Philosophies on Living

Because stories are told from a first-person perspective, they concern themselves with the subjective truth of the observer. different observers of the same factual events are recorded as different stories with different truths. many conflicting stories can be created from the same factual observations depending on the perspective of the observers. differences cannot always be resolved through dialogue, because the difference of opinion may not result from factual disagreement but rather from observer bias.

Anger resolves little. we get angry because it suits us to do so; it allows us to express our feelings and we temporarily feel better about having a candid exchange. but angry speech does not concern itself with being understood or with conveying ideas other than pain and guilt. angry speech concerns itself only with inflicting pain. regardless of motivation or provocation then, the presence of angry speech should always be relected as a weakness of the speaker, a lack of ability to seek an appropriate resolution. anger means you’ve lost.

Assume the other is willing to listen, can be convinced, and is willing to change. Assume the other means well and wants to be a positive influence on the world. Assume everything’s going to be okay. Assume you can understand things well enough to make a difference.

Speech for speech’s sake is intellectual masturbation. Do not talk for the pleasure of talking; speak to be understood and have your ideas acted upon.

Seek to have your hypotheses invalidated – ask in all things “how am I looking at this wrong?” and quest for your foolishness as eagerly as hunting for gold. If you look for confirming evidence, you will find it, even if it is weak. If you seek to have your ideas overthrown, however, you will quickly grow in wisdom. If you aren’t regularly seeing what a fool you are, you are probably just not looking hard enough.

Author: dweekly

I like to start things. :)

3 thoughts on “Philosophies on Living”

  1. As the saying goes, seek first to understand, then to be understood. We are all too self-centered and solipsistic.

    Simple empathy can set you apart from the majority of mankind and earn you a (deserved) reputation as a good person.

  2. There is a symmetry in communication which allows much of what you mention to be possible. When two meet there is a matching of tone, of body language, of bringing the other person into your world-view just as much as you are open to another’s. There is a humility required, on both sides, to bring this symmetry into being. It is the role of the nimble thinker who bears the burden and responsiblity to allow this pattern to emerge. The most talented interviewers, pitch-makers and collaborators know this: the unity of symmetric communication forms a bond leaving both sides of the communication enhanced.

    Anger persists for several hours after you first summon it so the amount of control and indeed *perspective* that you summon before becoming angry is an almost zen-like skill. It is absolutely key to remember just how much of our brain is involved in emotional thinking, men and women both. Indeed our amygdalic structures and limbic aparati are old, deeply nestled in our brains allowing us to filter new memories as they are stored into our brains according to how they made us feel at the time. This is an *incredibly* powerful function which is why learning to diffuse the anger of anyone you are speaking to can lead to some of the most amazing communicative experiences available. Bringing someone to center, to symmetry and balance with you allows them the safety to communicate something that may have never occured to you. I would disagree, though, that most angry speech is intended to inflict pain. I believe I have never seen an angry person and not felt that they were somehow in pain themselves and if I could alleviate it we would both be improved. This, too, is a matter of perspective.

    Differences in perspective require compromise. I rarely (though I have many faults) speak for speaking’s sake and have urged many to find the beauty of listening. The ultimate prize in all of this is not just a tolerance of being uncomfortable but in realizing that the mild discomfort you feel in allowing your pespective to adjust and expand is ever more broadening than anything you will convince another person to be true. This is a much more difficult challenge and, I believe, much more enriching for all involved. In all of this I agree with you that seeking to have your hypotheses tested and validated is key as it helps you develop the faculties to grow in all dimensions of thought.

    I have found the greatest loneliness to be painfully evident in people who talk for the sake of talking. Most of the time, in my own experience, they were not taught to be good listeners or largely find others to be intellecutally inferior. Consequently they cut off large groups of wonderful people who may only lack assertiveness or certain verbal abilities that we take for granted. (Question all assumptions.) These people must be nurtured as undiscovered wells of thought. For these talkative people it is often because their family, friends and (esp. in technology) coworkers encourage and reward the sense of being *right*. So long as this applies only to purely logical decisions the dogpile drive to be the one who supplies it can lead to good decisions, but much is trampled along the way. The people I admire most are able to make effective decisions within a group mentality after first listening effectively. This is a great skill as discerning from a lot of information quickly is much more difficult than cutting everyone else out to be the first with *an* answer.

    Humility, patience, listening, seeking dissent and expansion from other people all come from this last point, useful since and before Socrates: recognizing the smallness of your experience and perspective opens you to ever broadening and refining yourself. I applaud this at every turn.

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