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February 23rd, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

When setting forth on my current journey, I purposefully chose to leave everything other than the flight and the first few days completely open to anything. From a game theory standpoint, the branching factor is very high — I can do nearly anything as long as it completes prior to my flight out. As my time here flies forward, the available options and activities decline sharply and the branching factor begins to vanish.

In my final week here in Thailand, the branching factor has become so small that the intellectual sensation is similar to a game of chess or go where the outcome is known and the details can mostly be reliably predicted or planned.


Though I had managed to avoid planning for the trip, I cannot avoid planning at some point during the trip. Working backwards, I have to start a new job on the 28th and therefore must catch my flight from BKK to SFO and therefore must get to Bangkok for that flight and therefore must make travel arrangements to get from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and therefore cannot be out trekking through villages in Northern Thailand, etc.
Planning itself comes naturally and in fact requires effort for me to take a laissez-faire attitude toward the trip itinerary itself. I took the laissez-faire attitude precisely because it is not how I naturally interact with the world and I hope it imparts insight and personal growth.


I have observed this endgame effect in human relationships. If you have dated a few people, think back to the start of a relationship on the first few dates or the first kiss. It’s not just the hormones that feel so good — the plethora of possibilities is intoxicating as well. As the relationship progresses, each party starts closing some opportunities. As those possibilities close, the relationship enters an endgame. There is no ko rule in real life so the relationship stagnates or terminates.
There is no goal or endpoint required in a relationship and should therefore never need to enter endgame if all involved do not attempt to over-plan, instead leaving the union in a state of innumerable possibilities until the final journey we all must take arrives.

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