The Good Things About All the Problems
In The Problems With All the Good Things I used “AI” to list problems with a comprehensive collection of things—states of being, possessions, activities—we commonly deem good. One point of the book was to inductively challenge our notion of “good,” and another to relieve and empower who took that as a problem.
For a brief period of time, I contemplated a counterpart or sequel: “The good things about all the problems.”
Figure: Who knows, maybe I’ll still do it.
It would have taken the same approach, just to construct the opposite: Instead of using a language model to identify problems, identify benefits.
But this soon seemed not to be a good idea.
It was not that there was no philosophical merit, even power in the argument. (Far from it, if you ask me.)
It was, and is, that we’re not at all ready to look at our experience this way.
Now, many people may appreciate what could be good about a parking ticket, an upset stomach, or a failed exam.
But come good things about long-term unemployment, severe disease, or untimely death—and these would not be the worst experiences to pick—, it stands to reason that people aren’t as appreciative anymore.
I respect that. I relate to that, because finding the good in problems, unpleasant and unwanted as they seem, can be extremely difficult. In some cases, we might refuse any notion of good in them.
And yet, I believe it’s a mark on the meter of our development (or lack thereof)—that good things about problems cannot be meaningfully discussed. We may need to solve some metaproblems.
I’m Jens, and I’m an engineering lead and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for companies like Google, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly and Frontend Dogma. I love trying things, not only in web development, but also in other areas like philosophy. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.
If you have a question or suggestion about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message. Thank you!
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Find adventure anywhere? Try 100 Things I Learned as an Everyday Adventurer (2013). During my time in the States I started trying everything. Everything. Then I noticed that wasn’t only fun, it was also useful. Available at Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play Books, and Leanpub.