Your “best” self is a contradiction
Plus, does hazing actually work?
“What we see is really tied to what we think, what we decide, and what we do.”
– psychologist Emily Balcetis
Put your okay-ist foot forward. There’s a case to be made for doing your best, but when it comes to self-development, perfectionism isn’t realistic, writes philosophy professor Mavis Biss. Biss explains that since we’re always changing, the “best” version of ourselves is unknowable and may even be contradictory to the idea of growth. “Talk of doing our ‘best’ usually describes short-term or one-dimensional exertion, whereas the work of moral self-development – like that of any close relationship – requires iterative learning, effort sustained and renewed over long periods of time,” Biss writes. Instead of striving for perfection, maybe our time would be better spent practicing acceptance.
Hazed and confused. From drinking games to more harmful challenges, hazing has long been a controversial ritual on college campuses. The idea is that hazing brings groups together and creates a sense of solidarity. But it might not actually work, according to new research. Researchers from Kent State University and the University of Texas at Austin spent months with six sets of fraternity inductees as they underwent various hazing rituals. They asked those students to rate how harsh or fun they thought the rituals were, then asked them how much they agreed with certain statements like, “Members of my pledge class find it easy to work together towards a common goal” and “The members of my pledge class feel like family.” Turns out, these experiences didn’t lead to an increased sense of solidarity. The study concluded, “Our results provide little support for common models of solidarity and suggest that hazing may not be the social glue it has long been assumed to be.” Perhaps group loyalties are a little more complicated.
You know that negative voice that goes round and round in your head, keeping you up at night? When that negative inner voice gets switched on, it’s hard to think about anything else. But there are ways to keep our negative emotions from morphing into chatter. Listen to learn more.
ON THE HIDDEN BRAIN PODCAST
Aug 15: Some challenges can feel insurmountable. But psychologist Emily Balcetis says the solutions are often right in front of our eyes. This week, she explains how we can harness our sight to reach our goals.
ON THE MY UNSUNG HERO PODCAST
Aug 16: In 1997, Apryle Oswald was badly injured in a car accident during a road trip with her boyfriend and their two dogs. On that cold Nevada night, a stranger came into their lives.
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You are at an unmarked intersection. One way takes you to the City of Lies. The other, the City of Truth. Citizens of the City of Lies always lie. Citizens of the City of Truth always tell the truth.
A citizen of one of those cities, you don't know which, is at the intersection. What question do you ask to get to the City of Truth?
LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE
What common English verb becomes its own past tense by rearranging its letters?
The answer: Ate
FROM THE TWITTERATI…
A MOMENT OF JOY
The International Astronomical Union is holding a contest to name a planet discovered by the James Webb Telescope. Planet Hidden Brain…we like the sound of that.
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