Sine Waves

Someone once told me, My life is like a Sine Wave – it just goes up and down, up and down.

This is, perhaps, a poetic overstating of fact, yet it artfully captures the cyclical nature of life. The summation of all our experience may not make a perfectly formed normal distribution, yet prevailing wisdom would indicate that, yes, some things are bad, but it’s okay because some things are better.

It all evens out in the end. Up and down, up and down.

You can take that concept a step further, imagining the amplitude of life. If life is a sine wave, how high are the peaks and how low are the valleys?

It’s speculated that mental illness is an inseparable companion from creative genius. To truly create objects of awe and wonder, you need to be broken and pained. To achieve greatness, you need to experience despair.

The greater your depths, the greater your heights.

This frenetic, passionate, existence is high-amplitude living.

If that sounds unappealing, consider its alternative:

At it’s most extreme, low-amplitude living would be static. Instead of varying up and down, the sine wave would be steady at zero. A flat line maintaining a calm, constant existence. Never elated. Never depressed. Just steady. A static white noise.

Both waves average to be the same over time, yet these existences are not the same. But who’s to say which existence is better? Would you prefer a tumultuous torment of change, or a static, steady, stream?

Extremes, of course, are so rarely ideal – most people don’t really want to be the tortured artist or the static, unassuming, soul. Presumably, the ideal is somewhere in between but what does this mid-amplitude living really look like?


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