Simulated Annealing

Not in the context of mechanics, but in the pursuit of our ideal story/life, we apply SA by seeking randomness and incorporating them into our lives, be it novel experiences and encounters, until we've arrived at the highest level of personal (and subjective) satisfaction. A form of such interpretation and application is explored in "Algorithms to Live By".

In looking at an individual's lifespan, this method is an interesting generalization to describe novelty-seeking behaviour and how and when we decide to settle. It makes me wonder, however, whether this heuristic takes into account how, in reality and within this differently applied context, the global optimum may potentially be fleeting, mostly because there may be unexpected and unpredictable future values that may overtake the once-deemed global optimum, converting it to the local optimum. Perhaps, then, this application is only a loose heuristic, valid up to the point in which we are certain about the future or in the case that we are willing to reject all future values to have any weight in the current status quo once that ideal optimum has been reached.

Regardless, it's an interesting analogy, translating the local maximum to mean happiness and satisfaction, with continuous pursuits in between for the next best thing, and the global maximum to possibly mean one's fulfillment in life. 

We often come across the question "Are you fulfilled?". This question may mean different things at different cross-sections in life. For example, if you answered yes, and you've lived 25% of your life, it's quite possible that you're thinking you've reached the global maximum, but you may find yourself in the process of searching again, unless you've absolutely decided for yourself that you are settling at that quarter life point and intend to live the remainder 75% of your life stagnant. which is rather sad. This cross section is different compared to having answered yes at the 75% life-lived point. If you've answered no, then keep on searching. 

At the 100% life-lived point (and I mostly refer to the lives of those who didn't have their life cut short), we all may face the question "Did you live a fulfilled life?". While we hope that everyone at this stage in life answers yes, it's highly possible that upon reflection, individuals may answer with a no. What this may mean is that, in converting our levels of life satisfaction into data points, we may leave this Earth believing that there were better points to reach, and there is no longer time to obtain those points.

But maybe the whole interpretation of how satisfied one is with life is so subjective, that plotting datapoints to determine local and global maximas as a representation of one's level of happiness and fulfilment is, from the get-go, flawed. The frequency, height and amplitude of the peaks may certainly tell you something about a person's search for and interaction with happiness/fulfilment, but these data points do not tell you how an individual internally comes to terms with these life events. The objective accomplishes only so much. 

On Human Reconsideration

"By their very nature, human beings are so capricious, so complex, so delightfully contradictory, that they deserve not only our consideration, but our reconsideration—and our unwavering determination to withhold our opinion until we have engaged with them in every possible setting at every possible hour." - A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Q: Instant Gratification

Currently thinking about the millennial dilemma and our generation's struggle characteristics to balance short-term and long-term goals in fast-changing times. 

Does our generation carry the reputation that we do as a result of readily accessible information paving the way for the emergence of instant gratification seeking tendencies? 

The Characteristics of Original Thinkers

Came across this Ted Talk by Adam Grant today. It's an interesting take on the attributes that underlie creatives and innovative thinkers: Watch it here.

"So if you put all this together, what you see is that originals are not that different from the rest of us. They feel fear and doubt. They procrastinate. They have bad ideas. And sometimes, it's not in spite of those qualities but because of them that they succeed.

So when you see those things, don't make the same mistake I did. Don't write them off. And when that's you, don't count yourself out either. Know that being quick to start but slow to finish can boost your creativity, that you can motivate yourself by doubting your ideas and embracing the fear of failing to try, and that you need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones."

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." - Søren Kierkegaard

2017: The Simple Theories

2016 already drifted away into the far distance waving goodbye at us, slightly fatigued, but dreamy-eyed. Tucked away in its chest pocket are bold words and letters messily scribbled away in a thick leather-bound journal. There were pivotal moments this past year - the late night elections stirring up a world-wide maelstrom, the continuing war of ideologies, the shifting of community dynamics through merging and diverging relationships, and new scientific and technological breakthroughs leaving new and old generations both starry-eyed and concerned. These moments are to be remembered and archived to propel us into the next events that define the shape and condition of our world. And as the world changes for the better, there are changes at the personal level that are equally important, because the imprint of our existence is at stake on the pathway of the horizon.  

If there are things I've learned compounded over the past 25 years, it's to shed life of the complexities and look to the deep-rooted fundamentals of humanity. And as we learn from our past, we form the frameworks of our lives, destroy existing assumptions and create new ones suited for our immediate time and environment. The new year is always a good checkpoint to reflect, review and revisit the fabric of our identity and how it stitches together with those of others surrounding us. 

1. Be grateful for all forms of novelty in your life - it helps you learn and grow
2. When you're not learning, be explorative and question yourself. This is a junction for you to reflect and re-evaluate how to escape from the status quo
3. Think about the consequences, but don't be overly cautious because it's impossible to predict every outcome; instead, be prepared to ride the ripples
4. Stay curious - it takes a lot of motivation to repeatedly find fascination in our everyday. Be investigative and ask the why's
5. Appreciate the potential of each individual in your community
6. Unconditionally love your family and your closest friends
7. Keep in touch
8. Holding onto your passions will get you through dull moments that you may encounter in life