“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.”
– Albert Einstein
The movie Deadpool features a superhero who was mutated under his own volition in an experimental treatment in an attempt to cure his terminal cancer. The treatment involved repeated cycles of temporary asphyxiation due to oxygen deprivation followed by forced resuscitation. Watching these scenes reminds me of undergoing a panic attack repeatedly for days on end. Its torturous. All you want Deadpool to do is figure out how to escape from the misery. When he eventually does, you have to ask: how could a negative experience yield anything positive? I’d like to point out that the theme is not extraordinary. Most cancer treatments involve some level of intentional poisoning (carefully dosed and managed), or surgery. Literally cutting, excising, or removing tissue. Weird, but true.
Conversely, blessings and positive circumstances can have a dark side.
“Those with a high intellectual capacity possess overexcitabilities in various domains that may predispose them to certain psychological disorders as well as physiological conditions involving elevated sensory, and altered immune and inflammatory responses.”
In the 2000 film Castaway, featuring Tom Hanks, a FedEx employee played by Hanks is stranded on a pacific island after a plane crash during the holiday season and is isolated from civilization for years. While stranded, packages from the wreckage wash up on shore that aid in Hanks survival including a pair of ice skates, VHS tapes, and a volleyball. Some packages contain useless items. But one package is unique from the rest. On top of the package is a hand-drawn double-winged symbol. The symbol has no historic, or esoteric significance, but it does correlate with the fact that it must have meaning to sender. The unknown symbol now represents an unsolvable mystery that can only be answered if he survives and delivers it. As a result, Hanks finds purpose in saving the integrity of the package until it can be delivered and his life and destiny is now tied to higher calling.
Hanks was forced for years to survive in a quantum reality based on probabilities, uncertainty and unknowable states. Due to these circumstances, his survival was dependent upon a belief and faith based system and it is evident by the end that his faith is the only thing that kept him alive. I should point out that this does not occur without several moments where a severe loss of faith coincides with pain that brings his attention back to the purpose at hand.
In Quantum Mechanics, there is a principal known as the Heisenbergs Uncertainty Principal. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal states that there is a fundamental limit to what one can know about a quantum system. For example, the more precisely one knows a particle’s position, the less one can know about its momentum, and vice versa. The scientist is literally trapped in a paradox where by discovering something new they are inherently giving up information, or truth in another place. The uncertainty principle is inherent in the properties of all wave-like, probabilistic systems. A quantum system can be studied, but can never be predicted.
In investing, markets are a closer representation of Quantum physics than Newtonian physics. Analysts and technicians can measure wave-like properties (i.e. Elliot Wave Theory) as well as particle like properties of all stocks (i.e. fundamental analysis: P/E, debt, equity, growth). But there is truth inherent that all long term investors will humbly admit: The more they know, the less confidence they have, and the more successful strategies must include ‘principals,’ ‘values,’ or ‘rules,’ similar to a faith based system.
Inherent to systems of faith are symbols. Symbols draw on our imagination and our attention which can act as powerful totems or guides. It is unfortunate that at a time where the world seems so out of sorts, we no longer have popular systems of faith. Additionally, we also live in a world now where we don’t have the time to direct our attention where we otherwise might. Our attention is also being monetized in nearly every way imaginable and is presented with an echo chamber of products based on our search preferences and analytics drawn from our social media accounts. This combination of lack of faith and lack of directed attention leaves many feeling lost with no viable solution at hand other than to burn down, or tear down symbols of significance without a clear voice or message of how we plan to improve or what we will replace them with.
The important thing to do whenever you feel trapped, or discomforted by your circumstances is to find something, it can be anything, but it must be something you are willing to hold on to and give your attention direction and purpose. To increase your chances of success it should also have some meaning / significance to your personal life experiences. Therefore everyone is likely to be somewhat unique, but probably not too different. We’re all human after all. We all make mistakes. We all feel pain. And we are all learning and figuring this out at the same time.
“We all have a sickness
That cleverly attaches and multiplies
No matter how we try”