Arbitrary Constraints

Food for Thought

Charles, who is married to my mother-in-law but is not my father-in-law because she remarried (I don’t know the word for it), is vegan for health reasons. One of my Facebook friends (because I never met him), Miguel, who is also vegan said there is no such thing as a vegan for health reasons. All vegans are political, he says. So, I guess Charles is someone who happens to have the same eating pattern as vegans. Contrary to what you might assume, when he is involved in dinner plans, decisions are made rather quickly, because there aren’t many vegan restaurants.

Ladybird is a vegan tapas bar whose main attraction is its excellent fondue. The first waiter told us that not everything is vegan, but the second waiter said everything is. The fact that they don’t have a consistent story tells me that their veganism is not political. If so, according to Miguel, Ladybird is not a vegan restaurant but a restaurant that serves dishes that happen to be edible by vegans. Either way, it’s great for Charles.

I enjoy arbitrary constraints of all kinds. It’s interesting to see what people come up with given whatever constraints. I like going to vegan restaurants for that reason.

All games are made up of arbitrary constraints. If you thought about them rationally, they all look stupid. For instance, it’s silly that you can’t touch the ball in soccer. There is nothing wrong with your hands and arms. You could just pick it up with your hands and carry it to the goal. You are perfectly capable of doing this. Since you are surrounded by others who refuse to use their hands, it would be quite easy to score a goal, but you wouldn’t do it. Why?

If you are a competitive swimmer, you could refuse to get in the water and run along the poolside instead. You would be much faster than everyone else who insists on slowly traveling in the water even though they can’t even breathe comfortably in it.

From a rational point of view, they all look stupid. That’s because enjoyment is fundamentally stupid. If you want to enjoy life, you need to be stupid.