April ’22: Patterns and Pandoras

Thejus Chakravarthy
4 min readApr 28, 2022


One of the more horrible side effects of the information age is the ability to see patterns. Not because these patterns never existed before. It’s just that now the evidence and data points are so easy to come by, we can ‘see’ these patterns in uncompromising charts and chibi-infographics.

For example: A situation is bad. A group of people coordinate their efforts and create an institution to fix it. The situation becomes good, even for those who didn’t work on fixing it. Now, people don’t believe the situation could ever be bad. The institution loses support and falls apart. And the situation becomes bad again.

In some sociology or psychology classes, this might be a case study or two. Heck, talk to enough Old Folk and they’ll give you examples of that situation. But, since it’s just hand-wavy, anecdotal stuff, you don’t have to take it as Fact.

But now? There’s the math to prove it and that makes it a measurable pattern and that makes it horrible because now we see the pothole, and we are fully aware that we are driving towards it.

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

Another example is our dear friend, global warming. Or climate change. Or whatever euphemism helps. (planet’s on fire, yo)

On the one hand, you could easily choke to death on the data. Or you could see it happen to babies, if a heartstring-plucking narrative is what it takes.

On the other hand, there was/is so much money on the table that none of the major players are willing to fold their hand. Even if they may not have a choice.

There’s also the impact of plastics, the robotization of marginalized labor, and the ever-present, “no war but class war

But the other side effect of the information age is proof of the last thing in Pandora’s box.

Turning the detritus of generational failures into fuel, finding alternatives to making more failures, and even being aware of how arbitrary separations affect critical parts of the ecosystem

And as you groove on these posi vibes, remember it’s just one part of a larger pattern.

Photo by James McDonald on Unsplash

Even with the power of supercomputers running at the edge of imagination, we reinvent ‘the bus’. Instead of ‘stable misunderstandings’, we tend towards comforting echo chambers of monoculture. In these echo chambers, we become more aggressive, and inflict the sins of old (like eugenics) on the ones we love.

So while we may perform acts of alchemy, we still barely understand how we understand

So, what’s a human to do? All this information is tearing down assumptions and building up others. All this information is still processed by fallible human brains. And the stable, simple world of the past is now some sort of non-Euclidean galaxy of potentials.

We might get lossless encrypted communication with a side of hyper-intrusive advertising.

We might hit the point where cameras become always on, always in focus, almost invisible sensors that generate a complete electromagnetic profile. And what will that mean for privacy?

But, we might finally overcome our own hubris. After all, evolution has resulted in creatures that manipulate and make use of the electromagnetics in ways it took us MILLENIA to discover, and that we still can’t use efficiently. If that doesn’t kneecap the hubris, I’m sure something else will.

So, what do we do? I have no idea. Too much information can be depressing, too little can be dangerous, and there’s no easy way to figure out the balance.

But I have hope.

Photo by Artak Petrosyan on Unsplash

In our species, in what we have done, and in what we will do. So my choice is to keep looking for patterns, to keep wading into the information, to keep looking for the next Great Thing, the next Oh God What Is That, and even the next …Huh?

Because the only way out is through and the past is already gone.



Thejus Chakravarthy

if i’m not optimizing some operations puzzle or the other, i’m probably reading (or writing, apparently)