The Second Arrow: Thoughts that Kill

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4 Responses

  1. TheWanderingMind says:

    Loved it. Very eloquently written. I struggle with the third arrow more than the second one but this article has made a lot of things clear. Hope I can apply this knowledge in real life which, I guess is the trickiest bit.

  2. Heikki Ojala says:

    I liked the article very much. Especially the way you combine different aspects – biological/physiological, philosophical and real life. The only thing I’d like to add is that the second arrow isn’t there because we think it would relieve our current pain (“Thus, the second arrow is generated out of a mistaken belief that an understanding of a given situation would somehow relieve the first arrow.”) but to help us avoid the same thing happening again. The stories our prefrontal cortex make might help us change behaviour or conditions. Maybe reminding our partners (hopefully in a kind way) that it would be better to leave the basket somewhere else. Or that when walking in the dark it’s good to be extra cautios. Or even turn the light on maybe? The pain caused by the second arrow is useful to some extend, pain is a good motivator. The First arrow: instant reaction in order to avoid acute damage, The second arrow: Preventing the same thing happening again, But I agree – often the second arrow causes disproportionately more suffering than the first one and it’s useful to learn ways of letting go of it.

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