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"OH WATERS, TEEM WITH MEDICINE TO KEEP MY BODY SAFE FROM HARM, SO THAT I MAY LONG SEE THE SUN." - Rig Veda
This example illustrates a common mistake that we all make when thinking about things like waste and efficiency. We tend to intuitively treat the world as infinite and deterministic. When confronted with a world that we know is finite and sometimes random, we often uncritically think of it as a sloppy approximation to some “optimum” world; one that would exist were it not for pesky imperfections.
This modern remnant of Platonic essentialism—the idea that to gain true insight we should study an ideal world of perfect forms—sometimes prevents us from seeing that finite systems are not just fuzzy approximations to infinite systems (see Understanding Infinity). Rather, they behave in fundamentally different ways that we would never dream of if we thought only about idealized infinite worlds.