Food for Thought

June 13 2014

Greetings to everyone on the listserve. I'm Matthias, a 23 year old student, and amongst other things, I study computer science, philosophy and psychology. I'm not writing some long detailed story, I just want to give good "food for thought" to everyone of you.

1) Developing skills and competence that suit your character, and utilizing them is a crucial life task. Don't do something you need to do - become really good at something you want to do instead. I know it's an old saying, but motivation really is the key.

2) "Someone who walks slow, still goes faster than somebody standing still". Actually starting something, even if it's slow, is better than not starting it at all. Also, progress requires goals, and growth - otherwise you might stop walking.

3) Infinity isn't just "large" - it's not a static entity, like a huge number. It's just used to describe the lack of any boundaries. Also see "Infinite monkey theorem", Graham's number.

4) Causality chain: Everything that happens is a result of a long chain of other events. If one event in this chain would've been different, the whole outcome might have been completely different as well. Every fraction of a second counts. Think about a specific occurence, and track back all the little things that lead to it. You can go backwards in chain links forever, and if a coincidence didn't happen at the correct second, everything could've been different. It might sound a bit extreme, but after all it seems that our entire existence is based on a huge chain of accurate events. See also: Chaos theory, butterfly effect, determinism.

5) In regards to 4), coincidence really is amazing and one of the most powerful things. Some might believe in destiny or fate, but after all, the universe is a complex and dynamic system, where everything affects each other. Try out as many things as you can, have a plan and be dedicated, but also allow yourself to "experience coincidence", so many options might come towards you.

6) In the end, only memories stay, and you're only experiencing the presence. So the underlying reasoning behind all our actions might be experiencing as many good moments as possible.

7) The reason we procrastinate is because we value the presence much more than the uncertain future. Enjoyment (=reward) right now > possible benefits in the future.

8) "A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still". If you want someone to do or believe something, he must want it.

9) Most people are defensive and unwilling to admit mistakes, thus, criticizing is often pointless. However, agreeing with someone in a debate often does wonders, and might lead to the other person suddenly questioning himself.

10) There is no perfect ethical system. Almost always, you could interpret an action as right or wrong (e.g. murder could cause more good than bad, and thus might be justified in one system, but of course measuring the amount of "good" or "bad" is subject to interpretations again).

11) The root of all evil in the world might be greed and selfishness, also causing the current economic outgrowth. Even though that hardly can be fixed, „effective altruism“ tries to figure out efficient ways to improve the situation. Might be worth checking into.

12) Book tip: "How to win friends and influence people" by Dale Carnegie, with many revelations on human relations.

If some of these words made you think, I'm happy :) feel free to contact me if you want to talk more about something.

[email protected]
Vienna, Austria

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