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Voluntarily Facing Chaos and Evil

when you read a book that talks about important problems in the world, you get to choose how much attention to pay. you can just read through it and miss a lot of the point. that's what people normally do.

to get more out of it, you have to voluntarily choose to analyze it more, and think through what the negative issues are.

learning about the serious problems of the world isn't just a matter of opening your eyes, it takes a large, active effort. you have to put work into understanding them and making them a part of your own thinking.

it's up to you how much evil, badness, chaos, misery, etc, to voluntarily bring into your life.

it's understandable, in a way, that people usually don't bring in a lot. they don't take a book like Atlas Shrugged or The Gulag Archipelago and read it carefully and think through all of the meaning.

and they have a lot of excuses. this isn't like leaving your lights off to not see that your home is dirty. it takes a major effort to understand the world's misery and disorder beyond what is well known. flipping a light switch is easy, but you can say you're too busy doing other things to carefully think through the full consequences of some long, difficult books. or you can say that you did read it and think about it a lot – and face some of the world's evil – while not doing enough to face even more of the evil/problems (stopping short and pretending you did near the maximum, when there's really a lot more which you didn't make the effort to be aware of).

bringing disorder into your life is serious business. most people are already overwhelmed with their problems, so maybe they shouldn't. as Jordan Peterson would say, you need to get your own life in order before you should take on a bunch of other challenges! (don't overreach!)

this idea helps clarify for me why people don't get a lot out of books like Atlas Shrugged and The Beginning of Infinity. it's not just lack of intellectual skill. these books are serious business and present major world issues, and facing those is a difficult challenge which most people do not wish to voluntarily face. and even people interested in such things limit their exposure, limit what sort of evil and chaos they voluntarily bring into their mind to grapple with.

the more you think through the meaning of important books and ideas, the more you're bringing hard problems into your life and exposing yourself to ongoing tragedies. that's a hell of a thing to do, especially for someone who's life is already chaotic. (my life is very well in order today. but i took on such things in the past when my life was not yet organized. i was pretty damn fearless and this worked out very well for me, but it doesn't work out well for most people who try it – who take seriously a lot of major world problems, and see a lot of the world's folly, without having their own problems and life under control.)

it's difficult because the best way to get your life in order really effectively is to get really good at reason, but learning about reason will reveal to you all kinds of ways the world is irrational and disordered.


Elliot Temple on January 24, 2018

Comments (3)

"...when my life was not yet organized."

what do u mean that your life was not yet organized?

Anonymous at 5:25 AM on May 27, 2018 | #9777
this is a low effort question. it doesn't explain what the issue is, what problem it's trying to solve, etc.

Anonymous at 10:47 AM on May 27, 2018 | #9778
the question doesn't provide additional information compared to giving a quote and writing "I don't understand?"

Anonymous at 10:48 AM on May 27, 2018 | #9779

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)