youth as an uncollapsed wave function

Youth is like an uncollapsed wave function.

Much that is alluring in a youthful thing—a child, a young woman, the bud of a rose, even a fresh morning—is that each has the potential to become so many forms of itself; that, in a way, all those possibilities exist at that moment in superposition.

We can imagine any number of futures for a young man: he can become all sorts of people, have all sorts of experiences. His life, in its youth, is like a sheet of paper not yet written on. His mind, his face, his skin, is fresh and uncreased by striving, unwounded by living.

Yet, the older something becomes, the more the possibilities for what it can still become are cut off. Until we, and it, narrow down to death.

Thus the sadness of life. For, when it is spent, the observer sees that, at that moment of youth, the path that will be taken can only ever be the one that was taken.

13 thoughts on “youth as an uncollapsed wave function

  1. OK, I said I would put forward a challenge and here I am. Well, in fact less of a challenge and more of a clarification (sorry to disappoint). I want to disagree, but what is it that I am disagreeing with. I am disagreeing with the poets interpretation of life. But, that is not how I have learnt to read poems. Poems and prose describe the poem, the author’s interpretation. They need only be judged on how successfully and beautifully deliver this interpretation. It matters not if we agree or not with the poet’s point of view, although it would be a bonus if we did. It matters that it has been delivered skillfully and elegantly etc etc. And this description of youth is most definitely beautifully delivered. So I am going to keep my disagreement to myself. You all know now anyway. There.

  2. All true. And it is folly to want to stay young, in the same way as one might try to capture a single moment forever. Taking no path to avoid choosing one. Age brings choice and responsibility, but leads to depth of insight and experience, and ultimately to self-knowledge.

    1. that “lamenting” is the ageing process—as you convert or your potential possible lives into your actual life. Most likely, you could only ever have taken one of those other possibilities, and by taking that you would have gone down a branch that would have removed, not only those other possibilities that you lament not taking, but all manner of possibilities that you have taken

      1. I can’t decide how I feel about that Ricardo , youth for me is beauty and innocence , with age comes faded beauty and from my perspective , cynicism.

        1. I don’t look at life like that. Youth may be beauty and innocence, but it is also confusion and ignorance. And our beauty may fade, but it can be replaced by gnarly strength. If age is cynical, youth is just oblivious to what one should be cynical about *grin*. More seriously, might cynicism come from holding on too tight to what you expect life to be? Age is only faded beauty if you hold on too tight to lost youth. Age has a beauty of its own, though it may mostly lie beneath the skin.

    1. are you sure that you really would want it to be otherwise? Too many choices are a killer. It may be that the reason youngsters are so confused and so stressed out is because they have so many choices—when I was young I would get drunk just to avoid having to worry about which one to make for a while :D.

      your life would seem to me to be ‘going somewhere’—that somewhere is you becoming more fully yourself. As you choose a door to go through, and you close it behind you, you become a little bit more yourself. You may have less choice, but you’re deeper; sadder, but wiser

  3. A beautiful simile. To say I do not agree with it in its entirety would be to challenge you. So, ……… I challenge you.

    First I need to find a simile as beautiful and elegant to propose my ‘part’ counter view.

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