In Conclusion

This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friends. Some people started singing it not knowing what it was, and now they keep on singing it forever just because this is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friends…

I’m not big on endings.

I mean, I recognize the necessity. Nothing carries on forever, and I suppose there needs to be some kind of closing punctuation, some exclamation mark or ellipse, to end the story. What I’m saying, though, is that personally I prefer the question mark.

And not just in stories either. I have a difficult time finishing many of the articles and essays I write for this reason. Most writing classes recommend you end with a conclusion, a summing up, of everything you’ve declared before, but honestly? I don’t declare much. I ask questions. Answers are valuable, yes, but too many of us, upon finding an answer, like to think of it as the answer.

If there’s ever only one answer, then the question was trivial. Get a better question. And it may sound here like I’m insulting and trivializing the sciences, but I’m honestly not; we don’t attack the problems of science from one angle. Because these problems are deep and relevant, we use every intellectual resource, every theory and doubt, at our disposal to try to break down what our data means.

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ (I found it!) but ‘That’s funny …’ -Isaac Asimov (probably?)

But in science, as in fiction, there are no endings. Well established theories can be disproven centuries after they are founded. Science itself is the process of disproving hypotheses. But I digress.

Some time ago, I watched a recording of a Jon Blow lecture where he said (paraphrased) “sometimes people say these lectures are inspiring… I don’t know if you’ll find this one inspiring, unless you really like difficult problems.” Well, yes, Mr Blow, I think we do. I think anyone of a creative and/or engineering mindset should be inspired by difficult problems, because difficult problems are where we discover new things, about ourselves, about our medium, about our world. Even game players should be interested in these problems, not only for the bearing they have on the future of a medium they profess to love but also because the challenges themselves should excite them… And that should go double for game developers.

Anyway– Anyway the point is, nothing is absolute, well, nothing I’ve encountered. Endings are beginnings are endings, and no matter how well thought out and well-researched your essay is you might just be fooling yourself. There are always valid opinions which contradict yours, and there’s no benefit to you to simply shutting them out.

And yes, and yes, maybe I’m just obsessing too much over the form. Maybe there’s no fundamental difference between the declarations of others and my own suppositions, really, because they’re all just words and the people who write them are still open to new ideas. Probably. But there’s power in the words we choose to say things with and, whether they mean to do so or not, these people are shutting themselves off from something. Any time you say A is B or X is not Y you close off the part of your mind which can ever suppose the opposite to be true.

And for what benefit? So you can sound authoritative? To offer your audience closure?

Hey, how about respecting the people you write for instead? I don’t need authority. I need inquiry. I don’t need diatribes, I need dialogue. I hunger for interaction, a world that reacts when I touch it, not a calcified world that either breaks or breaks me when we connect. I’ve had enough of that.

Doubt is my faith. Inquiry is my dogma.

I find conclusions absurd.

In Conclusion: There’s schadenfreude in farting in elevators, and when it’s raining you can’t tell if anyone’s spitting in your face.


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