Humans don’t have a great track record of ‘knowing it all’

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photo by Evan Dennis, Unsplash

We have all seen the videos of a certain president who proclaims that he knows “more about [blank] than anybody.” Whatever it is — trade, ISIS, technology, walls, military, spray tans — he knows more than the so-called experts.

And we all laugh.

But do we act much differently in our own lives? Sure, we may not have the audacity to claim that we know everything, but we often act like it.

I’m guilty as charged.

At least, until I take a step back and realize how often that I’m wrong.

In fact, when we look back at recent human history, we are surrounded by evidence that we’re all wrong.

She doesn’t worry, despite the imperfections in her life.

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photo by Nathan Fertig, Unsplash

Have you ever noticed that cats don’t notice themselves in mirrors?

At least mine doesn’t.

I always wondered why they weren’t more fascinated by their own image or even thought it was another cat they could play with.

Heck, my cat will play with her own tail.

Then it hit me: It’s not that cats don’t notice themselves in mirrors — it’s that they don’t care.

They don’t care the same way they can sleep through a loud action movie, or people talking, or me petting their heads.

It’s background to them.

They have assimilated.

And despite their own limitations in this world, Christmas is just like any other day. …

Whereas human beings, here on Earth, are immobilized by pettiness and the religion of personal accountability.

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Sometimes, all I can do is imagine it: A more-sophisticated extraterrestrial traversing inch by inch through my night sky, connecting dots that my little eyes cannot resolve as two separate and distinct objects, because they are so far away.

While I sit in my little house, wondering what my finite existence has to offer within my 80 earth years, these creatures cross light-years with ease. As my world gets smaller, with plague and poverty and war destroying any possibility of contentment, an alien race confidently uncovers more and more of the deep mysteries in our universe.

Somewhere, there is a living thing that has discovered an endless fountain of fulfillment — eternal happiness — where they can continuously satisfy their intellectual curiosities, emotional longings, and physical adventurism. …

How I reconcile my desire to go off the grid with my need to make positive change.

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Last week, I was driving on a dirt road in the barren desert of eastern Utah, where I was looking for a place to park my car for the night. Arches National Park was “full,” and the lighted sign there said to check back in three hours. I said, screw it — I’m just gonna find a good spot to chill for the day. And I found it.

The spot was against a hill just south of the park and would act as a great back wall for my camping ground. It was sunny and hot at that moment, but I knew that as the sun moved across the sky, and finally set in the west, I would have enough shade soon enough. …

You don’t have to like it, but you aren’t allowed to shut off the mike.

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photo by Matthias Wagner | Unsplash

Back in 1896, the owner of The New York Times stated a goal was “to make of the columns of The New York Times a forum for the consideration of all questions of public importance, and to that end to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.” Unfortunately, this is not currently the situation.

But it’s not just at The Times — this is the case across the mainstream media with regards to what stories are written, how stories are written, and who writes them. …

Am I afraid of a semi-hostile world?

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It’s raining outside.

I’m in a forest somewhere in Colorado.

My car is full of things that should be outside.

I’m in here, because the ground is soggy, and the atmosphere is intimidating.

I have blankets.

I have dry socks.

I hear the rain on my roof, and it’s melodic, like someone gently touching my leg while I drive.

But I remain, parked under the trees.

The mountains in the foreground, spots of blue and gray in the back.

My back is hurting.

But I’m not alone.

The forest has chattering insects, timid squirrels, and maybe hungry bears.

There are ATVs roaring by on the road below, even as the sky dumps buckets on their path. …

Am I really alone or is there something that I can’t see?

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photo by Azfan Nugi | Unsplash

I’m blind in my right eye for some reason. But maybe it’s for the best.

I don’t mean to be negative, but it’s very discouraging to see how unevolved much of America is. So many of these people appear to be uninspiring, cookie-cutter, quiet, and uninteresting followers.

At least they look that way.

Maybe they’re not when you actually talk to them.

Maybe they’re not if I could actually see.

It’s possible they’re more like me than I realize. But perhaps they are less like me as opposed to me being more like them. Will I ever know?

It may be hard for me to accept, since I get a good amount of comfort in thinking that I’m different. …

These reflections have helped me to find The Good Life.

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From the NYTimes: Fred Beckey, photographed in Alaska in 1966, shunned publicity and people.

“In the end, they’ll still judge you anyway so whatever.”

I recently discovered a documentary called Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey. At first, I didn’t think the film would be for me. But damn, was I wrong. Now, I can’t stop thinking about it.

The documentary is about an old vagabond who only loved one thing his entire life: climbing. He would conquer mountains that had never been climbed by another human. And, by any reasonable standard, he was very successful doing so.

But he was still very controversial in his time.

Despite his enormous accomplishments, Beckey wasn’t very well-liked or well-known during his life. In 1963, though he was somewhat renowned for his climbing abilities, he was passed over to be the first American sent to climb Mount Everest because he wasn’t considered a “team player.” However, as Beckey told it, this assessment didn’t bother him. …

How you can build an existence of creativity, adventure, love, authenticity, and freedom.

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So many people follow a course of events that are average, and then wonder why they’re so miserable later. If you’re from a certain socioeconomic background, like I am, you may have been expected to go to college (even if you have to take loans), then get a job that pays the bills, find a significant other, move in together, get married, have children, and, in no time, your life stops being about you and your dreams. Your life is suddenly full of obligations. …

It’s partly because the status quo sucks— but that can change, too.

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photo by Holly Mandarich | Unsplash

Imagine a time of economic prosperity and peace, when everyone feels like they have purpose, and most of us have hope. You have a house, a reliable car, sufficient food, good health, a strong community, and everything else that you need.

You think you know what way is up, and what way is down.

Now, think about that life crumbling apart. If you’re alive today, it’s probably not too hard to imagine. You see the world around you is in turmoil. …


Cee Vinny

PhD from Harvard • Scientist • Dreamer • Trying to make sense out of a seemingly senseless universe • I may be wrong

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