Understand by opposite

July 20, 2017

Thinking tool: We can understand certain ideas better by investigating their opposites.

Ryan Holiday wanted to write a book about humility, but it wasn’t working. So, he wrote a book about ego.

Krishnamurti, asking “what is happiness?”, answers by enquiring to understand suffering.

Humility is the absence of ego; if you want to be humble, understand your ego.

Happiness is the absence of suffering; if you want to be happy, understand why you suffer.

Honesty is the absence of deceit; if you want to be honest, understand why you deceive.

Love is acceptance, the absence of rejection; if you want to accept, understand why you are unwilling to feel, why you reject what is.

A word is an ordering of symbols that represents an idea. Part of the difficulty here is not in the symbols, but that they don’t point to a specific, concrete idea.

The mental trick is taking words with no clear, concrete meaning and defining them in relation to words with clear, concrete meaning. Like solving an algebra equation, we write the unknown in terms of the known.