External Awareness

  • Take the Good and the Bad
    • The world has beauty, and ugliness.  You must accept both.  Can you handle the truth? Yes, yes you can, and you must–ignorance begins as bliss but quickly turns into delusion.
  • Capitalism
    • Not the whole picture: There are two contrasting realities that I label business and personal.  Capitalism reigns in business, humanity reigns in personal.  I could buy an apple from the market, or I can get one from my family or friends for free–the private market.
    • You only have to follow capitalism when it’s business, and it is your choice whether to treat your life as all business with no personal, or to try and maximize personal and minimize business.
    • Capitalism is like a religion that worships money.  Unfortunately, it is a religion you must participate in if you are in a capitalist society.
    • Everything has a price tag in life: Freedom is not a guaranteed right, it is purchased with money and power. It can be taken away if someone else overpowers you.  This is not meant to scare you, just to warn you so you can take precautions.  (Evidence: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/03/my-life-as-a-retail-worker-nasty-brutish-and-poor/284332/)
  • Entitlement and Deserve
    • What does it mean to deserve each other, deserve better, etc.?  People answered these questions arbitrary based on thin air: there is no objective logical basis for making judgments, only subjective.
      • Respect is not demanded, it is given.  Realize most transactions are “giving” transactions–power is a “taking” transaction.
      • The truth is, you don’t deserve anything.  Either it’s given, or it’s taken, those are the only true descriptors of transactions.
      • just because you had a bad childhood, doesn’t mean you get pity–everyone has struggles. Different, but still.
    • Deserve is a concept created by human society–it only exists if we let it. Deserve must be enforced by a power.  Contracts are enforced by government law; the law by police officers, your social interactions by your peers.  When you jump, you only deserve to fall because gravity is strong–if it was weak, you wouldn’t “deserve” to fall.  Some things operate based on power, some things outside.
      • Do you deserve happiness, fairness, equality? The truth is good things or bad things happen, that’s it–you didn’t “deserve” it objectively, that idea is human created.
      • Ex. some parents feel entitled to children’s success, like they deserve the fruits of labor.  False on its own. Only with power, acquired through contracts or social pressure, can it be true.
      • Just because you want something, doesn’t mean it’s owed to you or that’s justification for you to deserve it: cope and deal with the fact that “want” does nothing without an action it translates into.
      • Example: Dating.  Just because you want someone to like you, doesn’t mean they will
    • Not getting what you “deserve” feels like an injustice.  However, you again must question the strength of your concept of deserving something. “I think I’m ___ so people should treat me like I’m ___” is not going to work: you can’t control (unless you have power) how the world judges and thinks about you. Even then, you are limited to external reality.  (attemptedliving.com/2014/01/31/properties-of-reality/)
    • There is an important misunderstanding about the promise of opportunity and progress and social mobility within the US.  The contract is an existence argument: that it is POSSIBLE for someone to make it to the top.  It does not say ANYTHIng about the distribution of such possibilities and opportunities.  At present, it is for 1%, or 10%: which is non-zero, so America is living up to its promise.  #RichPoorDebate
    • Unfairness
    • If you didn’t get what you “deserve,” maybe there was a detail you missed or you don’t fully understand the context of the situation.
      • I thought the world didn’t give me what I deserved in terms of acceptance, but looking back I did a bad job earning it so it’s not like I made it any easier for the world to make the right decision–I presented myself poorly, didn’t prepare for interviews, apps, etc.
      • Life is not unfair, but often times it might be fair, and you just didn’t understand the context, time and place.
      • If no-one tells you that fire burns, and you touch fire and burn yourself, is life unfair?  No, you just lacked the knowledge to make the right decision at that time.  If you think a pan is cold and you pick it up and burn yourself, is life unfair? No, you just didn’t check the temperature of the pan before picking it up.
    • Unfairness is usually experienced from the perspective of the victim, who typically imagines the instigator as having malicious intent.  It is important to realize that Parenting, Doctoring, Leading, are very difficult jobs: In understanding the difficulty behind making decisions, can you attain the understanding to accept unfairness and achieve peace.
    • Unfairness is a necessary part of life.  Proof: Friends.  If someone treats everyone they know perfectly equally, it would be a lie: charitable friendship isn’t genuine, and everyone has preferences.
    • Compensation
      • Face it, when you’re starting out at the bottom, you will almost never be paid what you are worth: you must give more than you receive to have a change of getting paid well.  (this breaks down at the top levels, when it is about abusing the system to maximize your pay)
  • Ranking
    • Everyone has a different ranking system.  Every country, society, culture, organization, discipline, etc., has a different ranking system.  Ultimately, there is no objective ranking system: it’s always a reflection of a certain group’s perception of reality.
    • As for you, you will be mainly influenced by the ranking systems of your 5 closest friends, and those with the power to impose their ranking on you. However, at the end of the day, you make the final say on whether you accept those influences or not.  It is important to know who you are and where you stand in order to weather such influences.
    • Every rank is relative, and as such you should learn to control and manage how you deal with ranking so that you can stay calm instead of overreacting.  The solution is to not attribute value to rank.  Don’t compare, just focus on yourself.  However this is hard, as society and economics promote competition and comparing.
    • If you do compare, be fair to yourself: if you’ve done something for 4 years, it’s not fair to judge yourself to the standard of a 50 year old experienced world class master.  Compare yourself to yourself, and be reasonable in your comparisons.
    • Dangers of getting over-influenced by external rankings: Our value systems get screwed up when we see others, because then we start to compare ranks, which ruins the enjoyment and pleasure of what we have.
      • For example, I thought what my wife/husband did for me was wonderful, until I found out that someone else did something better.  The knowledge that someone else did something better makes me feel like my wife/husband isn’t as good as that other one who did the better thing.
      • Tiger Woods: Standards for Dating.  Tiger gets caught having mistresses.  For couples everyone (credit Craig Ferguson), guys could now say, to get out of trouble, “Oh I’m sorry I forgot to take out the trash, I was too busy not cheating on you.”  This would ONLY work as an acceptable excuse if people judged their partner based on their objective rank within the grand scheme of society, or even just against other people they knew.  This is not the purpose of love: you should judge the person based on your own view of that person: you accept them or you don’t, work it out or you don’t.  It’s not a competition or comparison with other people.  Imagine if there was a running life rank of how great a husband or wife you were, would you let that rank dictate how much you should love your partner? I hope not.
      • Or, I thought I was wealthy, until I met someone more wealthy. I thought I was good, until I met someone better.
      • On the radio one day, they gave a list of the top 5 burger joins in America.  In-N-Out won, Five Guys was second, followed by 3 other obscure sounding ones.  I realized this result is probably biased based on population: In-N-Out won because In-N-Out is located in a more densely populated area (California) than the other ones are (in the middle of America).  This got me thinking: whenever I used to see a “best of” list, I usually took it as a definition of an objective “best” for everyone.  But now I realize that this isn’t the case because you should only care about what is best in your own peer group, or best to your own life.  Why judge your own life based on the standards of society and a group of people you don’t even know?  If I live in texas, then to me, the nearby winner truly is the best burger joint within my reality–why should I care about or acknowledge the idea that In-N-Out, a burger chain hundreds of miles away eaten by people I don’t even know, is a better burger joint than mine–why should I let that idea infringe upon my happiness?
      • When you see poor in Africa, do you compare yourself to them and ask: why aren’t you like that? Why do you do it with celebrities? Technology allows us the fascinating look into the lives of others, people whose lives are astonishingly different from yours.  But don’t forget: those lives, while on Earth, are lives completely separate from yours: Live your own life, don’t get lost in other people’s lives and become disillusioned about reality.
  • People lie
    • Not everything you believe now is true: you don’t know what you think you know.  Make sure you prove everything for yourself.  Only take someone else’s word when you trust that person, and always re-validate it with others.  Fact check all the things!
  • Consequences
    • Years of learning how to skirt the law has made me feel as though nothing has consequences.  However, through introspection, I have learned that it was only a lack of self awareness: I may have dodged the consequences I focused on (punishment by those in power), but I failed to notice that I was damaging my personal life without knowing it (rebellion hurting me more than anything; disregarding curfew meant I got home late, failed to take good care of myself and my responsibilities)

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