“It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness, that is life.”

In Star Trek: The Next Generation Jean-Luc Picard tried to explain this to Data, and it’s interesting in this scene that the stand in for ourselves is not Jean-Luc, the human, but Data, the android. We sympathize best not with the example of our species, but with the outsider looking in, trying to understand. No doubt we try to understand ourselves far more than we exist in a state of peace with whatever we are.

I reencountered this quote while searching for the philosophical or psychological term for the feeling that no matter what you do, you’re wrong. I found objectivity, which is the concept of something being true even outside subjective bias. And I found qualia, or quale, that are instances of subjective experience like a headache, the colour of the sky at day versus night, or the sound of a clap. (Not to confused with the sound of one hand clapping, a favourite Zen koan.)

None of this is quite what I mean, which is standard for human communication, as Data must learn. In fact there doesn’t seem to be a real term for what I mean, although as far as relationships are concerned there is an internet full of advice to decide if you’re in a bad romantic relationship depending on how often you feel wrong. I’m certain you could learn just as much about your relationship from how often you feel right, or at least more right than the other person, with the desire to point it out.


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