What can change the nature of a man : Sources of information

I thought this topic of where people got their views from, was interesting.

Ymar, besides Ayn Rand, Socrates and Plato, could you give some specific books, articles, etc., for the other things you mention? Something others here could read to understand your views better?

A lot of it was personal research and thoughts which I produced through my own “individual” take, so to speak. So they’re hard to communicate in any usable format. Well, I’m sure Socrates had the same issue, that’s why he kept writing stuff with questions in it.

Reading books were something I found useful when I was younger. These days, I prefer more interactive models, I find they stimulate more “questions” and is less Authoritarian in nature, less biased, less prone to Group Think. That’s because I can set the initial conditions. It’s not some NBC culture, not some Gaia cultist, that sets the initial conditions for me and then I have to run through the maze like some rat in an experiment.

For example, martial arts is interactive, because I interact with other people’s methods, bodies, as well as my own. And the interaction produces results I can analyze. Then I can read translated Chinese history texts about Neijia, and it kind of fits. But if a person just read the Chinese text, even in the native language without the physical experiences… it’s just abstract stuff to them. Might as well be reading the stock market at that point, without having any stocks. I never did like rote learning, regurgitating stuff just for the sake of regurgitating it because some author or education/indoctrination system said it was right.

Of course, I suppose it is ironic for me to say that, since I used to read a textbook on European history and still score above 90 on a test the week after. That’s because I found it interesting, not because of memory itself. These days, I probably wouldn’t even need the textbook, just wikis and the internet.


Socrates’ speech, which I thought was more interesting and more educational than reading Aristotle’s Nicomachean ethics, the first half that is before I lost my bookmark. Nicomachean Ethics was probably a little bit too forward thinking for me at the time, but I didn’t realize it at the time. It was also a progenitor of my belief, unknown at the time, that learning a foreign language and thinking in it, would be better than reading translations. There’s a significant mind shift that occurs. Looking at how people lived their lives, was more important to me than what they wrote in a book, with a language I don’t understand, for people that don’t even exist now a days.

If I hadn’t been in Socrates’ situation, if I hadn’t known any real human in his situation, I probably would have chalked it up to some fable or myth. No effect whatsoever on real life. His fate and his specific end had always troubled me, but it wasn’t until I read the actual speech that I saw the details. And probably only understood them because I also had questions like he had at the time, due to the Iraq war, terrorism, and the usual political corruptions.


For reading body language, it seems there’s a wiki about it now. http://www.wikihow.com/Read-Body-Language

Amazing progress on the net. Back in the day, there were only audio/books and maybe some articles that were too abstract to be useful at the time. I wanted the skill, because reading psychology is also called being affected in a way. Using a skill to interrogate and assess results from actual humans, is a different scenario. No middle men corrupting the feed. Just you and them and the space between you and them.

Hrm, what else is there…
Translated from the original Chinese by the author.

What does this have to do with politics btw? Nothing, and also everything. The lowest unit of a political system is the person, the individual. Changing the individual, also changes everything above the individual. How they see above and around. How others see them from above or around.

If you want something specific Tom, you’re going to have to come up with a question. I’m good at isolating down answers and questions. Open ended topics tend to make me go off on tangents eventually.

Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings, Sun Tzu’s the Art of War. They became a lot easier to use once I could look around in life and connect them with concrete issues and experiences.

Will reading any of this stuff help people understand my views better? I would have to say no, it wouldn’t. It’s not pointless, but it is like reading the biography of a person. You haven’t lived their life, you don’t have their personality and skill set. You didn’t grow up during their time period or with their life experiences conditioning their habits. People can read books and then say “that is my idea too” or “I agree with that” or “I disagree with that, here’s how to do it better”. A person’s ability to focus, distill, and reflect the knowledge of the world around them is only ever unique to that person. If it can be copied… it loses its value.

That’s why I think reading the Art of War does not confer Sun Tzu’s abilities unto me. It’s just reading a book about chainsawing a tree down. Doesn’t mean I got the skills or experience of it. Now if I wanted to get closer to that, I might do what grim is talking about and use tech to get rid of a tree, then I can say “oh, I know how it works now, just need to 50% transfer it to a chainsaw now”.

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5 Comments on “What can change the nature of a man : Sources of information”

  1. G6loq Says:

    On the madness of Frau Merkel and the nature of man:

    This world is not one for intellectuals …

  2. G6loq Says:

    This guy has an interesting take on Sun Tzu:
    The School Of Sun Tzu: Winning Empires Without War

    Slide presentation about his book:

  3. ymarsakar Says:

    Thanks, I’ll take a look, G6.

  4. ymarsakar Says:

    Sun Tzu, like any other Taoist or strategist or martial artist back then, was literate. More literate than Miyamoto Musashi was, even. Musashi’s book is preserved even still. Martial artists back then were diplomats, advisers, fighters, warriors, soldiers, generals, and everything else that required intelligence and planning. It was not insect specialization they practiced.

    If Westerners tend to think of it as a tactical manual, they make the mistake of confusing it with On War. The jack of all trades, the Renaissance education, and the polymath autodidact, these were things ancients from their era sought highly.

    Tactics < Strategy < Logistics

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