Glas half empty, glas half full and why I dropped out of theoretical philosophy and psychodynamics.

I started off in college taking theoretical philosophy and psychology. My mind had always been drawn to the subjects and I quickly realized that I loved it, however, I also realized that maybe, just maybe the way my mind was designed (or molded) differently and that I have a hard time discussing something without relaying of facts. And in fact, I was more interested in the facts than the premises that may lead to them.

Here is a conversation that stuck with me through all these years, and probably the reason I devoted the rest of my three years as an undergraduate neuroscience student, taking extra classes in biochemistry instead. While I still continued to take classes in “philosophy of mind” I trained my self to accept that analogies, don’t always have to make sense.

We got in to the “glass half empty, glass half full discussion” which is often a way to discuss personality features.

My first response was “Do we know what the state of the glass was before it was only half of something”

The group I was discussing with gave me strange looks.

Me: “Well, if we had an empty glass, and it was only filled up half way, doesn’t it make it half full”

The discussion leader squinted with annoyance and said “Yes”

Me: “And if the glass was filled full but someone only drank half of it, or perhaps even spilled half, doesn’t it make it half empty”

The discussion leader grinned and responded “Yes, if you assume that premises, it is true”

Me: “So isn’t it just easier asking the state of the glass before it was subjected to water and then deciding if it is half full or empty”

The discussion leader squinted with annoyance again and responded “Yes, but that is not the point of this conversation or the analogy, it is to determine how someone perceives the environment, positively or negatively”

Me: “Why is any of those statements a negative one”

At that point the whole group sighed and continued with the discussion, and I kept quiet for the rest of the debate thinking of a Gary Larson cartoon and smiling in my head.


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