Searching for the Truth, Capital T

Issue #11 - 3m03s


Welcome to M ND THE GAP, a lifestyle newsletter for those that are young, weird, and curious. Scattered thoughts, but often around technology, culture, and adolescent romances. If you’re with it, you can sign up here.

It’s been a busy week moving into the new apartment so thoughts may be more scattered this time around — a stream of consciousness rather than a piece of work.

As the young minds in tech, we are obsessed with finding the truth of the world. We hold as a default the Nietzschian notion that the truths currently known to man is not the Truth — the one set by the gods, metaphysical or scientific. That there is something closer to correctness, that there are nuances still unexamined.

I've been growing weary of that notion over the past month. It's been seeming to me recently that the current truths are functionality correct. The old adages we've been hearing since childhood keep proving to have substance and are immensely helpful when properly followed. Yet we push them away — a result of adolescent tendencies of counterculture furthered by tech's cultural root as the outcasts.

The ideas I've found the most powerful recently are so common that they are banal — they are the ones which fables are built around and passed down from our elders. They are the ones not backed by science and stats but rather by life and experience.

Sleep 8 hours a day.

Broken hearts heal over time.

You can do anything you believe in.

The simple things. We hear these phrases at an age where we reject all institutional wisdom. The key to a meaningful life is hidden in the throats of these little aphorisms.

The mistake is that they were delivered to us at an age where rejection is in our soul — counterculture holds supreme, the youth don't bend to authority and legacy. We create our own. We shields those ideas from our hearts — the meaning may reach us but the feelings do not. We do not sleep 8 hours a day, despite all scientific and anecdotal evidence espousing its benefits. We do not let our hearts heal, instead drowning out our pains in drink and lust. We never truly believe in ourselves, instead letting our doubts and fears dictate our path — settling for the beaten path and the road to redemption. I may have just triggered myself here.

These are the simple truths that many of my friends and I seem to consciously reject. We spent years fighting to find the Truth, some esoteric absolute notion of how the world works, only to realize that our discoveries are simply rehashes of the words we've been hearing since we were kids.

This is not to say the truth is not worth searching for. The known truths are simply functional, if not immaculate. The Truth is absolutely worth searching for. But when our research brings us back to beginning, closing the loop, perhaps sometimes we just have to defer to the aphorisms and accept them. Unlike VC, there is little to gain by being contrarian for its own sake in life.

Tangentially, I know many, including myself, seek the Truth for the competitive edge it gives. By engaging with esoteric practices, we believe that we can obtain a competitive edge over our peers who do not. It may.

But it may be of far more worth simply performing the old adages well. Actually getting more sleep, drinking enough water, spending significant time away from the phone screen. They seem boring, almost banal, but they work. The secret here is that most people, even those who espouse this beliefs, don't engage in with them in practice. Chefs ready to dish out the advice anyone who will listen but do not eat their own (dog)food. By simply being one who integrates the ancient adages into their daily life, the competitive advantage is already found.

The Weekly Nibble

Feeling the information overload? Yea me too. This is the best read I found this past week. Take a peep and LMK.

According to her, one reason for the adherence to realism is pragmatic: children simply have ever-increasing opportunities and resources for knowledge-gathering and study, for ‘empirical abstraction’. But, she argues, ‘to be creative, they also need opportunities to engage in the mental process of building knowledge through mental actions’. In her view, the exclusionary focus on ‘problem-solving’ in education is a mistake: education needs to address the more imaginative task of ‘problem-finding’ as well. 

Shoutout to my friend Tina He for introducing me to this site. This is yet another essay that questions the notion of traditional school systems as a way to enable (disable!) creativity. Flaw finding in the modern education system is easy — how do we work to improve it for our kids though? The current system caps the ceiling for what our kids can become but also raises their floor, the result of the industrial era of American history. We’re now living in a post-industrial age yet our education system has yet to catch up.