Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Philip Witt has come up with a diverting idea for a life-hack:
In theories of computation there are two broad categories of model: deterministic and non-deterministic. Deterministic models make choices based on inputs; a simple example, the input is two and therefore the model moves to state two. The next input would be three, which would then perhaps mean that the model outputs the letter "p" and then stops. On the other hand, a non-deterministic model would make no such choice. The model splits into more than one reality whereby it takes all possible choices simultaneously; that is, steps toward all possible states simultaneously. It continues this until all possible outputs/end states are reached.

In my mind, finding a passion (taking one route) is a lot like the deterministic model; but I would suggest trying the non-deterministic approach. Write down all goals you might like to achieve or simply have to complete, both big and small, from "kick my smoking habit" to "finish my homework" to "write the short film script I have wondering around my brain", and then just go about your day as usual. If everything you could ever possibly want to achieve is in that list, then you are always working towards your goals.
I am 100% in favour of this sort of strategy. If you are ever feeling just a touch blue for example, may I recommend spending a day in which you address everyone you meet as Elvis, that never fails to cheer me up.

For a deeper funk, I prescribe a day of believing in everything by sheer willpower. Going to work in a world where there is gold at the end of the rainbow, and every chance of courtly love, dragons, chivalry, magic, and trolls at lunchtime can never be dull.


John said...

The principle of generating small amounts of finite improbability by simply hooking the logic circuits of a Bambleweeny 57 sub-meson Brain to an atomic vector plotter suspended in a strong Brownian Motion producer (say a nice hot cup of tea) were of course well understood - and such generators were often used to break the ice at parties by making all the molicules in the hostess's undergarments leap simultaneously one foot to the left, in accordance with the Theory of Indeterminacy.

Many respectable physicists said that they weren't going to stand for this - partly because it was a debasement of science, but mostly because they didn't get invited to those sort of parties.

Another thing they couldn't stand was the perpetual failure they encountered in trying to construct a machine which could generate the infinite improbability field needed to flip a spaceship across the mind-paralysing distances between the furthest stars, and in the end they grumpily announced that such a machine was virtually imposssible.

Then, one day, a student who had been left to sweep up the lab after a particulary unsuccessful party found himself reasoning this way:

If, he thought to himself, such amachine is a virtual impossibility, then it must logically be a finite improbability. So all I have to do in order to make one, is to work out exactly how improbable it is, feed that figure into the finite improbability generator, give it a fresh cup of really hot tea ... and turn it on!

He did this, and was rather startled to discover that he had managed to create the long sought after golden Infinite Improbability generater out of thin air.

It startled him even more when just after he was awarded the Galactic Institute's Prize for Extreme Cleverness he got lynced by a rampaging mob of respectable physicists who had finally realized that the one thing they really couldn't stand was a smartass.

Nick Browne said...

How about affirmative boredom as something life enhancing (see Icons passim)?