Month: December 2018

2018’s Top Posts from Emily’s Everything

This year I wrote posts on a variety of topics, such as life, philosophy, travel, and health.  Some were much more popular than others and here are the top five by views! 1. My Post-vacation Blues Coming back from vacation is always difficult. Vacations are followed by periods of longing and dissatisfaction.  How do we reintegrate into real life and make it make sense? 2. My Favorite Tool to Break Free from Hopelessness & Depression I used to suffer from deep depression.  Then I realized that the brain gets better at whatever you make it practice.   I created a new habit to break the old habit of hopelessness.  You, too, can open up to enjoy life again. 3. Travel Blog: Food in Japan is too Perfect? Japan is an obsession for many people in awe of attention to detail in tech, food, products, culture, and politeness.  In a travel blog focusing on food, I explain why the charm of perfection wears thin. 4. Philosophy for Real Life: Theories of Truth You use the word truth, but don’t know …

A New Years Resolution Suggestion for the Intellectuals: Awaken to Non-verbal, Loving Communication

It’s time to reflect on 2018 and make plans for 2019!  My new years resolution is to express love in deeds, not just in words and conversation.  Let me explain. I genuinely love to hear about the life experiences of other people.  Human beings are so different and interesting.  I love to interact with their stories by examining, analyzing, comparing, connecting and playing with their ideas.  As an intellectual person, I love to process words, concepts, descriptions, metaphors, fantasies, and memories. In interactions with other people, what I already do well is listen deeply.  This happens naturally because the words spoken by others are intrinsically valuable to me whether I agree with them or not, whether I understand their point of view or not whether they cause pain inside me or not. By intrinsically valuable, I mean that I’m listening because it’s pleasurable in itself, not because I’m looking to profit or gain wisdom.  My motivation to listen comes from the joy of witnessing the mental and emotional life of another person. The Value of …

How to Live without Shame and Avoid Rationalizing

A few days ago I was discussing justification with a colleague. The previous two blog posts were about Justification (Parts 1 and 2). He suggested a third aspect of justification: excuse-making or rationalization.  This is distinct from the epistemic notions of justification.  A discussion of rationalization justification falls under the categories of pragmatism (human, goal-oriented reasoning) and psychology. What is Rationalization Justification? Rationalization is an excuse-making behavior we resort to if we commit an act that is deemed unacceptable to ourselves or others. After the conscious realization that the behavior was unacceptable, we begin to feel emotionally uncomfortable – guilty, shameful, inferior, unworthy, etc.  The response to those feelings is to “rationalize the situation”. Rationalization is a type of excuse-making that retroactively justifies the behavior that we deemed unacceptable.  It “makes the situation OK”.  By providing justifying reasons for the unacceptable behavior, we are able to re-interpret our behavior to be acceptable.  Rationalization allows us to avoid painful emotions that we would otherwise have felt when looking back at the behavior. I think there are …

Part II of Justification (You haven’t got any!)

In Part one of this two-part post, I reviewed a basic concept of Justification.   In Part two, I’m explaining why you don’t have any (and might not even care!). The Story of the Emperor’s New Clothes A vain emperor hires two weavers who promise him they will make him the best suit of clothes. The weavers are con-men who convince the emperor they are using a fine fabric that is invisible to anyone who is “hopelessly stupid”. The weavers mime the manufacture of the clothes: no one can see them, not the emperor, citizens, or ministers.  However, everyone pretends that they can see the clothes out of fear that others will think they are stupid!  When the weavers announce that the emperor’s new clothes are ready, they help him dress and the emperor parades in a procession in front of all his subjects.  Everyone watches silently and uncomfortably, avoiding speaking the truth that the emperor is naked because they do not want to appear “stupid”.  Finally, a child cries out that the emperor is naked!  The emperor …

Think you’re justified? Read this.

This is a two part post, carrying on with the recent epistemological theme! The goal of part one is to understand what justification is and where it comes from.  Part one will also outline the importance of being able to understand and give reasons you give for your beliefs. Part two will be an analysis of why you don’t really have any justification (and might not even care!). What exactly is justification?  Before we go ahead doubting it, let’s see what it is and what it can do for you! What is Justification? Let’s say your talking with a friend and she says, “Trump won’t win the next election – I know it!”  You ask, “Why do you believe that?” What you’re asking IS NOT: what are the brain’s biological functions that led to your thoughts (in other words, the causal explanation of how the belief came to be) the exact date when she came up with that belief (as in, I have the belief because I did not have the belief before April 12, …

Philosophy for Real Life: Theories of Truth

As a lover of philosophy, I often think about truth. But I was at a party on Friday night and a colleague asked me exactly what I mean by “truth”.  Suddenly, I couldn’t explain what I meant! What is truth? By age five you had heard the word and probably even used it.  Now as an adult, it’s difficult to (non-circularly) explain what “truth” refers to.  In this blog, I’ll teach you three ways to think about Truth/Falsity of statements, then talk about two distinct types of truths.  Finally, we’ll consider a truth that adds meaning to daily life and enriches your closest relationships. Truth and Falsity So your friend calls and says excitedly she’ll come pick you up in her new car. She shows up in a used 2008 Camry.  You’re slightly miffed because you were expecting something 2018 or more recent (you got out of bed on a Sunday for this?!) “I thought you said you got a new car,” you say casually, not wanting to hurt her feelings. “Well, that’s the truth …