Category Archives: Knowledge and Learning

Wise Sloth Video List: Knowledge And Learning

This list comes from my essays on philosophy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these other video lists:

 


The Value Of Knowledge

This essay is an excerpt from my book, “Why: An Agnostic Perspective on the Meaning of Life.

 

KNOWLEDGE IS IMPORTANT FOR INTERNAL GROWTH

 

Look at your body in a mirror. It looks like one single object, but it can be broken down into organ systems, organs, tissue, cells, organelles, protein, DNA, atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons, hadrons, quarks, fermions, leptons, gluons, etc. Your body is a complex system that can be divided into ever smaller and more fundamental parts.

Your mind is the same way. Everything that makes up your mind: personality, thoughts, ideas, opinions, dreams, fears, desires, memories, skills, vocabulary, etc. are all made from different levels of progressively smaller building blocks. The most fundamental of these building blocks is knowledge. The more knowledge you have the more articulate and complete your personality, thoughts, ideas, opinions, dreams, fears, desires, memories, skills, vocabulary, etc. will be. The more mass your body has the bigger a person you’ll be, and the more knowledge you have the bigger your mind will be. Thus, the bigger of a person you’ll be.

This means that in order to grow up you need to learn. You can’t just get old and all of a sudden claim you’re grown up. If you stop systematically learning after graduation then it doesn’t matter how many years you age, you all but stopped growing after you quit going to school. Therefore, you never grew up.

Imagine the personality of a baby. Aside from emotions and instinct, a baby doesn’t have a personality or identity. All those cute/sad faces are the product of instinct, not personality.

Now imagine a ten-year-old. The child has a personality but pretty much everything about his personality is still naïve. He has naïve thoughts, questions, beliefs, opinions, dreams, fears, etc. Honestly, you can’t possibly spend a day with a ten-year-old without rolling your eyes at least once because of something naive he said or did.

Now imagine a regular grown man. He’s a blue-collar worker, has 2.5 children, practices religion but is no theologian, and manages his money responsibly enough that he doesn’t starve. This man doesn’t suffer too much mental distress and is capable of functioning in society. However, he’s never systematically tried to achieve self-actualization, and he doesn’t go out of his way to learn new things every day.

He’s really just on par with what a human is capable of becoming. His philosophy on life is basically to keep your head down, pay your taxes, celebrate holidays, watch television, and hopefully someday retire relatively comfortably.

This man will never truly understand the world around him. He’ll believe what he was taught in school, and after he graduates, he’ll only learn what knowledge he stumbles upon, which will be mainly limited to what’s on cable television. His thoughts will be limited to mainstream thoughts. His hopes and fears will be the same as his neighbor’s. He might not buy celebrity gossip magazines, but it won’t be entirely uncommon for him to take part in conversations about it.

The life of the average man doesn’t sound too horrible, but compare it to what his life could have been like.

Imagine anyone who has earned the title of one of the greatest minds in history. These people understood life deeper, made their own perceptive observations without waiting for other people to make sense of the world for them. They were empowered. They weren’t slaves to mainstream thoughts. They had logical thoughts, rational fears, brilliant hopes, articulate opinions/beliefs and personalities you could lose yourself in. Their minds were veritable galaxies. They experienced life more deeply than the average man even has the capacity to imagine.

Whatever factors can be used to explain the differences between an infant, ten-year-old, adult, and genius there’s one common denominator that’s always present: knowledge.

Imagine if everybody’s minds could be visually represented by the house they live in. A baby would be lying on a concrete slab. A child would live in a small slapdash shack. Your average person would live in a drab suburban cookie-cutter home. A genius would live in an elaborately customized mansion.

That’s an easy enough analogy to understand, but it’s easy to miss the depth of the message in it: that there are real internal rewards to gaining knowledge, and there are real internal consequences to being ignorant. This is who you’re going to be for the rest of your life. This is how you’re going to experience the rest of your life. By not learning you’re condemning yourself to a dull and confusing mental prison. You’re missing out on experiencing the fullness of life by not experiencing the fullness of yourself.

 

KNOWLEDGE IS IMPORTANT FOR EXTERNAL ACTIONS

 

Every interaction you have with the external world: driving, raising a child, working at your job, making friends, managing your finances, cooking, voting, self-defense, teaching, putting furniture together, managing employees, finding a mate, living with your mate, etc. Everything you do is the result of thoughts in your brain, and those thoughts are made of bits of knowledge strung together. The more knowledge you possess the more articulate and complete your thoughts can be. The more complete your thoughts are the better you can do anything. The quality of everything you do, from the most insignificant to the most life-changing action, is determined by how much knowledge you have.

Here’s a real-world example of this concept in action. The more you know about cars the better you can fix them. That’s obvious enough, but there are a few things implied in that simple statement that a lot of people don’t seem to understand.

The most basic implication of that statement is that you can learn about a car. It’s possible just as it’s possible to learn about anything. Is there anything you want to do but can’t? If so, it’s not because there’s something inherently wrong with you that will always prevent you from doing that thing. You just need to learn it.

Think about this. Everyone wishes they had superpowers. Why do we want superpowers? Because we want to be capable of doing more in life, and we feel limited by our feeble bodies. But it’s not really our bodies that limit us. Compare yourself to a plant, and you’ll see why this is true. A plant truly is stuck with the same abilities forever. Most plants can’t even move except to grow towards light. From a plant’s perspective not only can we move freely, but we have the ability to choose whatever kinds of roots, stems, leaves, flowers, etc. we want. We can choose our defense mechanisms (martial arts, marksmanship), root system (investment strategy, job skills), flowers (art, music, fashion), etc. Compared to a plant you already have superpowers, but more importantly, you can choose whatever other superpowers you want. So if you feel stuck in life and wish you had superpowers then go learn something.

Think about how the car analogy applies to ignorance. If you can’t fix your car you don’t stand around wondering why. You know why. You can’t fix it because you don’t know how, but with a broken car you don’t just sit around complaining about it. You accept the fact that it’s broken and take steps to learn how to fix it or hire somebody who can.

The same concept is true with anything you do. Think about any problem you’ve ever had in your life. Think about any failure you’ve experienced, any dream unfulfilled, any mistake you regret. Think about any tear you’ve shed. Any time you’ve shaken in frustration or anger. Have you ever sat around with your hands in your head wondering, “Why is this happening to me?” The next time that happens imagine yourself sitting behind the wheel of your car with your hands on your head feeling helpless and bewildered wondering, “Why doesn’t my car work?” Because that’s ultimately what you’re doing.

Would you get upset and defensive if someone told you your car is broken or running poorly because you don’t know how to fix it? Probably not, but everyday people refuse to take responsibility for their lives. They make excuses for the bad things happening to them by saying it’s not their fault. They try to find anything to blame their problems on except their own ignorance.

On the most fundamental level, ignorance is the root of all problems, and knowledge is the solution. If there’s a problem in your life there’s knowledge you can possess that will allow you to fix it or there’s someone with the knowledge who can help you if you’d only try to find them. If you don’t have that knowledge and aren’t trying to find it then it’s your fault there are problems in your life regardless of their original source.

Ignorance is even the root of all external problems too. If you were hurt by someone else it’s because they were ignorant. Even what insurance companies call “acts of God” can be prevented with appropriate applications of knowledge. Houses can be built above floodplains. Trailer houses can be made tornado proof. We can erect tsunami barriers along coastland. Buildings can be made earthquake-proof, etc. So if you’re ever looking for someone or something to blame you would always be correct to blame ignorance. And if your life sucks then go learn something. And remember, if there’s always more you can learn about cars then there’s always more you can learn about anything. Life can always be easier.

The last thing that thing that needs to be said about fixing cars is that there are only three ways you can learn how to do it:

1: It’s forced upon you.

2: You stumble upon it.

3: You seek out.

The same is true with all knowledge. People are forced to learn in school, but after graduating nobody forces them to learn anymore. That doesn’t mean they’ll never learn anything else though. They’ll stumble on a little more information here and there through the rest of their life but it’s not going to amount to anything truly empowering. And what’s the opposite of empowerment? Enslavement.

Most people only seek out the knowledge they need in the immediate present (like how to program their new electronic device). People generally don’t say to themselves, “There’s knowledge out there that will make my life better, but I don’t know what it is. So I’m just going to go learn as much as I can about everything until I find that knowledge that will make my life better.” People don’t do that. They just sit around and watch TV and assume they’ll learn everything they need to know in life from sitcoms, cartoons, and commercials. But that’s not going to happen, and nobody’s going to cram the knowledge you need down your throat your entire life. And why should they? That’s your job.

The fact is you won’t stumble upon enough knowledge to empower you above the status quo if you don’t seek it out on your own. So this is your warning or your wake up call. Seek out knowledge. Seek out as much as you can, but ask yourself what the most important knowledge you can learn is and seek that out most of all lest you waste your life acquiring relatively useless knowledge. And never stop seeking knowledge. Everything in your life (internal and external) depends on it.

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

The Meaning of Life
How to Think Like a Genius
Knowledge and Learning
Biker Philosophy
My Tweets About Philosophy 

Recommended Intelligent Books And Videos

I’ve had a few people ask me to recommend good, intellectual books to read and videos to watch. So I’m making an ongoing list:

Books

Documentaries

Movies

Pseudo Intellectual Junk

These will not make you smarter. They will make you feel smarter without nourishing your intellect. Avoid them or approach them with brutal skepticism.)

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Books?

These books are demonized in the Western World (some of them for good reason). As a result, they’re useful to challenge your conventional upbringing by looking at the world from the point of view of your culture’s enemies. Seeing the world from extreme perspectives will help you center your perspective and will help you understand how other people think. If nothing else, if you’re going to make enemies out of people who think differently than you then you may as well at least be informed about what it is they think.
 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Knowledge and Learning
How to Think Like a Genius
My Tweets About Philosophy 
The Importance of Public Education
Flaws in the Public Education System
Improving Public Education

 


How To Read For Truth

The quality of your person is equal to the quality of the information in your brain. This means that if you hope to grow up and make the most of your life, you need to consciously and systematically undertake a lifelong quest to gain and refine the quality of knowledge in your brain.

In a Utopian society, the path of knowledge would be well paved and streamlined. Every level of education would be free for anyone of any age, and every curriculum would be painstakingly edited for objectivity and clarity. Unfortunately, humanity has opted to devote more of its resources to killing each other than raising each other.

The good news is that you live in the information age. Technology allows the average person access to more information than kings in ancient times had. Unfortunately, freedom of information has come with a cost. When production and distribution of information was largely controlled by wealthy publishing houses, information was expensive and had limited distribution channels but did a pretty good job of filtering information for quality. Today anyone can publish anything and put it on the Internet right next to the most professionally crafted literature humanity has ever produced.

As soon as the internet was invented, journalists started warning us that equal access to information distribution would result in a fog of white noise that makes it exceedingly difficult to find the quality information, and I’m sad to say that the situation is even worse than that. The problem isn’t just that there’s too much information written by amateurs who can’t write coherently and don’t do a professional job of fact-checking their data. There are news outlets with biased agendas bending the truth and misleading their consumers for their own benefit. Even the consumers themselves are guilty of mangling the truth by littering social news sites with their insane, or at least misinformed, editorial comments.

 

 

This situation isn’t fair, but life isn’t fair, and your life is your responsibility. So it’s up to you to sift through the white noise and misinformation to arrive at truth on your own. You can point fingers all day long at writers for not doing a good job of paving the way to truth, but you’re really the biggest obstacle standing between you and enlightenment.

As a child, your brain soaked up all the knowledge available to you in your environment like a sponge, but your ability to use formal reasoning didn’t develop until after you’d already established your perception of reality. In other words, during childhood, you just assumed that what you learned was true, but a lot of it wasn’t, and all of it was filtered through your subjective culture. This means you were doomed to grow up with a warped perception of reality. We all were, and to make matters worse, there may not be one true perception of reality. So not only were we born so lost we didn’t even know we’re lost, we’re probably doomed to be lost by degrees our entire lives no matter how many of our misconceptions we slay.

This is made all the direr by the fact that we don’t know what we don’t know. So the tendency is to assume that what we know is all we need to know (or close enough). You’ll find conceited people who are totally convinced of their intellectual mastery from every walk of life, from the most inbred redneck to the most ordinary office secretary to the most tenured professor… and they’re all wrong.

 

 

Every individual in the world will be guilty of being conceited about being smart at some time/s in their lives, which is bad enough, but when everyone in a society does the same thing, that behavior becomes a part of their culture. This is why every culture in the world tends to assume it’s the best culture in the world. Xenophobia, ethnocentrism, and patriotism aren’t mistakes only the worst humans make. They’re an inevitable product of the human brain. So no matter where you were born, I can guarantee you that your culture tends to celebrate its obsolete past and demonize beliefs and behaviors outside of your ancestors’ experience. Since culture tends to blindly label anything outside of its past experiences as bad, that means popular culture tends to demonize progress because progressive thought is inherently deviant thought.

Ironically, the fact that humans are born with their minds set to auto-reject isn’t a flaw in the design of the brain. Our brains are supercomputers that receive, process, store and recall an astronomical amount of information every moment of our lives. Our brains have to manage all this information while also operating a body that grows, generates its own energy, processes waste, heals itself and reproduces. This necessitates that the brain process information as efficiently as possible, which it does partly by saddling the subconscious mind with the burden of making as many decisions as possible. It does this by assuming that whatever it has done in the past to survive will ensure its survival in the future. This means we’re all born on autopilot. We learn schemas and repeat the same patterns of thoughts and behaviors the rest of our lives while tending to automatically reject any new and unfamiliar information and then reverse engineering reasons why afterward.

 

 

You can see the human autopilot function at work on any social news sites or internet forum. Go to any social media site and click on the “Comments” button under any news article. The more comment threads you read, the more you’ll see the auto-pilot/auto-reject phenomenon. The more forward-looking or creative the article is, the more of a backlash you’ll see.

Undoubtedly you’ve seen this behavior in real life. Have you ever met a person who contradicts everything anyone says? They’re probably smug and eloquent, but they don’t really stand for anything other than standing against anything anyone says to them. That’s because their mind isn’t tuned into searching for truth. Their mind is tuned into auto-rejecting everything and confirming their biases. Sadly, they’ll win every argument they ever have, but that won’t bring them any closer to the truth. It’ll just reinforce their belief that they can never be wrong. For all the effort they put into proving they’re right, they’re really building a wall around them that keeps the truth out.

When you’re looking for it, it’s easy to browse through comment threads and see people genuinely celebrating their superior genius by finding the most pointless flaws in the text in question and tearing apart anyone who challenges their irrelevant position. It’s easy to see grammar Nazis do this. It’s harder to catch ourselves doing it, especially when we don’t type out our arguments in a comment thread to look back over and get feedback from others on. More often, we just read or hear something and quietly bury whatever nuggets of truth we could have learned under smug, short-sighted, self-serving complaints.

I’m not saying this to sound smug by putting down stupid people. I’m saying this to warn you that everyone, myself included, has an instinctive drive to do this, and no matter how vigilantly we watch ourselves for this destructive behavior, we all slip, and the consequences are twofold. First, by tearing down other people indiscriminately just so we can win an argument we actually reinforce our opponents’ incorrect perceptions since the only thing we’ll have taught our opponent is that people who think differently than them are jerks.

 

 

Not only do we stop other people from perceiving truth, we stop ourselves as well. Here’s a perfect example. I published blog about how borders are inhumane. A self-proclaimed Christian responded in a comment saying opening borders is like taking the hinges off the door to your house; you’re just inviting the scum of the earth to come in. I replied that Jesus would have taken the door off the hinges to his house and let anyone in. He rebutted that Jesus didn’t have a house. So I was wrong. That’s when I stopped responding and deleted the whole conversation; it was obvious he wasn’t interested in arriving at truth. He just wanted to win an argument.

Technically, you could say he did win, because he was right. Jesus, in fact, did not have a house of his own after he started his ministry, but by winning that pointless, irrelevant, distracting argument, my opponent missed any truth he could have gained from the conversation. Sure, I’m at fault for not articulating my point better, but that just goes back to what I said in the beginning of this essay. Life isn’t fair. The world isn’t going to gift wrap truth for you and give it to you with a spoon full of sugar. The water is murky, but your education is your responsibility. It’s up to you to read for truth.

On a societal level, it’s important for every author or speaker to present factual information in a clear and understandable manner for the benefit of the masses. On an individual level though, you’re not going to read many books twice, which means you only have one chance to learn something from them. If you waste the opportunity nit-picking grammatical errors and technical flaws, then you miss the opportunity to learn the more important lessons in the text. Sometimes you could read 100 pages of bullshit with only 10 lines of useful, enriching information. You win the reading game by finding those 10 lines that will make you a better person, not by finding 1000 reasons you’re smarter than the author.

Even if you read 90 pages of garbage, you can still learn something by figuring out what the author didn’t say or should have said. One of the most productive intellectual exercises you may ever perform is to read “The Satanic Bible” and “Mein Kampf” for the express purpose of finding one useful piece of information in each of them. Afterwards, look at everything else you read with the same stoic, purposeful objectivity as you did when you read those two books. When you read anything, always ask yourself what useful truth you can tweeze from the text for the purpose of enriching yourself, and anytime you feel compelled to argue with an author of a blog, book or even another person’s comment on a chat forum, ask yourself what you really have to gain by tearing them down, and ask yourself if you’re really doing it in the honest pursuit of mutually beneficial truth or if you’re just auto-rejecting for the purpose to subconsciously proving your intellectual superiority to yourself.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

The Meaning of Life
How to Think Like a Genius
Knowledge and Learning
Biker Philosophy
My Tweets About Philosophy 

It’s Not Cool To Be Stupid

I was riding on a city bus yesterday when I overheard a kid in the seat behind me brag to his friend proudly, “The only book I read is Facebook.” Those words will haunt me for the rest of my life, but I’m not surprised people think it’s cool to be stupid. Since the invention of television, children have grown up watching shows that portray stupid people as heroes. If you expose children under the age of 10 to stupid role models, they’ll take their icons’ behavior for granted and mimic them. Their brains will soak it up and build neural pathways around it. So it will shape their behavior in ways they don’t understand even if they try everything consciously possible to dis-incorporate the stupidity they’ve witnessed from their perception of reality:

If you told a child they couldn’t watch stupid television programming during the most impressionable age-range of their life because it will warp their minds as surely as watching hardcore pornography and violence, that wise little kid will ask you, “Then why do adults spend so much time and money going out of their way to create stupid television programming and try to stream it onto every screen in the world?” The shortest answer is that adults are stupid and thus unreliable.

Don’t believe the hype. It’s not cool to be stupid. It’s stupid to be stupid. It’s uncool to be stupid, and there’s a very practical reason why. The world is a mind-bogglingly complicated place to live, and it’s unforgiving. You get one shot to build a successful life, and it only takes one stupid mistake to ruin everything. The quality of your life depends on how well you understand the world and how well you solve the waves of problems that wash past you every day. The only tool you have to solve those problems and make the most of your life is your brain. Being stupid is being mentally crippled. Being smart is being mentally healthy and strong. So whatever benefit there is to looking cool by being stupid are far outweighed by the fact that it will ruin the rest of your life in more ways than you could ever comprehend.

 

 

I don’t need to pull out philosophical reasons to convince you it’s uncool to be stupid. This isn’t a concept you have to take on faith or work up the strength to live by. This is a warning. Stupidity is what makes life suck. The dumber you are, the less you’ll be able to cope with life, the more you’ll fail and the harder your life will be. The smarter you are, the more effortlessly you’ll waltz through more difficult problems for bigger rewards. Living a confused, helpless life isn’t cool. Living a brilliant, fulfilling life is cool.

But it’s not all about you. The world is a small place, and everyone’s problems rub off on the people around them. Your stupidity makes everyone’s life around you harder. Even when smart people do something stupid, it makes everyone’s lives around them harder. When you’re old enough you’re going to be put in some kind of position of authority over people younger than you. Then your stupidity will have the force of God in those young people’s lives. Stupidity affects everyone, and it’s like litter. When everyone litters a little bit it all adds up to a trashy country. When everyone celebrates littering, the whole country goes to hell in a handbasket. Then we leave a trashy country for the next generation to clean up when they could have been building a better world (on top of the better world we could have created instead of creating mountains of trash.

It’s not cool to be stupid. It’s tragic to be stupid. You’re worth more than that. Your neighbors deserve more from you, and humanity needs more from you. Don’t be stupid, and don’t let your friends be stupid. Stupid hurts everyone, especially stupid people.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

The Meaning of Life
How to Think Like a Genius
Knowledge and Learning
Biker Philosophy
My Tweets About Philosophy 

Why It’s Bad To Be Stupid (The Alphabits Analogy)

Picture of a box of "Alpha-Bits" cereal. On the box is a picture of letters made from compressed whole grain flour

 

Note: If you don’t know, Alphabits are an American breakfast cereal made of processed grain that’s been shaped to look like letters of the English alphabet.

Your brain is like a cereal bowl. Gaining knowledge is like pouring a little Alphabits cereal into the bowl. The more knowledge you gain, the more Alphabits you pour in. Once you’ve got those Alphabits in your bowl, they just sit there, but if you pick through the letters and look for patterns, you can spell words by stringing letters together. The fewer letters you have, the fewer words you can spell. The less of any certain kind of letter you have, the fewer words you can spell. So it’s not so important that you have any Alphabits of the letter “X,” but if you’re missing a lot of vowels, you won’t be able to make very many words.

The more letters you have, the more complete sentences you can make. If you have enough Alphabits you could write a novel, or a how-to-guide or something profoundly wise and useful. If you’ve only got enough letters to write one page, then you’ll only be able to write relatively simple things.

 

Picture of letter-blocks from the board game "Scrabble" spelling out the sentence, "Amazing things are about to happen."

 

In this analogy, the Alphabits represent pieces of knowledge, and the quantity of Alphabits in your bowl represents how much you know. The words you spell by stringing your Alphabits together represent the complex ideas you’ve learned/figured out in your life.

The fewer Alphabits you have in your bowl, the fewer ideas you can understand. This is profoundly important because the sum total of the ideas in your head are what make up your identity and your perspective of reality. What’s in your head is your reality. The less you know the less you are… and the less you can become because you can only string X-number of Alphabits together in so many combinations.

The number of Alphabits in your bowl, or the lack thereof, limits the number of ways you can express yourself as well. If you don’t have many Alphabits, then your interaction with life, the universe, and the world will be through simple grunts and truncated messages, because that’s the extent of your total life-repertoire. The more you fill your bowl and the more you study the pieces the more beautiful and useful words you can string together and write deeper, more meaningful paragraphs. Why grunt when you can sing a ballad?

It’s not a chore to fill your bowl with Alphabits or take the time to sift through them and sort them. Stringing those Alphabits together is how you lay the road to happiness. Every idea you understand and organize into your greater worldview brings you one step closer to having a relatively complete understanding of who, what, where, when and why you are enabling you to understand how to get to where you want to be.

 

 

If you don’t pour any Alphabits in your bowl, or take the time to string the letters together into any words other than what you heard on TV, then your life is basically forfeited. You had the chance to make whatever you wanted, and you just let your Alphabits sit there while you complained about the taste all the way through breakfast.

That’s not cool. That’s not honorable or mature. That’s a pathetic tragedy. Stupidity is a pathetic tragedy. And yes, that makes stupid people a pathetic tragedy, but the call to action isn’t to sneer at stupid people. Stupidity is the consequence of stupidity. If you were born and raised with X-number of Alphabits in your bowl, and the people who served you breakfast never gave you more, and discouraged you from asking for more, and taught you it was wrong to “play with your food,” then how could you be anything other than a product of your environment?

If your parents didn’t spell it out for you as a child, someone’s spelling it out for you now. Your Alphabits are your responsibility. Fill your bowl, and study what’s in it, because when you die, what’s left on the table will be the product of your existence. I don’t know if we’ll be judged after death based on what we left on the table. I don’t know if there will be any consequences for anything we succeed or fail at in life, but I do know that while we’re here, what we do is what we experience. It’s what we have to look back on for the rest of our lives and what determines what we’re capable of doing/experiencing for the rest of the time we have left to live. So it matters here and now what you’ve done with your Alphabits. If your life sucks, and you want it to be better, I guarantee you that if there’s a solution to your problems then the way to find it much less use it is to either get more Alphabits in your bowl or study the ones you’ve got closer, and figure out what combination you missed.

So it matters here and now what you’ve done with your Alphabits. If your life sucks, and you want it to be better, I guarantee that if there’s a solution to your problem, then the way to find and use it, is to either get more Alphabits in your bowl or study the ones you’ve got closer and figure out what combination you missed.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

The Meaning of Life
How to Think Like a Genius
Knowledge and Learning
Biker Philosophy
My Tweets About Philosophy 

Tweets by The Wise Sloth #13: Knowledge and Wisdom

Cartoon image of a sloth sitting on a mountain top. He is wearing a yellow robe. His head is bowed with his eyes shut, and beams of light shine from around his head. With his left arm, he is holding one finger in the air. Above him are the words, "Tweets by The Wise Sloth."

If you’re not reading or listening to new knowledge daily, then don’t expect yourself to become much less idiotic.

The dullest pencil has a better memory than the sharpest mind.

Knowledge is memorizing a road map of Europe. Wisdom is being able to find the easiest route to Amsterdam.

The less you aspire to learn, the less you will become.

Every individual human’s quality of life is directly tied to the total number of humans who are in a lifelong quest for truth and knowledge.

A day you don’t teach yourself knowledge that helps you achieve your ultimate goal, is a day wasted.

Don’t die without having told as many people as possible the most important knowledge you learned in your life.

The more time you spend learning about pop trivia, the less time you have to learn about the world’s real problems, and thus, the less useful you are.

Knowledge is knowing the right answers. Wisdom is asking the right questions.

Knowledge is just retaining rote facts. Wisdom is finding/deducing rote facts that help you accomplish the most important goal in life.

A man is knowledgeable if he can recite the answers to many questions, but he is a fool if he can’t answer the most important questions.

A wise man asks himself what the most important questions are, and then tries to solve them.

The more you ask yourself what’s most important in life, the better you’ll understand that and live accordingly.

“What’s important in life?” you ask. Well, keep asking yourself that for the rest of your life, and hope your answer isn’t totally wrong.

Wisdom is too important to wait for it to fall into your lap. Not constantly seeking/collecting it is how you stay an idiot your whole life.

Don’t ask why some people have so much figured out. Ask yourself what you’ve been doing that’s more important than getting life figured out.

I’m not saying, “Don’t challenge other people’s beliefs,” but you’d improve the world more by challenging your own beliefs.

All of tomorrow’s geniuses are stubborn idiots today.

 

If you enjoyed these Tweets, you’ll also like these:

My Tweets About Self-Help
My Tweets About Romance
My Tweets About Religion
My Tweets About Politics
My Tweets About Economics
My Tweets About Pop Culture

Ten Ways People Get Dumber As They Get Older

Renaissance painting of a fool or jester sitting in a chair looking forlorn.

 

1. We stop going to school.

While in school you have knowledge crammed into your head for 4-8 hours per day. After graduation, most people just stop reading altogether because they have no motivation to teach themselves new information. Most people resented and resisted the knowledge were taught when they were in school. So after graduation, they’re more than happy to plop down in front of the TV for the next 60 years and let their mind turn to mush and forget everything they did learn in school.

 

2. Even if every adult wanted to learn, a lot of them are too busy.

Between working 8-12 hours a day, cultivating (or enduring) a marriage, raising children and doing household chores most people don’t have the spare time or energy to learn new things.  There’s not much you can do about this, but even though there’s a good excuse for it the fact remains…most people don’t learn much after graduation.

 

3. We assume the education we did receive proves we know everything (or at least as much as we need to know).

In theory, this shouldn’t be true. You’d think that people who went to 4-8 years of college would have a lifelong passion for learning, but the more people with higher education degrees you meet the more you’ll find out this generally isn’t the case. Instead, the higher of a degree they’ve earned the more conceited they are about how much they know. The more conceited they are the less motivation they have to learn more. So they spend the rest of their lives congratulating themselves for their past educational accomplishments and cease achieving new educational accomplishments while forgetting most of what they had learned that they’re so proud of.

 

4. We give up.

When we’re young we tend to be enthusiastic, hungry idealists. The world is a big, open sky to us. Every adult felt like that when they were younger, but then they got out into the real world and found out nobody gives a crap about you. You’re not a snowflake. You’re a number, and you’re expendable. Nobody really wants you to think outside the box. They want you to shut up and follow their orders.

Someday you may come to the realization that idealism is cute in cartoons, but in the real world the responsible thing to do, the adult thing to do, is to get a job you don’t necessarily take any joy from and work hard day-in and day-out for 60 years without a single complaint.

When the light goes out in your eyes and your life downshifts into autopilot you don’t think of brilliant things. You lose the motivation to explore. You just fade out. You call it “responsibility,” but your willful celebration of slavery defeats the purpose of existing in the first place, and it makes the world a duller place.

 

5. We come to believe that the rank makes the man.

The purest example of this is military officers. Aside from politicians, no group of people in the world are more delusional about their self-worth than military officers. Why do they think they’re so great? Because they have an arbitrary, man-made rank that tells them they’re God. And once you’re God you believe you can do no wrong. So you don’t listen to anything you don’t want to hear, and you have no motivation to improve yourself since there’s nowhere to go once you’ve reached the top. This is as true in the civilian sector as it is in the military. Give people an important title and tell them they’re important and they’ll become delusional idiots.

 

6. We assume the mere fact that we’re older makes us wiser.

Adults think kids are dumb shits. Adults don’t try to talk sense to kids because they know every kid is so naive they’re practically, certifiably insane. Being an adult surrounded by children is like being a one-eyed man in the land of the blind. You have more clarity and hindsight than them. True as that may be, it tends to go to adults’ heads. Even if adults are smarter than children that doesn’t make them a higher form of life. And the only reason adults are smarter than children is because they were born first. Whoopdy doo. You don’t get an award for that. If you think being born before someone else makes you better than them then you’re not as smart as you think.

 

7. Similar to #6 is that we tend to assume that getting married, having kids, and working at a job makes us wiser.

Again, yes, you do learn a lot about life by experiencing these trials. But those lessons are on par for what you should learn in life. Great. You can do what you’re supposed to. That’s not going above and beyond the limits. Assuming doing the bare minimum in life makes you an expert on life is foolish and shows how little you know about life. More importantly, it causes you to stop pushing yourself to learn more than the bare minimum.

 

8. We’ve had more time to convince ourselves of our beliefs.

Childhood is defined by our quest to understand ourselves, the world around us, why we’re here and what we’re supposed to do now that we’re here. By the end of childhood, we’ve amassed a head full of answers and explanations, and a lot of those answers are wrong. Even if they were all right, our understanding of life would still be incomplete. But people get the answers they’re comfortable with and repeat those answers to themselves over and over again until they can’t see anything else outside their tiny misshapen reality. Then they spend the rest of their life defending their answers and becoming more close-minded. After we’ve spent 50 years telling ourselves the same thing over and over again, we would have to erase part of our identity to admit that we’re wrong about our cherished beliefs. There’s a reason we have the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

 

9. Similar to #8 is that we’ve had more time to surround ourselves with sources that confirm our biases.

We make friends who believe the same things we do. We watch television shows that are slanted to our point of view. We read news sources that cater to the spin we want to hear. The few nonfiction books that the average person reads are written by authors who just tell their audience what they want to hear. After a lifetime of confirmation bias we inevitably convince ourselves with concrete certainty we’re the good guys and anyone who disagrees with us are the bad guys.

 

10. We’ve invested our pride and our very identity in our tiny reality.

Growth requires change, but in order for adults to change they have to admit that their tiny worldview is either wrong or incomplete. Pride alone won’t let them do this, and even if they were willing to lay their pride aside- their identity is their reality, and their reality is their identity. Changing would be tantamount to suicide, and even though it would benefit them more in the long run, most people are too afraid to walk through the darkness to reach the light. They would rather live with a comfortable lie.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

The Meaning of Life
How to Think Like a Genius
Knowledge and Learning
Biker Philosophy
My Tweets About Philosophy 

Every grain of knowledge is valuable. Every grain of ignorance is destructive.

On the surface, it would seem there’s nothing wrong with being a little stupid or a little ditsy, but this belief is unequivocally false. It’s not okay to be a little stupid. At the same time, actively being stupid is just as bad as passively neglecting to dedicate your life to mental and personal growth.

Every action has its consequences. The consequences of the little stupid thoughts you allow yourself to think, and the consequences of the little smart things you fail to, are like tiny grains of sand. In and of themselves, they may not seem like much, but over the course of your life they add up into a giant dune. Imagine how heavy that dune would be if it were all resting on one end of a scale. Now imagine the other end of the scale where the smart grains go. If you haven’t dedicated your life to vigilantly combating your own ignorance and striving to improve your mind, then how many intelligent grains of sand do you think you’ll have to weigh against the ignorant ones?

Unfortunately, this is more than just a cute hypothetical question. Imagine taking all the little, seemingly innocuous stupid things you’ve done and smart things you’ve failed to do through the course of your entire life, and ask yourself honestly, “What are the cumulative, real-world consequences?

Ultimately, the consequence is you failed to fulfill your potential. You took your one shot at life, the most precious and sacred thing in the universe, and wasted it. And on what? You had the chance to live a life more brilliant and divine than the night sky and you squandered it watching reality TV and cat videos, listening to rap music that glorifies hurting other people, and gossiping about celebrities whose importance you know is a lie. Drug addicts live life more spectacularly than that. At least they know you’re supposed to feel something. But you, your life was completely in vain because you thought that floating just around the status quo was good enough and you didn’t have any responsibility to put any real effort into fulfilling your potential.

Now let’s take this a step further. Imagine if everybody in your society took their person ignorance/intelligence scales and dumped their sands onto one huge scale. Would your society’s scale be heavier on the ignorant side or heavier on the intelligent side? I know for sure my society’s scale would lean to the ignorant side. And what do you think the consequences of that much stupidity would be? Mind you, the consequences of one person snuffing out their own spark of divinity is as bad as an entire universe disappearing. How much worse would it be for the majority of an entire society to do that? And what would happen to that society?

Extinction. That’s what would happen to that society. Or at least, the consequences of their ignorance would set in motion the cause and effect chain of events leading in the direction of extinction. And at some point, the momentum of those consequences would pass the tipping point, the point of no return.

Look at who you are. Look at what you think and what you do. Look at the society you live in and ask yourself honestly, where is all this going?

If you ask me, I don’t think anyone could shovel enough sand off society’s scale to tip it back to the side of intelligence. I think the world is beyond saving. I think it’s just time to buy a bunker, a rainwater collector, some back issues of Playboy and a ton of MREs.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

The Meaning of Life
How to Think Like a Genius
Knowledge and Learning
Biker Philosophy
My Tweets About Philosophy 

 


The Importance Of Intellectual Standards

Universal Intellectual Standers: Clarity, Accuracy, Precision, Relevance, Depth, Breadth, Logic, Significance, Fairness

The fact that the world’s intellectual standards have dropped so low means that this is a concept people are somehow either unaware of or not taking seriously enough.

You are your life, and your life is who you are. What you experience is who you are. What you see, hear, feel, smell, taste, say, believe, think, remember, etc. is who you are. The quality of who you are equates into the quality of your life…and visa versa.

This is why it’s important to have intellectual standards. We all make excuses for the stupid things we do, say, watch, listen to, think, believe, etc. Whatever excuses we use they all point towards the same conclusions: that it’s harmless or even good to lower our standards, even if just for a little while. But it’s not okay. There are real world consequences for exposing yourself to and partaking in mindless, low brow anti-intellectualism.

Even without getting into macro-sociological ripples the consequences are personal and immediate. When you watch a stupid television show like the Super Bowl, you’re lowering your quality of life immediately and irrevocably. I know it may seem fun, but so does crack-cocaine. Would you be right to justify crack-cocaine use because it’s fun? No. So why would you justify watching American Idol because it’s fun? They have the same consequences.

You can’t even use the excuse that they’re different because crack-cocaine will kill you. When you binge on stupidity and mindlessness it builds up in your system. Then, before you know it you’re riding a four wheeler around a construction site drunk shouting to your friends, “Hey man, watch this shit!” Next thing you know you’re winning a Darwin Award.

But even without getting that dramatic, think about this. You have one life to live, and it’s a short one. Life is infinitely valuable. We need to make the most of it to honor our creator (if you believe in a creator) or otherwise just for our own personal sake. If you spend your whole life watching dumb ass television and reading gossip magazines what have you really done with your life? You’ve wasted it and mocked it just as surely as killing yourself as a teenager.

Wallowing in the joys of low intellectual standards may seem fun at the time, but life is better than that. Life has more to offer, and if you take it up on that offer you’ll become a better person, and immediately you’ll live a more enjoyable and more meaningful life.

So don’t waste your time justifying low intellectual standards to your self, and certainly don’t push them on others. Because what you’re really doing is justifying a life less lived.

If you liked this post, you may like these:


%d bloggers like this: