It’s better to be stupid than close-minded

Why? Because there is an exit to stupid.

There is always experience. There is always other people and their experience. There are always books. The information is out there. Especially if you know you’re dense. Like Socrates: I know I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing. 

But if you’re close-minded, there is no hope. You’ve already decided who you are. You have a confirmation bias, so it doesn’t matter what new information you’re presented with, your mind is made up.

And if you’ve made up your mind on things and who you are, and decided that you’ll always be that way, there is no reality where you’re different from the way you are right now. Which is more like the Edge of Tomorrow than reality. 

That’s not what life’s about. The longer you live, as long as you’re doing it right, the more truth you have. Through experience and sharing. But once you make up your mind that you understand it, you start discrediting other people’s truth, refusing new experiences, stop learning new things.

So don’t be close minded. Remember that no matter how much you know, you know nothing. That way, there’s always hope. 

Transforming Fear into Hope

1 John 4:18 “Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear”

Fear is focusing on one negative possible reality. Fear is when we perceive a threat in our reality. It is the opposite of hope. Hope is focusing on one positive possible reality. Every fear has an equivalent counter of hope. I fear death but hope for eternal life.

Absolute fear is catastrophic: this is going to kill me. Mitigating fear is diminishing: this probably won’t kill me. There’s hope in it. You acknowledge that there is a chance that it doesn’t kill you. Anxiety is an addiction to fear.

There are always infinite possible hopes and fears in any moment, so the key is to properly mitigate. When you think I’ll definitely die today, you have to remember that the future is uncertain. If the future is uncertain, there are always good and bad possible outcomes. If there are possible good outcomes, thinking of those could transform your previous thought to maybe I won’t die to today. But remember, you have a very, very slim chance of dying today. So the good really outweighs the bad. I probably won’t die today.

That’s as far as I can get you without religion. But if you accept the thoughts of the afterlife, even death is not the end. Even the scariest I’ll definitely die today becomes something much different: I’ll definitely die today, but I’ll go somewhere much better.

So you see, with the addition of the afterlife, there is always hope. Even in our darkest days, because there’s always infinite potential positive outcomes. More than that, all outcomes are eventually positive.

[Please don’t misconstrue this as some strange way to say that if you kill yourself you’ll go to heaven. Because religious scholars really just aren’t sure about that. Don’t gamble with your soul.]

 

Turning Grief into Love

Preliminary Reading: Defining Love and Applying Love to Forever

Grief is when you lose something you love. If love is defined as imagining all future realities with someone, grief would be losing something that you never imagined being apart from. Not because you expected your mother to always live for example, but because the positive parts of her will never be there again for you. So something that you had imagine all future realities including, is now gone. You have a void that will never be filled, depending on what you believe.

If you believe in the afterlife, you could hope to see them again. There would be at least one potential realty where you got to see them again. If you believe that they were going to the same afterlife as you, all potential outcomes involved the two of you together again, so grief becomes hope, becomes faith. And if you have faith that you will spend eternity with this person, you can still love them.

Hope is one

I feel connected with him because we share initials, and we’re both obsessed with time. I want to talk about small scene he had in the last (or maybe 2nd to last) Avengers movie.

In one scene, he’s sitting cross-legged, levitating, and clearly calculating something with his time gifts. After a while, someone asked him what he was doing, and he says that he was assessing possible outcomes of future events. He looked at over 14,000,000 different scenarios, and only one had a positive outcome.

There was literally only one possible outcome where the universe existed as it was before, and we fans had hope.

Using the Avengers as our background, we only need one potential positive outcome to be hopeful. Or at very least, buy a movie ticket.

The question becomes what is bothering you right now? Can you imagine a scenario where it’s gone? That’s what hope is. It’s the ability to imagine a single potential positive future outcome. And the truth is, there are infinite.

Expecting Unhappiness

 

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When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have. -Stephen Hawking 

First, let’s define expectations as a set of predictions about the future. Gratitude is the opposite of expectations. We can be grateful about certain things, but not others. But it’s nearly impossible to be grateful for something that is outside of our set of expectations. As expectations approach zero, we are fully grateful. If gratitude approaches zero, we are full of unmet expectations. Expectations create a void. Gratitude is the absence of void.

Hope is not expectations. I hope that I live another forty years, but I don’t expect it. Once I expect it, anything shy of that is a disappointment. Hope is belief that there is a possibility that there will be a time where your reality [or a portion] is better than right now. Hope becomes expectations when you decide that your dream is essential to your happiness.

What is the difference between hope and expectations? Hope does not create a void. Hope is just belief that the future could be better. I hope my arm heals up or I expect my arm to heal up. Hope involves accepting the present reality. I do not need my arm to heal to be whole, but I would be very grateful if it healed. If I expect my arm to heal, my current reality is incomplete until my arm heals. I can never be fully whole without a healed arm. And the truth is there is an infinite set of realities that involve a healed arm, and an infinite set that involved an unhealed arm. If I expect my arm to heal, I cannot be completely happy with an unhealed arm.

The past is unchangeable. There is literally no hope to change it. It has been written. If you expect a life that doesn’t include your mistakes, you’re going to be unhappy, because it doesn’t exist.

What do you expect out of your life? How far are you from that right now? Let’s start with a much smaller scale. You go out to eat and you order a steak. It’s a nice restaurant, so you’re paying $30+ dollars per streak. You order it medium rare.

At this point, you’ve probably unknowingly set some expectations on the meal. [And the restaurant has placed some expectations on itself] With the price of the meal being high, and the restaurant being fancy, you automatically expect more out of this meal. You put in your order, and expect it to be right, and delicious. Maybe it’s good, and maybe it’s terrible, but expectations at this point are so high, that even a good steak make just appease you.

On the other hand, take the same meal at a dive bar with a $15 steak, and you may have people lining up down the block for it. With lowered expectations, the customer has no choice but to be impressed with a good steak.

How does this apply to the bigger picture? Imagine that fairy-tale wedding: the perfect dress, picturesque setting, and Prince Charming. Girls dream about these things when they are very young. We encourage it. They make decisions based on this ideal.

In reality, you wear a great dress, and have a great wedding in a great place to a great guy, but you may still not be happy. Because you let your dreams effect your reality.

Chances are great that you’re not a millionaire and you didn’t marry a supermodel, so how do you get out of bed every morning? Gratitude. Gratitude is the ultimate mindset in accepting what you have. It doesn’t mean that you can’t work towards making millions, but it means that you can be happy along the way.

So how do I keep moving forward without being bogged down by my expectations?I’m not saying that it’s not okay to dream. It’s important to move ourselves and society forward. But as things happen, we shouldn’t look back on our plan constantly, because it will never measure up. And if our happiness is based on how well our expectations match our realities, we will never be happy.

Don’t let other people’s expectations of you effect you. I really struggle with this. I’m pretty good at this sport, so my friends think that I’m good at this sport. But I haven’t been playing lately, so I’m not as good as they expect me to be. When my reality doesn’t match their expectations, they feel obligated to say something. If I let my current reality inherit their expectations, I’ll be unhappy with my play. But if I can accept my current reality, I can embrace each match and still have fun.

The moral of the story: dream big, expect nothing, be grateful, hope for the best, and don’t let anyone else’s expectations become your own. Every time you compare reality to expectations you will be disappointed, so just don’t do it.

Expect the world, and you’ll find disappointment. Expect the worst, and you’ll find worries. Expect nothing, and you’ll find everything.