Is it good? That’s a common question when picking a place to eat. It has become an idiom, almost. But the question is really moronic if you think about it. Why on earth would you ask if a restaurant is good? That’s like asking a student if he’s smart, or an employee if he’s competent. This sort of dogma is built into our language and culture, and it takes a clever mind to avoid them, which is why most of us don’t bother. But what if we did? Could we build a world where the ingenious reassessment of cultural idiosyncrasies would be an indicator of class, where the comments on my final grade calculator1 would be an unacceptable embarrassment to all society? You know, when I read about global consciousness and existentialism and models of utopia, they start building on the illusion that every human being on this planet has both the socioeconomic wellness and intellectual passion to foster thinking. But in fact, that’s untrue for a disturbing number of people. A common motif in several books: an educated man has retired in the midst of conflict, and wonders “why both sides didn’t simply communicate with each other and solve their problems”. It’s nice to think that talking around is enough to solve most of the world’s problems, but it isn’t. There are many cases where the interests of two groups conflict irreconcilably and no amount of talking is sufficient. Most of the books I like take a transcendental stance on this issue. They encircle the idea that there is no best state of mind that philosophy can provide. It is good to be aware of the world and participate actively to change it. However, it remains that there are an insurmountable number of problems and difficulties for people of all kinds2. No universal perspective, unqualified rationalism, or utopian dogma can fulfill what thinkers desire in an all-encompassing philosophy. They say that it can be beneficial both to romantically accept the existential importance of every detail and flaw of every entity, and to think critically and skeptically of everything. But whatever you choose, it is not of consequence, and it is of consequence. Eventually, all thought dissents into two categories: of scornful sadistic3 speculation, and of incurable idyllic insanity. But with this mindset, we can continue living appropriately among those who don’t have the same philosophical ideas as we, while knowing that they have no need for our ideas anyways. This is what knowledge I’ve gathered so far in seventeen years of existence, and my thoughts on a specific question asked last Wednesday lunch.
- This is getting so popular, some guy in India made a knock-off and even copied my code, which is silly because it takes more work to adjust the script than it takes to write a new one. ↩︎
- Mitch Albom hit this right on the head. ↩︎
- I suppose, I correct spell check mistakes by hand, and bitter melon is a occasional delight. ↩︎