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The Myth of Resiliency

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posted on Apr, 26 2015 @ 05:54 PM
In thinking about how I was going to write up this post, I was searching for the right word. The word "individual" popped in my mind, as did "self-sufficiency" as well as Nietzches concept of the "uber-mensch". But I think, at root, with each of these perspectives, is the idea that an individual through the sheer force of will power makes himself.

Unfortunately for those people who believe in this, it is absolutely, and unequivocally, untrue.

Granted, the desire and need to believe in our inherent self-sufficiency or resiliency is bolstered by our sense that we are separate individuals, living in physically different body's. But our physicality is not what is meant by self-sufficiency or resiliency. Self-sufficiency and resiliency is phenomenologically about our emotional strength.

But where does one "find" or get, emotional strength? First, let me say something about a man I both revere and despise: Friedrich Nietzsche.
I think Friedrich Nietzsche, in his analysis of the world, often got things right. But what he got wrong, again and again throughout his writings, was the necessity of other people in creating our feelings of resiliency. Perhaps, at some deeper level, the universe made an example of Nietzsche by turning him into a useless and helpless syphilitic madman. In his time of need, his differently thinking sister took him and cared for him, just as the mother he refused to acknowledge "imprinted in him" his capacity to think and believe in his ability to "will" himself beyond the adversities life throws at us.

Militant and Conservative attitudes are fundamentally rooted in a traumatic way of orienting towards the world about us. Only a mind who has encountered difficulties - and doesn't quite understand the nature of our embeddedness in a relational field - believes he doesn't "need" other people. Such a person was Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and millions of other people. Of course, you might feel offended to be placed in the same category as Adolph Hitler, unlike other people, I do not consider Hitler to be anymore evil than anyone else. There is a difference between the "essence" of an individual, and the situational and historical context that a particular individual - by chance - will find himself. Adolph Hitler was no more than a figurehead for a way of thinking and being that denied at a fundamental level the relationship between self and other.

Attachment theory, Affective science, Enactive Cognitive Science and traumatology are utterly dismantling the idea of a self-contained individual that I would be amazed if either society doesn't change because of it, or society suppresses what the science of self-development is showing about the human individual.

From the moment of gestation, interpersonal processes 'impinge' on the developing fetus through the influence of cortisol on the placenta. When the baby is born, the mothers responses and the "ambiance" of the social world around the child (which includes the larger social context the mother exists within) 'structures' the feelings and associations of the infants early mind. But the relationship isn't entirely one sided: a depressed mother induces an affect disorder in the baby's formulating mind. The baby will thus act in ways in the hope to 'elicit' attention and help. But the mother, who herself is swayed toward depression, is apt to interpret the baby's needs as "oppressive" She'll respond hardly or not at all, which only deepens the epigenetic-mechanisms underlying the responses demonstrated the baby.

So what about the self-sufficient person? The self-sufficient person is under the influence of amnesia. He doesn't know that within the "marrow' of his deepest self, lies the responsive face of another. His capacity to "know himself", that is, to feel a conscious of his emotional states, is entirely the product of the interactive matrix he 'emerged' within. His abilities, and his later life, more sophisticated ideas about reality and about his "resiliency: as an individual, from a cosmic, or "truth" perspective, is truly embarrassing in the way it falsifies its ontological dependence on the OTHER in the way he/she experiences their self.

We of course shouldn't blame Nietzsche, Hobbes, or Adam Smith for their ignorance. They didn't know any better because the social conditions didn't exist at the time for the types of analysis, study and insight that modern research methods provide us. We should thank them for what truth they did speak; but we must understand that there is nothing fundamental about the views of Adam Smith or the views of Thomas Hobbes.

We exist in a FEEDBACK. We needn't reify what we experience and perceive as "fundamental". What contemporary science shows, is how utterly POSSIBLE it is to create and SUSTAIN a world where people are kind to one another without needing to be compelled by law (so bye bye Islam/and any other religion which believes human beings "need" the threat of punishment).

What each of us becomes is a condition of our environment. And what are environment is is partly the result of our not taking ownership to change it.

But I think the biggest problem has been the tendency to ontologize and "concretize" our feelings about the world.

The most liberating discovery of modern science is really a rediscovery of something known by the ancients. We live in a circle. What we do influences our biology. And once influenced, our biology/mind seeks out a world of meaning that conforms to what its learned.

The way out is acceptance. Acceptance that we ALL NEED ONE ANOTHER. And that none of us, not the homeless man on the street or the wallstreet executive, is responsible for where they are. Feedbacks weaken self and likewise bloat the self. The weakened self can fall into a depression and kill itself, or, it can realize and accept the truth of it's need for the other - as it is the other, in its "stronger state", which will help entrain the weaker self to 'live' at a higher level.

Such a situation exists between nation states as much as it does between individuals. But just as the haughty and self-absorbed can barely think about their fundamental relatedness to others, the rich countries are prone to dissociate their relatedness to poor countries. "Political realism" is a type of reification that assumes the world 'is the way it is' without acknowledging the need to change it.

Of course, change doesn't happen overnight and there is much truth for the need to "titrate", to take it slowly and not move the system to fast. But on an individual level, we as a society need to breakdown those philosophies and beliefs, such as the belief in the "self-made man" or a political idea such as libertarianism that implicitly accepts certain ideas about "human nature" (reifying), when such notions absolutely ignore what science shows to be the OBJECTIVE reality.

Each of us has a responsibility to take ownership for the decisions we enact when we learn something about the world. Although it isn't always easy to make changes, and no doubt, some people will resent being told that their beliefs are fundamentally in error, but this is just how it is. The ego can be a noxiously evil thing when it insists upon its 'separateness'. Although this belief has been popular in ancient wisdom traditions, finally, sophisticated scientific and mathematical models show how it is fundamentally true.

posted on Apr, 27 2015 @ 01:56 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte

Wow. I can not believe you have not received responses to your excellent post so far!

(I agree with by the way

I am very much a creature influenced and inspired by my lifetime of contact with other humans, be it my Mom, Dad, childhood playmates, old girlfriends, mentors, bosses, wife or our children .......and the list goes on

How does the saying go? "no man is an island"

edit on 27-4-2015 by grubblesnert because: more stuff

edit on 27-4-2015 by grubblesnert because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 27 2015 @ 05:49 AM
I kept looking back at the title- I was sure I had already read this before!
Though I agree with your thoughts, I can't help point out that your posts are quite redundant.
That is not as much a criticism as a curious observation!

I do this also sometimes, caught up in contemplation on particular topic for days ( sometimes weeks).

What I find is that if I review the main message in terms of my own life currently, it almost always is very relevant- as if some part of me was talking to myself! The subconscious to the conscious; the higher self to the ego... whatever ones particular terminology of preference may be.

So....maybe sitting alone, contemplating the contents of ones own memories, traumas, knowledge, and resulting opinions is not enough?

Maybe more direct interaction, reception, and influence of other people is what some part of you is begging for?? People need people.

posted on Apr, 27 2015 @ 09:51 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte

It has always been thought to be a combination of genetics and social environment/influence that together merge and create the individual. We can't really point a finger at one or the other and say that accomplishments or failures are assigned to specifically one area, when looking at a person's life in totality.

Stephen Hawking, case in point. Genetically or biologically he received a high IQ, which would have been virtually useless to the rest of us had he been born isolated in a desert without access to other information. A high IQ without a support system to encourage him, educate him, and nurture him during his formative years would have been virtually fruitless.

On the otherhand, all the encouragement and support available to him would have been utterly useless to him without the brain power he was so abundantly blessed with. And clearly now, all the self determination in the world will not help him rise from his wheelchair, as it won't help the tenth grader with an IQ of 130 who announces he's going to be the next Albert Einstein. (I would add that Hawking continues to work, write, deliver speeches, and make television appears, which are largely based on his determination to do so. Of course he has people and tech to assist him, but they are there because he WILLS them to be.)

There are additionally multiple cases of folks born into generational proverty and circumstances which don't easily lend themselves to any type noteworthy success, who have indeed through nothing but unmitigated self determination given rise to successes.

I know you know these things, OP, but to say that an individual cannot, ever, make himself though force of willpower "is absolutely and unequivocally untrue", is perhaps a bit of an exaggeration.

It is the marriage of the two--- genetics and social environment- that make a person who he is.

~ Nietzsche at times has gotten on my last nerve as well. But to say he was punished by the universe........ I'm thinking that was a little joke? Cause and effect, as you know, created his demise.

I agree we live in a circle. Some people like to call it "Karma", which I'm not a fan of, but do tend to see our private little 'circles' engineered by cause and effect, influenced by both internal and external events.

posted on Apr, 27 2015 @ 10:03 AM
......... Feedback..... is so important, and so formative. But based on feedback alone, I think at around age five I would have gotten in bed, pulled the covers over my head, and never gotten up. lol. But there was something "within" me, that said "Nope. I'm not gonna let this junk stop me, I am better than these people think I am". Who hasn't thought that?

The ego can be a noxiously evil thing when it insists upon its 'separateness'.

But many of us, for whom "separateness" was not an inherent trait, have come to rest upon it for having learned we are in many ways helpless to change the landscape of the world, politically, or otherwise. We've turned to our inner selves, and to the small areas of our lives we feel we have a dog's chance of effecting.

(Hell, I can't even convince people on this very site that feeding the hungry is a good thing!)

edit on 4/27/2015 by ladyinwaiting because: (no reason given)

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