Saturday, July 24, 2010

It Would Never Have Worked

I thought I had blogged on this before but couldn't find anything. Oh well.

The wife and I saw "Inception" last night. Very nice, good acting, nice pacing, wonderful logical consistency. A bit of a thinker, but no where near the mental tickle of "Mememto".

But, it just didn't quite work for me because: the wonderfully complex plan that gets carried out was way too complex to ever have succeeded on the first try.

Think about playing Mousetrap as a kid. It never worked right the first time. You always had to tweak this, nudge that.

In the mid-80s, scientists almost universally opposed Reagan's Star Wars missile defense system because there would have no way to test the fabulously complex software. Maybe now you we have enough computing power that you simulate it, but, still, who is willing to trust that?

In some ways, it's Intelligent Design vs. Evolution. The Intelligent Design is bound to forget things, need tweaking, want some do-overs. Evolution just keeps on keepin' on, if it lives fine, otherwise, au revoir Pee-wee.

I think that this is a cognitive illusion, akin to the one that "at some point the roads should be done", where we just don't want to admit that the roads always need maintenance. We want to believe that incredibly elaborate plans can be executed perfectly the first time, and normally they can't. Hence the many incremental steps towards the 1st moon landing.

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