Two Sides

July 5, 2011 — 54 Comments

I have always felt pulled in two conflicting directions. It has not been pleasant. It’s made me feel miserable when I should feel happy, afraid when I should feel secure–a sort of constant tension and uncertainty that takes an exhausting toll.

There is the part of me drawn to discipline. To work and do great things in this brief bit of time I have been given. It is the force that keeps my nose in books and rarely allows my mind to waste a second. You could say that this is the part of me that people see and assume I am much older than I actually am, as they often have and do. This is the reason I’ve done the things I’ve been able to do while the rest of my generation is unemployed or deluding themselves. It is the side I indulge most.

There is another part of me pulled towards recklessness. To simply live. To hate the things that most people seem to value. To not want to be anything like them, to barely give a shit about what I’ve done and where I’ve been so far. To so seriously consider trading it in to do nothing ever again that it makes me want to cry. This is an urge that I do not understand.

I fear I won’t ever be able to. When I try to explore it, to see why I am drawn towards these things, the other side takes over. The few moves I’ve made in my life that could be considered daring or even reckless–dropping out of school, packing up and moving across the country–were almost immediately overwhelmed by the responsible side. The pureness and freedom almost instantly corrupted by the instinct to ‘turn it into to something.’

I remember once on this site feeling like I could write and write whatever I wanted, that there was no idea end to what I had to say. Slowly, certain self-applied standards began to encroach stylistically. No, that’s not good enough. Or no, that’s not the type of stuff I want to here. What felt like rigor was actually the gradual removal of options, to the point of partial paralysis.

And so it goes. Running becomes something that must be done every day. Books must be read. Contacts must be kept. Friendships must be turned into business relationships. Everything must be made into an opportunity, because opportunities can be turned into something. An opportunity to…

All this is to say that there is a tension in me that I have trouble grappling with. It is the feeling of living in a house divided against itself. Worse, given the irony of the disagreement being rooted in the same philosophic principals: to value only what is important, self-direction and freedom. And yet I think they are both equal parts fear, the fear of simply just being.

I do not know the solution here, or the answer. This is not meant to be advice. The person who watches as one side of them strangles the other, shunting it off to the side where its only remaining role is to impotently undermine their earnest accomplishments should not be giving advice. I only know that this is no way to live. Finding the balance here–easing the tension–will be the next steps for me. It will make my next moves clear. And between now and then will not be fun.

Ryan Holiday

I'm a strategist for bestselling authors and billion dollar brands like American Apparel, Tucker Max and Robert Greene. My work has been used as case studies by Twitter, YouTube and Google and has been written about in AdAge, the New York Times, Gawker and Fast Company.

54 responses to Two Sides

  1. Ryan Stephens July 5, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Enjoyed the acknowledgment of this ‘other side’ as it’s rare you show much vulnerability in your public writing.

  2. I always find something to like about what you write on this website, but I identify so strongly with this post that I can’t even find the right adjective to describe it.

    Of course, I also get immediately suspicious of myself whenever I identify too much with a piece of writing. Am I embracing or manufacturing empathy? I would like to think that I can tell the difference, but so much of it is based on gut instinct instead of actual evidence. Feeling something is one thing; explaining it is another.

    Anyway, excellent post.

  3. I view discipline as a training tool. its like training wheels or the 5 paragraph essay. You need it to get your skills to a certain point and build the good habits but eventually if you stay in that place you become outcome oriented over process oriented. and process orientation is where the juice is. The point of training wheels isnt that you go around riding with them, they are for the parking lot or the driveway or the street in front of your house. Then you go out and ride and you enjoy it. and if you realize you dont like biking that much then you dont keep riding around in circles just so you can tell yourself im great i KNOW i can ride a bicycle.

    Or maybe you are just sick of riding around all alone. maybe if you and a lover went biking through the country and had a picnic you would suddenly find yourself enjoying riding your bike more. A wise man said that relationships magnify the human experience.

    I realized that i was focusing too much of my time on self improvment and not enough on connections with friends and intimate relationships. So now im putting the books under the bed for a while and limiting my beside table to 1 reading thing max and making a plan for how i am going to go out and meet new friends and lovers.

    Of course im assuming that maybe this part of your life is underdeveloped compared to your other skills, but that may not be true. All I know is that relationships should be a priority in my like and are essential to my happiness and fulfillment, and I have been neglecting that area out of ignorance, fear, and confusion.

    Good luck man

  4. Interesting thought. As a person of high energy it appears you experience both state powerfully. Perhaps, the best is to accept this duality as there is always yin in yan and vice versa. When the wild side comes out, enjoy it, let it go full strength. This might be particularly unsettling, so perhaps you may want to control it by planning it (time+action).
    I always say to my kids that if they can’t learn things from one way, they should do it the opposite way and they will learn equally.

    I built successful businesses in very challenging environments. One day I decided to go wild and decided to go begging in the street with the homeless. I prepared it. Bought or picked in garbage awful clothes and I pissed on them. stop washing/shaving for a week. and I went begging for a day. I found nice fellows out there. they told me how the begging business is going on, how they allocated areas for each of them, how they live and organise their society etc. This day I earned enough to eat and sleep in a dry place and I had a social life. I actually enjoyed it, it was a great day. From that moment I removed the fear “what if i go bankrupt? what if I loose my job?”. The following year I tripled my earnings. But I had to go wild :)

  5. What you are living is the limitation of the Stoic philosophy. According to the Stoics, happiness depends only on yourself and on cultivating your own excellence.
    In this schema, even if you don’t care about anyone else judgement, every second of your life is still an exam in which you have to prove to yourself that you are excellent enough.
    Self-discipline characterizes this process. But discipline, after a certain point, becomes an obstacle in the way of virtue.

    Discipline is based on distrust of yourself, of what you would do without discipline. When your self is young and weak, discipline is fundamental to grow. But when you reach a certain point, unless you switch from conditional validation (conditional to proving something to yourself everyday) to completely unconditional trust in yourself, you are going to be stuck forever.

    The exam is over. Nothing needs to be proved to anyone anymore, not even to yourself. Virtue is the excellence of rational choice: if you don’t take the leap of faith of trusting your judgement unconditionally, nothing will take away the self-distrust associated to discipline.

    What does it mean in practice? Stop thinking you have to prove something to yourself. Just make your choices and express yourself without the sense that what you do could fail to meet any sort of standard.

    When you are in discipline mode, you think things like “I should stop playing mortal kombat and do something useful”. When you abandon discipline, you stop second guessing yourself. What you end up doing is equally good, be it playing mortal kombat or reading Seneca. At this point, the trust in yourself is totally unconditional.

    • This is helpful

    • Insightful.

      So in short, inexperience needs discipline; discipline builds trust; trust rids the need for discipline. If what you say is true, there’s hope that my internal conflicts will subside, though unlikely in my youth. In my experience though, the truly great seems never satisfied, carrying with him the lingering chip on his shoulder. For people who also subscribe to that philosophy, I recommend just embracing the frustration like it’s your child; you most likely won’t outlive it.

  6. I also strongly identify with this post. The things we call important and devote our lives to are from a rational perspective quite meaningless. You’re no stranger to evolutionary psychology, so you realize that even the desire for success is really mostly a drive for fame and wealth – nothing really more glamorous or significant than hunger, thirst, horniness. The other side – what you call recklessness – is a release into more immediate desires. The Resistance too has its purpose, and its pleasures. What we have here are competing drives, and I for one still have no good system for assigning their importance. I suppose one important question is, what exactly are you hoping to get out of discipline?

    I hope that if you find a solution, or even the beginning threads of one, you’ll write about it. This is something I’ve struggled with ever since I learned how to read.

  7. Wow, this so accurately describes what I go through on a daily basis…if you find a solution, be sure to share.

  8. Sounds like depression. Whenever I hear people talk of balance it sounds like resentment or worse, ressentiment. I’m curious to hear your take.

    • I agree, it does sound like that and feels that way occasionally. Not sure what you mean about resentment though.

  9. It’s tricky, because there is something to be said for indulging the more “sensory” and immediately rewarding aspects of life (I’m equating that with “recklessness” in your post because spending weeks and weeks doing a bunch of drugs/drinking/throwing money away on stupid shit/hanging out with people who do that all the time is pretty much flirting with the reckless). Take that, versus the relentlessly self-motivated and wisdom-seeking life strategy that inhabits the mind of the type of person with both the intelligence and drive to do…something, is a profound source of tension. There isn’t a lot of trenchant wisdom to be gained for indulging the first set of things (the reckless), and I can’t begin to tell you what kind of mental processes are being engaged during the reckless, but I can say that that balancing act is an act I believe resides in all of us all our lives, and it only gets deeper and more difficult to maintain an awareness of we get older. I keep coming back to that Philalawyer book – It has really made me think quite a bit about that tension, especially his “Twenty-six” chapter.

    Nice last couple posts, I don’t know what part is the change in environment for you or not, but it’s cool. I’ve been connecting with the recent stuff.

  10. Hesse’s Steppenwolf was a book I enjoyed a good deal that touches on this same dichotomy: http://www.amazon.com/Steppenwolf-Novel-Hermann-Hesse/dp/0312278675/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1309906879&sr=8-12

    His message seemed to be “Don’t worry so much about it and take it so seriously. You are many more than just 2 selves.”

  11. You’re not alone. There’s a quote I come back to every so often in my life, and this post brought me back to it again.

    “If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” – E.B. White

  12. I feel a tension as well, between a do nothing side and do something side. For me, my do nothing side is the side that I indulge most. But where I differ is that my reckless side is the side that does things. Most the time I convince myself to be safe and keep the status quo, doing nothing.

  13. Thank you for providing evidence that personal revelations and emotional blog postings can be given to the public as something more than just “self therapy”.

  14. It is really reassuring to know other people (especially people as successful as you) feel the same way. I’m not sure whether my tension is the same, but there’s definitely a tension. I think for me it’s between wanting to achieve big things and wanting to ‘live’ this one life I’ve got and look back on my life with stories of adventure to tell. One doesn’t seem to marry with the other.

    You say this isn’t advice – but it kind of is: you say you’re trying to find a balance between the two, and therefore accepting they both exist. For me, that’s a revelation. Thanks!

  15. Ryan,

    I loved this post.

    There’s a good chance I’m dead wrong here, but…is it possible there is no conflict?

    It seems to me the part of you drawn to discipline, to work, and to do great things is heading in the exact same direction as the part of you who is drawn to simply live, to not give a shit about what you’ve done, and to not want to be like anyone else.

    Wasn’t dropping out of school, for example, a disciplined move to do great things AND reckless? Wasn’t it both an attempt to simply live AND to maximize your brief bit of time you’ve been given?

    The other issue of turning something enjoyable (running for example) into an overwhelming obligation, I have no insight. I struggle with the same dilemma (especially regarding reading).

    • There is a conflict. There should be a certain freedom or freeness inherent in a move like dropping out of school. For me, it was the opposite. It meant that months passed and I was too busy to notice. It meant one day I realized I hadn’t seen Los Angeles during the day time…the entire time I’d lived their post-school. It began getting up early, going to work, leaving work, seeing my girlfriend and sleeping. The discipline turned an opportunity to be undisciplined and free into a canvas for more discipline. In some ways this is good, but in other ways it is not.

      • You might need to define freedom better. At the most fundamental level you have a variety of things you can do with more or less predictable results/rewards. So do you want the freedom to get the results without the work? Do you want the freedom to choose what you work towards? Or do you want freedom from your own choices to do things that weren’t right for you? The first is the myth of the “seo on the beach” crowd, and the second (as others here have said) is virtually impossible to take away from someone. If you’re changing directions too frequently, what did you learn from the choices that took you in those directions?

        The discomfort may come from having a wide range of potential outcomes for what you’re doing now, so you’re no longer in control. At times like that it may be helpful to explicitly change the goal from doing something to learning the result of a specific action. Instead of expecting that you’ll accomplish a result you need to recognize that you’ll understand some area better so that you can set coherent goals later. Or re-think your goals and whether you’re relying on something unlikely to happen.

        Another part of the struggle may be that at our age a lot of people delude themselves by taking the first step without seeing the rest of the path. They think “I’ve started a business so I’m an independent rebel now!” when they’re often getting less than they would at a regular job in worse conditions (as you’ve written about before). After you’ve done the big contrarian act is when you have to start the real work of gradually defining yourself and figuring out the best way to do what you want. We can all laugh at those who are obviously getting it wrong but it takes a long time to realize when we’re making that mistake.

        What feels like success is when you reduce the need to have the kind of “balance” used by those who have made the wrong choices and instead integrate different areas and needs. For someone with a high drive this might mean recognizing when your goals would be better served by focusing on something else for a bit to open up your perspective again.

        I don’t think any of this is new to you, and even the best advice is always written for someone else but it seems like this might require thinking things through to see if you’re looking for something you don’t believe in or if you’re just not following what you want to do.

  16. Chris Johnson July 6, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Are you just fucking with us all? Experimenting with your audience?

  17. Ryan…..great post. I think it must be human nature to struggle with different elements of one’s personality. At least you are “aware” of it – and that is more than half the battle.

    Keep the great posts coming.

    C

  18. I transitioned to a discipline mode a few years ago and I haven’t let it go far enough to want to forget what I’ve done and could do. If I stopped everything I was doing tomorrow it would just drive me to do even more (maybe I’m just a little further back). Although it’s a bit different I can still see times similar to what you write about over those years. It’s come in waves for me, and each time the resolution happens when I take a step to merge both sides. Without giving up the discipline side I’ve realized that it needs to have another discipline of its own, to avoid things that will lead to empty rewards. I could make them work if I tried hard enough but it’s not worth it to me.

    I don’t think it will end any time soon. Sometimes the result of having the strength and courage to set your own direction and follow it is that you’ll end up a little off course and have to adjust, but you’re still better than sitting around wondering what you could do.

    In a smaller sense I often end up with a growing list of books or websites I want to speed through, until I’m reminded that I can’t do the same thing 5 different ways at the same time and gaining knowledge doesn’t always mean gaining results or wisdom. Once I realize that it’s not physically possible to read them all that lets give up most of them. Then since I’ve given myself space I start to see more clearly and feel in control, and then I start reading more…

    At this point I don’t think it’s something bad or something that I’ll grow out of, just a sign to look up and re-evaluate. I think I’ve gotten some good ideas related to this from Jon Kabat-Zinn, Lama Surya Das, and Marshall Goldsmith but it’s too early to tell.

    • Hey dude, someone should tell you a little secret: we don’t give a shit unless you can make us give a shit. You probably said the word “I” or I’ll or I’ve or I’m like fifty times. I, for one, would be interested in reading this, if only you made it a little more other-directed. That’s all.

      • Hey Adam, it’s probably not a good idea to leave anonymous comments when your actual name is part of your email address.

        • Good point. That was pretty silly, wasn’t it?
          I thought I was a bit snobbish so I didn’t want to associate it with other comments, but at the same time thought Richard would appreciate it.

          • But even that response I just gave was stupid, wasn’t it? Insulting someone and then claiming they’d appreciate it. God.
            I’ll restrain the dumb impulse-I really don’t want to waste all our time taking up space, and my time, to say something dumb in the future.

  19. It looks to me like you were a contrarian in a system with zero self-awareness and a litany of other problems. You are transitioning from life as a cog grinding in the opposite direction to an unknown unknown. That’s probably just going to be shitty for a while. I’m going to try to say something helpful based on my own experience being alive right now and in my 20s.

    There’s nothing wrong with you. That you learned discipline and the compounded rewards of delayed gratification at all is remarkable for our society, and that you learned it so much earlier than most seems to have isolated you somewhat. It sounds like you are now reflecting on the opportunity cost of pursuing the path you did and whether there is a possibility that youthful abandon was a route equally worth exploring. Or if “youthful abandon” isn’t the right term, then just call it the ability to hit the off switch on your hyper-vigilant, analytical side.

    Here I would say to go back to first principles and remember that self-direction is not something you ever get to lay down. It isn’t a privilege or a burden, just a condition of being. So set a new direction. You don’t need an off-switch or an epiphany to start that.

    As reading material, I enjoy your send-ups of biases and hypocrisies and the delusional narratives we weave. But to have that critical voice in your head all day is tilting at windmills, even if the criticism stays in your head. But you can’t un-see these problems or correct them all: the most effective defense is to physically remove yourself from them, which maybe you have done, and focus on simple projects with a small core of effective people.

    But don’t scrap self-doubt, ever. Blundering overconfidence is way worse than anxiety and it can quickly destroy lots of work. And unlike anxiety, it is impossible to hide. Try on both suits and don’t let either calcify into Who You Are.

    I haven’t written in a while and reading over this I notice that I defaulted to my laconic, preacher voice. Sorry for the shotgun blast of aphorisms. If any of them resonate at all, let me know and I can unpack it a little better. If it is any consolation, at least you have an interesting problem.

    • No no, I would say that this is one of the best comments I’ve ever seen on this blog.

      • Stephen, thank you for sharing some thoughts. The “tilting at windmills” phrase is catchy, and will probably stick in my head for a while. Hopefully it will help us find patience and kindness when we find ourselves being critical.

        Ryan, I hope you’ll continue to share and discuss your growth and development. The attention to detail and sincerity with which you present your criticisms is something valuable and uncommon, and I look forward to reading more as you work through your next steps.

  20. Also, this might be a good time to read Walter Pater if you haven’t.

    • Bought one of his books

      • I would try Pater’s Selected Writings by Harold Bloom or you might even check out his fictional work Marius the Epicurean. Might at least blow some fresh air into some philosophical ideas.

        I’ve read most of what you’ve written here since this site started and almost every time I went away with something new to think about that I actually would think about later. If I returned the favor in the hundredth part, I’m glad.

  21. ‘Become who you are’

    That’s Nietzsche, who, like several other philosophers(1) came to roughly the same conclusion after struggling with your dilemma(2)(3), which is essentially a problem of values. This is his answer to your problem.

    You may be not entirely certain which course of action to take because you can’t decide whether discipline or recklessness is the better option. Feels like two personalities fighting for control, but it’s really just uncertainty.

    Nietzsche, when he says ‘become who you are’, means you should be the best human you can. It doesn’t matter if this entails hanging upside down from a tree. If that’s what humans do, then you should strive every day to be the best ‘hanger-upside-downer’ who ever lived.

    The next question then arises: ‘How can I know who I am, or are meant to be? What does a human, or at least this human (me!) actually do?’. How can you become something if you don’t know what it is you’re meant to become? Unfortunately, we didn’t come with a species instruction manual, and even if we did, it would need to be rewritten and slightly modified for every individual. Unfortunately you gotta write your own.(4)

    This is where you need to decide on what to value. Sex&drugs or writing ‘War and Peace’? Work or family? Beer or whisky?

    Might be easy, or it might be a difficult, lifelong and dynamic process. (Interestingly, introspection may be of limited help (5)).

    Once you have these values more or less clarified, pursue them with all the intensity you can. Enjoy the work. This is you being human. This is you ‘being’.

    (1) Heidegger comes to mind. You (knowingly or not) referenced him with the ‘just being’ thing
    (2)To my reading, philosophers often arrive at similar points, but use different phrasing, or emphasise slightly different aspects. Psychologists, artists, neuroscientists and writers and even hedge fund managers seem to do the same (http://bit.ly/dalioprinciples). But whats remarkable is that the message is often extremely similar.
    (3) On the flip side this also means there are actually very few original thinkers out there.
    (4) Even starting with something as homeopathic sounding as a Briggs Myers test can be helpful to work out what tasks you are suited for (http://bit.ly/BriggsMyers)
    (5)You may be largely under the control of your unconscious brain anyway. Read this great book (http://amzn.to/strangerstoourselves)
    (6) What’s with all the footnotes? Guess I’m a big David Foster Wallace fan.

    • Phil,

      I took a class on Nietzsche but I still don’t fully understand what he/you are saying.

      Another commenter, Robert, referenced “ressentiment”. But “ressentiment” (according to Nietzsche) comes from a misconstrued perspective of what is “good”. From Ryan’s blog, I would ascertain that his view (and mine) of “good” is pretty close to the Stoicism of Aurelius. So, is this a problem with Stoicism? (as other commenters suggested)

      Kierkegaard says “ressentiment” comes from a passionless age and the stifling of creativity. This would certainly create the frustration Ryan is talking about — whenever I try to paint I have similar frustrations; sitting in front of a canvas is like tearing myself apart but after I get “in the zone” it feels “freer” if that makes sense. Ditto for creative writing.

      I think Nietzsche’s take is that someone of a strong will wouldn’t feel ressentiment because they don’t have time for introspection. This (i think) is the overman. But I don’t understand how you get to “creation of new values” without introspection or how you develop this strong will of the overman. The working answer I’ve come up with for my own life is to try to contribute value to the world in whatever way I can in this present moment. What I “value” — or what my values are — seem to fall into line after that.

      Phil, you seem to have a strong grasp of this philosophy and (if you happen to see this comment) I’d love to hear your ideas either by comment or email (click on my name) — I’d appreciate it a ton.

  22. Stephen/Alberto, thanks for your comments here. I got a lot out of them. If either of you have blogs that you wouldn’t mind linking, I’d like to see more.

    Ryan, thanks for posting this and being honest about the flip-side of some of your drive. I’ve used a lot of your stuff as a standard for what I should be pushing for . I’ve been very hard on myself in the past for compromising for the recklessness. It’s helpful to read that it’s not inherently bad, and about the balance there needs to be.

  23. This is great — I’m glad I found your blog.

    You describe something that definitely eats at me as well. I don’t think the solution is straightforward here, but one thought that comes to mind is that you describe something that is a FACT of humanity, or the universe, and not just a phenomenon that you or I struggle with.

    In other words, these two forces seem to actually be at odds with each other. One is the internal drive / ambition to achieve things, which is so compelling when you realize the amazing things one can achieve with the right approach. The other is more Eastern, out-of-the-box mindset the seems to realize the smallness of one’s own ambitions (and the vastness of the world outside of the self).

    One common denominator between the two (and there many be many others) seems to be that fear doesn’t help with either. So I guess let’s be fearless!

  24. Be careful about this internal fights, they can literally kill you.

    I’m sure you know this, but whatever. The problem with stoicism is that it was created before knowing what we humans beings really were. There is not inside us some kind of perfect abstract and divine creature which is really free, and good, and who can live only by doing “the right thing”. They knowed nothing about the brain, about how emotions and thoughts really worked. Stoics did the best they could do with what they knew about what a human being really is. And it’s fucking incredible how deep, how good they though about it, how much True is in they words even if they are two thousand years old. But you can’t expect to be something in what to base your life nowadays. You know how Seneca failed so hard at doing what he believed he had to do.

    Alberto’s post is by far the best post of the thread. If you think that you are some kind of 90% abstract self, that you are really free, and that you can play the game of your life by some kind of abstracts rules, you are screwed. The first step is to realise and forgive our deep imperfection, our lack of real freedom. Forgive ourselves for suffering, for not being at peace. Don’t let that perfectionism based in a false fact destroys you.

    I’m sure you know about Foster Wallace too, but i’ll link this http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122178211966454607.html anyways. It’s not about finding that balance, but about not forgetting what we really are, “day in-day out”. Not sure if you are the kind of person who needs it, but it has probably saved my life a few times. Then discovered that the guy ended giving himseld a shoot in the head. I almost puked. But i think that what he says there is really one of the more important trues that can be said, and is somehow related about the diferents self inside all of us.

    Anyways, is always comforting to know that there is out there people suffering due to the same kind of things that you do. At least for me.

    By the way, english is not my mother tongue (i’m sure is pretty obvious since the first sentence). I hate writing in a language which is not. There is so much lost, is such a gigantic barrier, but what can i do.

  25. ben I think it is a linguistic problem(1). The word ‘ressentiment’ does not mean a lot to me. So much of philosophy entails decoding the language of another time, with the added problem that every philosopher feels he has to come up with a neologism to nail his own place in history. Kant has much to answer for.

    But the ideas are often simple when laid out in clear terms.

    This does not detract from their power however. (2)

    I can’t write a sentence without thinking of Orwell, who believed writing should be ‘precise and spare’ (3). As an aside, Ryan Holiday, whether he knows it or not, seems primarily gifted in this sense: having the ability to communicate complex and subtle ideas in clear terms (4).

    So it is possible that we don’t understand each other because our conception of the world is fundamentally different, or, more likely, my writing is not very good.

    As far as Nietzsche and learning philosophy in general, I would recommend NOT reading source material in the first instance, but start with great contemporary books like this: http://amzn.to/qbhjBy to remove the linguistic drift of time, then work backwards.

    All this before philosophy even begins!

    (1)Don’t even bring up the Wittgensteinean black hole here
    (2) Indeed, so sun-blindingly-powerful are these ideas that it is impossible to remember what it is like to NOT know the idea once you hear of it: the idea of evolution being the most obvious. (a)
    (3) Almost worth a post it note above your screen
    (4) Robert Hughes is another great example.http://amzn.to/o8fDWc http://amzn.to/o8fDWc

    (a) Great teachers are defined by this extra-ordinary (sic) ability: the ability to understand what it’s like to NOT know and yet know at the same time

  26. I can relate a lot to this.

  27. Reading your shit gets me depressed man. Great stuff, though. Very relatable.

  28. Personally, I prefer not to think about it too much. I just do what feels right at the moment. Admittedly, this might have slowed down my growth, but it eliminates that feeling of regret. The trick is not to overdo either of the two sides. And this is something I have had to learn the hard way. I figure as I become more successful, it wont be that easy to do as I have been doing, but I will cross that bridge when I reach it. This was a real insightful article and the comments are just as brilliant.

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