Chapter 2

The Conditions of Change

The velocity of a body remains constant unless the body is acted upon by an external force.

—Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion

Livin’ on the Edge

Every painting has one thing in common, regardless of subject or quality: They all start as blank pieces of canvas. It is the process of the artist pouring what is in his mind onto the canvas that creates the art. Producing that painting is intimately tied up with the artist’s state of being at the time he worked on it. If he were to delay even a day, the final result would be subtly different than it would have been the day before.

As our experiences accumulate, we become different people, integrating our new experiences into our past to create who we are in the present. In hindsight, the artist will be aware of these changes in himself, while the viewer of his work will likely miss it. In fact, the viewer will impose his own experiences onto his interpretation of the painting, creating a unique perspective on the work that could not exist without both people.

This is a good metaphor for a price chart. But it is also a trap, in that the metaphor can be used from both perspectives in a multistable way that I brought up in Chapter 1. We can frame the metaphor from the perspective of the company itself, noting that the chart exists as a snapshot of the market’s perception of the company’s value. On the other hand, we can view it as a canvas to re-interpret in our own image, drawing various lines and bands ...

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