Positive Disintegration
The Active Mind
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Memoir & Biography
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Sorting Out Our Values

Gothic Childhoods

Fantasy novelist Karen Nilsen reflects on how good parenting—and the emotional honesty of stories like Hans Christian Andersen’s—shielded her from her grandmother’s pathological narcissism.

But are children today getting the same preparation? Or are our mermaids too watered down?

A Glamorous Hell

More and more of us are thinking of trying self-employment. Freelancer Morgan Grace Milburn debunks the simplistic narratives about this path to help you figure out if you really should make the leap.

Why We Joined the Institute for Liberal Values

We’re proud to team up with an organization that shares our values of free expression, critical thinking, civic engagement, and humility.

What is Positive Maladjustment?

There’s an easy answer and a much harder one.

We’ll give you the quick and easy explanation of Dabrowski’s idea of positive maladjustment. Then we’ll talk about all that goes into truly learning to answer this question.

In Our Latest Issue

Gothic Childhoods

Fantasy novelist Karen Nilsen reflects on how good parenting—and the emotional honesty of stories like Hans Christian Andersen’s—shielded her from her grandmother’s pathological narcissism.

But are children today getting the same preparation? Or are our mermaids too watered down?

What is Positive Maladjustment?

There’s an easy answer and a much harder one.

We’ll give you the quick and easy explanation of Dabrowski’s idea of positive maladjustment. Then we’ll talk about all that goes into truly learning to answer this question.

A Glamorous Hell

More and more of us are thinking of trying self-employment. Freelancer Morgan Grace Milburn debunks the simplistic narratives about this path to help you figure out if you really should make the leap.

Why We Joined the Institute for Liberal Values

We’re proud to team up with an organization that shares our values of free expression, critical thinking, civic engagement, and humility.

Introducing the Third Factor Podcast

What does it mean to be "positively maladjusted?" We toss that question out to launch our brand new podcast. We'll spend the rest of this first season trying to answer that question, which comes from Kazimierz Dabrowski's theory of positive disintegration.

But today, in our first episode, we introduce our co-hosts—Vincent, Laura, and Jessie—and explore what brought the three of us, from different continents, generations, and experiences, to be here talking to each other about positive disintegration.

Please note that we may discuss sensitive topics. If any cause you distress, please consult a trained mental health practitioner.

Learn more about our team by following us on Twitter:
Vincent @VincentPsychSA
Laura @ratfunk
Jessie @jlmannisto

Issue 17: Gender for Uncommon People

Gender and the Square Peg

When a quirky kid goes online to ask whether she might be trans, the algorithms aren’t going to give her any alternatives to consider. That’s a problem that this magazine’s mission demands that we address.

Unapologetically Speaking His Mind: An Interview with Upperhand Mars

It’s never been easy to be an independent thinker, but discussing contentious issues that affect you personally on social media has to be the hardest way to do it. We sit down with Mars, a politically homeless transgender man, to talk about where he found his confidence and why he keeps talking despite the abuse he takes from Left and Right alike.

A Fresh Perspective on Gender: An Interview with Angus Fox of Genspect

A new, moderate organization offers a new take on gender, zooming in on neurodivergence, the need for role models, and the good that outliers do in the world.

Dysphoria and Disintegration in Women Who Are “Too Much”

Katherine knew she was uncommon. When she turned to the Internet to find people like her, they told her that was because a personality like hers did not belong in a female body.

Then she happened upon an alternative perspective—one that her fellow uncommon women should have been making clearer to her all along.

Issue 16: Toward Positive Maladjustment

Getting Unstuck: Countering Polarization with Cognitive Flexibility

Stuckness, says Dr. Mike Brooks, is at the root of both his clients’ anxiety and depression and our political polarization.

So how do we get unstuck? In this interview, we chat about cognitive flexibility, the importance of relationships, and how it all unfolds on social media.

Where True Poverty Resides

When Adam Carrington, a practicing Christian, finds his well of patience for a fellow member of his church running dry, a core tenet of his faith takes on a more profound meaning.

Class, Luck, and the Outlier’s Quest for Belonging

Whether unusual people find the companions they need often comes down to luck—from being born into the right socioeconomic class to landing in the right career field.

In this interview, P. Susan Jackson talks to us about what her gifted clients tend to do when they don’t find people who click with them, what they can do instead, and how luck can shift for better and for worse over the course of life.

The Dodo and the Ancient Poet

Once, there were more of the author’s kind.

Are they truly all gone?

Issue 15: Resilience & Creativity

Calling Down the Lightning

Why is Thoreau’s “little world” the image of restorative solitude, and Van Gogh’s “blazing hearth” that of genius misunderstood? In diving into these two men’s stories, David Wakeham demonstrates the pressing need for mentorship and community in those with great potential—and the consequences if this is nowhere to be found.

Book Club, April 2021: The Righteous Mind

Want to connect with other Third Factor readers over some in-depth content? Join our book discussion group!

Creative Disintegration

What drives us to create? Reflecting on her carefree creative expression as a child, struggles with self-consciousness, and industry pressures, Laura Stavinoha confronts the role her desire for validation had on her music and comes to understand why, ultimately, she creates.

So What is the Third Factor, Anyway?

You asked. We answered. What is this thing we named our magazine after, and what are the first and second factors? And why is this concept from Kazimierz Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration so much more important than his more well-known construct of overexcitability?

Why I’m Optimistic About Our New Forum

We’re trying to cultivate a high-quality space for Third Factor’s intellectually engaged readers to develop meaningful connections and have robust discussions. So why is this so hard on Facebook? Our editor in chief ponders why our new forum, at least so far, seems to suit us better than Facebook.

Resilience: From the Roots to the Branches

What stops a bright, intense, gifted person from blossoming? The Daimon Institute’s Sue Jackson sits down with us to talk about the hurdles her clients often face—and how they can begin to put out the roots they need to bloom.

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