Does Donald Trump Sleep? And Other Questions Of Self-Care.

Tonight, I took a moment to reflect on something a republican said to me: “I’m not a whiny fucking liberal.”

I like generating theories–even if they aren’t correct. At least  I can say I tried to understand.

My assumption here is that the media this person consumes tells him that liberals are whiny. And that there may be differences between the explicitly-stated liberal and conservative view of humanity.

Conservatives, I take it, seem to assume that we can pull ourselves up by our very own bootstraps; that we have no mental, emotional or physical limitations. This is what their comments often suggest.

Liberals, I suggest, take the opposite to be true.

I would try to explain these things to the person who insinuated that liberals are whiny, but this particular person isn’t prone to have productive conversations.

Donald Trump seems like a grouchy, old man to me. However, he does in fact have limits and he knows it. For example, he goes golfing very regularly. This is, I suppose, to let off steam and to refresh and rejuvenate. This is basic self care. Yes, Donald Trump engages in self care.

But, at a more basic, human level, we can ask if Donald Trump eats, sleeps and shits. (We know he has sex!)

All of these things suggest the limitations of humans. We have physical, emotional and mental limitations and needs. Donald Trump, if he is to stay anywhere near sane (which is doubted by some, but I think he’s somewhat sane), needs to attend to these basic needs.

This is the liberal point of view. And it seems true as evidenced in Trump’s behaviors. When liberals “whine,” we are often suggesting that we–and you–are human and have needs that have to be met in order to stay physically and mentally healthy.

Yes, Donald Trump sleeps. Meditate on that. And remind yourself that you also sleep next time you think someone is “whiny.”

 

Putting Emotions In Their Place

As I’ve said, I’ve been on a journey. In this journey, I’ve come to have a more whole self–a self that is no longer fractured between the cognitive and the emotional.

We–whoever “we” are–tend to privilege the cognitive aspects of ourselves over emotion. Somewhere in western history, we decided emotions were inferior to reason. I’ve decided not to argue about the intelligence of emotions or how emotions really guide us in our intellect.

Instead, I want to value emotions for themselves.

Now, I have a history of practicing Stoicism. You’d think, then, if you took a stereotypical view of Stoicism, that I’d value emotions less than anyone. But that’s not the case.

I think the devaluation of emotions is linked to the oppression of certain humans, animals and nature. Somewhere along the way, emotions got to be associated with being wild, free and, sometimes, “womanly.” (And, of course, woman is thought to be inferior.)

It’s true that emotions can be wild, free and unchecked. But that doesn’t mean to suppress them. That doesn’t mean to rely solely on the cognitive aspect of yourself. Because, even if you don’t think so, the cognitive aspect without the check of emotions–without being a whole self, together and integrated–can run you afowl, too.

Think about my case: I knew in my cognitive self that all humans were equal. But it was only after integrating the emotional self that I actually came to practice this. The virtue of justice has now (finally!) been more integrated into my character because of emotions!

That’s no small feat. And emotions were, perhaps, the cause.

It wasn’t fellow-feeling. I had that already. It was me being entirely integrated. It was me being “in tune” with my own emotions that made me develop virtues.

So let’s not denigrate emotions anymore. If we are in fact two halves–one part cognitive and one part emotional–each half should be given an equal share in your life.

And we don’t have to resort to talking about how emotions are “intelligent” or are the prime cause of our ideas and thoughts in order to do this. Each part of you should be in equal proportion. So let your emotions do their thing. And, when that happens, you may gain virtues, feel whole and complete and you won’t have to worry too, too much about either your emotions or your intellect running amok.