Thursday, May 23, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day 16: Mr. Bean

My brother broadcasted this message in my Blackberry Messenger:

"Imagine you are asleep when suddenly your old friend came knocking on your door. He wanted to have breakfast with you. You have butter, chocolate, and strawberry jam. What do you open first?

If you answer wrongly, please change your profile picture with this Mr. Bean picture on my profile picture. "

This was his profile picture
Me, being confident in myself, quickly replied to his message. "Door," I wrote. "No, you open your eyes first. Change your profile picture." Crap, I fell for my brother's trap :/

After I changed my profile picture, I broadcast the same question to all of my friends. Hey, misery loves company. And hell yeah, around 50% of my friends who contacted me after that gave me wrong answers, hahaha.. In no time, a lot of people in my contact list changed their pictures to Mr. Bean.

The question reminds me of one of the fallacy that I know, the red herring. To put it simply, red herring is the kind of clue that was deliberately put by the author / writer to mislead the reader. The jams in the story fits to this criteria. Some people was too focused on the jams, they miss the correct answer.

But wait, even if you recognize the jams as red herring, it still doesn't guarantee that you'll get the correct answer. 

I quickly dismiss the jams as viable answer, but then I got reckless and automatically assume the door as the only possible answer. I was lazy and did not re-read the whole question carefully. Door was a second layer of the trap, because it captures those who were sharp enough to escape from the red herring, but not keen enough to realize the word 'asleep' in the first sentence. 

Why do I discuss this small joke so seriously? It's just a joke, after 
all, right?

I don't know, but I think life works in the same way as the joke. There are so many things you can get in this world. Money, fame, fortune, power, food, glory, anything.

I consider all of those as red herrings. We work our asses off to get money, then we spend the money to buy the things that we like, 
cars, houses, etc. After that, we are hungry for more money. After money has not become a problem anymore, we began looking for power, for fame. Our hunger is limitless. The more that we get, the more we feel hungry.

At that point, perhaps we are already loosing the big picture. Perhaps we should ask this to ourselves:

What is it that I'm really looking for?