My girlfriend is fantastic at delivering messages I don’t want to hear, in a way I never want to hear them. The worst part is, she’s usually right.
The other day I bought a 30 inch monitor and some high end video cards to power it. It was an ostentatious purchase, no question. Today I had problems playing games with it and it blue screened my computer several times. It’s likely related to my motherboard, which I’ve had problems with but thus far I’ve managed to avoid fixing. I also may have a bent pin on my processor, which means I have to rip the whole fucking thing apart. Or I may have to replace the motherboard, thereby spending more money. She immediately saw this as divine retribution for my hubris. “The Universe is letting you know you didn’t need that thing and you wasted your money.”
I often can’t deny that grains of truth in what she says, but wonder if she sees the whole picture? I had to admit internally that I’d considered the same possibility of divine retribution for my 30 inch hubris. Of course, I didn’t let her know she was right. Instead, I said, “that’s bullshit.” I often feel like it’s best to leave certain boxes closed, or else you change what’s inside them. I call this the Schrodinger’s Cat effect, after the famous quantum thought experiment that implies that we change the nature of what we observe just by observing it.
Unfortunately, as if often the case, I wasn’t really happy about hearing this and she has a knack for pushing if I don’t capitulate. I’m not a big fan of capitulation. I’ll often defend a point, even if I know I’m well beyond wrong, just to see if I can win or influence someone. It’s a bad habit and one of constant contention between us.
It also didn’t help that my new prized posession was validating the idea that happiness does not come from external things. Whatever is built, collapses. Whatever is born, must die. Whatever good you get, you receive the shadow side as well. Immutable law. But God Dammit, it’s nice to have nice things once in awhile. And honestly, do we really want to live in a Universe where the Gods punish us for getting something we want, if it’s not a necessity? That seems like an unjust and unbalanced universe, even if I unconsciously know truth lies just beneath the surface there.
There’s also the aspect of her delivery that reminds me of my mother telling me what I could and couldn’t do, growing up. I’m also not a big fan of being told what to do. And though I love my mother now and get along with her well, she had a habit of calling out every mistake and harping on it when I was little.
Or maybe it’s just a damn monitor and I’ve having a problem that is totally unrelated? Maybe I’m just giving meaning to something that has no meaning?
Fighting with her makes me depressed. When I’m depressed I usually self medicate or search for inspiration outside of myself. Usually I don’t find anything except self sabotage and self destruction, but every once in awhile I find something exciting out there, that restores my hope. Tonight I found an article from the NY Times, about how scientists used gutted HIV viruses to deliver modified genes that trained several patient’s immune systems to kill off cancer. All of the patients were close to death and beyond treatment, with nothing left to lose. Two of them went into complete remission and the third partial remission. Their modified immune systems killed off pounds of advanced cancers, sending them into terrible fevers and sweats as their bodies dumped the disease, but after a few weeks the augged T-cells did their job and annihilated the cancer.
I love the concept of hijacking a virus to deliver a beneficial payload to a patient. That’s that stuff of great sci-fi right there. We wrote about ideas like this twenty years ago and now we are doing it. As they said in Ghost in the Shell “if man recognizes technology is within his grasp, he achieves it, like it’s damn near instinctual.” It makes me hopeful that we haven’t burned up the best and brightest of this generation on driving ad revenue. It makes me think that Jeff Hammerbacher’s incredibly well circulated and utterly nihilistic comment is dead fucking wrong. He said: “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads. That sucks.” It does suck, but again, it makes me think that maybe people don’t have the whole picture.
Here’s the truth. I wanted the monitor. I got it. I didn’t need it and as such the Gods are sending me a message that you always have to pay a bit more for things you don’t need. We’ll give you exactly what you need, they say, but reach for more and get smacked back. So they smacked me. And I will get up, say sorry and fix my damn custom built, Frankenstein computer and move on. And the woman will once again let me know that I am an asshole and I won’t listen and I’ll blame her. The key to this entire story? Don’t shoot the messenger even if she has no fucking tact.