Finally, I found the time!

Originally Posted By: indigo

I do prefer the theory that people are naturally resilient, as I find it positive and hopeful, providing something to look forward to: a person can shake the dark cloud of having made a poor decision, or of having been subject to something unfortunate.


Me too, and somehow I feel like, at least in the middle-European, middle-class culture I have been exposed to, you would find more cultural objects (books, movies) telling stories of trauma than stories of resilience.
Telling stories of trauma might help in uncovering what's not functioning well in our society, but they might also simply be an eternal echo chamber that humans keep perpetuating.

I am still uncertain to which extent this applies to clinically relevant cases of trauma though (or where to draw the line there).

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For me, this underscores that science is never settled
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Yes and it's actually pretty impressive how whole generations can be influenced by some ideas that turn out to be wrong in the end. (Good) scientists are aware of the fundamental incertitude of their work but there still seems to be some difficulty in embracing it, and lots of scientists, as well as lots of non-scientist humans, seem to have this innate need to cling to some "certitudes". Which can make it difficult to truly advance knowledge.

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While I'll leave empirical evidence to researchers in this matter, I'll share that it calls to mind this anecdotal evidence: TV interviews I've watched after a large storm passes through: Counter-intuitively, I see people who were bypassed by the storm complaining mightily about having been inconvenienced to evacuate... while victims of the storm who lost their homes and possessions express immense gratitude at being spared their lives and the lives of their loved ones, and look forward to rebuilding. It seems these are indeed the fortunate ones, as they have gotten in touch with their priorities.
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I am not sure if I am right here or if my brain is weirdly associating, but I had a social psychology class where we touched upon the "system justification theory". That is, the idea that endorsing system-justifying beliefs can serve a palliative function. (If I am "low status", it is less distressing to tell myself "pah, it's okay if things are unfair" then constantly trying and fighting against unfair things. We could not conclude whether this is detrimental (by hindering social change) or actually a helpful mechanism like in your example (because it might focus your attention back to truly fundamental things (?), things that you actually feel like you have control over (?)).

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I read your Sartre, and counter with Kant ("What if everybody did that?").


Haha smile. It's been a while I haven't been thinking about philosophy, and I have had too few classes in the subject (unfortunately) but I would freely argue just for fun: while debauchery is probably not the best way to live your life, I still think that there is some inherent value in pursuing pleasure or enjoyment, and that you might miss some important part of human experience if you are too abstinent. There is a whole continuum/range of hedonic experiences (sex orgies every week vs. the occasional glass of wine), a part of the range is probably "too much" to be experienced by everyone at high frequency, but people are so widespread on the continuum that I think more about individual differences than about some kind of universal law when I think about the subject - and accept that some doing it that way, some the other. But that might just be 2020 postmodern, individualistic stupid me, and I might have to rethink my ethical concepts smile.

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In reading about the DALY and applying or mis-applying the concept to self and those around me... possibly we are growing younger...? (As we subtract Disability-Adjusted Life Years from our age.)
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That's a really nice way to look at it :-).

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Regarding getting stuff done properly, someone on the forums has shared a great thought to counter perfection: "Done is better than perfect."


Yes that's true smile.

I was a bit unclear; by "getting stuff done properly" I was thinking more about the days/times where I was so out of focus/in my thoughts that I would barely make it to get some food, let alone be capable to truly focus on some kind of work or skill. I was so lost in convoluted thoughts about whether I was actually understanding university classes or not, that I went back 3 times to some classes in university, losing probably one or two years of being simply caught in a giant thought loop.
But then yes, maybe also here these were perfectionistic expectations (I could have just thought: "whatever, just get through the class"). But more deeply, there also was a genuine hope to learn something, that was not really fulfilled.
Until today I wake up every morning angry at the educational system, and at myself to not understand that I was not the flaw, but that maybe there was just a mismatch between my needs/expectations and what I had at my disposal.
But I guess that will also fade away with time (or end up in me doing hardcore educational research and try to improve the system all my life :D).

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He lived very close to the edge... for quite awhile... it could've gone either way for him... fortunately he learned from his risky decisions and chose a better (though no less difficult) path.
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Seems to be quite the story! I might want to try and get that book soon smile.

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In reading the I-Thou theory, certain parts instantly resonate with me, and yet I will raise caution. This idea may be somewhat difficult to convey as everyone has a different knowledge base, so I will quickly lay some groundwork or foundation by sharing two brief observations:
1- Hallmark movies are rather positive and predictable, depicting an idealized and very safe world where one may routinely think positively about strangers, rightly so, and find that very rewarding.
2- Criminal Minds is a TV series in which pure evil and deception masquerade as friendly strangers and neighbors just down the street.
That brief knowledge base imparted, I will share that in my observation and experience, real life is like "Hallmark meets Criminal Minds." Therefore a big part of daily life, and a crucial skill to master, is: establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries. Become open and vulnerable gradually. Trust must be earned over time, as a person states what they will do, and then follows through, in a manner which demonstrates that you can consistently count on them to do as they say and say as they do. They walk the talk. To bottom-line this: Rather than accept the I-Thou theory of thinking positively about a stranger, I would suggest being open-minded to future positive thoughts, after observing/evaluating attitudes and behaviors of a stranger, with the idea of determining how much distance would make the most positive relationship: a little or a lot. Then establish boundaries which maintain that amount of distance.
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That's really interesting and ever since I read this part of your post I thought about it most of the days. Very helpful thought! smile
Then to me your thought is somehow an extension of the theory: you still find meaningfulness in relationships - it's just that unilaterally looking for this meaningfulness can be harmful if you don't take boundaries into account

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From my brief reading of the CBASP and making connections to other information over the years, this is my take-away: As devastating as a lack of validation and affirmation may be, it is orders of magnitude worse if coming from one's own family... who are generally thought to provide a safe landing space, but are failing to so (thereby leaving a kiddo with NO safe landing space, no support). A kid in this position may typically not have the words, logic, gumption, and backing to describe the problem and effect a positive change, as all the power rests with the adults in the family. Being powerless, the kiddo develops a pattern of avoiding addressing issues. As the kiddo matures into adulthood, s/he may still feel powerless as they've not experienced practice in negotiating relationships within the family. Therefore they may not have developed skills related to observing/evaluating others, successfully establishing/maintaining healthy boundaries, negotiating give-and-take compromises in relationships, and determining who has earned their trust. Sounds stressful. But on the bright side, these skills can be learned with practice!
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Again, well said smile. I will just briefly add that CBASP might be a useful tool in, like you say, learning just these skills, for some people who are too wounded to learn on their own - a lot of them might have experienced just what you are describing, during their childhood.