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.