Escape the Reactive Potential of Strong Negative Emotion

We all have the potential to hurt and offend. This is not a testament to some underlying evil nature. It is simply an admission to instances when we acted rash, immature, or emotional. You did not consciously aim to hurt, yet hurt you did. We are naive to think we will never hurt in this way again. Good intentions are not enough to ensure that you never make a negative impact on those around you.

Mastery of your own emotional response, then, is a charitable act - perhaps the most potent form of charity that you can do. Donations, kind words, and helpful acts have profoundly beautiful effects on their recipients. However, before looking how you can build others up, do the work the tame your capacity to tear them down.

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Free Yourself From the Religion of Consumption

Overconsumption has a way of making us subjugate ourselves into a dependent relationship. The more we conceive as needs—the more we are dependent on for happiness—the less free we are. We’ve enslaved ourselves to unrealistic expectations and a cycle that clouds out the development of more fulfilling pursuits, thus devastating our own spirit, whilst destroying the world around. We have more, but we are less: less capable of ensuring our own survival; less competent; and despite immersion into an oversaturated social media landscape, less connected to our fellow humans.

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Paradox and Human Universals

Truth is wrapped in paradox. It is a tight wire balance, seemingly full of contradiction and only made sense of through intense magnification. Over and over, Justin and I have attacked the same issue, but with very different styles. Sometimes we’ll come to seemingly inconsistent conclusions, yet I’ve always found these contradictions to be essential additions to the original post. It is these pieces I’d like to highlight today, because they help provide a more rounded view of some important human universals.

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Understanding Where Your Personality Comes From

You are precisely yourself in every moment. You will do or say things that you are not proud of. These are not deviations from your “true self.” Rather, these are perfect reflections of it. These moments are windows into the realm of your subconscious and provide the greatest opportunity for introspection and growth that you will ever find.

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Judgment, Integrity, and Moral Courage

Following the Holocaust, many questioned how such atrocities were possible. How could a vast network of people orchestrate such evil? Why weren’t there refusals all throughout the chain? Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram set out to explore this concept in his famous, 1963 Obedience Experiments. In 65% of experiments, people administered what they thought were deadly shocks when prompted to do so by an authority. The study has since been repeated many times with nearly identical results. While judgment is often deemed wrong, we must cultivate a highly nuanced capacity for making judgments about our own actions and develop the moral courage to meet that standard.

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Friday Musings: Smarter Tools. Dumber Brains?

Humanity is reaching a point where so many tasks are outsourced and comfort is so certain that dependency has far outpaced the acquisition of new skills. Technology makes life easy, but it often discourages people from honing basic human capabilities. Smarter tools can lead to dumber brains, or, with a better approach they can scaffold our minds to heights previously unreachable.

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