Ability, choice and quantum theory

I was flying back from Pittsburgh this evening when the young man across the aisle from me noticed that I was programming. “What language is that?” he asked.

I explained that it was GLSL, the language used to program shaders that run in GPUs (graphics processing units), like the one in your phone or laptop.

We got to talking, and he explained that he does statistical programming for a financial firm. He told me that he had tried taking computer graphics in college, but had realized that he had no visual sense.

I nodded sympathetically and told him “We choose what we’re good at.”

But then I got to thinking, and realized that what I had said to him could be interpreted in two different ways. One interpretation is the obvious one — when we are good at something, then that’s what we choose to do.

But another interpretation is that we choose to be good at things. More specifically, we put in the time and effort to get really good at something when we enjoy it and are highly motivated.

I suspect both interpretations are true: We choose something because we are good at it because we have chosen it, in an endless hall of mirrors.

Ability and choice always co-exist in perfect quantum superposition.

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