#13: On concept and reasoning
(Sent out a bit late this week but better than never, right?)
The weather finally gets better here on the east side of the Big Island of Hawaii. I’m surprised to discover the many micro-climates in a relatively small region. A twenty-minute drive can lead you to a drastically different ecosystem.
This is an example of how experience and reality can be very different from concepts. People talk about Hawaii as sunny and warm, but when you come here it’s much more nuanced.
I’m frequently reminded of how much different concepts and reality can be. While people describe Hawaii as sunny and warm, reality here is far more nuanced.
Our ideas are concepts. I thought traveling solo seem less rewarding than going with others, since you forgo a shared memory. But a friend I met here reminded me that was just in my mind. One may prefer traveling alone because one can be fully absorbed by the surroundings. I can never truly know until I experience it. And some bad experience doesn’t mean it will be always like that. Every place is distinct. People are diverse. Randomness plays a role.
Instead of judging which one is right or wrong, as Seth Godin suggested, experience the world in a useful way. Because no one accurately sees the world as it is.
If the methods you’ve used to judge other people, to choose projects or to make decisions have been helping you get exactly what you seek, congratulations.
For the rest of us, there’s a chance to work on our filters, our habits and our instincts.
If reasoning is the only tool we use, we may never try things that can give us high returns. As Nat Eliason observed, “Many of the best quality-of-life improvements seem to have known costs but unknowable benefits” (e.g. exercise, meditation). And “Until you’ve experienced the benefits for yourself, you do not truly know them.”
Going back to traveling — if we weigh pros and cons, we’ll never leave the door. There is never a good time to travel because the costs seem huge and the benefits are unknown. Even if you truly believe traveling can change your life, it will never become urgent. The best time is now (or at least schedule it).
Have a great (rest of the) week,
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