Earlier I wrote about separating the wheat from the chaff but today a few sentences in comments of a post provided much food for thought. The lens of our minds often paint a very distorted picture of ourselves and, as a result, of others and the world around us. Unfortunately, since we only have a single point of reference, it is difficult for many of us to catch and correct this distortion. The distorted view, in turn, tends to cause us to dismiss ideas, thoughts, or points that could otherwise be invaluable (the wheat). We correct this distortion through constantly cross-checking what we see with what others see either via live experiences or via imagination enriched through education, reading, and other means of learning. For example, Dr. House in a popular TV show wants his team to challenge his thinking forcing him to see the same problem from different angles. Dr. Niederhoffer in Daily Speculations gets a real-time perspective from his readers while exchanging with them his perspectives. Another example is our ability to use past education, reading to relate to current events, or current people (mind applying past patterns to current ones). We are hard at work trying to correct the distortions created by our own upbringing, learning and experiences, yet often we end up with an even more distorted view if our subconscious corrective efforts are not using the appropriate models or people. If I had multiple lives, I would devote one to the study of the hypothesis above. The author of the referenced post says he never lets his “personal feelings for a person interfere with any good ideas they bring to the table” which is perhaps his effort to correct the distortions by forcing his mind to remain open despite the stimulus (dislike) to close.
There is another sentence hidden in those comments stating that “the person and his/her ideas are 2 different things.” Is this really possible? I believe that a Person = ideas + attitudes + habits + values + beliefs + qualities + character + roles + contributions + lessons + observations + legacy + other dimensions where it’s impossible for each dimension to be independent of the others. The key point I forgot to mention in the post comments is regarding the time dimension. While we are the sum of what we do, say, write, believe… these do change over time allowing us to change as well. I remember reading someplace Gandhi saying “A person cannot do right in one department of life whilst attempting to do wrong in another department. Life is one indivisible whole.” Humans are complex beings but one way to understand ourselves and others is to realize that we are multidimensional beings, with many parts to each equation. And, those parts are always changing. Some parts we hope change very frequently (experiences, observations, etc.) while some parts we hope remain fairly constant (good character, trustworthiness, etc.).
I have noticed that people who try to understand the market (or life) spend more time learning themselves as the market (and life) is unforgiving and doesn’t care about our distorted screens. There are too many opinions that can further distort our views causing confusion and doubt. Since our positions and actions in aggregate determine our success, we tend to focus on these trying to understand how the universe can affect them. In life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, an open mind and active efforts to correct our own distorted views are required.
For fear of having another very long post, I’ll stop here.