Sunday, May 22, 2011

It's Not Fair!

Though many of us may start life with the ideal that all people are equal, I doubt few of us were fortunate enough to graduate first grade still holding on to such a naive approach to life. Upon being subjected to the basic misfortunes that we all learn to live with, most of us begin to realize that life is just not fair. Some people seem to always have the best of fortune and other people seem to be dealt a bad hand of cards. Most of us would suggest that a fair world would be the ideal kind, but in reality, for whatever reason, the demons of injustice seem to have the ball in their court. However, closer examination suggests that the nature of our world is a perfect reflection of what most people honestly consider ideal.

Though most people seem to espouse the idea of all people being equal, it seems highly unlikely for even one person to actually feel this way on a personal level. The spreading of all the pleasures and sorrows of life in a perfectly fair manner may objectively seem like a worthy goal. However, how many people live in the world of the objective? Looking at the world through the glasses of anything other than a human being can lead to false and deceptive conclusions. Ideals must be thought of in the context of a subjective human experience if they are to relate to reality in a truthful and pragmatic manner. Don't look at the world as a large reality that happens to be populated with humans, and instead think of the world as the frame of reference for a given individual human. With a purely subjective and human observation of the world it seems obvious to me that a fair and even spread of life's assets is quite far from what is considered ideal.

An exercise in subjectivity reveals the fallacy of this parity. Put yourself in your own shoes for a few minutes, and think if you would prefer if all people would be equal. Imagine yourself winning the lottery, and think of all the work that other people can do in order to partake in your prize. You can walk through the streets of the city and browse the sites of the web while exercising your debit card in a purchasing frenzy, and others are toiling for their bread by supporting your every whim. Does this reality of yours sound fair? I don't believe it does. But do you find it wrong? I don't believe you do. You probably think that the world is a big place and it's not that bad if one human has a free ride. If this is the case, where has your desire for a fair world gone? Apparently, a fair world takes second priority to a world where all of your wildest desires are satisfied. Your altruistic desire for the equality of people has dried up the second you have been dealt a load of fortune.

Now, instead of thinking of yourself as a lottery winner, think of yourself as an acquaintance of one. Someone who worked with you in the office has just hit a major jackpot. On the outside you are full of excitement for your colleague, but on the inside you are overflowing with envy. You play the lottery every week and he just happened to buy one with his extra change. It's not fair! If only life was fair. If only you could have won the lottery as well. But you realize that you don't wish for both of you to win the lottery. After all, if everyone won the lottery their would be no use in the money. You are upset because you would have preferred to win the lottery instead of him. The whole purpose for you to win the lottery would be for you to be able to sit back and relax while everyone continued working to satisfy your needs. You don't wish for the world to be a fair place. You only wish the world would be more unfair with results that treat you favorably.

With the proper perspective it becomes obvious why the world is naturally such an unfair place. In reality nobody really cares for a fair world. Though the unfortunate may lament the ills of an unfair world, they must realize that they by no means take what they say to heart. By playing the lottery they are acknowledging the fact that the ideal world is an unfair world. Though this world may bring many to misfortune, most people are willing to risk living in such a world as long as they are given the chance to be on the fortunate end. The unfair nature of life is nothing more than a reflection of the will of the human race.

Friday, May 20, 2011

How Did This Happen?

What's with this?

Either the end of the world has finally arrived or Google finance is having some serious trouble.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Shidduch System vs. Job Market

Nobody likes uncertain and disorderly systems. Humans are known to be risk averse, and people generally prefer one bird in the hand to two birds in the bush. However, when engaging in any sort of matching process, a sizable amount of nondeterministic randomness inevitably results. Although people tend to avoid situations that must lead to disorganized matching processes, such situations are unavoidable as they present themselves in the shidduch system and the job markets. It is the underlying nondeterminism in both of these processes which causes them to be such painful experiences for those who must endure them.

The purpose of the shidduch is to match an appropriate man with an appropriate women in order to hopefully lead to a successful marriage. There are many different venues for finding men and women of marriageable age, and many different kinds of matching techniques. After using the proper methods it is hoped that a match will result. Many people enter the process full of optimism, and they put their faith in their particular form of shidduch system. However, after months and years of failed attempts at finding a proper spouse, it is quite common to become disenchanted with shidduch methods. It is very normal to lambaste "the shidduch system" as a complete failure, and more often than not one will put forward a whole plethora of patches and tweaks that would likely be of benefit to the flawed process. Sometimes these supposedly constructive measures are carried out, but in most situations the disgruntled shidduch dater will just continue to moan for the duration of the process.

What ends up happening to the long-term shidduch daters? Of course those who are married within a few months of dating are considered great successes. In fact, those people don't give much thought to "the shidduch system" altogether, and they go about there daily lives pondering their next milestones. However, those who remain in the system too long become bitter and dejected, and they begin to loathe shidduchim in general. The longer they remain single the longer they ponder the ills of the system.

This process continues until some solution occurs. The first solution occurs when the person eventually finds his or her long awaited lifelong partner. At this point an interesting transformation takes place in the persons mind. Whether the system remains a soar memory of torture or if the system becomes a fond memory of character building, the shidduch system in the end of the day transforms into nothing more than an interesting memory. Given a few months, the topic will no longer enter the conscious mind. Another more pitiful solution occurs when the individual leaves the shidduch market. A decision is made that marriage is not worth the bother, and single life is a fine alternative to life as a couple. People such as these may become abject and crestfallen, or they may truly find comfort in their life altering choice. Either way, they will continue to display an antipathy for shidduchim, and will encourage people to find comfort in what on the outside seems to be a failure of a life. Given enough time, everyone exits the system and gives no more thought to how it can be improved. Passion moves on to the next agenda.

Although shidduch matching may seem like a very unique kind of process, it shows a striking resemblance to the job market. Like shidduchim, most people have an optimistic outlook while entering the employment search. A job resume is constructed in the same way a shidduch profile is created. And much like shidduchim the job market can take a serious toll on the mental health of job seekers. There are always those people who find jobs right out of college, and such people give little thought to the whole concept of employment search. But most people find themselves searching for months for the right job. Over time, the unemployed begin to lose hope in finding employment. Many people become depressed about the situation of the economy, and some even put forward methods for fixing the system.

What ends up happening with the unemployed? People who are unemployed for a long time become less and less convinced of ever finding a job. The longer they wait the more they detest the job market. But in the end of the day almost all of the unemployed become employed. Some people eventually find their dream job. To these people the job market rapidly becomes a distant memory. Other people take sub par jobs and continue to detest the job market. Still other people go back to school and develop new skills in order to find a new job. It is common to settle for a pay cut and lower one's standard of living as well. When all is said and done, the options are employment, disability, or death. Most people end up choosing employment from that short list of options.

The shidduch system and the job market are similar in a very fundamental way. Both of these systems represent a matching process. A direct result of this is nondeterministic randomness. This is a large source of anguish to human beings. We would prefer to see clear results from actions taken. But in both the shidduch system and the job market it is very common to find two people with identical resumes yielding completely different outcomes. This fundamental nature of these systems cannot be changed and no tweak in the system will make it fair. Those who succeed can either praise the system or ignore it, and those who fail will criticize the methods and occupy their minds with the topic. But there can be no fix to either of these nondeterministic random systems.

What can one do to prevent failure in the shidduch system? It seems that the situation is quite bleak for those who find themselves single at an older age. Many think they have a solution for the system, and others eventually give up trying altogether. However, the solution to the problem involves the main difference between the shidduch system and the job market. When a person fails in finding a shidduch he or she frequently blames the system, but when someone can't find a job he or she works on improving the probabilities. The solution to a personal shidduch crisis seems to be a matter of mathematics and probability. The people that find shidduchim within the first month of dating are very eligible shidduch material. They are usually normal people that may easily be set up with an equally normal mate. In theory, those who are most normal are compatible with the most people and will have the easiest time finding a shidduch. However, those who are unique for better of for worse will have a hard time finding an equally unique individual. There just happen to be fewer people that would be compatible with such a person. Similarly, in the job market there are people with marketable skills and there are people with very specific skills. Those who have the most marketable skills find a job the fastest while those with the more specific kind find themselves searching in a niche market.

Both the shidduch dater and the job seeker can increase their chances of finding what they want by becoming more marketable and less specific. The unemployed typically go back to school or settle for sub par work until they have what it takes to find a proper job. Those who have obsolete skills must learn new ones, and those with specific skills must learn some more universal ones. In this manner job seekers will almost always eventually find a job. A shidduch dater should be doing the same thing if he or she hopes to reduce the amount of time necessary to find a match. Becoming more marketable may mean improving ones appearance, social skills, or financial position to the point where they have reached the realm of normal people, or it may entail mingling with the lowly folks, eating fatty food, watching sports, or drinking beer in an attempt to lower ones self to the realm of normal people. Of course, the latter would involve a compromise comparable to those who settle for a sub par job. It may be necessary to give shidduch profiles to those who you would rather not ask for help from in the same way job seekers ask for job assistance from people they are normally uncomfortable approaching. Sometimes sacrifices must be made if one would like to increase the probabilities of successfully navigating through the shidduch system in a timely manner.

While such sacrifices are frequently made in the job market, people rarely feel like taking such measures while involved with shidduchim. People feel better blaming "the system" and not working on solving the problem. In the end of the day everyone needs food, and that is why people make the job market work. Although the same measures may be taken regarding the shidduch market, too many people see a single life as a plausible option, and they therefore choose the easy way out.

The shidduch system and the job market both suffer from the same fundamental problem. Any fix to the system would do nothing to change the underlying nature of the nondeterministic random process. Unique individuals, for better of for worse, will have a hard time finding an appropriate match. These people can spend a long time searching until they find the object of their dreams. However, both shidduch daters and job seekers have the opportunity of becoming more marketable individuals, and by doing that they can potentially decrease the amount of time in the matching market.