“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle

Lesson of the Week

Public perception of the political system is a mess right now. That’s a statement that has never been more true, both in the United States and in abroad, and it’s frustrating to many people. While I tend to stay out of political side-taking, one thing I have seen on all sides (and there certainly are very clear sides, especially in American politics) is a lack of entertaining ideas. Aristotle once said that an educated mind was one with the ability to entertain a thought without accepting it, and I think that maybe this practice could help us reconcile some of the divides we have, not just in politics but in friendships, relationships, and even ourselves. Often we get stuck in our own perceptions of conflicts and even simple opinions, and it can cause us to be at odds with others or to miss out on new experiences. When you harbor an opposing thought, and weigh it against your own in a legitimate way, sometimes you’ll come to new conclusions and reach middle ground, or if you’re especially stubborn you’ll find new and creative ways to bolster your own perspective. Either way, it allows openness to a new learning experience, and I think takes away some of the aggressive punch that certain views and hold. It’s an extremely difficult practice, but you never know what you may learn.

Positive News of the Week

  • At least 10 survivors have been pulled out of the avalanche that crumbled an Italian hotel earlier in the week, thanks to the nonstop efforts of rescue workers
  • The Mexican drug Kingpin El Chapo, who managed to escape two high-security Mexican prisons, has been brought to the US and is being held in New York to be put on trial
  • A rediscovered fairy tale, written by Mark Twain, will soon be published under the title “The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine.” It’s the only known written fairy tale by Twain, making it a literary gem
  • A new study suggests that sending children outside more often could prevent the need for glasses later in life, by giving their eyes more exposure to direct sunlight today
  • A $500 million initiative was announced at the World Economic Forum that will work to handle pandemics significantly better, stockpiling vaccines against known viral threats and creating technology to quickly brew new vaccines
  • The United Nations recently appealed for $550 million in aid for over 9 million people struggling through the intensifying conflicts in Afghanistan

Challenges of the Week

  • Internal Challenge ∅ This week, try to spend 15 minutes considering a perspective you’re fundamentally opposed to, and try to understand the opposing side.
  • External Challenge ∅ This week, try to  bring a friend along to an activity you were going to do alone, such as lunch, reading, or a workout.