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Thought Provoking #2: Lession To Unlearn

Updated on December 08, 2019 at the 16th hour
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DISCLAIMER: All views are considered my own and you should not draw any conclusions on associates.

Another thought provoking post recently is one like Lession to Unlearn (http://paulgraham.com/lesson.html)

I liked learning, and I really enjoyed some of the papers and programs I wrote in college. But did I ever, after turning in a paper in some class, sit down and write another just for fun? Of course not. I had things due in other classes.

Lesson to Unlearn jives with me a lot. Like money, grades are a means to an end, but don't make me emotional or feel like I am jubilant looking at them. I played at a game and got a result whether favorable or unfavorable. Once you get enough of it, motivation behind acquiring favorable results decreases. Back in college and high school, I stopped caring as much for grades as I did in elemntary school. Why? I made a game and made money near the end of elementary school, so I dissociated the idea that I needed good grades in order to make any money (technically I made money in fifth grade too, but I guess not enough.). I started to question things more in high school and even more so in university enough that I would selectively not do certain kinds of work and take the penalty in order to do things I did want to do. I still do that until this day. Only enough penalty not to be completely irresponsible sort of like a budget.

You go through school being exposed to historical and present knowledge and are tested on it, but why care if you know it or not if you will forget it? Oh right got to get to college and then what? Get a job serving the man. Is that all? Sounds super boring, so that void is filled with the idea of getting married, having kids and ultimately owning a home and car. All other voids will be filled in with consumeristic desires and fantasy. I realized early on I didn't give two shits about this stuff and routinely reject the notion and pressure that I have to do these things. There no requirement in life that says I have to do that unless you are in an actual bubble/cult where there is some form of consequence for not doing these things.

School indoctrinates and it is hard to break out of given all the stickers, praise and recognition of being able to regurgitate. A good grade is a baseline for acceptance to higher education and high paying jobs and the like. To some extent it is true because that's how the system is formed. At some point, good grade/recognition stops being a contributor to your growth, so now you have to focus on the things that actually mattered to the job which are your contributions and behavior.

Funny enough, in Software Engineering, we still are in the indoctrination phase where we must know how to solve specific problems in order to get in just like how school examinations are. Your contributions? Who cares, you gotta pass the leetcode "bar" for the coding interviews for anything else about you to matter. I rail against these interviews and say they are indicative of the people you will be working with. People who look to do what it takes to get in, do enough to stay in and find the same minded people via a higher "bar" next time around. Because why work with people who are looking to learn, contribute and take risks.

Taking risks is generally not encouraged anywhere I've seen outside of startups. School, the machine, penalizes you for taking risks. because that is not what is expected of you. Being clever is not expected as you are supposed to do this, this way. Of course that is how the industrial revolution created obedient workers right?! "Oh, how'd you learn that?" The internet. "but the internet is full of trolls and fake news" Anyway, anyone can everyone can tell if they like or dislike something and I think being an obedient unquestioning person is universally disliked. Scratch that, it depends on how one grew up. Yeah, one could be made to like being obedient and unquestioning. It is all stimulus. Risks can be extraordinarily painful and or fatal, so it doesn't provide favorable stimulus that one would want which makes obedience more attractive. Hard to unlearn behaviors due to stimulus.

I agree with Paul here that society will have to unlearn what has been imposed. It is also possible that society desires this and so it will not be unlearned, but there will be two classes of society instead based on behavior rather than money. Never too crazy what could happen.

Time will tell.

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