Saturday, September 19, 2015

Examined Life and Passionate Life

My life has been one of extremes on all directions. I've been treated as a star, and I've been treated as a criminal. I've lived in mansions and I've lived on the street. I've worked in software, translated a large body of Russian poetry, and contributed useful thought on a range of subjects. I had beautiful relationships, ugly attacks, and experiences both enviable and oppressive.

Now there are many in psychology who hate passion and intensity; and these people are very wrong. I like my life, even though it runs completely in face of conventional theories on the subject. I would rather have my life of extremes any day over boring, predictable existence. Someone once told me that I will never have the life of success and stability. I do not seek stability; I have however had some major successes. And I have lived.

I had the opportunity to go on with higher education in psychology. I decided that I wanted to have life experience before I started to study life in the academic setting. I am at age where I now do have life experience; and I have a lot of meaningful things to say.

Plato said that unexamined life is not worth living. I practice both experience and examination. That allows me to have a clue that is a result of combination of the subjective and the objective, which is more than is afforded by either perspective acting alone. Subjective experience understands how something is felt by the participant but does not see the external effects. Objective observation understands how something looks from without but not how it is experienced. This results in the first possessing the error of self-absorption and the second possessing the error of coldness and out-of-touch ineffectuality. Put the two together, and they will correct each other's errors while resulting in a much more complete understanding of life and a much more informed life lived.

Passionate existence is in no way contradictory to informed existence. Indeed a case can be made that if you aren't experiencing life to the fullest then you aren't living. Neither reason nor emotion are good or bad. They are both part of human reality. As such, both have the capacity for being right, being wrong and being value-neutral.

This means that both should be cultivated, and both should work with each other. They will correct each other's potentials for wrong while enhancing each other's potentials for beneficial behavior. Life should be both passionate and intelligent. And then life is lived to the fullest for the individual and with the most constructive effects for the rest of the world.


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