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Ask HN: What's your greatest epiphany?
69 points by alleycat on Apr 7, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 120 comments



You can't tell anyone anything that they are not ready to hear.

This affects your ability to influence others and be influenced by others.

The takeaway for you receiving wisdom is to be open to things that you are not yet ready to hear, to remember them and keep them in mind as it may apply to you in the future when you are ready.

If you need to share wisdom, empathise with where the receiver is currently and tell them what they're ready to hear based on where they are today (or will shortly be).


Not only will someone not truly hear what you have to say, they will often become confrontational over it if it is anything of relevence.

Considering this and keeping my mouth shut has saved me many a fruitless argument.


Two people want to share a cake.

The reasonable person asks for half the cake, the unreasonable person asks for the whole cake.

They compromise and split the difference - the unreasonable person gets three quarters of the cake and the reasonable person gets a quarter.

[I wish I knew the origins of this - I heard it years ago.]


What you're talking about is something like (if not exactly) game theory. I read somewhere (no source sorry) that humans in normals situations DON'T actually behave like that.

They generally come to a mutually satisfactory conclusion, normally kindness (apparently inherent in human society) surfaces quickly.

Intelligence would perhaps suggest it's most efficient not be a dick in the long run.


What is the epiphany here? What is the insight or enlightenment to be gained from this story?

I have my own, but I'm curious about what people believe is the moral of the story.


Don't be the chump who offers the rational middle ground as your opening bid.


I'd say there are at least 2 morals.

First: You don't get what you don't ask for. the other person might really only want a quarter of the cake, but by asking for more than your "fair share" you open the door to allowing them to give you what you want.

Second: By asking for the whole thing, you have placed yourself in a position of power and privilege. The mere act of asking for more implies that you think you deserve it. Someone mentioned posturing in another comment.


Selfishness is a virtue and not a sin as taught and propagated through society, religion and culture.

If you wish to get what you want, you have to use any means possible. And there is nothing wrong in it.

Actually if you look at it that is how most successful people get successful.

Think of your own good first, even if that's not very helpful to the other guy.


But, you said two people want to share a cake. According to the scenario only one of them does.


Two people have to share a cake, and one of them wants to.


Ye I doubt the greedy guy would settle for a quarter when the other is getting 3..


can you elaborate how you would apply this thinking to your everyday life? thanks


Learn to spot and understand the perspective of people who expect to get the whole cake in life - the loser/clueless/sociopath model being of some use here:

http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2009/10/07/the-gervais-principle-o...


I work in customer service for a sub-unit of a large telco. When people run into annying issues, I am kind of at liberty to issue a refund if I want to, sort of to please the customer and make them stay with us.

However most people don't ask for it. So only the ones who take the time to ask for it and write two sentences of why they should receive one get it.


Complain more often.


My biggest epiphany: money itself doesn't mean anything. A lot of people make it their goal to be rich, but to me, being rich is a meaningless goal. It's about what you can do with money. You really have to dig in your deeper wants for this. You say you want to be rich? What exactly is your definition of being rich? Is it fame? The ability to buy whatever you want?

More often than most people realize, their deep wishes can be accomplished by another way than working your butt off or winning the lottery.

My motivation for being rich (in the monetary sense) would be that I don't have to work anymore. My deeper wish is the absense of authority (a boss) and to be able to spend more time with my children. If you think of it that way, it would be crazy to work more hours, right? I work 4 days a week now, hardly no overtime, and my boss values responsible individuals more than mindless office drones. I have more than enough time to see my children growing up, and even enough time for some challenging side projects and hobbies. Which brings me to another epiphany, I guess: time might be money, but money != time. Time you spend with your kids can never be taken away from you, time you don't spend with your kids can never be brought back. It's gone forever.

I'm the richest man in the world.


How much of human activity is just signalling, posturing, and status jockeying with no purpose I would consider practical. To the point where those behaviours seep into contexts where they're obviously unproductive, like discussions on pseudonymous Internet forums.

Robin Hanson has some extensive descriptions[1] of what I mean, with the crucial insight that "X is not about Y"[2], and that rationalization may be the original, evolutionary purpose of rational thinking rather than its perversion[3]. He even offers remedies[4] if you consider it a problem.

[1] http://www.overcomingbias.com/tag/signaling

[2] http://www.overcomingbias.com/2008/09/politics-isnt-a.html

[3] http://www.overcomingbias.com/2014/04/reason-stories-both-tu...

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prediction_market


these links remind me of Alain De Botton's Status Anxiety.

http://alaindebotton.com/status/


This is fascinating stuff, thanks for sharing!


Lucid dreaming. Realising spiritual development (not religious obviously) isn't the antithesis of technology. Realising being a dad isn't scary, it's incredible. Realising that to be an awesome coder doesn't require 30 years of experience, it required perspective and the ability to ignore the 'common' wisdom when needed. Living in a world of 'magic' by choice, embracing stuff I don't understand, and being blown away by the tech of nature.


I was contemplating a problem I was having, and thought of a solution that was so perfect that both the problem and solution completely annihilated each other. All that remained was the memory that I had had a problem, and solved it.

I couldn't even remember what the problem had been because it was totally, and completely, solved.

I started to think about what this might mean for finding answers to questions. Perhaps people who have TRULY solved certain problems aren't the ones talking the most about them.


Wow. There are so many levels of interpretation on this. From the unspoken progress of humanity down to the lack of recognition of fellow engineers who keep the show running with no apparent recognition from management.


This also reminds me of the Curse of Knowledge, where people who know something internalize some valuable perspective which makes it difficult for them to empathize with how it must be not to know.


Yes, that seems very similar. It's difficult for someone to understand a point of confusion when their own knowledge is so clear. Perhaps great teachers can pass on knowledge so effectively because they are better able to remember and guide people past the troubles they had when learning.


Sat at the piano, aged about 10, when I realised that my experience is one of billions and no more real than any other, and that everything we see around us is only so because we say it is so, and that power only exists in the minds of those who witness it.


Nice! "I think, therefore I am" -> is the only thing we can confirm. The rest is our choice to believe a narrative that suits us.


I've always liked to consider "I think, therefore I am" as a formula:

"I think [X], therefore I am [X]" -- whatever you think, and focus your thought and will and desire on is what you create out of yourself.


Everybody is a victim of their own narrow viewpoint, even (and sometimes especially) people who claim they're open minded.

The tricky part is, when you're talking to someone, to figure out the boundaries of their viewpoint and take that into account when you communicate.

The trickier part is seeing the boundaries of your own viewpoint and forcing them wider. This is hard as your view of the narrowness of your own viewpoint is limited by the narrowness of your own viewpoint.


Many things which you consider out of your reach are achievable. And they are not as difficult as they seem. You just have to set goals and start working towards them.


What things have you achieved on this front?


Not really an epiphany, but when I started a consistent meditation practice. I've been significantly better about viewing myself objectively without emotions, I'm not as held back by fears or insecurities, and life has become quite a bit more interesting as I've been able to notice the smaller details more.


care to share any links/advice for someone who would like to try meditation but is overwhelmed with all the different techniques? thanks


The book that really got me going was The Way of Zen by Alan Watts. I felt like that was a good introduction for myself (a Westerner who didn't want the religious component of Buddhism).

From there it was pretty much a lot of sitting, breath meditation, and hard work - it's very tempting to chase thoughts that pop-up during meditation, but reminding yourself to let it go and move back to focusing on the breath builds the ability later in "everyday" life to notice you have a poor/misguided thought pattern motivated by ego or emotion and to step back and realize you are not that emotion or thought, it is just something happening, and you're able to let those emotions go much easier and make calmer and more rational decisions. I am in no way an expert of any sort, I'm still figuring out this stuff as well, but it's been significantly beneficial just from the short time I've been practicing.

Honestly the /r/meditation FAQ has some good resources and links there, especially ones relating to mindfulness in plain English (it cuts out the spirituality aspect quite a bit). There is also a course on Coursera called Buddhism and Modern Psychology ( https://www.coursera.org/course/psychbuddhism ) that I was interested, but I have no experience with it. Hopefully this helps in some way :-)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5Fa50oj45s

Here is a great talk about it from a doctor withouth any new age babble. He gives very simple advice and even backs up his claims with some research.

The gist of it is: - For 15 minutes a day sit down and try not to think/observe your body/observe what is going on in your dead - Do this for 30 days, after that your brain should pick it up and do it more or less automatically

This made a huge differenc in my life for sure.


I've read this twice so far. I found it useful, personally http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe.html.


That governments in all forms throughout history have had one purpose only--to keep the population fed. People have an endless capacity to endure abuse from those in power as long as they are kept satiated. The moment the food stops flowing is when revolutions occur, and not a moment before.


Was lack of food a factor in either the English Civil War or the American War of Independence?

[NB I'm listening to the excellent "Revolutions" podcast at the moment http://www.revolutionspodcast.com/]


I know little about European history, but I would argue that the American War of Independence was more a formality than anything. Britain's influence was already waning and the colonies were mostly self-sufficient at that point. The hand that fed them wasn't Britain, so independence was simply a matter of not letting a third party take money out of your pocket any longer.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_taxation_without_representat...

My understanding that it wasn't the amount of tax - which was actually quite low, but the fact that they did not (and arguably, could never have) any meaningful representation within the power structures that raised these taxes.


This doesn't necessarily mean food.

It also doesn't apply 100% of the time. Does anything?


"It also doesn't apply 100% of the time. Does anything?"

Yes. Either this maxim applies 100% of the time, or there is some other statement that does.


To be more precise, that's not the purpose, that's the means. The purpose is to extract the maximum value out of the livestock. Now, to do that, governments must find the right balance of propaganda, social programs and freedom. It differs for different countries. Western countries are no exception: it's just that people are taught that government serves them, while the opposite is actually true. Government is power and anyone who believes it is there to serve his interest and protect him is a fool.


Not sure if I agree with this. Governments are a necessary outgrowth of agriculture: producing more food than you personally can consume means the population can grow in proportion, which necessitates a mechanism for distribution. The fact that governments can exert power beyond their purpose of food distribution is incidental rather than central to their role.


This post reminds me of popular depictions of the French Revolution. You always see these hungry mobs and callous rich people, "let them eat cake" and all that. In reality though, was that the poor in France had a better standard of living than the centuries before. The true catalyst of the revolution was a bankrupt government being forced to turn to the middle class to bail them out.


* On getting rich:

- If you focus on the money you won't get anywhere. You must focus on the creation of value for other people in an area that will allow for exponential customer growth. It's all about serving other people at scale. Getting rich is the side effect of this. The process accelerates if you love what you are doing and are having fun.

* On human relations:

- You are never too talented, too smart or too good looking to burn bridges, think less about others or not make an effort to be liked by all and treat everyone with respect and courtesy. Not doing this will always come back to haunt you.

- No matter how bad things get in your family never betray your family member's trust.

- Be as gracious as you can to those who are disrespectful to you, pivot in your mind and thank them for their encouragement. Use it as fuel.

* On getting stuff done:

- Focus. Multitasking is a myth.

- Forget doing stuff solo, you need a team to do anything really amazing. Each team member needs to know their strengths and weaknesses and your team should be a cohesive and complementary whole where strengths cover weaknesses.


I read the Tao Te King by Lao Zi when I was 25 and it was a major epiphany, this passage especially:

Although the saint puts himself last, he finds himself in the lead.

Although he is not self-concerned, he finds himself accomplished.

It is because he is not focused on self-interests and hence can fulfill his true nature.


Compound interest works. Every penny you save before you're 30 has a dramatically large impact on your quality of life after 60.


"Every penny you save before you're 30 has a dramatically large impact on your quality of life after 60."

Either you're getting a much higher rate of return than the rest of us, or you're awfully excited about maybe 5 cents.

Or you're just being hyperbolic.


That our time is limited and we must choose carefully where to focus our personal efforts.


That realization was a gradual one for me. I tell people that I have a limited amount of Life Force and I don't want to waste it.

The upshot of that is (A) that you can't do "everything" just because you can afford it (B) life is too short to "stick it out" if you really don't like what you are doing.

Books are a perfect example of "B": If you read part of a book and you don't like it, stop/quit and read another instead. It makes no sense to read a "bad" book just because you've been conditioned to "finish what you start". There are just too many other great books you could read if you quit reading the bad one and started reading another one.


This is exactly what I did with programming. I could figure it out and produce something after a great deal of effort, but it exhausted me. Meanwhile, I can hammer out 1000 quality, edited words and barely notice it.

You can probably guess where I put my focus.


Tangential to this is that because time is limited your choices will decrease as you approach the end.

While your options are wide open at 20 they are far more limited at 40 or 50 simply because you don't have time to start anew.

And, similar to software, your life requires far more maintenance time as it goes on :)


People think to create an AirBnb or Twitter, they have to be really smart. However, you really don't need to be that smart to build a massive company. You need a certain IQ of around 110-120 to understand science or how markets work, but after that it's only a matter of how much you believe in yourself/how bold you allow yourself to be.

Being smarter might actually be harmful as the human brain isn't good at filtering all the impressions that the person feels with a higher IQs. For instance, a high IQ often comes with social anxiety, autism and other mental restrictions that lessen the person's capability.

For IQs above 140, people become more specialized from what I've seen. They might be very useful to solve specific problems such as curing cancer/inventing the theory of relativity, but they have a hard time executing a bigger vision involving hundreds of employees and knowledge across numerous fields as one needs to create a startup.

I believe the sweet spot, where a human being can have the biggest impact on the world is somewhere between 130-140. This is an IQ, where a person can understand pretty much everything, but isn't overwhelmed by all the input it gets.


that a lot of the fears: failure, rejection, risk taking, success etc, are learned and embedded in our subconscious, stemming from life events in childhood. These fears operate in our subconscious and are projected outwardly in everything we do in the day-to-day decisions we make. Being able to recognize/rationalize against these fears is life-changing, at least for myself.

I used to be crippled by some social settings, but identified the root cause of the paralysis from a very specific childhood event, rationalized against it, and was able to overcome it with practice.

Anyone with more knowledge behind the psychology care to elaborate/provide some resources? Thanks


I've had a couple of memorable epiphanies. The fact that they are programming related probably says something about me but heck, I can't change that.

Epiphany 1: one day I realized that Bresenham's line algorithm wasn't just a way to draw lines. In reality, it linearly interpolates values over a range. Example: get the gradient/color values along a horizontal line from x0,color0 to x1,color1.

Epiphany 2: The 2nd big "aha" moment was when I worked for a machine tool company and someone explained how our ball screws (a big threaded rod that moves a tool or cross slide when you turn it) was "mapped" so we could tell what the error was at each point and thus correct for that error with a resulting greater accuracy. That concept can be applied to all kinds of problems. For example: Instead of making a "perfect" lens at great expense, you can make a "map" of the lens's imperfections and correct the image in software.


So for the second part, maybe you can sum it up in a pithy way by saying "Sometimes it's more cost effective to know your flaws than to be perfect".


> Example: get the gradient/color values along a horizontal line from x0,color0 to x1,color1.

Sadly, colors don't blend as easy as coordinates: http://www.stuartdenman.com/improved-color-blending/ ... but in general I agree.


Thanks for the link!


Welcome :-)


Technologies advance the fastest in societies that invest heavily in war/defense all throughout history.

Human advancement has come mostly from markets and freed up the thinking man.

People aren't interested in facts or the truth, they want the story.

Human change is extremely slow and only happens in iterations.

Poor people pay interest, rich people collect it.

If you put something out there for sale, people will buy it, somehow.


you reminded me of one: "the worst decisions make for the best stories"


> Technologies advance the fastest in societies that invest heavily in war/defense all throughout history

Really? The Soviet Union invested a much larger share of it GDP in military.


Exercise feels good.


Caveat: This is true only after you get over the initial, minor and yet discouraging hump where exercise is only tiring. Ramping up is key, and don't let anyone dictate how slow / easy you start. Then increase gradually, where how gradual is determined by how much better you think you can do.

I had to start running slower than the slowest part of the couch-to-5k program (a.k.a the most newbie program to get into running) to get my breath and body used to it. Now I can run 5k no problem.


I started by running to the store and buying something (juice, food, whatever). It may not have been the most efficient way to exercise, but it created a Pavlovian feedback mechanism.


also: the "good" feeling is caused by neurotransmitters being released/binding to post-synaptic vesicles in the brain. Thinking about this really helped me overcome some hard times/feelings/emotions


I have a few off the top of my head:

- Learned helplessness is one of the biggest enemies to learning, but it's insidious in that sufferers don't recognize it. Often, I'll try to teach someone something, and I'll know for sure that they can and will grasp a concept, but they'll just stop short on their own accord, chalking failure up to their own (imagined) inherent inability rather than a specific situational lack of something. Usually accompanied with a general statement like "I'm just not a technical person" or "I'm not that smart" (sometimes not voiced) or "I don't get math" or "I'm more of a right-brain person". It's interesting that of the tons of much likelier reasons for failure (bad teaching, not enough practice, not having the right foundation), the most commonly chosen is "it's me".

The opposite side to this is to incorporate failure and retrial as part of the learning process, and to realize that the failure is a specific situation and mostly not a general statement of ability.

Anyway, when they're encouraged a bit and they do succeed, their surprise and satisfaction is one of my favourite things in the world.

- Psychology is not bullshit like I used to think before.

- Introspection and self-examination is very important and ignoring your inner world does not make your problems go away. Regularly taking time to consider your thoughts, worries, knee-jerk reactions, big life events, priorities is a great idea, and keeps problems from bottling up. A multitude of lingering things on your mind that don't seem immediate on their own can add up fast. I didn't even know this could happen until it did to me.

As a positive result though, I discovered a whole new meta-level of thought. Observing the process through which thoughts materialize in my mind is enlightening. Watching chains of thought develop step by step uncovers biases and thought-tendencies that are often unconscious but can be damaging.

It also promotes self-honesty, which sometimes saves you a lot of time and money and is often a great antidote to ignorance. There isn't a switch you can flip to be more objective but a decent attempt helps.

- When people say things, don't forget to think about why they're saying them. Often this provides valuable perspective. What's motivating them to say that? Is it conscious? Sometimes a pipe is a pipe, but sometimes it's not. For example, if someone tells you "never trust women", concluding that the person has probably been severely hurt by women before (conclusion from asking why the person said this) is much more valuable than concluding women are evil (the direct conclusion).


I have an identical twin brother. We took separate classes in high school, he was really good at math, physics and science, while I really, really sucked at them. If you asked me at that time, I would tell you 'I just don't get math'. Those were my literal words. We are genetically the same, so it's impossible that his brain is somehow wired in a different way than mine, but I would still say the problem was me, instead of my crap teacher. I got a bad start with math and physics in high school, and it wasn't until years later I picked up programming as a hobby that I regained some interest in mathematical subjects.

I'm just finishing up on a Bayesian flamewar detector. If you would tell the high-school me this years ago I would have said you were crazy...


"Bayesian flamewar detector"

Is that a Bayesian detector of flamewars, or a detector of Bayesian flamewars?


why didn't you go on the same classes/teachers ?


That was a conscious decision. Being twins and all is fun, but people (and thus, teachers), tend to see you as one entity. We split classes when we were 11 years old, we both felt like we had to be our own person, with our own friends, independent from one another.

This also had some nice side effects, I was really good at languages, history and biology, so I could take my brother's tests. He was good at math and science, so he occasionally took mine.


Do you have thoughts as to the complementary skillsets are/were in part identity driven? in some areas perhaps compete and in others complement other's skill.


"Psychology is not bullshit like I used to think before."

Yes. I assume most HNers are "rational", logical, analytic thinkers that despise office politics and allowing feelings to clout "sound" decisions. However, feelings exist, office politics exist, and humans are irrational. Therefore, being logical and "rational" we have to account for these pesky "stupid" things and act accordingly if we want to maintain our logical and "rational" self labels.

EDIT: quotes.


"Psychology is not bullshit like I used to think before" and "watching chains of thoughts" are two big revelations i had too.

I also discovered how powerful is cognitive reconstruction (i translated it from italian definition).


This was nice to read. Thanks for that!


That Israel has exactly zero interest in peace with the Palestinians. Continued conflict is the perfect excuse for continued oppression and occupation. The insight came as a flash - and now I can't understand why I didn't see it sooner.


Rule of 72 (basic personal finance that should be taught in high school).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_72


People who believe themselves to be lucky are lucky. The opposite is also true.


In part due to selective bias - the 'lucky' ones enjoy remembering the luck, the 'unlucky' ones enjoy the opposite.


When I was a teenager, I had a temper problem. I got angry and the smallest things, and I'd scream and yell until I got my way or I got grounded, whichever came first. I started a job that had to do with some machinery, and occasionally the machines would break. I'd have to go fix what broke, then start it up again. And my machine broke a lot. I would cuss and scream and kick the damn thing, and I'd get so angry that I'd have to do it over and over.

One day my boss comes over and just starts helping me fix the machine. He's humming a little song and happily fixing things. And I just looked at him, and I said "Doesn't this fucking piss you off? That this fucking machine keeps fucking breaking?" (I was a kid. "Fucking" was a fun word to say. Still is, actually.)

He looks at me and says, "Does the machine care if you're mad?"

Huh.


Customers do not know the price of the thing you're selling.


No matter to which country you go, you will find all kinds of people. Only not in the same proportions.


People are just people. Everyone is an amalgamation of insecurities, fears, joys, talents, failures, desires, etc. This has helped me communicate and associate with people at all levels. I don’t care if it is the bum down by the river or the CEO of a company with 500+ employees, I get along with them… and have learned from them. Because we all have value and are just trying to make it through our brief term here on earth. Or, as Orson Scott Card put it, we’re muddling through.

But most of all, remembering I am just a person as well. No better or worse than anyone else.

Maybe it sounds obvious, but it truly helped me in life.


MBTI, I learned a lot about myself since I discovered that I am an INTJ.


Everyone I meet is not better than me.


Don't forget Thoreau's quote that he could learn from everyone. I think the problem is thinking of people in terms of rankings. Some are better at some things than others but that should not translate into being better than others. It's a hard distinction to make because the the latter is shorter and more convenient to grasp.


> I think the problem is thinking of people in terms of rankings.

Yes, that's exactly what I meant.


Free Markets are extremely powerful.

Tons of people will buy stuff for reasons you can't even conceive.

The difference between being poor and having a bright future has a lot to do with knowledge and awareness, more than initial means.

There are heaps of differences between people of different cultures, religions, countries, but there are still very strong common elements you can use as a basis to work together.

Building a solid network and community around you is a big driver for luck, probably more than your own skills.


Nobody's out to get you.


Minor qualification: some people are out to get you, but you can't live your life worrying about it.


That 'now' is all that matters. Don't spend too long in the past, or worrying about the future.

That happiness is just a matter of wanting less as opposed to having more.

And learning about the financial crossover point was another light-bulb moment. When you can save most of what you earn, to get to a point where working isn't necessary, but a pleasure..


Life approach:

- Some people look at the world as a series of things that happen to them. They relish the sympathy and attention they get. Do not befriend these people, they will drain you emotionally, and you might be the next person they accuse of doing them wrong.

- Instead, think of the world as a set of resources provided to you for the purposes of achieving your goals.


Weird. For me it's the reverse.

Edit: I see you elaborated on your comment a bit, which makes mine read quite differently. I also agree with you loads more now.


I don't know about greatest, but game theory has set off some pretty good epiphanies. I watched this Yale class on game theory and it really opened my mind: http://oyc.yale.edu/economics/econ-159


This looks promising. Thanks for sharing.


That you are riding the same initial wave of energy that was The Big Bang, and that it is responsible for every single decision, impression and feeling that you have in your life. That's the epiphany that I had while listening to Alan Watts.


If you ever find yourself the smartest guy in the room, then you're in the wrong room.


That much of what seems solid and immutable is really a social construction, subject to change, affected by politics, argument and shared experience.

Race, money, even colors like blue and green only exist in a particular social context.


Only person I need to meet expectations of is me and not of anyone else.

Time is more valuable than money and things. It can't be regained.

Value experiences over things. Experiences last a lifetime, things don't.


"Talk is cheap, show me the code" — The true gravity of this quote (by Linus Torvalds) struck me at the crux of my first startup.


You don't have to be good, you just have to be better than everybody else.

My way of re-phrasing "90 percent of success is just showing up".


Seeing "the light" in a lucid dream.


or tricking your brain you are about to die (bungee jumping did this for me)


Death is inevitable and life is meaningless.

Most people would be depressed with this epiphany but for me, it was liberating.


I'm sorry you feel this way. Death really is inevitable, but life is only meaningless if you think it is and treat it that way. My life isn't meaningless to my family, to loved ones I share memories with, and to people I've helped along the way. Or did you mean that life itself is meaningless (or rather: empty if you like), and that you have to make something out of it yourself?


My life is definitely meaningful on a micro level i.e. to my close family and friends and I owe them enough to have certain parts of my life actions and direction influenced by them, but in the larger picture over thousands of years, my life is pretty much meaningless.

Which means I obsess less and less over what others think, I compare myself less and less and I let things that I can't control influence my happiness less and less. Basically I'm a nihilist.


If you had truly come to terms with death and believed life is meaningless you'd be unable to even so much as go to the bathroom. More likely, you've tricked yourself into thinking these things.


Or maybe tricked myself into attaching a meaning for life when I know its meaningless? :)


That's just part of being human, everyone does that. If you didn't, I'm saying you would have no desire to physically move.


All of life's obstacles can be broken down in smaller ones, and as such, all obstacles can be tackled.


There is no end to suffering, only a redefinition of suffering relative to our notion of pleasure.


People will always do the right thing… after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives


Treat people the way they want to be treated, not the way you want to be treated.


God and Luck both doesn't exist.


The observer is the observed.


The power of observation is not an attribute of the observed.


- Ayn Rand is right.

- If you want something, the responsibility of getting that lies on you and you alone. You are responsible for both success and failure.

- To get what you want, 'You should do what it takes'. Even if that's not within the moral/ethical/acceptable norms of the society. Or unpleasant or unhelpful to people people around you.

- You will either follow this and rise, or will be used(and then thrown) by those who follow this. Where you want to be, you decide.

- When you get successful and rich, what ever you do becomes right. Even if that was actually wrong per everybody else before.


Then you will be a rich lonely unhappy asshole. I've seen it happen.


This sounds less like epiphany and more like things you wish were true.


You need to read Crime and Punishment




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