So, in the spirit of structured procrastination, I've spent the last half an hour thinking about socialfiction.org's Journal for Patterns Recognised. Herewith some notes for an article which shouldn't get written, but about which I welcome criticism and/or encouragement.
On What It Means To Spot A Pattern
Teleological implications aside, are patterns things which want to be found? If it isn't found, is it a pattern? If it can't be found, is it a pattern?
In finding a pattern, we become familiar with it and its medium (carrier?). Is pattern-ness defined by the process of becoming familiar? Can we become familiar with a pattern-less medium? (And would that familiarity be due to anything other than repetition - another manifestation of pattern?). Is a pattern a collection of similar landmarks?
In "The Pattern On The Stone", Daniel Hillis talks about randomness, information content and entropy (I don't recall if he uses these terms). Does a random image contain more "information" than an image of a face? (Why does it take more bits to store it? Should we think about how to generate it? Is one random thing the same as another, supposing no patterns have been identified which render it non-random?)
Are patterns correspondences? Similarities? Matches? Anything we recognise? Must patterns be regular (in space or time?)
Does recognition mean implication, or causation? (cf. Gladwell's Blink - does correlation imply causation whether we want it to or not?)
Do Christopher Alexander's design patterns or the Gang of Four's analogous object-oriented design patterns work in the same way as knitting patterns? Is a pattern a framework from which we can hang information?
So we have patterns in time - repetitions, echoes and (I suppose) resonance.
So we have patterns as best practice (design/formula), a way of working which we've done before, a record of success or failure (anti-patterns?).
Generative grammars, such as languages. Do they encapsulate, generate, define or represent patterns?
Are we hard-wired for pattern recognition? Are creatures in general? (Zebra Patterns vs Long Grass and mono vision... Fly eyes... Sawipnpg lteters in the mddlie of wdros... turning mouths upside-down on upside-down images... Scott Kim's typographic inversions... Tom Coates' We See Faces In Audio Equipment... moths with eyes on wings... Eddie Izzard's evil pilot fish headlights prank... what does gestalt psychology have to say about all of this?)