An Open Letter To First Years
Updated: Sep 15, 2020
I had this dope Eco teacher once (yes, I just used the words “dope” and “Eco teacher” in the same line, deal with it.) and he used insert random wisdom between his lessons.
“-I mean if you think about it, if you really think about it, everything in this world, including the extremely nuanced subject of economics operates on assumptions. Every single law from that of gravity to Maslow’s assumes certain things in order to be true. There is no truth in isolation from assumptions.”
There is no truth in isolation from assumptions.
There is no truth in isolation from assumptions.
When we get up and go about our day we assume that no one will murder us. We assume that our paper currency has value. We assume that our cooks won’t poison our food. We assume our partners won’t cheat on us. We assume that our parents mean the best for us. We assume that we will have a better future if we do a certain thing or are a certain person. We assume that no meteors will strike the Earth today. We assume that our amusement park rides won’t malfunction. We assume we won’t be robbed. We assume we don’t have cancer. We assume that the friends we haven’t talked to in a while are doing fine. We assume. We assume.
Yes, I know this seems a lot like overthinking, but the argument here is that logically speaking not thinking about these things is actually underthinking (pray that be a word). Bad things need much less temptation, effort and chance to happen as compared to good things, like Murphy’s law right, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”
Pessimism isn’t a trend bois, it’s the more rationale truth.
It’s psychologically, scientifically, economically (heck every -ily that you can think of) been proven time and time again, by individuals smarter than you and I can ever be, that bad things are more likely to happen than good things are. It is thus merely comfort and convenience on our part, or rather some false sense of safety that leads us to believe otherwise. Not just believing but actively operating on this belief. We make damn important decisions based on this belief. And guess what? It’s fake. All of it is.
I know this article is neither here nor there, like a young fair maiden trying to find a suitable husband in the arms of many lovers in a 19th-Century ballroom dance. I keep shoving this article from one point of view to another but please bear with me, kind reader. I also have no clue as to what I am doing, and if this article is a lovely young girl, I want her to find a man that is standing to all good merits.
Of course, there is a dearth of such men. Hence, I think I will be gallivanting about a little more. Come, let’s see the other side of this.
There’s an author, Kurt Vonnegut.
I have never read a single book by him and to be fairly honest it is not my intention to do so any time soon either, but I do for some goddamn reason follow a twitter account which periodically tweets his quotes. I came across one a few weeks ago-
“Live by the harmless untruths that make you happier and kinder and sweeter in life”
So if pessimism is indeed the truth and the assumptions that we make have very little
bearing in reality, then logically we should stop. We should stop trying altogether. Stop putting any effort in our friendships because statistically speaking we will grow apart. Stop putting effort in relationships because you either end in a suffocating marriage or with a heart-wrenching breakup. We should stop trying to save the environment because at the present rate of population growth we’re screwed anyway; Even if none of this happens, the Sun will become a red giant and swallow the whole damn Earth in a few thousand years or so.
That doesn’t seem like a very good way to live now, does it? Even if all our effort is futile and the world as we know is guaranteed to crash and burn and everybody that we care about will die.
It’s a good thing then that we human beings do not think rationally.
It’s a mighty good thing that we do things because we love them even if they do not benefit us. Really, too many things are there in this world where profit and loss is accounted for. I think we can leave love out of it. Why did we cry when Notre-Dam was burning? Why do we try? Why do we love? Why?
When you’re playing a sport right, say basketball,
and for a moment, just a small moment, you’re in control.
And you have to make a decision.
And a lot of times that decision is a conflict between what you want to do and what you have to do. What you want to do is take the leap, make the jump, take the kick. Your heart beating, the adrenaline rushing in your bones and that insatiable need to just achieve is present, but so is something else. Something less impulsive and colder. Cold, stable reason and logic. You know you can’t make the shot at this height. You know you don’t have enough time. You know that the technique rarely, if ever, works out for you and that your team might be better off if you just …give up.
But you still do it.
of reason, of logic, of experience.
You take the chance, you take a gamble.
And you can’t believe your senses when that impossible thing is actually being made possible by you in this very moment.
Impossibility, my dear readers, is grossly overrated.
People, normal people, people like you and me achieve the impossible every single day, every single moment.
The drive to achieve the impossible, that’s what life really is.
Youth, the best of what I have experienced, has always been this one drink of courage, fear and chance mixed in.
I hope your first year feels like this. I hope you’re scared at least once a week because that would mean you’re actually trying to do something new. I hope you make a lot of mistakes every day. I want you to make a mistake right now. Just send that text. Go on that trip. Try out new things man, so what if it doesn’t work out? We’ll try again. We’ll try a million times.
I hope you find a home in a place that looks and feels nothing like the home (read: homes) you had before. I hope you find people who are different from you, people with different priorities, with different languages, different cultures and histories and places and I hope you talk to them. I hope you talk to them a lot. Trust me, having a conversation with a person you want to refute every single point is endlessly fun. I hope that you find people who remind you of home too. I hope you wake up every day with something to look forward to and before you know it it’s midnight and it’s just you and your roommate either in companionable silence or in complete chaos (whichever you may prefer).
College is chaos. It’s like this big social experiment and I don’t think we’re given enough credit for it. Staying far away from our families in a strange city with strange people, trying to find the purpose of our lives, all the while competing with the rest of the world and doing it all on a budget? And washing your own clothes? With something called handi being made in the mess for dinner? Oh God.
Phew slow down kid, you’ll get there.
We’ll get there.
p.s. batch of 2020-2023 I know stuff is different and undeniably even harder for you guys, I wouldn't worry though. Take care guys, your seniors are here to help you for real, any time you need it ;)