A friend of mine constantly criticises me for being ignorant in certain topics. But, instead of giving me evidences that prove my ignorance, he simply advises me to ‘live the life’.
Of course, there are two problems with that.
First, the phrase ‘live the life’ is obnoxious. When my friend says that, I know he means I should leave the house more often and do things other than staying at home, watching Youtube videos. But, technically, me enjoying online entertainment means I am living the life. Saying that I am not is as self-righteous as saying Marvel films are not cinema.
Second, what he is basically saying is I need to have more anecdotes. Unless you are a Lauren Southern wannabe (which many humans are), you know damn well that understanding the world requires something more concrete than our personal experiences. I use a lot of anecdotes in my blogs and I admit that they make my writings argumentatively weaker.
Virtually every person I have interacted with has implemented my friend’s advice… and I can certainly say many of them are more ignorant and immature than I am.
Almost all of them believe in pseudosciences and easily fall for conspiracies and hoaxes.
Lots of them believe popularity defines quality. Therefore, they believe popular people and things should and always be respected.
Many of them do not know how to handle contentions. They, even older people, will resort to childish attacks against me and they always fail to provide refuting evidences; for them, their old ages prove that they are right and I am wrong.
One Muslim activist, who has supposedly dealt with a wide range of nasty people and learned how to deal with fellow human beings, thought the proper way to silence my harsh criticism against her was to criticise my profile picture.
Not only teachers gave me wrong information, some of them even inserted their literally-interpreted religious beliefs into the lessons.
People who have travelled all over the world and have interacted with people of highly contrasting backgrounds can still end up as identity-politics-loving bigots.
And I haven’t taken a shot at complete strangers yet.
In Indonesia, our current coordinating minister of human development and culture suggests that wealthy people marrying the poor will eliminate poverty.
A nutritionist working for the Indonesian Child Protection Commission introduced the Indonesian public to the urban legend of getting impregnated while swimming.
The mayor of Indonesian city of Tangerang, who has a master’s degree in healthcare administration, once claimed that instant noodles and babies formula milk turned babies gay.
The current Indonesian health minister says prayer is the be-all and end-all protection against the COVID-19 viruses.
When campaigning for the gubernatorial election, the incumbent governor of Jakarta once said a city would still beautiful even with the presence of slums.
The current minister of education had to teach the MPs what competence assessment was.
In America, there are medical professionals who openly oppose compulsory vaccinations, despite the scientifically-proven importance of herd immunity.
Despite his years of experiences as a science communicator, Neil deGrasse Tyson still tactlessly tweeted about how Americans should not be emotionally-invested in mass shootings because of the relatively low death rate.
A University of Oklahoma journalism professor, someone who is supposedly competent in words usage, thoughtlessly compared the word ‘Boomer’ to the N-word.
Donald Trump, a supposedly successful businessman who graduated from an Ivy League university, does not know how tariffs work, does not know how to create deals without pissing off the other parties and does not know how to speak like an educated adult.
Marketing and PR professionals, who supposedly know how to read the fucking rooms, still end up with insensitive and tactless ideas.
I can do this all day.
What makes this even more frustrating is that my friend and I LOVE to bash those idiots. In fact, much of our interactions revolve around that activity!
If he simply told me to ‘live the life’ because I need to fulfil my basic human needs, I would be okay with it. Instead, he had to embellish the advice with this pseudo-philosophy.
I have done things outside my house… and frankly, they teach me nothing.
I used to take various extracurricular activities like Bridge and basketball (the latter was forced by mom). I used to attend more family gatherings and I actually tried hanging out with other students in my senior high school.
And I learned nothing from those activities.
The extracurricular activities taught me nothing. Bridge taught me nothing about the importance of competitions, cooperations and strategy. Basketball taught me nothing about the importance of physical fitness and the joy of exercising. My interactions with relatives and school mates did not teach me social skills and did not teach me the joy of human interactions.
In fact, my interactions with fellow human beings fed me pseudoscientific and problematic views, which I gobbled up easily. All of my moments of realisation occurred when I was alone.
If it wasn’t for my solitary reflections and my time spent online and writing, I would have never realised how piece of shit I was (still am).
I would never knew how gullible, immature, pretentious and self-righteous I was. I would never knew how pseudoscientific and problematic most of my views were.
Thanks for my ‘not-living-the-life’ lifestyle, I have learned to accept that life is inherently grey and will always be, regardless of my attempt to pigeonhole it.
I have learned to accept that my words, including the ones in this ranty essay, will definitely bite my ass in the future.
If I do the so-called ‘live the life’ lifestyle, I am certain that not only I would never improve as a person, I would probably end up becoming an even more horrible individual.
It is not far-fetched to say that my old self had the chance of becoming a religious extremist or someone who spreads harmful pseudoscientific beliefs.
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