Future Imperfect

The more we digitize, the more we expect digital precision.

We look at our iPads and the HD video thereon, and sometimes wonder at just how pristine and perfect it looks, right down to the blemishes (okay, acne) on actors’ chins. It’s astonishing.

The problem with reliability and crystal certainty is twofold. One, our inbuilt sloth slumps to apathy because we no  longer need to fix anything or work-around failures. Who repairs their own car any more? We turn the key or push the button and go. The effort is minimal.

Secondly, and more subtly, the very fact that so much is now done for us (auto correct, navigation, shopping, cooking) creates the expectation of the trend continuing. Soon enough, we won’t even have to decide which products we need to buy; our fridge will order the food, our cars will book themselves in for an oil change and the bed will wash the bedding.

Unfortunately for us, automating people isn’t any closer. Understanding others still requires time and work, and that’s just to get to the first few levels. Figuring how and whether someone new can fit into our individual character likewise is as far from perfection as ever – we’re really counter digital creatures.

Despite our cleverness at harnessing the world around us, some verities will remain true for a while yet. Until robots synthesize humour, empathy, insight, selflessness, willingness to overlook mistakes and a shared vision for a future together, we’ll be applying these human characteristics on our own.

Job Interview

We’re subject to our biological drives. You know what I mean.

Unfortunately, biology has as its major interest big picture stuff; continuing the species and…well, that’s about it.

In the meantime, we have to live our lives. That involves working, shopping, cooking, cleaning, taking out the trash, paying tax and repairing the dishwasher.

Note that we have two jobs working simultaneously. One is the long-term family creation and perpetuation position; the other is maintaining the infrastructure. From the first flows the second, but while we have emotional, intellectual and gut investment in the first, the second is often an afterthought.

Maybe we’d choose better if we interviewed for both at the same time.

Dating and Going Out

Dividing dating into two different sub-species would help us see things more clearly.

Dating – the word and the idea – makes more sense as the process of spending time with someone with at least one eye towards creating a union. A formal, public union.

Going out – for which we should coin a new word – is all about being with another person (or a number of other people) with a view to simply being with them. Like being in the moment, we’re going out for entertainment, for the company, for passing time or perhaps we’re just looking for a sex partner.

They’re different behaviors, with an entirely different intent. Calling them both “dating” is confusing, leading nowhere particularly good.

Forks in Roads

Prioritization and choice define the pathway through life.

Sometimes choices expand, and sometimes they get squeezed. Choices increase or decrease based on prior choices. Equally they can change based on innumerable factors beyond our control.

Our choices will determine the universe of actions from which we must prioritize. First, though, we need to define what that universe is; not what we’d like them to be, but realistically what they are.

Prioritizing based on imagined choices, or choosing based on impractical priorities makes for a disappointing life, because our achievement rate will be lower than if we’re realistic.

One simple example is buying lottery tickets. If we saved the money we might otherwise waste on extreme longshots, we’ll end up decisively better off.

Trench

Funny thing about relationships. We think we want the person we see in front of us.

Wrong. What we want is parts of the person we see in front of us, plus some other stuff we’ve always dreamed about and a number of wish-list items that we reckon the other person can implement if they really want to.

Here’s where a deep breath is useful. Singlehood allows time for imaginations to roam free. Imagination is a wonderful resource, but fails us when introduced to the real world. People are flawed and imperfect in a universe of frustrating ways, so the less we dream the better.

Facing the discomfort of real people feels like disappointment until we turn the lens on ourselves. We are not perfect (when we’re being honest, in the dark of the very early morning) so where do we get off expecting others to be better than us?

Here’s a way to think: revel in the flaws. A thicker skin, more acceptance of dopiness, less taking things seriously, and, as I learned at the feet of a very wise man, don’t let anything bother you.

There. A recipe for calm quizzicality, and likely better relationships.