Monday, March 19, 2007

Oh! The lonely people

I have been thinking about this for a long time now, more than ten days for sure. So, I am sure there is something important in here. These reasons must be the right ones. I have stumbled into the paradox of the shy and unfriendly.

Problem 1:
Ludmila is a very lonely girl. She barely talks to people other than Jenik, her husband. She has a cell phone, but rarely receives calls. Ludmila complaints about it all the time. Jenik has suggested that she takes part of a local group of people sharing the same social problem. But, loneliness does not imply stupidity, and Ludmila quickly notices that Jenik is asking her to achieve an impossibility. “It’s like Russell’s set of all sets that are not members of themselves.” She replies. Then, Jenik, friendly but stupid, finally understands. Is it then true that it is not possible to have a group of lonely people? Does the Association of People who know no one exist in this or any other world? If someone, say Ludmila, belongs to the Association she therefore knows someone, and so cannot belong to the association. But if she does not belong, then there’s no chance to know anyone, so she must belong!

Ludmila cries at the perspective of finding herself lonely of necessity.

Problem 2:
Vasek is a very shy guy. He barely talks to anyone, for he is afraid of everyone. In the same building, and in fact in the same floor and same department, there is Tobias, Vasek’s colleague. Tobias is just as friendly as Vasek. Their shyness is so extreme that they put effort on avoiding people. But they both quickly realize this is, again, a goal that is impossible to fulfill. For if there is a restroom, coffee place, or library that people tend to avoid, it is that coffee place, or restroom that any shy guy would look for. Thus, both Vasek and Tobias would end up going to the same restroom, same coffee shop, and same library. The best way for Tobias to avoid Vasek is to avoid the lonely places, but the same is true of Vasek. Further, to avoid the lonely places just is to attend the crowded ones. So there is no option left for any of them. Now, both have conceived the possibility of coordinating each other’s movements, such that they never find each other at any lonely spot. But they both promptly realize this would imply negotiating and talking with each other. Vasek and Tobias would end up being friends. A preposterous possibility for both.

Vasek and Tobias blame each other. For the other’s shyness has precluded each one’s shyness to thrive.

Oh the lonely people! Where do they all come from? Not from any possible world, I am sure!