Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Quote #71

"The suppression of freedom of expression eliminates the possibilities of limitless advancement in a nation." - Klinsman Hinjaya
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Monday, November 8, 2021

Quote #70

"Accept reality, no matter how harsh or grim it is. Without coming to terms with it, you will never be your full self." - Klinsman Hinjaya
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Friday, November 5, 2021

The Little Book of Humanism – Book Review

The Little Book of Humanism
by Andrew Copson and Alice Roberts

I'd like to begin my review by making a statement: This is one of the most important, if not the most important, books I have ever read in my life. And I do wish I could have (and had) read this book way, way back when I was much younger. Yes, it is little indeed, as the title goes, but do NOT underestimate the impact this book could make on your life – it is gargantuan and potentially life-changing.

The Little Book of Humanism 👫🌏📖 by Andrew Copson and Alice Roberts is a modest-sized book explaining what humanism is and what being a humanist is all about. Here you will find a treasure trove of humanist wisdom and insights in the forms of quotes, meditations, and poems. Among the vast number of humanists featured in this book are Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Margaret Atwood, David Attenborough, Bertrand Russell, Richard Dawkins, Confucius, and Epicurus. Why should you read The Little Book of Humanism? Well, this book is a perfect guide to living your life to the fullest as a human. It aptly begins with a discussion of the veritable nature of humans – how we came about and who we really are – and throughout the book, you will learn about humanist values, virtues, endeavors, and lessons in a good number of chapters on diversity and equality, thinking clearly, and science and progress, for example. What should we base our actions on? Is curiosity a good thing? Does technology deserve to be abhorred? How can we cope with the inescapable thing called death? You'll find answers to these questions and more in this wonderfully informative book.

The text in The Little Book of Humanism is exquisitely beautiful and profoundly luminous. The co-authors employ engaging conversational writing style which makes the book highly readable and accessible. Despite being a nonfiction book, I found this to be an absolute page-turner, wanting to devour more and more to sate my appetite for knowledge about humanism – I was completely hooked and absorbed throughout! It was an immense pleasure to let myself be toured by the superbly educational writers, and I would like to give them an infinite round of applause. 👏👏👏

You may already be a humanist – just as I was before reading it – or you may not. Whichever you are, I believe there is something to learn from this engrossing book which will make you a better human. The Little Book of Humanism is a thought-provoking book that will continue to serve to help people find "purpose, meaning and joy" and bring out the best in them – for themselves and for the world.

  • I think the best way to read The Little Book of Humanism is from cover to cover, but picking a random page and reading the content would work too. Enjoy!
  • I could discuss the book in more detail. If you're interested to hear what I have to say, please do contact me personally.

Have you read The Little Book of Humanism? What is your opinion on this book? Share what you think in the comment section below!
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Monday, September 6, 2021

Quote #69

"The world's current social issues would be drastically reduced if people stopped meddling in others' personal business." - Klinsman Hinjaya
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Friday, September 3, 2021


I'm not sure what the social conditions in the area where you live are, but it seems there is a growing trend of people choosing to be child-free, at least where I go about my business (recently famous Indonesian YouTuber Gita Savitri Devi was in the spotlight for her decision to be child-free). Before I discuss this subject in more detail, let's grok the meaning of "child-free". It's self-explanatory, isn't it? One would easily work out that this term refers to the state of being free of children – that is, not having children, hence not being attached to or responsible for them. Macmillan Dictionary, which is the best online English dictionary to me, simply and effectively defines "child-free" as a word "used to describe someone who has decided not to have children". So why does this social phenomenon appear to be gaining more and more traction nowadays?

By carrying out some individual brain work, it is possible to identify a number of reasons why being child-free is preferred to having offspring. One is for the sake of the sustainability of the earth. According to Worldometer, the global population of humans is staggeringly large (7.9 billion as of September 2021) and has been constantly rising. How would the world end up if human overpopulation reached the breaking point? The doom of humanity would inevitably dawn and the environment would be in a state of collapse. One could justifiably call this a noble motivation for opting to be child-free.

Another reason pertains to morality. Having a child means bearing the responsibility for them, having to nurture them and make sure they can grow up and live their life properly. This of course requires the parents to devote a substantial amount of time, effort, etc. to their child. Will my child be able to get a good education? Can I give them enough attention, care, and love so that not only their physical needs but also their psychological ones are fulfilled? Am I capable of teaching them to behave properly in society so that they can fit into the world we live in? Such questions must be pondered about by morally conscious couples. Bringing up a child takes a lot of resources and not everyone is qualified for this mammoth "task".

A third reason worth mentioning relates to one's personal life goals. A human is (or should be) free to determine their ultimate aims in life and having children can impede the achievement for the reasons mentioned in the previous paragraph. A person who aspires to eradicate famine in the world would not be as focused on and effective in their mission if they had to take care of their own children as otherwise. And I do believe you can come up with many a similar illustration. (There are more reasons for being child-free, such as that stated by adherents of antinatalism, but I will just stop here.) 

It is certainly natural for us to want to have children – just like other organisms on the planet, humans are "designed" to pass on their genes to the next generation. This is presumably what has prompted many people to think that having children is more an obligation and less a choice – at least, that's what I have perceived in my whereabouts. You might also learn that certain religions teach that being child-free is not recommended or even a sin, which makes sense since having children means there are more avenues for these memes to spread. I myself am more inclined to be child-free for a combination of reasons and my girlfriend doesn't mind either option. What about you? 😉 
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Sunday, June 27, 2021

A Commentary on Yuval Noah Harari's TED Talk "Why humans run the world"

The number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia has been alarmingly on the rise again – the latest figure is head-shakingly worrisome: 21,095 new cases in a day. The virus is real; those who think otherwise are either fatuous or wrongly reacting to the cognitive dissonance they are suffering from. This pandemic has been smothering virtually all of us, but I chose not to turn a blind eye to it – let's do our best to cope with this viral catastrophe. However, this doesn't mean it is justifiable to let our attention be completely absorbed by the crown-shaped virus. Watch entertaining movies, read good books, crack people up with your best jokes, and so on and so forth – basically, please yourself because maintaining sanity is essential in this time of distraughtness. In this regard, apart from writing blog articles (such as this one), I have also increased my exploration of YouTube and recently, I rewatched a captivating TED Talk by Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari entitled Why humans run the world. I promised to write a commentary on the 17-min presentation and here is me fulfilling it.

Humans are an extremely successful species in terms of habitat ranges; we can find individuals of our own species on every continent. Our global population has also tremendously grown, reaching 7.8 billion as of June 2021, according to Worldometer. It is probably natural for the following question to arise in the mind of an inquisitive person: What causes humans to be in such a thriving state, controlling the world as it is now? In his TED Talk, Harari attempts to explain the reason for the remarkable success of Homo sapiens on the planet.

Harari's presentation is really entrancing and insightful. The subject itself is intriguing in nature but his way of delivery, characterized by simple language, eloquence, and absorbing inflection, is top-flight – my focus could hardly deviate while I was watching it. According to Harari, humans rule the world because of our capability to cooperate in huge numbers with high flexibility. No other animals can do that. So, what makes humans capable of doing so? The answer is our imagination.

One brilliant example given by Harari is money. Money itself is merely a piece of paper, or a coin; what makes it valuable and powerful is the fact that vast numbers of people agree that it can be used as a means of exchange – and this takes imagination. The implementation of a monetary system makes life way easier and dramatically boosts development, enabling civilization to exist and become widespread.

I think it is safe to say that imagination is actually the most important trait which humans possess. If you think about it, all the privileges and niceties that we enormously enjoy stem from our collective imagination. For example, the laptop I'm using right now to write this article is a product made possible by a mind-boggling accumulation of cooperation of countless people in the past – the scientists who developed the technology, the supplier(s) of the materials, the workers in the factory, the deliveryman, and so on and so forth. It is mind-blowing to realize that we cooperate not only with those living at present, but also those who are deceased and those waiting to be born in the future. This is also what makes possible substantial progress in science, which itself can work thanks to our imagination – it is when our fictional realities are kept in tune with the objective reality. What about language? Same thing. It works because meaning is imbued in it by considerable numbers of people and 'accepted' by our imagination.

As impressively useful as human imagination can be, this landmark of our species has the potential to misfire. One obvious, extreme example I can think of is religious terrorist bombings, which unnecessarily cost lives due to the wrong path that human imagination (possibly) takes. Imagination is humankind's double-edged sword.

I haven't read any of Harari's bestselling books (including Sapiens) and I probably won't – my endless list of dinosaur and English books will most likely occupy the rest of my reading life. However, I am immensely grateful for having watched his engrossing talk Why humans run the world. If you haven't already, you should – you won't regret learning something about (y)our own species. ;-)

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