decision-making

Aries Mercury: Mind is always ablaze, tongue easily lit on fire with risky messages, decisions on a whim. Popping with mental sparks.

Taurus Mercury: Mind as sturdy as a mountain. Persistent dreams. Decisions are weighed on heavy branches reaching out to the physical world.

Gemini Mercury: Spread and gain info like the wind. Mind always racing. Observant bird. Quicker than you. Bright eyes. Jokester. Gossiper.

Cancer Mercury: A locked room to open and discover. Let’s your secrets sink to the bottom of the sea. Reads your discomfort or joy. Gets it.

Leo Mercury: Warm and spirited words. Confident presentation. They are what they say. Their expression sticks like ash and shines like the sun.

Virgo Mercury: Owl eyes + song birds mouth. Thoughts go through gears of analyzation. Guilty pleasure is gossip. Always listening…

Libra Mercury: Poet’s mouth, sweet nothings fall out. Peacemaker mind. Decisions are always balancing on a scale. They ask if you want to not will you. 

Scorpio Mercury: Are your oceans as deep as theirs? Give them late night talks. Spots sailors intention immediately. Motivator. Influencer.

Sagittarius Mercury: Words inspire. Wields knife called truth. Exaggeration is temptation. Heart on their sleeve. Smiling eyes. Laughs much.

Capricorn Mercury: Keeps to themselves inside a cave of information. Powerful voice. Prove you’re worth listening to. Helps you decide.

Aquarius Mercury: What did they just say? Goofy, speaks in riddles. Watches you more than you realize. Impatient like the breeze. What a mind!

Pisces Mercury: Stuck in a dream world. Romantic and creative mind. Says what you want to hear. River of impressions. Feels what you say.

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
—  Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Empathy - like every emotion - can both guide your behaviors and misguide your behaviors. With every emotion, it’s important that we learn how to listen and how to respond.
—  Steven Handel, Small Habits, Big Changes
On Thinking in Slow Motion

As should be clear, the primary function of this blog space is to popularize philosophy. Science, despite all of its esoteric concepts, has been popularized by the likes of Richard Feynman, Carl Sagan, Bill Nye, and Neil deGrasse Tyson. I strongly believe the same can be done for philosophy if and only if it is made more relatable and communicated in a way that helps more people understand difficult concepts.

This is the primary reason why I’ve spoken about love, specifically through my disagreement with traditional modes of partnerships; I’ve spoken, for instance, about polyamory. I’ve spoken also about free will or what might be better understood as decision making. I’ve spoken about politics and morality. I’ve shared articles, videos, and other forms of media about these topics as well.

To succeed in this mission, however, I need to address the bigger problem: some societies are moving much too quickly; workweeks are getting longer, businesses emphasize productivity over efficiency, thus resulting in people having less time and energy to think critically and deeply. To compel people to think in slow motion, I’d have to play a role in slowing down their lives. I would have to shift the “for profit” mentalities of corporations, champion a shorter workweek, ensure that people get more time off, and so on. Of course, I won’t be accomplishing any of that alone; I’d need plenty of help. The question with such a sizable issue is: where do we start?

Upon realizing the myriad issues in the world, one often feels small, powerless, and even inadequate. I can’t do or say enough, can’t change enough minds; people are much too obstinate, in love with their chains, slaves to their habits. In very Marxist fashion, a change in consciousness would require a change in the structure, so a would-be rebellion would be up against well-funded, powerful enemies who don’t want change. They would rather keep things as they are. Yet there’s precedence because any worthwhile movement has been the impetus of monumental change.

Philosophy is thinking in slow motion, dwelling on a concept, an idea, a question for minutes, hours, days, and even years at a time. It is returning to that thought years later, questioning whether your initial conclusion was correct. It is the removal of chatter in the mind, the daily stress from school or work, matters dealt with in your home. It is setting aside financial frustrations, tensions in a given friendship or relationship, and so on. It requires a careful attention and focus in a day and age where focus and attention are constantly shifting; in where two friends are together, but make more eye contact with a phone screen than with one another; in where two lovers can embrace on a park bench, each with a device in hand, be it a phone, an iPad, or an e-reader; in where many can’t sit still and commit to one task unless that task is a requirement or obligation. 

Some of us find time to slow down and think deeply because we see the importance in doing so. We see the utility in it as well. How do we teach that to people who see neither? Popularizing philosophy in the modern day is a tall task, but it’s a worthwhile undertaking. Deeper and more critical thinking would improve many aspects of human life. Educators would think of better ways to educate; doctors will envision ways to better treat patients; scientists will think of ways to improve their tools and advance their theories; politicians would think of legislation that’s the best possible compromise rather than settle for legislation that appeals to a small portion of their voting block; police officers will realize why they shouldn’t abuse their power; people in general will find ways to improve their lives, specifically in how they deal with and treat others and in how they raise their children, lead their love lives, and make their decisions more generally.

The average person admits to this because the bigger decisions compel them to slow down. Few people leave a job or move from one home to another on a whim. They consider their options and whatever variables are involved. People ought to be as methodical about a great many issues, both on the personal and collective level. The manner in which many think is strong indication that people aren’t methodical at all. A lot of people succumb to cognitive shortcomings, often opting to indulge their confirmation bias, avoid views contrary to theirs, and even going so far as to show disdain toward people who have a different view. The people who hold the most well-reasoned positions have considered extant cases against their views and have considered whether a successful case can be made against their position. If more people adopted this approach, there’d be wider consensus on matters of importance and that common ground would be the very basis on which lasting change is built. Unfortunately, this currently isn’t the case. How do we change that? How do we slow down?

“It’s a wondrous thing, that a decision to act releases energy in the personality. For days on end a person may drift along without much energy. Having no particular sense of direction and having no will to change. Then, something happens to alter the pattern. It may be something very simple and inconsequential in itself. But it stabs awake, it alarms, it disturbs. In a flash, one gets a vivid picture of oneself, and it passes. The result is decision. Sharp, defenitive decision. In the wake of the decision, yes, even as a part of the decision itself, energy is released. The act of decision sweeps all before it, and the life of the individual maybe changed forever.”  
 

INFP tip #70

There is no wrong decision.

INFPs are one of the types who have the hardest time making decisions. We always see the good and the bad in every situation, and we always think of the “what if”s. It makes it really hard for us to make up our minds.

And it’s scary, when you are not sure, and you have to make a choice.

Two weeks ago I made the hardest decision of my life: I left my job to start working as a freelancer. I chose to leave something that was good, for an unknown situation, that could be better or worse.

The most important thing we have to keep in mind when we make hard decisions, is this:

There is no bad choice. If you end up unhappy about a decision you made, you will have learned something. You will know yourself better. You will know more about what you want, and what you like, and what you don’t.

When you realize you made a mistake, don’t put yourself down. Instead, focus on what you have learned from that wrong turn.

Choose, and see what happens, and just keep moving, keep learning, never discourage yourself.

Keep trying things and ask yourself: What have I learned?