Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On Being Mad

I'm sure some of you are wondering why I chose The Mad Computer Scientist's Mind as the name of this blog. It is kind of a play on words, in several ways: Originally it came from the way I describe my home. I'm single, and so many single guys' homes are described as bachelor pads. My house isn't that way - in fact, it's unusually clean. I describe it to friends as a "mad computer scientist's laboratory" because of the proliferation of computers all over the place. In my work room, it isn't unusual to see a solderless breadboard with 1980s vintage integrated circuits on it. I have computers that are almost always apart. The "mad computer scientist" part was a play on the stereotypical "mad scientist" with the Van Der Graff generators with electrical sparks flying around, knife switches, and a brain in a jar, complete with a scientist with an almost sinister laugh. I am, by schooling and profession, a computer scientist, with some seemingly crazy ("mad") ideas sometimes. That leads to the second play on words with the word "mad" meaning "angry." Reading what I've written here has probably led many of you to see this interpretation of "mad" rather than the "crazy" one. I tend to be thought of as a glass-half-empty kind of person, and as such my outlook is not always the most optimistic. According to Wikipedia, Buddhism defines anger as, "being unable to bear the object, or the intention to cause harm to the object." In my case, it is most definitely the former. My anger comes primarily from frustration, as I fail to see how seemingly intelligent people make such non-intelligent decisions. Some people would say that I have my own vision of how the world should be, and that I refuse to accept the world as it is. That assessment may be correct, actually. We all know that people who are living in their own worlds are crazy, right? Mad = crazy. So we have come full-circle on the definition of "mad."

In actuality I'm probably a little of all these definitions. The eccentric, scientific type. Frustrated, and filled with anger. Crazy, trying to adapt to a world that frustrates me. Among all of these things I still feel that there has to be some good out there, and there usually is. Why it is so difficult to find is a mystery.

This is kind of the lead-in to a less pleasant discussion, brought on by bad drivers, bad politicians, and bad relationship opportunities. Maybe I will just title the posting, "Bad."

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