Macro of yellowed pages of a small english spanish dictionary flipping up in the air isolated against a white background.

How many book should you read in a month? #23

The title is just a representation of how we usually start to think about the progress, in developing a reading habit. As I have written about the books one should choose to read and the importance of reading, the quantification seemed a matter to talk about. I myself had a resolution this year to read at least a book a week, focusing mainly on non-fiction. But as I started, I finished my first book in 10 days, which wasn’t so bad, considering I was gradually going to increase the page count and reading speed hence eventually read a book a week. But I knew that just reading a book won’t do justice to the actual goal of reading, improvement (at least for me). I was merely reading and cutting off book after book from my checklist, psychology and philosophy are usually the main books I read and they 100% need more than just one read to fully comprehend. Another technique is to read slowly, empiricism being the next step and thus understanding the complex structure better. But wouldn’t it take a long time to read just one book? Yeah, you won’t be able to finish books fast and the list on Good Reads will remain an epitaph to your resolution. But it will all depend on the reason you read books for. If its a competition with your friend, go on, read a book a day, not understanding a thing, in an illusion that you “read”. But that’s not the right way to look at reading (at least non-fiction). You need to be able to understand the analogies, irony, bathos and more importantly the didactic the author maybe trying to portray. 

In fiction its relative. I’d still argue that you need to understand the fiction book you’ve picked up, but also I’d say it depends on why you read fiction. If its to relax, go on man, warp yourself in the times of a 1000 BC, totally fine, I know many people who read fiction to relax. 

The point you need to get, is that fast and slow reading are first and foremost a skill, not a way. They aren’t methods to “read” fast, but skill, rather speed at which you can COMPREHEND the book. That’s the main goal with reading for most after all, downloading hundreds of minds into yourself and creating a flexible enough mold of your mind so that you can be stretched and frozen as per required. If you take children and read them fiction, let’s take this line, “…and the bunny went across the river…” I can almost guarantee that the kid will shout “bunny” and hop around. That’s how children represent and explore the world, they try to comprehend and fiction is a good way, they don’t do it on their though. You need to teach them at first, you need to ask them if they know what a bunny is, what is does, how big or small it is, what it eats etc. As their brains develop, the representation of the world will keep on updating and the child’s capacity to later on read and understand really hard and dry books will be incredibly useful to him or her. And so, as any other skill, start slow and gradually increase the speed, if it seems that the words aren’t imprinting on your head, decrease the speed then, its a process. Good luck!


What you can do if you are a nobody. #22

Attention is something we as humans absolutely love, now degree matters, but, having attention also increases the chances of feeling loved and admired. We all know someone in our relationships who has accomplished more than anyone and when enters a room all eyes shift towards him/her and that’s, well, in general sense, ‘somebody’. Unless you were born in a royal family and the society still cares about the family, you started where everyone starts and will start, being a no one.

You have to define what you mean by a ‘somebody’ or a ‘nobody’ first, its the paramount you just can’t ignore. If you do, get ready to be thrown into an abyss of self-doubt and an unsatisfactory life, and that just sucks. Is it the man or woman who is greeted by everyone at the office? Is it the neighbor who is invited every now and then from different homes for dinner? Is it the class topper? Who is it? There has to be someone that you have looked up to and made that idea of a ‘somebody’. Pause for a moment and warp yourself back to the time when you said to yourself, “I wanna be him/her.” Is it respect? Attention? Certificate from a top university? Promotion at your job? Or a Nobel? You have to make it crystal. Abstract concepts are to be devised when they have become an epitome of your idea of an archetype. Its incredibly important, you’ll be wading around in circles your entire life, unless and until you figure out what’s the standard for you. You can’t even say you are a nobody unless you define the ideal. The second to president might think he is a nobody as his ideal, generally speaking, would be the president, whilst he definitely is a ‘somebody’ to us. 

Now that you have defined an ideal for yourself, you now know where you stand. Now what’s to be done is what the ideal did, work. The cliched and boring truth of life, for almost anything. But let’s be real, let’s devise a practical way. 

First thing to realize is that the concepts of being the better person is generally relative to one’s own thoughts and beliefs. I can’t emphasize enough on the fact that you have to leave the idea of climbing the mountain, when you can’t even walk up the stairs. Honestly this is related to the idea of being an “influencer”, we all want to have a million followers “So that we can help them”, but yeah, who gives a damn about the beggar on our streets, lets help the person a hundred miles away from us, first. I’m not saying not to help the person miles away, but the guy in your streets has to have a first priority. And the same will go for the ‘nobody’ near the person, you were trying to help, a hundred miles away. It’s not as if you have no power to do anything at all and as I’ve stated the idea of being a ‘nobody’ (I’m tired of even using the word by this point) is relative. So stop whining, I even wrote a whole blog explaining how you have an enormous amount of effect, that you ignore, you may read it here if you want. Stop thinking stuff that make you weak and impulsive, you have what it takes, but it’ll be hard. Go get it.

“No one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone.” – Friedrich Nietzsche.

Man thinking

The one mindset that changed me forever. #21

I have been oblivious to all what has had been around me for most of my life. I didn’t care who won the elections, the epidemics, shallow education system and so much more. I just didn’t care, I was living my own life, and whatever was in front of me, was what I needed to care of. I was proved wrong the hard way. Sherlock said it best, “The world is a system of webs, with every change a shock is sent throughout, no matter how minor, but it effects us all.” Took me a while to accept that, it was overwhelming. Now what was to be taken care of and what was still to be ignored, is a matter of another day. Right now, I’ll show how I started and still keep going in the ever shifting world.

If you think, you form opinions, you form opinions and they are, mere opinions. That’s how most people think of it, but that’s not exactly how it works. If you have an opinion, you act in parallel to it, you never leave the linearity. Look into your, lets say, political opinions, for example you support a party who created a law that restricts movement of elderly after 10pm. They justify the law by stating that its for their own safety, at night elderly people are easier to be harassed, mugged or murdered. You are more likely to oblige to the law if its from the party you support, and thus you support. Now of course you can still speak against it but the probability is low, you’ll have to reform and realign all your opinions to go that way. Now a person with alliance to another party is, you know well, very likely to oppose almost any law created by the other group. 

 We humans, being as social as we are, love to be in groups. The problem arises that we let someone else think for us and the seemingly appropriate ideas are followed without much thought. And so does the other side. Now where in lies the individuality, in thought, being, worth and blame in some cases? Nowhere, you fight together, you win together and you’re doomed together. I was just the same. It hurt me how supporting one group, not only in politics, by in any other sphere, if one wrong act was done, but just a single person, the whole group was blamed. It does make sense in some cases, it does create a high standard of accountability, but it has some major flaws as well, which are invisible if the group doesn’t want to improve. This took me back to my school, when teachers used to punish the entire class, even if only one student created a noise. And the student used to laugh while we tried to keep him/her in control. I hated that so much. Its a good defense though, when you are the one creating the nuisance. Where am I going with all this?

When we join a group, we grow slow, but far. In solo we grow fast but generally not so far, or for so long. And not much of an impact is created. This troubled me, the path to take wasn’t that clear. Well, in the end I came to the conclusion of human incompetence. It was reminded to me after I came across a quote from Socrates, “The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.” “You know nothing, Jon Snow”, that big blow of truth has made him king after all. I wondered, no matter how highly I might think of myself, or how supercilious I might act, I sure as hell am not as wise as Socrates. The epiphany, as settled, reminded me of the wisdom of knowing “nothing”. Every man in every sphere can teach you something, make you open to something you didn’t know even existed. 

This mindset of thinking allowed me to be open to more ideas. No matter how they might disgust me, no matter if it proves that Ronaldo is better than Messi, I still sit down and let the other person talk, shut my mouth and unbolt my ears and believe it, it has saved me from misinformation more times than I can count and so will it for you. All this will only happen when you distant yourself from the group, abstractly, and think of the opinions you have, talk with the other side. And I’m telling you, it’ll be harder than taking an injection at the age of seven. But as it was then, so it is now, worth it.

let me know what you taught of it in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you. See you next time!

“The only sin we can forgive to each other is having different opinions.” – Ralph Emerson


Fiction or non-fiction. #20

Took me a while to realize, for the most part of my reading span, I have mostly read non-fiction. I thought fiction was a waste of time. I had arguments ready be thrown at anyone who said otherwise, things like its, first and foremost, all a lie. But then, as I grew myself and came across a book on the thought process of us humans, namely “Thinking fast & slow” I found out how deep I was in confirmation bias. I was only looking at the side that announced my beliefs as the truth. It was hard, but I started to find reasons why fiction is important as well. 

Here’s how I see it and have found it to be true. Imagine, you know nothing about a concept known as truth, more than that its to state reality and facts. Now add to that the factor of you being an average kid of four to seven. The years of highest malleability. Now your parents are sent a complaint that you lie all the time in school. You come home and are about to be scolded, although, you have no idea.  

In this scenario, the child’s ability to absorb the concept of honesty highly depends on the way the parent presents it. Would you (the child) be more absorbent of the concept when the parent says the statement, “honesty is the best policy” to you, or sit you down through a journey of the lying shepherd and conclude the story with the same? The answer for most, is the latter. We humans are story tellers, no other species does that, we like to be narrators, of our own or someone else’s story. 

Fiction is like a paved path that enters smoothly into your mind, depending on the concept of course and non-fiction like a hammer of remembrance. Fiction obviously take time to present just a single idea, while as non-fiction can present it in an instant and even multiply the ideas needed. If you are an avid non-fiction reader like me, you know that reading a non-fiction book just once is never enough. You have to keep reading, over and over to allow the concepts to settle in for the long term. Dependent on the concepts provided, fiction makes the process of an idea easy to settle. Fiction is like a testing ground of ideas, philosophies, human psyche, romance, chivalry, horror and so much more. It takes time to read and only a few things come out as clear when done. Non-fiction presents the idea straight up, you have grab it and let it play out in the world outside on your own. Fiction plays it for you. Crime & punishment is a great example of a novel presenting the human psyche; the mental anguish and moral dilemmas. 

In the end it all depends on the reader, what you can absorb best. It all comes down to the material you take into your mind, be thoughtful of it, don’t merely read hidden ideologies in fiction and personal biased non-fictions. 

I’ll start a daily book reading club on this site, where you and I will read fiction and non-fiction books alike, daily. The books I think are a must read and those that are recommended to me. We’ll be doing analysis and theorizing the symbolism contained in many. If you’ve never read books outside of your academia, its fine, here, you can begin the journey you’ll thank yourself forever, I’ll create a post on how to develop a reading habit as well. You may get an email delivered to you whenever there’s a new post by commenting and checking the box below. See ya next time!

Fair play

Why play fair? #19

We are always told to be fair, be just, play as per the rules, without cheating. But have you ever wondered why? Like, we know it to be true, playing fair and square is the right thing to do, but how, how does it play the role of being the better way? Today you’re going to find out exactly that.

“Everything is fair in love and war”, I find the quote one of the most appalling statements of all time. First, that makes acid attackers, rapists, violent protests and everything done in the face of love or war absolutely justified. You make the statement an axiom. Even war has had rules; not destroying trees, not killing the innocent, the women and children, the elderly and so on. Regulations are in every aspect of life and are paramount for our sustenance. But the urge to cheat still exists, the win will be instant if you do, maybe you’ve bet a lot and cheating is the only way. But where does the conscious and why does the conscious knock at those times. For some its mild, for some quite a lot. We go on preaching kids, “Winning doesn’t matter, how you play matters.” Its a see-saw of a statement, here’s the dichotomy:

Lets say your child is in a game of football, he is tripping other kids down because of his strength, it overpowers all the others, its a huge advantage, they aren’t coming near him, the referee does call foul when your kid does that, but the fear other kids have of getting mauled, is giving your child a head-start at every pass. What do you do? Its a harsh truth and might hurt a bit, but the “right” thing to do depends on your child’s ambition. Is he playing for just one time, or is he preparing for a tournament? If its just one time, like were some wars in history, rules were thrown out for the sake of win. But you don’t want to win a game, but a number of games, life isn’t a single match but a ton of tournaments consisting of hundreds of matches. Your kid won’t be allowed to play if he’s violent and doesn’t play by the rules, he will be exiled from the community of social interactions and that has a huge effect on children. Playing fair maybe causing loss in the mean time, its making you aware of your own shortcomings, those shortcoming are to be improved and then repeating the cycle over and over, trying one’s best to win the set of matches, not one. That’s why, “Winning doesn’t matter, how you play matters”, is a bit contrasting, you want to win, you should strive to win, but the set of problems (life’s matches), not one. I learnt this back in my cartoon watching days when Inazuma Eleven used to premiere on Nickelodeon, loved that show. They used to lose so many matches, but never cheated and finally their resilience paid off. 

Its fascinating to know that we humans obviously have a hard time remembering certain things where as some things just stay, here’s a fact to think about: we humans always remember the man/woman who cheats, always, its in us, we are great at detecting cheaters. This province, you could say, helps us maintain a structure in our surroundings, society functions better, we all play the meta-game, knowing or unknowing and winning in all games in the set of all games isn’t the goal, its being invited to play, that’s the real win, you get your chance, your chance at the world and it will only occur when you play fair.  

Here’s a must watch heart warming video:

Thanks for reading today's blog on the reason to play fair, hope you liked it. Let me know what you think and if you want to add something to it, comment down below. See you tomorrow.