millions of little bounded diaries

I was at Monk library yesterday because I had to pick up a book. As I started walking up Devonshire St. towards St. George station I looked to my left and I saw Robarts Library: massive, just massive. I looked through the stone and cement and could see all the books that were inside. I began thinking about how many books there are…

…millions of these little bounded diaries.

I mean, that’s all they really are: personal thoughts and ideas that the author decided were worth sharing. Even the “factual” books are really just the latest/most updated thoughts and ideas. There will be a second edition, then a third edition, then the publisher will decide to opt out of the fourth edition and start from scratch.

For that book on socialism there is one on capitalism just a few feet to the right. And for every book on Christianity there is one on atheism and for every book on THIS there is a book on THAT.

Conflicting voices and ideas marinate in the nest of your head.

You read one book about X and then you read another book about X from a different position and you’re left to decide, which one is right. But you know that it’s not which one is Right, it’s rather, which one is right for you… because as smart as you are, you know there is someone just as smart as you that has decided to direct his/her life around the opposite position.

So, after a couple decades of learning that there are millions of these little bounded diaries, millions of opinions and views, you decide that the only logical thing to do is to leave them all on the bookshelf and turn to your own diary, your own opinions, your own “untainted” views, because when it comes to directing your life, who better than you…

You’ll still pick-up a book, a great book, about whatever, cooking meals in under 4 minutes, enhancing your sex-life, working only 4-hours a week, the grand design, the truth about loneliness, whatever… You’ll read it and it’ll change how you think for a few hours and it may even influence one or two of your personal decisions that day, but that’s it!

In a week you’ll move on because status updates and tweets change every second and you need something new to report… the same old message won’t get many “likes”. It’s important for you to change because change means empowered and empowered means liberated and liberated means, God only knows…

And so on your journey to become a self-empowered, free-thinking individual you’ve ended up becoming a self-empowered and free-thinking individual… and now that we are all self-empowered and free-thinking individuals, we’re finding out that we’re in one Hell of a mess.

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Categories: culture, Existential Ideas

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7 Comments on “millions of little bounded diaries”

  1. faysal
    January 21, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    Definitely worth the wait.

  2. Vince
    January 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    Hey Mikey.

    I just read this entire post out loud to Joel before his workout.

    My philosophy has always been: Keep what works, drop what doesn’t. Once people understand they have to learn from DOING, not by reading or talking about it, true LEARNING… aka. behaviour change, begins to occur. I’m going to share your brave and insightful posts with my 5002 facebook friends and get you a few “Likes” because people will like your wisdom!

    Your big bro
    Vince

  3. FitnessMotivator
    January 21, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    Very insightful post! I especially like your conclusion, since the more we learn, the more we realise that we don’t have a clue… I also like your idea of finding what’s right for you. After all no-one can say what’s right since we have no idea of which perspective to judge from.

    Thanks for the short but good read 🙂

  4. Anders
    January 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    Well said.. I find it very interesting that instead of reading other peoles thoughts, as if they should be better, but instead you might as well write your own brilliant thoughts down.. hmmm thinking on.. But i guess one of the reasons for writing might be in the hope of other people to enjoy it, and maybe to learn something, or just to get a different perspective on the world – so if nobody read other peoples’ writing, then the world would have become merely a home for a bunch of self-empowered and free-thinking individuals in complete lack acknowledging that other people might have interessting thougts worth experiencing, and that it might enrich ones own mind…

    Interesting thought-experiment 🙂

  5. January 21, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

    The whole point is simple: we need a ground to walk on. Doesn’t matter what it is but we need something sturdy, something that directs us in our decision-making, something that can help us deal with This and with That and Everything else. Could be a political system, a particular religion, a girlfriend, whatever… but it needs to be true for you! It needs to be able to endure Everything and Anything… more tomorrow and the next day and the day after that…

    • Oscar
      January 23, 2011 at 2:10 am #

      Though I do appreciate your thoughtful discussion on the abundance of human opinion, I think to a certain degree you’ve missed the forest for the trees.

      Advocating the notion that all people need is to follow what is right for them is at its root, the biggest problem with society. Baseless confidence in an opinion formed from the ether does not make it true.

      This is nothing more than a lack of ability to think logically, or evaluate reality.

      In fact, your message is exactly why many religious atrocities continue to thrive, by removing the option of a truth and depending on “feeling”.

      Terrorist “feel” what is right for them is to sacrifice their lives to kill others. That, is what is true for them.

      Not accepting truth is what allows evil to continue.

      The vatican has willfully allowed the sexual assault of children for decades (if not centuries), advocated the persecution of the gay and lesbian community, and subverted the role of women… all as its followers continue to donate to their parishes, and defend their beliefs because….”it feels right for them.”

      Yet unfortunatley, the volume of the collective voice of the people, those who strive within the ignorance of their baseless justification… easily drown out the sound of the victims claimed by reality.

      People take refuge in a political ideology, or a particular religion, or even in a girlfriend (they can also be dangerous, lol), simply because the alternative… thinking and acting as an individual, is notably frowned upon.

      If you’re interested in a very provocative, and more informed opinion (than you or I) check out this article…

      http://www.edge.org/q2011/q11_12.html#harriss

      I hope you don’t mind my disagreement. I do respect the fact that you are writing, and writing boldly. Just never forget… never believe so boldly in an opinion, or ideology, because if you do indeed evaluate your beliefs honestly one-day; many of them are sure to fall to reason.

      But I do wholeheartedly agree, that we are definitely all, in one hell of a mess. Keep thinking…

      • January 23, 2011 at 6:34 am #

        Thanks for writing.

        But try telling the Vatican that they are “wrong” or the terrorists that what they are doing is evil: they don’t view it as evil.

        In my experience, speaking rarely facilitates behavioral change when it comes to matters of ethics, religion and metaphysics. Why? Because we all believe we’re right… the only way we can change (I mean really change) is by experiencing a different form of life and being subjectively convicted that how we live needs to be altered.

        When it comes to matters of ethics and religion I think Wittgenstein said it best, “That which we cannot speak of, we must pass over in silence.” This doesn’t mean we can’t engage with different people who have different beliefs, but it means we must engage in silence… in humble action and honest pursuit.

        More activists and less bloggers… actions speak louder than blogs. 🙂

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