Making Sense of The Language of Optimism

I love finding metaphors in academics (but sometimes, when I say "finding", I mean reaching-for-metaphors-in-terms-that-usually-...

I love finding metaphors in academics (but sometimes, when I say "finding", I mean reaching-for-metaphors-in-terms-that-usually-would-go-over-your-head-unless-you-grow-a-personal-attachment-to-it). My good grades are actually a consequence of my impressive ability to conceal how much of an emotional wreck I actually am.

But I digress.

Making sense of life and positivity is a language I am currently trying to learn, through metaphors I find in two of its (hundreds of thousands of) dialects: Technology, and Mathematics. If you didn't know, the terms "Internet" and "Web" are not interchangeable. In the simplest of explanations, the Internet is the huge collection of computers and machinery, wires and big tall servers, while the Web is what allows us this magic of connection across lands and oceans. In the conceptual scope of things (and here is where the metaphor begins to unfold), the Internet is the goal, and the Web is a process to attain that goal.

Whenever I see someone sing the praises of the Internet, a small part of me wants to go, "Hey, the Web, which is a part of the Internet, is just as, if not more, amazing!" There's too much focus on what already is that barely anyone pays attention to how it came to be. Details are lost in this particular brand of "big picture" thinking, and when it comes to a good many things, details matter. Process matters. Process is what creates possibilities.

How you got to where you are is just as, if not more, amazing as where you ended up. Which brings me to my second metaphor, found in counting numbers -where wholes are surrounded by infinities. The idea of infinity is amazing; It's been my favourite for a while. It gives us a word for something that is not quantifiable yet found in a quantifiable setting; a term for what [else is, can be, could have been, should have been, would have been, will be] in the midst of what already is. An array of alternate universes being created by tangibility.

Counting goes like this: 1, 2, 3, so on and so forth.
Before 1, we have 0.99. Before 0.99, we have 0.98. But before 0.99, we also have 0.099.
After 1, we have 1.01. After 1.01, we have 1.02. But after 1.01, we also have 1.001.

0.099, 0.98, 0.99, ..., 1, ..., 1.001, 1.01, 1.02, ...

Infinite numbers before we even get to 1, and after as well.

People's goals usually look like this: Be confident, Lose 10 pounds, Be happy, Find myself. All wholes, with infinite possibilities, processes, and states of being in-between. Almost-confident, and somewhat happy don't quite cut it, and losing 5 pounds or trying out a new style of dressing isn't quite enough. Possibilities within infinities within infinities, drowned in the glory of being whole, forgetting that we are not the sum of our parts, but the synergy of the possibilities we make real.

To me, this is what Chbosky meant when he wrote the line, "And in that moment, I swear we were infinite". We can mock it. We can take it to heart. We can analyse it. We can tire of it. To me, this is what makes sense because I see the same ideas manifest in dialects I understand: that being infinite is being a process of making possibilities real. Not a result. Not a whole. A process. It's all so conceptual when you abstract the terminology; This must be the grammatical structure that keeps optimism alive. Like a flower vine, it coils itself through all aspects human knowledge, rooting itself in its bed of soil, blooming only when there are people to water them.

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  1. Lovely thought. I`d like to hear more of things like this soon <3 It really makes me stop and ponder

  2. I agree with your idea of infinity. It's something I thing about often. Infinite roads, infinite paths, infinite choices, possibilities, etc. Looking forward to your other posts and thanks for following me on BL! :)

    Love, Richel. | Richel Goes Places