Risky Paradigms

March 20, 1997

Recent events surrounding certain aspects of my life to which I give little weight (job/money, this time) have made me realize that my paradigm regarding such things (things that are necessary, but that I do not care about beyond this fact) may be quite inconsiderate, or at least my implementation of it without warning to those depending on me is.

To look at it at a low level: I take risks. For this example, I let my funds grow dangerously low before looking for a job. At what seemed the last moment, I convinced a manager with whom I had applied a month before to give me the job. Had I not gotten it, I would probably have been eventually kicked out of my apartment.

At a higher level, I was still in control of the situation. This is where the paradigm comes in. I am anal about and competent with optimization. On small scales this shows up most often in computing (both games and programming). But I do it with my life: If something is necessary only as a boolean (such as staying in school, not starving, etc.) then I do only what I need to in order to leave it with a value of 1. Any more work put into it would be a waste of my time and energy. So I tread _extremely_ fine lines between success and failure, lines so fine that often my subconscious is the only thing that knows what the hell I'm doing. People around me get nervous, even I get nervous, but things _always_ work out in the end, by my design. I have come to trust this mechanism, even when it does make me nervous. Perhaps one day it will fail, and the floor will drop out from under me. (Even then, I have security measures built into my life.) But as long as it keeps working, it adds a huge amount of quality to my life by giving me more time for things I want to do rather than for things I have to do.

The problem is that I don't want to be forced to justify this way of living my life to others. I can't ask them to blindly accept that things will work out when I can't explain why they [things] will [work out]. If they understand, great. With that being unlikely, I can only hope that they will be tolerant. Not being accountable to anyone would be ideal, but this is not an ideal world and housemates, for this example, have to depend on each other to some degree, which implies accountability. So I suppose that, to be fair, I should warn anyone who is considering depending on me about this paradigm of mine. Later in my life, there will be fewer such people, which will better justify the freedom that I selfishly insist on having even now. (By "selfishly" I am not implying "wrongly".)

That still leaves one hypothetical quandary: A lifemate. Finding someone who is a Seeker, who can share the directions and triumphs of my life, is difficult (so far impossible) enough. Add to this the condition that she accept that I take the risks inherent in the freedom I demand, and the possibilities for my future love life seem even more bleak. This would have to be one extraordinary person. (Then there's also the need for that ever-elusive "chemistry", which by itself has been enough to prevent any sort of romance.1)

I wonder whether my lack of consideration for others in this regard ties back to my solipsism, or is entirely a product of my freedom-ideal. Or maybe the solipsism is also a result of the freedom-ideal. More things to ponder.

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1. This document was written on March 20, 1997. The bit about lack of romance is outdated by now.

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