Posts Tagged ‘philosophy’

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Philosophy Tuesday

November 19, 2019

When it comes to willpower, I assert we’ve gotten a bit wonky in our relation to it.

Not that I don’t think willpower plays a role in life, or that it exists; I do, on both counts.  It’s more that, in our considerations and judgements, we have overvalued it.  Whether we disparage ourselves or deride others for failures in life – or the opposite, exalting our inner fire or wistfully admiring it in another – we have ascribed to it an outsized role without looking at everything that underpins it.

Because we tend to view willpower as this magical, inherent, and ingrained thing that makes some people great and others not so great.  Yet there are many things ordinarily hidden from our view (unless we bring mindfulness to it) that underpin this thing we call willpower.  There is a great gaggle of context that plays a role, both in developing willpower (for it is something that can be cultivated) as well as supporting it in the moment.

And support is the key word.  It’s about being supported, by others, who can model, and teach, and train this self-capacity.  Even more so, it’s about fallback.  About being able to and having a fallback should and when things go awry.  It’s about having the wherewithal to actually GO for it, do it, all while being secure in what will happen if it doesn’t work out.  That people will be there.  That resources will be there.  That the system will be there.  That it won’t be fatal, either spiritually, subsistence-ly, or literally.

Heck, just being in a good place means we have the energy and brainpower to be able to engage our will.  Being stressed, tired, or having to constantly deal with fires all sap our vitality and nerve.

When we have a net to fall into, we are much more willing to take that leap, walk that tightrope, and do that thing.  It bolsters us.  And that’s great!  And before we laud or denigrate it’d be best if we acknowledge that whole picture.  The self-made person is kinda true, but it’s not necessarily the only or whole truth.*  There’s more to it, and it can be much more of the deciding factor than some great natural force residing within.

When we encompass and grow this whole picture, willpower – for ourselves and for us all – can flourish.

 

* And there are plenty of non-self-made people too, who have made it through luck or birth or etc

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Philosophy Tuesday

November 12, 2019

The more time we have with ourselves


The more time we have to define ourselves


And the less we let others define us

 

(Especially unconsciously)
(Doubly especially from advertisers, social media, politics, and etc)

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Philosophy Tuesday

November 5, 2019

It is past time we jettisoned the useless false dichotomy of introversion vs extroversion and just accepted that everybody has a minimum amount of social interaction, failing which, they get really weird.  And everybody has a maximum amount of social interaction, exceeding which, they get really weird.  These levels are different for everyone, for a variety of reasons, and have no moral dimension.

And that is all.

— Radicarian

 

Nice.  To which we can add that these amounts can and do vary throughout our lives.  Sometimes they even vary day by day.  They are also highly context dependent.   And also dependent on whom the interactions are with.

Above all, though, is that last bit.  Dispensing with the basis for stigmatization.  Forgoing the chassis of good/bad.  We can listen, rather than impose.  We can be with someone, rather than interact with caricatures.  Especially valuable since where on the scale at any given time is so mutable – even for people we know well.

Always great to be reminded that gradients are a thing and are normal, and we don’t need to sort things into discrete opposites.  Also a great chance to revisit this post about average heights that illustrates this so well.

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Philosophy Tuesday

October 29, 2019

“Ignorant.”  We tend to throw that word around as an insult.  Rather than a simple descriptor of someone’s knowledge (or, more properly, their lack thereof), it is wielded as a club, a disparagement of their character and of a massive failure on their part.

As though they should know.  As though they are bad and wrong for not knowing or understanding it.

And with that we relegate them into a hopeless category that deserves scorn or fixing (or both).

Yet we are all ignorant of a great many things.

And, here’s the crux, not everyone has had the fortune of the experiences, information, and reinforcement that it takes to learn something.  To become aware of something.  To synthesize the myriad of different threads into a rich tapestry of knowledge and understanding.  And going beyond understanding into the realm of groking it.

Even the information on its own is not enough; it can take guidance and the proper context and mindsets, aided (and thus can also be hindered) by others along the way.

The way we learn is that we are shown.  We follow examples.  And when someone makes us aware, and invites us to go deeper, we can learn.*

What matters is to put aside our harsh condemnations and extend that invitation.  When we relate to people as a hopeless “other” then there is no opportunity for exchange.  When we are willing to listen and lead, then new possibilities can open.

It isn’t easy.  It isn’t automatic or guaranteed.  It isn’t likely to be instant.  And it won’t necessarily be fun.  But it can always be a start.

 

* It is also possible that they do know, or are aware, and continue to espouse a limited or severe view.  Again, this may be because they have never been exposed long term to someone who can help expand the view.  Either way, it becomes a different conversation than one of teaching, but a conversation that will still be more productive when coming from a place of invitation and exchange than one of scorn or fixing.

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Philosophy Tuesday

October 22, 2019

“Why should I ever feel or be beholden to a view or a decision that was made by me in the past, given it was made by someone who literally knows less than I do now?

— Hank Green (Paraphrase)

This is a great quote, and a great continuation of the post from last week on being wrong.  For one, it provides another point of liberation when it comes to altering what we do in the world.

For two, and even more importantly, it provides a huge opportunity into defining who we are.  Because who we are – these identities we wear and present to the world – they are of our own creation.  They are the story we crafted and now live inside of.  They are born of decisions, often under duress, and based upon our knowledge and the breadth (or lack thereof) of experience in that moment when we were forced to make that decision.

We decide, we set our view, and we proceed into life that way.

But they are, and always remain, just decisions we made.  Inflection points.  And we can re-inflect at any time.  We can re-examine the decisions we made about ourselves, about others, and about the world, and in the light of day, today, this day, with all we have learned since then and all we have experienced since then, set aside what we decided and instead choose.

Again, it’s not that the decision back then was wrong.  Or even bad, per se.  It’s just the decision we made.  At that time.  With what we had and what we knew.

We’re not stuck with it, nor beholden to it.  We get to choose a new we.  And we get to choose that which brings us and those around us more freedom, life, love, self-expression, and peace of mind.

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Philosophy Tuesday

October 15, 2019

I really dislike being wrong.

In that, of course, I know I’m not alone.  I doubt there’d be many who’d say being wrong is an altogether pleasant feeling.  And that’s just by itself, before adding all the social angles and ramifications that we so (un)helpfully throw into to the mix.

Add to this that the opposite, being right, comes with such an amazing rush.  What a charged and great feeling it is!  We looooooove being right.  And we’ll do all sorts of things to be right.  Oh do we ever.  We’ll sell out, or sell others out, contort ourselves and situations into pretzels, start fights, you name it.  Being right is the best, and we’re ruthless in is pursuit.

Which, I’m sure you can see, can be a rather big problem.  Because we become so committed to being right that we all to easily, accidentally, screw ourselves (and those around us) over… just so we can be right.

So tonight, I want to propose something that will reduce instances of that thing we so despise, being wrong:

“If I’ve been doing something for a while, and I learn that what I’ve been doing isn’t as good or benign as I thought it was, I am not WRONG unless and until I choose not to change what I am doing.”

“I could could say, ‘oops, I was wrong’, but I am not capital-W wrong unless I choose to cling to my actions and barrel on ahead.”

That’s it!  We get to shift when we feel wrong.  For it is impossible to know everything, and it is impossible to know what we as individuals and as a species will learn in the future.  And sometimes, often even, we will learn things that shock us.  “Crap, I’ve been the bad guy!”  But not really… the villain arises only when they knowingly do, or continue to do, bad.  With this, we gain a moment where we needn’t defend ourselves to prove we’re right and avoid being and looking bad.

To put it all another way:  let’s not get our knickers all in a twist about it!  “Nuts, I didn’t know!  Crap… OK, what’s next?”

And with that we alter course, apologize and make amends if necessary, and move ourselves and the needle in the right direction.

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Philosophy Tuesday

October 8, 2019

(Pairs nicely with the distinction between an expectation and a possibility…)

Image via Night Sky Games