Featured

Subjective Rationality (aka my excuse for being me)

This quite literally began with a Google search.

As in I thought Subjective Rationality was a cool term I came up with all by myself, would make a cool name for a blog and I wanted to make sure no one else in the world had thought of putting those two words together.

Hindsight really is 20/20.

Anyways my search led me to an article and just reading the abstract alone gave me so much to chew on…and now I find myself wondering if it’s just me or this is something other people might consider.

Consider a group of friends in a carpool on the way to the movies. The driver arrives at a T-junction. Both roads lead to the theater but there’s no consensus among the passengers so the driver makes the call. His/her decision exists in two dimensions (nothing as exciting as an actual multiverse, sorry to disappoint).

In the first dimension, the driver is rational in the sense that the passengers can be convinced that he/she made the right choice to get them to the theater as safely and as quickly as possible. This is referred to as objective rationality. In the second dimension, the driver is rational in the sense that he/she cannot be convinced that he/she is wrong in choosing a particular road over another. This is referred to as subjective rationality.

Objective rationality is easy enough. It means that if I make a statement like “I like Batman v Superman.” and your initial reaction is “You’re an idiot!”, through cogent and reasoned arguments, I can convince you to move to an “Okay, I see your point.” view. I haven’t changed your mind about the quality of the movie but you see and understand why I like it.

Subjective rationality is where things get murky. Here, if I say “Beyoncé is overrated!” and you show me all her albums, singles and how they were chart toppers and critically acclaimed, my response will always and constantly be “You’re wrong. She sucks.” And nothing you say or do will change my mind because I’m convinced absolutely that I’m right. And a deep and bitter enmity just begun.

(Side note: To any members of the Beyhive reading this, I think Beyoncé is awesome, I’m just creating a hypothetical situation to illustrate my point.)

Subjective rationality is inherently flawed as human beings are very imperfect beings. Using our personal opinions, assumptions, beliefs and interpretations to make decisions is bound to create more than a few uncomfortable moments. Facts cannot be ignored just because they don’t make sense or provide information contrary to our opinions.

However, subjective rationality is not to be disregarded totally. Critical thought arises from the ability to examine and analyze facts and form opinions and judgements based on those facts. A single train of thought does not foster creativity and improvement. That just causes stagnation.

As I start out on this new path as a blogger, I will strive in all things to be as objective as possible…but I must admit that my opinions and viewpoints shaped by my life are precious to me. So I might end up being subjective about as many times as I’m objective.

And that is not a bad thing. If we all thought and made decisions like each other, the world would be a less interesting place. We need to agree to disagree.

So…welcome to my grand experiment in objective and subjective rationality. I invite you to my meandering thought process on life as we know it.

I might inspire you.

I might anger you.

But, in all things, I assure everything I will post from this moment henceforth will be something I will always stand behind firmly.

This is Zuviel, and the fun is just beginning.

Words over Actions?

I’ve always believed in the power of words, written and spoken, to move people and effect change.

The power of words is that they are measure of the person speaking them, even though a lot of important people have taught that that simply isn’t true.

…too meta or trying too hard?

We all know, intellectually, that actions are more indicative of a person’s character but we tend to be more forgiving of actions than we are of words.

Actions do come contextually.

When you are hungry, you need to eat.

When you are thirsty, you need to drink.

If you are despicable, it stands to reason that you will do despicable things.

When you are desperate and think you are close to the brink…you are likely to do something stupid.

But words…words always come from within.

In the same way you can’t say a word you don’t know; you can’t articulate a thought you’ve never had.

You might speak in haste; you might be lashing out but what you say will come from within.

True or false, it’s an expression of who you are, who you truly are.

After all, we do not judge a book by its cover, but by its content.

Words definitely qualify as content.

So…how are you doing?

Have your ever found yourself saying things you don’t mean or don’t intend to do?

Using the comfort of a simple white lie to create a sense of bonding with someone else?

Some, of course, are harmless.

“I miss you.”

Really?

“I was just thinking about you.”

Were you now?

“I’m fine.”

Of course, you are…right?

Right?

A friend of mine had this annoying habit. It might have been something only I found annoying but…annoying it was.

Anytime someone would respond to a “How are you?” with “I’m fine” he’d immediately repeat the question and repeat the question until he got a different answer.

Sure, the person he’d be pestering (me, more often than not) could say “I’m good” and he’d be done but every once in a while, a story would be coaxed out.

Because pain hardly ever sits in a chasm deep within you, it’s always just under the skin.

Needing to be addressed so it can be remedied.

Hiding it away might help you get through the day but ignoring the pain doesn’t make it go away.

But what do I know?

Someone out there probably has gamed the system and has figured out how to ignore the pain and hurt they feel and are just fine with it.

They are fine…right?

Right?

Reflections on Humpty Dumpty — angelaaalu

My awesome friends are contributing blogposts!!!!!

Second guest post for the year written by the awesome Zuviel Naazie

A Nursery Rhyme

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the King’s horses and all the King’s men

Couldn’t put Humpty together again

…and now for the world’s most awkward segue.

I don’t like fighting.

That […]

Reflections on Humpty Dumpty — angelaaalu

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…Not

It’s that time of year again…elections are on the horizons and politics are the talk of the town.

Once again, each political party will address themselves as the savior of all that ails you and deride all opposed as the second coming of the Black Plague.

How fun…

Of course, it’s incredibly easy to sit on the fence and pass judgement. So many people do it everyday and refuse to do anything about the woes that afflict them.

But…why do we need someone else to fix our problems for us?

My political views range wide as far as I can see. I have been liberal, conservative and everything else in between and I’ve arrived at an unsurprising conclusion…I’m Ron Swanson, a stout libertarian.

Not in any sense of liberal leanings or the conservative co-opted mishmash going on in the US, I’m libertarian in the sense that I don’t think government is good for the masses.

In all the years I’ve lived in Ghana, the political power has changed hands several times but the complaints haven’t changed.

Jobs.

Power.

Roads.

Schools.

Hospitals.

Food.

Water.

People want to live in the country and they even pay a citizenship fee (I’m sorry, taxes) but I think they’ve been sold a bill of goods (I will never understand why this turn of phrase means what it does but it is fun to use).

Years upon years of this democratic contraption, burdened by bureaucracy and tainted by corruption, nepotism, embezzlement and all the other political crap you can think of…you’d think we would have learned what government is good for and what it isn’t.

But nope, every election year, the parties line up and tell us they have our best interests at heart so we need to give them our support.

“We know what’s best for you. Life will be so much better under our rule.”

And, every time, surprise surprise…it isn’t.

Now, what do my libertarian leanings have to do with this?

True libertarianism advocates liberty of the individual and liberty of the masses.

We should be able to choose our own paths, as rational thinking beings who can read the writing on the wall and see what is obviously laid out for us all to see.

If you choose to trade that for faith in a system that has produced the same complaints over the years, no matter who holds the reins well…I wish you the best.

I’m not going to wait for someone to make my life better.

That job is mine.

My Yearly Retrospective

Each and every time this year I always seem to set

Myself up for another moment of regret.

Because I see the destination and forget,

What it took to reach this point and let,

The triumphs of our achievements fall

In favor of the anxieties caused by small

And petty grievances that never seem to end

But are specifically designed to confuse, confound and send

Us into inconsequential fits of rage and horror

Because now there’s always a reason for anger and/or terror

Be it fake news, nuclear doom or environmental calamity

Or some reason for our leaders to fail to prevent impending tragedy

Social toxicity is sky high in the age of information

And here I thought the connectivity would makes us unbounded nations

But these are things that shouldn’t be on my mind

The darkness always threatens but will flee at the sign

Of the light I keep within, and keep alight for those

Who couldn’t help but bring me this far even when I chose

Paths that made me stumble and trip over my dreams

And encouraged me to rise up again, try harder and mean

It with all my heart and soul and being

So I look forward and anticipate seeing

A new year with new perspectives and motives

Positive action not in vain but as a votive To push back against the chaos that always threatens

Keep your lights alight and the fear, terror and danger will lessen

Happy New Year to all of you!!

Doesn’t That Bother You?

Episode 1: Goes Without Saying

Ugh…

I’m annoyed just trying to get this out of my head.

I live by simple rules, or at least I try to.

One of these simple rules is KISS…

Keep It Simple Stupid.

I don’t need the unnecessary complications…which is why this phrase bothers me so much.

If something is so obvious, that it can indeed be referenced without a direct mention, why does “goes without saying” always preclude a useless retread of stuff the speaker already knows his audience knows?

Why use it you still feel the need to say the thing that was supposed to go without saying?

Doesn’t that bother you?

The Hypothetical Situation

Imagine a normal day for you being interrupted by an innocuous envelope.

One that holds a wedding invitation.

But, here’s the catch…the invitation is from your ex.

Here are your choices:

  1. Ignore the wedding invitation and find something else to occupy your time.
  2. Go to the wedding with a smile on your face and be a gracious guest.
  3. Go to the wedding and raise a stink as you mourn the loss of the love of your life.

What do you choose?

How long did it take you to make the choice?

Are you sure that’s what you’d really do?

I subscribe to the notion that you never really know what you would do until the opportunity presents itself.

Hypothetical situations are easy enough to figure out. Everyone is what they choose to be when they know the risk is nil.

The actual is where the meat is. It is the crucible that burns away what isn’t and reveals what lies beneath.

What if a gun is pointed at you?

How brave would you be?

What if you’re down to your last coin?

How generous would you be?

What if an ex shows you how far they have moved on from you?

What would you do?

Who are you really, when push comes to shove?

Are you everything you think you are…or less?

Or are you even more than you thought you could be?

The Skill in Permanence

August just ended and September has begun…and it has been a busy period for me.

I celebrated my birthday in August and met up with some friends from school in September.

And, as was customary, I took a lot of pictures for social media.

When I got home, I looked at one of my childhood pictures…and it struck me just how much taking pictures has changed.

In the 1990s, taking photographs was kinda like a special event.

We always prepared properly, and every single picture had to be perfect before the shutter clicked.

Photography used to require a lot more skill and knowledge.

It was more than lighting and angles.

It wasn’t just art, it was science.

Chemistry and physics were required to develop and produce your pictures after they had been taken.

Economics, too…your pictures lived and died on a roll of negatives, so you had to be careful with what occupied your roll.

There was a sense of permanence in every shot…something we seem to lack today.

The age of the selfie and Photoshop and filters has turned everyone into a modern day…*insert name of famous photographer here*.

I don’t mean to be flippant with the photographer but the only one I’ve heard was mentioned in a movie with Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst and Julia Stiles…I know these names offhand so I’m not Googling famous photographers.

Sure, nothing can ever be truly deleted of the internet but…along the way, that sense of permanence was lost…

…when every shot you took mattered…

…when all your attempts had to be just right…

…when failing had a lot more consequences…

Things are better now, but…photography used to be high science and art, you know?

It was magic that science has dumbed down into mundane everyday life.

Ugh, this is becoming dreary.

I’m going to find a nice spot to take a beautiful picture…

…nah, another selfie.

Check it!!

Silver and Bronze

Let’s start this story with a man named Matthew Robinson…

An African-American track superstar in the 1930’s.

One of his greatest moments was when he absolutely smashed the 200-meter sprint record at the Berlin Olympics in 1936.

And that was the Olympic Games that was held in Nazi Germany…a horrible place for him to be.

But, despite all that, he still gave a commanding performance and smashed a world record…and came in second.

Why?

He was running with Jesse Owens.

Jesse Owens went on to become a legend, was practically immortalized in Olympic history and had a biopic made about him.

Matthew Robinson…became a janitor at a school exclusively for white students and didn’t even get a mention in the biopic about a moment in history he was a part of.

All because he was behind by 4/10s of a second.

Now…who came in third place?

If you can answer that without a Google search, hats off to you.

I needed one to find Martinus Osendarp.

But why is that the case?

Two sprinters who made record breaking runs relegated to the background of history…because we celebrated the victor and ignored the other victors.

What they became afterwards…who cares?

Did they deserve that…who cares?

It is…a sad thing to contemplate.

Second best and third best have somehow become symbols of shame in our age.

A reason to make someone hide and cower away.

And now everyone is desperately scrambling to be first in whatever they can be.

Even if they have to be unethical about it.

Cheat, lie, falsify…those have now become the methods of the winners.

But all they provide is a veneer, a nice sheen to cover what lies underneath.

But that will soon be lost, and plain, hard facts will be all that is left.

It’s how we’ve moved from Enron and Black Monday to Fyre Fest and NAM1.

The honest, basic fact is that those who take second or third place are still very exceptional people.

They may not be the best…but the number of those better than them is very, very small.

So, before you let someone put down your second or third place accomplishment…or before you put down someone’s second or third place accomplishment, remember;

“Silver and bronze are still precious metals”

…I prefer to be quoted on that.

Love and Trust (ft Angela Alu)

It is a wondrous thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a dangerous thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a beautiful thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a fragile thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is an amazing thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a wicked thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a passionate thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a burdensome thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a joyful thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a painful thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a noble thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a treacherous thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a wretched existence when we love and trust others.

It is a blessed experience when we love and trust others.

It is God’s will,
…that we love and trust.

It never fails,
…when we love and trust.

%d bloggers like this: