Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Time

Time, where did you go?  Why did you leave me here alone? We're approaching 2011, and I'm approaching 30.

I was warned this past year (or was it the year before?) that time would come to pass ever more quickly at this age.  It's true.

My "New Year's Resolution" this year will be to find ways to slow down time. There's only one way I can think of doing it - make every moment memorable!

See you in the new year.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Christmas Shopping

I drove downtown to have lunch with a friend the other day. Our plan was to meet at the restaurant, so when I got into the area, I went to park in the nearest Green P parking lot.

I circled the lot before I chose a spot - I wanted to ensure that I got the best one. Anyway, when I got out of my car to go buy a ticket, I noticed a 2000-ish purple Chevrolet Cavalier that had its front passenger window completely smashed.

From where I was, I couldn't see if there were still shattered bits of glass around. I thought, sure, there existed the possibility that it was cracked before being parked in that lot... but it was snowing, and if it had been, I'm sure the owner would have at least taped it up to protect the upholstery from the snow.

The way I saw it, the worst case scenario was that it was done that day.  Since it was by far the oldest, and least well-kept car in the lot, I figured that the vandal either targeted this person or was a thief and took something sitting in the seat.  So, I figured that my car was safe so long as I left nothing sitting on the seats.  Accordingly, I hid everything in my trunk.

After lunch, as I walked through the parking lot to my car, I noticed a bright blue Toyota Yaris that wasn't parked there when I first parked, and whose front passenger window was completely smashed in.

Sigh.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Housekeeping

I wasn't always so organized.  I only grew increasingly so with time and age.  With age came situations that required managing increasing numbers of tasks.  My level of organization became my safety net: it's what made the hard times manageable.  So, few things annoy me more than disorganization.

Even when we keep up with daily tasks, it's important to set aside time to audit your processes to maximize efficiency. I do hate to work backwards, but for the next while, I'll only be reviewing my old posts.  I want to review my use of categories and tags, and I want to add in as many links and captions as I can.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Impressionable Youth

Someone recently asked me if I had ever considered becoming a teacher.  The truth is: I had always considered it. I was teacher's pet all through elementary and high school, being given the opportunity to run sessions in class, and I successfully tutored numerous students on diverse subjects: math, physics, French, English...

Back then I knew I couldn't teach in Ontario's public education system because I didn't think that I would be able to tolerate the children as an adult.  (Since, of course, I could barely stand them as my peers.)  If anything, I always imagined teaching early elementary school children in the twilight of my working years so that I could inspire impressionable youth when it would be most effective.  I still feel mostly the same way, except now I have more ideological constraints that prevent me from willfully being employed by that system besides my dislike of ignorant youth.

The other day, I audited an undergraduate course.  During the break, I chatted with some of the first-year undergraduates.  I discussed my situation, my ideologies, the reality of the educational system, the reality of the workforce, some studies, and how all of these factors came together as the ultimate reason why I made the choices I've made.

One young student appeared to be blown by my story.  He began to relay information about his situation and his opinions and how some of the facts that I'd mentioned were very useful.  I think I inspired him to follow-in my footsteps.

I guess I don't have to teach children to inspire impressionable youth.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Scissors

When I was five, my parents left me alone in the living room for about a half hour with heavy-duty scissors.   In this time, I decided to give myself and my teddy bear a haircut.  I managed to chop off a lot of the hair on the top-front of my head, while my teddy bear managed to come out prettier.  This was probably because I could see what I was doing to its fur with each cut.

I managed to cut my own hair in just such a way that there was nothing my parents could do to hide it.  It was too short for bangs, and I had made enough cuts to not have hair atop my head to cover the mess.  My dad, unhappily, cut all my hair to the same short length of 1 inch.  I didn't personally care, but I know it hurt him to chop off the rest of my really thick, healthy, long black hair.  At least, this is what I gathered from the look in his eyes.

When I turned thirteen, and I again made the decision to chop off my thick, healthy, long black hair to imitate T-Boz of TLC, I knew he hated it then, too.  But he never said a word.  He just let me ride out my trends until I got sick of them on my own.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Standards

When I was a teenager, and I told my sister that I wanted to be a singer, she started looking for every talent show and event that I could sing at and audition for.  She told me about the humble beginnings of a bunch of local singers and how they used every opportunity they could to sing and get exposure, and that that's what I needed to do, too.  But I couldn't do it.  There were just some events that I couldn't bring myself to be part of.  I dropped out of pageants, singing contests; I turned down shows.

I tried.  There were a lot of events and competitions that I had signed up for, but that I couldn't go through with.  For years, I questioned my drive.  After all, if I really wanted something, why couldn't I do "what it would take" to get there?  I began to believe that I just didn't want it enough.

But maybe it wasn't that at all.  I just wanted it a certain way, and I wouldn't compromise that.  For me to become a singer, there was a certain route I wanted to take, and no other.  Yet, given the low probability of "making it" the way that I hoped to make it, I persist.  I find it difficult to let go of dreams of making a living working autonomously on a project that is of personal interest to me.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Description of the P=NP Problem

This problem has to do with whether a certain class of hard-to-solve problems, designated NP-Complete, can be reduced to fast-to-solve problems, designated P.   Both NP-Complete and P problems belong to NP, a set of problems for which any given solution can be verified quickly.

The time it takes to find a solution for a problem varies for reasons beside the fact that they are dealing with differently sized inputs.  The set of P problems are known to be solved within a time proportional to the size the input; this makes them ‘fast-to-solve’. On the other hand, NP-Complete are characterized by the fact that the fastest known solutions to them take time proportional to an exponential function. In solving them, we usually can’t be more clever than by checking every possible solution in sequence. Thus the time required to solve these problem increases very quickly as the size of the input grows.  It grows so quickly, in fact, that solving a problem with a moderately large input can take the billions of years, using any amount of computing power available today.

A property of NP-Complete problems is that all problems within the set can be transformed to all the other problems within the set, making the problems in NP-Complete essentially reworded versions of each other. Thus if we could find a way to solve one problem quickly (i.e. reduce it to a P problem), we can solve them all quickly (and show P=NP).

A reason for the belief that P ≠ NP is that after 30 years of research, no one has been able to find a polynomial-time algorithm for any of more than 3000 important known NP-complete problems.

//

The purpose of the assignment was to explain the problem in general terms and explain its importance for the general public.

After receiving a poor grade on this, I followed up with the following email:

"Hi,

I know my explanation for the belief that P doesn't equal NP is terse and I know I could have elaborated more but I think that ultimately, it really is the only answer. To take one example, consider cryptography. Billions of dollars worth of assets are protected by encryption protocols that are in essence NP-Complete problems. Because P!=NP is not proven, inductive reasoning (i.e. no known solutions to NP-Complete problems exist) and intuition (it doesn't 'feel' like there will be solution) are the only reasons why so much trust is placed on those protocols. Further, NP-Complete problems are found across the entire spectrum of math and science. The fact that so many smart people from disparate fields of study (NP-Complete problems are found in physics, chemistry, biology, cryptography, mathematics, computer science) could not find one solution since the problem was formulated three decades ago is what ultimately lets a multi-national bank trust its assets to some encryption method."

...to which he retorted that I should have included these points in the first place.

In my defense, there was a cap based on word count, and I made cuts where I felt appropriate.  I guess I was wrong.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Lies


Emotional needs can't be rationalized.  They need to be acknowledged.  Acknowledging feelings is not equivalent to indulging them.  Indulging feelings isn't always (ever?) the right thing to do.  What action can be taken after acknowledging your feelings when they are painful ones and you want to heal?  Is acknowledgment sufficient?

Strangely, none of this changes my answer.  I am still wont to respond with the former, yes, yes, yes and YES, in spite of how wrong it is.

There are the things that we consciously believe, and then there are the lies we tell ourselves to live with ourselves.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Jakey


Humans are curious creatures that build emotional attachments with calculable predictability.  If you spend enough time with something or someone, you get used to it/him/her so that the sudden removal of that thing/person from your life makes you feel uncomfortable.  Such discomfort when caused by a person is often referred to as loneliness.

Even though it seems negative, it isn't always.  With the same calculable predictability, it will be overcome.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Santa Claus and Simile

In my first grade, my Roman Catholic elementary school hosted a special movie afternoon in the school's gymnasium, featuring "A Land Before Time".  With the approach of the movie day, our teachers included special units on dinosaurs.

The Atlas and Encyclopedia set that my dad had bought us at that age included colourful pictures and descriptions of different periods in the Earth's history, the extinction of the dinosaurs, and the evolution of humans.  My sister and I loved to go through it.  So, naturally, I asked my first grade teacher why dinosaurs weren't mentioned in Genesis or the Bible in general, and how it was that the time-lines for dinosaur and human development could match up with the Bible's time-lines, which show man as "man" from the first day of his existence.  After rebutting with a string of 'if's', 'but's', and 'that isn't what the Encyclopedia says'', the only satisfying answer she was able to give me was that the Bible was metaphorical, and it's not to be taken literally.

By the time I was in third grade, I couldn't willfully attend regular masses and so I stopped. By the time I was 17, I had read my first excerpts from Nietzsche, and had become an atheist.  I cried when I first read The Madman (excerpt at end of this post) because of how frightening it was to see that these ideas were so old but not so widely held.  By now, my conviction has only strengthened, particularly due to the influence of Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene.

*****

Upon professing my atheism one day, an associate of mine remarked that atheism is like all other religions, and based this opinion on the following observations: (1) that atheists congregate to discuss their atheism, and (2) that "everyone must believe in something [supernatural]".  The simile is so incomplete that it could have worked, the way it can be argued that a snake is like a fish because they both have scales.

But it doesn't work particularly because of the second condition.  It is not true that an atheist, like a theist, needs to believe in something [supernatural]. Very much like my belief in the existence of Santa Claus, I reached a point of no return: the idea had become too ridiculous to entertain as even possibly true.



There is no going back to asserting the potential existence of these fictitious characters after seeing that it is completely unlikely, learning about how these characters have been constructed within an historical and psychological framework, and understanding that to grant each of their existences would permit too much.  Why stop at Santa Claus and God? Why not the Flying Spaghetti Monster? The difference is minute.

I would like to believe in an omniscient, omnipotent being that loves us all,  I do, but it would have to be at the expense of my rationality.  As Nietzsche put it, I have been unhinged from my sun.  And as early 20th century existentialists would assert, meaning in life is either an absurd notion or has to and can be found elsewhere than from the existence of a god.

*****

"Where has God gone?" he cried. "I shall tell you. We have killed him - you and I. We are his murderers. But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained the earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not perpetually falling? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is it not more and more night coming on all the time? Must not lanterns be lit in the morning? Do we not hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not smell anything yet of God's decomposition? Gods too decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves? That which was the holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we purify ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we need to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to be worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whosoever shall be born after us - for the sake of this deed he shall be part of a higher history than all history hitherto."

Here the madman fell silent and again regarded his listeners; and they too were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern to the ground, and it broke and went out. "I have come too early," he said then; "my time has not come yet. The tremendous event is still on its way, still travelling - it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time, the light of the stars requires time, deeds require time even after they are done, before they can be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than the distant stars - and yet they have done it themselves."

-Excerpt from The Madman, The Gay Science, by Friedrich Nietzsche.





Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Subway - Eat Fresh!

Back in 2002, I used to manage a team of salespeople. One day, I stepped out to have lunch with one of my new recruits. We went to Subway. We decided that we'd share a footlong cold cut sub, as it would be cheaper. He asked me how I'd like it dressed, and I distinctly remember thinking "There's no way one can go wrong..." as I said "You decide - I'll eat anything."

Five minutes later, I discovered how wrong I was. Even with a small set of options, I learned that day that there existed at least one way that you can go wrong. Over time, it only ever became clearer to me that, in fact, there are many distinct but similar combinations that I simply do not enjoy.

The problem is that even the simplest things can cause controversy. People never fail to surprise me in how they can differ in opinion so greatly with me on points that I didn't imagine possible.

You can still be wrong about things that seem clear. What's obvious and understood to me may not be to you.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Underestimation

I was at a pub night one evening about a year ago with a group of loud, crazy executives who were all about twice my age.  (I was there to chit-chat with and sing for them.)  We got to talking about career plans.  One gentleman asked me what my plans were.  I answered by making a joke, and skirting the issue.  What he didn't know was that I was and am  in the middle of a very comprehensive plan that I meticulously devised in my first year of university.  It usually takes me nearly an hour to explain it verbally, so I don't.  I also don't like to sell myself short.  So, I generally avoid responding when asked by strangers about my plans and am expected to provide a one-sentence answer.  One-sentence isn't sufficient to express what I'd need to say, and I don't feel the need to garner the respect of strangers, whether or not they are executives, so I don't bother.

Anyway, immediately following my response, he turned around and asked the waitress what hers were, and she happily responded in one line: I'm studying x so that I can be a y. So naturally, the gentleman came right back to me to tell me that I had a problem since I had "no direction"...

I then did what I rarely ever do: I explained myself and my plans thoroughly to a set of strangers trusting that they would understand my logic.  Fortunately, they did, and it wasn't a frustrating experience.  Nothing upsets me more than to waste my time explaining myself to people who can't understand what I'm trying to say.  I would have loathed myself for the wasted effort had they not understood, or at least taken the time to discuss my plans thoroughly in an attempt to understand.

By the end of the evening, two had personally invited me to meet with them to discuss career prospects, while the others each ensured that we had exchanged business contact information.

Now, this pub night comes to mind because of recent events.  When I spend time with a particular friend of mine who is noticeably insecure, I take every hit he/she gives.  The reason is because between the two of us, I can take it.  The hits he/she gives tend to be assumptions regarding my career plans, and success in life.  I've noticed that he/she needs to feel as if I am an ambitionless person, making her way through life without plans or prospects.   He/she can't handle the blunt truth so well, so I let it go.

But the truth is, he/she underestimates me, and I don't defend myself.  Why?  Well, it's simple: as insulting as that is, I know that to explain myself would be a waste of time.  He/she isn't able to understand.

But let me make it clear: nothing in my life is unplanned or a mistake.  There is a lot of effort, thought, planning and time that goes into every aspect of my life.  It wasn't easy or a fluke that anything in my life is what it is.  Ask me, and I'll take my time to explain it to you.  Don't ask me, and I won't bother.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Help

I think it's absolutely fucking ridiculous that in all of my requests for financial help over the years, I always get nailed for making too much money.

What do institutions want from me?  Oh, right, I know: be destitute so that I can be eligible for the scraps that they offer me, as if they are helping me by forcing me into a corner.  As if I were lying about the financial costs, and demands on my time as a caregiver for elderly parents with no other family and no other resources.  I work and make an honest living, but apparently, I'd only be eligible for help if I didn't, and were on welfare.

Well, fuck you, system.  Fuck you.  Just say what you really want to say: I'd rather you go into debt than provide help to you in developing a foundation in life from which you could actually potentially build a future.  This is because I let poor people just barely stay afloat.  If we helped people who worked for a living, well, they might actually get somewhere.

These are the real messages you're sending with the rules that you have set up.

...

NB:  My opinion on going into debt for education is that you shouldn't.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Missing

There are some people that I just don't miss.  If I never heard from/of for the rest of my life, it would be a sincere pleasure.  However, some of these people just keep coming back - creeping silently out of the woodwork, making their presence known.

I know I have a lot of public profiles, and by all means read them.  Follow me.  Look at my photos.  Read my thoughts.  Just ... don't tell me.  I don't need to know.  Why?  Because I don't care.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Productivity, Planning, and Pleasant Surprises

People are most productive at the office first thing in the morning.  So they say.  I enjoy my breakfast and ease into my workday.  Well, now I do.  I haven't always.

The past year has been filled with so many derailing events that I don't remember what I'm like when I'm most productive.  I'm in crisis mode: all focus is on effectively managing the unexpected events as they come.  This keeps me from becoming overly stressed out.  Anyway, there are peaks and valleys, and even though it appears on paper as though my life is filled with valleys, I can't pretend that I'm not just the slightest bit optimistic about my plans for the future.

This post seems all over the place, I'm sure, the way that I seem so to many people around me right now.  But there is focus.  There are plans, goals, and targets being met. Rest assured that 'crisis mode' is not negative, and not an impediment to my attaining my dreams.

What gets me through times like this are the pleasant surprises.  Amidst the unmitigated circumstances that currently govern my thoughts and actions, there are yet the unexpected moments that make it all worthwhile, such as making new friends, having fun in ways that I didn't anticipate, and discovering new plans that were ever more exciting than the ones I already had.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

July 2nd

...marks the day that mom was admitted to the hospital for blood sugar at 47.7  (normal blood sugar is 4), and the second time I've been to that hospital in that Emergency room, and that area within it: the resuscitation one.  Frankly, I didn't realize that it was that serious, but that goes to show how apparent consciousness can be misleading.  My mom needed to be "resuscitated".

She's in the hospital now, as they have admitted her, hooked her up to machines, and told us that she has to meet with someone on Monday who will assess her ability to take care of herself and "recommend" "solutions" for her... Or should I just say "confirm her inability" to take care of herself and "dictate the actions we should take" because that's what it sounded like the doctor was really saying.

In a way, it's what I wanted: tests to be done, proof that she had problems that weren't being addressed by her current doctor and specialists, and help for her to address them.  But the way it happened feels unsettling: using her dizziness against her when it was the result of diligently following negligent doctors' orders.

I'm not sure what to think.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Toronto Life

It isn't every day/week/year that an earthquake and G20 riots shake Toronto.  I thought it best I document what I was doing as I will likely want to recall this week years from now.

I'm disappointed to report that during the earthquake, I was at work watching my monitor shake, and yesterday during the riots, I was home sifting through personal documents.

I probably wouldn't even have checked-in with the world had my sister and mom not stopped by for dinner.  When I turned the radio on to hear about all the commotion, I was so disappointed that I wasn't down there taking videos.  Except for perhaps Immigration issues, I don't think there was any bandwagon that I would have jumped on, and even then, I wouldn't have because I don't think  that a protest is the right forum.  I just wanted to be in the heart of the rare action that Toronto sees.  Oh well.  I'm safe?  I'll find consolation in that.

//

I've finally decided to sit down and go through all of my filing.  They have been in disarray since I moved in with Daniel (September 2008).  Well, "disarray" as in "divided": there are the pre-Daniel files, and the post-Daniel files.

In setting out about this task, I had wanted to merge them into one huge unified system.  But I changed my mind.

I cracked open the filing cases, and found neatly organized bank statements, credit card statements, bills, pay stubs, tax documents,  and more, all dating to as far back as 2001 - the year I started University.   Well, there were my bank statements from high school, but I changed banks before starting University, and I had no interesting documents until 2001.

So, I peeked through them all.  I looked at what I spent money on.  I expected to find generally irresponsible purchases reflecting youth and negligence, but what I actually found was lists of transactions resembling my current spending, except now I have perhaps 5x the income.  Ok, so maybe it was negligent to spend that way without the income I have now..  But it was still interesting to see that I haven't changed very much: I love to watch movies, eat out at least once per week, I buy electronic toys, and I like to go away on one big trip every 1.5-2 years.  I'm ... predictable.  And apparently, I've been so for many years.

I suppose this shouldn't be a big surprise.  It just is because I felt like the last 10 years of my life were very formative, and that I'd grown and changed a lot, and further that a lot of things in my life had changed.  But I guess some things never do.

As for the files, I'm scrapping most of them.  I admit that it's hard to just discard my neat and well-kept files, but ... why keep them?  Without them I can entertain the myth that my metamorphosis into adulthood was more interesting than the documents would declare.

Optimism

I was reading an old Chatelaine magazine today in the waiting room of my mom's eye specialist.  There was a full article on being happy, and a bullet-pointed list of the things that happy people do to keep themselves happy.  I read it skeptically, but I figure, well, there's no harm in doing some of these things.  I have been, after all, pretty miserable for a long time now.

There was the obvious one which said to get exercise.  Sure, no problem.  Another thing they recommend we do is list a couple of things that went right and things that I enjoyed every day/week.  Seems simple enough.  Except on weeks where my laptop unexpectedly dies when I'm trying to write a paper, I discover I owe more money to cover the cost of incidental fees for class, I get into an auto collision that's not my fault but that I could be blamed for because there were no witnesses, etc... [and OMG does "etc" really mean "et cetera"], it's hard for me to dig through and find the things that went well.  I have this sneaking suspicion that they're numerous but tiny, including such things as "I ate" and "I woke up", and that that's why I can't find them.  They're such normal parts of every day that it's hard to give them any credit as being something worth being happy about.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

The Problem Of Induction

The problem of induction was introduced by David Hume (1711-1776) and started with the question of whether or not induction is justified. This is a genuine concern since predictions about the unobserved/future that are derived from experience are made through inductive inference, and are not deductively closed arguments (i.e. not a priori knowledge).

To illustrate the problem, let us begin with the following example:

In my experience, all F's are G's, and no cases of F's have been found to not be G's.

I arrive at the general statement that "All F's are G's" through inductive reasoning.

Is this generalization "justified"?  It is immediately clear that the generalization does not necessarily follow from the premise, since it is not arrived at deductively (that is, it is not entailed).  So it appears that we take a leap from premise to generalization when we reason inductively.

Upon careful examination of the above example, the generalization can be justified by the apparent "Uniformity of Nature", as discussed by Bertrand Russell in The Problems of Philosophy, Chapter VI.  "The belief in the uniformity of nature is the belief that everything that has happened or will happen is an instance of some general law to which there are no exceptions."  Herein lays the problem: uniformity of nature is a premise that can only be arrived at inductively, so it cannot be used to justify inductive reasoning.  It is a circular argument.

//

P. F. Srawson attacks this problem from a linguistic standpoint, claiming that the question of whether or not induction is justified is nonsensical.  He says that it is "the absurd wish that induction should be shown to be some sort of deduction."  His argument is illustrated as follows:

To be rational is to use induction and deduction.

Deductive and inductive reasoning are mutually exclusive.

The word "deductive" describes closed arguments that lead to a priori knowledge.

Deductive propositions are therefore either valid, or invalid on the basis of being either justified or not justified.

The word "inductive" describes the reasoning that leads to degrees of belief that are supported by experience.

So, questions such as "Is there reason in believing in deductive arguments?" and "Are inductive arguments justified?" have no meaning for Strawson.

//

Karl Popper attempts to show that "the belief that we use induction is simply a mistake. [...] The whole apparatus of induction becomes unnecessary once we admit the [...] conjectural character of human knowledge."  He discards induction with his notions of the following:

1. Although we cannot employ induction to acquire a necessary truth, we can necessarily conclude the falsity of a generalization with falsifying evidence, and this is purely deductive.

2. Laws arrived at inductively were based on "unconscious, inborn expectations" or "scanty material, i.e. the few observed instances upon which the law may be based."

He proposes that conjectures (hypotheses) are arrived at arbitrarily, either through myths, or inborn expectations, and that testing (trying to find refutations) is how one arrived at conjectures with (degrees of) corroboration, as opposed to inductive inferences with (degrees of) probability.  So, he discards induction, but only to appeal to it in different terms.

//

Neither attack of the problem is satisfying.  No one said it better than Russell when he said that "we must either accept the inductive principle on the ground of its intrinsic evidence, or forgo all justification of our expectations about the future."  And all the while philosophers who attack this problem tragically become Kierkegaard's Knights of Infinite Resignation: afraid and too calculating to take the leap that they miss the point.

___________________

Postscript:

This was my first assignment after returning to school after an extensive hiatus . This means it was written around.  It's just a short little ditty, and I stumbled upon it while going through my old class notes.  I was awarded a 90%, and a comment regarding my criticism of criticisms on the problem of induction.  I don't think the T.A. who marked it appreciated that I called people in his profession Kierkegaard's Knights of Infinite Resignation. I was hoping he'd get a kick out of it.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Flashback

I saw a couple of ghosts from my past yesterday evening.  It was nice, and I was really happy to see them.  They reminded me of my early 20's, and what it felt like to feel valuable in a job, as if what I did had a real and tangible impact on the broader community, and my effort was rewarded and recognized.  It has been a long time since I felt rewarded and recognized, or even appreciated.

Then there were the questions.  How have you been?  What have you been up to? And I always pause before I give some generic answer suggesting that all is well, and that everything is perfect.

It was nice to see them.  For an evening, I felt youthful as I smiled and laughed and maneuvered the crowd as I once had done so regularly so many years ago.  But all I could think was What did I do for the last five years?

I've reviewed the past five years, I know, numerous times since September 2009, looking at the general upward trend in my standard of living, the stability I've developed,  the things that I have, and the people I have around me.   There were a lot of things that got done; things that happened.   All positive things.

So why...

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Spoiler

I hate to admit it, but a lot of days, I look at my life and just don't want to continue on this path that I've laid out for myself.  It feels impossible - as if there are too many potholes, bumps in the road, and unanticipated detours and pit stops that push the destinations indefinitely further from my reach.  There is no end to the unexpected obstacles that I need to overcome to get to what I have envisioned to be a realistic endpoint.

At least there is a path.  Five years ago, I didn't have one, and life felt meaningless and empty.  Now I have direction and meaning, and it all feels impossible.

What I'm clinging desperately onto these days is my curiosity to know how the stories end.  Do certain initiatives begin to pay off, or do they continue to suck me dry?  Will I reach the next milestone?  Or any of the ones after? Will this effort all have been for naught, or will I someday reap the rewards of the pain that I currently endure?

Only time will tell.  I just wish I had a spoiler.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The Indispensability Argument


Colyvan described the Indispensability argument as “the best argument for Platonism.”  Its basic structure, as per Colyvan:
    We ought to have ontological commitment to all the entities that are indispensable to our best scientific theories.  (Confirmational Holism)

    We ought to have ontological commitment to only the entities that are indispensable to our best scientific theories.  (Naturalism)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (Premise1) We ought to have ontological commitment to all and only the entities that are indispensable to our best scientific theories.

    (Premise2) Mathematical entities are indispensable to our best scientific theories.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (Conclusion) We ought to have ontological commitment to mathematical entities.



Field objects to Premise2.  His argument has two parts.  The first is that mathematical theories don't have to be true to be useful, they need only be conservative. Conservatism refers to this result: if A is a consequence of T (a scientific theory) + M (Mathematics), then A would be a consequence of T alone (Brown, pg58).  Mathematics is a useful tool, but it is not indispensable.  The second part of Field's program is to demonstrate that our best scientific theories can be suitably nominalised. By nominalising a portion of Newtonian gravitational theory, he attempts to show that there is no need to assert the existence of mathematical entities in a scientific theory. This is not trivial example – the hope is this example can represent the greater case of all scientific theories.

Field’s objection does strike the Indispensability argument with a good blow.  However, as noted by Brown (pg. 59), “the notion of logical consequence that is needed is that of second-order logic” which is not recursively axiomatizable.  This means that the notion of consequence is not “nominalistically acceptable” since it involves being true in all models.  Also, if Maddy’s program pans out, then Field’s objection is irrelevant.


Sunday, 11 April 2010

Adventures in Etobicoke

I had the weirdest experience in the middle of the night last night.

At around 1 a.m., I was driving Diana home from my place.  I drove along my street to do a left to go north on Brownsline.  I don't normally do this.  I normally go through the small side streets because it's less congested, and I wouldn't hit any traffic trying to do a left.  However, since it was the middle of the night, I presumed there would be no traffic, so I decided to head straight to Brownsline...

As we approached Brownsline, I could see a drunk, middle-aged, shirtless white man standing in the middle of the street on Brownsline just north of where I was.  He was yelling in the direction of the bar that was on the west side of Brownsline, and standing on the line that divides the north- and southbound lanes.

I should have detoured, but I continued with my left turn onto Brownsline, intending to head northbound to Diana's place.  As I did my turn, he stopped looking at the bar, and focused his attention on my car.  He walked directly into the lane I had turned into - the right lane in Brownsline's 2 northbound lanes.

I stopped.

He looked enraged as he walked toward my car.  I saw that he had nothing in his hands.  Diana instructed me to honk and reverse, but I instinctively first just locked doors.

I continued to pause.

In the brief moment between when he first stopped in my lane and looked at me, and when he stood directly in front of my car, all I could think was: what are my options.  I don't want to hurt him.  I don't want us to get hurt.  I don't want to pay for damage to my vehicle.  So, I didn't drive forward: I didn't want to inadvertently hurt him, and  I wanted to keep him ahead of the vehicle, and not at either side.  I didn't want to anger him further, so I didn't honk.  I locked the doors in case he tried to get in.  I made sure I was ready to hit the gas if it came to that.

I continued to pause.  I didn't reverse because I was afraid to take my eyes off him, and I can't reverse without first checking my mirrors.

Then he ran toward my car, and furiously roared while he pounded the hood of my car with his two fists.  I honked, panickedly reversed, and screamed at the top of my lungs.

He began to walk out of my way to the left lane ... into the path of a pick-up truck ... that breaked, but hit him.

He appeared to still be standing as I put my car into drive, and speedily fled before he could continue to do any damage to my car.  Diana instructed me to pull over so that she could call 911.  So I did.  We were far enough so that I could drive off if he began to head toward us, but close enough so that we could see what was going on.  We saw cars and people start to crowd around, and it looked like he or someone, was dragged to the side of the road.

//

My dad always warned me to stay away from crazy people and situations.  When he was teaching me to drive, he'd point them out, saying that it was best to keep an eye out for them, and just to stay completely out of their way.  I learned that before I was born, he was sent to the hospital from a situation similar to mine: a couple of drunk men dragged him out of his car instigating a fight.  They wanted to see his "kung fu" - a racist comment if ever there were one.  There was traffic, so he couldn't easily flee the situation.

Last night, I saw the drunk, middle-aged, shirtless white man standing in the middle of the street, and I didn't heed his advice.  Years of warning, but it didn't sink in until now.

Daniel always laughed at me when I hit the lock button every time anyone came near my car.  It may have been best if I detoured, but I'm happy knowing that I wasn't going to have been easily dragged out of my car.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Forgetfulness

There was a moment yesterday when I popped onto the website for the dealership where I bought my car and started to look at their inventory.  I started to peek through the cars looking for an inexpensive little sporty vehicle that would have great mileage.  I paused.  I don't want a car.  I love my car.  Why am I ... That's when it hit me.  I used to always just keep an eye out for something for my dad.  After his car broke down, he didn't need a new car because both Marlene and I each had cars, and between the three of us, two cars were more than enough, so he never replaced it.  But I knew that it would make him happy to have his own again.  So I kept feeds in my google reader for postings, and occasionally checked out the dealership where I got my car.  I closed the site and went back to work, but I still feel very strangely about it.

I wonder for how much longer I will go on occasionally forgetting that he isn't here.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Racism

Growing up in a multicultural society such as that found in Etobicoke-Lakeshore, and then attending studies at the University to study Math, I was never really made to feel like a minority.  It wasn't until I started working full-time in an office that I did.  I still remember the event that did it.  It was a birthday party; one of my associates had invited me to her birthday party.

The party was to begin at a bar where the attendees were to get wasted before finishing off the night at a club.  I showed up alone.  I didn't know anyone besides the co-worker that invited me.  I was and still am in the habit of attending such functions on my own.

To start off the evening, I navigated the area and introduced myself to the other guests.  I hadn't yet quite put my finger on what it was about each person that I disliked, but I was certain that I was not enjoying myself.  It wasn't until someone said the following that I figured it out.

"Does it feel strange being the only guest who isn't white?"

I looked at the group and I realized that I indeed was the only person who wasn't white.  I not only failed to notice, but failed to be bothered ... up until that point.

"You know, I have a cousin who lives in a small town near England who has never seen a black person in real life before.  Can you imagine?"

I looked at her bewildered that such an ignorant creature could exist.  She was an elementary school teacher in the city, and she talked about how terrible it was that so many of her students had absentee parents who were too busy both working, and how she could not imagine not being able to afford family vacations to Disneyland.

"You know, I have a cousin in the Philippines who lives in a small town far from the main cities who has never seen anyone besides Filipinos."

She smiled and nodded in a show of agreement that our cousins were unfortunate.  It saddened me that the message I was trying to send had just gone over her head.

I was disappointed, but whenever I retell this story, I laugh.  I laugh so hard ... until I cry.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Discretion

Some things are better left unsaid.  Sure.  But are they better left lingering in our minds?  So maybe it is the case that we shouldn't tell everyone everything about our relationships with them that ails us, then whom do we tell?  Besides those paid to provide 'professional help', I don't think there exists anyone with whom it would be universally "okay" to share.  I feel guilt sharing with even my closest friends.  It'll always feel partly like gossip, which makes me uncomfortable because of what that would say about me.  I feel this way even if it is true that these secrets need only be kept from certain people and not all people, and even when I know it is my closest friends in whom I can confide.  The problem is that I have this curious feeling that regardless of who it is in whom I confide, I am doing an injustice to the subject of the discussion.

But my heart weighs heavily.  I can't lie anymore.  Sure, I was always honest with myself in my blogs and private journals, but it isn't the same as sharing.  It's having a conversation with myself.  It makes me increasingly concerned about my sanity.  I can't bear the burdens alone.  Lines were blurred a year ago.  It's time I clarify things.

Riddle

My father liked to tell riddles.  There was one that I remember him telling me and my sister when we were about 5 and 7 years old, respectively.  I wasn't really paying attention, but my sister was.  He looked her right in the eye, and said, "If you are an eye-tee, you are e."  At least, that's what it sounded like he was saying.  My sister kept trying to figure out what "eye-tee" and "e" referred to.  He was really only spelling out the word 'furniture', which I could pick up because I wasn't looking at him directly and watching any of the funny faces he was making.

Context is interesting in that way.  I'm hoping that life's other riddles similarly become clearer when I avert my eyes and stop trying.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Alice In Wonderland (2010)

I think it's a problem when you find the Red Queen far more likable than the White Queen.  Helena Bonham Carter did a splendid job.

Crazy Heart

Ebert and all critics want to focus on the line "I want to talk about how bad you make this room look."

But I'm not a film critic, and I'm stuck to "Funny how falling feels like flying for a little while."

It is funny.  I laugh until I cry.


Sunday, 21 February 2010

Associations


I remember being 14 or 15, saving up my bus fare (by walking home from school) so that on weekends, when I got really bored, I would take the bus up to the subway, randomly pick a subway stop on the map and then just go to it and see what was there.  The TTC routes are - for the most part - a lovely grid, and it felt impossible to get lost, especially if you knew how the transit system operated.

I remember hitting 16 and knowing where exactly it was that I wanted to go - no more random crap shoots.  Most popular were all of the major malls that were on subway lines: Eaton Centre, Scarborough Town Centre, Yorkdale Mall, and Fairview Mall.  Then there were all of the parties that everyone would hit up.  Primarily I think I went to Jamestown.  As I grew older, I'd meet more and more people who could drive and had cars so my string of small radii that dictated my hangouts (i.e. subway stations) collapsed and then expanded... but until that time would come, this was it.

It was on a subway ride that my sister and I were first flashed.  I say 'first' because it would turn out not to be the last time that it would happen.  And of all of the possible times that it could have happened, I would never have expected it to have been on a nearly full train during the evening rush hour.  Sitting side-by-side in double-seats at the back of a train, the flasher seated himself in front of us, held up his coat and suitcase to block us from running and to cover himself as he masturbated while staring at us.  Because of the way we were seated, we couldn't reach the emergency strip - it was over his head.  We just waited it out and ran when we got to our stop.  I considered running off the train earlier, but experience has taught me that running off a train because of someone following you on it only creates the potential of being trapped alone on an unfamiliar subway platform with that person.  On the train were tons of people and attendants and potential help if he tried to touch us, and at my subway stop, I knew where to go.

Anyway, we've seen and experienced a lot by taking public transit.  This is just one example of one of the kinds of things that you can encounter when you're a teenage girl on the subway.  Fortunately, we were neither raped nor killed.  I used to wonder what we could have done to prevent these things, such as not dress provocatively, but we didn't, so I don't feel guilty.  We were just two young females and we let him get away with it.  That's why it happened.  I stopped letting people get away with their offenses, and they magically stopped happening.

//

For work, I rent out a parking spot south of my office.  It is 2/3 the cost of parking at my office.  The hospital that my dad is in is several blocks away from this parking spot.  I haven't wanted to pay for parking downtown that's closer to the hospital partly because of cost, but mostly because I already pay for parking.  So, I've just been dropping off my mom at the hospital so she wouldn't have to do the grueling walk in the cold, then walking to and from the hospital from my parking spot.

Yesterday, on my walk to the hospital from my car, three men asked for my name and number.  The first one made it a point to note that he sees me often and wants to know where I go every day.  The second was polite.  The third tried to grab my hand.  This was when it was bright outside.

I have typically walked over alone to get my car when we leave the hospital in the middle of the night.
I wasn't before, but now I'm scared.

Monday, 15 February 2010

February 14, 2010


What is it?  To millions, it was Chinese New Year, and to millions more, it was Valentine`s Day.  Either way, it was a day of celebration.  Now with Canada's latest greatest statutory holiday - Family Day (celebrated on the 3rd Monday of February) - this long weekend had the makings of a 'May 2-4' or Labour Day long-weekend, whether or not you were 'in love'.

What power there is in a day.  Some days are celebrated monthly, some annually, bi-annually, and so forth by the Gregorian Calendar, or fiscal calendar, or Chinese Calendar, and so forth.

Calendars.  Regularity.  Recurrence.  Schedules to commemorate a future day.  Reasons to remember a past day.  Calendars give days power.

February 14, 2010.  It is the 14-year anniversary of my grandmother's passing, and the day my father went into cardiac arrest.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Sweet Sixteen



My 'Sweet Sixteen' was a surprise birthday party thrown for me by one of my then-close friends.  I remember strange bits of the party.  For example, that it was held on the night before my birthday so that we could all be together when the clock struck midnight.  I remember that we had cake and other food that people made.  I remember that the host was nice enough to invite a friend of mine that she didn't personally like.  I remember Jeff coming from Scarborough by bus to be at my party.  I remember taking his baseball cap and wearing it for the rest of the evening.  I remember Marlene [my sister] leaving early to go with Jeff to the subway, and asking to borrow my sweater because it was cold.  I remember one of the attendees' asked her parents to drive me home.

What's distinctly memorable is everything after the party.  I remember driving to the street that my apartment was on and my friend's parents insisting that they drop me off right at my door to ensure that I was safe.  I remember waving good-bye as they drove away.  I remember the moment it hit me that my house keys were in the pocket of the sweater that Marlene had taken with her when she left.  I remember knocking and screaming really loudly hoping that someone, any one of my family members would awaken and let me in.  I remember thinking back to the moment that my friend and her parents offered to wait until I got inside, and shooing them off.  I remember walking to the nearest payphone and collect calling my home in hopes that that would awaken someone, and being really upset that it didn't.  I remember how cold it was, that I bore only a short-sleeved t-shirt [because I had given Marlene my sweater] and thankfully, Jeff's baseball cap because I'd forgotten to return it to him.  If it weren't for that cap, I would have been freezing.  And finally, I remember my Deus Ex Machina: a successful collect call to one of my ex-boyfriends who happened to be home, a fun walk in the middle of the night.

Getting locked out of your home is dangerous and fun when you're sixteen.  When you're twenty-seven, it's just a nuisance.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Blame

In my third year of working in an office environment, I had a disagreement with a colleague at a staff meeting.  It was one of the final meetings prior to the biggest event that we used to run in that company.  Here was the situation: we had a team contact us about registering late.  I, as the Office Manager, said 'no' to letting them in.  The event was sold out, registration had been open for half a year, and admitting them at that point in time would have required changing all of the plans that had already been made.  Game schedules would have had to be redone (registered teams approached a total of 2000), supplies, and accommodations  - in general - would cumulatively amount to [imho] more work than the money from their registration fee would have afforded us.  Our Marketing Manager strongly disagreed, stating that the effort would not only make the team (who may potentially be well-connected) happy, it would make us look good.  Needless to say, at the time I disagreed that we'd look "good" by breaking our rules for one team.  Well, long story short: we let the team in.  They were ecstatic.  The event went off seamlessly.  I got OT pay.  Everyone was happy.

The other day, we reached an application deadline.  There were postings, and there were applicants to these postings.  The deadline was for the applications to postings.  The day following this deadline, someone sent me a .. posting! I panicked and tried to think of ways of accommodating this late posting.  I thought perhaps of emailing his posting to all applicants to see if any of them were interested.  I even thought of extending the deadline so as to give this posting a chance at getting a great applicant.  I looked to the person running this posting/application process, and her advice was to keep our deadlines such as they are, and just let the poster know and find another reasonable solution. I would have killed myself to ensure that I accommodated this late request, but I was advised not to.  I feel badly about not going out of my way, but I am aware that it wasn't necessary and that it was perfectly fair and fine to follow the deadlines such as they were laid out.

I have this strange feeling that the former experience shaped my inclinations for all future ones.  I suppose I could call it a "Customer-Service Oriented" attitude.  Does this make me understanding? a push-over? a good employee? or none of the above. Whatever the answer is, looking back, I know who I blame for the change.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Monotony

It's hard to pinpoint the moment that we get trapped in a rut, but today I feel inclined to blame long-term goals and detailed planning.  At some point, the day-to-day (i.e. minor details that are often overlooked when aiming for your goal) becomes so monotonous that it slowly sucks the life out of you.  Or rather, it slowly had sucked the life out of you, and before you even knew it, you were dead - but a brainless zombie making your way about.  And where once a task was a tiny step that brought you closer to your goal, it became the bane of your existence.

Institutions and Organizations

The first real high school event at which I performed a song was the Christmas Concert when I was in the twelfth grade.  I sang an a cappella rendition of Boyz II Men's  Let It Snow.  There were lights, cameras, and a full audience that listened intently and applauded loudly.  The experience was intoxicating.

I still remember auditioning for this event.  After having been called "too operatic sounding" in my then-most recent audition, I was really nervous as I walked into a room to sing for the Principal and the Chemistry teacher.  They were, after all, tremendously talented singers, themselves.  But I did it.  And I got the 'ok' to perform in the show.

I was so excited and nervous that all I did was rehearse.  The trouble was that I had an English paper due on the same day as the performance.  My choice was clear when I performed preparedly, and afterward asked my teacher for an extension.

This is the first memory I have of failing to meet a deadline.  I risked my average for a performance.  I was lucky that time because my teacher enjoyed my performance and she gave me the extension without penalty.  She said she understood.  I felt guilty at the time for asking for and accepting her mercy, thinking I deserved the consequence of a penalty for the late submission.  I had this crazy idea instilled in me that "the real world" (i.e. life after high school) wouldn't afford me such leniency, and that I shouldn't get used to it.

I've found that high school, through its [seemingly] arbitrary rules, deadlines, and punishment, gives us a false impression of "the real world".  I understand the utility in their enforcment, especially on impressionable youth and adolescents.  However, the truth is, it's only ever become increasingly clear to me how institutions and organizations are all run by people, and all people have the potential to be very understanding...

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Disco

Nothing still quite comes close to Pandora.  I still remember the day I tried to login, and all I got was a message saying that it was no longer available to non-U.S. residents.  Anyway, there have been others, such as Grooveshark, but none of them are able to recommend artists and songs based on more than just genre.  Pandora looked at vocal styles, lyrical content, instrumentation... Every recommendation was surprisingly good.  (The key word here is "surprising".)

Anyway, Youtube has just launched "Disco".  It doesn't quite list all of musical elements of each song the way Pandora did, but it does let you do things that others didn't:

1. Watch the music videos.

2. Replay any song any number of times, as desired.

For these two reasons alone, so far, it wins.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Learning

I was always a hopeless romantic, and I would always let my heart dictate what I did.  But this isn't a good strategy. It teaches us to betray convictions, and breeds resentment.

I've been focusing my energy on finding the perfect balance between being easy-going, open-minded, and having a 'take no shit' attitude. That is, I have to defend myself (so as to never become bitter), but also know when to step down (so as to be fair).  I have to be ready for life as it comes (and be easy-going), and not reject it when it's not what I hoped it would be (because it's so easy to be hard on people for not giving you what you wanted from them).

It's the only way to go forward that makes sense to me.  But it's hard.  Sometimes I don't know if I'm being unfair when I'm defending myself, or letting people walk all over me when I don't.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Impressions

In the eighth grade, I wrote and recited a speech on Dating in the public speaking competition.  It was more like an insightful comedy act where I covered such topics as asking someone out on a date, telling your parents about the date, and dealing with gossip.  Within my school, I placed 1st and was given the opportunity to compete in Regionals.  So, I did.

I wish I had had enough wherewithal to have expected the poor reception of my speech, and that my school administrators could have had enough courtesy to have warned me.  Perhaps they didn't want me to backout, realizing that my ignorance of prejudices could endow me with confidence as I recited my speech in front of a very conservative panel.

But it was certainly a learning experience to have been handed my ribbon for my participation, and have a woman that I looked up to whisper a snide remark into my ear as she shook my hand for the photo.  After all, I've now had the pleasure of having a lifetime of these moments, and I don't foresee an end to them any time soon.

Hyperlinks

Weighing subtlety against clarity, I decided that the latter was more important when I decided to write this post.  I always get disappointed when I invest time in things that go unnoticed.  Anyway, I'm hoping that my hyperlinks in my posts, plus the little messages I include for when you hover over them are all being read.  I hope.  And if they weren't before, please try to catch them going forward.

Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Practice

I've been an atheist since I first read the God is Dead excerpt from Nietzsche's The Gay Science.  For years, I teeter-tottered between theism and agnosticism, and similarly between whether or not I consider myself a hypocrite.  I mean, after all, I did go to a Catholic High School, do readings at all of the masses, and accepted the Christian Leadership Graduating Award.  At the time, I just considered the readings and the leadership roles practice.  They were opportunities for me to get experience and do things that I enjoyed doing.  It just so happened to be the case that they were "Christian" events.  Should that have stopped me from participating?  I almost want to go on a rant complaining that the only reason why there are no advocacy atheist groups is because atheism isn't something that congregates its adherents ... but I won't.

I find it unfortunate sometimes that I was put into a situation where I felt pressure to keep my opinions to myself, and other times I realize that there are worse fates.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Insanity

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

-Albert Einstein

It's not that I think there's anything fundamentally wrong with how I've been living, or with the things I've been doing/things I plan on changing, I'm just aiming for different results and I don't want to go "insane" doing so. 

So, I started with blowing a lot of money in California, and generally adopting a more liberal attitude towards spending on designer names. 

Last week, I asked my POC at work to block me from accessing Facebook from work.  (A request for which I had to confess that I checked my account frequently while at the office.  My POC's initial response was by re-routing me to kittenwar.com, instead, which totally defeated the purpose.) 

Next, I plan to slowly phase-out gtalk.  I've been toying with the idea of it, but I'm having so much trouble with it. 

I've also reverted back to working more hours. 

I've stopped cooking [creatively] because I have no time. 

I'm finding more time for my family. 

I don't watch any tv what-so-ever. 

And

I've been writing a lot of song lyrics.  This will be the year that I focus on this.

I'm exhausted.  But at least I know why.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Guide to Misguided

This is what I'm referring to...

Example 1:  Having a particular career in mind for your future, and doing everything you need to do to get there.  Sometimes the outcome is happy, and sometimes not.  But in an educational system like the one I grew up in (sure, let's pick on it, why not?), you're encouraged to pick a career and do everything you need to get there.  This is all before you even know what having that career really entails.  Again, sometimes the outcome is happy: someone chose a career, drew out the path, went for it, and they enjoy their career.  Other times people are displeased with their premature decisions and either start over or remain miserable out of inertia.  I'm calling the end point of getting the career "making it", and the journey "faking it".  We have an end in sight, and we just do what we're told we're supposed to do to get there.  We presumably don't know better.  We may even question why we have to do some of the things we're told to do (eg. the necessity of electives in university), but we are told to just do it... to "fake it till we make it".

Example 2: A romantic relationship where one person has decided that he or she /wants/ to be with a specific other person (or kind of person), and concedes at every turn so as to avoid dealing with all of the problems in the relationship.  So, "making it" refers to having a long and happy relationship with this person, and the "faking it" refers to how he/she just goes through the motions to keep the relationship from falling apart.  The truth is, in a relationship (romantic or otherwise), to be genuinely happy, you need to be honest, and you can't "fake it".  So, "faking it till you make it" fails in relationships.

Now with respect to math and physics in high school,"faking it" was doing all of the homework (lots of practice) without fully understanding the bigger picture.  It can be useful for homework: "faking it" (doing all of the calculations without the understanding the theory behind it) enough times actually did help students eventually understand the concepts behind what they were doing.

So clearly, the blind guiding principle of "faking it till making it" is not always bad.  There is a lot of good that may come from it.  In the case of homework, it helped students develop their skills to grasp deeper concepts.  In the case of getting a career, it gets you to your career.  And in the case of the relationship, it helps you keep it.  But! the problem in the latter 2 cases was that the end point was reached, but happiness wasn't guaranteed.  If you made it to the end and wound up not being happy, then you'd have to either start anew or remain unhappy.  It's in times like this (where I've reached a goal and realized that it wasn't what I wanted) that I regretted ever aiming for it.  I begin to regret having done all of the things (making all of the sacrifices) that got me to that end.  I begin to ask myself if I'm happy that I even did these things and question if the memories of these things make the goal worthwhile in spite of the fact that the end-point turned out to mean nothing to me.  Or would I have been happier if I had not even tried?  ...if I had been skeptical of what I was told I was supposed to do, questioned what I was doing BEFORE I reached the end... what if?

There were also many times when I did hesitate.  I didn't do what I was told; I didn't act on blind faith.  I didn't trust the advice of whoever it was that was "guiding me".  And in retrospect I saw that if I had just shut up and done what I was told, I would have been able to reap the rewards of my obedience.  I would have come to see the wisdom in their advice. ... And then there were other times when my insolence was vindicated.

So when I said "but not even he made it.  I don't think some things ever become clearer.", I was saying... =D

[Note: the above two examples were provided for illustrative purposes only.   Any number of examples could have been used.]
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