Todd’s Thoughts, June 2018

Subjectify > Objectify > Moralize. I’ve come to recognize this as the threefold process through which most of us seem to feel and think. I say “feel and think” because I’m also convinced emotions and thoughts are part of the same process, that thoughts cause feelings, and feelings produce thoughts. I’d go so far to say feelings express themselves as thoughts, that a thought is often the expression and justification of an emotion. Kierkegaard famously said, “All truth is subjective.” Although I personally believe in the likelihood of objective truth, I don’t believe it’s possible for any of us to fully comprehend it. In other words, all truth is experienced subjectively, from our own limited perspectives. Yet, if we don’t enjoy a movie, if we have a favorite team, or dislike someone, or disagree with an idea, we often objectify our personnel feeling as an objective truth. We say, “That’s a terrible movie,” “The Raiders are great,” “What a jerk,” or, “That’s a dumb idea!” In this way, our subjective experience of events, objects, people, and ideas are projected outside ourselves as objective truths. Once this occurs, once we consider our subjective feelings to be objective truths, we moralize them. Once we feel “right,” that is, we also feel “righteous,” which justifies our right, if not our moral obligation, to defend these sacred truths, these hard realities, at all costs, even if it means closing our minds and hearts to others, including harming, silencing, and oppressing them. This explains a lot about human history and society, but, personally, it’s also helped me explain much about me, and, by framing the process so simply, I’m getting better at owning the subjective feelings many of my thoughts are rooted in. This helps me keep them pure, so I don’t delude myself or impose them upon others with righteous indignation. Subjectify > Objectify > Moralize.

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