v30: Influencing Randomness and The Whole Big Thing (TWBT)

“The more equally attractive two alternatives seem, the harder it can be to choose between them – no matter that, to the same degree, the choice can only matter less.” -Edward Fredkin

One of my favorite things to think about is something we can call, “the whole big thing.”  Basically, TWBT is that illusion of the end.  It’s where you arrive and get everything you want (or think you want at this moment).  It’s natural to think that goals lead to TWBT, but they neglect the role of chance, iteration, and habit.

Habits are interesting because they can become leverage for moving in a desired direction.  Small actions that compound are easier to continue than big sweeping changes.  Those small actions become even more powerful when they’re built into every day.

The real power of habits is that they help manifest the chance you want.  Even though we think we have control over our lives, we tend to underestimate the role of randomness.  Habits are kind of like a random number generator with a bias.  What you focus on and then practice on a daily basis will permeate other aspects of your life.  You’ll find yourself going down paths that you never would have found or even imagined when you started.  The ability to influence randomness brings us to the problem with TWBT.

Even though TWBT is important, we give it too much significance.  Some part of life is just randomness.  All we can really do is influence the nature of the randomness.  We make decisions (or don’t) in the present based on TWBT, but it’s nearly impossible to know what TWBT really looks like.

Additionally, focusing on TWBT is paralyzing.  It’s easy to avoid taking action because we don’t know where it will lead.  Even worse, we don’t always know what we want.  Sometimes we just need to act and those actions influence our personal randomness.

Rather than thinking about TWBT, think about what you want to be doing tomorrow.  If you look forward a few years, what habits do you want to be practicing?  Is there some reason you can’t start those now?

If you’re feeling crippled by TWBT, you should check out this article.  It says that it might not matter as much as you think.

 

Miscellany:

My daily painting habit has led me down some interesting paths.  I’m increasingly interested in Geometric Abstraction, Randomness, and Generative Art . . . click here for more on that.

 

This Phil Hansen TED Talk about embracing limitations gives us reason to reconsider what we think is holding us back.

 

Friday night was always pizza night until I stopped eating cheese.  Now I get to look forward to stuff like this instead:

 

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