2017-01-17

Modelling Relationships

(If you scroll past the list, there is a prosaic reflection on things in general, which I observe in relation to the list.)

Modern Portfolio Theory: Forms of Engagement (Part i):

A. The love of your life.

B. The one you're happily attached to.

C. The one you want to be with. Unavailable. No comment.

D. Unavailable. Logistics of physique. Transportation woes.

E. Unavailable. Logistics of purchasing power. Unattainable.

F. Unavailable. Logistics of taste. Wildly different.

G. The one who's afraid of you. Does not know why.

H. The one who's afraid of you. Potential damage to their reputation.

I. Potential damage. Has never dared to associate intimately.

J. Potential damage. Associated in secret. All allegations denied.

K. Potential damage. Associated in open. Disavowed.

L. Disavowed. Blames youth.

M. Disavowed. Blames intoxication.

N. Disavowed. Blames your intoxication.

O. Disavowed. Blames their parents. Speaks to you in secret.

P. Speaks to you in secret. Never discovered.

Q. Speaks to you in secret. Only in jest.

R. Speaks to your soul. Never says anything IRL. But you hear things, always. You just know.

S. The one you pushed away. Reasons non-existent.

T. Pushed away. Slowed you down.

U. Pushed away. You were holding them back.

V. Pushed away. You were afraid to hurt them.

W. The one who loved you. Now insane.

X. Loved you. Now married. Status of recollection unknown.

Y. Loved you. As a friend, they said. Never felt halfway close.

Z. Loved you. You still love them. Just not enough.

(Part ii...)

Well in theory, this list is infinitely branching. ;)

This is what I think about at work. The same algorithm processes customers, and staff, and business partners, and other members of the public. People are so simple, ultimately. But this simplicity evades most feelers. How can we recognise so many relationships between exactly two people? How do we even function, they wonder. And the set of relations between every two people is at least as complex as this list - people just don't always notice, or care to act on that complexity. And then when you look for trinomial relations, some are irreducible to binomial ones. And the n-nomial series of relations displays perpetually emergent properties all the way up the number line into infinity... assymptotic, of course, in marginal idiosyncracy. And that is life, in the age of artificial friends, of machines that are closer confidantes than meatspacers, and the problem with knowing that all this exists, is that one can barely do much about it, while trying to make a living elsewhere.

So now the day begins, and we monitor the cleanliness of our spaces, the cognitions of our coworkers, their fears and lapsed learnings, we counsel them in speaking up rather than failing silently, in building solution prototypes rather than hypothesising loudly, we guide their paths with algorithms contingent on documents designed for those algorithms, we feed them sugar and spice and caffeine, and toy with their senses of humour, risking the wrath of their insecurities, and ultimately applying heuristics that punt on their statistical probability of fulfilling organisational mandates. That is society. That is life. So boring, and yet it is not categorically possible to ask for more.

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