How Quora Awakened My Curiosity Again

I.

Some of the best things in life are those that comes at the most unexpected times.

It surprises and awakens something inside you.

When I discovered Quora back in 2015, I never expected to enjoy the site as much as I do now. I’ve often encountered people mentioning it before when I was randomly reading through blogs after blogs, forums after forums and social media sites after another. At first I was hesitant to join another site. All of us have countless memberships we’ve already signed up for and I reached to the point where I didn’t want to join anymore at all. But then I got curious and when curiosity strikes, nothing can stop it from killing the cat. A day came when I decided to give it a try.

It was a period in time where I got obsessed in reading about the most popular HBO series, Game of Thrones, based from George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy novel A Song of Ice and Fire. My Quora newsfeed was filled with back stories, fan theories, speculations, predictions and interpretations both of the novel and TV series. Honestly, my feed was only about that!

Reading about it day and night, that’s when I encountered the first Quoran I truly admire, Kelsey L. Hayes. She provides in-depth analyses and interpretations of every part of ASOIAF. She even understands how GRR Martin’s mind works, which is incredible. I’ve never seen someone who had so much depth of knowledge and who possesses such deep understanding on a literary work.

The realization of her character as a person changed my view on a certain aspect of the world. I began to question myself, “What have I been doing all this time?”

I realized that there are a lot of amazing people to meet and interact with; There are so many things to read about; Things to have in-depth knowledge of; Things that will expand and provide thorough understanding on a variety of subject matters.

I got excited.

Really excited.

For the first time in a long time, I was inspired again. My ultimate goal in life has been revisited and re-evaluated. It has been right all along – My search for knowledge and broad understanding of everything in this world. That is still my ultimate goal and Quora is one avenue for that.

II.

It reminds me of an important episode in my life a decade back.

When I was still a sophomore in high school, I discovered a book at home that awakened my true curiosity and it triggered the formation of who I am today. I can still vividly remember that particular night: There was a major blackout in the city on a weekday. We only relied on our emergency lights to guide us and illuminate our paths as we fumble in the dark. I still don’t know what’s gotten into me but somehow, I grabbed this 3-inch A4-size hard bound book, published in 1975, and started browsing instead of playing my portable Nintendo like an ordinary teenager of that time.

The book smelled like it hasn’t been flipped for ages. The pages were turning yellow but still thick and crisp. It was a special edition Readers Digest that we picked up from my grandma’s house a few years back. The book’s content covers from ancient history up until humanity’s prediction of the future. It is filled with interesting, factual, mysterious and trivial information such as crop circles, peculiar diseases, the case of Mary Celeste, the two Titanics, and the bizarre story of a young girl (which I’ll never ever forget). Despite relying on a dim light I managed to read it for hours. I just couldn’t put it down.

Years passed and I’m pretty sure that I’ve read it cover to cover x number of times.

Since that night, I went to bed with a realization and understanding of what my interests are and it explained a lot why I enjoy documentaries and other science and history-related books/movies/TV shows. Thus, my interest with Mythbusters, Ancient Aliens and Fringe Science.

I met myself. As if for the first time.

It was absolute bliss.

Every time I read or watch something about a topic I’m interested in, I feel like a little kid going all thrilled over a piece of candy.

III.

Throughout the years after, my attention and focus somehow diverted to college and everything Advertising-related. A few interests were added along the way. I found myself reading about different religions, philosophy, sociology, psychology and surprisingly literature.

I spent my lunch breaks browsing in our college library, seated in the least explored corners closest to the bookshelf of choice, and getting annoyed at anyone reaching within a 5-metre radius.

I found people I can share and discuss ideas with both in real life and online.

It was a period of awakening.

Reading about all these subject matters opened doors to a whole new view of the world. It was the kind of realization with no point of return.

My own paradigm shift.

I embraced the change and a lot of the knowledge I acquired. Things that used to be important to me seems to have become insignificant. Irrelevant to my everyday life. I found them shallow and childish.

I simply lost interest.

Up until today, I can’t manage to go back, peek and enjoy a little of things that used to be my source of entertainment.

It was the point where I accepted that I’ve clearly outgrown them.

IV.

After college, as a new graduate who just entered the real world, work seemed to be the only thing that mattered. Work seems like how a minor subject acted as if it’s a major one back in the day. In short, it consumed all the time I had, which in all honesty, wasn’t the best choice at all.

I consider that as my dark ages.

My judgements at that time have been clouded by an artificial form of lifestyle. Masked happiness, materialism and high-end way of living. PR was the only thing that mattered. What’s inside has been neglected.

When I quit and focused all my time studying again, this time, a diploma course focused in arts, I looked back to prior and questioned how I lived my life for that short period of time. It wasn’t the corporate life I imagined it to be.

Corporate Sellout. 

That’s what my friends in the creative industry used to refer people who have chosen to be part of the corporate world when clearly they have future in an industry with more intellectual freedom and creative expression.

Apparently, giving up what you believe in and performing tasks you consider unethical for some temporary monetary gain hurts ones character.

Where was the substance?

It was another turning point in life and a chapter to be closed.

V.

If passion is lost, then what’s the point of living?

Fast forward to present day, Quora is a site that continuously inspires me to create and enrich myself. It constantly awakens my curiosity, provides valuable information with a right balance of satisfying entertainment and helps focus on the important things in life. Most importantly, answering on Quora challenges writing, comprehension and researching skills. It’s a site with the right balance of learning and creating without any unnecessary stress.

From the site’s analytics, my knowledge, based on my answers, encompasses Haute Horlogerie and surprise, surprise, Melbourne, Australia. Apart from basic questions about watches, I get a lot of requests about migrating to Australia; Most likely because of my unbiased and subjective answers in regards to the topic.

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The ultimate question is, “Who are my top picks of Quorans to follow?”

To be honest, I cannot consider myself to have explored the site to its maximum potential. I’m still enjoying the tip of the iceberg and little by little savouring my way down to its depth.

So far, the top Quorans on my list are as follows:

  • Richard Muller – A physicist at University of California: Berkeley, author of “Now, The Physics of Time”. Apart from science related answers, he also writes about interesting personal stories that comes with an important life advice.
  • Robert Frost – Works at NASA. Obviously answers a lot of interesting NASA, science and astronomy-related questions.
  • Franklin Veaux – Writes mature relationship advice and an author of a book and site on polyamory, “More Than Two”.
  • Kelsey L. Hayes – Provides in-depth analyses and interpretations of the entire A Song of Ice and Fire novel and Game Of Thrones TV show.
  • CJ Lee – Provides in-depth analyses and interpretations, quotes page references and movie parts of the entire Harry Potter franchise.
  • Jake Williams – Very opinionated and his writing has a satirical nature.
  • McKayla Kennedy – Answers a variety of topics and it’s always rational and mature.
  • Josh Fechter – Gives insightful advices regarding startups.
  • Jordan Yates – Answers a lot of questions about everything.
  • Dan Holliday – He claims to be an “agnostic-atheist-humanist-materialist-utilitarian” Pretty much what he writes about apart from personal experiences that he shares.

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I have yet to discover more interesting Quorans. There are so many more topics to cover and to read about. Hopefully, a lifetime would be enough to satisfy ones intellectual cravings.

Continuously Seeking for Greater Understanding

I’ve been obsessing over historical Korean and Chinese dramas lately as one of my learning methods in further understanding the politics of dynasties in East Asian History. For seven whole months, I’ve seen over 10 dramas (4 of them are more than 50 episodes each) accompanied with historical readings in attempt to grasp the realities of political strategies during that time.

It’s mind-boggling to admit that my short-term pursuit of knowledge in the subject has drastically changed the maturity of my political understanding. I have eventually developed empathy towards each historical character; For every royal family member and their relatives, maidens in waiting, scholars, and other influential people from all walks of life – From the internal politics of the palaces to the ordinary people’s struggle to survive within the kingdoms during those times, I ended up crestfallen to the fact that hundreds and thousands of years later, nothing much have changed in society.

Ultimately, the foremost influential culprit is still survival – Which is basically human instinct to sustain a living no matter what the condition of environment provides. Greed and ambition eventually succumb people as their driving forces for further advancement of their power, political standing and societal class.

I’ve come to a genuine realization and acceptance that it may be factually greedy to act animalistic in constant pursuit of survival but human beings really do not have any other choice.

My thoughts suggest that a perfectly harmonious way to live is very idealistic but it stays and ends in the theoretical sense. It sounds quintessential for everyone to submit themselves acting according to virtues of fairness and goodness, but sadly, at some point along the way, people will break free of this philosophical way of living and inevitably put someone else’s fate at stake in attempt to survive and advance their power.

Growing up in a society following an orthodox of Roman Catholic, I was taught to be be good and do good amongst other people; That goodness is the only way to live and hence the path to be rewarded. And so, life has become a reward-driven consciousness for me. Upon studying other beliefs, ten years later, I have come to a realization that the most basic foundation of every ideology present in different historical times are all the same. Imagine a 15-year old innocent and ignorant teenager shocked upon opening her thoughts to the other wonders of the world only to find out that her religion is not only common, but is pretty much very identical to any other beliefs out there.

My whole world turned upside down. Everything that I believed in drastically changed and I found myself lost, astray and I questioned everything. I entered college the following year and out of seven theology subjects, I had one professor who challenged my faith. She stayed in the convent for ten years until she decided to free herself to further seek learning of other beliefs. At the beginning of the semester, she made a bet that she will definitely break our faiths to whatever beliefs we used to have.

It was a very challenging time of my life. I promised myself that I won’t lose to her but I maintained an open mind to seek knowledge while hanging on to the one and only faith that I have. Afterall, my favourite history teacher in high school once said, “A man without religion, is a man without path.” And so I began reading on other philosophies and religions.

Before the semester ended, I began to question myself; Everything that I know and believed appeared to be one big lie; One big conspiracy or political propaganda. It’s eccentric to say that I thought it’s a form of mass hysteria for the government’s way of mind control. From then on, I questioned my way of learning. I picked up my 6th grade Science teacher’s advice again, which is to be very skeptical in comprehending and accepting teachings. From then on, I carefully filtered information and ensured I sort out facts from assumptions and opinions. Until I reached to the point where I questioned facts beings classified as “facts.”

Through this journey, I earned consciousness of my progress in comprehending that all philosophical disciplines and religious doctrines exist not for humans to avoid being astray but to accept to ourselves that life is all about balance and harmony. This may sound cliche and I know that everyone is perfectly aware of this: There are always two sides in a coin. There’s the good and evil, the yin and yang, the light and dark, day and night, the alpha and the omega, and so on. But sometimes, it takes considerable amount time to wholeheartedly accept this factual reality and actually apply it in our lives.

PS This post is such a mess and my thoughts seems to be going in different directions. It may be a definitive example of where I am right now regarding my journey in seeking greater knowledge.