Patterns & a Monster in the Clouds

There is something fundamental in the human mind that inspires us to see patterns everywhere. We see Elvis in a piece of toast, a monster in the clouds and gods & heroes in the stars.

There’s no doubt that seeing, and seeking out, patterns was important as we evolved into brainy creatures tapping away at keyboards and organizing and curating everything we experience to share on social media. The pattern-seeking imperative runs deep.

Imagine seeing movement in the tall grass and realizing a predator is running toward you or looking up at the night sky and seeing how the constellation of stars on the horizon change with the seasons. Seeing those patterns, and changes in those patterns, is part of being human.

Of course this inclination to see patterns, to make sense of the chaotic nature of the universe, also makes us see Elvis in a piece of burned toast. We want neat explanations, perfect conspiracy theories, loose ends tied up on the last page of a story and —most of all— we want things to make sense. In fiction, the backstory of serial killers always provides a neat explanation for outsized evil.

In real life people do extraordinarily bad things for meager reasons or no reason at all. Justifying violence on the basis of imperatives rooted in religion and politics is another monster in the clouds —a creation, invention or excuse as scary as any nightmare experienced by our ancestors looking up at the night sky for the comfort of a reason for everything.

Seeing things, seeing pictures, is part of who we are. So, I continue to look for creature in the clouds and an occasional science fiction alien in my morning coffee.




  1. I wonder if our ability to see patterns is the true definition of what we are as humans? That talent goes way beyond logic into a realm where our minds can somehow fill in the gaps, even when there are more gaps that facts. I truly believe our subconscious is a million times more powerful than the conscious brain. Pity we can’t harness it more. 🙂

    • Candy Korman

      I think there are a few science fiction stories about harnessing that extra power. Perhaps it’s time for a new one? Maybe from A.C.Flory?

      That being said, I agree about humanity and our ability, desire and overwhelming need, to see or create patterns everywhere. It has furthered science, created civilizations and caused uncountable conflicts, too. It is at the heart of being human and that’s enormous and loaded with potential for good and evil.

  2. I like to look at the relationships of cause and effect in the world around me. I always find it interesting when patterns repeat, especially when we have blocked out the similarities in our own minds. Of course all of this might lead to my general sense of paranoia. But is it really paranoia when they are actually out to get you?

    • Candy Korman

      The paranoia joke is an oldie, but goodie because it resonates with our “Pattern-Seeking” human habits. We see out the conspiracy theories, the patterns that explain the inexplicable, and everything else. A general sense of paranoia is also very much a part of the human condition. We are creatures looking up at Zeus on Olympus and asking “why?” And turning around and doing all the zany & human things Zeus and company did in their stories. LOL