Positive Thinking

Redefining Reality in Six Minutes

Positive Thinking

Competency Matrix

In my all-time most viewed post, Serotonin and Social Status, I inquired as to whether there are mindsets that protect us from societal influences on serotonin levels. Five years later I finally attempt to answer that question with Does Competency-Awareness Drive Serotonin Levels?

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?

Here’s a short (no doubt incomplete) list:

Creativity Super Human

Everyone Has an Origin Story

A tragic turn of events unleashes new, unfamiliar superpowers that shock the wielder, eventually forcing him to face his moral obligation to reduce the suffering of those around him.

The New World, 1978. As early as 6th grade, I was already captivated by the evolution of humanity, hope for improvement, and an awareness that we live our lives in a blip on the larger arc of history. Homo Sapiens is the one obscured by the ship’s exhaust (before catalytic converters!), shooting for sport. Or perhaps out of fear. This drawing meant so much to me that I’ve kept it all these years. It is the only drawing I still have from elementary school.

Positive Thinking

Malevolence, Forgiveness, Acceptance, Buddhism and Christianity

Panel of hell (detail), Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights, c. 1480-1505, oil on panel, 220 x 390 cm (Prado)

Jordan B. Peterson is known for an ostensibly uncontroversial position: the reality of malevolence and malevolent people. This position seems at odds (he says as much) with Buddhism’s perspective that Evil is essentially ignorance. Buddha taught (quote TBD) that evil is born out of ignorance, and that perspective instructs us on how to vanquish evil (knowledge!) Might Jesus Christ agree with Jordan, that Buddhism is fundamentally flawed because it casts evil as an epiphenomenon rather than fundamental to the nature of humanity?

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

— Luke 23:34

Christ here strongly suggests that malevolence is born out of ignorance, which is his justification for the need for forgiveness.

It is a reasonable proposition that Christ and Buddha were saying the same thing in different ways.