Indication of a Brain

The other day, I sat down with a friend to talk about a problem. While having a beer, I described the context, told the story, and explained my issues with some of the details of the story. I also rationalized that those issues bother me because they’re fundamentally against my values. He listened to me for almost half an hour. I thought I actually did a pretty good job laying out my case – naively hoping, he would draw his own conclusions and that would help me get a balancing perspective on the issues. Instead, his response was "What doesn’t kill you, make you stronger" and then silence … I felt betrayed and was one second away from saying "no shit!" … I was looking for the smallest indication of a brain on the other side.

Arguments and discussions, if carried out logically, are the most educating forms of communication. They usually include facts, premises, and assumptions. A logical and practical way of getting engaged in a discussion is to accept the facts, validate the assumptions, and embrace or argue against the premises. That’d be a meaningful discussion.

People have become so consumed and comfortable with empty expressions that add no value to the conversation. Hollow phrases and proverbs like "Life is short", "Everything happens for a reason", and "what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger" do not hold any logical or commonsensical significance in any discussion because they can be an answer to anything – without actually validating, embracing, or challenging any specifics. There is no doubt that the value of a story or discussion resides in its details. One feels heard and listened to when the listener reflects on the details of the narrative.

To make it a little more fun, let me actually prove that some of these proverbs are incomplete, inaccurate, and/or incorrect:

"Life is short" :
Whose life? How short is short? Two years or hundred years? Lack of what specification makes our lives short? If each of us could live two hundred years, would that be long enough? Is life short for having more fun, or is it short for collecting more knowledge? The fact is that life is not that short, it’s not even relatively short in comparison with the life of a butterfly. The people who use this expression are the ones who want to make an excuse to be less thoughtful and more irresponsible.

"What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger" :
What does "strong" mean? Physical or mental strength? Are we only talking about physical death? How about emotional or mental death? Are people really stronger after massive emotional or mental declines? Heroin addiction doesn’t immediately kill you, but while you’re alive are you stronger because of it? Have you ever experienced or felt the prolong pain involved in loss of a child? Psychological and mental research of parents who have lost a child proves that they are less resilient and more vulnerable against emotional hardship. They are never emotionally stronger for the rest of their lives.

"Everything happens for a reason" :
Everything does not happen for "a reason". Everything happens for multiple reasons and that’s the root of Einstein’s relative theory. The challenge isn’t to find out whether or not there are reasons. The challenge is to know the quantity and nature of those reasons and the direction thru which you can identify them. Individuals who believe in this proverb generally find themselves in hard situations. They tend to think there is a "good" reason behind a "bad" incident. The contrast of a "good thing" versus a "bad incident" that is presently in occurrence, makes them believe that something good will eventually happen in the future, and that is the prize of the current hardship. They’re also comfortable not knowing what that "good thing" is, and of course always, "something good" will happen which somewhat relates to the "bad incident". This comforting connection justifies the relevance of this proverb. Most of the people who believe in this expression, also believe that we are all actors on a stage with predestined parts and scripts. Everything has been designed. Life is about finding the missing pieces, fixing the broken pieces, and getting rid of the pieces that don’t fit. They are not adept to abstract thinking, they find huge comfort in black and white way of thinking.

One thought on “Indication of a Brain

  1. And on top of everything else, Arsenal get knocked out of the European Cup as well!
    Oh well – Sunshine all the time makes a desert…

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