am I the idiot?

I’ve recently been wondering how I can battle the question of telling someone they are wrong.

This is very pretentious, but here I go:

As an economist, I’ve learned a lot about how the world works, both in the social human behavioral aspect (behavioral economics) and also in the way the world works in terms of products, supply, goods, money, people, countries, firms, etc. (micro and macro).

As someone who studies philosophy and humanities, I’ve also learned a lot about how humans work. There is no answer, but I’ve contemplated this probably more than the average 19-year-old. I meditate, I read every day, and I’ve studied great philosophers and theologians.

Needless to say, I feel like the past year, I’ve become way more immersed in the world than I ever thought I’d be. I’ve collected more knowledge, more information, more books.

And so when I hear people giving their “opinions” on a topic of debate, I can respect it. But at the same time, I also often hear “opinions” which are just flat out wrong. Full stop. No debate here. There is just no evidence to support the opinion.

We are all entitled to our own opinions. But we also must be open minded and subject to new information or evidence to help shape our opinions. Only with the willingness to be skeptical about the world can we learn and adapt.

Yet, I also think I need to take a step back and not be the one to tell people they are wrong. Especially if the person isn’t willing to be corrected–people don’t like to be wrong. I also have to be skeptical about my own knowledge.

And so if I choose to argue with someone who isn’t willing to have an insightful debate–people who are fixated on their opinions regardless of the evidence–then perhaps am the idiot here.

The true idiot is someone who tries to argue with someone clouded in ignorance.

I know I sound super pretentious in this post.

But I have to be blunt.

Because if you have conversations with me, I hope you’ll understand: I don’t really care about being right or wrong. I care about understanding the world a little bit better than before we have our conversation. I love insightful debate. I love learning from other people. But I hope you’ll come into the conversation with me with an equal open-mindedness to learn from my perspectives, prior knowledge, facts and info from readings, and yes, opinions too. And I will also respect your opinion. But let’s get to a better understanding of the world–that’s the true objective. And isn’t that all we are trying to do in this world?

 

Here

I wrote a poem. “Here”

I hope you like it


When the ghosts of my past have left my body

When my dreams no longer keep me up at night

I will notice

That I

Am here

Here

The human sound we make is everywhere

I hear it at the restaurant I go to every year on my birthday, the same mundanely beautiful human noise

I hear it as I walk through the streets

The human noise is familiar in Switzerland, in New York, in Singapore, in Hong Kong, in Toronto

I hear it at school, at parks, at the local grocery store when the mother beside me is telling her son that they can’t buy too much candy. Even if I don’t understand her, because she is speaking German, I can hear the human noise

It’s a universal language, this human noise

I’ve spent most of my days wondering how life could be better if I only did this

If I were only somewhere anywhere else besides here

I shoulda

I coulda

If I only…

These thoughts will disappear and then rear its head again every time I realize that life is unfair

I walk and walk and walk over many zebras

Thinking that the next street will be better

Not realizing that sometimes life is a one way street

And even if the other side of the street looks better, I wonder what they are thinking about my street

The bus doesn’t stop for me, and neither should I stop for these ugly thoughts

On the nights I am alone and meditate, I see so much clearer

I am here

The human noise I make, I hear it

And it’s screaming: “I exist”

“I am here”

And so I spend more time appreciating the beauty of the present moment

Even if I don’t know why yet

Even if I don’t know how

Even if I don’t believe anything else

At the very least, I know that I am

Here

Book for 2019: The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness

I was inspired by my high school teacher to share the books I’ve been reading and plan to read for 2019 here on my blog. Last year I finished 50 books, and although I did discuss a few of them, I think it would be good for me to reflect on each book I finish.

Meditation is weird because people often think that it is difficult (as I did too), which is a paradox. Meditation is perhaps the only time during the day that I actively try to DO NOTHING and allow my mind to be free.

This book, written by the Founder of Headspace, was a great introduction to the world of meditation and mindfulness and is also one of Bill Gates’ top 5 books of 2018.

As I’ve been using the Headspace app for the past 3 months (almost daily), I did already know many of the teachings that were written in this book. So, for those that don’t currently meditate, and would like to dive into the world of mindfulness and Headspace, I would totally recommend you pick up this book to learn more and hopefully drive you to continue on this path.

I would have to say that meditation and mindfulness practice has been the best habit I’ve picked up recently, and I will no doubt continue to consider this one of the best habits of my lifestyle that I hope may continue for many years. It’s amazing how 10-minutes a day can change your life.

Get it here on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MbiCLl

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The best person

Daily Blog Post 398

Who is the best person you know?

If you had asked me this question a few years ago, I would have instantly responded with “my sister”

But now, I’d probably answer that question in a more self-aware narcissistic way: the best person I know is myself.

Not because I don’t think my sister is amazing. She is. But, I think I need to look at this question differently.

I grew up admiring my sister; I put her up on this pedestal as invincible. But, as John Green says in Paper Towns, “‘What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.” In childhood, I thought my mother loved her more. Teachers liked her more. Her grades were better. She was mature, smart, responsible. I played piano because she did, went to Chinese class and felt bad for how behind I was, and I even tried to pick up art and illustration at one point. And to me, those were all things I was supposedly meant to emulate.

But as I grew up, I started to find my own identity. I followed different passions. I created my own path.

In today’s readings in my Human Person class, we said that it was possible to know something and not love them, but then discussed whether it was possible to love something without knowing them. God was used in this context. Do we truly know God?

I spun it in a different way because I don’t follow a religion.

Can I truly know someone else?

I barely know myself… and all these spiraling thoughts from my mind that often run rampant. In fact, I often surprise myself with emotions, with actions, with feelings, with thoughts. Patrick Star said it best: “the inner machinations of my mind are an enigma”

But to love something is to discern that the thing you love is good and just, or at least is actively attempting to achieve that good we all seek.

So I love my sister. I love my friends and family. I love certain people, certain places, certain books, certain things.

And I love myself. So therefore, I am either good and just, or am actively working towards such. 

And because I barely know myself, how can I know what other people are truly like? If I never know them at their best and worst. It might be impossible to fully know who someone else is. Nonetheless, I still love other people.

But because I love myself, and because I am attempting to be good, and because I know myself the best out of anyone in this world, then I must answer that I am the best person I know.

If I were to answer with anyone else, then that would mean I am making a judgement call that I know what other people are like and distinguishing individuals from myself. But I don’t know who you are. Or who my sister is. Or who my family is. Not to a full extent that I can discern who they truly are.

And so, I am the best person I know.

Subsequently, I am also the worst person I know. You don’t want to know what cynical thoughts I have up there…