What is ergodicity?

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Hey all, I recently picked up House of Leaves and saw someone refer to it as “Ergodic Literature”. I have no clue what this means or what “Ergodic literature” is supposed to mean since ergodicity seems to be a mathematical term? I’m confused, any attempts to explain ergodicity to me would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

In: Mathematics

2 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Ergodicity is a term from mathematics and physics, but the idea can be applied more broadly. In simple terms, ergodicity means that, over a long period, the time you spend in different states or places is proportional to the space those states or places take up. It’s like saying, if you randomly wander around a city long enough, you’ll eventually spend time in all areas of the city in proportion to their size.

Now, how does this apply to literature?

Ergodic literature requires the reader to put in more effort to navigate the text. Unlike traditional books, where you read from start to finish in a linear way, ergodic literature might have you jumping around the text, flipping pages back and forth, or even deciphering complex formats and annotations. The story isn’t just handed to you; you have to actively engage with the structure of the book to understand the full narrative.

So, “House of Leaves” is called ergodic literature because it’s not straightforward to read. You have to interact with the book in a way that makes you more involved in uncovering the story, making the reading experience unique and more immersive.

In essence, ergodic literature makes you work a bit harder, but the payoff is a deeper, more engaging experience.

Anonymous 0 Comments

the other poster already said it but

ergodic is when the time average of something equals the average over all the outcomes/states/possibilities

and it’s relevant because you take a measurement for a limited time and need to know if your measurement really represents the average behavior of a system or if it’s somehow stuck in a state for a while.

i wholely object to it being used in literature and think that’s a criminal misappropriation of the term in a context for which it shouldn’t apply: they tryina soun all fancy n shit… straight to jail! what next quantum literature?