I am fortunate to have watched episode 11 of Person of Interest (Season 2). The story revolved around the genius guy and his audacious behavior. But what interested me most was Mr. Smith’s (or Mr. Finch) allegory of PI (π) and how it is related to mistakes in our life.

My first acquaintance with PI (π) was when I got exposed to math competitions in my elementary years. It was for me just a Greek letter that is used to compute the perimeter, area and volume of a circle. I didn’t know that it’s an unending mathematical constant that never repeats nor has a pattern, I thought it’s just 3.14159 but as of 17th of October 2011, the latest value of PI has reached 10 trillion digits — thanks to the advancement of technology!

Quoting Mr. Finch:

Pi… the ratio of circumference of a circle to its diameter, and this is just the beginning it keeps on going forever without ever REPEATING, which means that contained within this string of decimals is every single other number, your birthdate, combination to your locker, your social security number, it’s all in there somewhere. and if you convert these decimals into letters, you would have every word that ever existed in every possible combination. The first syllable you spoke as a baby, the name of your latest crush, your entire life  stories from beginning to end. Everything that we’ll ever say or do, all of the world’s infinite possibilities rest within this one simple circle. Now what you do with that information, what it’s good for, well that would be upto you.

With the advent of internet, getting information nowadays is so easy. It is so powerful that you can know anything that you’d like to learn in just a few clicks. The funny thing is even though the information is just out there, we still have a lot of encounters with mistakes. Sometimes it’s not because we didn’t do our own homework but it’s just that we prefer to take our chances and be more daring, and there’s nothing wrong about that.

Mr. Finch and the genius kid.

And Mr. Finch says it better:

The thing about being reckless, taking chances, is that you make alot of mistakes cause alot of grief…

Your mistakes like mine are part of who you are now, you can move on from that…but sometimes your mistakes can surprise you.

The thing about the world is that it doesn’t have extra pieces. It’s like PI, it contains everything, you remove a single piece, no circle. Your recklessness, your mistakes are the reason why when they say you can’t change the world, you won’t listen.

If you’re interested on this episode, let me know and I can lend you a copy; or we can get some coffee and order an apple crumble PIe.