :)

One last thing - I so agree about fun clothes. I've had to go the extreme practical route lately as I continue massive home decluttering (I expect another move as early as next year). I miss the fun of clothes, but it's necessary for me right now. Glad to see your fun/happy pieces here, thanks!