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Positive Thinking

A Eulogy to My Mom on Mother’s Day

I am alone. No one truly understands me.

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Positive Thinking

Reason and the ability to use it are two separate skills

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.

Reason and emotion are balanced through proper executive function.
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Positive Thinking

Toxic

In everything, its opposite can be found. Opposites inform each other, so neither can be fully understood in isolation.

Water is vital, essential, and wonderful. When not treated with proper respect, water can kill you. So is water healthy or is it toxic?

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Positive Thinking

When Fiction is Truer than Non-Fiction

“Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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.

Deeper Truths

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.