Knowledge in our gaps

There is a tendency for people to think science knows more than it knows. We hear phrases like «gaps in our knowledge» all the time, when in fact what we mainly have is knowledge in our gaps.

Michael Gazzaniga for Big Think.

Reklamer

Er du flink til å krangle?

Det kan være slitsomt og vondt å krangle med partneren sin, og for mange er krangling såpass ubehagelig at de ender opp med å stille spørsmålstegn ved hele forholdet. I artikkelen Are You Just Fighting or Engaging in “Conscious Combat”? kan vi lese at par som får til å bevare kjærligheten over tid faktisk kan krangle ganske ofte, men er flinkere til å gjøre det på en konstruktiv måte. Her er et lite utdrag:

The belief or expectation that “good” couples don’t or shouldn’t fight prevents us from admitting to each other (or even to ourselves) that we may need to learn to manage our differences more skillfully and perhaps make some changes in the process. Since change can and usually does involve stepping into the unknown and being at risk of losing something, there is a pretty high likelihood that there will be some resistance to taking this step.

The alternative to doing so is to deny, avoid, or bury unresolved differences, which inevitably does damage to the foundation and trust level, of the relationship. It also diminishes the capacity for intimacy that is available in the relationship. Unaddressed differences and emotional “incompletions” inevitably diminish the quality of a couple’s connection by eroding feelings of affection to the point where nothing but resentment apathy, and bitterness exist between them. Divorce or worse (a continuation of a dead relationship) is likely to follow.

cold glow

This form of conflict management or “conscious combat” typically involves the following guidelines:

A willingness to acknowledge that a difference exists within the relationship and to identify the nature of that difference.
A stated intention on the part of both partners to work towards a mutually satisfying resolution to the problem.
A willingness to listen openly and non-defensively to each partner as they declare their concerns, requests, and desires. No interruptions or “corrections” ‘until the speaker is finished.
A desire on the part of both partners to understand what needs to happen in order for the each person to experience satisfaction with the outcome.
A commitment to speak without blame, judgment or criticism focusing exclusively on one’s own experience, needs and concerns.

Det gode med vonde følelser

In my psychotherapy practice, many of my clients struggle with highly distressing emotions, such as extreme anger, or with suicidal thoughts. In recent years I have noticed an increase in the number of people who also feel guilty or ashamed about what they perceive to be negativity. Such reactions undoubtedly stem from our culture’s overriding bias toward positive thinking. Although positive emotions are worth cultivating, problems arise when people start believing they must be upbeat all the time.

In fact, anger and sadness are an important part of life, and new research shows that experiencing and accepting such emotions are vital to our mental health. Attempting to suppress thoughts can backfire and even diminish our sense of contentment. “Acknowledging the complexity of life may be an especially fruitful path to psychological well-being,” says psychologist Jonathan M. Adler of the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering.

Les mer av denne fine artikkelen: Negative Emotions Are Key to Well-Being, Scientific American Mind

«Søte» unger

Den progressive pedagogen John Holt har mange spennende tanker. Har du for eksempel tenkt over hvilken skade vi kan forårsake ved å kalle barn søte når de prøver å få til noe?

To whatever voice in me says, «Oh, wouldn’t it be nice to pick up that dear little child and give him a big hug and kiss,» I reply, «No, no, no, that child doesn’t want to be picked up, hugged, and kissed, he wants to walk. He doesn’t know or care whether I like it or not, he is not walking for the approval or happiness of me or even for his parents beside him, but for himself. It is his show. Don’t try to turn him into an actor in your show. Leave him alone to get on with his work.»

We often think children are most cute when they are most intent and serious about what they are doing. In our minds we say to the child, «You think that what you are doing is important; we know it’s not; like everything else in your life that you take seriously, it is trivial.» We smile tenderly at the child carefully patting his mud pie. We feel that mud pie is not serious and all the work he is putting into it is a waste (though we may tell him in a honey-dearie voice that it is a beautiful mud pie). But he doesn’t know that; in his ignorance he is just as serious as if he were doing something important. How satisfying for us to feel we know better.

Eller at små barn ikke ser på seg selv som søte?

Because children do not think of each other as cute, they often seem to be harder on each other than we think we would be. They are blunt and unsparing. But on the whole this frankness, which accepts the other as a complete person, even if one not always or altogether admired, is less harmful to the children than the way many adults deal with them.

Much of what we respond to in children as cute is not strength or virtue, real or imagined, but weakness, a quality which gives us power over them or helps us to feel superior. Thus we think they are cute partly because they are little. But what is cute about being little? Children understand this very well. They are not at all sentimental about their own littleness. They would rather be big than little, and they want to get big as soon as they can.

Fra essayet: On Seeing Children as «Cute»

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