A Look in the Mirror A Letter from the Editor for Issue 11

Dear Readers,

It’s not hard to find articles out there that are written to bolster us—to make us feel better about our foibles and weaknesses.  There’s a place for that, to be sure; we’ve got articles like that ourselves.  But on balance, if we really want to grow, we’ve also got to look at ourselves critically.  We should do it gently, with kindness for our current and former selves, yes, but we should do it.  Our contributors in this issue give such self-reflection a try in a variety of ways, reflecting on times when they realized they were following a lesser path and explored how they could change.

Maxwell Olin Massa kicks us off with the saga of his own Dabrowskian disintegration as an expat. In Journey to the East, we find him in a Chinese backwater after a series of less-than-ideal youthful choices. But as it happens, he’s got something to learn from the people around him.

Then there’s the possibility that the ideal we were relying on could use some tweaking to serve us better. In Escaping the Cage of Intellectualism, Benita J tells us how she relied on logic above all—only to have it lead to the worst moment of her life.

With a contentious presidential primary under way here in the United States, those of us active in left-of-center politics have an opportunity to channel this sort of self-reflection in the service of our political goals (and those of you right of center or in other countries will have a chance to do the same eventually, too). In Are We Voters or Are We Fans?, Merrill Miller returns with an analysis of the good increased empathy can do in the political sphere.

Since we’re talking about self-reflection, this is a great time to parse the process known as subject-object in oneself in Kazimierz Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration. In Dabrowski’s Dynamisms: Subject-Object in Oneself, I kick off a new series that will dive into some of the most important and most misunderstood elements of Dabrowski’s work.

If all this critical self-reflection has you thinking that maybe you’d rather just go and hide, though, we’ve got just the article for you: From Hiding HSP to Gifted Leader, I chat with Imi Lo, a therapist who focuses on the intense and sensitive.

Wishing You Well

Of course, if you’re hiding from coronavirus because you’re an upstanding citizen who wants to #FlattenTheCurve, we support that, and we salute you for your efforts, fellow member of humanity!

As we try to strike a balance between communicating important messages and not dwelling and letting our overexcitable imaginations spin us into a tizzy, however, I can promise you that apart from this article, this issue contains no other references to COVID-19.  We are thinking of putting together some articles on anxiety and fear, so you may see such things in you inbox in the coming weeks.  But I’m also thinking of some sage wisdom I heard from one of the talking heads (many of whom, not being experts, are as uncertain and anxious as the rest of us): it’s good to take a break from thinking about it.  So while you’re socially distancing, I hope this issue will provide a fruitful distraction.  I’ll be thinking of all of you readers, especially those who have reason to be particularly concerned for your own sake or those close to you.  If you’re feeling lonely or generally want someone to talk to about this stuff, I invite you to the Third Factor Discussion Forum on Facebook, where there’s some quality discussion of relevant issues going on.

Oh, and one last note on this topic: I am truly humbled and grateful that you funded our trip to the gifted adults’ summit in Denver, currently scheduled for late April.  This, of course, is now up in the air.  If it proceeds on time or is postponed, I will likely attend (though will assess my own likelihood of being a disease vector at that point in time).  If it’s cancelled, I will reach out to contributors to arrange for refunds of your donations.

And for those of you who haven’t yet been convinced to curtail your activities (and who have the ability to do so) I recommend some excellent articles with interactive graphics in the Washington Post and the New York Times. Let’s all do what we can to help out. Stay well, my friends. I will be thinking of you.

Now please scroll back up, click some of the links to our features, and get your mind off of all that!

All the best,
Jessie Mannisto
Editor in Chief

Editor in Chief at Third Factor jessie@thirdfactor.org Web Posts

A divergent thinker who can't abide an echo chamber, Jessie has served as assistant to the Consul General of Japan, Google Policy Fellow, and CIA leadership analyst. She is now an independent writer and analyst.