“One plus one is three. When a person meets another person, three things are established: co-operation, understanding and solidarity.” ~ Edmond Wells (featuring in works by Bernard Werber)
Through this magnificent equation, society and nature alike evolve as two things come together to form something even greater than the sum of themselves.
Only those who can transcend the hard, absolute mathematical logic of 1 + 1 = 2 and appreciate the beautiful philosophy of 1 + 1 = 3 can live life to the fullest and deepen their thoughts.
One of the key characteristics of social animals is the act of helping other members of the society. People often think that nature is ruled by “the survival of the fittest” and selfishness for survival, but societies are common in the animal kingdom. For example, even insects, that people consider “inferior”, such as ants build massive empires and cities, forming an unbelievably intricate and efficient society.
In the wild, all animals must find food to live, but due to competition and the environmental conditions, there are days when an animal cannot find enough food. For times like this, ants have a second communal stomach which they fill with leftover food after a meal. They then approach a hungry colony member and offers it a meal. If the other ant accepts, the two ants then lock their mouths together and one ant brings up the food in the communal stomach into the other ant’s mouth. Benefaction such as this allows for a smooth functioning of the society.
There is another role of trophallaxis (the transfer of nutrients via the mouth-to-mouth route described above): communication. Ants rub their antennae together to identify each other’s pheromones, which acts as identification such as what colony they are from and their role in the colony. Some scholars suggest that trophallaxis is the origin of the kiss.
The act of offering pre-stored food to comrades is also found in vertebrates such as birds and bats. For instance, some species of birds feed, return to its nest and then vomits the food for the young to feed on.
Helping those in need to create an efficient and functional society, and reaping the rewards of quid pro quo: that is the way of the philosophy of 1 + 1 = 3.
- There are 6 matchsticks. Make 4 identical, equilateral triangles.
The hint is that you must think differently to everyone else. If you think like everyone else, you will never find the solution.
- There are 6 matchsticks. Make 6 identical, equilateral triangles.
The hint this time is quite the opposite the first puzzle: think like everyone else.
- There are 6 matchsticks. Make 8 identical, equilateral triangles.
The hint for this puzzle is that you must reflect on yourself.
Answers after the break.
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In 1920, a candy store owner by the name of Christian Kent Nelson had a customer. The customer was a young boy who was torn between buying ice cream or chocolate, with only enough money to buy one. Nelson noticed this and decided there was only way to solve this conundrum.
He created a bar of ice cream coated by melted chocolate, which he called “I-Scream Bars”, now known as Eskimo Pies. It was an instant hit as children could buy both chocolate and ice cream for the same amount of money.
1 + 1 = 3
According to the ancient writings of Chinese author Han Feizi, a dragon is a gentle creature that a man can tame and even ride on the back of. However, one must be extremely cautious of the inverted scale on the neck of the dragon. Touching this scale will cause the dragon to become enraged, immediately killing the person.
Any person has strengths and weaknesses. Some people love to draw out another person’s weakness and are deluded that finding a person’s greatest weakness is a victory. But in human relationships, touching another person’s “inverted scale” can be a critical mistake. Who would want to deal with a person that prods at their weakness? Even during a heated debate, attacking the opponent serves no purpose and is only a destructive act. This kind of dirty move may bring you short-term “victory”, but in the long-term it can cause you to be forever alone. No matter how gentle the person may be, picking on something they are sensitive about may cause them to strike down with great vengeance and furious anger upon you.
The wisdom of the anecdote of the dragon’s scale can also be applied to how people should treat those below them. Whatever your position may be, making fun of your staff’s weaknesses will lead to the loss of trust and respect from them. Sun Tzu’s The Art of War teaches that a general must never attack a soldier’s faults but rather show wisdom in helping the soldier fix the problem on their own.
Lastly, when persuading another person, instead of speaking of their weaknesses, bring up their strengths. Avoiding the “inverted scale” is one of the most important skills in the art of persuasion.
The most important aspect of relationships is following the philosophy of 1 + 1 = 3 by co-operating and having a constructive meeting. A destructive person that attacks others can never progress.
Early economists believed that a growing economy was a sound economy. Growth was used as a ruler to measure the health of the nation, corporations, markets and all social constructs. But it is impossible to always move forwards. In reality, a growing economy goes through cycles of growth and depression, showing a waveform on a graph. An economy without depression forms a bubble that will burst in the future, bringing a greater economic crisis. Simply put, “sound economic growth” is only achieved by the concept of two steps forward, one step back.
We have reached a point where we cannot grow despite having the potential to. Perhaps there will be no further economic growth. Only a continuous state of balancing powers will remain. A sound society, a sound nation, a sound worker… those are things that do not damage the surrounding environment or become damaged by it. We should no longer try to conquer nature and space. Instead, we must integrate with nature and the universe. Our only slogan is harmony. There should be an entwining of the external and internal world and we must live with modesty not violence. Human beings will become one with the universe. Mankind will meet an age of stability where we do not strive for the future or reach for faraway goals. Mankind will live a simple life in the present. Only then will mankind finally attain happiness.
1 + 1 = 3
(from The Encyclopaedia of Relative and Absolute Knowledge by Bernard Werber)
WOO! It’s my blog’s birthday today! :DDDDD Can’t believe it’s been a year since I started this blog…it’s been a long yet LEGEN-DARY journey~ ^^ This blog has done more for me than I could have possibly imagined in every way possible, you won’t believe how big a part of my life it has been :) Actually if you’re one of my close friends you might have an inkling of an idea because I won’t shut up about it haha. Not only are there little things like giving me something to obsess about (see my awesome HTML theming and random features XD), but it’s been surprisingly great for my mental health haha. Really, all that cheesy crap about writing being an outlet is completely true, so satisfying~
Looking back at my first post, I guess some things have changed like this blog not being known to my friends to me publicly advertising it to everyone :P But some things have stayed the same, like me posting an Encyclopaedia of Relative and Absolute Knowledge post every day! In fact, I coincidentally (read: after careful planning) hit my 300th ARK post today too!!! BE HAPPY Y’ALL. In the tradition of making every 100th ARK post a much longer article on something I’m REALLY interested in, (see Lucid Dream and Lie Detection), I’ve chosen something regarding people and society this time. It’s about the Monkeysphere, which is a pretty damn interesting topic if you ask me, so I highly recommend you read it :) Again, I’m also very happy that I’ve kept up ARK for such a long time, writing a post EVERY DAY (minus travelling and exam time, but still!) and always coming up with things I can write about :) Good to know I’m holding true to my Foreword. And I know hardly any one would understand, but I’m also very proud of myself for sticking to my Moleskine ARK project, which I’ll be able to one day show to someone and maybe they’ll understand why I did it (in a completely non-emo way).
Lots of thanks to my currently 123 followers (did not expect this many people at the start to be honest) and all my friends (you know who you are!) that actually read my blog! :D It means a lot to me that there are people that find what I think and write about mildly to (hopefully) extremely interesting, or at the least amusing :P And also the very cool people I’ve gotten to know through Tumblr~ Hopefully I make even more awesome tumblr friends!
Oh, some random stats XD:
- Over the course of the last year, I wrote 762 posts (450 regular posts, 18 links, 27 quotes, 164 photo posts, 3 conversations, 44 video posts, 48 audio posts)
- I’ve written 2.09 posts per day on average
- Since March 22, 2011 (when I started using Google Analytics), this blog has had 5,157 visits, 3,196 unique visitors and 10,142 page views
- The most viewed pages (other than home page) were:
Lucid Dream, Cuteness, Hangul Wallpaper, Winnie the Pooh Psychiatry, Black Death
Lastly, my traditional celebratory Barney pic~! XD
Ciao everybody! Have a legendary day, and remember: You can’t let fear steal your funk.
1 + 1 = 3
12th December, 2011
It takes two hands to clap. No matter how great a plan you have, you cannot achieve anything by yourself. That is why we search so desperately for someone to slap our hand palm-to-palm. But this idiom has many meanings. Just as we cannot clap with one hand, when two hands miss or move away from each other, there is no clap. If two people want to achieve something then they must co-operate to produce synergy. But does that mean we can just carelessly clash our palms together?
If you clap with each hand as stiff as a board, it only hurts both people’s hands and produces a dull, bad sound. But if you loosen your hands a little and slap with a smooth motion, you get a clear, awesome sound. When two people act stubbornly and only stick to each other’s opinions and pride, they will achieve nothing and instead hurt their friendship, possibly even resulting in utter failure. To bend a little and give way to the other person - that is how two people can produce co-operation, understanding and connection. That is the secret to grasping the philosophy of 1 + 1 = 3.
1 + 1 = 3
(NB: The picture is from the basketball manga Slam Dunk where the two protagonists pull off one of the most epic high fives in fictional history. If you recognise it, you’re awesome XD)
Can you describe a reed that sways and bends to and fro in the face of wind as strong? Most people associate the word “strong” with something like a tree that stands tall and grand, never bowing to the will of the wind. However, the reed teaches us the important lesson of the strength of flexibility. When a storm strikes, what is left behind are not strips of reed but smashed pieces of wood.
A rigid tree appears strong because it stands so tall and does not move, but in the face of strong winds the opposite happens. As a tree does not bend much, it must face the full force of the wind and ultimately the tree snaps when there is sufficient force. On the other hand, the reed flows and bends in the direction of the wind, deflecting the force away. Not only that, but a reed has both flexibility and elasticity, meaning no matter how much they are bent and beat down, they can stand back up. Ergo, flexibility is stronger than rigidity. Skyscrapers use this concept and they are designed to sway on a windy day. The philosophy is also adopted in martial arts, with deflecting a strike to the side being a far more effective defence than taking the force of the strike directly.
Flexibility has far greater implications than withstanding the wind or a strike. The most important example is personal relationships. A person who never bends and sticks to their opinions may deem themselves “tough”, but they are in fact just a stubborn idiot drowning in a pool of arrogance. Sure, if it is a very important debate then you should stand your ground and state your opinions, but in a normal conversation it is just foolish to angrily state that you are right and never back down. It is far wiser to be flexible like a reed and meet the other person halfway, bending slightly to see their opinions and reach a peaceful agreement. If you stand tall like a tree you will end up standing alone on the same spot forever, but if you can bend to the other person’s flow like a reed, you can have a healthy relationship with them and co-operate. If both sides bend a little for each other, then they can have a smooth conversation and be able to establish co-operation, understanding and solidarity. Flexibility makes both you and the other person happy and allow for co-existence - something that is inevitable in human societies.
The tree may tease and mock the reed for its apparent helplessness and docility against the wind, but after the storm has passed, only the reed still stands. Remember this: instead of ignoring another person’s views and repeating the same words over and over, listening carefully to the other person and being flexible and tolerant is a far wiser and braver act. A wise man is someone who possesses the wisdom and benevolence of being flexible like the reed.
1 + 1 = 3
Yin-yang is a frame of thinking that can be considered a fundamental basis of Eastern philosophy. In ancient Far East Asia, people categorised everything of nature as yin or yang, including natural phenomenon such as human physiology. Yang(陽) is a masculine element, yin(陰) is a feminine element and the two represent the countless symmetries found in nature. Just as there is a sky for the earth, a sun for the moon, a man for a woman and strength for softness, every phenomena in human societies and the universe can be identified in relative terms. The concept of reducing these to a plus and a minus to explain natural events is the concept of yin and yang.
For example, consider a hill in the sunlight. The bright side is called the “yang place” and the opposite, dark side is called the “yin place”. Thus, light is yang, darkness is yin. That is not all. The air that is heated by sunlight becomes warm and rises, while cold air sinks because it is heavy. Yang symbolises heat, lightness and upward, active movement while yin symbolises cold, heaviness and downward, sluggish movement. But that does not mean that yin is bad and yang is good. The reason being, everything that counters each other in nature coexists and forms a balance. Also, as time passes, the sun will move from the east to the west, making the sunny place dark and the dark place sunny. Yin-yang is a law that shows the relativity of nature very well. It shows that everything is relative to each other even if they seem like opposites, forming a harmonious balance and cycle.
Balance forms harmony and nature always seeks harmony. For example, traditional Korean and Chinese medicine is based on the concept that the reason why diseases occur is because of the balance of yin and yang in the human body being broken. To restore the balance, acupuncture and herbal remedies are used, restoring good health. A broken harmony is due to one side being greater than the other as yin and yang form a zero-sum game. This means that as one side waxes, the other side wanes and vice versa, with the sum of the two being equal at all times. But this does not mean that yin and yang oppress and fight each other. Instead, the two rely on each other despite being opposites. In this world, there is no light without darkness. There is no forwards without backwards and no life without death. For instance, if there were only men (yang) in this world, the human race would be wiped out in one generation. But if yin and yang coexist to help each other and form a union, they give birth to a new generation. Nature always exists as a perfectly balanced coexistence of two polarities. When yin and yang form a balance they form something even greater than their sum, which is harmony.
1 + 1 = 3
(Image source: http://falynevarger.deviantart.com/art/Yin-Yang-Dragons-119779525)
To be fair, that is one meaning of the idea ;)
1 + 1 = 3
It is said that oil and water do not mix. This phrase is also used to describe two people who do not get along and cannot even stay near each other. But technically speaking, oil and water can be mixed. When you mix oil and water, you will find that droplets of oil float in the water. If you add an emulsifier (something that helps emulsion - the mixing of oil and water - such as soap or egg white), the oil droplets break down into very fine droplets that spreads through the water to make a stable emulsion fluid. Thus, even something like oil and water that appear to never mix can be mixed using science. Not only that, but some foods that we enjoy so much such as mayonnaise, milk and vinaigrette are all emulsions. Two fluids with different densities and properties, never wanting to be together, can combine to form such a great mixture.
If two people who never get along and refuse to mix were to congeal like mayonnaise, they may form a surprising combination, producing synergy.
1 + 1 = 3
Mencius, a leading Chinese Confucian philosopher, proposed a thesis that diametrically opposes Xunzi’s theory of fundamental malevolence. He claimed that human beings are fundamentally good. According to Mencius, people are inherently altruistic and courteous, wanting to help a fellow man. He stated that people are born with all the qualities needed to build virtue: compassion, humility, modesty and ethics. Through mental training and discipline, these traits respectively develop into: humanity (yin, 인, 仁), righteousness (eui, 의, 義), courtesy (ye, 예, 禮) and wisdom (ji, 지, 智). Mencius believed that as every man and woman are born with all the qualities needed to become a saint (seung yin, 성인, 聖人), anyone could become a “good person” through disciplining one’s mind. According to this theory, evil is only a product of bad environments and people inherently act benevolently when matured in a good environment with adequate teaching in etiquettes and social order. Thus, the act of harming others and murdering are because the person’s fundamental nature was corrupted by a harsh life and environment and because they lack virtue and discipline. A person who strives to perfect their morality is a gentleman (gun ja, 군자, 君子), a person who does not is a petty person (so yin, 소인, 小人). In Confucianism, gentlemen are highly respected while petty people are shunned.
Are human beings good-natured? The theory of fundamental malevolence states that human beings, like all other animals, are selfish beings who only care about their own needs and will willingly harm others to fulfil their greed. Contrary to this, the theory of fundamental benevolence (성선설, sung sun sul) teaches that people are altruistic animals who will support and help each other. We proved the validity of fundamental malevolence from an evolutionary perspective with the example of a hungry lion. An animal case scenario that supports the theory of fundamental benevolence is the ant.
By observing an ant colony, we can learn that altruism can assist in survival. An ant by itself is quite powerless, but when millions of ants come together to form a colony, they can build great cities to protect themselves, they can farm to feed everyone and they can easily overcome any foe of all sizes. Ants do not become jealous of another ant who has more food. Instead, when they are full, they will store excess food in a social stomach so that they can share it with another hungry ant they come across. Through cooperation, understanding and connection - that is, the philosophy of 1 + 1 = 3 - ants are able to compete and survive in nature. In fact, ants thrive anywhere in the world and can easily adapt to almost any environmental change. When comparing the two ultimate species that dominated nature, human beings and ants, the commonality is that both build societies. To build a society, individuals must get along with each another, and the key to building relationships is goodwill.
Thus, we have proven that fundamental benevolence can also be supported by evidence from nature. If so, are human beings fundamentally good or evil? The more you study people, the less credibility there is for fundamental benevolence. Of course there are plenty of stories of altruistic people, but “generally” people are still selfish animals who prioritise their own gain. No matter how much you say “I care for other people and wish everyone in the world happiness”, the reality is that you will only really care and love for people within your monkeysphere, while not caring nearly as much for the starving child on the other side of the world.
This is not to say that “good” does not exist on this world. It is just that the fundamental nature of human beings is likely to be evil, as Xunzi posited. However, as we grow, we learn social order, etiquettes and morality and we try to suppress our basal instincts as much as possible. Although our efforts are usually successful, we still slip up every now and then. On the contrary, some people do not even make the effort to hide their true nature and we label these people as “evil”.
Whether we are fundamentally good or evil, the truth is that we have both the potential and ability to develop our own character and sense of morality. Whether you will be an ant, who builds great cities and strive for a society where everyone helps each other stay well-fed, or a lion, who stalks prey all alone to feed itself day-to-day; that is your choice.