'Tis the season for commencement/graduation speeches. When I first moved to the US and came across this annual tradition at universities and schools, I was somewhat impressed and a tad envious. That was in the days before Youtube and social media, so one only heard or read about the best such speeches in print news, which did not cover them quite as much or as effectively. Still, reading about the odd speech always made me wish that some famous and accomplished person, who many looked up to, had also visited my school/college/university to share hard-earned life lessons and critical words of wisdom. Beyond the pep-talkiness and dramatic eloquence of it all, what drew me in was the sense of an important ritual or a rite of passage being observed and celebrated.
Despite our brain's evolution, when we come across something outside of our normal scope of experience, we tend to rely on this limbic system, or gut/intuition, more than anything else to figure out how best to respond. And, in addition to making us prone to fear, impatience, hate, anger, lying, and other such survival-driven behaviors, this gut/intuition response also causes us to react with more pronounced cognitive biases and logical fallacies. Also, it has been my personal experience that people who have not had the opportunity to broaden their life experiences or their perspectives through reading/education tend to have a greater reliance on this gut/intuition or limbic system response. And, now, more than ever, when our world is increasingly complex, it is just not enough
May was Short Story Month. Not that we should need an excuse to read short stories. But, it is good to dedicate a month to this form of literature because, generally, it tends to be under-rated by the average reader and, sadly, by the larger publishing industry.