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Thoughts on persons and things.
Iskra Fileva Ph.D.
Occasionally, we say hurtful things we don't really mean. We wish we could take it all back but cannot. Yet perhaps, while the past cannot be changed, something can be done.
We often avoid thinking and choosing for ourselves. Instead, we adopt other people's opinions and ways of life. Why?
Solitude can feel like liberation or captivity depending on our mental state.
I may be procrastinating in writing this post. You may be procrastinating in reading it. Should both of us be doing something else instead?
We often come to embrace the bad parts of our past. For instance, in an interview, a Portland biker reports feeling grateful for an accident that nearly killed him. Why?
Sometimes, a terrible thing happens to us, but we go on as if nothing happened. We do not allow ourselves to feel. What happens to those emotions?
We profess to dislike pretentiousness and to prefer authenticity. But often, we do not discourage pretentiousness and may do the opposite: adopt the mannerisms of the snobs.
We imagine that children do not belong to the same species as adults -- that they have needs and desires different from ours. But a child's psychology is rather like our own.
We do not always act in our own interest. There are forces in the human psyche, inner demons, that may propel us to act contrary to reason. What are they? Why do we have them?
Sometimes, people who love each other are prepared to die for each other, but can't find a kind word to say in the right moment. Why?
We sometimes fail to appreciate the love and friendship of people who value us. Instead, we seek the approval of those less interested in us and our company.
Perhaps, one of the best things about visiting a place to which we know we will never return is the sadness we experience when we leave.
Sometimes, we get involved with the wrong person not due to illusions about the other, but rather, because we forget who we ourselves are. We look in the mirror and see a stranger.
It is sometimes said that a bad childhood damages us. What is true, rather, is that it may prevent us from developing a healthy self, one with an inner reservoir of joy.
We favor human judgment over the judgment of AI even when we have strong evidence that AI vastly outperforms humans. Why?
It is sometimes said that marriage does not increase — and perhaps, that it decreases — women’s happiness. But is that true?
Elsa's mother blamed Elsa for coming between her and the father and mocked her for being "daddy's little girl."
We are fragmented beings. You may be a perfectionist cook but a sloppy dresser; practice the violin for 10 hours a day but floss irregularly. What are our personalities, then?
There is a trope in popular culture: Women, it is said, like “bad boys.” But do they?
It can be difficult to know what to say to comfort someone who is grieving. But we don't need to say anything: A mourner often needs not our words but our presence, in silence.
Freud once suggested that we cannot imagine our own death and that, consequently, we do not truly believe we are mortal. Was he right?
Doctors mock patients, IT staff laugh at users, flight attendants make fun of passengers. There has hardly ever been a person who never engaged in ridicule. Why?
When quitting becomes a habit.
Bullies often want something that cannot be attained through intimidation.
Sometimes, we find ourselves obsessing over how people see us, including people we neither respect nor admire. Why? Does it really matter what they think?
Sometimes, the people we love want our help, but we can only help them if we sacrifice our own goals and happiness.
An ambivalent relationship with a loved one may be worse than a plainly bad one.
If a patient is suffocating, we try to save him immediately. If he has cancer, however, we take our time and often delay treatment thereby increasing the risk of death. Why?
We like charismatic actors and royalties, but we may have mixed feelings about charismatic drivers or carpenters. Why?
Psychologist William James makes an intriguing suggestion about humanity's attraction to the idea of God.
Iskra Fileva, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder.