The name of my blog, More Onion, is inspired by a quote from my freshman CS professor John Kender. While I no longer remember the 5C's of good code nor how to draw a UML diagram, I do remember some of the quirkier things he said. One quote I particularly like from him comes from his Bwog interview, and goes something like this:
"The problem is you think literature is like an onion, and if you peel away the layers you will find a pearl."
"Well yeah, what else would you find?"
My problem is I think life is like an onion, and if I work at the layers long enough I will find a pearl. It is a curious pattern that year after year, I think I have found a pearl or two hidden in the onion, and year after year I look back and wonder how I could have ever been so stupid to previously think this or believe that.
But in retrospect, it doesn't really seem all that surprising- it is a very comforting idea to think that you have found a pearl, something for you to hold on and help you navigate through the chaos and confusion of life. There are no certainties, and we hate that- we want to know that we've figured it out, that we know how to live, and that we are no longer lost and confused.
But certainty is a lie, and in fact maybe the biggest, most comforting, and most dangerous lie that we tell ourselves. After all,
"Stubborn and ardent clinging to one's opinion is the best proof of stupidity." - Michel de Montaigne,
and clinging to our pearls of wisdoms makes us comfortable, complacent, and close minded. The world is a much too complicated thing to be captured in a few thoughts or a few words, and it oftentimes seems the only truly intelligent thing we can say about it is that there is no real intelligent thing to say about it. And that is an uncomfortable thing for many, myself included, to readily stomach.
I am reminded of a quote by Voltaire:
"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd."
While onions are not as pleasant as pearls, and certainly serve as worse earrings, it seems absurd and even arrogant to ever claim absolute certainty and place all your faith into a pearl.
This is why there are no pearls of wisdom on this site, just bits and pieces of onion that I find interesting.