All posts by michaelpwolf

The Dharma of 47-115

Baltimore drew first in this year’s draft, having had by far the worst record in the MLB last year. No surprise, they took Adley Rutschman, the consensus top pick from Oregon State. An article in the Baltimore Sun covered the story, and included some details about a growing trend among coaching staffs to teach players about “mudita.” This is a central idea in Buddhism, and while it does not translate neatly to English, you might say “joy at the joy of others” – to immediately and wholeheartedly embrace what is good in your world, regardless of how it may benefit you personally. Many coaches worry about an increasingly individualistic culture in their various sports, and think the lessons might counteract that. (By implication, Rutschman seems to have been at a program where some of this happened.)

And on hearing this little bit of borrowing from Buddhism, I thought, “Yes, yes.  Who better than the Orioles to draw from a religious tradition whose central tenet is that all existence is suffering?”

The Seven and Seven Conjecture

When I was thirteen, sitting in the hallway between classes in what felt like an interminable school day, the following occurred to me.


I think it’s true, having tried it to as many decimal places as I could muster the energy for a couple decades ago. Not enough training in number theory to generate a real proof for it, though.  (Maybe more striaghtforward to prove that the series without the sevens converges on 1/49?)  Not enough historical knowledge to say if it’s just a spin on another idea already out there.  But there it is, I guess.

Scatomancy Defined

scat•o•man•cy |ˈskatəˌmansē| noun.

The ability to anticipate, generate, and deploy bullshit, particularly for one’s own ends in the exercise of policies within vertically organized institutional structures.

“My scatomancy was really tested this month by that proposal.”

Ornette Coleman

Ornette Coleman died today. I am saddened that the universe no longer includes him, and heartened by the thought that it once did. When I was 15 years old, broke and bored in a world without a car or an Internet, the local library’s vinyl collection held high a tiny torch of hope. And there in the racks was Ornette, carving a new world out of the empty air. Maybe it was Song X I heard first, but Free Jazz and The Shape of Jazz to Come weren’t far behind. Like all those who move me – philosophers, musicians, and the rest – he showed what was possible as though I was invited to play and think and create with it. He taught me that there is a fearlessness born out of joy, not just anger. That a world in flux can be embraced, not just feared. That there are ways of living without feeling the ground beneath your feet in which you are flying, not just falling. That there is always more music to play.