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Thursday, 15 December 2016

Reading and the source of knowledge

I get a lot of reactions to my impetus to reading.

It ranges from admiration to “booorinng”, “time waste”, the “that’s why he talks and acts like a psycho” look and of course accusations of just being a pretentious bragg. Frankly they all would get to me in the initially days and still do to some extent and I start presenting my case by shoving blocks of text on pages into people’s faces and begging and pleading them to just give it a read and tell me what think about it, and fucking believe me—IT. NEVER. FUCKING. WORKS.

Now at the time of writing this I can recall upto 3-4 instances of this method not working, and that too with people closest to me. Family and friends* if you will.

It’s never been a huge amount either, just small snippets I’d present to them to just get some thinking and discussion going about how amazing and beneficial that piece of info could be to know in life and could be put to use. Today I would argue that the biggest benefit is that it would help one unplug from the matrix. Little doses of TheRedPill if you will.

A famous quote (or maybe only I thought it famous because I can’t seem to find it now )says

“reading a book is a great risk, for you don’t know how many illusions of yours it’ll shatter”

This was roughly the message of the quote.

It amazes me how true it’s been in my experiences in discussions about reading. Especially from the “that’s why he talks and acts like a psycho” crowd. In fact in any intellectual deadlock the closest people to me have thrown the “oh did one of your books say this?” comeback to me as if somehow the fact that it indeed is from a book negates the truth or the value of the point I made.

When you read that statement repatedly, you’ll see that the actual objection isn’t to the fact that the point comes from a book but from the fact that it doesn’t come from my own head. Reflect on that for a sec and you see that what I am being accused of is some form of cheating or in fact foolishness of considering some guy’s opinion but not my own which then branches into the fact that knowledge(any points I made in the argument) is suppose to come from my “own” head to be a valid point and not from any external sources.

I don’t know how well I am making the point but the following exchange I was a part of once in college comes to mind which serves as an eg:

DC: So tell me what is the GRE? Do you even know it?
DD: Graduate Record Examination.
DC: Ohh fuck off! You googled it! You googled it! you didn’t know it yesterday.
Me: So what? Is he suppose to just dream stuff up? The knowledge has to come from somewhere.
it then kind of ended in me and DD agreeing and laughing about it.

Again the accusation that knowledge has to come from your own mind and not from “outside”.  But how is one supposed to know something without getting it from somewhere?

And the final blow was when somone told me in all his fucking wisdom that

if you just think about it for 20mins, you’d realise you already know everything in those books


But then I got to thinking about it, and now have some theories, human societies make it a point to bring up children with an pre-programmed package of “you already know that”. This is a form of “no one knows why but it is so and if you ask about it you are stupid”. Now you have the fear of being tagged “stupid” and you stop questioning things. They draw a line in cultural and intellectual discourse and crossing it makes you “a weirdo”, “kinda retarded” etc. And the social of pressure of being labelled a idiot and being isolated out of the group keeps us in line. For e.g. consider platitude like the “never ask a woman’s age” meme. The simple reality of it is women can’t have such a direct and overt estimation of their SMV.

Unfortunately a lot of people have taken it farther than just not questioning a few memes like these but have discarded the whole pursuit of knowing anything at all not already signed by the current pop cultural trend. Because of which only the “famous” stuff gets read. Anything little of the line gets the raised eyebrows look.

Society applies this dynamic to only the personal side of a human life. No one ever gives you a weird look when you are discussing sciences and programming. No one has a problem when you refer to those “better than you” in those fields. In fact it is expected that the knowledge should come from somewhere out of you and from a better more experienced place.

But consider the areas of relationships and confidence. Even mentioning to anyone that you are reading a book on one these is supposed to be funny somehow. They act surprise as if they already have a Phd on the subject and thought you did too. Do note here that their conviction here is not fake but comes from the “you already know it” seed which society puts in us and now probably has nurtured it to a grown creeper. Their advice at the end of it is “just be yourself” which is nothing more but a nice and powerful slogan for the same “you already got this”.

A huge reason for society to bring us up with this notion of already “being enough” is we as a collective do not really want a huge number of us looking to “change things” too quickly, because then the chance of fucking it all up and getting 20 million people killed is a possiblity.

Hence the trick to keep you satisfied where you are so you don’t fuck the place up.

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