Monday, January 15, 2018

A Time Of Beauty

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(Continued from Birthday & The Man)

- What are coincidences then?
- Reversals. Improbable events reversing expectation of the probable.
- If they are merely improbabilities, why do we feel like they mean something?
- Because we feel like we deserve to expect them.
- Expecting improbability? Improbabilities become probable?
- Yes! I mentioned Amazon last time. I'm want to tell you about my experience with that company. But first let me say I spent all my life avoiding the world Amazon typifies, all my life up until a few years ago. I got out. I ran away. I judged that a good life was improbable in the America of money and only money. And this is what I want to tell you: I was right. All those years of being out, now that I'm in, partly in, I look back on as a time of beauty.
- A time of beauty.
- You object to the phrase?
- How does coincidence fit in?
- Coincidence tells you that your decision based on probability, which after all is all we ever have to go on, was correct.
- 'They' tell you: who is that 'they'? How are coincidences a 'they'?
- We have to decide the must important things in our lives based on probabilities, and sometimes when we do, and are right, improbabilities start assembling themselves; and what I think is they are telling us things are different now, that turning our backs on, calculating probabilities in the world we knew, we were right in how we decided.
- 'They' are telling us?
- As beauty speaks to us: improbability, coincidence is the world getting our attention, notifying us in advance the probability of the return of love. You accept that the world can speak to us with its beauty?
- Yes, I think I do. Reversals of probabilities, when they involve our own lives, are somehow beautiful. Tell me about Amazon.
- A company about money and only money. A company that exists to provide quantities of things cheaper and monopolize markets. Quantity and cheapness has made them the world's largest retailer and granted them monopoly status. Like the products sold, employees are cheap and handled in multitudes. Employee costs in relation to profits are minimal. Computer programs record every movement of every employee, measuring efficiency second by second. But a surprise is in store for you when newly hired you show up to work. No manager is there. You are expected to train yourself by following around the other employees. Amazon has managers, but their salaries are so much greater than yours that it is not efficient for them to show up and manage you. In fact, the managers are managed in the same way themselves, their efficiency controlled by other managers whose own efficiency is monitored by other managers.
- Everyone is watching and no one is managing. How is that efficient?
- Without the monopoly profits it wouldn't be. But as this is a company about money and only money, management is not competent to do anything else. In its surveillance of employees by employees themselves surveilled the company never sees a human being, no manager ever decides like a human being. It's amazing. It's the end of the world. The employees hate the company, hate what they are doing, and have no interest in the other employees they immediately see hate the company and what they are doing. Why bother discussing it with each other?
- You misunderstood me earlier. I wasn't objecting to your 'time of beauty.' I was thinking rather that this kind of, as you put it, listening to the world is something entirely different from probability: it is all or nothing. Similarly, I think you're saying of our world of money it too is an absolute in the way it talks to us. Am I right?
- Yes. Beauty or its opposite: if they address themselves to us even for a moment they spread out in memory and imagination occupying everything there is.
- But still. If you had made an effort and talked to the employees maybe they'd have turned out to have lives just like yours.
- Unlikely. Probabilities are important. Time is limited. It was time to go.