The Daily Stoic for August 11th. “No Time For Theories, Just Results”.
“When the problem arose for us whether habit or theory was better for getting virtue—if by theory is meant what teaches us correct conduct, and by habit we mean being accustomed to act according to this theory—Musonius thought habit to be more effective.”
—MUSONIUS RUFUS, LECTURES, 5.17.31–32, 5.19.1–2
Thank god! It was time somebody said this loud and clear.
Perhaps it’s a result of our era of information overload. Perhaps it’s because we all have access to all the information of the planet just by unlocking a small device we carry in our pockets. Whatever the case, we all have become little experts in everything. And the fact is, we rarely know anything, we just read it somewhere.
No Time For Theories, Just Results
In a way, that happened before Facebook or the iPhone even existed. Only, it was at a smaller scale. We all had this friend in college that thought truth was inside a book. While education is essential, no book will teach you anything about the real world out there.
You have to experience it by yourself.
And the problem is that today, there’s a humongous amount of information channels. Some of them are legit, some of them are not. But overall, most people don’t really apply critical thinking when consuming information. One interesting proof is this study showing that most of us can’t spot fake news from real information.
That’s why I’ve always been wary of people who disregard experience in favor of information. Yes, I said information, because there’s a difference between education and information. Education is power, yes, but education implies rational, critical thinking.
It requires you to question what you are reading, hearing, discussing, and apply it to your own experience. It implies being able to change your mind if the reality clashes with what you’ve been taught, shown or told.
Like today’s stoic meditation states, theories are always clean and simple, black or white. Situations always move in shades of gray.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “No Time For Theories, Just Results”, discusses how theories are ok, but what really matters when faced with a real-life situation is not to be found within the pages of a book.