Maximizing Mistakes

When I look around, it seems to me that the world is designed to maximize mistakes. In other words, this place has been explicitly crafted to encourage inhabitants to mess-up and stumble their way through.

For example, memory is extremely unreliable. “What time was I supposed to be there again? What was the address? Was it 224 or 244?” Systemic forgetfulness is inherent to humanity. Drama for instance, relies heavily on poor-memory to evoke conflict. “You forgot our anniversary again!”; “Dinner with the Johnsons tonight!? But I invited my boss over for cocktails with the client!”; “The test was today!? Oh-no I didn’t get a chance to study!”

Deadlines themselves are another mechanism that encourages mistake-making. Why have so many deadlines? The bill is due on this date! The registration will expire on THIS date! The exam is in one-week! The essay is expected in two-days! Many deadlines don’t even matter, they’re arbitrary stopping points. But in a world maximizing for mistakes? They’re a great concept.

How about the fact that humans have two spindly legs upon which to walk, resulting in frequent tripping or tumbling? How about the fact that uncoordinated humans drive at speeds in excess of 75 MPH on narrow pathways next to similarly moving contraptions? How about the fact that humans eat, breath, and talk out of the same orifice?

My point is this: this world is made to make you feel like a failure. “You’re not good enough, you’ll never be good enough, you’ll fail time and time again.” But do you know what else is specifically designed to make you ceaselessly fail? Video-games. Pac-Man for example had no end-game, players were simply expected to fail at some point as the gameplay sped up.

Therefore, we can conclude that relentless failure is a desirable condition. It’s literally the definition of “fun”. Activities are fun when we struggle our way through them. “Oh boy, did you see the vase I made in pottery class? What a mess, haha!” Gambling is another example in which players typically lose way more than they win.

Funny movies are those in which goofy characters flounder their way through life. What the evidence shows, is that failure is the goto mechanism for fun and enjoyment. To “lose” is to win whereas to “win” is to actually lose. What do you win when you win? Winning is the end of a movie, it’s the end of the game. Whereas losing allows you to keep coming back for more.

In that sense, you shouldn’t want to win. You should want to develop an ability to appreciate losing. We can certainly laugh at the buffoon onscreen in the movie that screws up, but we’re often too sensitive about ourselves. We coddle our own character too much, wanting him to be the champion. But really, we should value his foolishness, his silliness, his clumsiness at meandering through life. So stop taking life so seriously and just laugh at yourself.