Optimal thought and optimal fitness through reason, logic, science, passion, and wisdom.

Be Aristotelian, Not Platonic

An idea key to science and successful life — and good education — happens from about 1:24 to 1:56, in this video excerpt from the 1996 movie Infinity, about the great physicist Richard Feynman.

“You got to look at the bird. You got to listen to the bird. You got to try to understand what it is doing. You got to notice everything” is something artists have to do, is something scientist have to do, is something Navy SEALs and special forces have to do. And doctors. And veterinarians.

In a book I listened to, a Navy SEAL recommended trying to remember the color and features of a few cars or a few people wherever you are. He recommended starting slow with one or two things sometimes, then building up as you get better. But you can, and should, start to apply, slowly and methodically, taking whatever time you need, this idea to all areas of life.

More important than being spoon-fed everything, more important than merely knowing names, we need to see reality with our own eyes, we need to observe details, make connections, compare, contrast, analyze, synthesize, integrate. We fail to observe and fail to follow identity at our own peril.

Life — each individual life – – is sacred. But it is self-sustained and self-governed. As humans, if we are to maintain our dignity, our self-sovereignty, our individual dreams and values, we must move through the world with our own eyes and our own minds. We must see and choose for ourselves. But we must learn how.

Unlike our heart beat, or lung function, reason is volitional. We have to have training in using our minds correctly and first-handedly. And that doesn’t happen when we are spoon-fed everything.

We should do the work it takes. We should get a thorough training in “looking, listening, understanding, and noticing everything,” from our education, but, when it fails, as it sadly too often does today, we should strive to give ourselves that training.

Seeing things with our own eyes and our own minds, and living our own lives, is sacred. Life is worth the effort.

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