Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.


Heard It Here First

I had a bit of a "Wow" moment reading a recent David Brooks column. Instead of the usual conservative mantra that unregulated individualism is all that matters, he said a number of things that I've been saying for years: that humans are inherently emotional, irrational, and social. He didn't go quite so far as considering policy implications of accepting these things, but it's a start.

The New Humanism

. . . This growing, dispersed body of research reminds us of a few key insights. First, the unconscious parts of the mind are most of the mind, where many of the most impressive feats of thinking take place. Second, emotion is not opposed to reason; our emotions assign value to things and are the basis of reason. Finally, we are not individuals who form relationships. We are social animals, deeply interpenetrated with one another, who emerge out of relationships.

This body of research suggests the French enlightenment view of human nature, which emphasized individualism and reason, was wrong. The British enlightenment, which emphasized social sentiments, was more accurate about who we are. It suggests we are not divided creatures. We don’t only progress as reason dominates the passions. We also thrive as we educate our emotions.

When you synthesize this research, you get different perspectives on everything from business to family to politics. You pay less attention to how people analyze the world but more to how they perceive and organize it in their minds. You pay a bit less attention to individual traits and more to the quality of relationships between people.

You get a different view of, say, human capital. Over the past few decades, we have tended to define human capital in the narrow way, emphasizing I.Q., degrees, and professional skills. Those are all important, obviously, but this research illuminates a range of deeper talents, which span reason and emotion and make a hash of both categories . . .


At 3/14/2011 5:57 PM, Blogger CDL said...

Maybe this fits, maybe not, but related to a different view of human capital, this was in a book I'm reading.

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
- Albert Einstein

At 3/14/2011 10:23 PM, Blogger Degolar said...

Related and fits, I think.


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