Month: November 2018

Sorting out Compassion, Pity, and Love

I started reading a book called The Unbearable Lightness of Being. It’s philosophical fiction and ripe with existentialist themes.  You find it on Library Genesis.  The story is about a womanizer and, at one point, he considers his unusual compassionate feelings towards a woman he is sleeping with. He says, To take pity on a woman means that we are better off than she, that we stoop to her level, lower ourselves. That is why the word compassion generally inspires suspicion; it designates what is considered an inferior, second rate sentiment that has little to do with love.  To love someone out of compassion means not really to love…  (Chapter 9) This passage really caught me off-guard – my intuition is not the same as the author’s.  Does compassion imply a power or hierarchical relationship in which one person has pity for another?  To me, the word compassion has always meant co-feeling and suggests companionship and shared emotions, including joy. Read It and Weep Let’s see what the Oxford Dictionary has to say: Compassion: Sympathetic pity …

My Favorite Tool to Break Free from Hopelessness and Depression

Today I want to share with you one of the most powerful healing tools I used early on, and still occasionally use, to manage painful emotions such as anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, or emotional “flatness”.  Deep thinkers are often sensitive people, which is why this post is appropriate for a critical thinking blog. Make a List Start by writing a list of some things that would normally make you feel good.  They don’t have to make you feel good now.   But simply list some things that, if you were feeling alright or better, you might enjoy doing.  Don’t make the list too hard.  I suggest having at least one item from each of the following categories of human needs.  Add some that are easier to do than others. Social: Call a family member and ask how their day is. Visit a friend for an hour over coffee.  Visit a forum online. Compliment someone through social media. Physical: Exercise a few minutes.  Try a yoga class.  Take a walk listening to uplifting music. Eat a meal or …

Learn to Ask Better Questions

What is a question? I’m sure you ask questions everyday, but probably don’t have a ready answer for that question. Maybe your first reply is something along the lines of, “it’s a way of getting information from another person when you don’t know something.” That’s only partially correct.  Confused why?  Keep reading: my blog today is about questions, designed to enhance your question asking skills.  Asking the right questions provides advantages: You’ll be a better listener. Listening is an interpersonal skill that is just as important as talking.  A conversation needs two people; it’s not just two people volunteering information and moving the air.  If you can ask a question after someone stops talking, it’s a sign that you were listening and understood what was said. You’ll improve your relationships. This will apply especially to the men in relationships.  Asking questions will both allow you to avoid talking when you don’t want to and make your partner feel loved (Ask me about my day, please!). You’ll know yourself better by engaging your curiosity.  Figuring out what …

Life Lessons At the Xerox Machine

A lesson for self-acceptance from an unlikely place Yesterday at work I walked by a co-worker who was having some difficulty with a new printing system that had recently been installed. She sighed and explained to me that I was lucky since I was new and didn’t know the old system at all. She was used to doing things the old way and, therefore, had to break old habits at the same time as learn the new ones. I, on the other hand, merely need to add a new habit. I thought to myself, “How profound this idea would be, if applied to daily life.”  How can we cease to struggle with habits? Is there a way to change our mindset to live in the freshness of each moment and thereby become excited for change?  Do we need habits? Any advantages? Habit is an essential part of human existence.  Our muscles and minds are habit-forming machines. In fact, if you didn’t have an “autopilot” for most daily tasks, you’d be overwhelmed within hours. You’d likely spend so …

Mating in the Modern Era: Attraction, Advantage & Lies

In part two of Mating in the Modern Era, I’m discussing the ethics of attracting a fit partner! In part one, I discussed choosing “fit” partners, meaning someone who is evolutionarily well-adapted for modern survival. Human beings use deceptive techniques to attract a mate.  This isn’t unique to our species; all animals do this.  It’s important to understand that evolution sanctions highlighting our best features and hiding our defects.  Evolution tells us: Each human being should maximize his evolutionary interests by attracting a “fit” partner.  But have human beings created game-changing circumstances that raise ethical issues about attraction and advantage? Is Attraction a Game of Deceit? The current concern is that body modification is unlimited.  Even brain chemistry and hormones can be modified, too. Plastic surgery can alter appearance beyond recognition to create a fresh identity.  The ethical issue of intentional deceit raises some questions:  1)      What do we alter in order to present a more attractive image? Are all these areas fair game? 2)      Even if intentional deceit is sanctioned by evolutionary needs, is body alteration …