For those who have never seen it, Quantum Leap is about scientist, Sam, who 'leaps' back in time (but only time periods that span his own lifetime) and inhabits the body/life of someone else for a period. He is not able to leap again until he avoids some upcoming tragedy or fixes some problem. While some of the episodes are flakey nothingness, others are very good.
I find it interesting to think about what happens when the original owner of the body comes back to see their life changed in some major way. I got a tattoo of What!? Where!? While their were no mysterious tattoos, there were new girlfriends (I kissed Who!? Where!?). But most interestingly there is often a major life challenge, complete and in the past.
Image this, waking up one day, and a life defining event where you needed to act is in the past. You did act; you acted heroically you acted nobly, against great odds, where failure might have meant death, where even doing the right thing might not have been enough. The only problem is you don't remember, and worse you weren't really there. You have been robbed, in the name of science, in the name of entertainment, in the name of profits from residuals for syndication and later for DVD releases, of your moment of glory.
Does it even feel better to know that you would have failed, in fact you did fail, and that was why he was there? It is the old adage: "It better to have tried and failed then to let some time hopping scientist do it for you".
I have heard that many people who win large lotteries often squander all their winnings and sometimes end up with less money than before they played (I wonder what percentage this really is). It would be interesting to see a post Quantum Leap where the character who has his life fixed comes back and screws it up worse than when Sam first got there. At first he is elated with this wonderful life he has received, but then he becomes morose, he feels robbed of his chance. He begins at first sub-consciously and then consciously to sabotage his life in order to give himself a chance to be the hero.
There are so many things I would love to be able to do and used to have childhood fantasies about achieving these things. That god would feel bored one day and say, "hmmmm wouldn't this be interesting…" and give me the ability to speak any language, or to play any musical instrument, or give me all knowledge of physics and the workings of the universe. I didn't ask for much.
I wonder if I had gotten any of these, how boring my life would be. If Sam had jumped in and filled my brain with language knowledge, music skills, or physics would I be happy. It is hard to answer because everything I try to learn, I really want to be able to do, and learning something new can be very frustrating, but making progress can feel so wonderful.
So is Joy of a known skill > (Joy of mastering a step – frustration of learning a step) * number of steps towards mastery.
Due to having a ton of hobbies and being master of none, I really think in my mind I get greater joy from the individual steps even with the frustrations than I would from the actual knowledge. Something tells me no one breaks a world record in anything and just never tries to be faster or stronger or smarter, the real goal is the striving for each step, and in reality there is no endpoint. So future scientist, stay out of my body (although a hint in the next Mega Millions drawing would be cool!).