Oh, how easy it is to get absorbed in our lives and not see anything else. It is far too easy to get caught up and only just look for a solution to our particular, one-time problem, say meeting a person we find difficult to tolerate. We come up with a throw-away fix that works for us this time. But what about when we encounter a similar problem again later, say meeting another annoying person? We probably stumble through the situation again, because we haven’t formed any general-purpose plan of attack.
Take this a step further and we consequently see so much of life is re-living, re-hashing and re-doing everything so many billions of people have done before us. People have struggled with morality, weak economies, and cross-country moves before. Not only have others struggled with it, some have found good ways of thinking about these things. What I want to do instead of reasoning through life focused on personal, specific problems is to take issues, abstract and generalize them enough to apply to humanity as a whole.
Lately, I have found it helpful to step back a bit from my emotions, look at why I am feeling so, and getting a handle on patterns. Sounds a bit robotic but getting to know why and how you think isn’t a bad thing. I’ m also taking steps to think more generally when I encounter a problem. Not only do I think of how I can handle the situation, but how people in general might. I want to harness knowledge, make some sort of core, so people of today and the future can use others’ experiences to get through things and spend their time wrestling all the new issues they will face.
Knowledge does come in two forms though: Explicit and tacit. Explicit knowledge is that which can be stored and transferred easily, like historical facts. Tacit knowledge is the sort you have to pick up by experience, like how to ride a bike. And even though you have to actually ride a bike to pick up that muscle memory, that’s not to say there isn’t a way to transfer some knowledge on how to go about it. So even for things like dealing with your short temper, there could be a how-to or some guidelines to follow.
I think of physics as a good example. Physics students have to spend some time reinventing the wheel, in order to see how the basics work. But they don’t dwell deeply on the proofs or just how long a time it took for others to come to these conclusions. They learn these things, and quickly move on to more challenging ideas. Soon enough, they stand on the shoulders of giants and come face-to-face with unsolved problems. Even though they have not built the foundation themselves, they can surely expand upon it. And this is exactly what I want to do with more general life-knowledge: generalize, codify and retain it. There will be some bit of re-inventing the wheel, but it should be a small amount.
This does beg the question of whether absolute truth exists. I’m sure we could argue semantics all night and day for the rest of all ever, so I will punt and say that regardless of whether “absolute” truth exists, there are some things people should do in certain situations. There is a lot of personality that goes in to how a person thinks, copes and reasons, but the personality sits on top of a base. This base human is what I want to get at.
This essentially highlights the perspective I will hold as I write future posts. I plan to explore my personality, thoughts and life and see how I can generalize the things I come across. I hope to gain some insight and also hear what others have to say about their introspection. One of my life’s goals is to understand another person, but I must have a good grasp on myself first. I really welcome everyone to try this approach. Let’s put these basic, mundane pieces of human life down so others don’t have to slog through them like so many people before.
Listen to these Readings
Kyle Tolle reading ‘Lens Through Which I Look’
Kyle Tolle reading ‘Lens Through Which I Look’ in one take
Kyle Tolle reading ‘Lens Through Which I Look’ in monotone