Why you should ignore Cosmetic Problems

So I’m watching the first season of The West Wing and the White House staff are interviewing a young African-American teenager for the position of Personal Aid to the President. Josh Lyman, the Deputy Chief of Staff, is concerned that it will look poor for a ‘young black kid’ to ‘wait’ on the President. Leo McGary, the Chief of Staff says that he has held doors open for the President and considers it an honour, Josh retorts that it’s not the same holding The Presidents overnight bag. They, despite the cosmetic implications realise that it’s not casting (the irony considering it is a television show) and they simply get the right person for the job.

Leo then asks Admiral Percy Fitzwallace (also African-American) if he has a problem with a young black man waiting on The President. He says “are you going to pay him a decent wage?”, “are you going to treat him with respect in the workplace?” Leo replies yes to both and Fitzwallace responds with; “Why the hell should I care? I have some real honest to God battles to fight and I don’t have time for the cosmetic ones.

I don’t normally post without my own conclusion on something but I think the point is demonstrated beautifully and hopefully is self evident.

Freak or Idiot?

Given the choice which would you prefer to be, Freak or Idiot?

Firstly what type of freak? The word means something that is a strange deviation from nature. So freak would be a ball falling upwards which is a deviation from the natural phenomenon known as gravity. The question doesn’t poise a definition of the type of freak we would be so we don’t know and presumably upon making the choice between the options we would find out.

Choosing to be an idiot would mean loosing ones sense of the world and the ability to comprehend reasoning. So using a remote control would be out of the question as you couldn’t understand how it would affect the television. So the simple pleasure of sitting back and watching a television would be out of the question.

For some freakish things, if you so choose, they can be adjusted, they don’t necessarily have to be but if it can then you have that option available to you. As with everything in life a karma must be maintained; “there is no such thing as a free lunch” so it might not be easy.

If you’re an idiot then unfortunately you can’t change that, you can’t learn so whatever you did know or were allowed to remember as an idiot would be the majority of what you would know for the rest of your life. Idiocy is always a permanent thing.

The root consequence is a choice between permanent idiocy with an uncertainty about how much you would remember and freakdom with a complete random chance of anything happening, it could be something as little as 12 fingers or as big as fur all over your body, no eyes, ears and nose or the lack of lungs and thus death.

So it’s a choice between a fixed and random fate. Of course both could be fixed fates if you believe in destiny put for simplicities sake on this particular choice I choose not to believe in it.

With all this in mind which would you rather be, Freak or Idiot?


There are many things available for free that everybody has in some form or another. The time for example; a Rich Person would have a highly expensive watch or an aboriginal could tell you by looking at the Sun. In either case I’m sure they would tell you without cost.

There are more important properties than that though, and most of them are intangible. Among my favourites are Freedom and Honour. Freedom, in all its forms, can be taken away, its happened extensively throughout history and I’m not qualified to quantify it. The other, honour, I am quite happy to talk about.

A person’s behaviour, attitude, and honesty all play big parts in someone’s honour. Someone who acts wrongly but has the best of intentions has honour, someone who is caught lying about it does not. There are many aspects to honour, a trait that is less a less represented by the person but by little bits of paper marked with “CV“, resumé and ‘balance’.

All too often society, even individuals shun someone who on one occasion acted rudely, even inappropriately but for the other 364 days in the year has been a upstanding individual. People have started to forget a person’s honour and how important it is. So next time someone ticks you off think how long you’ve known them and whether their reason for being that way was well intended but was received poorly.

You’ve already made the choice

Pre-determination implies there is a plan for the Universe, a fixed route to get from the past to the future. In this type of Universe no accidents occur because they were all suposed to happen and although we think we are making choices we’re not, we’re just conforming to the plan.

In The Matrix amongst all the protagonist’s abilities he had the ability of foresight, this gift was only for events within the matrix and its machinery but not the real world. How does this apply to us?

In an enclosed environment if you know everything that effects an object and you know all the objects in an environment then you can predict the outcome. In an imaginary frictionless box you place a ball and give it a nudge the ball will bounce around and keep doing so. You can predict the bounces if you know what angle the ball was nudged at and thus route the path before it happens. Adding another ball just means that it’s more complicated, both paths have to be plot to the same duration and when they bounce the directions calculated. Its harder work but it is possible with enough time and thought.

The Matrix was a realtime occurring environment, so more events were occurring every second, but agents and thus the Matrix itself have limits so if you’ve got a faster processor (such as your brain) then you can run the same events faster and find the outcome sooner. However there are limitations in the Matrix and in the real world.

No-one can see beyond a choice they don’t understand, and I mean no-one.

The Oracle

What The Oracle is saying that you can only have foresight if you know what choices you (and the rest of the matrix) are going to make, if you don’t know then when running the ‘foresight version’ of the Matrix then you’ll reach an impasse and not know anything further. So for someone contending with the person that has the foresight the phrase “you’ve already made the choice, now you have to understand why you’ve made it” is quite scary because they know what you are going to do and why you did before you’ve had the choice present itself and searched all your past experiences for the answer.

Having a plan for the Universe means that it is possible to know what choices people will make before they make them so it is possible for us mortals to see into the future.

Universe and You

There are 2 types of Universe we can exist in, one where we only think we are making choices and one were we are actually making choices. The one where choice is an illusion means that there could be a map or plan to the Universe, the other anything that could happen might. If the Universe has a plan then we are obviously not privy to it, if anything can happen then what are the consequences?

A Plain Past, Present, Future Timeline
A simple timeline with us in the middle in the present.

From our perspective every action or choice will spawn a different universe, over the space of a few seconds the changes will be negligible, but over say 100 years they could be huge, for instance if a regiment of WWII soldiers went left instead of right perhaps we might have lost the war and be in German occupied Britain.

This would mean from this second onwards the timeline would look like this:

A Timeline with the line splitting infinitely from present to future
The choices be make mean that the future is no set, "There is no fate but what we make for ourselves

However if someone looks back from the future then the present looks just like our past. The reason is only 1 of the paths diverging from our present ends in the future when the observer is from. So ‘if’ time travel is possible then the future boy in the present could only get back to the future where he came from if everything happens just as it did for his past.

A Timeline with a route of possibilities from present to future
With there being so many possible futures it can be hard to get back to the one you originated from.

In a pre-determined Universe no matter when you go you can always get back when you came from. Thus it is a much simpler Universe to live in however since when has the Universe been simple?

We’ll be exploring a variety of problems based on these premises in some upcoming blog posts.

Social Responcibility

Presented with a choice everyone searches their past for similarity and uses that experience to form a decision. We instantly weigh the benefits to ourselves ( we’re all introspectively selfish ), our family, friends, our wallets, so on and so forth.

I doubt that anyone has this list written anywhere, why would you, it’d be long and to physically check would take longer than the split second we make decisions in. You can imagine this list, perhaps whittle of a few lines as I have already done, so I ask where on this list would ‘the stranger’ come into it?

Some random persona walking about the world minding their own business, you’ll never meet them, if you did they would no longer be a stranger, I mean a complete and forever lasting stranger. Day to day choices won’t affect him ( even what clothes you wear 😉 ) so why would you consider him? Or why would he consider you?

For the sake of humanity is a bit generic so lets be generally specific; a consortium of past events apex at a choice where you’re free to create your own solution. The subsequent avalanche doesn’t affect anyone directly involved with you but there will be an effect.

So in this split second we’ve eliminated consequences to all the people we know I don’t think there is a lot of time left for the imaginary person, perhaps consider whether it would have any permanent effects like death and that’s about it. Yet, they might make all the considerations you would about a mutual friend, or nth degree acquaintance, so they are just like you but they aren’t making the choice.

So if you aren’t giving them much thought and they aren’t giving you much thought why do it? It is a good question, perhaps there isn’t a real answer other than if everyone did the world would be a better place. This is why they call it Karma.