The answers are there

One of many problems I have is about problems. Because I think so much about problems, the thoughts about coming up with them and solving them leak in everyday conversation. Even when the other person wants to make small talk about the frustration of work or relationships, I turn on my male brain and go into problem-solving mode. Often, the pain of solving the problem is greater than the problem itself. Then I go into details about how they should solve the problem, and all the other problems that will come up in their lives. This always turns them off. People don’t like being told how to do things.

But if they live on without facing the pain of meticulously solving each problem in our lives, then they are not taking agency towards themselves; they become zombies of a capitalist democracy. If I see someone in need, I am compelled to help. If I see someone turn themselves into the chains of dreadful employment, I only have one response, which is to show them that there is more than one way to live.

Usually, the way I would go about it is to define the problem and clarify the objective, given their frustrations. And when I come up with these problems, solving them becomes a combination of procedural and creative thought patterns. Eventually, I would find a near-optimal solution to a problem, no matter how big or small. Some people find the problem definition helpful, but others seem to be indifferent.

At this point of the conversation, I should really detect in their eyes, whether they have appreciated the problem definition, resentful, or lost their concentration altogether. Squeezing brains is hard work.

If I really detect that they appreciated my problem definition of their frustration, then I would go onto the pain of solving problems. I enjoy solving problems, but most people don’t. I project myself onto others about this joy of discovering the solutions, but it often fails. If they are still with me on the problem solving process, then they either become skeptical and dismiss my solution altogether or thank me for trying. There is a better way.

Most problems that we face day to day have already been solved. Career, relationships, hobbies. Instead of trying to solve these problems myself, I should be able to refer others to the solutions of the minds past. I stand on the shoulders of giants. The best, or at least — good enough solutions, are often given to us. When we try to invent new solutions to solved problems, we are most likely to fail. If I am going to refer to the beaten path anyway, then all I have to do is point to that direction. That way, their skepticism is directed at authors and scientists instead of me. If they are skeptical of authors and scientists, then they will definitely dismiss whatever I tell them. In software, this is called convention over configuration. Form is liberating.

So how would I refer to these answers? I think the answer must be to read more. If I understand the problems I have at work, whether it be the software development process, the creative design process, or the programming process, then I can show the validity of a particular solution through proven literature. Especially evidence-based science is easy to acknowledge. And if they don’t acknowledge evidence, then they will be more trouble to teach than for them to be useful later on.

Until I started reading recently, I suffered from the fallacy of human help. I believed that if I needed help, I needed another human. But most often, that is not the case. Even in legal proceedings, it’s the knowledge of the law that the lawyer has that’s valuable, not necessarily the human representing it. Read, listen, watch. If only we had access to the world’s information…


Look for it

What I talk about isn’t new

Philosophies existed before I realized

Form is liberating

fallacy of human help

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