Logic, Reason, Clarity, Empathy, Passion, Intuition, Individuality,
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This may sound as pretentious as Hell. I’m not a philosopher.
Though I’ve said all this before this is written for a specific (unstated) purpose.
Know thyself and an unexamined life isn’t worth living are two of the best known clichés in the English language.
As blushful as it makes me feel I’ve always hoped that I could eventually live up to those famous old sayings. Though if I ever really expected to it was when I was a naïve young man.
Often all you can do is remove emotional debris, discard untruths - seek an impartial space by negative means.
With a final bow to modesty this has been for much of mankind the search for God.
Playing a game with myself a few weeks ago I tried to think of the words I wish could sum up my life.
Logic, reason, clarity, empathy, passion were my choices when I limited myself to five. Later I realized I left out two: intuition and individuality.
Logic and reason might seem redundant. Logic is a tool, a part of the process of reason.
Clarity is the goal.
By empathy we can see ourselves in others, putting our own lives in more perspective. The acquisition of empathy for me began about the time I turned 25. It is a gift for which I’m forever grateful. It taught me tolerance and helped me begin to control a strain of egotism stood in the way of the search for clarity.
Passion: without those moments of exaltation the rest wouldn’t be enough. Nor would the range of empathy be complete.
Intuition is the recognition of logic’s limitation. In the narrow sense I’m using the word logic requires data. Intuition enables us to have insights without sufficient data. Sadly in my case my lack of information is a product of intellectual laziness.
Some people make an intemperate vice of intuitive perception. It is a common source of self-delusion and what has been called false consciousness.
Individuality is necessary to self-realization (yeah, I know a bad self-help buzzword). In stripping away falseness and seeking a just proportion of the other elements we work toward the serene pleasure of having the various parts of ourselves live together in harmony.
While I can be a warm, tender, caring man I can seem very cold: arctic.
Striving to step away from myself and trying to see myself with a clinical eye is what ultimately saved me from misery of my youth. And luck, tremendous luck.
That I’ve learned to observe myself coldly I unsurprisingly do that to others. As silly as it may sound I’ve warned more than one person that if they could really see this part of me, experience an indifferent, amoral universe as I do it would chill scare them.
That coldness is a key part of who I am. Some moments it seems all I am.
But I’m not.
I’ve paid a price for passion. All those wished for virtues haven’t prevented all sorts of foolish self-inflicted damage. (See the preceding entry.)
And I’m ready to take those same chances again. And maybe be wounded yet again. The reward is worth the risk.
But anyone who would care for me should know that I need my coldness almost as I need air to breathe.
Written hastily, no comment needed.