I just watched an interview with Noam Chomsky. He gave an hour to a podcaster with less than 500 followers on YouTube (disclaimer: he more than doubled his follower count after featuring such a big name). I think we agree that follower count does not always equal content quality. Still, we continue to use and […]
Among a diverse group of collaborators, others’ “obvious” (to them) contributions appear wildly creative from my perspective; and likewise, what seems obvious to me is often wildly creative to others. This realization holds the secret to group creativity: be yourself. Worry less about trying to be the creative one, and more about how you can unlock the contributions of others. So as my friend and legendary improviser Dan Klein often says, “Dare to be obvious!”
This might sound obvious *wink*, but what is easy and obvious to you may not be to another.
Misinterpretation as Creativity
Misinterpretation can be an instance of the obvious as creativity.
My brother recently explained to me an interesting concept. It was about the rise of cultural globalisation. People from all around the world are assimilating to a more uniform culture and lifestyle. While this seems to many of us an emerging trend, much of the world remains left out. Instead of being divided by geographical borders, we are increasingly divided by economic and societal ones.
As I started to explain this concept to my friend, he immediately understood it to mean that while so many cultures are being influenced by the same global information and trends, they each interpret it and react differently. This allows for a variety of cultural shifts but no agreement on a global uniform culture.
Allowing myself to venture even further off on a tangent, notice how my friend is ironically embodying the behavior of cultures that he describes. When given the same information as I did, he interpretted it differently, as he claims cultures do with the same global influences.
I find both concepts equally interesting and with eye opening potential. One was unlocked through misinterpretation, and it remains to be seen whether my interpretation was as my brother intended in the first place.
My friend was not trying to be creative. The idea was obvious to him.
The New Platform for Creativity
Hunome is designed as a safe, non-judgemental space for collective thought.
Sign up for Hunome today. Follow your inner genius. Say the obvious. Misinterpret. Be creative.
As a gateway to truth and empathy, we need to shift towards learning from a wider range of perspectives.
It Signifies a Reliable Source
You’re not stupid. Your interests are complex and multifaceted. If there existed a simple answer or solution, you’d probably already know about it. For instance, there’s a reason why you are interested in optimizing learning rather than whether learning is valuable at all — we already agree that learning is positive, but the best way to do it is still open for discussion.
It shouldn’t then come as a surprise that, when identifying a reliable source on cutting edge topics, American neuroscientist Dr.Andrew Huberman simply looks for multidimensional understanding. He responds to the question of how to identify a credible source:
When you see people talk in absolutes about anything with very strong statements about anything, that’s somewhere where you might need to pause and reflect. So, does someone have [something] that they promise fixes everything? Similarly, do they demonize [something] as the cause of all chronic disease, and if we take care of this one particular issue, then everything is fixed? Does the answer seem overly simplistic in how to tackle it?
When assessing credibility amongst the seemingly unnavigable sea of fake news, he looks for multidimensional understanding over certifications.
Can’t Experts do the Heavy Lifting for Me?
You may now be wondering, do I really need to learn directly from many perspectives? Isn’t that what experts do for me when they present their overarching conclusions in common mediums like books or articles? In his greatest work The Denial of Death, American Anthropologist Ernest Becker reasons why even the works of geniuses like Freud should be taken as single perspectives to ponder amongst the rest.
The problem of man’s knowledge is not to oppose and to demolish opposing views but to include them in a larger theoretical structure…
Usually in order to turn out a piece of work, the author has to exaggerate the emphasis of it, to oppose it in a forcefully competitive way against other versions of truth, and he gets carried away with his own exaggeration, as his distinctive image is built on it. But each honest thinker who is an empiricist has to have some truth in his position, no matter how extremely he has formulated it.
Works are responses to ongoing historical context. They argue their points too strongly in order to balance the scales against other works. We must treat them as such and explore their fields of context before extracting truth.
It Increases Empathy
Becker further argued that acknowledging the limited but existing merit of individual perspectives connects us to the lives of others through shared mortality and human experience. This no doubt leads to empathy and a long road of love and kindness.
It Provides a More Objective View of our Beliefs
Host of podcast Philosophize This! Steven West understands yet another powerful conclusion from Becker’s work. The discovered shared mortality and human experience allows for a more objective view of our held beliefs.
Maybe that can help us recognize where the desire to dehumanise or silence another groups is actually coming from. And maybe if we can get there, maybe we can learn to differentiate which of these illusions we cling to are life affirming, which ones serve others, which ones are not in fact a direct threat to our existence, which of those promote the freedom, dignity, and hope of other people. And then on the other hand, which of these illusions are just about us being immoral? A desperate attempt to calm a scared monkey that doesn’t like the idea of not being the most important monkey in the world.
Understanding our beliefs for what they are and their worldly consequences sets the stage for their manipulation for a better world.
These two takeaways should not be taken lightly from Becker. He is known as a pessimist as his philosophy asserts that our greatest motivator is fear of death.
Learning from a range of perspectives offers more reliable information, holistic understanding, increased empathy, a more objective and pragmatic understanding of our beliefs, and a better world.
Where to Start
While experts don’t do a very good job fairly representing these perspectives, Hunome does.
Hunome is a platform for multidimensional understanding. It is a space where all perspectives can be heard regardless of the popularity of their authors. Your unique view point is in good company. Join us to learn from and contribute to holistic understanding.
Becker, Ernest. The Denial of Death. Free Press. 31 December 1973.
Ferriss, Tim. “#521: Dr.Andrew Huberman — A Neurobiologist on Optimising Sleep, Enhancing Performance, Reducing Anxiety, Increasing Testosterone, and Using the Body to Control the Mind” The Tim Ferriss Show, Dr.Andrew Huberman, 7 July 2021. Spotify
West, Steven. “Episode #163 … The Creation of Meaning — Escape From Evil” Philosophise This!, 2 March 2022. Spotify
When considering your next career move, it’s easy to define yourself by your resume – you studied to be a math teacher, you are a math teacher, and you will continue to be. This is a comfortable place to remain, and that plays a huge role in why so many of us do. Nineteenth Century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard refers to this limiting state as being ‘lost in the finite’.
At some point, however, whether it’s driven by a curious thought, change in the job market or midlife crisis, you may realize once again that you are a free human being who could pursue anywhere from a slightly to drastically new career at any moment. If you take this thought even a little seriously, you could very quickly find yourself overwhelmed by the options available to you and the countless consequences of each, just as petrified as before. Kierkegaard refers to this state as being ‘lost in the infinite’. He calls the anxiety induced the ‘dizziness of freedom’, and I think we can agree that he lived in a significantly simpler time.
While both states lead to despair, Kierkegaard suggests that the acknowledgement of one’s own freedom can be productive for pursuing one’s life, goals, and, eventually, true self, “Anxiety becomes a serving spirit that against its will leads him where he wishes to go,” (Kierkegaard 1844).
Existentialist psychologist Rollo May comments further on Kierkegaard’s point, “creating involves destroying the status quo, destroying old patterns within oneself, progressively destroying what one has clung to from childhood on, and creating new and original forms and ways of living,” (May 1977).
If your passion is teaching math, and you can find a way to do it while leading a satisfying life, that’s fantastic. Still, the only way you could truly know is to be aware of your own freedom and consciously choose that path over the others available. So where should you go to better understand the future of work, especially when you don’t know what exactly you are looking for? There is nothing more overwhelming and unproductive than Google searching when you don’t know what there is to be learned or being bombarded by random, out-of-context, and incomplete tidbits of information on social media.
Enter Hunome. Hunome is a platform for generating collective, multidimensional insights. We aren’t hoping to eradicate an age-old philosophical dilemma. We have, however, taken part in enough interesting conversations to know that you and the unique individuals not-so-like-you have a lot of incredible ideas on pretty much every issue affecting us as humans. Those conversations have already been lost to the air, but it’s not too late for the next ones to happen in a place that will help so many more people benefit from them (even more so than before).
Hunome is the space which allows people of all backgrounds to organically think together. All thoughts on a theme can be found in a single place where they sit in the order in which they were originally thought. But you are free to navigate them as you please, see their ideas in a new light, and contribute your perspective.
We call these thoughts Sparks and where they live, SparkMaps.
“A Short Note on Kierkegaard and Dizziness.” On-Dizziness, Anderwald + Grond, 15 Sept. 2018, https://www.on-dizziness.com/resources-overview/kierkegaard-and-dizziness.
Kierkegaard, Søren, 1813-1855. The Concept of Anxiety : a Simple Psychologically Orienting Deliberation on the Dogmatic Issue of Hereditary Sin. Princeton, N.J. :Princeton University Press, 1980.
May, R. (1977). The meaning of anxiety (Rev. ed.). W W Norton & Co.
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