Good Advice Sticks with You

I’ve received a lot of advice in my life. Some good. Some bad. A lot mediocre.

When I look back and think about what the best advice I ever got might be, I usually think of my teacher, Ms. Furlong, from high school. She taught my Freshman year World Cultures class and was the coach of our Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team. One of the most important things Mary taught me was that there are two sides to every story and the truth often lies in the middle.

I remember her drawing an inverted triangle to represent this on the black board. On the left she wrote “Thesis,” on the right “Antithesis” and at the bottom point she wrote “Synthesis”. Later in life I would come across this in my studies of Kant and Hegel (I’m a scholar of neither).

Somehow this makes incredible sense to me. Usually the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Buddhists call it the middle way or path. It can be very liberating to walk the middle path, because you do not have to agree with the extreme right or the extreme left, but rather can take good from both sides.

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3 thoughts on “Good Advice Sticks with You

  1. On a more serious note, the trouble with synthesis is that (I) can still “control” the middle by moving the ends. I am having a hard time coming up with a neutral example on this Friday afternoon, but you might get what I mean. If I can frame the debate such that what would otherwise be a reasonable middle-ground is at one end, and my absolute most selfish desire is the other, I can get pretty good results from a compromise between that particular thesis and antithesis.

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