Okay, I have to admit it, I just don't get it. I mean, I see no purpose in it, no reason whatsoever! Can anyone tell me, please, What is the point in being afraid of someone else? Or, jealous? Threatened?
And, I'm not talking about someone who's intentionally threatening you, either, or someone who goes out of their way to make you jealous. I'm talking about being afraid of someone just because they exist, just because they are there, or just because they might do something better than you.
What purpose is there in being afraid of someone because they exist, but don't do anything to actually threaten you? What does it accomplish? I just don't get it.....
I'm okay, nothing happened. I was contemplating the difference between fear and confidence and cannot come up with a reason to be afraid of someone just because they exist, or a reason to be jealous, or threatened. So, I thought I'd ask.
In a shorter post than the one I did a little while ago, my girlfriend used to say her mother would say this about being competitive with other people:
"There'll always be someone who is better than you or who has more than you, and there'll always be someone who isn't as good at something or who has less. There's no point measuring yourself against other people. Just be who you are and do your best, because comparing yourself to other people is just a waste of your time and energy."
We were teenagers when my girlfriend told me what her mother "always" said, but I remember it to this day (and think it's a good philosophy).
Sometimes when people ask the usual "How are things?", I respond "If you like being me, it's absolutely wonderful!"
Although joking, I do mean it. I am "Number one" at being me. Some people have more money, some are taller, better looking, smarter, whatever, but nobody can be happier and that's what really matters.
There is no purpose. It's a matter of personal pride which needs to be overcome. It's a very serious issue which is one of the pinnacle causes of many problems today.
they must remind you of someone who is capable of inflicting pain...
Here's a postmodernist take...
Fear is usually related to survival instincts. Survival fear can mean anything from being afraid of physical harm to being afraid of something that threatens our status to...yes...being afraid of people who are different.
Why is just being different a big deal? Especially in this age of "live and let live"? Well, we're social beings - it's part of our biological survival, from the time that we raise our babies (which don't just spring up fully functional) to the time we die, imparting our wisdom and life lessons to the young. We weren't always "live and let live" - that's a pretty recent idea in our history, that we don't or shouldn't affect one another very much and that any intrusion by societal or moral forces wipes out our personal liberty and so is itself morally wrong.
Our emotional responses - which are related to our survival and biology - are not quite adapted to that individualistic and don't-care-what-you-do-as-long-as-it-doesn't-hurt-me attitude yet. They're still adapted to a society structured around the survival of social units rather than the "triumph of individual happiness" or whatever. Simplistically put, back then, people believed you needed strong social investment to reproduce successfully and survive. These days, people believe we have a greater duty to our individual selves than to society (for example, we expend energy and money on healthful diets, but barely take the time to vote).
So that means our emotions are out of date and seem illogical. We're still wired to care about what other people say...whether it's our parents or someone we've never met and are never likely to meet. Whatever our modern ideas about individual freedom say, we have social instincts that tell us our survival is linked to the survival of others. So we like it when they validate our ideas, and we dislike it when they disagree. When they disagree, it's threatening. We cower, or we attack.
The only thing is, I believe we're still dependent on each other for survival (no, not in a group hug way, but in a "cog in a machine" or "cell of a bigger organism" kind of way. In the last century, we've effectively divided up labor so that we all have roles that serve some function in building and maintaining the great infrastructure whereby we work, eat, and do stuff.) We just don't focus on that part, because it's so much in the background and overarching that we can't influence it. We can influence how our individual cell or cog performs, though.
I also think we're actually very similar as individuals - even people who radically disagree. We just use outdated signals to determine differences, and elevate the importance of those signals beyond their practical use.
For example - views about religion. Sex. Politics. Abortion. Violence. If you ask people who speak very clearly and with strong opinions about those topics what they have actually done in their lives in certain comparable situations - for example, the reaction of a so-called violent and a so-called nonviolent person to having their baby threatened - you'll find they made some very similar choices, especially if they've been exposed to the same broad cultural influences. They just rationalized them differently.
We argue ideology, but when we're the product of very similar backgrounds - i.e., being taught in the same educational system, being exposed to the same media, using the same technology - the differences fade when it comes down to the brass tacks of living.
But at the same time, we still have those survival instincts. So we latch onto perceived differences. They keep our minds sharp and suspicious...they keep us in survival mode. Just in case.
Yeah, I think this is what I was thinking - fear associated with survival instincts regarding the status of being 'different'.
So, one perceives a difference in somebody and latches onto this difference, to maintain suspicion and a sharp mind, and because of survival instincts, for the sole reason of a feeling their status is threatened? And then, because the difference has been perceived, they'll monitor the situation until the perceived threat is believed to be an actual threat, and then they'll attack??
This is why people continue to project their own negativity on others - because they perceive a difference that may develop into a perceived threat on their status??
WoW......Okay, I guess I can accept the survival of the fittest theory....it just never really made sense before....how does anyone survive that way? I mean, wouldn't it be simpler to develop your own skills and confidence than to constantly be on the lookout for the next person to destroy?
I think it's not about destroying anyone, but instead about claiming the right to define the meaning of social signals.
So let's say a guy named John sees someone on the street who wears blue plaid with orange stripes and purple polka-dotted shoes and John's a conservative dresser. His own values tell him he should just say, "live and let live," and in fact, if the person is easily dismissed as unimportant, he does.
But if he sees a desirable/attractive/successful/powerful person approach and converse pleasantly with the person who's tackily dressed, that is evidence that the "tacky" person's way of dressing must be desirable/attractive/successful/powerful, simply by association. (Maybe they're a rock star? In possession of the latest fashion advice? Just very very cool?)
So John's way of dressing has just been either undermined (the value of conservative dressing is called into question if it's not needed for success) or actually redefined as having loser status (after all, the cool person walked up to the tacky person, not John). So to maintain, reinforce, or actually in this case recapture his position, John makes fun of the person to discredit this new reality, or makes fun of the cool person, or just slinks away and gets drunk.
Either way, he perceives it as a power struggle over the way his world is defined. And because he lives in a society bursting with differences and complexities and successes and failures, he's nearly always got reason to slink away or to be cruel.
Those who remain confident and impervious and don't need to be cruel or withdraw, even subtly or indirecty, are those who do not see their world view easily threatened. They are in the minority, for the reasons I specified above - we're social creatures and are naturally sensitive to social signals.
Thanks Fiction Teller, for the example. It's very helpful!!
So, your answer leads me to this question: Can a world view be changed, either by force or choice? Like, John (from your example) could eventually be forced into accepting the tacky persons style of dress as the norm & maybe even try to emulate it to be 'accepted' as the tacky person was. Can John, in the future, choose to return to his previous world views?
Or, say John loses the power struggles over the way his world is defined, and winds up living his life through the learned behaviors of the tacky dresser (because he was forced to believe it was the norm) - can he return to his previous state of being?
I think I'm answering my own questions - I think the answer is: Of Course, if he wants to!! lol
Human nature, sense of insecurity, not being confident of their own personality and inferiority complexes are a few reasons that came to my mind after reading your post.
The survival-of-the-fittest thing works on a hard-wiring level; and I think some people are more "beyond" their biological hard-wiring than others.
There's biological hard-wiring associated with both female and male sexuality (and people can have different "mixes" when it comes to their individual sexuality). Anyway, male sexuality is pretty much governed by that wish/need to be "The Number One" male. Female sexuality is associated with wanting to be "The Number One" female. Either way, there's a competition factor (although how the competition takes place can be different for male animals and than for females).
The person who is well adjusted, mature, and self-confident isn't generally threatened by what other people are or do that would make the person be too worried about whether he can always be "Number One" in one area of life (or self) or another. The person who isn't as mature, well adjusted and/or self-confident is often more prone to feeling threatened when someone else "is better". Not being mature, they may also have an immature, selfish, need to feel like "Number One". In other words, they haven't developed/matured mentally and/or emotionally as far "beyond hard-wiring" as some more mature, well adjusted, people have. Maybe in some cases it's pretty much a matter of not growing beyond the ego of a two-year-old, who is self-centered and wants to "be the big cheese" and "run the show". A baby or toddler is "closer" to his biological hard-wiring than a mature, well adjusted, adult is.
The point is, the need to be Number One lies in biological hard-wiring related to being "the Number One" male and "Number One" female", because a species is most likely to result in "the fittest" when the healthiest/strongest male attracts the healthiest, most suitable, female.
So competing with other people is a matter of being less mature and being "less past" biological hard-wiring than someone more mature. Ironically, now that the human species is more complex and more intellectually/emotionally evolved; not being as much "above" hard-wiring as any human being is going to get makes a person a less desirable partner, as far as who would make a good parent goes.
I once read that an example of female sexuality/competition at work is that in a hen yard, if one of the birds is different from all the others, the hens will try to peck her to death. Anyone who has experienced being different from any crowd has probably experienced some version of this kind of treatment (at least verbally). In the case of hens, the crowd doesn't like the different one because she's either inferior to them (not good as far as reproducing goes) or else superior to them (in which case she'll be the one to attract the best male). Their own instinct to reproduce means they have to get rid of the competition, but the instinct to insure a healthy species in the future means they have to get rid of anyone who seems inferior. Either way, it's a lose/lose for anyone who's different.
But, yes - in the case of human beings - it's better for people to work on being the best person they can be, recognized what they could do if they put in the time and effort, recognized what they're not good at but found ways to be as good at something as they can be, etc. etc. A person with well developed thinking and emotional maturity will do that and will make the more appealing mate (as far as "survival-of-the-fittest" thing goes for humans, at this point in evolution). That person will have a healthier relationship, will be a better parent, and will take care of herself and her children. Now that people's brains have become as complex as they are, the human species is beyond just physical attributes in a lot of ways, but not in other ways, of course. If you think about it, though, it still goes back to the thing that the healthiest, right age, most attractive, woman who also is emotionally mature and well adjusted would be the best candidate for "furthering the species".
The person whose emotional maturity isn't developed enough for the level of brain development human beings now have is going to be less likely to attract a mate (or the "best" mate) than a "better specimen" (both physically and emotionally/mentally) would. So that's how the survival-of-the-fittest thing still plays a role in moving the human species ahead. (At least as far as I understand it. )
Some people seem to intimidate others without really trying, but it is up to you whether or not it works.
I have always said that there are certain emotions that are just a plain waste of time and feelings. Hate, being one of them, for you can hate the man next door for ten years and he may never even know it, yet you have the ulcer.
There are people that thrive on these feelings and emotions though, they crave the drama in their life, for it brings to them attentions from others that they seem to never get enough of. As for yourself, you are correct, it is a waste of everything to let these things affect you in any way that brings negativity to your life
There is also the cultural issue of your personal space that relies on what you know and 'believe'. We do everything based on this - then when someone proves all that basis for all those actions are false it makes everything you ever did seem a waste of living.
Understanding that most of what we know is faulty or just plain wrong is the best relaxant in the business. Once this is realised we can chill out and get a sense of wry humour, a deep tolerance and a kindness to others.
Very well put. Though I do think people who do not yet have what they want in life - like enough money or a supportive mate or recognition by people they respect - tend to be less confident and less tolerant and less able to take things philosophically or to channel their feelings benignly. For them, too much is at stake.
If this is not what I said it follows from what I mean maybe.
All the things you mention are symptoms of the desease of 'fear of the other' and an inability to accept others who are wrong - because we know their wrong is only what we don't 'see' as right ?
Most of what we know is faulty? Now I'm heartbroken - how can we know so much yet know so little? lol
You said it well, about living within your personal space & when it's proven beliefs are false it seems like life was a waste of time - but what if the 'proof'' was manipulated? and can't be proven to be manipulated? Same result. You feel your life was a waste of time.
There's also the thing that people who don't like themselves often tend not to like others either. They'll "make up" reason not to like the other person, and maybe that's when zeroing in on a difference (and excuse) not to like the other person kicks in.
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