Sunday, October 07, 2007

Of course things will get worse before they get better

And they will also get better before they get worse. If things are not completely flat and stable, then they are presumably rising and falling. So, unless we're already at a trough, things will continue to get worse until they reach the trough, and then they'll start to get better. And similarly, unless we're already at a crest, things will continue to get better until they reach the crest, and then they'll start to get worse. Unless, of course, there is no trough ahead, and things will continue to get worse forever and ever. But history doesn't look like that. Human events as a sine wave!

I've heard people say for years that things will get worse before they get better. They say that as if it were a great, serious, somber insight. But it's pretty silly, really.

Here's another one: "I searched everywhere, and then I finally found it in the last place I looked!" Well, duh. That's because, once you found it, you stopped looking.

Occasionally I hear other standard lines that strike me as just as silly and obvious as those two, but those are the only ones I remember right now.

In the comments, chris mentioned this old cliché: "It's always darkest before the dawn." Does anyone really believe that? That would be as likely as it always being darkest right after sunset. Surely, if the only light in question is from the sun, then it's darkest at the midway point between sunset and sunrise. In practice, that would be complicated by moonlight and manmade light. Maybe at certain times of the lunar cycle, and if all the manmade light gets switched off in the wee hours, then on a given night it might just happen to be darkest before the dawn. But that would be a rare night.


Chris said...

Just remember, things are always darkest before dawn...

David said...

Oh, that's a good one. I'll have to update the post to include it.