The first factor that makes you you is your nature. For our readers, this typically includes an active intellect, deep emotions, and a vibrant imagination.
The second factor is nurture. It’s your family, your peers, the environment in which you were raised. Given their first factor traits, our readers have a bit of a tendency collide with it.
And the third factor? That’s where the good stuff happens. That’s where you look at all that nature and nurture gave you, and you choose what you’ll do with it.
Third Factor is a magazine dedicated to that process. It’s the process of sorting out your values, honestly and independently—and then striving to live up to them.
We publish interviews, memoirs, and essays that all have something to do with this quest. Our contributors and readers tend to think a lot and feel deeply. This means that, on one hand, we’re often strongly affected by human suffering, which drives us to try to act in the name of capital-J Justice. But at the same time, we’re also driven to ask uncomfortable questions in pursuit of capital-T Truth. In fact, we figure these pursuits ought to go hand in hand. Some of us may be right-handed while others favor their left, but we know we’ll be most effective if we can use both hands.
This personal quest winds its way through all parts of our lives, and we talk about it wherever it’s relevant. But here are some of our bedrock topics:
- What it means to “live with intensity”
- The experience of feeling like an outlier—a square peg (or a heptagonal one) offered only round holes
- The tension between autonomy and community, belonging and independence
- The effect of the Internet and our social media age on this process
- The struggle to channel our energies toward building, developing, and Doing the Thing—which could be anything from artistic creation to social activism to entrepreneurship
Though we’re all for autonomously embracing or rejecting values, we also want to build a community. And for a community to cohere, we’ve got to have some core values in common. So I’ll make our hierarchy of values explicit here:
- Magnanimity, as we are all doing our best
- Critical thinking and freedom of inquiry, in support of the pursuit of the Good, the True, and the Just
- Humility, especially of the intellectual sort (which is really embedded in the above, but is nevertheless worth making explicit)
- Courage, to support both of the above when it’s unpopular
- Autonomy, because groupthink gets in the way of the above
- Community, because loneliness is epidemic and if we could do this on our own, we wouldn’t need this site
We also have adopted into our creed the brilliant concept of star-manning, a term coined by writer Angel Eduardo at the Center for Inquiry. Even though it’s not our content, we’d love to direct you to his article explaining the term. If you think star-manning is a worthwhile practice, you’ll fit in well here.
If you poke around through enough of our articles, it won’t be long before you come across a reference to the theory of positive disintegration (TPD). In fact, we named the magazine after a concept from the theory. You can read about what the third factor is here, if you want to get a deeper sense of what we’re all about. Suffice it for now to say that this third factor fuels our readers’ stubborn determination to sort out their values for themselves, especially when the world around them seems to be going nuts. That, after all, is the process of “positive disintegration” in a nutshell.
But if you’ve never heard of TPD and you’re not all that jazzed about digging into psychological theory, don’t worry: we’re dedicated to bringing the ideas to life through our articles. Because we figure it’s in the stories of our fellow humans that we can best see this process of positive disintegration unfold.
Join Our Community
Like what you read here? Want to talk to others walking this path? Here are two ways to do it: become an active member of our community. You can join our forum, or you can contribute an article.