We live in a complex world


I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. Not about my normal stuff, I think I’m feeling a bit down from not having much of a social life out here – had a friend in town likely sparked that a bit. Life’s complicated. We don’t live in a nice neat linear world where the good guy wins because the author wants it to be that way (or talks about how they should have written the series differently after making billions).

The world we live in is complex. Seemingly random decisions can impact the rest of your life. A flip of a coin over which grad program to go to, a roll of the die to pick between 4 jobs after college, living with all new people my freshman year at Pitt, even the decision to go to Pitt over anywhere else were all fairly haphazard and without much of a plan. I went with a lot of gut feelings with those choices. They’ve all lead me on pretty crazy and interesting adventures. If I hadn’t lived on the 9th floor in Tower A I would never have ended up living with 5 girls my Junior Year and none of the adventures all of my friends had there would have happened.

We don’t like complexity. We like to think that the path that we’re on was the one we were always destined to be on. It’s very nice and easy to look at the complex history of technology, science, and society to think that our current culture was pre-ordained in some manner. So many different choices could have dramatically altered where we are now. Just one of those decisions I mentioned above would likely have altered my life and everyone I’ve met since dramatically. This thought really struck me while I was watching an Episode of Cosmos. Essentially the entire German lens industry hinged on a SINGLE arbitrary moment of kindness from a Prince and soon to be King.

We punish people that remind us of complexity. Think of all the times people talk about “Flip-Flopping” in politics. You get punished for changing your mind because you’ve learned more. When I’m at my most arrogant I like to think that I’ve been really consistent with my thinking since as far as I can remember, but I know that’s not true. I’ve learned a lot and met a ton of new people, there’s no way I could NOT have been influenced and changed what I believed about a topic.

All these thoughts have been rattling around my head because they are essentially making me ask, yet again, what do I want out of life. I have a good job, I’m buying a house, I have a great wife, but what do I want?

I’m working on learning programming so I can start a company, it’s slow going, but it’s going at least. I want to write a book, but that’s even slower going – I’m finding with my current schedule I don’t have time to do both, let alone have a life outside of spending time with my wife’s friends. That being said, I think I need to do some soul searching on where I want my career as well as my social life.

Any thoughts?

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