Leo Igwe over at Culture Kitchen has an interesting post about the human condition and why we are the way we are, in an African context. An excerpt:
The Nigerian author, Ben Okri in his book, A Way of Being Free, said, “There are many ways to die, and not all of them have to do with extinction. A lot of them have to do with living. Living many lies . Living without asking questions. Living in the cave of your own prejudices. Living the life imposed on you, the dreams and codes of your ancestors”
Life boils down to choices. Whether informed or uninformed, with foresight or hindsight, the choices you make determine what kind of life you lead. It is important however that you make the choices and not let the choices make you! This is slightly paradoxical but what I am getting at is a desire for lifelong agility of mind. The ability to absorb new ideas, new perspectives and change when I encounter something “better”. This is the only way to be free, truly free. Like the axolotl which remains in its larval stage forever, I want my brain to be 18 till I die!
I watched this interesting and thought provoking talk by Tyler Cowen recently and came to some conclusions about myself.
1. I am highly influenced by stories – I bought an iMac 🙂 – but it is ok to be so 😉
2. I think I am agnostic about a lot of issues and comfortable with it.
3. I don’t think I am dogmatic about too many things (tell me if I am!)
4. I promise to be a little more messy!
A major life decision has been made. Plans are afoot to break free of cubicle nation and go where the heart desires (the list is long!). As a friend aptly put it, “There is a premium on your youth, don’t piss it away”. Of course, some might say aimless wandering is precisely pissing it away, but I think not.
And what do I purport to gain from said rebellion? Perspective – that much bandied about (by me) term but I value it. Hark, I have spoken about this in the past!
It is time to put dreams and thoughts into action. What experiences shall I partake of, what beauty shall I seek? It feels like the world is a smorgasbord and I am the lone diner. Should I sample various fares, or should I satiate myself with really digging into a small number of dishes. I think I’ll pick the latter for now. Pick two or three experiences that I think will help me grow, and dive right in.
I have applied to be a volunteer in Tanzania or Ghana. Post that I intend to live on a farm in New Zealand. Next I’d like to learn Spanish, so probably some time in a Spanish speaking country – again the choices are many – Argentina is top of the charts right now! So much to do, so little time.
Thankfully, this is one smorgasbord where the food outlasts you!
Life is an acquired taste.
There are times when it is unpalatable. Just suck it up, and learn to enjoy it. Eventually you (me) acquire a taste for it. Like single malt Scotch whisky, perhaps?
Uisge beatha, n: Gaelic
Water of Life.The original name given to that Golden nectar by the Celts Of Scotland, also known as whisky, never whiskey.
I have been following Chris Guillebeau’s blog – ‘The art of non conformity’ – for a while now.
Here is a guy who quit his business and decided to travel the world and write about his experiences while doing it. Just another backpacker you might think, but wait – Chris makes almost 50,000$ a year! By his own admission, he spends 90% of his time doing things that he wants to do and 10% of his time doing things to make money. My kind of life!
I am increasingly convinced that I must be self-employed. 9 to 6 is not going to cut it for me. There is too much to see, learn and experience in this world to spend half my day at a cubicle.
I am going to spend the next few months actively contemplating this question. I am not going to wait for the next big idea, instead I am going to focus on doing small things that teach me what I am capable of doing. The big idea is (hopefully!) just a small idea that makes it big!
There is no utopia, no paradise, just a desire to wander. As a wise old man once said:
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
So, what is honesty after all.
A promise to be true to oneself?
Or, to be truthful with others?
What is being true to oneself, after all.
Ensuring that your mental model of reality is a good one? Ensuring that you have not told yourself a different story than the one you perceived? Ensuring that your sensory inputs are stronger than your imagination? Ensuring that your memory of your sensory inputs is stronger than your imagination and your utopian memory?
What is being truthful with others, after all.
Being true to oneself, and,
Ensuring that you “communicate” your mental model of reality?
Is being truthful with others implicitly tied to your ability to communicate (Ashwatthama is dead)? Isn’t language a contract? Doesn’t the contract assume honesty thus making the definition circular?
As a corollary, can a deaf, mute and blind man be honest? Does a deaf, mute and blind man think about dishonesty and honesty?! What mental model of the world does he have? Will we ever know?
Why should I let the toad work
Squat on my life?
Can’t I use my wit as a pitchfork
And drive the brute off?
Six days of the week it soils
With its sickening poison –
Just for paying a few bills!
That’s out of proportion.
Lots of folk live on their wits:
Losers, loblolly-men, louts-
They don’t end as paupers;
Lots of folk live up lanes
With fires in a bucket,
Eat windfalls and tinned sardines-
They seem to like it.
Their nippers have got bare feet,
Their unspeakable wives
Are skinny as whippets – and yet
No one actually _starves_.
Ah, were I courageous enough
To shout, Stuff your pension!
But I know, all too well, that’s the stuff
That dreams are made on:
For something sufficiently toad-like
Squats in me, too;
Its hunkers are heavy as hard luck,
And cold as snow,
And will never allow me to blarney
My way of getting
The fame and the girl and the money
All at one sitting.
I don’t say, one bodies the other
One’s spiritual truth;
But I do say it’s hard to lose either,
When you have both.