The Mad Hatter

by Janice Kim on March 21, 2012

One thing that humans can do is cut to the beating heart of truth and recognize that something is a hat. Even a child of three, unless feeling mischievous, will resist wearing underwear as a hat, or mistake a hat worn on the hand as a glove. That’s kind of amazingly sophisticated if you think about it – how does the child still know it’s still a hat, even if it’s not worn on the head, or that it’s not a hat even if it is worn on the head? For that matter, how is the child not fooled as to its essential hatness no matter in what nearly infinite combination of colors and shapes it appears? Are hats like pornography, in that we can’t define what it is, but we know it when we see it? Why can’t we program a computer to correctly identify a hat every time, thus replacing the need for a child of three?

We can use this wedge of the hat to pry open the inner workings of the universe, i.e., improve our Go playing. In our last installment, we saw that Spy, a pretty experienced milliner, was trying to figure out how to make his hat look like other hats that he had seen, not realizing that hats do not appear spontaneously in nature, but in fact are made up by other milliners, so it was better for him to make his own hat to fit the occasion rather than rely on one ready-made.

Next, we’ll see how opposing Spy tossed out his fine hat and set to work on an even better one, not realizing that although yes, at one point he had a very fine piece of headgear, the Situation Had Changed, and his head was now uncovered.

At the end, we’ll try to explore the minimalist design concept, trying to see the basic form of the hat even under layers of unnecessary ornament and tissue paper.


In the Beginning

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These Are Not the Droids We Are Looking For

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Minimalism One

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Minimalism Two

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