I wrote this for an application to a group in Tufts that I often joke as The Nerdy group (guess what the actual name is? Read till the end). I absolutely love the prompt 😀 I’ve thought about the issue for a long time; this answer came from reading some books and bouncing ideas with my good friend & philosophy partner Aidan 😀
As you can guess from the title, this essay seems like a justification on using Facebook. I’m still trying to minimize using it though 😦
Prompt: We believe that at the heart of all great thinking and innovation lies a thoughtful question born out of curiosity. Please write a question that captures your curiosity. There are no limits to the type of question you can ask. Be as introspective, creative, controversial, philosophical, or silly as you want! After writing your question, please thoughtfully answer it in 250 words.
I often tell my friends that I want to make good friends and continue learning. Then sometimes when I’m alone I feel very cynical: “If I really care about these goals then why am I surfing Facebook in my room? Am I being hypocritical here?”
If I told people instead that I got distracted by Facebook often, then I wouldn’t feel very hypocritical at all because that’s a fact about my current self. Thus, it seems that the intensity of that fake feeling depends on my perception of how big the gap between my current reality and my ideal self is. I found a very apt illustration in a book called Fifth Discipline.
I certainly don’t want the gap to be too big because there is a limit to how much tension I can bear; feeling like a hypocrite all the time is frustrating. I can close the gap by lowering my vision or bringing up my current reality or both. However, do I want to eliminate the gap? No, because what I am truly after is not my vision but rather the process of going there. Without a gap, I have no tension to pull me. While it is true that I may never be completely satisfied because I will never achieve the ever extending vision, the real fulfillment comes from knowing that I am in the process of going there. I am a learning machine; if I stop learning, I cease to be alive.
Thus, the fact that I feel bad about surfing Facebook in my own room helps reminding me of that gap. That hypocritical feeling is a necessary discomfort, but sometimes it can get too intense. The antithesis of hypocrisy is sincerity, so I decided to write about my own hypocrisy to ease that tension. Ah, the guilt also helps me use less Facebook.
Lesson I learnt from writing this: find some friends whom you can talk about interesting questions. The feeling of making progress on these seemingly random but actually relevant question is amahzing.
Oh, the name of the group is “Synaptic Scholars”. How apt 😀 And I got in 😀