Any person of curiosity and intellect, who reads and converses and studies life, will have the feeling a few times a year.
"Ah! What a fool I was! I thought life was like this, but it's actually not at all like that!"
What normally follows it?
Verse two --
"I didn't get it before, but now I've got it all figured out."
The gains from the first part -- realizing the error -- are almost entirely negated by the second. Fighting that second verse to not stop your mind on the second explanation… it produces far less satisfaction, but perhaps the remaining chains will be slightly looser and easier to break next time.
I believe that the feeling you have in Verse two: "I didn't get it before, but now I've got it all figured out." is absolutely essential for personal progress.
If you didn't feel it, the new realization would be incapable of over-writing your old belief.
Wisdom is to be willing to surrender this moment's realization to the next one which proves it wrong. Wisdom is accepting that we're always wrong in a way, short of the next insight which will eventually come along.
I certainly wouldn't want to give up my natural ever-lasting curiosity for anything else in the world, even though at times it's annoying.
I like to refer to this as the "Newtons Laws Fallacy" because no matter how well your "law" fits the available evidence, new evidence will come up to show that you didn't *really* understand what was going on.
*But* there's a positive connotation here too. Newton's Laws are still useful, even today!
I like this attitude to beliefs. I probably don't have it all figured out, but that doesn't mean I can't trust and use my beliefs in the meantime.
A few days ago, I wrote an open letter to a good friend of mine - "I Think Greatness is Something You Are, Not Something You Do" - I said to him, I'm not a great man, just a normal man working on great things. Greatness is something you do, not something you are.
To give you some background, my friend Brendon is just one of the most amazingly good people in the world. He takes care of everyone around him, his mind, body, and spirit are sharp. He's a black belt, an excellent programmer, a philosopher, a Shodan in Go (actually, even stronger than that - he's a Shodan under the Asian rankings, so probably even higher in America), a hard worker, extremely loyal, a clear and free thinker, widely read and knowledgeable, and again - an amazingly good guy. I've learned a lot from him (notably, he taught me how to play Go, sysadmin Linux, understand basketball at a very high level, improve at martial arts, improve my fitness, and other good stuff - we'd usually go drink green tea and play Go at Samurai Restaurant in Boston, go fight in the park, talk philosophy out at nightclubs, do stuff like that).
He wrote back to me about greatness and humility. I think this is a really beautiful piece, so I asked him if I could gently edit it and put it up. He graciously agreed. It's long, but go ahead and just start it and give it whatever time you have - there's a lot of amazing insight in here.
A Quick Favor Request - if you learn from this or it helps you, please send Brendon a quick email to email@example.com - he was actually a little gun-shy about having such a personal piece put up with such raw power in it. He only agreed when I told him how many people it could help - so please, drop him a short line to say thanks if this teaches you as much as it did me.
Without further ado...
Somewhere, outside the Universe
"Mothers, you promised you would take me out. You're always reminding me how dangerous some of the recent cross-currents are and how it would be better if I waited for some adult supervision."
"We did, and we're sorry but we can't get away from work right now. Ask your fathers, maybe one of them can manipulate the time." They discorporated and vanished into a nearby temporal slipstream. It was always that way with them. No point in looking around for my fathers, they were equally involved in some research or crisis that would require their full attention.
My parents were always too busy. Half the time, I'm left raising myself. I don't even know why they bothered to conceive of me in the first place.