To be fluent in a language means not only that you can understand it, but that you can speak it competently. Competency in the language does not necessarily make it your first language. It may be your second, or third. Your first language is your dominant one.
Reason can be thought of like a language, so can emotion. Emotions can lack reason, and reason can lack emotion. Often, one dominates, the other is afterthought.
“Reason and the ability to use it are two separate skills.”
— Franz Grillparzer
Emotion that is dogmatically subordinate to reason feels stultified and inauthentic. Reason that is dogmatically subordinate to emotion is flawed. Just like that co-equal branches of government make for a stronger government, we are stronger not when one dominates the other, but rather when reason and emotion are democratic peers within us. The two have a conversation and come to consensus. Reason and emotion are aligned.
We could leave it there and be done, or we could parse that out a bit more.
Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris and Brett Weinstein discussed the idea of a metaphorical truth. They defined it as a notion that is literally false but conveys benefits to the person who acts as if it were true. Their example is treat every gun like a loaded gun. Every gun is not in fact loaded, but those who act as if they are are less likely to have a problem. Jordan has also said he acts as if God exists. Notice he treats the notion of God just like any other metaphorical truth. Whether God is literally true is less important than that— at least according to Jordan— those who act as if it is true seem to receive certain life benefits.
So myths, stories from religious traditions, and even modern movies like The Lion King, use the story as a foil to convey a deeper truth that non-fiction would have a harder time getting at.
Those nasty negative emotions. If only we could just do away with them, right? But they have value, and they show up more in creative (right-brained) thinkers. Here’s why they are both valuable and in larger quantity in creative types, according to Jordan Peterson:
Jordan Peterson posits something like (I’m paraphrasing), no one knows the upper limits of the benefits we might incur through maximizing our competency. With that context, here’s this post.
WHO AMONG US is maximally competent? Who can say they cannot become more competent than they are now? Clearly, the answer to both questions is no one. So we all share the same goal: increasing our own competence. Competence at what? Well, how about the biggest challenge of all: life itself. So the question that follows that is, what does it take to be competent in life? And, could virtue be a synonym for key competencies?