Weekly choice: Learn to debate, dishonesty or truthful mate

Oxford’s Free Course Critical Reasoning For Beginners Will Teach You to Think Like a Philosopher

Critical-Reasoning-For-Beginners“When I was younger, I often found myself disagreeing with something I’d read or heard, but couldn’t explain exactly why. Despite being unable to pinpoint the precise reasons, I had a strong sense that the rules of logic were being violated. After I was exposed to critical thinking in high school and university, I learned to recognize problematic arguments, whether they be a straw man, an appeal to authority, or an ad hominem attack. Faulty arguments are all-pervasive, and the mental biases that underlie them pop up in media coverage, college classes, and armchair theorizing. Want to learn how to avoid them? Look no further than Critical Reasoning For Beginners, the top rated iTunesU collection of lectures led by Oxford University’s Marianne Talbot.”



RSA Animate – The Truth About Dishonesty

In this RSA Animate, Dan Ariely explores the circumstances under which someone would lie and what effect deception has on society at large. The video is taken from a lecture given by Dan Ariely as part of the RSA’s free public events program.


Are You with the Right Mate?

 “Sooner or later, there comes a moment in all relationships when you lie in bed, roll over, look at the person next to you and think it’s all a dreadful mistake, says Boston family therapist Terrence Real. It happens a few months to a few years in. “It’s an open secret of American culture that disillusionment exists. I go around the country speaking about ‘normal marital hatred.’ Not one person has ever asked what I mean by that. It’s extremely raw.”

What to do when the initial attraction sours? “I call it the first day of your real marriage,” Real says. It’s not a sign that you’ve chosen the wrong partner. It is the signal to grow as an individual—to take responsibility for your own frustrations. Invariably, we yearn for perfection but are stuck with an imperfect human being. We all fall in love with people we think will deliver us from life’s wounds but who wind up knowing how to rub against us.

A new view of relationships and their discontents is emerging. We alone are responsible for having the relationship we want. And to get it, we have to dig deep into ourselves while maintaining our connections. It typically takes a dose of bravery—what Page calls “enlightened audacity.” Its brightest possibility exists, ironically, just when the passion seems most totally dead. If we fail to plumb ourselves and speak up for our deepest needs, which admittedly can be a scary prospect, life will never feel authentic, we will never see ourselves with any clarity, and everyone will always be the wrong partner.”



TED’s Best Of The Week! Eleanor Longden: The voices in my head

To all appearances, Eleanor Longden was just like every other student, heading to college full of promise and without a care in the world. That was until the voices in her head started talking. Initially innocuous, these internal narrators became increasingly antagonistic and dictatorial, turning her life into a living nightmare. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, hospitalized, drugged, Longden was discarded by a system that didn’t know how to help her. Longden tells the moving tale of her years-long journey back to mental health, and makes the case that it was through learning to listen to her voices that she was able to survive.


Eleanor Longden overcame her diagnosis of schizophrenia to earn a master’s in psychology and demonstrate that the voices in her head were “a sane reaction to insane circumstances.


Weekly choice, by peers

Never give up, Harvard Business Review

“I’ve always repeated the mantra “never, never, never, never give up.” These words of Winston Churchill’s have rallied me for years; they are a core tenet of our family motto, and hang, framed, on the wall just inside the front door of our home. But I’ve started to wonder if not giving up is sufficient.  (…)Dreaming is at the heart of disruption.  Whether we want to disrupt an industry or our personal status quo, in order to make that terrifying leap from one learning curve to the next, we must dream.  The good news is that the causal mechanism for achieving our dreams is always, always, always showing up:  and as we show up, our future will too.”



R (Relationship) related


“His love for himself is so strong he does not need to gain the acceptance of others by trying to be something he is not. His strength is not physical so much as it is in the clarity of his mind and emotions. These are character strengths that a woman not only admires, but feels safe with. (…)When a man is distant emotionally or physically from her it may bring up feelings of loneliness, or fear of a break up. Seeking this type of emotional safety can lead to emotional drama.(…) By discouraging him to do other things she is increasing their time together. It is possible the man ends up feeling guilty for having done the “wrong” thing that caused her to be upset. (…)A woman can choose to wait for a man with the character and integrity that she respects and wants. But as she waits she should prepare herself as well. Being with a man of integrity will not be like being with other men. He will be seeking a partner that will treat him with the same level of unconditional love with which he treats himself. If she brings her judgments, fears, and emotional reactions to the relationship, he may decide that he would rather be with someone else.”



Embracing uncertainty

“We talked a lot about embracing uncertainty, especially because all of us were surrounded by doubt and fear as graduation loomed closer and our futures were seemingly blank. I learned not to interpret the future as empty, but as open, full of possibilities, full of opportunities waiting for me to be the key player. We often interpret the unknown as bad or scary, but it is all in the viewer’s perception. Just as you can choose to see the glass half full instead of empty, so can you choose to view the future as brimming with possibilities instead of emptiness.”



TED’s best for the week:

How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough – that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?


“Vulnerability pushed, I pushed back. I lost the fight, but probably won my life back.”


Book of the week!

Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain
Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

Thomas Mann – The Magic Mountain

While combining opposed principles: intellect and sensibility, spirit and nature, intrinsic and extrinsic, the main character of this novel succeeds to gain important cognition about the essence of life. “Death is just a moment in life and nothing more” says Hans Castorp paradoxically, in a near death experience. Thus, spiritual education, abundance of mythological allusions and ironical inversions accompany this masterpiece of realistic yet grotesque narration. As we see in the selected quotes below:

“Passionate—that means to live for the sake of living. But one knows that you all live for sake of experience. Passion, that is self-forgetfulness. But what you all want is self-enrichment.”

“Who then was the orthodox, who the freethinker? Where lay the true position, the true state of man? Should he descend into the all-consuming all-equalizing chaos, that ascetic-libertine state; or should he take his stand on the “Critical-Subjective,” where empty bombast and a bourgeois strictness of morals contradicted each other? Ah, the principles and points of view constantly did that; it became so hard for Hans Castorp’s civilian responsibility to distinguish between opposed positions, or even to keep the premises apart from each other and clear in his mind, that the temptation grew well-nigh irresistible to plunge head foremost into Naphtha’s “morally chaotic All.”

Here’s a short clip, part of a movie that was made based on the book (from 1982):



Person of the week!

Canadian author Alice Munro holds one of
The Canadian Alice Munro, wizard of short stories, Nobel Prize Laureate 2013!

“In twenty years I’ve never had a day when I didn’t have to think about someone else’s needs. And this means the writing has to be fitted around it.”


“Always remember that when a man goes out of the room, he leaves everything in it behind… When a woman goes out she carries everything that happened in the room along with her.”

Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness

Can a lie really be white?‎

Truth and Lie

Surely, one of the worst difficulties in relationships is trust. In a world where lying is more than an epidemic but a lifestyle, can you really expect more from the relationship? Thus, when it comes to that, it seems that the importance of lying is underestimated (no matter if they are lovers, friends, coworkers, or two strangers in a supermarket).

Did you ever wonder why we lie? Have you ever lied? Of course you have (be careful of the ones who say they never lie, they always turn out to be the biggest and not so sophisticated liars). So why do we lie? You can say things such as, “I lie to my boss because he exaggerates with his expectations and demands, so I have to lie, it is the only way to reach my goals and/or be promoted.” Or, “I lied to my girlfriend because she will never understand that last night meant nothing to me and I truly love her.”

Richard Dawkins tells in his book The Selfish Gene how a bird mimics hawks signals, the howler monkey can howl like a tiger in the dense jungles of Costa Rica, how a butterfly can look like a terrifying face of an owl. Butterflies, he says, derive protection by mimicking the external appearance of other distasteful or stinging insects. We ourselves are often fooled into thinking that yellow and black striped hover-flies are wasps. Some bee-mimicking flies are even more perfect in their deception. Predators too tell lies. Angler fish wait patiently on the bottom of the sea, blending in with the background.

The only conspicuous part is a wriggling worm-like piece of flesh on the end of a long ‘fishing rod’, projecting from the top of the head. When a small prey fish comes near, the angler will dance its worm-like bait in front of the little fish, and lure it down to the region of the angler’s own concealed mouth. Suddenly it opens its jaws, and the little fish is sucked in and eaten. The angler is telling a lie, exploiting the little fish’s tendency to approach wriggling worm-like objects. He is saying ‘Here is a worm’, and any little fish who ‘believes’ the lie is quickly eaten.

Lie, hence, can be considered as a biological evolutionary strategy (natural, social, military, economic, political of course etc.). Thus, one can keep saying, subconsciously or not, that we are doing it for the greater good. Unfortunately, others might not be so accepting of your motives. It is true that most lies are made for the benefit of the person who tells them, even if he believes it is for a universal greatness. It is also true that in spite of everything we might think, we know lying is not positive, so we invent a variety of milder expressions such as “little white lie” in English, or even worst, “pieux mensonge” in French and “mentira piadosa” in Spanish (literal meaning: “pious lie”). And so you excuse yourself from the wrongful act of lying. Now, can you say with 100 percent certainty that the recipient of the lie will think the same thing? That when you explain to your interlocutor about the reasons for the lie they will agree? If someone tells you a “pious lie,” will you not feel hurt because he or she believes that you will not understand? Or would you rather know the truth and decide for yourself the path and actions that will follow? That is the first problem with any kind of lie, that when we only think from and to ourselves, we can find only right reasons to do so (or anything else for that matter).

However, when we connect emotionally or logically to others, when we enlarge our perspective further away from our point of view, we then reveal a broader view, a bigger meaning, and we then understand the importance of issues we did not even notice before. Thus, trispectivism reminds you that considering what is best for the other is not the same when you do it thinking from your point of view or trying to put yourself as the other.

So what can we do? Is telling only the truth possible? Of course not! If everyone starts telling what is on their minds, all hell will certainly break loose. Most of us do not want to be lied to, but at the same time we do not want to know everything. So what is the other possibility? Well, there is a compromise, a much-debated one, but still a compromise: lies are not the same as not telling. Many people say that not revealing information is the same as lying. It is not! People like to tell stories; it is in our nature. Yet stories are sometimes too personal to tell, and that is something one needs to consider. If someone asks you about details you do not desire to share, simply tell the truth, that you do not wish to share this specific information.

This is where many people choose to lie, in order not to insult, not to bother, not to create a commotion, not to provoke a fight, or simply because they want to be seen in a positive light, they would rather tell a (“pious”) lie than simply not share. This is lying, and in the end it always leads to a worse result than telling the honest truth or simply saying nothing.

Lying gets you to negative and unfavorable places, unless you are a master schemer, for whom lying is a part of your illegal profession. Lying is what starts a snowball that sooner or later becomes the avalanche that will cover you, head to toe.

As a part of trispectivism, any negativity you emanate directly from yourself becomes a part of your interior All, a part of you. Some call it karma, others natural justice, but whatever name one chooses, it is part of our existence. Furthermore, unlike many people who think that karma will catch up with you, some disagree. The negative you discharge into trispectivism will accompany you into whatever venture you pursue. People like to claim that karma is the cause of negative events that happen to negative people, but the reality is that it is simply a materialization of what was inside those people all along.

Telling the truth is much easier than any lie that builds itself inside of us. If I lie, I have to be fully conscious of it and its consequences. Then, thinking and creating a list of excuses for the lies I procured, justifying and living by its entanglements and measures. Oh, just too complicated…

A simple example taken from day to day life is to promise someone you will do something or be somewhere, knowing it will never happen. You might say to yourself that it´s just a little white lie not to disappoint him, but what really happening is postponing the inevitable. Is it that bad to say that I can´t? Even if it means that I would have loved to in any other circumstance, and that I risk to be excluded next time something comes up. I guess it is at times.

Fill this short questionnaire of the behavioral economist professor Dan Ariely about our white lies.