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Sunday, October 20, 2019


Tara Westover at Cambridge - Photo: Hill & Aubrey
I finished reading Educated by Tara Westover. As I said before, it is phenomenal.  A review on Financial Times gives us an quick overview:
"Tara Westover was raised by strictly Mormon anti-government survivalists on a remote mountain in Idaho. Her birth was unregistered and her birth date remains unclear, she never saw a doctor or received any conventional medical treatment, and as a child she was given no formal education at all, growing up almost entirely unaware of the world beyond her immediate community. Yet she went on to earn an MPhil and then a PhD from Cambridge, and became a visiting fellow at Harvard. Educated is the story of a transformation so courageous, so entire, as to beggar belief." - Melissa Harrison
The biggest thing I got from this story is that there are two kinds of crazy. There is the kind where there is something wrong with a person's brain, due either to genetics, accident of disease, that causes it to not function properly. Hearing voices, auditory or visual hallucinations, uncontrollable compulsions are all indicators for this kind of problem.

The other kind happens when a person is embedded in a situation that doesn't make any sense. People do things because of what they are told or what they believe and logical thinking only brings you up against the barriers holding you in. Beat your head against the bars of your cell long enough and you may give up on logical thinking and submit to the tyranny that blankets your life.

Another thing I got out of this is how lucky I was to have parents who weren't insane. If they had a religion, it was logical thought. I got along pretty well with my parents. We had numerous disagreements, but nothing that serious. We were all on the same page, philosophically speaking. I don't recall that we spent a lot of time together, at least not after I got to be a teenager. I was ornery and independent. Ornery was probably genetic, but independent was probably due to my upbringing.

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