rePHILed

Month: August, 2015

My Intellectual Heroes

As a kick-start to my writing routine again, I think it is only apt to jot down some of my intellectual heroes, and a line or two to summarise the largest takeaway, who have shaped my thinking.

  1. Richard Dawkins- Evolution is real
  2. Neil deGrasse Tyson- We are small in the universe
  3. Sam Harris- Question everything
  4. Alan Watts- Be in the moment
  5. Steve Jobs- You can change the world
  6. Jim Carrey- What you do for others is most important
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Who Do I Want to Be in the Future

I’ve been grappling with this question for a long time, since around the age of 16?

It started off as questioning the education system. I thought the system was toxic, a monolithic structure which was ineffective and dull; deplorable and only to be doomed sooner or later; a system only capable of destroying the young creative minds of the next generation, a myopic system which holds no regard for anomalies. But I’ve soon come to realise that with its shortcomings, it is still a respectable, meritocratic system which rewards hard-work and provides social mobility for everyone.

Then I despised the workforce and conventional employment. I thought 99% of people in the workforce were corporate slaves, people with no dreams, people who sold their souls, people with no sense of adventure and people who were better off dead. Then I realised that not everyone had the privilege of choice. And that from their generation, they were dealing with problems different from what I face today.

I have always been questioning who I want to be in the future, what do I want to do? Whether what I did was who I am or were they separate subjects? How to find the path? What to do to start the journey? And I still don’t have the answer. And I realise maybe I never will but it is more important to keep trying and stop wasting time.

It is privilege to be able to contemplate such problems. From an evolutionary standpoint, we came from a species which had to fight for survival. Most of our days were tasked with finding food and shelter, but through the progress of mankind, most of the menial jobs have been industrialised and automated. Leaving us with much more time to worry about problems and grand ideas such as purpose and fulfilment.

If there are still any loyal readers out there, what advice would you give to a young man trying to find out what to do in the future?

Daily Reflection

“Writing is crystallised thought”

I started this blog for several reasons:

  1. I wanted to document my life to reflect back on afterwards
  2. I wanted to rant
  3. I wanted to improve my writing skills

Over the course of 1-2 years(?), one of the subtle but main benefits of writing I came to realise was its ability to improve my thought process. What writing has done for me is to force arbitrary and messy thoughts into a clean, organised structure. Hence, “Writing is crystallised thought”. This is actually a quote from Tim Ferriss and he is one of my intellectual heroes.

I found his videos recently and he has an incredibly sharp mind. He delivers content concisely without superfluous language. I think that’s something I have to work on. But really I came upon his content because I was searching for ways to improve my thought process/critical thinking. I have been experiencing a decline in my ability to articulate my thoughts or think through certain scenarios. It’s as if I’m hitting roadblocks every where I turn and my thoughts feel fuzzy.

I have come to the conclusion that it is because I have stopped writing. It really is a round-trip, I guess. I urge myself to write regularly again.

I think that the written form is definitely superior to speech. Speech is a very haphazard articulation of thoughts that often leaves the speaker feeling emptier and more disconnected to the topic than from the start. It is to me a fun and casual way to communicate but is inferior to written text.

The written text is generally cleaved from emotion, and this allows the reader to take in the information in a more analytical way.