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The Lucilius Parables, Volume I


June 25th, 2019

We’ve all been faced with that forgetful situation when we try key after key, trying to find the right one for the lock.


Each one is a plausible solution, and some of them even seem to fit the lock but don’t turn.


It’s those that actually seem to fit the lock that we return to, trying them again, turning with more and more force each time.


Until we break the damn key.


Notice how quaint and perfect this image is.  A key that is deceptively similar to the one we want ends up preventing the lock from being opened.


How many times have we been so certain about a solution to a problem that we try to brute force the problem with our chosen solution only to make the problem even more difficult?


Very few locks actually require a huge amount of force to open with the correct key.  Damage or mere idiosyncrasy to lock or key might require something strange like ‘putting the key all the way in and then pulling it out just a tiny bit and then turning’, but the reason this is brought up is that when the solution is found, often a fairly smooth and superficial labor is all that’s required to finish the job.



In the case of a key that seems to fit the lock that doesn’t turn, there are two forces in conflict here.  The fact that we found a key that actually goes into the lock primes our addictive sense of progress and makes us feel as though it’s now time for the next step.  The momentum of this feeling can lead to a snapped key and a totally screwed situation.


When our next move does not come as easily as it was intuitive, we need to pause and contemplate any components that might be counter-intuitive


A lock and key that requires a certain finesse is rare and therefore not intuitive. 


Then again, so is a key that fits but definitely isn’t made for the lock.


It’s in this later situation that we need to be extra careful.


We can spend years trying to apply the wrong solution to a problem wherein we think it’s supposed to work.

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Podcast Ep. 436: Broken Key

Tinkered Thinking

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