He who has a why to live can bear almost any how

Not a cognitive why, rather an emotional why. Man needs and strives for meaning. Real meaning is meaning for life, it is meaning that moves and sustains us. This life-giving meaning is to be found in the emotions.

Philosophy ought to give us meaning to better navigate though life. Wisdom is  a lady to be known with the heart; she is to be found in the loving attachment to life.

We may know things ‘intellectually’, yet are incapable of acting on that knowledge. The problem is that the implication of such knowledge hasn’t really sunk in.

By ‘intellectually’ I refer to cognitive/rational/propositional beliefs (“knowing with the head”), such as the belief in creedal statements, affirmations, and ideas constructed through logic (*cough*). The communicative medium of influence is primarily the written language.

The other type of belief is emotional/affective (“knowing with the heart”) and deals with implicational meaning. It is intuitive and holistic in nature and developed through the synthesis of various different meanings. It far more influential on behaviour than cognitive belief alone. The communicative mediums of influence are speech, body language and the written language, which includes myth, poetry, metaphor and other figurative language.

Philosophers have traditionally exalted cognitive belief. They have have proposed the cognitive-reasoning faculty as man’s highest endowment. I have condemned other (pseudo-)philosophers for their poo-poo’ing of the emotions and will continue to do so until they wake up to themselves. People are living with the affective, while philosophers are off with the fairies in their cognitive dreamland, their ‘white mythology’.

Further reading

Frontiers of Cognitive Therapy – specifically, p. 37

Cognitive vs Affective – “People do most things based on affection and justify their choices later with cognition.”

Primacy of Affect Over Cognition in Determining Adult Men’s Condom–Use Behavior: A Review – for those of you with no life who are interested in empirical studies. If you bother to read this it is probably a sign that you will never have need of a condom.


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