Rochester Math Tutor

Sometimes when I get one year older, I like to bless (curse?) my Facebook friends with some philosophical musings.

Here they are:

Ever since I was really young, I wanted to figure out how everything works. What are the mechanics of the universe? What causes what? At first, I was hopeful that it could all be explained with math and science, but over time this faith faded away.

After thirty years of relentless thought about how things work, I’ve now boiled it down to a few simple ideas:

1) Rationality, or logic, does not stand up to its own rigor. (And its value lies entirely in its rigor.) Words and stationary concepts are fickle creatures. They will ultimately lead you astray because their nature cannot contain the true complexity of reality. (It’s like integers trying to express real numbers.)

One of my favorite quotes from the book Siddhartha is: “The opposite of every truth is just as true!” I’ve really found this to be the case. If you can show that X is true, you can also show that the opposite of X is true. Or stated another way, if X is true under particular circumstances, then the opposite of X will be true under different circumstances. Nothing is ever so black and white. Furthermore, at the heart of every logical stream of ideas is an intuition, an inspiration. Rationality never stands firmly on its own feet. For a nice explanation, I recommend Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

2) Once you are aware of the limitations of rationality, you no longer have to solve all problems rationally.It is exhausting to limit yourself to only rational deductions. This is because it will lead you on wild goose chases as explained in 1). This does not mean that we have to completely do away with logic, just that we need to find a nice balance. Again, from 1), we find that if rationality is useless, it must also be useful. The opposite of every truth is just as true.

3) Once you are done solving every problem rationally, you can try other methods. My personal favorite is to ask the question: what works?If you can humble yourself to where you have relinquished a fine understanding of the universe, you can now look at things much more simply. You can start asking some simple questions:

What do I want in life?

What seems to move me closer to that?

What seems to move me further away?

Who are the people who seem to be successful in getting the things they want?

What are they doing that seems to work well for them?

And a thousand other variations of the basic question: what seems to cause _____?

When you no longer forsake the answer of your own experience for the “logical” answers of experts, something magical happens. You start to do your own pushups so to speak, instead of having someone else do them for you.

My ultimate advice: Do what works, not what makes logical sense. Learn from your own experience, not from books, not from gurus, not from anyone else. (And certainly not from facebook posts.)

This will lead you to your own personal conclusions. Here are some of mine:

Life is magical.

Consciousness is unimaginably brilliant, beautiful, precious.

We are forever illuminated in grace.(Even when we forget…)

And finally,

Success is measured in bliss. And bliss is always at your fingertips…