Math+Life #28: Every Turn you Take

A to advance,

X to move right,

B to go back,

Y to move up,

These are the buttons on a video game console,

or the decisions that will determine our future in life.

Life is a video game for the universe,

Strangled black wires connect the mechanics of an arcade,

just like our millions of potential future paths are tangled into the unknown,

The probability you’d win the game stems out like a tree, each branch representing your actions,

just like each decision we make in life leads us somewhere,

Code and cryptograms cram the interior of the video game, desperately trying to adapt to the rapid game,

just like the studying, the tears, the concentration we have behind the scenes of success,

Questions rapidly pop up in front of the gamers’ tired eyes: right or left? gun or sword? keep going or quit the game?

Be careful. Each choice you make is crucial.

You can’t start running down a path or branch of the tree,

And then turn back when you see a dead end,

You have to keep moving, making decisions, taking turns,

Even worse, every choice you make is going to accumulate into your future,

Every possibility you embark on a video game, in your career, in your life,

Is going to read P(New action | Given past) = the probability of something new given the past,

Because your past matters.

Even the smallest detail with the smallest probability,

The one weapon you picked in the video game,

The one A you got in class,

The one smile you gave to your friend,

They all make a difference and set you up for a new path.

You’re probably wondering, if that’s the case, aren’t there infinite futures for me?

A million different combinations, permutations, probabilities, venn diagrams, distributions,

The answer is yes.

There are an infinite amount of alternate universes in our universe,

A hundred different versions of you based on your choices,

It’s your decision whether you want to contemplate each of these infinite possibilities every time you do something,

But I’ll tell you this,

If you keep searching and steering your ship to the right answer on the other side,

You’ll eventually get lost and go in circles forever,

Make your own branches of possibilities,

Design your own video game,

Who knows, you might win at the end of it by chance.

*****************

Math Connect:

The concept of probability trees is present in statistics. Each branch of the tree represents a different possibility of something happening with its associated probabilities. These possibilities continue to stem out and create new branches, each one influenced by the previous one. For example, the notation P(something happening | given the past) illustrates how the probability of the future is dependent on the past. I related this concept to life, where each decision and choice we make is leading us into a different path. There are an infinite ways our careers can go and they are ultimately determined by the turns we take in life. Once we start going on a path, we can’t turn back and forget the past. The past will always define who we are, so instead of contemplating the future all the time, we should just keep moving forward.

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