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Minimum number of books I'd have to buy to make more sense of life?

  1. Jan 21, 2009 #1
    Hi.
    I worry far too much about life. Mostly about stupid stuff like "I'll never go down in history". That's the main one actually. It's getting to the point that I can't really concentrate on anything I enjoy. I sit and read up on mathematicians like Terence Tao, and ask myself constantly, "why am I not doing that?...I'm behind! He had his degree by 17, I'll be 21 by the time I get mine...that's four years". Truth is, as you probably know, I have nowhere near his passion or (probably) intelligence, and that he actually cares about maths beyond it just being a means to prove intelligence: I now spend most of my time learning maths and preparing for maths competitions in the hope I can prove my cleverness. I often do well in them, and people seem to respect me, but it brings me no happiness, I see it as a duty to get this respect. I really really want to relax, do the things I love and enjoy life while I'm young, but I just can't until I can say for sure:
    "It's all futile. I should do what makes me feel happy at the time."
    That's where your book recommendations come in. I want books which lean towards saying that it really is futile trying to win respect, so books on the following:
    -will the human race die out, and if so, how?
    -will the species that replaces us keep record of our achievements? Will it be more intelligent than us, so regard them all as crap?
    -Will planet earth eventually be destroyed? What about the universe?
    -Do others actually care about the achievement of somebody else?
    -Could I live again if the exact chemical makeup of my brain at this precise moment (so including all memories stored in chemical form etc) happens again, and if so, is it likely?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 21, 2009 #2
    0.
    (answer is too short)
     
  4. Jan 21, 2009 #3
    I would say learning about the world makes one happier. If you do not have a passion for math then do not pursue it. Choose an activity that you really enjoy and one that you are really excited about every time you do it. Then think of a way to work in this area as a job.

    Then if you still aren't satisfied with and are of longing for 'more', come to physicsforums and ask your existential questions in a descriptive thought out lay and you will be surprised how many people can answer your questions, or if not, provide you with more questions. Answers are boring anyways, it is the question after the answer that we are intrigued with :)
     
  5. Jan 21, 2009 #4
    I don't have any book to suggest. But I'd like to react to
    Why do you give so much value to "cleverness" ? Is math the only place where intelligence shows up ? Why should clever people be happy anyway ? Would you imagine that, because [name clever person here] received so may awards for [such ability], it makes him happy, or even valuable for society ?

    Many really "clever" people I know are not considered to be the nicest people around. Why would they be nice, since everybody else (to them) is so dumb ? Not even to mention the fact that other people often don't understand them. Many "clever" people are actually quite lonely.

    Why do you think intelligence reduces to maths ? There are possibly infinity many other activities to exhibit some kind of intelligence. One exquisite form of intelligence is the ability to be happy. If you pursue any goal (knowledge, or money, or whatever) in order to be happy, you will never be happy. Remember, happiness is not a goal, it's a mental state. The way to achieve a goal might make you happy, but once you reached this goal ? Was achieiving a goal the only way for you not to think about your own person, to focus your attention on something else ?
     
  6. Jan 23, 2009 #5
    You don't need books to answer these questions, I'll help you out.
    -Will the human race die out, and if so, how? Yes. If we can out live our sun by traveling then we will die out when we run out of energy sources
    -will the species that replaces us keep record of our achievements? Will it be more intelligent than us, so regard them all as crap? No species will replace us.
    -Will planet earth eventually be destroyed?yes, when the sun turns into a red giant. the universe? no, but it will become very cold and lonely
    -Do others actually care about the achievement of somebody else? Only rarely, but lots of people actually care about other people themselves not what they've done.
    -Could I live again if the exact chemical makeup of my brain at this precise moment (so including all memories stored in chemical form etc) happens again, and if so, is it likely? well, you'd probably want the rest of your body as well as your brain, and you need to go deeper than the chemical makeup and get the exact same quantum state of every particle you are made of, but yes if you could do that you would live again. Is it likely? no, it won't happen.
     
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