Silver Lining Playbook …. unorthodox thoughts in X’mas

Originally an email written on Dec. 25, 2012 :


Just like most matters (probably in my mostly negative view) in this world, expectation is typically better than reality. One might have been looking forward to X’mas, probably because a holiday of more than 1 day. But when it finally arrives, at least I start to feel sorry because it’s the end and one has to go back to work tomorrow … (even though I have so many vacation days not yet spent).

As “dead” as it’s on X’mas day in US suburb (that virtually all restaurants — except probably some Chinese/Asian ones — and shops are closed), movie theaters seem all open. I went this morning (because it’s the cheapest time — I suddenly remember a couple women told me that they hated that … but my happiness is more important) to see the movie that’s not widely distributed : “Silver Lining Playbook” — partly because it’s got high score in IMDB (I might have used their scores too much 🙂 ). I almost picked Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” but it didn’t have a score yet in IMDB and somehow today I don’t feel like too many gunshots or bloodshed or chaos. Very likely next week …

Though I’ve known quite a bit about the supposedly romance drama in “Silver Lining Playbook” before my arrival at the cinema, I was still a bit surprised by its emotional violence, unconstrained shouting & yelling or otherwise frantic scenes involving the two major antagonists — it reminded me of myself, though nobody sent me to psychiatric hospital (probably because I didn’t actually harm anybody). It’s just completely not what one expects when one thinks of “romance drama”. There’s virtually no sappy moment until almost the end. At the beginning, I don’t like Pat and even Tiffany at all — the fact that Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence aren’t my favorite actor and actress doesn’t help either. Initially, Pat’s behavior has even disgusted me. But gradually, one empathized with this impossible duo and at the end, like all of sudden, there was love 😀 In addition to various expositions of love (among boy & girl, son and parents, brothers), it’s probably the ultimate success of overcoming psychiatric problems for both characters that has indulged the audience. A bit of cliché at the end in contrast to the rest of the movie but it’s unexpectedly uplifting. Something that Tarantino can’t give ?!

Walking out, I’ve found substantially more people than before in the movie theater … I guess there were no other choices. I read that Mcdonald encourages franchises to stay open in X’mas but the couple of Mcdonalds I came across on my drive back remained close. With this rather unusual experience of a romance drama at the back of my mind, I was thinking of different thoughts while driving back towards home.

The scene last Fri. that a man and a woman in a Thai restaurant were told that they’re not welcome in the restaurant came to my mind. One of the waitresses explained to me afterwards that they were homeless people without money — they probably didn’t pay last time after they dined. I guess I’d do the same if I were the restaurant owner. As loveless as I’m, somehow the faces or images of the two waitresses have dimmed a bit in my mind, even though this cause and effect (to me) is not completely rational. Apparently, even though I don’t highly regard the phenomenon that doing good to/helping other people is viewed as good deed by most of the ~7 billions of people on Earth. I haven’t actually completely avoided it, at least not all the time. This “doing good” doctrine (instead of killing/hurting each other) has helped homo sapiens population surpass 7 billions … but maybe it can’t be sustained. War, environmental destruction etc. (due to resource limitation or whatever) would sooner or later be playing their major roles. All these factors or phenomena are “chicken and eggs” … one leads to another and back.

I enjoy being alone and the emphasis of family value has always disgusted me. I don’t care whether or not the Earth explodes after I die. In the above Thai restaurant incident, it just reminds me that I’ve been welcome there because I have been able to pay 🙂 My not liking to do all the chit-chatting in the restaurants (but just keeping reading books in restaurants) is probably re-justified here as we (the waiters and I) aren’t really friends but it’s just business, an exchange — money for food. Love is not logical and conservation of “love”, unlike conservation of energy, is readily violated. Even uncertainty principle (dE*dt < h_bar/2) doesn’t help as conservation of love can be violated for probably indefinite dt.

I like the ability to violate “the conservation of love”. “If you are good to people, people will be good to you” (like “conservation of energy”) is boring. That’s perhaps too easy … just like if you pay in the restaurant, you’ll likely get food to eat. I always wonder how I may make people do good to me even if I don’t do good to them (in return). Sometimes, I fancy to be a writer but then I realize that if you want people to buy your book, you have to write things to please them in certain way. Yak ! “Conservation of love” may sometimes be violated by capable people such as some artists, singers et. al. even though “love” can’t be quantized (so far). One interesting example: in HK, I like the songs of Alan Tam and Wong Faye. Though I’ve considered buying tickets to see Alan Tam’s concert (though it never worked out), I didn’t consider going to Wong Faye’s concert at all. Alan Tam would behave in a way that you might feel he’s wanted to be your best friend of some sorts and sincere etc. ; on the other hand, seeing Wong Faye, I always felt that she’s telling me that we’re just doing business, your money for my songs 🙂 Though both have sung songs etc. to gain your money, I felt that there was probably more violation of the “conservation of love” in the case of Wong Faye (even though I do like her songs … but just not to look at her too much).

A colleague with 3 kids (!) invited me again to his home for dinner last night. Immediately, I started thinking what exactly to say to refuse them again — at the end I just said that I couldn’t make it without any reason. My happiness is probably inversely proportional (in some power or exponential law) to the no. of people in the room. X’mas in the West is like Chinese New Year to Chinese, ie. a family gathering. I’ve had two experiences of staying for many days with two families in X’mas (one in Switzerland and another in Ireland). Even though both families were full of apparently nice people (esp. those in Ireland), I felt very painful towards the end. The law of my happiness (being inversely proportional to the no. of people present) has just manifested too strongly and towards the end I was counting how many days/hours before I would leave.

Now, of course, I’m apparently at the lowest state (in terms of the no. of people) — also the most stable I guess — and obviously the “happiest”.


PS: Actually, it’s probably still not the lowest state yet … it should be “0” rather than 1 … Cosmology-wise, no matter whether the universe is open/flat/closed, “lifelessness” is the more usual norm. Lawrence Krauss’ “A Universe from Nothing” likes to reminds us again about this — which is more of a book for people to find materials to debate about or against the existence of the Creator/God …


About kinyip

An experimental particle physicist ...
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