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Mdeii Life - Anand Krishnamoorthi's blog

Monday, May 26, 2008

Woe, and a quest for reasonable explanations

Miracles don't happen, accepted. But what about coincidences, regression to the mean, blind luck, or generally positive randomness? You know, the stuff that makes people believe in miracles. What if they don't seem to be working as well? If things just happen to be one steep descent into the darkness, you think there is something really screwy and sinister, and this tends to make you believe in sabotage and conspiracies.

Now in my coldly moral scheme of things, imagined persecution and miracles both occupy roughly the same place. But somehow social reinforcement and a general optimism places miracles at a higher pedestal with a sincere incentive to believe in it.

That leaves me in a bit of trouble doesn't it? You would call that the optimists curse.

The relentless string of flops, disappointments, shocks, and hurdles would then have to be understood as being part of an even larger randomness, and that I have not given it sufficient time or space to even out. Or maybe, and it is quite possible, this rough patch (if it ever ends) is actually a long overdue 'correction' for all the 'miracles' that have happened before.

So, being a recipient of good fortune in the past comes back to bite as well. Shit!

One way is to not look at the 'fruits of labour' at all, and transform the optimism miracle-belief into a total surrender to its will. Vaishnavism is so damn tempting, just that it would involve Iyengars!

The other option would be to abandon optimism, and endure the great levelling with a Hobbesian resignation. I might be getting it wrong here, but I have a strong suspicion that this quasi-essentialist argument would combine with some amount of reasonable self-pity to drive me to eventually clamor for theothernilu's proposed Bastard Quota. That is way too off my taste, even in the worst of times.

For a self-proclaimed optimist, I do seem to be able to only divine rather nasty options for myself. Could just be the sign of the times. Or probably I just need to go get a life!

PS: Now wait! I might be getting the entire premise wrong. What if there is no 'great levelling'? What if the randomness is not Gaussian, yet not chaotically so, but exhibits a stable Paretian trend? Hmm... I think I need to think about that. Maybe optimism is not that bad after all. Now how do I go about measuring these things?


10:19 am

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Comments to Woe, and a quest for reasonable explanations

I think what you need is Stoicism (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/stoicism/)

Also try my own brand of Positive Pessimism. Expect everything to go wrong and be happy about it. :D

posted by Blogger VikramAdith 

2:25 pm, May 26, 2008
 

poodhum da ...

posted by Blogger Jillu Madrasi 

7:26 pm, June 03, 2008
 

you make iyengars as a clan sound pretty scaly - why the aversion?

posted by Anonymous Anonymous 

5:16 am, August 06, 2008
 

Daai, unna nerla paathu pesikaren.

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