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Saturday, January 05, 2002

Fingerprint of a Soul

Standing here at my computer, I am surrounded by windows holding scenery like giant terrariums. As I look through each pane of glass from left to right, we have the sky and cloud terrarium, then mountain, then sea and shoreline, then forest, and finally the rural neighborhood terrarium complete with television glow and barking dogs. Which one do I choose today? Pass through the portal, and enter the universe of my choice.

Another thirty degrees of gaze brings me to the white board, which now has "I will not rock shallow boats" written repeatedly on it--a preemptive message to myself, looking forward to the side effects of my attempts to stir up change.

What I realize that I am missing (finally with some conciseness), who's lack fuels this hollow in my sternum, is an ally. Looking back over the years, Sally has been my closest and most enduring ally--perhaps my only substantial one--and even that has faded sharply in the last few years due to circumstantial divergence and other factors. Now days every human interaction feels an uphill battle, a tug-of-war of conflicting interests wrapped in a crumpled wad of politeness and protocol, like haggling over prices in a third-world country where every ounce of your own empathy is ritually turned against you. Some people thrive on that, feeding on their sense of victory at each outcome. It depletes me, for every victory in a competition is also a loss, and still entropy always gets its cut.

What makes a natural ally is someone who shares your goals. (What makes a perfect ally is someone who also complements your skills.) But goals come in all shapes and sizes, a fractal of infinite detail, the fingerprint of a soul.

Perhaps what I need is a fingerprint database.

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com