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Category Archives: Observation

Opinionating

I suspect that simply ‘giving your opinion’ about things is a very easy way to get an ego or ‘self-esteem’ boost.

(Which is why I so often give my opinion about things. Apart from genuinely wanting share and ‘develop’ ideas that I think are interesting.)

And why might ‘giving your opinion’ give a quick ego-boost (boost in self-esteem)? Here are some possible reasons:

When you ‘give your opinion:

a) You get to possibly show that you know more than someone else. This demonstration of ‘superior knowledge’ could also allow you to feel superior to another person (if you think that ‘knowing more’ means ‘being a better person’). Actually ‘knowing more’ is not even necessary here. If you can convincingly express your opinion you may manage to convince others (and even yourself) that you know more than those who are listening about the area concerning the expressed opinion.

b) You get to advertise your cleverness (especially if you believe that your idea is ‘original’, ‘sophisticated’, ‘elegant’ or clever in some other way).

c) You get to emotionally ‘affirm’ what you believe and to indulge in ‘zealousness’ about what you already believe.

d) If you believe what you are saying is ‘provocative’ – you get to demonstrate that you ‘don’t care what others think’, that you are brave and courageous enough to ‘speak your mind’ etc.

e) If your opinion has a ‘target’ – you get to condemn or find fault in the process of giving your opinion (another way of feeling superior).

f) You may get to crystalise your own beliefs by putting them into ‘verbal’ form – and so increase your sense of certainty (or decrease your sense of uncertainty) in the process (which may also increase your self-esteem).

g) You get to be the centre of attention – while expressing your opinion.

h) You simply get to ‘add one more brick’ to your identity structure. By giving your opinion – you simultaneously build the idea of who ‘you’ are in your own and other peoples’ minds. Your sense of who you are may appear to become more ‘real’ by having yet one more belief ‘associated’ with you.

By this account, an ‘opinionated’ person may be a person who has chosen ‘expressing their opinion’ as a primary means for attaining and maintaining self-esteem. (e.g. where other ways of attaining and maintaining self-esteem appear less efficient at attaining these goals e.g. through ‘success’ in work, play, love).

When we consider all the above ego-boosting possibilities associated with ‘giving your opinion’ it becomes clearer why so many traditional spiritual traditions provide clear indications surrounding mindfulness of speech, which types of speech are helpful and which are not etc. Even the most ‘innocent’ of processes ‘opinion giving’ might serve as an opportunity for maintaining one’s sense of being a separate self through getting ego-boosts. Giving your opinion when you don’t really NEED to would probably come under the category of ‘idle speech’ in Buddhism.

http://buddhism.about.com/od/theeightfoldpath/a/rightspeech.htm

That said – ‘giving your opinion’ may not always mean you are getting an ego-boost. You may give your opinion simply because you think it may be useful/helpful, because you are asked for it, because its your job to do so, because its a way to start an interesting conversation, because you are ‘showing what you know’ for the purposes of showing how well matched your skills are for a job, because you enjoy or feel compelled to share and develop ideas etc. These actions may or may not be undertaken with the specific purpose of boosting one’s self-esteem.

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Irritation at inauthenticity

One aspect of getting to know someone well is getting to see their inauthenticity – getting to see the difference between how they appear to present themselves to others publically and how they actually appear to be with you ‘privately’- on the many occasions you have met them. This can occasionally express itself as a feeling of irritation towards them.

Its interesting to ask ourselves what is under this feeling of irritation. It may be that the irritation is caused by that person not appearing to fit with a certain belief we have, perhaps a belief that goes something like this: “You should be authentic at all times and in all places”.

But why should we impose this belief on our friend or lover? Isn’t up to them how they behave? Besides, if we did not have this belief – perhaps we wouldn’t get so irritated.

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Observation

 

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A failure or failing is a stigma before great success, a ‘heroic obstacle bravely overcome’ afterwards

(Why do many lifestyle shows in the style of Oprah mostly interview people after they have overcome an obstacle, solved a problem, or survived an ordeal, and not during it?)

 
 

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Optimal disorder?

If you had a lab or a scientific vision that was TOO well organised, would it reduce your chances of making serendipitous discoveries? If you had society what was TOO well organised would it reduce your chances of making serendipitous friendships and acquaintances? (e.g. Imagine a society in which procedures are so well worked out and explicit that you don’t even need to ask people questions about how and what to do?)

Is there an argument to be made that for the purposes of scientific discovery and promoting human connection, that there should be a certain element of disorder/chaos in labs, institutions and societies?

Serendipity

 

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Aside

A cliché is original to someone who has not seen it before

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Linguistics, Meaning, Observation

 

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Non-dual spirituality non-self vs Atheist non-self

When you believe* in the spiritual concept of ‘liberation’ i.e. a recognition/realisation of the delusion of a separate self, but you don’t have ‘life after death’ beliefs e.g. a belief in heaven, reincarnation etc. – then ‘liberation’ amounts to this:

1) either ‘dying’ when you die i.e. the concept of a separate self dies when your body dies – as for most people

2) or ‘dying’ a few years before you die i.e. the concept of a separate self dies and one’s own experience is transformed into ‘life experiencing life’

Given that for these people liberation only amounts to a few years of changed experience (often quite joyful) … does ‘liberation’ actually amount to much anyway? Is it actually such a ‘big deal’?

Presumably this is ‘something’ like the way Sam Harris (an atheist philosopher) and Tony Parsons (a ‘liberated’ ‘person’) experience the world (at least sometimes during meditation in the case of the former, permanently in the case of the later).

Since neither ‘believe’ in free-will, do they both doubt that you can ‘do’ anything about the outcome either?

* Strictly speaking – perhaps its not appropriate to refer to spiritual teachers as ‘believing’ certain words such as those written here – since they would say that this is the way they ‘experience’ reality – not a set of beliefs they have ‘about’ reality.

Sam Harris:

http://www.bigquestionsonline.com/blogs/heather-wax/sam-harris-already-has-his-next-book-planned

http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/consciousness-without-faith

Tony Parsons:

http://vimeo.com/25376402

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUSGiWV0kqE

 

Follow your bliss. Even if you’re crap at it.

Link to Joseph Campbell Foundation 

Joseph Campbell Videos

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Meaning, Observation, Spirituality

 

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