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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Face Your Fear

For years I dealt with a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) known as Pure O. My self-imposed paralysis evolved from more comprehendible compulsive anxieties to increasingly bizarre mental battles. There was a progression that fed itself with each avoidance, pulling me towards evermore complex psychological creations. Challenging as this was, it is the most formative and essential part of my life. We should all be so lucky as to have an all-encompassing mental disorder pull us to the path of personal discovery, growth, and purpose. To some degree, we all do. Whether it is a proclivity for stress, anger, jealousy, impatience, indulgence, or addiction, we all are born immersed in a pathology of self-destruction pulling us towards self-mastery and rebirth. Our journey to confront fear is antecedent to a meaningful life. This is a consistent theme in the human experience.

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Friday Musings: Compassion Trumps Animosity

The process of winning progress has never featured divisive eruptions of outrage that are opposed to civil discourse. It has never been won through one day or one march. Change does not follow unrefined or unclear thought patterns. Real social progress has always been the product of clarity, long-term sacrifice, intelligent dialogue, and maturely taking the moral upper hand with thoughtful actions and words. This requires honest self-reflection, the demand that one’s constituents hold themselves to a standard, and an earnest desire to grow and mature with anyone willing to talk honestly.

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Principled Sacrifice

Whether we like it or not, our consumption habits are not a completely neutral act. We bear responsibility for either rewarding malicious intent or punishing it. In the modern world, nothing speaks louder than the refusal to purchase. Saturated in the incomprehensible magic of modern technology, it shouldn’t seem that crazy to identify a few causes worth self-denial. We’ll still live the most lavish lives in human history and probably be able to find a more rewarding substitute. No one ever regretted giving up McDonalds, anyway.

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