Principle of mechanism -- a philosophical tool to help access a situation, indicating degree of plausability.
Let's apply it to a story. A theoretical story of the rest of my life. Maybe this'll help me understand what I want, if what I want is possible, etc.
In brief:Pat gets a job, meets Mr/Ms Right, starts a wonderful relationship, enjoys a good job for about 5 years, then goes back to Uni and gets a Masters/PhD. Gets a job doing cutting edge AI research, writes philosophy books on the side. Has or adopts children, grows old with life partner, dies.
Doesn't sound too unrealistic, does it? There are some other things that might be neat, but they're not that important and might not be very likely. Well, if I were to try to go into more detail, asking why/how, here's where the principle of mechanism comes in. Getting a job is quite likely. No problem imagining how that might happen. Meeting Mr/Ms right? Could it happen? Well, no, and that's where, Improv, you're an idiot. I'm not going to meet anyone new while hanging out in the basement of this house in the slum. Have I already met Mr/Ms right? Scratching my brain. Well, am I attracted to anyone I know? Only one case comes to mind, and there gender issues make things unlikely. Hmm. Oh, and another, embarassing example -- there's a particular fundimentalist christian who I'm attracted to. But I couldn't deal with her religion, and she probably couldn't deal with my philosophy. And my only contact with her is in a bizarre setting. So, no, I probably haven't met Mr/Ms Right. Stupid Improv, needs to be more social if his life plan is going to be actualized. It's possible that it might happen through chance -- perhaps Jeff or Lorie might, by some off chance, be hanging out with me as well as a suitable person at the same time, but it's bloody unlikely. Perhaps having a job and/or moving might help -- I can't hang around SFF, an otherwise great place to meet atheists, b/c of Martha. Ok, moving on, I really need to hold tightly to my will to return to Uni after getting a job -- I've heard plenty of stories of people who gave up on similar plans. I suppose the rest can easily fall into place, provided I keep my academic and relationship plans intact.
Aww. Wally (my cat) is soooooo cuuuuute! He jumped on my lap, looked up at me with his huge eyes, and placed his chin on my arm. I suddenly don't feel like worrying about this right now.
Waiting to see if Jason, Quealy, or Leon will call me to go get ice cream. That'd be fun. It's surprising how important it can be to do the small things you like. It's amusing -- I think I learned yet another mental 'technique' today. But, describing such things is always difficult, and I feel silly doing so. It's too easy to sound like one of those silly people who believe they're psychic.
Goodnight. And somebody better call me for ice cream!