Thursday, December 29, 2011

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As much as this blog space asserts so much subjectivity, I do not in any way mean to come off as pretentious. The effort in spewing this much opinion makes it seem like I fancy myself as a know-it-all, which I humbly beg to say is absolutely not true. I only hope that by sharing these insights people find some useful concept or "way of viewing and filtering" things that they may find affinity to and reciprocally deem to be sensible enough to believe in.

What are opinions after all? When one goes through the comments sections of so many online articles, he is overwhelmed by a myriad opinions and insights. I refer to these as the conflict of the existence of wills. As free-willed individuals, we assert our existence with what we do, say, create, and leave behind, no matter how fleeting, temporary, and temporal the results and consequences seem to be. Opinions are but extensions of the assertion of the existence of wills, are they not? That's why, I think we ignore what we "feel and think" are not worth our attention and discard what does not "fit" our paradigm on how we would like to view the world (whether we believe it to be the right thing to do or simply because it was how we were trained to filter information, experiences, and empirical data).

As my mentor Mr. Pedro Benedicto once told me, the enlightened state of consciousness is key to enable us to transform our paradigm to something else, for the better if we realize how valuable the world's and other people's insights and experiences are. Of course there are poisonous insights that can corrupt one's paradigm and it is always a challenge to sift through so much on a daily basis. There are golden lessons and there is bull crap. Sometimes, we can be drowned by so
much viewpoints and opinions that we lose ourselves and lose track of what our original paradigm had molded us into. Our understanding of the world and the years we've looked at the world through these spectacles turn out to be all for naught. We look for a wall to lean to, a benchmark, a reference point, a guide, that we can establish our identity with or against.

That's why opinions matter so much because it reflects one way of how we assert the existence of our wills. Come to think of it, in the end, do we ever really know anything at all? Whatever paradigm we've developed for ourselves is ultimately a consequence of how it was built-up by so many influences around us. Science is indeed factual and based on experimentation, hypotheses tested continuously to reveal repeating patterns - truths - but with limits that are merely based on the extent of our own empirical senses. Some species have less than 5 senses to contend with and that's how they filter their reality, notwithstanding the fact that they also have a relatively limited intellect than what we homo-sapiens have.

So why even put IT out there, right? What could possibly be my motivation? I would be hard-pressed to persuade anyone to believe that all this effort isn't just for show or to impress passers-by of this URL. I can't even claim that this endeavor was in fact all-together conceptualized to be altruistic from the start, as a medium to dispense interpreted knowledge, as I've seen things through my eyes. Just the same, anyone would find it easy to speculate, yet hard to prove that the stuff I'm spewing out are motivated by presumptuous big-talk and pride.

Following the things I've mentioned earlier, however, these are assertions of my will; if not for anyone else who cares to read and reciprocate the sharing of insights, at the very least it is a celebration of the existence of my own will. And this applies to anyone else who gives the time and effort to his or her little corner of the web, i.e. the blog!

We have been trained by the educational system to trust and rely on the pundits, the academicians, the experts, and the professionals when it comes to accepting facts and even opinions. I think it still remains to be the safest way by which to build on the human database of knowledge. The legacy of the past can be built on by the younger generation. It would be disastrous if anyone and everyone claimed to be the best and most credible reference point for information, knowledge, and even wisdom, and yet people do this all the time. And so I must plead to people like these who have a tendency to tell other people off to open their eyes, read more, learn more, gain insights from other people, process information, and interpret them properly.

We all have a "say" on things and I would think that, unavoidably, it's only proper to honor these simple liberties. If we look at the situation, however, we're caught in a quagmire. We can't just allow people to force feed ideas onto others, especially when some of the "facts" and opinions they dispense are clearly against common sense, yet we have to honor these people's rights to say what they think. It's the right thing to do, the freedom of expression, the assertion of the existence of the will.

It's always like this on Yahoo comment threads that involve science or religion; it's the atheists against the non-atheists bashing each other. Hence, we find ourselves in a state of constant conflict, although non-physical, the battle of wills is evident. Would you tolerate someone telling your kids that the Earth had a second moon? Clearly, if in jest, it would be fine, but what if it was asserted as scientific fact? We, of course, are lucky to have our human knowledge database to refer to.

As Warren Buffett would say:

I'm very suspect of the person who is very good at one business—it also could be a good athlete or a good entertainer—who starts thinking they should tell the world how to behave on everything. For us to think that just because we made a lot of money, we're going to be better at giving advice on every subject—well, it's just crazy.


It also goes to the obnoxious folly of the rich assuming that money makes you intelligent on all things.

Source: The Tao of Warren Buffett

I am very much finding myself fascinated with these concepts of perceptions and paradigms thanks to Mr. Benedicto (2011). Here are some excerpts from his awesome book Reflections of an Underwriter:

A paradigm is our belief system (p. 84)

A fine example about paradigms he gave and I'm sure has been used many times over is how the Church and its constituents once resisted transforming their paradigm wherein the Sun was the center of the Solar System (heliocentrism) instead of the Earth (geocentrism). Our reality is only manifested to the extent that we give our beliefs regarding it (i.e., reality) the power and credibility to make it so. An otherwise false fact will remain as the truth unless the intended audience rejects it in favor of another truth. That's the convenience in all this, I think.

Based on the paradigm that was dominant at that time, contrary beliefs were discouraged and even punished. This is the power of paradigm. It will influence the way we live our everyday lives (p. 89).

A paradigm is a world view. We all look at the world around us in accordance with a certain paradigm. The paradigm we use depends on what we believe is reliable and true
(pp. 96-97).

A paradigm shift (or revolutionary science), according to Thomas Kuhn in his influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), is a change in the basic assumptions, or paradigms, within the ruling theory of science (p. 97).

Social scientists have adopted the Kuhnian phrase paradigm shift to denote a change in how a given society goes about organizing and understanding reality (p. 98).

Dominant paradigms are shaped both by the community's cultural background and by the context of the historical moment (p. 98).

In the same context, from an individual person's perspective, our paradigm - our belief system - cannot be changed immediately because this will require us to function outside of our comfort zone... (pp. 110-111).

Benedicto, J. (2011). Reflections of an Underwriter: Underwriting Your Life
Laying Down the Predicate.
Philippines: Pedro P. Benedicto, Jr.

I look forward to reading more insights all over the world. Hopefully, I'm transforming my paradigm for the better.

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