Does the ending matter?

I was watching the Wong Kar-wai classic “In the mood for love” again and when this famous scene came up, my mind immediately went to a different place. I started thinking about a blog post I read a while back and even saved it in my notes.

“Today I chanced across a photographer’s profile on Instagram, whose entire body of work centred on artistically blurred images. No not random shaky ones. A subject and surrounding, all blurred around the edges, separate and yet intertwined by an inseparable bond. Much like the mind and the heart. Much like abrupt beginnings and endings. All rolled in one, yet separate and yet again, together. A beautiful mess. After all, isn’t that what life’s supposed to be?”

This coupled with the endings of “In the mood for love” prompted an important question for me: Does the ending matter?

There is a great Ted Talk on how Math helps us understand the world better. I strongly relate to this idea and often, I try to correlate different things in life with Mathematics. Wrote a similar blog post more than a year back.

Now coming back to the topic. In simulation theory, we have two types of models: discrete and continuous. In short, for discrete models, the state variable changes a countable number of times, whereas, for continuous simulation, the state variable changes every moment following some conditions. I used to think that life is like a long continuous event where the change happens in every moment. But lately, I have been thinking, that it is more like the summation of several discrete events.

Significant changes in the state variables (life events) direct our lives. More than the slow continuous changes, it is the abrupt changes that help us take a path. It can be the moment where one may decide to change the course of a career, end a relationship, or start something new. These points in the lifetime will act as the pivotal points where the system changes its course. And for these discrete events, the endings don’t really matter.

More than the end point of a particular discrete event of life, what matters more is the state trajectory (which is a function of time) it follows while that event was simulated. If that has an uphill trajectory for most of the part, and the ending condition is provided by the designer (that it is not forced by any external events), then endings shouldn’t really matter much.

And in this way, I feel the movie is special. The designers (Mrs. Chan and Mr. Chow) put the ending condition of their simulation models. There were no external forces that directed it like most other movies. The model ran its course. They started something without realizing the end. But in the end, the end didn’t matter. Truly a masterpiece.