Friday, January 2, 2009


I spent a long time last night thinking and reviewing how I came to feel the way I do right now. I realized some very interesting things about myself and how it influences my outlook on the world. I also began to really see how being in Korea has started to really change me a lot.

The first big thing that I was thinking about comes into different categories of knowledge. This is something I had not ever really thought about and allowed me to make the revelation I did. I find that everything I learn falls into three broad categories:

  • Useful
  • Interesting
  • Lies*
*I will further define this later to clear up the ambiguity of such a category.

The first, useful knowledge, applies to things I learn that have real world uses and can be directly applied to things I will be doing or have done. This knowledge can be considered both "common sense" and "needed skills." This is the most pragmatically important category and covers specifics in living life.

The second, interesting knowledge. applies to things I learn that have no real, real world uses and will not be directly applied to things I will be doing or have done. However, this category is important just for the sake of betting yourself and can impact and create usefulness. It allows me to pursue things that I truthfully find intriguing and creates a desire to continue life. It is the most philosophically important category and covers the non-specifics in living life.

The third, lies, rarely applies to things I learn in the real world, and can rarely be directly applied to things I will be doing or have done. This is the category that most people get stuck in, it is why people say, "You have to stay true to yourself." This is the category of pleasing other people and forgetting who you are. This is the category that makes people get lost in the world despite having everything they need in front of them. It removes you from yourself and replaces it with nothing but a shadow of a shadow. This knowledge, I realized, is the most prevalent in my life, and I deem that a problem. This is the knowledge that stops you from admitting you like something because you heard someone else say otherwise and you don't want to appear inferior. It creates a knowledge based on lies that don't exist and never have.

Now, all three of these categories interact with each other. Something can be interesting and useful, or useful and not interesting, or a lie that is useful and interesting. However, in building my personal world, I have know what I believe, and if you let the lies do that you no longer are aware of what is truthfully interesting. It becomes, what I think others will find interesting. The same can be applied with useful knowledge. That is why, I ask myself to consider the lies as no longer useful or interesting, but a false or negation. In a logical structure.

If there is knowledge then it is useful
If there is knowledge then it is interesting
If there is knowledge then it is a lie.

This structure allows for them all to interact, but shows how the lies are a negation. A lie can be useful and/or interesting, but it is still negative knowledge. To put it more vulgarly, it is bad knowledge or untrue to oneself.

So, after thinking this out, I thought to apply it to my life and it made me realize quite a few things. I won't go into big personal details just some major shifts in the amount of different types of knowledge.

As a kid, everything is useful and interesting knowledge and lies are nearly non-existent. You know what you believe and you don't care what other people think. This is a mind that is both confident and open, the ideal mind. My mind was no exception to this.

In high school, I was bombarded with useless uninteresting knowledge and it left me in a world largely constructed of lies. It came to the point where I was willing to quit high school because I saw no point in continuing pointless learning. Knowledge at this time was rarely useful, I would learn some personally interesting things, but mostly I lived within the boundaries of lies.

Entering college, a new world opened up. I was suddenly engulfed in a world full of useful and interesting knowledge! I could learn what I truly found interesting, and build knowledge for my own personal reasons. The problem: my personal reasons at this point, seemed to still retain some of the shape formed by lies in high school. As a result, I was living a kind dream world that was interesting, useful, and a lie. It was a lie because I was still allowing opinions and thoughts to be formed by what others said. Or sometimes, just suspending all judgments for fear of seeming inferior. On a larger scale though, I was learning to voice a more personal opinion, just not at the pace that I was gaining knowledge. My mind was opening at this point, but I was not confident of anything.

Now, in Korea, completely swept from my world and my ideas, I have a completely new landscape that turned my world view upside-down. I had more misconceptions than I thought possible and was suddenly in a world where I was getting less interesting more useful knowledge. All this compounds with getting a wonderful girlfriend who further challenges me to think outside of my perspective lead to my realizations. I am learning my child-mind again. Becoming confident and open minded. Learning how to be true to myself.


Susan is teaching me Chinese now!

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