The Thirst for Knowledge

I’m writing this because I am so amazed by the leaps and bounds past ‘men of science’ went through for their discoveries and research.

I just ended a lecture on Evolution. It was a lecture that was focused on the historical aspect of the discovery.

The lecturer told the story of how Darwin (it was about Wallace just now) and many other ‘naturalists’ of the time go about their discoveries and it was especially heartening to see so much hard work that was put into the discovery of the ‘Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection’.

I’m not sure why, maybe due to the interesting aspect of the way they went about their work and reaching a conclusion, but it just fascinates me.

By fast-forwarding through time, I realised that we are exceptionally blessed with the immense amount of knowledge that we have today; knowledge that we can easily get through the use of Google (though we need to check for reliability) with just a click or a tap on a screen.

I just think that we no longer have that drive to acquire more knowledge, going to school as just a part and parcel of life. The hunger and thirst for new knowledge seem lacking. WE have gotten lazy in our education, trying to get the easy way out and in that process, we short-change ourselves. We cared so much of the end-point but do not seek (or care) to appreciate the journey.

We are no longer ‘men of science’ like how Darwin and Wallace once were and it is a sad reality that we have to deal with.

Maybe society has put too much pressure on us to get to the end point without emphasising the importance of the process. Maybe we can and should blame society? What about ourselves? I’m sure society did not tell us what to do. I’m sure each and every one of us has free will? Shouldn’t we then blame ourselves for being too focused on the paper and not the journey of acquiring knowledge?

I don’t know.

I am currently facing that problem, the problem of being a motivated student of knowledge. Truly I want to be a student who seeks knowledge and not a student who seeks to get As for examinations but I guess it is hard. Papers define everything.

Maybe reviving the era of enthusiasm for knowledge is futile and tough. I don’t know.

I just know that if we can do it, it is what’s best for humanity.

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Mr. Feynman, An Inspiration

I just watched a video about Richard Feynman, the renowned physicist and Nobel Prize Laureate.

One major thing that I took away from the video is his personality of being amazed and interest in the world. Even as one of the most intelligent man of his time, Feynman still let his personality loose, playing pranks and making jokes. He was amazed by the world, wanting to learn whatever that interests him and going all in.

The most inspiring thing about him was that he did not let the criticisms of people decide what he can or cannot do. His actions are boundless and raw, doing things in ways that are usually considered unorthodox. It is because he had an immense level of self-respect and self-awareness. He knows how great he was and took comfort in that.

Honestly, I aspire to be a fraction of what Feynman was, to be able to have fun while in the search of knowledge and to be able to be a wonderful communicator, spreading knowledge in ways that can be understood by anyone. His zest for life and passion in what he did is inspiring.

“I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there.”
– Richard Feynman

Ponder the Nature of Our Existence

Let’s ponder about our purpose on this planet.

Let’s ponder the meaning of life.

Let’s ponder the nature of our existence.

Why are we here?

Do we serve a higher purpose?

Are we here just to exist and die off?

How about the atheistic idea of propagating future generations?

I’m sure all of us have pondered about it,

The meaning of our own existence.

But most of the time,

We pushed the thought away,

“Too complicated, too pointless,” we say.

But maybe,

Just maybe,

There is a meaning to all of these seeming randomness,

Be it God,

Or some other idea.

But keep in mind,

For something,

Can never come out of nothing.

 

 

 

The Truth We All Seek

We may or may not know it but innately, all of us are seeking for the truth. Some seek the truth of life in religion, letting their faith guide them while there are others who seek the truth in science, in its many abstract forms and incompleteness. Also, there are a few that seek truth in philosophy, the wondrous world of ifs and whens.

Be it through religion, science or philosophy, we are seeking the truth. The truth of our existence, the reason behind it all, and even, the purpose of why we exist in the first place.

Religion may provide the answers, however, sometimes, people may find that it is littered with flaws and practices that are no longer applicable to the modern age.

So, they turn to science. Science is based on facts and research. Things that are real and can be calculated and computed, tangible things. However, some may find that it is incomplete. Science does not have all the answers and scientists believe that they have the closest truth that they possibly can at that point in time. But maybe, it is because of that closeness and calculatable nature of science that is attractive to many people.

Philosophy, on the other hand, is fluid and complex that many might not even begin to understand. Some truths might be hidden in there but one requires to be able to understand the complexities of it all to even begin to comprehend it.

Three ways that people can seek truth and three ways where people can decide to live their lives by.

But those three ways are not the end.

No matter which way we choose to seek the truth, I believe that ultimately, all of them will converge to a single truth.

I personally believe that those three ways and just three languages speaking about the same thing.

I Have Always

Since I was in primary school, I have always loved science. I have always been curious about it, wanting to know more, wanting to learn more. I have always been fascinated by how science work. Thus, it may not be a surprise that I decided that I wanted to be a scientist. Yes, a scientist. Not a doctor or a lawyer but a scientist. I realised that I had the potential and the interest enough to be a scientist so I decided to pursue the scientific path in my education from secondary school all through junior college. I did well too. Even though I have am curious about the sciences, I am particular interested in Biology. I love

Even though I have am curious about the sciences, I am particular interested in Biology. I love to know how the body functions, how life functions and how, everything from the minuscule of molecules to the largest of cells, play a role in life. My interest even propelled me to pick up a Lifescience major for my degree in university.

All of that seems fine and dandy. However, I  am unable to see myself doing the sciences in the future. I am unable to picture myself in the lab carrying out research day after day after day. I am unable to visualise myself spending countless hours repeating experiments after experiments. I just could not see a career in that. Maybe it does not seem fulfilling and satisfying… I do not know. Maybe I should give it a chance and see whether I like it in university. All I know is that I want to have a career that gives me a sense of fulfilment and accomplishment every single day.

Then, there is the question of whether I should further my studies after graduating from university with a degree. In the past, not too long ago, I wanted to study post-graduate medicine however, I realised that it is too expensive and the timeline before I can begin my career is just too long. Then, I decided maybe if not medicine, I should further my studies in Biology. However, the financial problem arises. I realised after, that if I want to further my studies after getting a degree, I would need a scholarship or start working first to finance my studies because I no longer want to burden my parents.

Thus, I am stuck in this dilemma so to speak, the dilemma of how I should go about my life.

However, after thinking about it for a while, I guess it is counterproductive to plan too far ahead because we will never know what will happen and what opportunities that may arise. I might turn out to like research and thus, pursue a career in it or I might realise that research is not for me and pursue a career in something else like in the Arts or in healthcare. Things happen and I should let them run its course. Therefore, I believe that my duty now is to do my utmost best in whatever that I do and nothing more.

Life is unpredictable and we should focus on what we can control and not on what we cannot.

Art Doesn’t Pay

Since I was very young, I was taught and constantly told at home and in school that pursuing a career in the Arts does not pay, if it does, not as well as that of a career in the Sciences. A career in the Arts is seen as a career for the less intellectual, a career for the bottom crop of people. I was constantly told by my parents and society that to be successful, one has to pursue a the Sciences. Be a scientist they said. Be a doctor they said. Be an engineer they said.

Don’t get me wrong, my parents are acting in good faith. They want me to have a good life and a sustainable one, a life that will feed me and my future family till I die. To them, a career in the Sciences is the safest route in an increasingly globalised society.

I pursued the Sciences since my early stages in education. Soon, I took a liking for Biology and Chemistry. I continued the subjects in Junior College and this August, I will be pursuing Lifesciences in University. I have come to love the Sciences and the intellectual challenges that it has provided me with. I learned to appreciate the importance and the role the Sciences plays in a rapidly modernising and globalised world. However, during my break between Junior College and University where I did not touch much of the Sciences, I realised that there is a hole in my soul, a gap in my experiences of the world, a gap that has been neglected and soon forgotten as I continued my pursuit of the Sciences. Soon, I realised it was because of the neglection of the Arts.

To describe the Sciences is very simple. It is the cold, concrete and grey part of knowledge. It can be seen as the hardware on which society is built upon. The Sciences is filled with facts and boundaries. Rules and regulations are enacted to ensure ethics and results from research are constantly critiqued by fellow scientists. Breaking the boundaries are frowned upon and are interrogated constantly. The Sciences feels almost like an industrial factory churning out discoveries.

However, on the other hand, the Arts is the bright and colourful side of knowledge. The Arts is like the beautiful gardens of Heaven, filled with beautiful creatures and flowers of various shades of colours. It is the soul of civilisation, the software to every hardware. The Arts allows creativity, freedom of discovery and beneficial chaos. The Arts admires the testing of boundaries, expanding its range and definition. The Arts forms beauty from chaos like how an artist creates masterpieces from scraps of ideas floating about in her head.  However, the Arts is frowned upon and countlessly underestimated.

The Arts lost its value in a society that prioritises progress and results. The Arts lost its reason to exist in a land where its people admires and respects engineers and scientists. The Arts lost its purpose in society when the people of the land appreciates money and property.

We know that a society has lost all of its colours when they tell artists to donate their work to museums and businesses for the purpose of ‘exposure’. The Arts is now stepped on and insulted because of a society that does not understand how crucial of a role it plays in their lives.

The Arts is not limited to paintings and sculptures as claimed by narrow-minded individuals nor is it limited to dance and music. The Arts is also not just for the use for the preservation of cultures or for performances during Chingay. The Arts is way more than that.

The Arts is the adrenaline rush you get when you jump off a cliff into the deep blue sea, it is the syncing of hearts when two lovers meet, it is the gush of fresh air when the windows are opened in the early morning and the Arts is the blues, yellows and orange of a sunset in a clear evening sky.

Philosophy is Art, the Culinary is Art, Creativity is Art and Living Life is Art.

Without the Arts, one cannot create. Without the Arts, one cannot question. Without the Arts, one cannot Live. Without the Arts, we are colourless and metallic machines.

The Arts is everywhere, from the music in your phones to the shows you watch on television. It is the food that you have for dinner and the soul within your body. The Arts is the soul of technology, it is the software that runs the hardware, without it, nothing can function.

What is the point of life when there is nothing from the Arts? When the buds of flowers do not bloom or when the skies do not cloud and rain? When the dead are not mourned or when there is no love between a husband and his wife?

Now, tell me why the Arts does not pay because from what I can see now, the Arts pays a tonne more than the Sciences.

I am ashamed to know that I had looked down on the Arts like the rest of society. I am ashamed to have that prejudice against artists. However, I am glad that I can finally see the Arts for what it truly is, it is like looking through crystal clear glasses.

Look around you, see the Arts for what it truly is. Question the prejudice of society. It is the time that we smile and support the Arts to create a more colourful society with the beauty that it truly deserves.