Archive for November, 2018

The Blindness In Clarity

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Mark Lundegren

I’m back at work, but mostly editing rather than writing. If you follow my posts, you may recall I completed the draft of a new book, my second, in June. Since then, I have taken time off and worked on a number of side projects – including a rewrite of the nutrition section of my HumanaNatura health program – clearing the way for several months of editing to prepare the new book for publishing.

For me, this second book feels like a more substantial journey than the first, and writing it has changed me, both as a writer and person. In the book, I explore and assess 24 human ideals, from happiness to growth, discuss a historical advocate of each ideal, and survey relevant contemporary science in each case. Some of the content I knew beforehand, but much was new, and the book involved a great deal of learning and insight for me, as I hope it will for you too.

Perhaps reflecting the book’s topic and breadth, I notice subtle but clear personal differences in my approach. One is new desire for directness or economy in my life and work – to speak and explain more plainly, to write with fewer words, to have more result with less action, or distraction, overall. Another change, related to the first, is that I more frequently question my actions, and those of others, notably asking, “Are you sure?” amid strong statements or pronouncements. It is this change, which at once involves and exposes the natural limits of thinking, or a phenomenon I will call the blindness in clarity, that I would like to explore with you today.

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We Can See Only The Light, Or The Darkness It Naturally Exposes Too

In practice, about half the time I ask this question, the answer is a halting no or maybe, which was and remains a surprisingly high percentage for me. That said, I am not yet sure how often this pause in thought leads to new perspective, or to new and broader thinking. However, I have found similar results asking this question of groups – which shouldn’t be surprising, since they are comprised of people after all. However, I suspect that the added social and peer influences of defined collectives might dampen progressive change relative to individuals thinking on their own (see groupthink and its related topics). In any case, and as we will discuss, I would encourage you to question clarity or certainty – in yourself or others, and especially amid strident views or actions – to see what you will see.

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