The following are topics I'd like to write about soon. Click through to each page to see more detail about what I've been thinking about each topic...you'll note that in some cases, I've written a significant amount of prose (which I'd like to clean up), and in other cases, I just have a few bullets giving an indication of what angles I've been thinking about or what questions I might have. And then there's a ton in between! Don't think of these as blog posts...in a way, they're timeless, and I'll continue to update and refine them.
When is anger helpful? Could "having a temper" really be a symptom of emotional repression?
Asking People About Themselves
Why is it considered "polite" to ask people about themselves? And why do I struggle with that?
What does "autonomy" mean in human relationships, and why does it matter?
Whether "curse words" or hurtful words, whether rooted in sexism, racism, sex-negativity, or anything else, there's a lot to say about how we use language and so-called "bad words".
What is the difference between internal and external boundaries? Do strong internal boundaries enable attitudes that superficially look like codependence, but actually protect against it?
Chronic Knee Issues
WTF is going on with my knees?
Praise and compliments often feel very uncomfortable, even though it simultaneously feels good to be acknowledged.
Conflict and Disagreement
Why is it that, so often, people regard conflict and disagreement as synonymous? "Why can't we all just not get along?"
Consequences of Consequences
Using the imposition of "consequences" as a parenting technique has its own unintended consequences.
When we interpret ideas superficially, we miss out on more robust, nuanced, and useful ways of being.
I'm definitely a "control freak", but I have zero interest in controlling others.
Depression and Mental Illness
Maybe depression isn't always a mental illness; maybe it's sometimes just a part of the normal human experience and a rich emotional life.
Volition is self-evident and axiomatic. The universe works by deterministic laws. And yet choice is not an illusion. How is this possible?
What is discipline, really? And what can we infer about whether someone is "disciplined" from their behavior?
What does it mean to "control" one's emotions, and what's healthy or even possible?
The primary mode of connection in my family when I was growing up was arguing. That had some really beneficial developmental effects, as well as some questionable ones.
Fault and Blame
We seem to think of fault and blame as a sort of pie that needs to be divided among actors. This seems like the wrong approach.
Brown paper packages tied up with strings; these are a few of my favorite things.
Fear is a multifaceted phenomenon, and while I don't often experience it, when I do, it rarely manifests as panic or paralysis.
What is forgiveness? What is "accepting an apology"? What does it mean to "forgive and forget"? What is "holding a grudge"? What is "letting something go"?
I have some very strong memories from my childhood that I have a feeling might have been especially formative in particular ways.
Goal-Oriented is Process-Oriented
The only way to achieve goals is to instead maintain singular focus on the concrete steps of a process designed to achieve those goals.
Good versus Evil
Why are we so attracted to the idea of "good versus evil"? How is it helpful, and where do we need to be more careful?
Grammar and Language
I'm rather particular about grammar and language, sometimes in pretty unconventional ways.
Gratitude for Results versus Gratitude for Causes
How can we be grateful for outcomes that are caused by accidents or wrongdoing?
I really like myself, but my good-/right-by-default attitude has the built-in failure mode of making it difficult to identify areas for growth. Nevertheless, I've found a few things I can work on.
Harmony of Interests
There is no such thing as a win-lose interaction; "only care about yourself" is a logically incoherent idea.
In Vino Veritas
I am a strong believer that in wine lies the truth. But why does alcohol have seemingly different effects on different people in this regard?
Whether in different aspects of life or looking at dispositions through different lenses, I think certain qualities naturally go hand-in-hand.
Introversion and Extroversion
Am I an extrovert who just loves some gods-damned peace and quite, or am I an introvert who is energized by the intellectual stimulation of ideas, with other people being the incidental vehicle?
I'd like to share my experience with law school, including my motives, why I didn't quit, and why I'm not practicing law.
Logicking Myself Into Emotions
My emotional growth, personally and in relationship with others, is due in large part to my intellectual grasp of the sheer logic of developing myself in that area.
Male Genital Mutilation
No. Just no.
We often talk about biochemical states as causing affective states, but maybe they're really the same thing.
Different pairings of this thruple of aspects of a person are often analyzed individually. What can be said about the relationships between these different pairings?
People often form erroneous conclusions about me, typically because some superficial manifestation of my traits correlates with some others in their experience. It's understandable, but frustrating.
I call myself a "musical hedonist" because I don't care "what the composer intended" or a potential listener's experience: Playing piano is for for my own enjoyment alone.
Objective Truth and Comfort with Uncertainty
It might be that the only way to truly be comfortable with uncertainty is to have confidence in one's ability to gain objective knowledge at all.
Objective and Subjective
Every time I hear someone use the words "objective" or "subjective" in a fuzzy way, I really get my knickers in a twist.
How can it be a disorder if I'm organizing things?
While often derided as "the caveman diet", I think the right approach to evaluating Paleo is in thinking of it as a presumptively safe default.
Personality and Behavioral Profiles
In some cases, these profiles are more fun than useful, but they occasionally yield practical results.
I typically avoid using drugs for merely relieving or suppressing symptoms.
Why does physical fitness occupy such a prominent place in my life? And how does my concern with physical fitness manifest and relate to other values?
"Absolute power corrupts absolutely." is less a statement of fact and more a confession by the speaker.
What is the connection between pride, arrogance, modesty, and pretense? What is healthy, and what is destructive?
Reactive versus Preventative versus Proactive Health
So-called "preventative" health is still focused on avoiding a negative. We need a new approach based on the pursuit of a positive.
There are a lot of phrases we use that have subtle psychological effects on how we approach ourselves, others, and the world generally.
There are a few things in my life where I think I made some serious errors...some of which are a source of deep shame.
What is respect? What is the difference between respecting a person and respecting authority? What is intellectual respect? What is the connection to pretense?
People tend to talk about "rights" as a sort of thing that people possess, often forgetting the concept's proper origin in identifying the causality of achieving one's interests in a social context.
What are my routines?
Most people can't decide whether I'm a compulsive rule follower or completely dismissive of rules.
If infinite control over time, space, and matter is off the table, my ideal superpower would be what I call the "rewind power" (or sometimes the "Groundhog Day power").
What TV shows do I like, and why?
The Prime Directive
Much to my surprise, I find myself practicing something like Starfleet's Prime Directive.
The Way of Absolute Candor
Why do I have a policy of authenticity and openness, even at the risk of oversharing?
Tolerance, Acceptance, and Support
What are the meaningful differences between tolerance, acceptance, and support? How do they manifest? What is the progression from one to the next?
My various attitudes about traveling seem somewhat inconsistent; I'm not sure if there's a unifying principle, but here's what I do and don't like!
Viewpoints about vaccines are an interesting case study in epistemology.
There are at least three different senses of the concept of "value", which I'd like to disentangle.
Vulnerability and Resilience
How can an understanding and policy of openness lead to a reduction in both susceptibility to being hurt and also the need to overcome fear to be raw and authentic?
Where is the line between being willing to feel sadness in the spirit of wholeheartedness and pursuing a broader course of misery?