Book Summary — #1f: The Subtle Art of not Giving a Fuck
Chapter 6: You’re Wrong about Everything (But so am I)
First, read these to give you some context
Chapter 1: Don’t Try,
Chapter 2: Happiness is a Problem,
Chapter 3: You are not Special,
Chapter 4: The Value of Suffering, and
Chapter 5: You Are Always Choosing
Do you feel that your life is miserable? That maybe you’ve been living your life wrong? Good. Keep at it. Why continue if it’s such in a miserable state you ask?
Growth is an endlessly iterative process. When we learn something new, we don’t go from “wrong” to “right”. Rather, we go from wrong to slightly less wrong. We are always in the process of approaching truth and perfection without actually ever reaching truth or perfection.
Don’t be obsessed with getting your life right. There is no perfect solution to everything that happens in your life. If anything, you’re wasting your life trying to get it right. Just enjoy it man.
If you believe that your life is a shitty mess right now. Then you should also believe that it couldn’t get any worse than it is right now. You, should be certain that it’s going up any moment now. We don’t know the end of our story, but that’s fine. It’s what makes life so interesting.
If you doubt you will have a better future, than that is also good. We should be in a constant search of doubt. Doubt that you will have a good future if you just sit around playing victim and doing nothing but cry.
Architects of Our Own Beliefs
This comic is just a filler with similar situation :)
Mark gave a perfect example. There are 4 things. A button, a person, a light, and a room. Oh, actually there are 5things. A camera to observe what happens in the room. So, you tell people to come into the room and push a button. People are told to find the sequence or how they might make the light turn on.
So let’s say, they are all blood type B and O. I know you want to push the button :)
People came up with the strangest idea. They say that the light will turn on if they are pushing the button:
a. 3 times with no delay,
b. for 5 seconds,
c. while they are sitting,
d. and have something to do with the position of their feet,
e. when they are touching something else, etc.
There is a gap of information and our mind automatically keeps wiring, whirring, and trying to fill in the gap. We are making wild guesses all the time and trying to see which one is the best suited according to the situation.
Now, you should realize that our brain, with all its glory, sometimes suck and make mistake. We are imperfect. We make the meaning ourselves, and we are designed to hold on to that, because fuck you that’s why. We need something to cling to. We need explanation.We are biased by our own conception, our beliefs.
Be Careful What You Believe
Have you ever heard of false memory? Just like my explanation before, we are constantly trying to fill in the gap. Don’t believe it? Then try to play a game where you line a bunch of people and then tell the first player something with a story. Then, the story should be passed on till the last player. Let’s heard what the last player has to say. It should be fun to watch.
Our mind’s biggest priority when processing experiences is to interpret them in such a way that they will cohere with all of our previous experiences, feelings, and beliefs. In an effort to achieve coherence, our mind will sometimes, invent false memories. By linking our present experiences with that imagined past, our mind allows us to maintain whatever meaning we already established.
It’s true that you should trust yourself more, but with a healthy dose of skepticism. We can not fully rely on our memories. Our memories, are unreliable, biased, and more often than not, are wrong.
The Dangers of Pure Certainty
In mid 1990s, a psychologist named Roy Baumeister did some research about the concept of evil. His hypothesis was that people do bad things because they feel bad about themselves. This came out wrong. People do bad things because they feel good about themselves in spite of the reality and somehow they make it do with some justification.
They say I did something bad
But why’s it feel so good?
Most fun I ever had
And I’d do it over and over and over again if I could
It just felt so good, good
I Did Something Bad — Taylor Swift, 2017
We feel unwavering certainty in our own righteousness when we do something bad, in our own beliefs. It’s like racism. We felt that we are superior than some race. It’s like some random cults followers, blowing themselves with other people because they felt like they are doing salvations. We, humans are weak, especially in mind.
Evil people never believe that they are evil; rather, they believe that everyone else is evil.
There is an experiment, called Milgram Experiments. Milgram was interested in researching how far people would go in obeying an instruction if it involved harming another person. Kinda like a psychopath isn’t he? But that’s what we do, and it’s for the sake of humanity so it’s forgiven :) And the result?
Ordinary people are likely to follow orders given by an authority figure, even to the extent of killing an innocent human being. Obedience to authority is ingrained in us all from the way we are brought up.
We hide, behind the mask of authority, and also some other crazy things as a way to give ourself a justification. There is also another similar experiment by the way. It’s called Stanford Prison Experiment or the Zimbado Experiment.
But, even with such certainty as our justification, we breed insecurity. It’s the backward law in action again. When insecurity comes into play, entitlement also want to come out and play too. We feel that we deserve to cheat our way, to make things easier. We feel that we are entitled to have some help or blame others for our conditions. We are playing victim, again. Wow, such hobby. What are we? Kids?
Just like the other backward laws, we should embrace our uncertainty. It makes us less judgmental, open up paths to all progress, opportunity, and growth.
Manson’s Law of Avoidance (and Any Other Law)
“Work expands so as to fill up the time available for its completion.”
“Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.”
And here’s our Manson’s law
The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it.
And, it’s coming back to the onion layers again. The more you peel the onion, the less good you will feel and the more you will try to avoid it. The innermost layer is the personal value that will make you question all your life you’ve been living, all this time.
There are undoubtedly a million of good important opportunities that we pass up because they threaten to change how we view and feel about ourselves. They threaten the value that we’ve chosen and have learned to live up to. Because we love the comfort that comes with knowing how we fit in this world. And anything that disturb that comfort, is scary to us, so we avoid it, whether you realize it or not.
The narrower and rarer the identity you choose for yourself, the more everything will seem to threaten you. For that reason, define yourself in the simplest and most ordinary ways possible.
Don’t play victim, don’t believe that you are special. You are mediocre, and almost everyone else is. Don’t be some dumb narcissist. You, are just like the rest of us. Plain and simple. We are just attention whore, wanting to be solved, loved, and treated specially.
How to be a Little Less Certain of Yourself
Doubt yourself, your thoughts, your belief. And here are some question to help you.
Question #1: What if I’m wrong?
Try to make a habit out of this question. It gives birth to humility and compassion needed to resolve a lot of our issues. You just need to remind yourself that asking yourself if you are wrong, doesn’t mean that you are wrong. It’s not a question designed to hate yourself, so don’t hate yourself.
Question #2: What would it mean if I were wrong?
If you are wrong, admit that you are wrong. Admit what’s the meaning if you are wrong. Yup, that’s it. Sound so simple and yet so difficult to achieve. It would mean that you have bad metrics and/or values. Just admit it and start a new life with a better metrics and/or values.
Question #3: Would being wrong create a better or a worse problem than my current problem, for both myself and others?
This is the final test for determining whether we’ve got some pretty good values or not. This question is not literally picking the worst option to be wrong. It means that life is a series of choices, and the goal here is to look at which problem/option is the better problem/option.
And that’s the end of Chapter 6. See ya at Chapter 7! BTW, Happy new year guys!!! Hope this will be a good year to all of us :)