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No Bullshit

People are full of it. They borrow or create fantasy worlds and fairy tales to tell themselves they are great, their lives are great, life is beautiful and their ideas will shape the future of humanity and the Universe. The search for meaning in a rather unpleasant and empty life leads them to imagine, swallow, fight for and spread utopian ideas that are unrealistic or downright stupid, or, even worse, damaging for themselves and others. Or it leads them to a path of narcissism and materialism coupled with a constant display of their wealth and status. Status signaling and virtue signaling are flooding social media ad nauseam.

Life, reality, nature, the Universe are full of nuances. They lack clear definitions of good and bad. There are no recipes, no clear cut solutions to deal with situations, to be (forever) happy, to have a life filled with meaning or leave a dent in the Universe. Happiness is defined by the existence of pain and suffering. Meaning comes from traversing adversities. Disappointments, rejections, mishaps, bad decisions are an integral part of your (and everyone else's) life.

If you are willing to cross the desert from the fairy tale world you are constantly sold by you or others, due to societal programming or due to the fear of seeing the uglier side of things, it's not going to be easy. It will require a painful process of seeing things for what they really are, not what you were told they are or what you think they should be, based on a given set of moral principles.

Modeling life, society, nature is useful; it gives us the possibility of understanding by simplification. But simplification looses precision, certain situations won't “fit” inside the model. You will have to periodically revisit your values and principles, to reconnect them to new events and the new state of your being, your life, of the society and the Universe.

There are no recipes. You have to be aware of yourself and the world around you and strive to find your place in the real world. It's not all rainbows and sun shines. But it's not all darkness and misery either. Life, the real world, nature, the Universe are a rather amoral bunch, that will give a mixed set of feelings, from cathartic happiness to dreadful hopelessness. It is what it is, not what we want it to be. But a better, more realistic, grounded grasp on it will leave you feeling more in control and less prone to compensating behaviors. And it will fill that void inside of you that says “this doesn't seem right” when you see, witness or do something.

If you want to take this journey, I recommend you followed some people whose thoughts you may find useful along the way. They were of help for my journey and I'm still using their thoughts to revisit my ideas about the world. They aren't selling you “nice ideas in exchange for life”, rather giving you a glimpse of their view of the world (in different ways). As with everything, read them with a grain of salt:

  • Barbu Mateescu (in Romanian): fun facts, political analysis, quantitative perspective
  • Sebastian Lăzăroiu (in Romanian): humorous political takes (laughter is good for the soul)
  • Miron Damian (in Romanian): political analysis from a constitutional / judicial perspective (highly non-biased and realistic)
  • Doru Căstăian (in Romanian): on philosophy, education, humanism and balance
  • Dan Pavel (in Romanian): hard pills made easier to swallow through (dark) humor and (highly) personal anecdotes and takes
  • The Captain: gritty life advice; focus on realism, responsibility and hard work
  • Steve Steward-Williams: nature, human nature, evolution
  • Geoffrey Miller: evolution, civilization, impact of technology

The following are rougher and might hit some nerves:

guides/no-bullshit.txt · Last modified: 2022/02/01 07:37 by razvan