Pop Culture

THE PARADOX OF CHOICE

​Do you look at the vast things you can do and try, do you look at the beautiful experiences, skills and places around the world you could be at. Do you ever look out at all? Do you see the cool shit you could do, all of the exciting possibilities and projects and yet you are unable to act, you are frozen in choice. 

The more choices you have the harder it is to choose anything. Just like FOMO it can be a real mix. By definition, its one’s inability to choose in an existing number of options. Its a real thing. 

Plagues our daily lives and we may not see or notice it often. Think of it this way, like a kid in an ice cream shop, so many ice cream flavours to try but, you just can’t decide and in truth, you cant eat them all.

With the paradox of choices, making decisions becomes obsession over making the wrong decision. Fear of the wrong career, wrong love, wrong food and etc. Our ability to choose also depends on the information we are given as we strive to choose. 

In our day and age, let’s just say information isn’t a snow ball’s chance. Barry Schwartz author of “paradox of choice” advocates “the idea of good enough” that is, Most of the time, we don’t need the very best and only rarely is it worth struggling to find the best choice. 

Truth be told, being frozen in choice really means we want the best and that’s not a bad thing, we all want to make the best, get the best out of what we do but, is the best always the best?…not really..
Two things one must keep in mind when put in the box of the paradox of choice.

Firstly, theres always a lesson to learn in all options. One must view making choices as not making a lifelong commitment and choosing one path doesn’t preclude you from pursuing all of your other options either simultaneously or in the future.

Secondly, changing direction later really doesn’t equal failure and it doesn’t render the energy and hard work you’ve put pointless and meaningless. You will pick up skills, knowledge and experience. Pursuing different paths allows us to grow, learn and experience more of life.
When you are stuck, make a list of stuff you would like to pursue. Write down small steps you will do each week to get through your choice. Get more information .Taking action, even incorrect action makes it easier to take more action and correct oneself.

We like to think we can plan everything in advance, avoid pain and disappointment, we can’t. We learn from doing and remember the only wrong choice is no choice at all.

WHY HATERS HATE

​In a wealth and fame obsessed world, everyone has their few share of narrow ideologies and to this births the identity or the one, we all call “the hater”. Is the hater a thought provoker? A champion of change? Or just plain petty?

Before answering that let us examine who exactly isn’t a hater?

Greek philosopher Dio genes pursued a life style away from social conventions, He didn’t simply flip everyone off, he actively loved and lived his philosophy, he said reason is greater than one’s passions, courage greater than wealth and social conventions should be brushed off whenever necessary as all three make life complex and make a virtuous life difficult to attend. One will be free if he let’s go of these things.

Of course, separation, That is from the status quo isn’t easy, and many may think it makes life worse and no better. Dio genes believed in pursuing freedom and a self-sufficient lifestyle.

In short, someone who doesn’t hate, simply minds their own business, someone who is concerned with living their life, but of course, Dio gene was a little extreme, one must find a balance between these things. 

Haters are superficial and petty by definition, as they don’t like what’s not the “in thing, haters hate for many reasons but, have common features to their hating and as much as they may find it “fun” to hate some people, It is not meaningful and doesn’t achieve anything as said by Dio genes

Dio genes was cynic and put his social status in harms way, the hater just stands back and does nothing to their own view, life or philosophy, mostly they are jealous of the things they don’t have, have not overcome their fear to achieve what they want, haven’t worked hard enough to achieve what someone has and in most cases are extremely petty and egotistical.

Haters should not be confused with someone who passes a comment on someone’s “unwise action” but, someone who loves and feels better about themselves over the expense of others in the act of passing said comment.(Hence me speaking about haters isn’t hating.)
Hating should not be mixed or said to be the same as satire or constructive criticism.

Kierkegaard said haters Showing that they dont care about me, or caring that I should know they dont care about me, still denotes dependence. They show me respect precisely by showing me that they don’t respect me.

In truth, haters aren’t player haters, they are self-haters, hence haters are just plain narcissistic and weak, as Fromm said” it is true that selfish persons are incapable of loving others, but they are not capable of loving themselves either”

Haters feel hating will cover their own insecurities. A hater can be like a parasite as its lives or finds its worth in this case in its dependence on feeding or shaming its host. So haters do care but, want to show that they don’t care. A hater denotes someone prejudice, misinformed and someone choosing to not use their intellect.

Haters will always be there in our finest and lowest moments, and whatever form hate takes it can be hard to deal with. So whats the solution? A common answer would be not to care right? Well no, because the statement “I don’t care” is masked with some little vibes of caring and the idea that “haters should be my motivators” isn’t bad but isn’t the best solution as well. The true solution to dealing with haters comes in two forms.

Firstly, is knowing the nature of said hater and secondly, its not accepting what they say and one must be tolerant, because in most cases what they say is meant to get to you, to make you feel inferior in order to lift themselves. 

So be the “bigger man” accept who you are because no one will, be authentic, love yourself and treasure what you stand for, because the good or bad (I don’t mean stupid) things you do will still be met with hate, the words will hurt but you must choose to not let them KEEP hurting you, whether the words are true or not.

This is no easy task but, its better than indirectly letting other people who don’t know better, move or tell you who you are and this solution should in no way make us egocentric instead, make us embrace ourselves, tolerate others and be true to these old words,Sticks and stones may break my bones but, words (will as I choose and know) can never hurt me”

The best way to counter-attack a hater is to make it blatantly obvious that their attack has had no impact on you.

 Timothy Ferris
“True Strength is tolerance

​FACE EVERYTHING & RISE

Do you feel weak? Do you feel crippled by fear?

If so, hold on to that feeling,

That’s proof that you haven’t given up on yourself yet,

If you have the guts to not give up, you can do anything as seen fit,

The one who acquires the ability to take full possession of one’s mind,

May take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled to.

We are living creatures that don’t have wings, but still reached the sky and stars.”

To hope is to be human and to fear is to be human. Fear can arise from many sources. Early humans needed the fast, powerful reactions that fear causes as they were often in physical danger from big problems– before modern living took over. 

Our minds and bodies still work in the same way and we still have the same reactions to more modern worries. But we can’t run away or physically attack these problems.

In “Passions of the Soul” Descartes put fear this way, “we can hope for or fear something that doesn’t in any way depend on us. But in cases where we do think of it as depending on us we may find it hard  to decide how to go about getting or avoiding it, or to bring ourselves actually to do what needs to be done.”

 The difficulty gives rise to indecision, the opposite of shrinking reluctance is courage; the opposite of fear (or terror) is boldness.”

Margaret Wheatly says, “Fear is the necessary consequence of feeling hopeful again. Contrary to our belief that hope and fear are opposites where one trumps the other, they are a single package, bundled together as intimate, eternal partners. Hope never enters a room without fear at its side. If i hope to accomplish something, I’m also afraid I’ll fail. You can’t have one without the other.”

Like most modern situations, we are more often presented with events we don’t and have no say in the matter but, to how we response to it’s presentation is indeed the moment of true victory and mostly certainly the defining moment. Unlike our ancestors, fear should draw us to live and embrace life as is. 

Fear does aid us in our ways but if not in its place can indeed make anyone miss out on what this world has to offer. Creating a mental choreography around fear is as such a necessity to living as modern man. 

Decide to make life an adventure, by virtue of you being alive, you can sense, you can create and inspire, you can know joy, laughter and beauty , there is so much to be lived for, explored, experienced and this means embracing the fear. Fear is as necessary to living as is courage.

Being a conscious entity means being aware of our humanity and being aware of our personality. To find that unique voice that is you – but, that one saying does still hold true “man is a slave of his culture.”

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music” Fredrick Nietzsche
How do we transcend this or “going against the grain” or being a non-conformist so to speak? Joseph Campbell says we start by realising that there is no one road map to reality. We are able to create our reality that if we are bold enough to condition our thinking.
 
Only people themselves can give their lives any meaning through the goals they set themselves, the choices they make and the actions they take. Being oneself is wanting to be what we make ourselves be by the way we choose to act. 

In Truth, any meaning that is to be found in this world must be established by each person from within the sphere of his own individual existence and that’s what it means to be a mad one.

Being the mad one is deciding to make life an adventure. Being mad to think, mad to dance, mad to love, mad to dream and mad to choose for yourselves. You are who you are, love who you are.

“What a man can be he must be. This need we may call self-actualization. It refers to the desire for self-fulfilment, namely to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially .This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is  capable of becoming”

Abraham Maslow

“Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘Just as Courage imperils life, Fear protects it” 

Leonard da Vinci

​FOMO – FEAR OF MISSING OUT

In a growing world of information and technology ,its fair game to want to be updated with the latest news, trends and pretty much anything that’s new and exciting to one’s fancy or not.

 
The need to get involved, to see, experience new things, gain new skills, meet new people, see new places, read that one book, Listen to that album and yet sometimes within this vast world of options and experiences, one may feel like they are missing out. Being the one in control of what moves you and what you are obligated to may intensify this reality. One of life’s melancholy and yet truest moments.

This phenomena has been dubbed, FOMO – Fear of missing out. FOMO is a mix of envy and insecurity which can lead to anxiety and in most cases indecision. 

The more FOMO consumes you the more you are paralysed with not making any moves(FOMO is the brother of the “paradox of choice”),the pain that one feels from having the thought that others are doing something we ourselves desire may make us feel unhappy and unfulfilled with our current situation. There are two ways of looking at FOMO that is through a romantic or classical view.

The Romantic feels pain that someone out there is living a life that they desperately want. The constant thought of “if only” I had that job, I had that car. They believe in a divine, defined centre. Life is in two parts the mediocre and the elect, they want to be the elect. 

The classic minded do admit that there are indeed wonderful things going on in the world but, the obvious signs of glamour to them isn’t a good guide to finding these wonderful things. They view that good may exist in the ordinary, everything is in mix. 

Fame and fortune may not be a true indication of true intelligence, famous people may be dull and unattractive people can be interesting or remarkable. You can have all you ever wanted by really still be unhappy. They do fear missing out but, view it in that, one can miss out if they are so quick to find happiness away from self, elsewhere.

Whether you feel like you are none, both or one of either, one thing that does matters like a disease – a cure. How should we view FOMO when it does hits us in those moments in your life? 


1. Be willing to not have it all, Accept things will happen without you
You are not a superman or wonder woman. Yes, FOMO can indeed be misleading. Desires and wants can blind us to real life. Accepting the futility of or stop trying to fulfilling every desire is impossible. 

Having the wisdom to control and know when to indulge in – be it in one’s impulses and gratifications is the only super power you have. You may not do everything but, make the best out of what you have.


2. Practice mindfulness by slowing down
Being mindful like my mantra is being present. Taking it slow(I admit, am working on it too) from what I have learnt is slowing down does not mean taking your time or being slow, it means just being at speed with the present, not too fast not too slow. 

The world is a big place, things are going on every second rather than chasing after what maybe an illusion of happiness, make the best with what you have, giving no hard judgment or negative thought to either you or what others are doing  or that you maybe or maybe not missing out on. Take it easy.


3. Prioritise what really matters
Prioritising is one lesson everyone needs. Quality relationships are better than quality possessions. Envy can become resentment if we fail to recognise what we have now and the opportunities that you have to make something of your life. 

Prioritising gives clearer attention to those things that have heart and meaning. Rather than fame, symbol, possessions, focus on a feeling of accomplishment, adventure, self-respect, freedom and fun with people you care about and a life that truly matters.


4. One day at a time by cultivating an attitude of gratitude.
There is always something to be grateful about. Life can be a shit storm. We don’t get what we want, but we do have times of joy, peace, strength and virtue. Enjoy the process of life, life is story, embrace it and live brave.

Pleasure and great FOMO fulfilling experience may be wonderful but, being too occupied with FOMO diminishes our ability to experience the deeper fulfilment that comes from nourishing one’s mind and body.

“Be present-it is the only moment that matters”

​AN INFORMATION DIET

“The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life.”

Andrew Brown

In his book, The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption”, Clay A. Johnson, gives an interesting, effective and delightful approach on how we consume our information in a very informative, techno, up to date, data consumptive age.

How much information do you consume? Are you trying to read every popular blog? Every article? How many do you really engage with, comment on, or share? Are you really engaged with the net because, you don’t want to miss anything, or because you feel like you have to read someone’s post to stay informed?

Being on an “information diet” means letting go of that perception, and considering trimming your feeds to the sites you really enjoy, communities you’re actively involved in, and voices that inform and challenge your perceptions.

Its important to be updated and involved with this fast paced world but, sometimes in this need to be updated, we forget what truly matters in life. Who do you read? Are your feeds full of voices that all sound the same? Does what you read really add value or kill time? Is it useful or is it a way to just constantly escape life?

With this breadth of information available, sometimes it may hurt our ability to dive deep into the answers to questions that really need attention. Instead all we get is different voices in your media consumption and perspectives that yes may inform your own, but engulf your own.

Time to reconsider the sources of information you expose yourself to. Clay points out that while it’s easy to assume technology has a major role in how and where we absorb information, it doesn’t define what and how we read, it’s just a means to get the information in front of us. Instead, he notes, we have the ability to be much more selective about what we read.

The key here however is to make sure you pick trusted sources with different voices, and topics you’re really interested in and communities you’re passionate about.

 Your goal at this stage is to go a mile deep and an inch wideas in, stop trying to read every blogpost, website & newsfeed on the web and stick to the ones you really enjoy reading and challenge the opinions you love. You’ll be in a better position to really appreciate what you read.

Social media makes it extremely easy for you to impulsively click on articles, information, events and to want to know all the different things constantly going on, so why not put it in its place.

“We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.”

Douglas Adams

BOOKS & TABLES

​How could youths better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living? 

Henry David Thoreau

What is school for? From a young age, we are taught how to think, behave and interact with the world around us. When we do as we are told, its in order that we may mature and grow in our given societies. 

Life is a learning process and experience. Its no surprise, groups and various organisations were brought up to structure this very need in life. These formal places of learning became bigger, better and more prevalently with ideas and concepts which broaden the worldview of anyone willing to listen and learn. 

Education, its root word educare means to bring up or to bring out of.  Education at elementary and university level, in greater detail was meant to teach us how to live. As such, it goes without saying education itself goes beyond the walls of academia.

In the walls of academia, we as such should be met with questions and discoveries pertaining lifes fundamentals like who we are what really matters, where our society is going. 

In the early 19th century with the age of enlightenment, declining of religious doctrine and growing scepticism around god, there was a growing need for a more formal organised institution of higher learning. 

This higher learning would act as an introduction of societal harmony, unity and a greater effectiveness toward living. Education at its roots was meant to aid as well, help us live and create better societies with one equal strong and intellectual voice.

To many educationalists and others scholars of thought, formal education was seen not only to be a key stone in the advancement of thought and development of mankind but, an emergent tool of self-reliance, communal co-dependence and structural information control. 

In one way, rational educative thought wasnt only to replace religious dogma to an extent, but build upon the fundamental intentions of it.
With this in mind, its puzzling to note, that the foundational spirit of educational institutions isnt being met at most places worldwide currently. The common ailments that were spoken topics among religions seem alien and the learning experience is at most as passive as todays newspaper.

Important questions are being answered academically but, it seemed to be just that. Very few times do we see a progressive and healthy blossoming change toward culture and interactions, toward society as a whole from the people that once walked the very important places that are so culturally emphasized.

The big issues, the real issues are but issues. We see specific departments dealing with specific ideas and issues but, mostly in the archaic sense rather than the core principles in the beginning of the studies itself, which was of course, to learn but learning that bridges us to live better. 

Learning that guides us to avoid the mistakes of others past and build upon issues related to a concept that better purifies and grows a better people in a better society.

For the evolution of society and revival of the initial idea of education, a rebranding and redirection toward educational institutions is in need. If its all about money, being often the case, then we doom over selves.

We need courses and information that wont only inform us of our past as humanity or ideas about someone or sometime or something but, that broaden and teach us about ourselves, teach as how to act and why to act. As a place of academia should be a places that should teach us to live, love and die well.

Theres a new tribunal now higher than Gods – the educated man 

Robert Browing 

IN THE MEDIA WE TRUST

​”One of our chief national faults is our hypocritical desire to suppress the truth on the pretext that to admit it would encourage sin, whereas the real explanation is that we are afraid of the truth. I will not be guilty of that fault. I do like to look a fact in the face without blinking.”

Arnold Bennet

The internet and media in general has made our lives easier. Now answering this question on the internet itself sounds a little hypocritical don’t you think? The 21st century – an information age, everything you may want and need to know at the tips of our fingers like never before. 

The internet is such a huge part of modern life and media is now significant in the expanding space for news and information. Both have not yet displaced or revolutionized traditional journalism or your standard library to terminus, but are the most profound force in changing the way we think, the way we consume news about the world and how we learn about the world around us.

Henceforth, it is not a bad idea that we should have a proper, firm and or skeptic mind about whether we can trust the information, analysis of it as we are presented with the here’s and there’s of the world.

In truth, the internet and media has it fair share of delights, debonairs, hoaxes, showmanship and bluffs, Which is not to say despite the bad there’s no other place purely good in our lives for us to acquire news feeds, articles, stories, highlights and reports. 

We love a story, to communicate, learn and be informed of what the hell is going on in the world right? Disaster news, economic and political turmoil makes us cry and reflect. Celebrations and exciting events move us and bring the ideas of praise and happiness.

 Facts and discovery change  The way we perceive the world and information in itself challenges us to what we can become. And modernly, the internet and media are where we gather to hear, see and absorb all these, but the framing or structure of where we get our information is as important.

The point of the information is equally as important. It’s either told for the purpose of telling and getting it out there, or simply told to promote or sale or for some political and economical bullshit cliché.

Acknowledging and listening to both can be worth the thought as long as we know which is which. In an age where people profiting from the information it shares, its no surprise verification is taken for granted and with our human inclination or brain’s inclination to trust what looks good quick or follow the herd, this can be our downfall.

One may say it’s harmless right nobody gets hurt (think again), of course, I don’t expect everything ever written, posted, tweeted, a news channel or verbally said to be called true, but we do expect and acknowledge that every story, news article and report reported on by a huge media organization or reliable website to be, because that’s what they’re for. But what happens when they don’t live up to what they promise?

Of course, the media and internet are not our enemies or pointless at that, we must tread careful on what we choose to accept as true.

Father of post modernism Jean Baudrillard in “The Priest of Pomo” says, “its not the lack of information that makes the news meaningless but proliferation of images that make it meaningless.” and depending on where you get your news from:  2pac is still alive, Small green aliens exist and the female orgasm is a myth. 

There’s always a counter positive or opposite to every event, story or information and these numerous interpretations don’t make the world exactly or easily accessible but, the explosion of information makes the ability to understand the world nearly impossible.

These illusive displaces reduce war to theatre, love to lust, drugs to candy, disease to telethon ,hunger to magazine cover, misfortune to fate, peace and stability to magic and the human condition to mere acting and pleasure. 

The untamed media and internet if not put in place will absorb us and make us buy what its offering as it makes us think we are gaining information about actual events and ideas but, in truth gives as copies that are easily ingested by a society trained to accept advertising, suggestion and disinformation.

Jean Baudrillard says “we choose to be fooled.” We apparently love the lie. In the world of social media today we are no longer passive speculators, we interact, create and dictate news. We are the screen, editor and reporter. Same goes with your own life, be careful what you choose to accept, believe and absorb. 

Of course, all in all there is no 100% way of knowing exactly every detail of an event or concept but, sitting down with our junks in our hands isn’t a good option either. Seeing the internet and media as a relevance not an idealized notion of truth is but a must.

Here are some things to keep in mind with our sources on the internet or media;

-Who is behind the source?

-Is it an institution or person?

-Where does it originally come from?

-Is the article or work personally or objectively written?

– Evidence to back claim?

-Does it have many or none citation to other sources?

– Peer review anyone?

“Media is just a word that has come to mean bad journalism.”

Graham Greene