a confession: secret keys to overcome a universal “pandemic” of ignorance

a future looking man

This is a real life conversation (interview) between the mindman (M.) and a “clever” man we name AJ (not his real name). I would posit a solution to overcome the universal pandemic veil of ignorance —which if allowed to continue, could soon spiral into a state of total entropy of human lives on earth. My motive is obvious. I believe in the goodness of the power and effectiveness of orderliness, self-control, discipline, and advancement in all the positive and worthy aspects of civilization through learning. The following conversation will amplify what I mean and the hope for many of us who share similar value in the meaning in life.

M: Good day, sir. Thank you for your kind participation in this program. As you know, the objective of this conversation is to find out how to become clever. What are the prerequisites? How did you first realize your exceptional ability?

AJ: I never knew that people can be stupid until my first day at school. To me, the texts (in both my first and second languages) are so easy to learn and master. The maths are so simple and logical. There is no stress at all to learn any new thing. I absolve knowledge like a sponge absorbing water. I discovered that the boy sitting next to me was not learning. He could not even stay still and concentrate. I soon discovered to my puzzle that the oldest boy in class failed to pass every exam and kept repeating grade one. In our days the school practiced corporal punishment and that boy was caned regularly for failing in almost every subject and assignment.

M: Was it because you are a naturally bookish person? If not, why are you different from others? What is your secret in learning?

AJ: I like reading but I am not bookish in its strict sense. I play a lot and enjoy outdoor life. I was always the first to volunteer for all sorts of outdoor games and sports, running, playing catch etc. I am an avid reader but I spend very little time learning the text books. In our days we hardly had any story books and I read whatever I found, such as wrappers from recycled old newspapers, magazines, a lot of non-fiction materials, in torn bits. I volunteered to be a librarian in school and read all the books and periodicals. This becomes my lifelong habit, learning new things through reading all the books (arts and science) in the libraries and bookshops, except books on subjects that were really beyond my comprehension, e.g. mechanics.

M: Why not mechanics? I understand that you have done well in maths, languages, and even fine arts. You are balanced in all three fields: visual, auditory, and kinesthetics.

AJ: It has something to do with my reasoning. I reason things out so that I can memorize them. In my school and college days we were taught rote learning which I refused to comply. Somehow I just couldn’t figure out mechanics. Actually my dad, eldest brother, and a brother-in-law are in mechanical engineering.

M: Do you mean that you figure out math and languages? Have you ever taught others how to figure things out? What is your success rate in that attempt?

AJ: Yes. That is my secret in learning and remembering. I figure things out. I did try to teach this way of learning in my first days at school. I tried with the boy who sat next to me and the oldest boy who was caned for failing to do his homework because he couldn’t do them. I attempted to help my fellow classmates to learn the way I did through out my school and university days. I never found out what my success rate was. However, I once met one woman (a coffee shop entrepreneur) while visiting my hometown after fifty years and she told me she was my classmate in grade 12 and I helped her to pass her Senior Cambridge exam! It was a pleasant surprise and a bonus —helping others to learn effectively and seeing their success.

M: How do you figure things out? Can you briefly summarize the key points? The keys to success in learning?

AJ: I did not realize it in the early school days, but I figured out how to beat the exam system. First: I always prepared ahead of everyone, including the teachers. For example, the night before the next day’s lessons, I read up the text books and did all the workbooks ahead of the lessons. I did researches through reading the dictionary and the encyclopedia. I found books on math puzzles and problems solving from my seniors and practice all the quizzes. I learned logic, rational thinking, deduction and induction and social science research methodology and the science of learning as a kid through practicing the principles until they become my default-auto-pilot, without even studying them until I was in college. I figured out how best to remember a word or a term, often using association method, or method that best suits me. There were cases where I had to use rote learning, because English was my second language at birth. I overcame that hurdle through reading English books and writing journals. I started writing serialized stories and got them published in the national newspapers at thirteen. It eventually becomes my first language, the language I now work and live in (inside and outside my thoughts).

M: Wow, that sound really difficult and requires special talent!

AJ: I disagree. I agree that some individuals may be better endowed with born intelligence. However, in my experience I have found that intelligence can be acquired and developed, like a physical skill. The more essential prerequisites are: willingness and determination. It is a matter of attitude and practice. At thirteen I cycled pass the most prestigious British international bank and saw an English man manager inside. I told my sister, “You know, one day I will sit on that chair.” I did. And went way up beyond that position in fact.

M: Tell us about your running and sports experience. You seem to have developed and focused on academic and commercial advancement instead of physical pursuits.

AJ: I love running. I discovered that I could be a good sprinter if I had more practices and training. I also found that I was a left-handed sharp shooter in basketball, and had good potential in squash and tennis. I still run or jog or brisk walk as I gain in age. I chose not to pursue all the other possibilities professionally once I set all my life goals on a priority scale. I still run daily for fun, fitness, and youthfulness. I enjoy life in all its aspects.

M: Back to the subject of study. What made you do a master of science degree in healthcare (physiological and mental health) after being very well established in the corporate business world? Having left school for decades? I understand that you did very well in the postgraduate study.

AJ: I believe I can always work on things ahead of time and trend. For example, I went into digital communication line way ahead of the market. The same with healthcare. How did I know before the market knows? No magic. As I said before, it is a matter of learning and seeing things before they materialize. The prerequisites are: reading, observing, thinking, and organizing. The truth about the big picture often unfolds itself. It requires putting into practice what I have learned all my life.

When I decided to go into a new field because I knew there would be a big demand there for the future of mankind, I prepared myself to learn new knowledge. I learned all that I could get hold of at various stages of technological advancement and grow and update as the tech and internet industry grows. For example, in terms of computers, I started with prior-computer (NCR class 32) stage, then progressed to IBM Main Frame, then desk top PC and Window, internet and intranet, terminal PCs, then laptop, MacBook Pro, and so on. I have always believed that I would succeed. And that was many decades ago. History has proven that the decisions were right.

M: Are you more an art person or a scientific person? Left or right brained? Does your personality type influence or give you an advantage over others in terms of learning? I understand that you have high IQ as well. Is that not a prerequisite for learning?

AJ: Studies show that the IQ of half of the population is between 90 and 110, while 25% have higher IQ’s, and 25% have lower IQ’s. Education and literacy rate has improved in history in line with civilization advancement. Most school exams are pitched at the majority level of an average IQ individual. I had my first IQ test when I joined an international corporate group after I graduated from the university. I did not know my test result until a decade later when the HR manager told me in a private lunch. She said I scored around 80%, way above and beyond the normal average passing score of 40% among the executives, and it was a stunning record. They never had anyone with that score. The test was conducted by credible reputable independent examiners. I did not tell her my secret of success. I did something which others (my colleagues from all over the world) probably did not do. I prepared. I bought books on IQ quizzes and practiced them. I even practiced doing Mensa quizzes. Solving problems has been my lifelong hobby. Surprised? My personality type as an INTJ has a lot to do with the way I prepared myself for everything that matters. It is a definite advantage in terms of learning. I am ambidextrous and use both my left and right brain together. I must reiterate that it can be learned through constant practice and preparedness. Even personality type. Another corporate test revealed that I was an introvert-introvert, a rare minority on earth. I was a young manger then. And I knew that if I wanted to progress up the branch banking corporate ladder I had to switch to a centric position. So I learned and acquired the centric skills and switched. At certain stages, I managed over two thousands staff and layers of managers and supervisors. Was it a nightmare for an introvert-introvert? Not at all. It was one of the most challenging and yet rewarding phases in my corporate life. How did I train the use of both sides of the brain? I pursue activities and hobbies that exercise both sides of the brain. I actually enjoy them. Make it a lifelong habit. A lifestyle. Remember: Preparedness is a very important key to success.

M: Amazing! I understand that you are a Christian and have completed various classes in Bible colleges. Did you also figure out how to learn the Bible?

AJ: Good question. I did. Surprised? I learned three essential keys in studying the Bible. First, reading it. Second, meditating it. Third, practicing it. I practiced everything I practice in learning other knowledge. No double standard and short change in terms of learning the Bible. Above all that, I have one additional key, that is, the empowering of the Holy Spirit. So there is little need for me to “figure” out. The supernatural understanding just appears. Every believer can experience it. (Isaiah 11:2 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.)

M: What are your favorite subjects in high school? And universities?

AJ: High school: English language and literature, Algebra, European history, and drawing (sketching). Universities: social research methodology, public finance, political science, organizational dynamics, health psychology, management theories and practices, strategic management, and many healthcare subjects. In fact I like them all.

M: Which book(s) of the Bible are your favorites? Your favorite Bible character(s) apart from Jesus?

AJ: Genesis, The Acts of the Apostles, Gospel of Luke, Gospel of John, all writings of Paul, and the book of Revelation. Characters: Paul, Luke, Samuel, and Daniel.

M: Please use one word to summarize what you have said about learning to be clever.

AJ: “Preparedness” (for everything that matters to you and to others in life.)

Kainotes, 2021-1-2

Sound Mind Economics #1: “equal right”

gold bars: economics principle

Sound Mind Economics and Application Issues #1

Dear Millennials and others: Because I was once your age I know how you currently struggle with many pertinent issues. Why economics? It is the main issue that divides many in this world of “inequality”. I believe when we go deeper in economics we shall find some solutions together.

Today we touch on the issue of “equal right” in the practice of economics.

Economics is neutral. It is a set of principles and concepts that describe the way human “trade” with one another in order to satisfy needs and wants. The ability to make wealth and the integrity to keep and use wealth are inseparable. There is a price to be paid and a value system to be measured. In the final analysis, there is always an account to give, rich and poor. 

The first thing I learned in my school economics is the law of supply and demand. Supply is based on demand. but every supplier has the right to supply to the target customers who are willing to buy his goods according to the supplier-seller’s condition of sales. Similarly, a customer can choose to buy or not to buy based on the same set of condition of sales.

A civil democratic (majority-rule) society normally has sales and purchase agreements with checks and balances based on recognized and legalized laws and practices by the majority of the legitimate legal citizens/residents who have legitimate voting rights of that society. Ideally such a system will ensure that the majority of needs and wants of the majority in the society will be met according to the original social “contract” of gathering together as a legal entity called nation/state.

The issues you may face today come from one predominant source: some individuals want to claim more right than others by demanding exemptions from the set social contract.  

In an economic system without exemption, everyone shall abide with the same terms and conditions of production and sales. You cannot force someone to produce and give/sell their products to you even if you have the required money to buy. The terms of exchange have to be met in full. Your ability to provide the monetary value is only one of the terms of the total sales and purchase agreement.

In a neutral civil economic society, the legitimate owner and seller of the resources, produces, goods and services has a legal upper hand than the person who wants that goods and services. It is therefore a crime to forcibly take what the owner does not want to give or sell to you. You cannot covet another man’s property. For example, I cannot ask you to remove your branded watch or shoes or bag from your possession and hand them to me just because I like to have or need to use them. It will be a robbery subject to punishment.

Similarly, no man can trespass another man’s property. That is what legal boundaries and demarcations are for.

The civil democratic constitution and law of “unadulterated” interpretation and implementation normally protect the right of the majority of the legitimate components of the society.  People in a society can create and/or encounter many social issues because they are ignorant or choose to ignore, misrepresent, misinterpret, misjudge, miss-apply and miss-execute the law.

Does a neutral economic system result in inequality? My question is: “inequality” in what? Don’t you honor patent right for the fruit of the inventor? In the same principle, remember and honor the one who produces a good and service. He has the right to decide to sell or not to sell. To give or not to give. A very simple guide is: do not rob or steal from others when you do not want others to do that to you or your loved ones. What honor and esteem you gain by taking what is not yours?

How then shall individuals who deem themselves as “under-privileged” function in a civil economic society? The group of individuals who form the civil society can come together and agree on some rules and regulations governing the common good in any ethical social system.

Who decides what is common good and what are considered ethical? In a democratic system there are established and tested ways to do this effectively. I believe the common moral and ethical values of a society influence that society’s decision making processes and choices. Normally this is influenced by the worldview of individuals, derived from family culture, education and their religious system. Can experiences and knowledge change our worldview? Yes. Definitely. My advice for the younger individuals is to remain open to views and really go in depth and study and understand economics and ethics. For those who are chronologically young, it is wise to know that the older individuals are learning knowledge and developing wisdom too and many are advancing in an accelerated speed and better focus because of the wider and deeper scope they have already gone through in life.

History has shown that taking without paying the due rewards for any goods and services from one man’s possession to another man has resulted in regression instead of progression of mankind. Such a system results in oppression and depression in which mankind do not feel motivated and challenged to do better for himself and/or the community. Social ills such as corruption, poverty and a general economic depression set in together with crime, abuses, violence, destruction, and brokenness in many aspects of the society. When an economy breaks down, the shortage of funds generated from taxation which otherwise would have maintained, up-kept and even improved the common amenities, facilities and security often results in loss of the general wellbeing of individuals and society.

I would therefore urge you to read economic history in the context of the history of mankind. I would define the history of mankind as a history of economics. The depth and breadth of its knowledge, effective application and faithful unbiased implementation is really the key to maintain, sustain and further advance a civil society.

None of us will be around forever on this earth. We need to know and live with each other through genuine knowledge and cooperation with one another. Many great men and great women had lived before us and left behind tested economic principles, ethics and values which have ensured the effective and well functioning of human community. Their positive contributions have laid a foundation for human to work together peaceably and effectively. The evidence is the sustained and improved general human livelihood despite the exponential increase of the population of the world. Food for thought, don’t you think?

I hope this letter will clarify some thoughts and challenge you to widen your thinking scope. During my writing of this, I too have been challenged and decided to know more and think wider on this subject.

From: a sound-mind-economic being.

Postscript: I will attempt the subject of “ownership” of resources, “wealth” and related “equal right” in my next blog.

What is Wealth?

Wealth measures the value of all the assets of worth owned by a person, community, company or country. Wealth is determined by taking the total market value of all physical and intangible assets owned, then subtracting all debts. Essentially, wealth is the accumulation of resources. Specific people, organizations and nations are said to be wealthy when they are able to accumulate many valuable resources or goods. (Investopedia)

Proverbs 13:11

Proverbs 13:11Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, But he who gathers by labor will increase.

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