Journal Entry. Saturday, 11 February. Moore’s Law. Sod’s Law. Everything that is possible is happening all at once.
I had my RA interview today. I bungled it up. It seems the limits of human stupidity are infinite- I am abundant evidence of this. I walked into the room with my phone on.
Murphy’s Quantum Law states that anything that can, could have, or will go wrong, is going wrong, all at once. If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe then it will.
A few minutes into my RA interview lo and behold, my phone rang. It was mortifying.
But it gets even worse.
While Murphy’s law says that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong (eventually), Sod’s law requires that it always goes wrong with the worst possible outcome.
And it did.
I completely misinterpreted the interview question in the first activity and fashioned my own question in its stead. I read somewhere about some bias that explains how this might have happened. I have always been told by my friends and the people who aspire to know me most intimately that I should consider going into politics one day, and perhaps I will. The true mark of a good politician is the ability to answer any question, if only by refashioning the question into one they find more friendly and works to their advantage. My little mistake was to nobody’s advantage. Still, I am happy with how my day went overall.
What a beautiful thing it is to be happy on my own. A friend cut me off yesterday, and in its own way, that was liberating. My mind is free to dwell on other things, and my heart is spared of the heartache and risk that defines trusting in another person. No more breaking the butterfly upon the wheel. I liked to think that the human heart’s capacity to endure suffering was limitless. I am now more infatuated with a theory elasticity.
Elasticity has limits. As does the amount of suffering the human heart can bear. Either that, or the amount of suffering we are willing to bear has limits. I want to believe this because Viktor Frankl described a limitless human spirit in his book Man’s Search for meaning and his psychological analysis of his experience as tyranny’s subject in the holocaust camps of this last century.
Frankl said something in his book along the lines of
“Yet it is possible to practice the art of living even in a concentration camp, although suffering is omnipresent. . .”
Frankl’s words lead me to think that we can learn to live with suffering and tolerate it like an unwelcome friend at our breakfast table but 3 spaces away.
Still, someone might ask why I would aspire to a life of tolerance. I think we all must choose which of our annoying friends we shall invite to our breakfast tables and how far we want them to sit. Breakfast just isn’t as fun when it is a solitary affair. Life isn’t either in my experience.
I had a really deep conversation with Gracie today about religion and the nature of belief. Without knowing it, we talked about Descartes’ demon and the Dreaming problem. How do I know I am not dreaming? What do I know without a doubt is true? For my generation, this last question feels important. I am asking myself whether there are any absolute truths. I am inclined to think not; for in everything, there is as much fact of the truth as there is of the opposite.
On dreams, I read this article today, it said;
“The opening sentence of a novel sets up a pact with the reader: it says that what is about to be described didn’t happen in reality but starting now we will act as if it had.” A pact to lie.
I am reminded of the Liar’s paradox. I am a liar. Am I?
How I agree with this. Every work of fiction I have ever read is a lie, and as I first read it, the author and I made a pact to never acknowldge that everything we were aboutu to share with each other was a lie. Their singular job, to deceive me. So many of us make similar pacts with the people in our lives every day. It is easier to be deceived than to face the truth. The truth is seldom beautiful. It is something everyone thinks they want to hear until they actually hear it.
Here’s a definition of elastic limit I really liked. For the non-physicist like me.
Elastic limit: the maximum stress or force per unit area within a solid material that can arise before the onset of permanent deformation.