Holding On to the Unsteadiness of Human Nature

I felt the magic of mathematics. I listened to the professor's words, and a sense of awe washed over me like a cool breeze on a hot day. My mind raced with the possibilities and complexities of prime numbers.

The story goes like this.

A few weeks ago, I heard about this math class that claimed to teach math differently. “Interesting,” I said, and last Monday, I showed up. Although it was intriguing, it wasn't thrilling. Nevertheless, I wanted to prove myself wrong and verify whether it was worth attending. Wednesday came, and I made my way to the mathematics building. It turned out to be a great decision as I felt bliss in the form of mathematical inspiration.

The lecture was about prime numbers, and since then, I’ve spent the whole week thinking and learning about prime numbers by writing Python functions and visualizations, coming up with theories, learning about the Riemann Zeta function, and letting my imagination run wild.

I share this because it's a reflection of how I approach life: like a curious explorer, always on the lookout for the next adventure, the next discovery that will broaden my horizons and deepen my understanding of the world. What’s my method? I'm observant to the point where I can see with my eyes closed where the interestingness is in the form of people, projects, and places.

After observation comes deep curiosity about why, how, where, and what things are the way they are. I'm fascinated by people and technology, and when I explore these topics, I feel fully alive.

It's not just me. We all have a deep curiosity for people's stories and a deep desire to understand technology that seems like magic.

Prime numbers are my current obsession. I will learn, write, code, and come up with theories until I learn enough that I become dangerous. Either I will continue or get bored and decide to come back to it in the future.

But I'm also obsessed with people, especially those who seem to be fully alive. I'm not sure why, other than they offer hope. I'm captivated by the vitality and energy that radiate from some people, like a bright flame in a dark room. Their presence fills me with a sense of wonder and joy, like the first light of dawn breaking over a mountain peak.

Last week, a group of alumni from the 1960s and 1970s came to campus. These people were something else, from reforming the university and writing the Whole University Catalog to going to more than 20 countries in 6 months and leading demonstrations in the 1960s.

As I stood in the presence of these people, I felt a surge of inspiration and awe. Their stories of bravery and vision filled me with hope. This quote came to mind:

Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently.

They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them.

Because they change things - they push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

—Steve Jobs

The “crazy ones” are fully alive, and I am compelled to understand why. Why choose to do something when you could easily choose nothing? Why?

Every person is alive, but sometimes they need permission, examples, or a little push. You and I yearn to feel fully alive, and this vibrancy often stems from a desire for human connection, one that goes beyond the modern swipe-fest of the 21st century.

When I meet someone new, I stop thinking about anything else and focus solely on looking into their eyes and hearing their stories. Oftentimes, I simply ask, “What’s your story?” instead of a “How are you?” or a “What do you find interesting in the world?” instead of a "What's your major?"

Every person we encounter in life is like a tiny spark, a glimmer of hope that illuminates our path and reminds us that we are not alone. Their stories, their struggles, and their triumphs, all add to the rich tapestry of human experience that we share together.

Every Single Person is Source of Hope

Every single person is a source of hope, A flicker of light in our darkest scope. A reminder that we're not alone, In this world where we all must atone.

We seek connection, a bond so true, But often end up feeling blue. For though we long to find our place, We're lost in an endless human race.

Yet still we look to one another, Hoping to find a soul like no other. A kindred spirit to ease our pain, To walk with us through life's harsh terrain.

So let us cherish every person we meet, For they're a reminder that life is sweet. And though we may feel lost and afraid, Together we can find a brighter shade.

Once in a while, I think through poems. For when words rhyme, their truth becomes more clear, more real, and more solid too. It’s a magic that poets have always known.

All of us crave deep human connection, and in our pursuit, we have built the world we live in today. How much of our curiosity is motivated by this longing for genuine human connection? In other words, if everyone achieved a deep human connection, would the world come to a stop?

This is a scary thought that I tried to avoid, but is the driving force behind humankind just an indirect and cowardly pursuit of human connection? Is this what motivates me?

But then I wonder, what if we achieved a level of human connection that was infinite? Would the world stop running? Would I stop doing what I do?

Or would we reach new heights, engaging with the world from a place of compassion instead of fear?

Let’s explore this idea through a poem:

New Heights of Curiosity

All of us want deep human connection, The driving force of our evolution. Our need to bond, to love, to be understood, Has shaped the world we see, and it's all for good.

How much of our curiosity is propelled, By the desire for a genuine human connection? To understand, to empathize, to feel seen, To share our joys and sorrows without exception.

But what if we all achieved that connection, Would the world come to a grinding halt? Or would we soar to new heights of invention, And build a world where compassion was the default?

For deep human connection is not a finite resource, But an endless wellspring of love and discourse. So let us embrace it fully, without hesitation, And build a world where genuine connection is the foundation.

What a beautiful world this would be if we approached it with compassion and empathy. Instead of fear, let’s lead with understanding and seek out new perspectives. Let curiosity light the way to help us navigate through each new day with open hearts and minds. This way, we can leave our fears and biases behind.

I want to create stories and poems that stir the soul, music that inspires, and videos that bring joy. I want my creations to connect with the human spirit.

To truly touch someone’s heart, we must be brave enough to share our creative endeavors with the world, even in the face of criticism or indifference. By doing so, we open ourselves to the possibility of inspiration and give permission to others to do the same.

Ultimately, the goal of creative expression is not recognition or fame but a fully alive connection with ourselves and others. Through our art, we can share our unique perspectives and experiences, finding common ground with those around us.

Joseph Campbell once said that what we're seeking is not a meaning for life but an experience of being alive.

Let’s pursue our dreams with all our hearts and remember to approach our craft with a sense of playfulness and joy. For in the act of creation, we find a deep connection to ourselves and to others, and that is a truly precious gift. The beauty of thy creation is that which brings joy and inspiration.

As Pablo Neruda wrote, we start dying slowly when we do not live fully.

You start dying slowly
if you do not travel,
if you do not read,
If you do not listen to the sounds of life,
If you do not appreciate yourself.

You start dying slowly
When you kill your self-esteem;
When you do not let others help you.

You start dying slowly
If you become a slave of your habits,
Walking everyday on the same paths…
If you do not change your routine,
If you do not wear different colours
Or you do not speak to those you don’t know.

You start dying slowly
If you avoid to feel passion
And their turbulent emotions;
Those which make your eyes glisten
And your heart beat fast.

You start dying slowly
If you do not change your life when you are not satisfied with your job, or with your love,
If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain,
If you do not go after a dream,
If you do not allow yourself,
At least once in your lifetime,
To run away from sensible advice

You Start Dying Slowly by Pablo Neruda



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Tags: curiositypersonalphilosophy