letterLeave enough space to be open-minded.

from Ray Kurzweil
January 1, 2020


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~ letter
~ webpages

essay title: Leave enough space to be open-minded.
author: by Ray Kurzweil
date: January 2011

letter |

An introduction.

I run across two types of people. I’ve been thinking about what distinguishes these groups, what causes somebody to be in one group or the other.

the 1st group.

One group accepts problems. Problems are just the way things are. We need to learn to accept problems. The purpose of life, for example, is to accept death, to become comfortable with it — after all it’s the natural way.

This group is pessimistic about problems. They believe life will always get worse. They find a lot of evidence for this perspective. Now this view makes perfect sense, because they don’t plan to do anything about the problems anyway. And they don’t think they’ll succeed if they try — so why attempt it.

And if you do try to solve a problem, but your plan fails — then it’s humiliating. As bad as the world is, you just made it worse by wasting time and resources.

the 2nd group.

Then there’s the other group. The second group does not accept problems. The goal of life is to conquer them, to surmount limitations (natural or otherwise), to defeat ignorance, to overcome suffering — of people, animals, and the Earth.

This group is optimistic, and realizes that optimism isn’t an idle prediction about the future — but a self-fulfilling prophecy. They believe in the power of human ideas to create the world we want — virtual+ real ones.

This group isn’t afraid of failure. They believe in its value. It simply means experience, because failure is just success deferred. This group is patient with failure but impatient with problems and limitations.

So what accounts for whether a person is in the first group or the second group? I’ve really been thinking about this question and have not come up with an answer. If you think of one, please let me know.

The value of an open-mind.

It probably has something to do with being open-minded to new ideas. Leaving enough space for new perspectives, not being overly attached to what you’ve learned — and to the common wisdom. And not being afraid of disapproval from other people. For example, the legendary physicist Albert Einstein PhD created thought experiments that defied both. But he stuck with the conclusions he reached, despite early ridicule.

I know where to find the second group — and that’s at the start-ups, schools, and organizations across the world that are moving horizons. Today’s diverse youth, entrepreneurs, thinkers, change-makers, and pioneers believe in the power of human thinking — and action — to overcome any challenge. That’s also my own point-of-view.

In my life, it’s been a thrill to get to know some of these people: my readers, my colleagues, my fans of all ages, young dreamers + shakers, adventurous retired people, and teachers + students from today’s brave new projects. I hope to continue collaborating in the years ahead — making good things happen.


from platform: Wikipedia

profile ~ Albert Einstein PhD
profile ~ his thought experiments
profile ~ definition of a thought experiment

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