Mushroom Life and Narrative Legos

Was away on a short vacation with a few old friends. I am back now. As any other good vacay, this one was revealing. It’s left me wonder struck. That’s a great way to be in life. At some point during the trip, we all went to a casino- it was my first time, and I don’t intend on doing it again, simply because it isn’t my thing. Not because of a moral opinion, since that’s what people are always assuming my choices to reflect. Well, it was a fun experience, but not a single one of us got out of the place having made our entry fee and what our initial play coupons were worth. Funny part is, all of us, at one point, HAD made quite an amount and didn’t stop (except this one guy; he was just woefully unlucky). Overall, it wasn’t a bad experience at all, because all of us were just a bunch of early-20 year olds on a rather rare vacation, and we weren’t naive enough to pretend it would be on a shoestring budget. But that didn’t stop us from making ironic jibes at our previous-day, roulette-playing selves for not opting out when the time was right. I can almost hear your thoughts about how you think I should take this as a life-lesson about gambling and move on, but I can’t think about that, when I am busy thinking about the probabilities of the happenstances in alternate universes. The ‘What Ifs’ got me amazed. It’s just a bunch of rules, and how you react to them sets the storyline. Besides, every day, fund managers, stock brockers, investment and equity researchers and analysts, play the same game on a much, much bigger scale- thereby, universalizing the effects.

If you appreciate or share the above sentiments, you have GOT to check this webpage out. If you remember, I had written a post on loneliness in the hope that I will learn more about this human existential condition. And then today, I stumbled upon this Conway ‘mushroom life’ game. It is a sort of mathematical simulator in which you get to decide how it starts, but the rules are set (lonely mushrooms die and overpopulation leads to depersonalization, as I would like to explain it, and again causes the mushrooms to die out; to explain the reference to my post on loneliness) and how it ends is pretty much about observing how it got there (Cliched TL;DR: It’s not the destination, it’s the journey). Got me thinking about what could possibly be wrong with our consulting industry (I have been a part of it, and this opinion is personal- please correct me and show me another side of the industry as seen through your eyes. As an optimist, I am willing and hoping to be wrong). Not only has it gotten commoditized, its outputs (usually in the form of some of a report or study) are kind of pre-determined in the message that it sends. Simulators and prediction models are sometimes not allowed a free-reign, and sometimes the short-sighted consultant is not taking all possible variables into consideration, simply because it isn’t visible to the naked, pre-programmed eye. Basically, we have come a long way (is that a good thing?) from Deming’s work with Toyota and Japanese industry after the War, but in this transition in the way of things, the consulting industry has got into a limbo-like conundrum, which could perhaps envelope all the industry that is being advised by it.

Ken Levine of BioShock Infi fame, dives deeper into the complexity of virtual living

Then, I stumbled upon this bit about Ken Levine considering becoming a genius in the world of gaming , and potentially machine learning, as I interpret it, by figuring out heuristics and the complexities that make a video game’s character and storyline, and breaking it all down to its very atomic strata- which he calls ‘Narrative Legos’,  and I am just thinking to myself that if all these people would willingly, open-mindedly try to learn in an inter-disciplinary manner, then we would probably realize that ALL of us, regardless of our professions, positions, wealth, personalities- are sort of trying to solve similar kinds of problems.

We are learning to cope with change. Sorry about ending this seemingly technology/mathematics-ridden post on such a philosophical, Buddhisty note. Peace!

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