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Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Year Of Living Dangerously

For Malay language version please visit here.

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." 
~ Marcus Aurelius

I was introduced to Marcus Aurelius actually from the movie Gladiator (featuring Russell Crowe) who as portrayed in the movie, a Roman emperor who while doing what most of Roman emperors did at those time such as killing and conquering the Parthians, the Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians  among others, also have time to write down his Mediation which according to wikipedia, a revered as a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration.

I wont write more about him but more about the particular quote. Today, we are indeed living in dangerous years. Not the danger of being at war whatsoever (though there are people indeed at war on some other parts of the planet but if you're able to read this blog then there is a high chances you are not at war), but the danger of having too much information easily at the tip of our finger. The danger of thinking that we can know everything just because some people somewhere posted something that we think we want and need to know. We think that knowledge is easier to find since we can seek them from the comfort of our home (or from our office), as long as we have a computer, or a phone or whichever devices that we can connect to the internet.

Photo credit: Google Images
We no longer have to cross the seven seas or to climb the seven hills to seek knowledge as knowledge is easy to come by. It came even without us seeking them, from various media that are being shared by our friends and acquaintances. We can read what has been written either yesterday or even thousand years ago without even waking up from our bed.

Therein lies the danger. While it seems easy to seek knowledge, we may not learn wisdom through them. In the easiness, because in this internet age we all think we will know everything. Since we all think that we know everything with the knowledge, we no longer continue to find wisdom. We trust everything said by someone just because we no longer feel the need to learn about other opinions that may be contradictory with what we want to hear. Just because some news site posted something that we 'want' to read, we do not feel the need to verify the news even further. Just because some information is shared by someone we know from Facebook or Twitter, we easily believe that the information is true.

Finally, as Marcus Aurelius wrote nearly 2000 years ago, we easily believe something as a fact, when it's just an opinion and more dangerously we believe everything we see as the truth when it's just a perspective. It's no wonder an American President, from the country that gives birth to the internet have already warned us of the danger.

Photo credit: Google Images
Oh yes, before I forget. Marcus Aurelius in the movie Gladiator was portrayed as an ideal Roman emperor who intends to give power back to the Roman senate and make Rome a republic again rather than be rule by emperors when the historical Marcus Aurelius actually nominate his son Commodus as heir rather than adopt a really capable general to succeed as 5 other successful emperor before him (google Five Good Emperors for details). I may write about that some times in the future.

Disclaimer : All images are for illustration purposes only and this blog author does not claim any copyright to the published images and he only copied the images already publicly available on the internet (unless stated). The blog author also wishes to state that his opinion posted on this blog are his alone and not paid by any political parties.


  1. it's not possible the quote was from Abe Lincoln. There's no internet during his time...LOL!

    1. That's the point of this article actually. :)