the world as nytimes sunday review shows it.

all these articles are from one sunday review from yesterday
this is what is wrong with the world:

poverty
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/opinion/sunday/in-kenya-famines-lessons.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss&pagewanted=all

hatred
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/opinion/sunday/israels-other-occupation.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

this is what is good with the world:

people with a heart:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/sunday-review/policy-making-billionaires.html?pagewanted=2&partner=rss&emc=rss

people with will power:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/opinion/sunday/willpower-its-in-your-head.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

i’ve thought lately a lot about unfairness in the world, and being an engineer. i think i’m going to take a break from these two ideas and think about other things.

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higher learning frustrations

written on Nov 1st, 2011
i’m trying to start my engineering lab report.
and it just feels so so pointless.

i don’t know where this feeling crept up but ever since i started doing bryte, i’ve been starting to realize the disparity between worlds.
and unlike some other people, i live with a lot of my thoughts. i can’t ignore them with other people.

over time, this sort of conscience of mine has been restructured, torn apart and rebuilt many times, this one a bit more incomplete and asymmetrical than the previous one.

and now i’ve reached a huge stump.
i don’t know why i’m learning anymore.

seriously, what is the point of learning anymore?
to get ahead? to get a higher gpa?
they don’t make sense at all.

i’m looking at all these text books i own of pure math, e&m, differential equations.
what value do i create in this world with all this knowledge?

i want to change the world. and i feel like i have enough knowledge to save many lives already. so why am i here?
it doesn’t help that reading this article: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2011/06/06/110606crat_atlarge_menand?currentPage=all
makes me feel that all i’m learning is specialized knowledge, of the properties of the natural world, of the relationship between one abstraction and another.

i agree with the article that the skills we really need to learn are critical thinking, analytical skills.
and it doesn’t seem to me that we necessarily learn those in engineering, at least not for application in the real world.
http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/reviewofbooks_article/11348/

is it because this semester is extremely difficult? yes. and i don’t find any more reason in burying my head and doing sth like this anymore.

quasi-socratic dialogue with myself

me: I sat on a bus today and saw white trash. I walked and saw the occupy Providence movement. I also saw Buddha Timsina.
me: What did you learn from that?
me: I don’t know what to think of the occupy movement. Freedom of speech is a right. that’s fine. Freedom is your no.1 right. that’s fine too. But no-one every promised prosperity as a right
me: Maybe they think life is unfair.
me: Life is inherently unfair because Buddha Timsina is 16 and he’s a refugee. He’s had barely any education. He’s trying to survive in a country where he doesn’t the language. I’ve now had 16 years of schooling under my belt and tons of people who have rushed to my rescue when I needed it. But he still smiles everyday.
me: But shouldn’t we make it more fair at least?
me: How? how do we even measure fairness? What do I do with the cripples, the babies who die in their mother’s wombs?
me: That’s true.
me: You can’t do anything about it. The system is inherently flawed. Our lives are largely determined by our initial conditions. No one promised prosperity. The only fair thing in this world is sacrifices and the rewards and sacrifices are not even balanced. It’s a fact that you gain something by lose something else. You lose freedom by having more responsibilities. You lose time by gaining knowledge. If we want someone to gain, someone else in the system has to lose, like in a poker game. The universe is finite. On a very cosmic scale, our lives are a function of the distribution of that finite resource. There is a tiny bit of input in that system, it’s what you have. That’s the only thing you can control. If you want something, you’ll have to lose something else. Everyone needs to know that fairy-tales don’t exist.

edit: read this perfect article this morning summing up these thoughts: http://nymag.com/news/features/my-generation-2011-10/

that feeling on my chest

today is one of those days, one of those days i have a feeling on my chest that i have a lot to say and i want it to get all of it off me. this is my pensive and i’m going to unload my brain here. it might not make any sense or have any structure so please bear with me.

i saw the health services counselor who comforted me while i was crying after one of those community value meetings last year while walking back. i had lunch with a friend i’ve known for seven years and walked back into keeny earlier today. and i hanged-out with the four freshmen friengineers i grew up with. all of these small things triggered me to think about how i’ve changed over the past year. how i’ve changed isn’t important i think because everyone, including me, changes. there’s only limited value in tracking something that changes if you don’t know if there will be any correlation. but i guess it’s like taking snapshots and it’s always thought-provoking to compare yourself now and yourself behavior.

any moment now, a person, a class, a lecture, an idea could change my life. part of that is the mystique and fun of the human experience, of not knowing what will happening next, the challenge and excitement in trying to control it but sometimes realizing that it sometimes is better to let the waves carry you. i’ve never been perfectly content with life, i’m always trying to do something more, do something differently. everyday, we’re trying to streamline our lives, do more things we like and less things we don’t want to. and greg and i talked last night about classes. i want to take other classes. i don’t want to just take engineering classes but my theory is that it doesn’t benefit me to take humanity classes if they’re not going to be my first priority. i just won’t get a lot out of it if i don’t do the reading. but if i could, a class i would want to take is on human’s function in society. what meaning, function do we as individuals give to this world or is that a question you have to largely answer on your own.

i would like to read if i had the time to or watch those movies i’ve always wanted to. it occurs to me what your life ends up being seems to be largely a combination of luck (and the workings of this big machine called society if you believe in it). i’m a pragmatist and i think it’s much easier to live life not questioning it because it takes so much time (as i am doing now) doubting my life.

i still haven’t quite decided whether thinking about life can be truly attributed to time spent effectively. i want to believe that it gives meaning to life so i can justify what i’m doing now. we tend to believe that meaning can be generated from debilitating over some of our higher purposes of life but i’m not always convinced.

we never really know what to do with life, whether to cut the crap and just live it, mood over it. as i’ve said before, my personal opinion is that life is just a hodgepodge of people, things, occurrences, basically a huge atom with electrons flying in unpredictable directions. in the end, it’s what’s hard-wired into your brain. once you’re off-balance towards one type of thinking, you’re forever off-balance. some people i know would never do this, and this already shows that i am the type of person who will mood over life.

Jason – deciding whether he wasted his time.

self-content

the message is the same. the idea is the same. i’ve talked about it in the past before but i just need to write it again to remind myself.

i always find myself in the same situation, forcing myself to do something i don’t desire doing. i just do it because i think i will like it later or that the benefits in the future will outweigh the pain. usually, the answer to that question is no. (but you should always give it a shot, only one though)

i made a promise to myself last year that i would do a bit less work, leave myself a bit more time, leave other people a bit more time. and i already see myself going back on that promise. it’s not that hard. it’s always an issue of pride. a image of myself i need to maintain, a feeling of self-worth, of confidence. i wanted to take a hard class this semester i thought i liked. and i realized upon going in that group problem session that the main reason to take it was to confirm that i was still one of the smart kids like i was in high school. it’s still the same issue of pride. i had to put it down.

for better or worse, we are stuck with what we have. intelligence and looks. you need to be comfortable of who you are, regardless of who you maybe. we are infinitesimally small but we can still have our own colors. put down your pride, then you will be much clearer of what you want to do.

pride (this doesn’t sound like me but i’m going to say it) principles should never be the reason.

i think i.s.p (independent study projects) are a good analogy. a grad student put it this way which inspired me. they count for the same credit, but you spend way much more time on it. but if you enjoy it and like it, then no matter what other people say or not recognize, you will still be ok.

because at the end of the day, when the lights dim, and you are in bed. your brain is the only one that you are listening to. in our self-aware lives, perspective is one of the hardest things to gain. to us, we will always be the kid who was affected. but when we get the privilege to step back, you will see the world is so much more.

at the gates.

Words to a co-worker as we were parting after a farewell dinner. It helped me consolidate all the thoughts that had been in my head for the past few days into one flowing, eloquent speech. I think this probably helped me more than her.

“My parting words will be this:
There’s that English saying that:
‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.’
Life is too short, to make the same mistake twice.
There is a lot in life you can’t control,
Lots you can.
It’s about making the most out of what you can control,
not making the same mistake again
and not fearing those choices. Continue reading