Paradox

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The anthropology of the office™

Paradox.png
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The JC puts on his pith-helmet, grabs his butterfly net and a rucksack full of marmalade sandwiches, and heads into the concrete jungle

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The universe is not a rational place.

If it were, the middle management layer would have long since solved it, reduced it to atoms, reconstructed it as a binary model and devised the algorithm that will compute all known knowns in the single causal chain that, it turns out, stretches from now to the finite hereafter. For a consequence of reductionism being true is that all of Creation has a single fate, and there is but a solitary pathway to it. Therefore, all being well, middle management should, at some point soon, finally do away with we cantankerous sacks of mortal flesh, bequeathing us the unlimited leisure our technological unemployment always promised so, as mute and powerless passengers we can watch, in ultra-high resolution detail, the exact unfolding of the onrushing apocalypse, into whose loving maw we are already, categorically, unavoidably hurtling.

Reductionism means we are solved: there are no mysteries, no paradoxes; all unknowns will be known, and known unknowns, unknown unknowns or even unknown knowns the empty set.

Some find this exciting. I find it desolate, but only to the very limited extent it is even coherent.

So, it is my unalloyed joy to declare, my friends: reductionism is nonsense; the Cosmos cannot be solved; we are stuck with our grim, jury-rigged, provisional existence, rammed full as it is of the persistently irrational artefacts we know as everyday life. Right now, I can’t even figure out what to have for lunch, for God’s sake. Judging by what’s in the fridge, that’s a good thing.

Now, if the price of this metaphysical freedom is having endure stupidities like non-fungible tokens, rehypothecation and performance appraisals, then dammit, I’m buying, since that same ticket also grants us a permanent, non-transferable, irrevocable licence to redesign our own private narratives to take ourselves wherever we damn well please. This is mine; readers. You can take it or leave it.

So it is with fondness and gratitude that we catalogue just a few of the potty things with which we must deal on any day — see the “paradox” box on the right. These things may drive us insane, they may make no sense at all but, since they vouchsafe my individuality and my belief in personal freedom — and since they’re cheaper than a snakeskin jacket — they will do for me.

See also