For the upcoming issue of Phronesis Accelerator, I’m playing with some pretty fundamental stuff. By ‘fundamental’ I don’t mean they’re simple – I mean they’re at the core of your mind, influencing everything else.
That means you can get a lot of benefit from refining these.
It also makes them challenging to work with. If some thoughts drive all your other thoughts, behaviours and emotions, how do you even know what they are?
There are a few ways.
The easiest? Oversimplify everything and trust the details to sort themselves out. After all, that’s how everything outside hyper precise fields (maths, physics, computer programming) works.
Which means it’s how your life works…
So let’s simplify the absolute foundations of your mind and see what happens…
If you’re a reductionist sort, you might reduce all emotions – no matter how complex – to two:
The urge to move away from something.
The urge to move towards something.
And if you’re really reductionist, you could say they’re the same thing. Moving away from something means moving towards anything that isn’t that.
There’s some wisdom in thinking like that.
But if we keep it to these two, you can see that all emotions boil down to Fear and Desire.
Disgust is simply the Fear of something tainted and unclean, whether it’s rotten food or a social pariah.
Anger is simply the Desire to fight back against someone.
Et cetera, et cetera.
Now, I’m not saying this is true or accurate or anything. I’m just saying you can think about it like this if you choose to.
And if you do so choose…
You can reframe the ultimate Fear – the fear of death – in a useful way.
This won’t make you a flawless, fearless individual… but it’ll move you in that direction.
Shed even a little fear and you’ll be astounded by what changes – simply astounded.
But only if you subscribe before the rapidly-approaching deadline: