We Do Not Like Being Trapped
Having a different perspective is the best thing that's ever happened to mankind.
Dear Letter Opener,
This excerpt from David Brooks’ The Social Animal, provides a compelling exploration of how information is transmitted across generations to reach the newest of the newborns in the world today.
…even before we are born, we inherit a great river of knowledge, a great flow of patterns coming from many ages and sources. The information that comes from deep in the evolutionary past, we call genetics. The information revealed thousands of years ago, we call religion. The information passed along from hundreds of years ago, we call culture. The information passed along from decades ago, we call family and the information offered years, months, days, or hours ago, we call education and advice.
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To harness the power of words, they must be articulated perfectly. They restructure the mumbo-jumbo in the brain to guide thoughts into a particular direction. All that is required is repetition and a reference point, of which the latter is already provided in the aforementioned paragraph. Frankly, this newsletter can now be taken willfully in any direction that one pleases.
It can be about how knowledge is poured from one vessel to another, acting as a perpetual source of energy that cannot be depleted.
Alternatively, if you prefer delving into our collective history, take the scientific route into the realm of genetic formation.
How about getting controversial with religion, originally meant to unite, but now dividing us?
Or, perhaps you'd prefer the fun and frolic route, exploring the beautiful diversity of cultures that offer humanity countless ways of living.
And let's not forget the entertaining aspect of exploring different personalities within your family, conquering the ability to handle them all at once.
If four topics weren’t enough, brace yourself for a descend into the treacherous trenches of our faltering education system that’s failing us all by the minute, churning out standardized products of mediocrity because of the lack of attention towards an individual’s unique talents, expertise and interest.
Almost broke the keyboard with that last paragraph… some underlying issue that needs to be patched up. Nothing a band-aid can’t do.
Anyway, the point is, and the direction we’re heading towards is—a million people will have a million perspectives even if they’re looking at the same thing.
It doesn’t mean you’re wrong and the other person is right, neither does it mean that you’re right and they’re in the wrong. Rather, it signifies that each individual possesses a slightly distinct lens through which they perceive the world. Instead of fiercely defending your own viewpoint, consider sneakily peeking through the other person’s lens from time to time.
Keep this in mind the next time your budding artist child isn't acing Math or History, your mother becomes your daily hotline with her opinions, your sports-loving brother can't grasp your literary passions, your success-driven friend questions your pursuit of personal fulfillment, or your practical-minded father raises an eyebrow at your creative career choice. It's a reminder that everyone's outlook comes with its own quirks and perspectives.
It’s never been your place in the world to judge and this newsletter is far from forcing you to oblige to anyone’s whims and fancies. It’s a subtle nudge to expand the angles of the blinders you have on in order to view the world and its inhabitants the best you can.
In an ideal world, the lineage carries the burden of what the ancestors left behind denying those without significant resources the chance to grow. Fortunately, it’s not an ideal world, neither is it a fair one and I’m not here to tell you what a wonderful world it is because it’s not. I’m here to tell you, ‘What other choice do you have?’ Mars is far from being colonized.
Different is what makes us sane. Imagine if everyone in the world pursued the same career path. We'd have an army of generational accountants crunching numbers, a horde of identical lawyers arguing the same cases, and a swarm of carbon-copy artists painting the same landscapes.
It's like a job fair gone wrong! Embracing different perspectives is like assembling a dream team of diverse talents. Just like a successful company needs a mix of skills, ideas, and expertise, our world thrives when we celebrate the unique talents and passions of each individual.
So, whether you're a daring entrepreneur, a creative artist, a logical engineer, or an adventurous traveler, remember that your chosen path adds an essential ingredient to the recipe of success. Together, our varied careers create a symphony of innovation, inspiration, and collaboration.
Because sometimes, in the pursuit of becoming like someone else, we trap our true selves and history is witness to the fact that we do not like being trapped.