From Pessimism to Optimism

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From Pessimism to Optimism

Postby James Kroeger » Wed Jul 04, 2018 1:38 pm

Prismatic responded to my extended arguments in another thread (in which I emphasized the universality of the human need for Approval) with this comment:
Point is your views are narrow, shallow and very pessimistic, thus I would suggest you view the issue on hand with a wider wide-angle lens.


Well, I guess the following will be a bit of a surprise for you then, my friend. Narrow? Shallow? Pessimistic? Not so much...

Instead of seeing this Need for Approval as a damnable curse that needs to be somehow overcome, I see it as the key to our happiness and our hopes for the future of humanity.

Far from being a bane to the well-being of humankind, or a personal defect that one should apologize for, I proclaim it to be the 'missing ingredient' that will enable us to finally free ourselves from one of the most essential fears that humans have of each other: their fear that others will notice their emotional vulnerability.

Any way you look at it, both as individuals and as a collective, we face the challenge of finding a way to convince those 'others' out there that it would be a good idea for them to go out of their way to provide us with the emotional-need-satisfaction we desire.

How to accomplish such a goal? I say the key is changing people's perceptions of what they are seeing when they interact with each other in social environments.

Currently, when people in social situations witness the performances of others----the displays of indifference to slights, the confident affectations that are a part of appearing ‘cool’----it makes them feel threatened on a fundamental level.

They feel threatened because (A) they are quite aware of their own emotional vulnerability, and (B) they believe that many of the humans standing before them are not vulnerable in the same way. If I have a need for approval that makes me emotionally vulnerable and you do not have the same vulnerability, then I am indeed at a serious disadvantage.

It is this perception that a potential threat exists which inspires us---instinctively---to hide our vulnerability from the view of others and to use the various defensive strategies I’ve reviewed elsewhere to try to distract the attention of others away from it.

My thesis is that this perception of threat is something we can change. It requires that we achieve two goals simultaneously:

1) People need to ‘see’ the emotional vulnerability that exists inside of every human being at all times, and...

2) Every individual must become acutely aware, when in social situations, that his/her own emotional vulnerability is clearly apparent to everyone else.

If we can make arrangements to achieve both of these goals at the same time, our relationships with each other will begin to change in a profound way.

To get an idea of what I am talking about, imagine yourself encountering a group of people some time in the future, most of whom you have never met. After greeting them with a friendly “Hello!”, you immediately say something like:

[Hi!] My name is ______. I want you all to know that I am an emotionally vulnerable soul...that my feelings can be easily hurt. Equally important, I know the same thing is true about you and every other human being on this planet…


Then, in keeping with the ritual, each of those present takes a turn verbalizing her own 'Declaration Of Emotional Vulnerability' while looking each of the others confidently in the eye.

Every member of the group gives voice to his confession without communicating any hint of apology or embarrassment. By the time the ritual has reached its conclusion, participants will notice that they do not fear each other.

They will not fear each other because they will see vulnerability in the humans standing before them instead of threat. They will see vulnerability not because they had seen tears or fear, but because they just heard every individual at the gathering say that he is emotionally vulnerable.

It is my contention that a ritualistic 'greeting' of this sort would be one example of an initiative that would achieve both of the key goals I emphasized earlier in a rather straightforward manner.

All those participating in the ritual would see the vulnerability that exists inside of all the others AND---at the same time---they would also be aware that their own vulnerability is abundantly obvious to everyone else.

As long as these two perceptions are maintained within the active consciousness of any humans gathered together in a group, it will 'shut down' both the Fear and the Anger instincts of all those present.

It is because these two instincts are always 'on the lookout' for any indication of potential threats, they will take notice when they perceive precisely the opposite: emotional security in perhaps its purest form.

It is one thing to know that everyone else out there has the same vulnerability/needs that you have (in spite of their efforts to pretend otherwise) and quite another thing to actually hear them admit it to you in a public setting.

New assumptions ==> New perceptions ==> Changed behavior.

After all, in a social environment where everyone has just admitted his/her emotional vulnerability to you----and you have confessed your own to them----it no longer makes sense for you to use 'mean' humor to...well, distract the attention of others away from your emotional vulnerability.

Indeed, if everyone is on the same page re: The Emotional Facts of Life, instead of people continuing to hide their emotional vulnerability from each other, why wouldn't it be much more likely to hear them boast about their emotional vulnerability in mixed company?

It's not an imperfection that anyone needs to apologize for; it is, in fact, the key to our happiness, for if we did not have this need for each other's approval, how would it be possible for us to make others happy with a few kind words?

How can it be an undesirable feature of our existence if it makes us dependent upon the giving actions of others? Because of this fundamental need for Approval, people have to be good to others in this life if they want to be happy.

You could even throw in a little religious context to this by claiming that this Need for Approval is a gift from God to give humans an inborn incentive to overcome their other, 'animal' instincts, and be good to each other.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________

As I hope you can see, Prismatic, pessimistic feelings are generated by a recognition of this Need for Approval ONLY if one is viewing it from an individualistic perspective, where one seeks above all else to become "complete within oneself."

The alternative approach to dealing with this Need for Approval that I am proposing is definitely one which represents a contrarian revolt against some of the most popular assumptions of academic theorists across most of the academic disciplines that contemplate human behavior.

For any who have been immersed in the individualistic perspective for quite a while (which values an idealized conceptualization of happiness that cannot ever be threatened by other humans), my proposal is likely to sound vaguely threatening, but I would suggest to them that they give it additional thoughtful consideration.
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Re: From Pessimism to Optimism

Postby Prismatic567 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:01 am

Your views are still narrow, shallow and pessimistic.

    1. You assumed the majority's Emotional Intelligence [EQ] is static.
    2. You assumed the Compassionate Quotient [CQ] of the the majority is static.
    3. You assumed other relevant Quotient of the the majority are static, e.g. wisdom, spiritual, IQ[even] etc.
    4. You don't see the potential of the various fields of neurosciences to increase the above EQ and CQ and expedite their progress speedily in the near future.
    5. You lack the knowledge of the potential and what had been going with the above within Eastern philosophies and spirituality since the last 10,000 years.
    6. There are loads of other sources of information relevant to the above you are lack of.

I have stated humanity had evolved with a need for 'approval' but it has its side effects [a bane to humanity] and thus need to be eliminated where possible.
I agree in the present state, humanity may need something like what you have suggested above re approval, but that should only be a temporary measure.

The most effective strategy towards the long run is to increase the majority average EQ, CQ and other relevant human Quotients and that will take care no one is hurt psychologically in terms of their need for approval while humanity on the whole is progressing to eliminate the impulse for approval.

I am optimistic what I had proposed will work because it is already working in many fields of humanity. As I has stated what we need is to find effective strategies to expedite the positive processes that is currently going on.

Take chattel slavery for example. 99.9% of people during two hundred years ago would NOT be convinced chattel slavery can or will be banned in all recognized nations. But it has happened in reality at present.
The next step is to make this natural and spontaneous without enforcement and this is possible with effective strategies to expedite the average EQ, CQ and other relevant Quotients of the majority of human beings.

I believe yours are a very personal view. Personal views are usually constipated views. At least you should have produced some research to back your ideas re approval needs currently and into the future.
I am a progressive human being, a World Citizen, NOT-a-theist and not religious.
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Re: From Pessimism to Optimism

Postby James Kroeger » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:30 pm

Prismatic567 wrote:The most effective strategy towards the long run is to increase the majority average EQ, CQ and other relevant human Quotients and that will take care no one is hurt psychologically in terms of their need for approval while humanity on the whole is progressing to eliminate the impulse for approval.

I am optimistic what I had proposed will work because it is already working in many fields of humanity.


I'm sorry I didn't recognize previously that you had put together a proposal re: a possible course for humanity that I would most certainly be interested in. Could you provide a link to some version of it that I could access and review? It would be much appreciated...
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Re: From Pessimism to Optimism

Postby Prismatic567 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:08 am

James Kroeger wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:The most effective strategy towards the long run is to increase the majority average EQ, CQ and other relevant human Quotients and that will take care no one is hurt psychologically in terms of their need for approval while humanity on the whole is progressing to eliminate the impulse for approval.

I am optimistic what I had proposed will work because it is already working in many fields of humanity.


I'm sorry I didn't recognize previously that you had put together a proposal re: a possible course for humanity that I would most certainly be interested in. Could you provide a link to some version of it that I could access and review? It would be much appreciated...
I have not written a proper proposal.
What I meant is the various proposals [supposedly holistic] I have made in this thread and in this forum to date.

Note one famous maxim from the Gita;

    BG 2.47: You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction.

The above implied the dissociation and detachment from the need for approval [a 'fruit' of one's action]. This point is promoted by most modern psychologists.

Such is a common theme in most of the Eastern philosophies and spirituality. The above is not mere talk only but they have introduced tons of principles, strategies and techniques since thousands of years ago to achieve the above with varying results.

Note I mentioned the impulse for approval is inherent and unavoidable in our present psychological state but we must strive toward the ideal of total detachment for approval.
I am a progressive human being, a World Citizen, NOT-a-theist and not religious.
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Re: From Pessimism to Optimism

Postby James Kroeger » Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:38 am

Prismatic567 wrote:I have stated humanity had evolved with a need for 'approval' but it has its side effects [a bane to humanity] and thus need to be eliminated where possible.


It is my instinct to seek some common ground here, if I may give that a try...

We do both generally agree that some thoroughly undesirable 'side effects' have plagued the human race for millennia because humans do have this need for approval. If the need did not exist, the problems and the suffering would not occur.

But where we differ is in what we ultimately blame for this carnage. It seems fair to say that you---as well as the vast majority of thinkers since ancient times---have been inclined to stop questioning the 'cause' of this suffering upon noticing that the need's 'non-existence' would indeed stop the suffering.

But my analysis questions further, asking if it is actually the need, itself, that is responsible for the suffering, or is it possibly just the way people have responded to this need, historically, that has caused all of our problems?

After all, we would also be spared a great deal of suffering if many/all of our purely biological needs didn't exist. If we didn't have a need for food or water, we wouldn't ever experience the pain of hunger or thirst.

The success with which humanity has been able to arrange for the regular satisfaction of our need for food & water has shown us that it has not really been the existence of our need for food & water that has been a problem for us, but only our failure, until recent centuries, to find ways to get these needs regularly satisfied.

To me, this analogy suggests that we should at least consider the problem of emotional need-deprivation from a similar POV.
If we could find a way to arrange for the regular satisfaction of our Need for Approval (or at least find a way to reliably prevent it's deprivation) would we be so quick to pine for a "day of salvation" sometime in the far off future when somehow we have been able to eradicate this need from existence?
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Re: From Pessimism to Optimism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:27 pm

James Kroeger wrote:But where we differ is in what we ultimately blame for this carnage. It seems fair to say that you---as well as the vast majority of thinkers since ancient times---have been inclined to stop questioning the 'cause' of this suffering upon noticing that the need's 'non-existence' would indeed stop the suffering.
Approval is such a loaded term. Almost pejorative in these contexts. If we were to remove the desire for approval, it is hard for me to imagine we would not remove being affected by the reactions of others. IOW moving into areas such as empathy and navigating social life. IOW stuff that social mammals have based much of their success on. I would never want to lose the emotional impact of being disapproved of and approved of. Much of what I do relates to others is for others, perhaps only in part, but still. Further it is important information, often with practical consequences. Sure it sounds nice and libertarian/arachistic and indepedent and strong to 'not give a shit what other people think.' But I think a couple of things are being conflated here. If one values what others value, decides what is good and moral and aesthetic based on what others think (only). There is a problem. If one is not affected by the reactions of others, there is a problem. I want to be affected, but not controlled. I want to be aware of what I believe, feel, value, in the presence of disapproval or potential disapproval, should I decide it's a bad idea to let others know. I think some people approach this by denying empathy, respect, and their own need to be intimate with others. They often consider themselves brave, manly, independent, etc. They suppress part of their nature and medication can even get involved here - self-medication or medication as part of pharma/psychiatry's war on the limbic system.

Can one be a versatile individual whose sense of values is not created by others, but at the same time who is very emotionally aware of what others value and how others react. We often think we need to choose one facet of ourselves, and banish some other part.

Of course there will be areas where it is hard to tell if one is being controlled. And of course approval will tend to feel better than disapproval - though I've experienced many moments where I feel bad about the approval of people whose aesthetics, morals or values put me off.
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Re: From Pessimism to Optimism

Postby James Kroeger » Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:31 pm

Prismatic567 wrote:Note one famous maxim from the Gita;

    BG 2.47: You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction.

The above implied the dissociation and detachment from the need for approval [a 'fruit' of one's action]. This point is promoted by most modern psychologists.

Such is a common theme in most of the Eastern philosophies and spirituality. The above is not mere talk only but they have introduced tons of principles, strategies and techniques since thousands of years ago to achieve the above with varying results.

Note I mentioned the impulse for approval is inherent and unavoidable in our present psychological state but we must strive toward the ideal of total detachment for approval.


I'm quite aware that Eastern philosophies from the Bhagavad Gita to Buddhism have mirrored western philosophical and religious traditions in that they proclaim that a personal 'salvation' from mental/emotional suffering is something that individual humans can achieve for themselves, if only they would "think certain things" which will somehow successfully "de-activate" the mental and/or physical needs that causes suffering to occur (when they go unsatisfied).

Of course, the only benefit one could rationally hope to obtain from "detaching" yourself from the fruits of actions is the hope that doing so might protect you from the pain of disappointment if/when the fruit is not experienced. Act, but then try to ignore the fact that if you do carry out the action, it will quite likely end up making you feel happier...

I think I get the hope that motivates this attempt to manage one's 'aspirations', but I'm not sure that it survives challenges by alternative explanations.
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Re: From Pessimism to Optimism

Postby Prismatic567 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 3:07 am

James Kroeger wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:Note one famous maxim from the Gita;

    BG 2.47: You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction.

The above implied the dissociation and detachment from the need for approval [a 'fruit' of one's action]. This point is promoted by most modern psychologists.

Such is a common theme in most of the Eastern philosophies and spirituality. The above is not mere talk only but they have introduced tons of principles, strategies and techniques since thousands of years ago to achieve the above with varying results.

Note I mentioned the impulse for approval is inherent and unavoidable in our present psychological state but we must strive toward the ideal of total detachment for approval.


I'm quite aware that Eastern philosophies from the Bhagavad Gita to Buddhism have mirrored western philosophical and religious traditions in that they proclaim that a personal 'salvation' from mental/emotional suffering is something that individual humans can achieve for themselves, if only they would "think certain things" which will somehow successfully "de-activate" the mental and/or physical needs that causes suffering to occur (when they go unsatisfied).

Of course, the only benefit one could rationally hope to obtain from "detaching" yourself from the fruits of actions is the hope that doing so might protect you from the pain of disappointment if/when the fruit is not experienced. Act, but then try to ignore the fact that if you do carry out the action, it will quite likely end up making you feel happier...

I think I get the hope that motivates this attempt to manage one's 'aspirations', but I'm not sure that it survives challenges by alternative explanations.

Note too sure of your point 'the Bhagavad Gita to Buddhism have mirrored western philosophical and religious traditions ...' If there is any mirroring, most likely it is the other way round.

Again your thoughts here are too narrow and shallow, i.e. scratching the surface re avoiding the suffering of disappointments in failures. This is secondary and not that critical within Eastern philosophies.

What is most critical is the 'sufferings' triggered by the inevitability of mortality. To avoid such sufferings the theistic religions created illusory Gods [made real] to bullshit themselves the powerful God will grant [exclusively to believers only] eternal life in heaven. From this, holy texts with evil laden elements are introduced that generate terrible loads of sufferings to the individual[s] and humanity. The glaring evidence of evils committed by believers [SOME] are indisputable.

The "detachment" propounded by the Eastern Religions and others are to avoid this massive and terrible sufferings to the the individual[s] and humanity.
Avoiding personal disappointments [your shallow belief] is peanuts.
I am a progressive human being, a World Citizen, NOT-a-theist and not religious.
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