12 Observations at 27

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I like to write on my birthdays. Two of such writings I have published on this blog: 25 lessons at 25 and Friends, We are Dying Every day for my 25th and 26th birthdays respectively.

This year I wrote on 12 observations at 27.

And why 12? Honesty, I have no idea, and because I don’t know, I can’t really say.

All I can say is, a list of 27 will be too exhausting.

  1. Our collective intolerance for lies has been shattered. And it saddens me. I saw this with the Trump effect (and almost everywhere I look).
  2. We fail too often to appreciate the consequences of that which did not happen, the consequences of not doing what we have already done. This makes navigating through life less easy because the alternative is way to abstract. And certainly, it breeds something ubiquitous called ungratefulness.
  3. Don’t think a gorgeous orange tastes good, because it might not. This is one of the hardest lesson I have being learning to learn.
  4. You will fail, and if you do, that is fine. Life is impossible without failures. I have learnt this more robustly from science research.
  5. The older you grow, the less surprise life gifts.
  6. For a very long journey, hard work hardly works. But, smart work does.
  7. There is very little that is objective about the human conscience – as it is given by our social contraption. So, to argue for truth based (solely) on human custom is plain wrong. Montaigne intimated this very carefully in his 1580 summer tour of Europe. (So does Socrates.)
  8. There is something magical about forgiveness, if we can put it to work.  And for that magic, I tried, I can’t put it to words. Words fail me.
  9. Success has the right to impose obligatory conditions. So, I have learnt not to be surprised.
  10. The world’s capitalist economy breeds more slaves than we think that it does, more isolated (and sad) souls than we could ever comprehend. And here is the really, really sad part – many don’t know it [1].
  11. The best people who are bad are the people who are the best in faking that they are good. Until Karma catches up. And friends, this leads me to my final point:
  12. One could fake kindness, one could fake honesty, one could fake compassion, one could fake respect, one could fake honor, prudence, humility, empathy BUT not courage. Courage is the only virtue that cannot  be faked [2] because it requires skin in the game. Courage is, to put it in another way,  immune to virtue signaling.

God Bless and Thank you for reading.


[1] I am learning this properly from the Frankfurt School, and I particularly liked their criticism of Marxism.

[2] “Courage is the only virtue you cannot fake” Nassim Taleb in Skin in the Game Pp188.

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12 thoughts on “12 Observations at 27

    • Olatomiwa Bifarin says:

      Ok, I adapted that from a Latin proverb which says ‘don’t think a beautiful apple tastes better’. And my version is ‘don’t think a gorgeous orange tastes good’ which simply means that things are not the way that they seem to be sometimes. More like, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, that kind of thing.

  1. Michael Eggleston says:

    What did you also mean by ”The older you grow, the less surprise life gifts”? Would I be right to say that you define success as mono-obligatoric in such that success has one set of conditions in which has kept you unsuprised? Is this your definition ot society’s?

    • Olatomiwa Bifarin says:

      Here is what I mean: Generally speaking life could be hard, and coupled with the fact that we tend to be optimistic, we get very surprised when certain unfavorable things happen to us. However, the older we grow, the higher the probability that these ‘unfavorable things’ will happen to us. Hence the less surprise we get (with those events) as we get older.

      • Michael D Eggleston says:

        I would like to challenge that idea because I think that completely depends on the type of lifestyle you live. As human beings, we are not birds and have to fly south every winter rather the next 5 years can be completely different than the past 5. Sure we are predictable creatures in our habits, but habits are learned behaviors. I believe if one has lost their curiosity in life they have already been buried, mentally speaking.

        • Olatomiwa Bifarin says:

          If we go in different directions in life we will (by default) encounter different situations; and with different situations come different surprises. That’s your argument, I think. And I do agree with you. However, I did state that “The older you grow, the less surprise life gifts”. What I stated implicitly is that, there are several repetitive events when it comes to life experiences. Folks date several people before settling on who to marry, a lot of people marry multiple times now (especially in western societies), we always start new projects, we always have to acquire a new skill at several points in our life etc etc. All of these events are full of surprises. Hence, as we grow older, the higher the likelihood of having some repetitive experiences, and the less surprising they will be to us.

  2. Obiora says:

    Bif, it’s hard to argue that number 1 is a recent phenomenon though.

    Have we always been a society that is intolerant to lies?

    I think we are mostly intolerant of the lies of the people we do not like. And are quick to forgive that of those whom we love or have soft spot for.

    There’s never been a ‘true news’ age.

    • Olatomiwa Bifarin says:

      I agree with you. I believe that must have always be the case, but I have an intuition that it’s getting worse. Perhaps 1) the advent of social media has exposed this ‘phenomenon’ even more (exposing ourselves to ourselves) giving me an illusion that it has gotten worse, and/or 2) perhaps the trend in (1) is weakening those who are impervious to such ‘immorality’ to be more brazen to try it out. “It appears this is just fine, first, Thank God ‘God is Dead’ and there appears to be no public shaming”. Something like that. A feedback loop.

  3. Kolapo oluyinka says:

    This points are quite educative but can you please throw more light on point 6.
    For a very long, journey hard work hardly works but smart work does?

    • Olatomiwa Bifarin says:

      Sure! Hard work in the most literal form I can think of connotes forcefulness, putting in all your efforts. But if you are travelling on a very,very long journey that’s not a very good strategy and it can be counterproductive. You could lose yourself before you get to the finish line, you could get completely exhausted half way. In order words you want to work today in such a way that you will be able to work tomorrow, and next tomorrow, and so on. You don’t want to win a fight and lose the battle. You want to win the battle.

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