on the so-called objective paradox

“the “objective paradox” — as soon as you create an objective, you ruin your ability to reach it.” [*]

[hat tip g]

That’s very concise; I like it. Effectuation theory [pdf] has some very related ideas:

  • goal ambiguity – you don’t know exactly what you want
  • environmental isotropy – everything looks the same in every direction; you don’t know what’s important
  • enaction – the moves you make change the landscape (internal and external)

Anyway, why the objective paradox? Something something goal shielding (blindness to better goals and better strategies towards the current goal), functional fixedness (looking at what’s in front of you in narrow ways). I think this is totally a thing, and it’s fundamentally in tension with legibility, the principal-agent problem, control, prediction, planning, risk, and much more. But idiosyncratically inhabiting and navigating that tension is a route to high-variance value.

A lot of my time is spent setting up my life so I can effectively work with the objective paradox, creating systems, contexts, and spaces (timers, timesheets, flexible hierarchies of unlabeled project buckets, tracking minutiae so as to minimize its impact on my life) within which I can gather possibilities and aim them (microphenomenological workspace) while remaining open to serendipity.

Some of the stuff below is annoying fluff and some of it is excellent. I’ll just lump it all together because even the fluff has a hint of something really important in it:










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