At 16, I was convinced I was going insane.
I started having these internal debates and discussions in my head, asking questions like, “Why do I have go to church?” or “Why do people behave like this?”.
I thought something was definitely something wrong with me because I believed no sane person would spend hours breaking down the psychological impact of a rough childhood, or choosing an engineering course knowing damn well how she sucks at solving simple algebra and barely made it through fractions.
Yet five years later, I have a degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering. And now, after two years, I’m studying a master’s degree in Advanced Wireless Communications.
And after all this, I think — I’m still a pickle. There is still a lot to learn.
Seeing it now, my teenage years was just a normal phase of angst and self-growth as a human being.
Though self-understanding and clarity do come with experience, it pays to be more aware on how you can create new experiences for yourself by applying approaches that actually work for you. And maybe actually know what planet you are living in for starters.
But where does awareness start?
We have all sorts of physical sources like books but what better way to educate ourselves in these times than through digital platforms.
Let’s use our Youtube time productively, shall we?
Here are some channels which offer topics on psychology, self-improvement, philosophy, physics, and just plain old wit.
The School of Life
Problematic about relationships? Anxious? Lonely? Or just curious about George Orwell? Maybe Kafka?
The School of Life can provide more insights on them than what any institution can. It is an organization based in London and founded by Alain de Botton, the guy behind that calm yet assertive voice on every video. The organization was created to provide help to those struggling with modern life problems including work, relationships, meaninglessness and other existential dilemmas by providing practical insights and approaches through psychotherapy and counselling.
“The slowest among us can, in a few hours, pick up ideas that it took a few rare geniuses a lifetime to acquire.” — The School of Life
Their Youtube channel has become a safe space and a haven of emotional education online. And I’m one of the many people continuing to learn from it.
Loner. In case you are wondering. It translates to loner. Just like I am. And probably you are too if you’re actually reading this.
Ever heard of Stoicism? This guy is all about it. He applies this philosophy to subjects like happiness, love, self-hatred, arrogance and overthinking. He also talks about other Eastern philosophies such as Buddhism and Taoism which are also interesting topics I want to learn more about.
Ah, loners and their weird niches.
Pursuit of Wonder
Existential dread starts at 2 A.M. when you press that play button and a man with a melancholic voice starts narrating about a random man walking his dog, Nova and a guy named Carl, meets an old man in a park who later dictated the course of his life. Pursuit of Wonder is one of the most creative channels providing philosophical insights through fictional stories written in a simple, universal language.
It serves as a chamber of reflection (cue in Mac Demarco) to ease the daily problematic human apprehension we all experience and to keep us wondering about life.
Academy of Ideas
If books aren’t really your thing but you are a sucker for learning philosophy and psychology, then this is the perfect channel for supplying your daily philosophical and psychological migraine.
Exhibit A: Why Passivity Breeds Mediocrity and Mental Illness
I should warn you, the topics can sometimes go really deep into the philosophical ideas and terms (insert the word plethora and long quoted passages from people).
Gotta hand it to the narrator though, he really knows what he’s talking about and the comment section attests to the effectiveness of shared knowledge as a catalyst for change.
Now we move to a lighter, more comical content using meme-worthy stick figures which are most likely drawn using Paint. Casually Explained casually explains topics like wealth, red flags, college, calculus, evolution, the solar system, REDDIT, everything essential, basically.
The humorous approach is an easy sub for me. It’s like listening to a hilarious friend giving opinions and sharing advice while getting really high and drunk together, casually.
The wisest turtle who ever lived.
The videos revolve around metaphysical concepts with scientifically proven facts entangled with humor and utterly admirable wit.
It’s amazing to continue realizing how the study of physics: general relativity, quantum mechanics and such, poses a significant role in understanding the human condition. And for someone to be able to put it in the most casual, humorous yet very informative and timely manner is just pure genius.
Being an overt thinker myself, these concepts are not new to me. The study of the universe is a deterministic factor for the progression of mankind yet as the same time exposes the frailty of humans as we continue to search for answers about our existence.
On this notion however, we are encouraged to take each moment as a grain of salt and live as we have never known life before.
Here have some unlimited rice pudding.
I hope that in whatever channel or way we find useful, we can come to know ourselves and the world a little bit better.