Tuesday, 16 June 2009

A Goosebumpy Morning

I woke up fifteen minutes earlier today to one of those cruelly refreshing downpours you'd wanna go to bed to, not fight against on the way to work. It just felt like it wasn't like any other dawn. I was reading my book and plugged in to music (which, I must mention, has superb clarity in such solid bass that I feel like I'm in the song itself) when, somewhere through on the commute with all these faceless others, thoughts started spilling into my head like a glorious invasion.

To the point, I've always been fascinated with the idea of power and the concepts and implications associated with it. I wouldn't fully attribute my realizations this morning solely to reading Ayn Rand's work, but her book contributed to the tipping point's push. Idea after idea came to me, and for once in a long while, I actually feel a great sense of conviction that if I were to write a book or a long dissertation that would define my work if I were ever going into academics, it would be about power.

"The same context specificity leads people to take the escalator to the StairMasters, but the philosopher's case is far, far more dangerous since he uses up our storage for critical thinking in a sterile occupation. Philosophers like to practice philosophical thinking on me-too subjects that other philosophers call philosophy, and they leave their minds at the door when they are outside of these subjects."

- Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan.

I believe, when it comes to politics, movements, science or globalization, we're either living on a very exciting brink, or we're already right in the midst of all the action. For my fellow Generation Y folks, there are many things we could tell our kids we lived through - 9/11, Obama, the rise of democracy, the IT boom, and so on and so forth.

But when it comes to our generation's status intellectually, ideologically and philosophically, we're so dead. The modern hard drive of thought has been conveniently segmented to the thinkers so that people don't have to grapple with it and move on with other 'more important things'. It's worse in some countries than others.

And when new ideas do get consolidated, what happens? They're sold and milked for money.

Not that it's right or wrong; aside from a gripe and some lamenting, it's definitely not my place to judge. But we're just forgoing the need to understand, say, the truth or deeper logic of zero or infinity as mathematically philosophical concepts in exchange for pushing the next decimal point and increasing formulaic accuracy (to make better machines and improve industrial efficiency) because one is now perceived as more practically important than the other.

It's no wonder that sometimes we feel like we don't know where the world is headed. Foreign and global policy is a mess. We can only go somewhere when we are steering in the right way, and ideology constitutes knowing this direction. Underpinning ideology is a society's set of individual moral philosophies that guide each and every person. And at the individual level, many people are already lost or apathetic.

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