Master of None: #2
Free thinking is the central outcome to the pursuit of education. The idea that we should all evaluate all ideas before latching on them, is fundamental to the promise of democratic governance. Owing to 100s of factors, innate and imposed, people seem to lie on a spectrum of capacity to practice free thinking. To my mind, one of the most critical aspects to grow in in life is one’s ability to be as free thinking as possible.
Hedging intellectual bets
I have found twitter and short opinions quite useful over time. After I get exposed to a person and their point of view, that I find interesting, I tend to follow them on twitter and that has had interesting results. There are often people who’s points of view contradict each other. Topics like cryptocurrency, Covid policies, entrepreneurship and politics tend to be ones in which I see the classical, liberal-conservative divide break down. I read a tweet from one person saying Bitcoin is the future, and another saying its a Ponzi scheme. Both the people are serious intellectuals with solid credentials in their respective areas. I find this spread in intellectual opinion a good way to place bets on what I consume. It causes a strong sense of discomfort in me as the unstoppable force of credible orthogonal opinion meets the immovable object of my urge to persist a consistent ideology. The need to chose a side and continue playing for it is really strong and swimming against that current regularly nudges me to exercise more thought before forming an opinion.
The worst kind of accounts to follow are those who’s opinion on a matter you can predict before hand. Corollary to that is that the most interesting accounts on Twitter are those who’s opinions on a matter you cannot predict. Those are the ones I aspire to be like.
Novels and Novelty
I tend to put off watching moves and reading books at times because I feel like I know what the matter is going to be all about. I’d apply this a lot to non-fiction too! Having taken a course in Evolutionary Biology, the material in my current read is not novel over all. So, I’d resist reading or watching things I knew the crux of. Aside from being a remarkably arrogant stand to have, it misses a major point of art.
When Dangal released in 2016, my friend in college, who was a big Amir Khan fan, insisted that I watch it. To me, it was going to be yet-another story of “people facing great odds and challenges in pursuit of something great, they learn to overcome those challenges, and emerge victorious right when all looks lost”. He asked me if I knew what the highest grossing film was for a long time! It was Titanic! Everyone knew what the Titanic was about. But it was still the most loved and watched film for decades. That perspective really hit me. The story is only one half of Story-telling. And most of art is after-all about stories that have been told over and over, in an authentic way. After all, there is so much more common to the human experience than is different!
This feels like a shorter letter than I’d imagined. I’d hope to write about my experience with quitting caffeine but I don’t have anything more to add than what one might expect. Hoping to write more from the process of preparing for my wedding.
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