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Showing posts from February, 2009

My thoughts on a personal vision statment

A letter I wrote to one of my teachers recently:

The problem I have run into is something i think almost everybody faces but 'somehow' they manage to 'bypass' it. I am having a very difficult time because of this. The problem itself is that I don't have a vision and therefore no direction and so I don't know what to do!

Do you have any ideas on how to solve this problem?

I think the traditional answer to these kind of problems is 'pray to God he will help you' but I suppose that really doesn't help, because in many ways I suppose I have been 'praying' to him for most of my adult life and if there is a particular prayer people know about then they seem to hold it very close to themselves.

Another view people have is "don't think about it!” This is almost a best seller among the group of people around me. I can't see this one solving the problem either.

"Good Luck!" is my personal favorite.

End of letter

People mostly don’…

What I do to Relax

I have been under the impression for a long time that relaxing can only come from ‘doing nothing’. Now sleeping is an activity that involves ‘doing nothing’ and it helps me relax as well. However one cannot generalize on the basis of this method and create a rule which says “All activities that involve doing nothing will help me relax”. In fact it is quite the opposite because if I am awake and I try to ‘not to do anything’ it in fact bores me. It sometimes bores me so much that it frustrates me and when this happens I find it difficult to relax.

On the other hand if I do too much work I get exhausted and therefore tired. Neither the process of getting exhausted neither the state of being tired is relaxing.

Having observed that a certain amount of activity i.e. mental activity or mental stimulation keeps me entertained and that this is the state that brings me closest to relaxing it hit me that in order to relax what I really need to do is to have a certain amount of mental stimulatio…

About "Hard Work"

“Working hard” is a term I have long tried to define. There are many things I can do for a very long period of time and never get tired. Writing my blog, or thinking about things that I put on my blog being one of them. Then there are things that make me tired and these “I think” are those that make me “stretch myself” or make me use my “will power”. I say stretch myself because perhaps I don’t enjoy them very much. Interestingly I sometimes do the former to balance the latter, as somebody might say having a ‘heavy’ discussion with somebody just to refresh myself. (Please do note that there are other ways that I can find to relax as well!)

However, when one starts to feel the pressure and it makes one uncomfortable to a certain degree one might be close to the “stretching point”.

Of course how much you want to stretch yourself is something you’ll have to decide. I think one should be careful to make sure that they don’t push it beyond a reasonable limit. While this stretching point mig…

From A to A+

“One has to put in effort to get an A in a course but to make that into an A+ one has to be a perfectionist” is what one of my teachers once said. I think there is some merit in this statement in that I see that most people get by in their jobs without always putting in that extra mile but those who put in that “extra mile” may develop an insight in their area of work that is fundamental to achieving success. The more effort they put in this extra mile the more insight they develop because they attempt to see the problem from more angles then others. These extra angles I think are crucial to developing a complete “picture” of the problem. Once this “picture” is developed one can use it to solve similar and related problems.

What one however must be most careful with is not to allow one’s personality to digress into that of a perfectionist. This would be a problem because it might get the work done but it will leave the person always dissatisfied in a way that leaves him unhappy.

Anothe…

The utility of modesty

I have been thinking about the idea of modesty lately and of its utility. Modesty is useful I think primarily because it allows us to predict ourselves in the world around us. We can predict ourselves and more accurately our behavior if we have set for ourselves some limits. Whatever these limits may be they have to be reasonable and therefore neither too strict nor too lenient. An example of being too strict would be a limit where we don’t allow ourselves to interact in matters of ordinary dealing with the opposite gender whereas an example of being too lenient would be where we allow ourselves to indulge with decadent women/men such as prostitutes. In either case we will be behaving in a way that will harm us.

Modesty as limits that we set upon ourselves of ‘decency’ should help us interact with people of the opposite gender in a very rich manner. It should in fact ‘simplify’ these relationships.

Modesty as applied to marriage I think follows in the following manner: If an unmarried…

How we think

The way humans think is different from how computers think. Our cognitive abilities are designed with certain flaws. One clear example of this is called “source monitoring” i.e. we can’t always remember the source of our information. A more important way in which our thinking is different from that of a computer is that our thinking process is often colored with emotion. To demonstrate this let me explain the two types of thinking humans are capable of:
1. Narrative thought
2. Propositional thought

Narrative thought is based on episodic memory, it has a story like aspect to it. For example when we think about going to a party we imagine ourselves there and ask “am I going to have fun?”, “who is going to be there?”. Such thinking unfortunately has the power of running over the facts of the situation. For example if you ask an average person whether traveling in a plane makes him more anxious than traveling in a car most people who know that the statistical chances of death in a car are h…

Why one should take interest in philosophy

A book I was reading by Ayn Rand “For The New Intellectual” narrates the journey that human society has made. I have extracted from this the role and importance of philosophy for us in our present time.

Over the course of history there have been three types of individuals:
1. Attila: who used force to conquer. He viewed the world as a set of experiences that were all on the concrete level and so he was missing an “integrated” view of the world. He could only see the world in disconnected chunks that had no deeper relationship with each other. For example he would conquer people to produce for him but never asked what it was that made those conquered “able to produce”.
2. Witch doctor: who thought his psychedelic experiences were a heightened state that brought him closer to reality whereas they were in fact completely divorced from reality. The witch-doctor gave Attila his integrated view who therefore depended on the witch-doctor and in turn the witch doctor depended on Attila for hi…

Facts about IQ

If you ask people how intelligent they think they are it is interesting to know that the average perception is that everybody thinks they are above average. This is also true for the self-perception of how good one looks. Everybody thinks they are better looking then they actually are. One group gets it right though and that is the depressed people. They have an accurate assessment of how intelligent or good looking they are. Some have said that our unreal perception of our intelligence keeps us from being depressed!

We can divide the intuitive idea of intelligence in the following ways:
1. Fluid intelligence: Set of reasoning abilities that let you deal with abstract relations which reaches its mature state by age 16.
2. Crystalline intelligence: Application of knowledge to particular tasks. This ability keeps growing throughout our life span. Example vocabulary.

IQ tests measure fluid intelligence! A simple test of fluid intelligence is one which involves “number calculation + rememberi…

About Islam

The basis of Islam is reality. The prophet was a guide because he was very close to reality and wanted to bring others close to reality as well. God is the Ultimate reality. The message of the prophet to human kind was one that would empower them. It would empower them because it was based on reality.

Everything in this world is related to everything else. Example 1: “Six degrees of separation” rule says that “Any person needs a maximum of six people in between to connect to any other person B on this planet”. Example 2: “Story of how the parents of President Nixon met”. A man fell over a banana peel that was thrown by somebody else and went to the laundry where he met a woman. They fell in love, got married and their son became the president of the United States of America. If that banana peel had not been thrown there the course of the world might have been a little different. This very well could be the story of everybody on this planet!

Not only is everything related to everything…