Hey all - I typed this out to help me understand, well... how to understand things. And already sorry that we don´t really have like a content schedule :-)
Mental clarity is the ability to read reality accurately. The human brain has hardly changed in the past 200,000 years. Many of the errors in our thinking are due to our inability to cope with the complexities of the modern world. While we probably can’t entirely solve this problem, we can certainly improve our thinking tools, through awareness of our biases and an understanding of how the mind works.
I do not mean that you can look at the full objective picture of an event because you do not have direct access to it. I am talking about the ability to read the data presented by your subjective experience: thoughts, sights, sounds, etc. Once you have a clear picture of what these data are, you can go ahead and build or distort your ideas about the world. There are basically two types of realities, the one in your head and the one around you. The physical reality. I’ve lately been interested in a category of clarity-increasing thingies that might be sensibly described as “the relationship between a cognitive process and its environment” and by “environment”.
I meant to include several things here, as it is not one way to go.
The inner mental environment: the cognitive and emotional situation in which a thought pattern is located. For Example: If a part of my mind is trying to enumerate how much money I have spent in the last month, and local mental processes for some reason desperately want the answer to be "very little", my clarity of thought may not be so great when enumerating. I expect that well-maintained inner mental environments - those that promote clear thinking - tend to have qualities such as abundance, breadth, and down-to-earth.
The internal physical environment: the physiological state of a body. For example, hydration seems to play a shockingly important role in how well I maintain my inner mental environment while I am thinking. If I am trying to solve a problem and have not had a drink for two hours, I am probably trying to work in a state of frustration and impatience. The same applies to sleep, exercise and the human capability to survice in most circumstances.
The external physical environment: the sensory information coming in from the outside world and the feedback patterns created by external objects and perceptual processes. When I have had a conversation in one room and then move to another room, I often feel as if I have left half of my thoughts behind. I maintain that in your relationship to the outside environment you can more or less use the supporting potential of the environment and that environments can be arranged in a way that promotes clarity of thought. This also happens to us when we go for a walk and a long-forgotten thought reappears. Also when we read books in different languages, we remember most of the things in the language we were reading.
The social environment: people, especially those who are frequently encountered. The social environment is basically just one part of the external physical environment, but it is such an unusual part that I think it should be emphasized. First of all, it has strong effects on the inner mental environment. The phrase "politics is the mind-killer" means something like "if you want to design the social environment to maximize the sloppiness of the mind, then I have a deal for you". Second, other minds have the remarkable ability to contain complex cognitive processes that in turn are located at all levels of the environment. If you have ever confided in a close, reasonable friend who has had some distance from your own inner turmoil, you know what I'm getting at here. I have been thinking a lot lately about how to build a "healthy community" in which I can place my thoughts. A good way to think about what I am trying to do is to cultivate the qualities of interpersonal interaction that will lead to a quality, well-maintained internal mental environment for everyone involved.
If we really want to empower people, I do not want them to postpone their quest for meaning to me. But I also don't want them to do lazy, shitty meaning-seeking or put it off for someone else. That means I want them to increase the quality of their own search for meaning, i.e. the depth of their care, their anti-nihilism, the depth of their seriousness, their own self-reflexivity, their bias and where their sloppiness in thinking, their own abilities and capacities grow. I want them to let their attention span and both the clarity of their logic and the clarity of their intuition grow, and to notice when something comes from intuition or logic and how they can relate all these things. That is actually what more sovereignty means.
Let´s create meaningful and sustainable upgrades to personal well-being. Happy to talk with you.
A bit Offtopic, Health and Clarity: