The Amara Effect – The Advantage of Disadvantages
On December 27th, 1967, Amara Aalto was born at 4:45 a.m. She was born perfectly healthy to a married couple, Hugh and Lian Aalto.
As Amara peered out into the world for the first time, her parents looked back down at her in awe—a collection of matter, atomic nuclei, building and decaying into a physical, observable person in the world for the first time.
Just two years after giving birth to Amara, by a stroke of unbelievably good fortune, Amara’s mother, Lian, sold a majority stake of a business she had been building over the prior several years.
The business had not yet become profitable, but Lian had just recently filed and been granted two utility patents on her products that suddenly became highly valuable to the company offering the acquisition deal.
Lian took the deal, maintained an executive role and large stock in the company, and she and Hugh became exceptionally wealthy, their net worth skyrocketing into the 9 figures over the following years.
Throughout her life, Amara would be contained deep inside the shelter of this wealth, her parents being able to pull almost any strings and provide just about anything for her.
Throughout her life, Amara would try a variety of so-called passions and interests and careers, never really feeling much urgency or risk or responsibility.
In her adult years, she would end up primarily working for her mother’s company.
She didn’t really do much of anything, though, and was sort of always treated as the founder’s daughter, which she never really had the motivation to change.
Amara would marry a man whom her mother introduced her to at a high-status business gala.
She would go on to have four children with him, inherit and build a large wealth, and she and her husband would inject the same fortune disguised problems that they had grown up into their kids, the family’s glue made almost entirely of money and social appearance.
Likewise, this was the case for most of Amara’s friend groups, as well.
Throughout her life, despite appearances, she was generally miserable. When she forty years old, Amara and her husband divorced for a myriad of good reasons.
Amara would grow old and die, never remarrying, living a financially luxurious life that she never really had to touch.
And so, she never really did. On January 3rd, 1968, Amara Aalto was born at 12:01 a.m. She was born about a week later than expected, but perfectly healthy to a married couple, Hugh and Lian Aalto.
As Amara peered out into the world for the first time, her parents looked back down at her—a collection of matter, atomic nuclei, building and decaying into a physical, observable person in the world for the first time.
Just three months after the birth of Amara, in a stroke of terrible misfortune and bad timing, after feeling under weather and sleeping through an extremely important meeting that he was supposed to lead, Amara’s father, Hugh, was fired from his job.
Following being fired, he struggled to find work for quite some time, and Amara’s mother, Lian, who was trying to get a business off the ground and into the black was forced to divert her attention away from the business and join Hugh in trying to find a job with benefits during this volatile time of Amara’s infancy.
Lian was able to find one, while Hugh reoriented his career, but she essentially had to let her business die in the process.
As time went on, Lian and Hugh would restabilize themselves, both working relatively average full-time office jobs, making enough money to live relatively average, comfortable lives.
They had to keep a somewhat close eye on their spending but always managed to stay out of any further financial trouble. When Amara was eleven, she decided she wanted to start playing soccer.
Because the age cut off for the different soccer leagues was January 1st, she was the oldest on her team. Because she was the oldest at an age where months often looked like years, she was also one of the best.
Because she was one of the best, she received more coaching and playing time, and because she received more focus and time, she got better and better, this effect further compounding throughout her teens.
In her adolescence, she worked part-time jobs to have her own spending money and afford soccer camps and top-of-the-line soccer equipment, developing strong self-discipline and perseverance along the way.
At twenty-two, she was selected for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team, which she would play on for a long and fruitful career. In her thirties, she met a man whom she fell deeply in love with, married, and had three children.
She enjoyed and took great pride in her career, family, and life, feeling a great sense of responsibility for her successes.
She would grow old and die having lived a life she found completely rich and meaningful.
On December 27th, 1967, at 4:45 a.m. Hugh Aalto is asleep. Lian Kim is also asleep.
The next day, Hugh wakes up, goes to work, and then returns home to his apartment in the city.
That same day, Lian does the same, returning to her small home in the suburbs, outside the city.
Eight years prior, on June 12th, 1959, Hugh got sick from some food he ate and was bedridden for nearly the entire weekend. That weekend, Lian happened to be hanging out with some friends she rarely saw, who also happened to have some mutual friends with Hugh.
Hugh’s friends and Lian and her friends hung out that Saturday, while Hugh watched TV at home.
On December 27th, 1967, Isaac Aalto was born at 2:17 a.m. He was born perfectly healthy to a married couple, Hugh and Lian Aalto. Nine months prior, while eating at a restaurant, Hugh and Lian’s waiter accidentally mixed up Hugh’s plate with a plate for a table just two over from them.
It took about eight seconds for Hugh to notice and notify the waiter, who then took another sixteen seconds to realize what had happened and correct the mix-up.
This then led to a couple of other short delays while paying and getting through various stoplights on the drive home.
Once Hugh and Lian got home, they got into bed. Isaac was conceived that night.
He was an only child. On December 27th, 1967, Amara Aalto was born at 4:45 a.m. She was born perfectly healthy to a married couple, Hugh and Lian Aalto.
Following Amara’s birth, Hugh and Lian’s life would run fairly smoothly, both working their careers with no major successes, but no major setbacks either.
At age thirty-nine, however, a single cell inside Lian’s body began uncontrollably growing and dividing.
This one cell turned into millions and millions of other abnormal cells that continued to grow and divide relentlessly.
Amara would be just twelve years old when she lost her mother to cancer.
The treatments and efforts toward trying to save Lian ate through all their savings and left Hugh filing for bankruptcy.
He never really recovered and struggled through relative poverty and mental instability for the remainder of his life.
He and Amara moved to a small apartment in a lower-income neighbourhood when Amara was fourteen, which placed her in a new school system and exposed her to an entirely different life.
Amara would struggle with various substance abuse throughout most of her life, starting around this time. She married a man who shared such a lifestyle, after having two children with him.
She worked as a bartender in small local bars for her entire life, always loathing herself and her continuous inability to make something of her life, feeling a deep responsibility for her inadequacy.
Not having much money, substance abuse, and mental instability ran rampant through her marriage, friendships, and life until she died at the young age of fifty-five.
On December 6th, 1967, Amara Aalto was born at 3:58 p.m. to a married couple, Hugh and Lian Aalto.
She was not born perfectly healthy. Arriving more than two weeks early, she was born prematurely, and her body was still exceptionally fragile and many of her organs were still underdeveloped.
The doctor suggested that there was a chance Amara would fully recover, but also a chance that the premature birth could lead to some mild-to-moderate developmental issues.
Lian and Hugh would go on to live a nice, financially comfortable life, nothing extreme happening in any direction.
At around eight years old, however, Amara began experiencing her parents’ fear, and she was soon classified as learning disabled, diagnosed with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and processing impairment.
The older Amara got, the more she began to notice and understand the implications of why she was always treated differently in school.
She realized people thought she was dumb. And the more the school system seemed to press down on her, tell her she wasn’t working hard enough, was a bad or distracting student, or even ridiculed her, Amara found it hard not to believe that she was.
As she aged through middle school and high school, though, she began feeling an increasing drive to prove everyone wrong.
This mission caused Amara to put great effort into learning new ways of learning, developing methods of managing her mind, and modifying and adapting the angles from which she approached ideas and problems.
Slowly, she began to successfully push back. Following high school, despite all odds, as a result of her phenomenal ACT scores, impressive grade improvement, and unbelievably moving application essay, Amara was accepted to her first-choice school, the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, where she would enrol in their top-tier undergraduate physics program.
As an effect of her need to overcome her immense learning tribulations, she had, by now, found highly creative ways of reimagining problems and solutions, seeing and approaching math equations and theories in profoundly unique and effective ways.
She would not only catch up to the standards of her age but quickly surpass them.
Following her undergraduate graduate degree, she would go on to earn her PhD in physics at Harvard.
Amara had become a well-respected theoretical physicist by her forties, specializing in quantum mechanics, gravity, and cosmology.
She became a research professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote and published several popular books, and often appeared on various media programs as well as science events where she would give talks, interviews, and lectures.
At age forty-six, Amara was giving a talk at a science festival for a slightly more introductory level audience.
After briefly introducing herself and the topics she would be covering, Amara said to the audience, “You know, my whole childhood, I was told in all sorts of different ways how dumb I was. And for a while, I believed it.
“The world sets these constraints, lays forth systems and ways of considering ideas and people, filtering out the world and its talent according to standards and methods.
My life and work have taught me many things, but perhaps one of the most important things is how much is not what it seems or what you expect, how much is fragmented from what we accept as true, rational, or rightfully status quo.
Sean Carrol recently said, “If the world is truly quantum mechanical, we should change our view of what is obvious and what is surprising.”
“My focus over the last several years, as some of you may know, has been researching and interpreting the wave function and its measurement in quantum mechanics.
As some of you probably also know, I am a very vocal proponent of a theory known as the many-worlds interpretation.
And there aren’t many other contemporary theories that require such relinquishment of your intuitions as this one.
For those of you who don’t know, the many-worlds interpretation basically argues that an essential function in quantum mechanics known as the wavefunction is objectively real, and the strange randomness of a particle’s superposition, or indeterminate state, coming into an inexplicable definitive state when it is measured, is explained by the fact that all possible outcomes of the measurement are actually physically realized into other “worlds” or universes that split at the moment of the particle interacting, or becoming entangled, with some component of its environment.
In this case, a measurer. In other words, basically every time a quantum system becomes entangled with its environment and decoheres, the world splits off into different, parallel worlds with it. And so, each time we, ourselves, become entangled with one of these systems decohering, which are constantly happening inside of each of us, every second atomic nuclei building and decaying in our bodies and interacting with the observable environment, a new different version of us goes with it into a different world.
We, of course, never know or experience this, for the potentially infinite worlds and their differing outcomes and possibilities are always experienced by us, in any version, as one.
One single possible way. But there are potentially near-infinite other ways, other what-ifs asked and answered differently, not only possible but very real, happening in parallel.
“And so, I also believe that it is more than likely that there are many, many other different Amaras existing right now. I will never know how things could’ve gone or are going for any of them.
But I do know this: each one of us has a world with conditions, and each one of us has our own conditions within that world. Some work out, some don’t.
But you can rarely know which it’s going to be, and why. Our advantages sometimes turn out to be our disadvantages, and our disadvantages sometimes turn out to be our advantages.
My so-called learning disability, the thing I dreaded for the entire first half of my life, was not an obstacle I had to overcome, it is precisely The reason why I am up here. Life is a game of arbitrary odds.
Whatever success we have or don’t, whatever person we become or don’t, the reasons for everything are concealed within the odds. It was as if I existed in another world that could not communicate with this one for most of my life. Now I teach about the likelihood that this is actually true for us all. Trust me, the odds work in mysterious ways.”
“Alright, that’s my little introductory spiel. Now, let’s actually get into some theory.”
Credit:- Pursuit of Wonder