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Cleo Abram

Student , Columbia University - Columbia College


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We can learn by exchanging and discussing our own lists of "10 Things I Know to be True."

After listening to Sarah Kay's beautiful speech and poetry, I tried to write my own list of "10 Things I know to be True." I learned one thing immediately: I don't know much. I learned a second thing more slowly: that's okay! I tried to distill my limited understanding of the world into this list, without being overly philosophical nor literal.

One thing I know to be true, but that is not on my list, was that Sarah Kay was right when she said that if you share your list with a group of people you will find that someone has one thing very similar, someone else has something totally contrary, another person has something you've never heard of, and still another has something that makes you think further about something you thought you knew.

So let's share ours, and find out! What do your lists have on them?

Here's mine:
1. Fiction can, at times, feel more real than fact.
2. One person, with a good idea, can change our world.
3. There are things about our universe that we will never understand.
4. #3 is not an excuse to stop trying.
5. Everyone has a story worth hearing.
6. There is always another side to the story they tell.
7. Questions can sometimes teach more than their answers.
8. Children can sometimes teach more than their parents.
9. Everyone should travel.
10. No one's truth is universal.


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    Tania M

    • +5
    Nov 5 2011: 1. It's essential to be honest with yourself.
    2. Morality is relative, cowardice is not.
    3. One can learn new things every moment.
    4. Hard times can teach a lot.
    5. Never to give up even if you feel like doing so.
    6. Good personal connection with another person is a matter of reciprocal appreciation.
    7. Death is an event with 100% probability, so better make the best of each day we have.
    8. Simple things can bring happiness.
    9. Sometimes purpose does not justify the means.
    10. We can be free only if ready to sacrifice something for it.
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      Nov 5 2011: Is it essential to always be honest with yourself? I believe that total and complete honesty with yourself would be too much to bear... I believe we actually have a protective mechanism for preventing ourselves from being honest all the time.
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        Nov 5 2011: I agree with Jim,

        I try to practice self-actualization and only recently found that it is always a practice, you will never fully realize yourself.

        Only those whom can find light in the seemingly most dark moments should want to focus on self-truth.

        Reality is cold, harsh and neutral. Perceived realities are always being controlled by neuro-stimuli's that are so cognitively clouded, they appear not to exist. Cognitive biases.

        Idealism is a needed practice because pure nihilism is grim. Need to be optimistic, and that requires you to lie to yourself. "I can do this, I can do this... I know I can do this" It is why athletes have superstitions and rituals, because they believe they can't do "it" without them. But truly they do not, they do not need a rabbit foot, they need the placebo (the self created one). The self lie is necessary to achieve in competition and competition is something that everyone pursues. Even if the competition is to be the one not competing the most.


        2. Cowardice is also relative. Retreating from combat is as tactful as charging head on.

        9. I am confused on!

        But the rest are great! Especially 10.
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          Tania M

          • +1
          Nov 5 2011: Nicholas thanks for your comments.
          Self-actualization is a long and ongoing practice. It takes time and effort to accept who you are. Sometimes we can discover that we exact match of what we considered as *I will never-ever do it in my life * at the age of 18. Idealism and nihilism are too extremes that make the world look only black/white. One does not really need to choose between those two extremes, for the reality is more complex – it has a number of shades, nuances and half-nuances. All that makes the reality even more exciting, I guess.
          Cowardice to me means absence of attempt to overcome own fears and prejudices.
          9/Sometimes purpose does not justify the means: at times the efforts applied for achieving some goals come out not to be commensurate to those goals. Is it clearer that way?
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          Nov 6 2011: Nihilism is not necessarily grim. This is an arbitrary value assignment. It would appear that as a result of our physiologically machinated behavioral patterns, Nihilism is bound to feel negative, and therefore linguistically labeled as negative as a result of the associated feelings; however, this does not mean that Nihilism is intrinsically grim outside of a contextual and relative dependency.

          In reference to self-actualization, it appears to me that self actualization is an impossibility if approached within realms of process. Is it not the very idea of actualization that keeps one from achieving the state as it is defined? For there to be a state of self actualization, there must be a state of non-actualization.

          From this point, one may move forward through reality attempting to experience situations that we arbitrarily define as valuable, which are subjectively indicative of an ever approaching achievement of self actualization.

          Yet, if it is our very mind which is defining the the way in which one experience is more valuable or actualizing than another, then ultimately it is empty outside of the human mind's value association.

          If these values associated with actualizing experiences are fundamentally dependent on feelings, which I would assume (given that self actualization would imply fulfillment, peace, or everlasting happiness etc., which can ultimately only be subjectively felt), then it is our very tendency to desire and value that prevents one from experiencing every moment of existence as equally actualizing and fulfilling.

          In conclusion, would being self actualized be anything else but the simple acceptance of reality as it is in any given form of space and at any moment of time without arbitrary value assigned to the experience?
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          Nov 6 2011: Guillermo, to me self-actualization means a process, not a state, therefore *self-actualized* notion is non-attainable per se. Of course, everybody's perception (as well as values) is biased and relative, and, of course, there is no universal truth. And by the way, human language by itself is an arbitrary invention which often fails to meet its objective, e.g. to translate ideas of one person to the other in the same way he/she sees those ideas.
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          Nov 7 2011: .
          Greetings Earthling,
          Everyone should be an optimist, a cynic, a pessemist and a realist. Always hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and do your best to always accurately access your real chances of succeeding and failing. Weight the consequences of failing against the potential gains. But never gamble unless you are able to deal with the worst case scenerio.
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        Tania M

        • +1
        Nov 5 2011: Thanks for the comment, Jim. I can't agree with you for a very simple reason: to be honest with yourself means that you're able to accept own weaknesses and strengths. If you’re not completely honest with yourself and deny your weaknesses then you can’t work on improving them. That kind of self-protection which you’re writing about reminds me of hiding one’s head in the sand, like an ostrich. When we ignore a problem/weakness, it does not cease to exist, you know.
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          Nov 5 2011: We may agree more than you think. I always strive to see things as they are and not deny myself the truth. .. But I don't actually think it's possible to be honest and truthful with myself all the time, not only because I am humanly not capable of it, but also because at any given moment the honesty and truth you are seeking is unattainable.
      • Nov 10 2011: Maybe that same mechanism is what leads everyone to religion.
    • Nov 7 2011: Tania
      I really like your #4 and #8. Hard is just hard, but does bring rewards. I so want right now in my life to get to the point that the simple lifestyle and simple things really bring me the ultimate joy.
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      Nov 19 2011: Re No 1, For about a decade I have written, "When it comes to the universal questions, it is important to admit to yourself, 'I don't know.'"

      However, just last Sunday, I saw a friend I had not seen in 3.5 years, and he asked, "What's your current thinking about whether God exists or not?" I answered, "I don't know. But, I tend to think not."

      My friend said, "That's a change. Before, you were satisfied with 'I don't know.'"

      I immediatley saw my contradiction, and said, "Thank you, Cleve. I needed that."

      The story relates to your No. 6. I need people like Cleve. Many friends cannot even brook the conversation.

      Thank you for a great list.


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