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What is truth?

You’d define it as the body of things that is verified or indisputable, right?

But how do you even know if that’s true? You can only compare your new, incoming knowledge against your old knowledge and decide whether this new knowledge has space in your preexisting worldview. If it does, great. It’ll fit right in with everything else. If not, then it’s going to take some extra mental effort for you to reshape that square hole so a pentagon-shaped peg can fit into it.

First: an illustration.

Imagine that your memory, worldviews, experiences, and perceptions can be neatly visualized with this board full of different-shaped holes filled with pegs. Your board is ever-expanding, and every time you hear or see something new, you must decide what shape to make the new hole.

See the source image
Like one of these.

Now imagine that you specialize in making square-shaped holes, but the square pegs stop arriving, being replaced with round ones. It continues for a long time, and you decide to start making some round holes to accommodate these round pegs. There’s a square peg in there every once in a while, and even an odd star-shaped one, but they’re all mostly still circles.

Some time passes. You continue to accept round pegs and even send some out yourself. Then you notice that the rate of peg arrival is accelerating, first gradually, then rapidly. Moreover, the shapes of the pegs are ones you’re not used to seeing. Crosses and crescents. Hexagons and Heptagons. Hearts. Ovals. Triangles. The circle-shaped pegs are now hard to pick out.

You can’t keep up. So you decide that you’re only going to accept circle-shaped pegs and discard the rest. And for the rest of your life, each time your board expands, you create a little circle-shaped hole and neatly insert a fresh new circle-shaped peg into it.

So what?

Hopefully the analogy was apt.

But there are some things that aren’t addressed, like why you’re being served mostly square pegs to begin with. Is your affinity for square holes due to nature or nurture?

Let’s briefly examine how this analogy applies to our lives right now.

First. your board is ever-expanding, as long as you’re alive. Sometimes you get so focused on the edge of the board that it loses integrity in the center, and those pegs fall away. Other times, you make a conscious decision to cut off parts of your board.

Second, the primary way to filter incoming pegs is by looking at its shape and determining whether it fits into a hole you already have. There are two problems with this:

  1. You can’t know for certain that the pegs are coming from a reasonable or trustworthy source.
  2. There’s no way to guarantee that the pegs on your board are from a reasonable or trustworthy source.

You can take a look at the source of the information, but there’s no knowing for sure that the information is accurate and complete.

That’s point #3. You can’t know whether the peg you receive is hollow, made of a different material, or defective in any way, lest you take some time to scrutinize it. And with the rate at which pegs are coming your way, you hardly have any time to do that.

Let’s speak literally.

I’ve spoken about the media before. I detest the media.

Journalists literally have a financial incentive to bend the truth to get people emotional. Their primary function is to turn tragedy into entertainment.

But past all that, there’s no way to know if the information we’re getting is accurate or complete. For example, did you know there are ongoing conflicts in multiple countries in southeast Asia? Did you know there was an explosion at a factory in Beirut that caused $10-15 billion in damages in August?

A skirmish broke out between armed forces on the border between China and India in May this year and there was hardly any reporting on it.

I do concede that this problem is getting better. Now with the advent of smart phones, it’s easy for a bystander to capture video footage of an incident taking place. It’s a more reliable way of sharing information. Much better than waiting for a journalist to write a summary of the incident with implicit biases.


I didn’t want to have to do this, but there will be a part 2 to this post. This post is already long enough.

Tune in next week on Dragonball Z.

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I have nothing to write about this month.

Sometimes when I get fired up about politics, I think about writing a piece on why I disagree with aspects of both sides. It hasn’t come to that yet, but I do consider moving to another country all the time.

This month has been full of studying for job interviews and working on various music projects. Here’s something my a cappella group put together earlier this month. It took a long time.

This quarantine I learned:

  • How to trade stock options (though I’m still learning)
  • Basic audio engineering
  • Video editing
  • Dynamic programming
  • Front-end web development
  • Basic quant trading
  • How to make really good cheesecake
  • The science behind the ketogenic diet
  • Basic Italian
  • I am much less tolerant with annoying people than I thought
  • My pride gets in the way of many things
  • many other things

I just want a job. Or at least, I want to be able to make money doing the things I’m doing now. Hopefully this will all pay off soon.

August. We got 1/3 of the year left. I wonder what it has in store for us.

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What you’re addicted to

We’re all addicted. It’s just a matter of noticing. But what are we addicted to?

Here, I’ll break it down for you.

Sugar

First and perhaps most obvious, sugar and carbs aren’t required as any part of a diet. It is, however, in almost every food we eat, if not as sugar, then as high fructose corn syrup.

In the year 1965, there was a research project done on coronary heart disease, which singled out fat and cholesterol as the dietary causes of coronary heart disease. But get this: the research project was sponsored by the Sugar Research Foundation, and the role of sugar in coronary heart disease was heavily downplayed. Here’s my source: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2548255

There are many other articles out there, and studies have been done to prove this point. But it was too late. The food industry has been pushing low-fat foods since then.

Low-fat foods taste bad, though. Fatty foods are delicious, and are what make food taste good. In order to counteract the quality of food dropping, manufacturers began to add sugar in place of the fats.

Coincidentally, the enzyme used to create high-fructose corn syrup was discovered in the same year, 1965, and started being marketed in the 1970s. It was known as being cheaper to produce and much easier to work with than cane sugar, and now you’ll find it in everything.

YOU DON’T NEED IT.

Pleasure

Why do you keep your phone with you at all times?

Why do you keep going back to those same shows, movies, or songs?

You’re addicted to that feeling of being rewarded. Rewarded for making the right decisions or having the right connections, even if they don’t manifest in that way.

Checking your phone is like playing slots. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t. And if you win, you get a notification in red. The color red is good for grabbing your attention, for reasons that are frankly beyond the scope of this post.

We live in an age of overwhelming pleasure, and we’re addicted to it. Try putting your phone away for twelve hours and see how much you struggle without it. If you want to challenge yourself further, go for a full dopamine detox.

A dopamine detox means no social media, no video games, no TV, no unproductive Youtube (which is basically TV, let’s be honest here) etc. for a week. It’ll break you out of harmful addictions and re-incentivize you to focus on the better things in life.

Control and Power

This one is much more difficult to see and understand in a practical sense.

Most people will pass this off, saying, “I’m the bottom rung in my company. I don’t have any power.”

It’s not true.

You have control when you decide what to eat for lunch. You have control when you drive your car. You have control when you browse Youtube, or move your character around in a game, or when you have conversations.

The general overarching goal in life is to gain more control over your life. You work to make money to buy things that give you power, in hopes to one day retire when you don’t have to do anything you don’t have to.

You have power over your children, and to some degree, your significant other. You have control over your pets. I don’t think I need to make my point any more clear.

Even the people who willingly give up control are somewhat doing it of their own accord. They’re told that relinquishing their control will free them. I don’t know whether they’ve found what they were searching for, so I won’t make any judgments.

Whether or not the words “control” and “power” are interchangeable can be debated. I say they can, and control is more yearned and more destructive.


That separator looks pretty cool. I should use it more often.




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Protected: The real June 2020 post

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It’s been a weird month

and I’m trying really, really hard not to write a political post, because I’m a dissident and people don’t like that. If you really want to know my opinions and tell me I’m wrong, message me on Facebook or email me.

Just know: it’s incredibly difficult to make rational and well-thought decisions when you’re emotional.