Emotional Equations has a simple overall theme: Mathematical equations can provide insights into our feelings and emotions. Think it’s impossible to rationalize something intangible like an emotion with a simple equation? You’re wrong. Here’s an example.
According to Chip, suffering is, relatively speaking, a constant since we all suffer to some degree. Meaning, on the other hand, is a variable since we can add or remove a sense of meaning to just about anything. So: Despair = Suffering – Meaning.
When you increase the sense of meaning, your suffering may not change, but your sense of despair lessens.
For example, say you’re trying to get in better shape so you start running five miles a day. It’s really hard. In fact, it’s often painful. You often wonder if all that pain is worth it. The problem is, it’s hard to find meaning in a nebulous goal like “get in better shape.”