Self Devaluation

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  1. wingedcentaur profile image65
    wingedcentaurposted 13 years ago

    In our forum on "Self Deception" we are looking at the social mechanism by which a person can be induced to think of himself as, in a way, more than he is(what I like to call "The American Idol Syndrome").

    In this discussion thread I'd like us to think about the flip side of that coin. Consider the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz. The Tin Man, Scarecrow, and the Lion, went through the entire film believing they were all much less than they were. Scarecrow, for example, went through the entire film wishing he had a brain; and yet with the brain he wished he had, it was he, the Scarecrow, who was the one who always figured out how to save the team from various perils they faced, in their adventures. He only believed he had a brain after the "wizard" told him he had one.

    Why did Scarecrow not believe he had a brain? Why did Tin Man not believe he had a heart? Why did the lion's perfectly natural feelings of fear hide his courage? Of course, I don't expect that we will limit the discussion to The Wizard of Oz!

    1. Cagsil profile image72
      Cagsilposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      This simply proves people to be ignorant about their own life.
      The Scarecrow wanted validation for having a brain, because he could not validate himself for whatever reasons.
      There are some questions that don't need to be answered, such as the ones you posed above. The "Why?" if not already obvious, should only be a factor for the individual and not others.

      Why did Tin Man not believe he had a heart? Who cares Why? The best thing to do is recognize the actions he took and let his action dictate whether or not he had a heart. To ask why is psychology and truly in the end, meaningless because the story line only needs to be recognize, so it can be seen much easily.

      1. wingedcentaur profile image65
        wingedcentaurposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        Good Evening Cagsil

        Thank you for visiting our forum today and welcome to you! I grant you my choice of topic may not be practical. But you know, some people have bird watching as a hobby. They run around with binoculars and a notepad and wait for a certain kind of bird to show up, so they can note the time, what he was doing, who he was with, the color of his feathers, etc.

        When you think about it, its kind of like a stake out -- an avian stake out. Thinking about it that way, for me, makes the activity more fun, if not any more practical. And so, one of the things that occupy me is to try to think through obscure, admittedly irrelevant pyschological/philosopphical questions that might occur to me.

        Cagsil, these thoughts are like exotic birds that fly across the dome of my mind. When I see one of them, I run and get my binoculars and notepad....

        Anyhoo -- I understand that you don't consider the 'why' of human behavior or psychogical phenomena of interest or relevance. I respect that. Its a valid and reasonable point of view. Is it also a postmodern one?

        I'm afraid I'm incurably fascinated with the inner workings of people. I crave to grasp the mechanism by which people become "...ignorant about their own life."

        Perhaps you might find this question more interesting, if I emphasized to you that I consider this question the flip side of the question we're discussing in the Self Deception forum. You know, I started off by saying this inquiry had no practical value, but now that I think about it -- I'm not so sure.

        Now that I think about it, it seems to me that the twin socio-psychological mechanisms of Self Devaluation and Self Deception are forces that leech away, from a society, much of its "human capital," and that's no joke. Therefore, the 'how' and 'why' of these mechanism would be a matter of practical concern for parents, teachers, high school guidance counselors, career counselors, counselors who work with Personality Type, etc.

        But what do you think?

        1. Cagsil profile image72
          Cagsilposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          As you said, it is a hobby. It isn't relevant to living life. A person does it because they choose to do so. It is an interest. Any more attention to it, then the hobby becomes a business, then it becomes a requirement.
          I figured as much. However, philosophy is subjective interpretation, as is psychology. You can read whatever you choose into however it plays out. So, in essence you like to play mind games. The question is it at the expense of others? Most usually are.
          Then I suggest you quit wasting time on a forum discussing it and actively seek out like-minded people for more advanced learning.
          I don't have to consider the why? of human behavior. I am a people watcher(wrote a hub about it) and discern truth from those who never have dealings with me. I let their actions speak the volumes that their words cannot hide. The why can be figured out through their actions.
          I do not have a problem with being curious or asking questions, but why? ask in a public forum? Do you really think you're going to get enlightened on the subject? Or other motives?
          Self deception only happens when one is over powered mentally, physically or emotionally, by outside influence. Otherwise, it would not happen.
          The potential of the human species is yet to be tapped, because too many are holding back others.
          An individual, in today's society is limited in their awareness and understanding of life, because of too misconceptions, deep thinkers stretching rational thought to it's somewhat limited end(based on what is known collectively) and the wealthy continue to control much of what happens in people's lives.

          1. wingedcentaur profile image65
            wingedcentaurposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            Good Evening Cagsil

            I will study your response. Thank you very much for your time and for sharing your insights with us.

            Be well!

          2. Rafini profile image71
            Rafiniposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            Hey Cagsil - there are people who live in denial who haven't been overpowered by outside influences....don'tcha think?  I mean, say, a baby born into a family that lives in denial isn't exactly overpowered, but does learn to live in denial.

    2. ceciliabeltran profile image64
      ceciliabeltranposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      you are ofcourse speaking of myth and the inflated ego.

      the clue that you have an inflated ego is anxiety - campbell

      the tin man, the lion and the scarecrow needed external validation of an internal knowledge. the fixation on a particular "lack" is a cue that a presence of potential exists.

      hence, a pompous talented man who has no achievement, sees within himself a potential but does not know how to gain validation or experience of that inner he acts pompous to hide his doubt.

      on the flip side, an extremely apologetic person is afraid of the negative impact of his personal power. when one is given a venue to express the inner self, the validation become actualized

      and the reach the wizard of oz, who is after all that metaphysical hooplah a human from kansas.

      such is the story of the human drama.

  2. Origin profile image60
    Originposted 13 years ago

    That's a tough answer, I suppose the simplest answer would be that the person has low self-esteem. It's also possible that the person tried to do whatever it is over and over again, and failed each time, therefore having a sense of failure for whenever that topic comes around.

    1. wingedcentaur profile image65
      wingedcentaurposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Good Day Origin

      Thank you for joining us today. Let's focus on the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. He went through the entire film wishing he had a brain ("If I only had a brain...."). Yet with that apparently "missing" brain, he figured out how to save the team from the various perils they faced.

      I'm saying that he devalued himself by thinking he was less than he was, in the intelligence department. Why did he do this? Why did he only agree that he had a brain when the "wizard" told him so. Why didn't he realize this before?

      Why did he condemn himself to the life of a scarecrow, hanging on a stick in the cornfield? Why did he live a life smaller than his spirit? And remember, those characters Dorothy tarried with in Oz, were representations of her three uncles, remember? (" You were there," "and you were there," etc).

      I'm asking you to put on your psychoanalysis hat. Is there some message about the uncle on whom the scarecrow was based?

      I also might note, in passing, that I consider this the flip side of self deception, in which one can get an inflated or wrong view of his worth, which we are discussing in another forum.

  3. Rafini profile image71
    Rafiniposted 13 years ago

    Maybe because the scarecrow was devalued by someone else throughout his life in an attempt to control him...(?)

    1. wingedcentaur profile image65
      wingedcentaurposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Good Evening Rafini

      Welcome to the thread and thank you for joining us. First, you needn't be so tentative, there are no "right" or "wrong" answers here. And yes, I agree that when one is emotionally abused when young, this can have a potentially crippling effect on one's self esteem and confidence.

      Still, though, the Scarecrow was a perfectly lovely fellow in every other respect. His problem was that he had a very particular, focused misread, a wildly erroneous devaluing of a specific trait of his personality. I find this fascinating. Scarecrow does't come off like a man who'd been emotionally abused as a youngster.

      1. Rafini profile image71
        Rafiniposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        (tentative = damage control...I'm really not a know-it-all, I have my faults too)

        I would say I've lived my life as the scarecrow and have not quite yet killed the Wicked Witch of the West in order to receive my reward from the Wizard.

        1. wingedcentaur profile image65
          wingedcentaurposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          Good Evening Rafini

          Thank you for your continued paticipation. Since you say you've lived your life as the Scarecrow, who has not yet killed the Wicked Witch of the West in order to receive your reward from the Wizard, let me ask you the following.

          Like the Scarecrow, would you say there was a certain talent you have, Rafini, that you have, for some reason, spent most of your life denying you have (like our friend the Scarecrow)?

          If so, remember, this functions as the flip side of the self deception, as we've defined it in our other forum (the first rounder American Idol syndrome). Again, Is there a talent, skill, or ability you have, Rafini, that you have spent most of your life denying you have -- for some reason?

          1. Rafini profile image71
            Rafiniposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            um, yes.

            1. wingedcentaur profile image65
              wingedcentaurposted 13 years agoin reply to this

              Good Day Rafini

              And what would that be, if you don't mind my asking? What is/are the talent(s) you have, that you have spent most of your life denying you have -- for some reason?

              1. Rafini profile image71
                Rafiniposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                big_smile  my hubs explain all as do my recent posts on the knowledge & education forums.....(I really don't want to get into it....)

                1. wingedcentaur profile image65
                  wingedcentaurposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                  I'll just have to study some of your recent posts on the knowledge and education forum, as well as your hubs, then. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to touch a sore spot.

                  Thank you very much for you time and insights.

                  Be well!

  4. Lisa HW profile image63
    Lisa HWposted 13 years ago

    Maybe this isn't part of the story that's supposed to be factored in; but it was Dorothy's dream, and in it were the important people in her life and their struggles, her own thing that someone (Gulch) was evil toward her and her dog for no real good reason, the whole unhappiness at home thing, and her stopping to see that guy with the crystal ball for answers.

    It was on her mind that the farm hands she liked had those "issues" (before Oz dream started).  In the dream, the fake-Wizard didn't really give those characters what they sought.  He reminded them they had what they'd sought all along.

    I think the reason the story included the home, heart, brain, and courage issues are that those are pretty much the things most people are likely to have "issues" over.  The author was trying to cover everyone's "issues" and also point out that if we don't have one form of wanting to "be better" or another, or one form of not realizing what we are/have or another, we have another one.  Then he threw in the thing about how we can be minding our business and be perfectly harmless, nice, people; and either accidentally anger/hurt someone or else just get someone evil after us for no real good reason; or something destructive, like the tornado, hit out of the blue.

    My "thing" would, I think, be the courage thing; but also the thing about having a "tornado" swoop into your life, pick you up out of it, and dump you in some weird place where you're upsetting people without meaning it, and making them throw more challenges in your way to make getting where you're trying to be that much more difficult.

    1. wingedcentaur profile image65
      wingedcentaurposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Good Day Lisa HW

      Welcome to our forum on Self Devaluation, which, of course, is a form of lying to oneself. I see you're taking us deeper into the heart of the movie The Wizard of Oz. I actually hadn't seen that movie in a long, long time.

      They do say that dreams have messages for us, try to tell us things, don't they? If we don't have one issue, we have another. Self doubt is a part of life, what therapists call "healthy shame." You need to have that, the knowledge that each of us is finite. We have limits and so forth.

      You know, I think its Barbara Streisand I heard this about. After all she's accomplished, after her long and triumphant singing and acting career, after all the albums she's recorded - a woman who could sing the phone book and have everyone adore her - still gets stage fright. Was it Barbara Streisand?

      Still, I can't help thinking that the cases depicted in the Wizard of Oz were at the extreme of self doubt -- where you don't realize you have a talent that you do have, and in a sense use that very talent (that you believe you don't have) to assert that you don't have the talent.

      This self devaluation can be thought of as the flip side of self deception (another forum we have on lying to oneself) in which one wrongly believes he has a talent he does not have. I'm thinking of the glass-cracking efforts of the first rounders on American Idol (remember William Hung?). Or you might think of Willie Loman in Death of a Salesman, who wrongly believed he had a knack for selling -- he did not, of course.

      He didn't even like sales. He should have been a carpenter. But anyway, we can talk about that another time.

      By this criteria, then, if your issue is courage -- are you saying that, as you look within yourself, you find that you have been more courageous than you've given yourself credit for, perhaps? Have you confused fear with a lack of courage?

      I take it, also, that you strongly identify with the tornado aspect of The Wizard of Oz, "... where you're upsetting people without meaning it, and making them throw challenges in your way to make getting where you're trying to be that much more difficult." In what way?

      1. Lisa HW profile image63
        Lisa HWposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        wingedcentaur, I've always really seen the story as one about the basic things in life that make a person whole.  We all tend to build our identity on whether we view ourselves (and the world views us) as kind/good, as having intelligence, and as being strong/brave.  (So I've never really even thought of the WOO thing as being about talent of any time at all.)

        For me, the thing with courage has always been that I'm pretty much one to have always "made a big deal" about the fact that I'm not a physical risk-taker.  Having been a girl, and being someone without a shred of aggression, I pretty much built my identity on the fact that I'm "sensibly cautious" about physical risks and very much averse to getting hurt.  (In other words, I was, in a lot of ways, a "typical girl".)  Things in life, however, have cropped up and resulted in my surprising myself with my own courage (which might actually more be a matter of adrenaline than courage.)  I don't think I've confused fear with lack of courage.  It's been more about knowing that my usual way of operating has always been to be cautious, avoid getting hurt, and generally not seeing any need to show "how brave" I am (the way a lot of guys often do). 

        Yes - I identify with the tornado thing in the WOO.  I can't believe I'm bringing this up in a forum; but what the heck...     I was in a situation when life/people's actions resulted in my pretty much being taken out of my "real" life and dumped down into a situation that was so foreign and unlike anything I'd ever have in my real life, I often thought of Dorothy in the WOO and felt like her - complete with whole house, twirling around, and crashing down.  Without doing anything wrong at all, and only by first hoping to get away from Mrs. Gulch and protect Toto; and then by only wanting to get home again; Dorothy had witches after her, blaming her for something that wasn't her fault and pretty much giving her a hard time for no reason other than to be mean and get even with her.  Even when the fake Wizard tried to make the four characters happy, the other three and the Wizard were happy and Dorothy was left behind.

        The difference was in the "magic" part of WOO Dorothy had the ruby slippers and could click her heels three times.  In the "non-magic" part she got to wake up and be home.  I don't have ruby slipper and have yet to run into any "Good Witches of the North".  So I pretty much remain in Oz, having had my courage and bravery tested far more than ever would have been necessary to help me see that I actually had some courage. 

        "In what way?"  As a woman (who some people seem to have had trouble realizing has not been a little girl for a very long time), I've run into people who didn't think I should have tried to find my own happiness and who took it upon themselves to try to thwart my efforts at every step along the way.

        What I've identified with (besides the black-and-white house-in-the-storm scene and thinking of that time in my life as the color gray) is people giving me trouble when, like Dorothy, I wasn't the one who brought on the "tornado" that tossed my life up in the air and dumped me in some "foreign land".

        As anyone on here can tell, when the Wizard of Oz gets brought up, it brings up what seems to me so much like "the story of my life" in so many ways (and not in good ways) - hence, the verbal running on....    hmm

        (On the Barbra Streisand thing, yes - she's said to be someone who has stage fright. Shyness and things related to stage fright, though, aren't always a matter of someone's not having confidence in themselves.  Shyness, reticence, and discomfort at performing in public can be inherited and be completely unrelated to someone's awareness of his own abilities/talent.)

        1. wingedcentaur profile image65
          wingedcentaurposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          Good Day Lisa HW

          Thank you for this. I will study your response; and I want to thank you for your participation in our form, and for sharing your insights with us.

          Be well!

  5. dcladesigns profile image60
    dcladesignsposted 13 years ago

    In the case of the Tin Man you would actually have to go back and see why he had no heart.

    As the story goes, the woodsman (his profession was cutting trees), fell in love with a munchkin woman, The Wicked Witch of the East being jealous enchanted his axe. As he used this enchanted axe, he cut off his limbs one by one. Every time a limb was cut off a tinsmith replaced it with a tin one. When all his limbs were tin, the axe slipped and cut through his torso. When the tinsmith replaced his torso, he neglected to give the man a heart. Without a heart the Tin Man no longer loved his munchkin sweetheart and the Witch won.

    So in the Case of the Tin Man there was another factor that played into the story. He didn’t think himself any less, he just wanted something he once had.

    1. wingedcentaur profile image65
      wingedcentaurposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Good Evening dcladesigns

      Thank you for visiting our form today. Is that piece from the Gregory Maguire novel, Wicked? I enjoyed  that book myself. I'm pleased you've shown so much enthusiasm for the literary aspect of The Wizard of Oz. You are a hubber that really came prepard. Well done!

      I had only referenced the movie as a take off point. On the other hand, I wanted everyone to take the question in the direction he/she saw fit. Let's pursue this literary vantage point. And let's start with the Tin man, since you mention him.

      Tell me, can you relate the alienation he went through, in having his body replaced with armor -- with that felt by the prisoner who has been in jail, or the may whose been away at war for a long time? How is their relationship to love similar?

      1. ceciliabeltran profile image64
        ceciliabeltranposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        centaur, the study of myth is fairly unknown, neither is depth psychology. is funny. but yeah, you'd think after george lucas, and the holocaust everyone would know jung and campbell, alas. there is too much to know and too little time.

        1. wingedcentaur profile image65
          wingedcentaurposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          Good Day ceciliabeltran

          The study of "depth psychology" is apparently so unknown that I didn't even know that was the name of the things we were engaged in, in addition to myth. But we're all amateurs here. We may even be reinventing the wheel, being a bit redundant.

          Oh well, I don't think the wheel is reinvented nearly enough. I guess we'll just see where it takes us.

      2. dcladesigns profile image60
        dcladesignsposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        The back-story comes from a book written by Baum (author of the entire original Oz series, 16 in total), though at the moment I can't recall which one. I had to scrape my brain to recall what I have said already, so I probably got a few details incorrect but the general plot and story is in my first post.

        In using literary works as a base point for discussion I have always tried to stay true to story lines and character development of the original author, whom without, we would not have anything to compare and discuss. That being said, I have not read all of Baum's books about Oz so I still may be misrepresenting his original ideals.

        As for relating to an alienation that the Tin Man was presented with, I have to decide whether or not I think the alienation was a direct result of something he could control or if it was related to something he could not control.

        I would construe that the Tin Man had no real control over his destiny during the time of his transformation as there were other factors and people that put him in that situation.

        I think in the real world, the difference is more pronounced. If a murderer were to kill a loved one, I would be suffering not out of my own wrongdoing, but out of another’s act. If my loss is directly related to something I did, I would have only myself to blame. Now this get into many gray areas as some believe that everything is by chance and nothing can be controlled, but I believe that actions dictate appropriate consequences.

        In the case of love, I don't think a definitive answer can be reached for each person. Every person is different and acts on different levels of emotion. For me to try to infer would be a disservice to them. For me, The lost of love, or the loss of emotion for a loved one would make me feel rather hollow and in need of something to fill the hollow.

        Now that I have invariably cause more questions than I have answered, I will finish.

        1. Lisa HW profile image63
          Lisa HWposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          Just a quick addition in response to your remark about someone's else's wrongdoing versus something one does himself versus the belief that everything is controlled.  In my case, it was someone else's wrong doing - plain and simple.  In the real world, it doesn't take murder to create a tornado in someone's life.  All it takes is a handful people who are angry and/or insecure and/or afraid of being humiliated or sued enough to cover up their own mistakes.  That's why I think the story we all know is about life and human nature in general.  (I don't mean to "push" my own story, but the tip of the tip of the iceberg part of it is all through my Hubs.  By itself, it's a case study in human nature (although how it is isn't necessarily shown in what I've written - yet).

          1. dcladesigns profile image60
            dcladesignsposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            And I agree, but was using murder as an extreme example. There are many situations that range from slight to extreme that can ruin a life. As I stated, it is very hard to evaluate loss or ruin of a love or life without experiencing the effects firsthand. I don't want to try to "put myself in their shoes" because I know what I would feel and what they would feel are completely different.

            The difference between "Oh crap, I could have done that differently" and "I had no control over the situation" is what I was trying to illustrate.

  6. jennshealthstore profile image81
    jennshealthstoreposted 13 years ago

    For the most part, we all have a little bit of each, fear, lack of heart and courage within ourselves. I think they were trying to teach us a lesson. If we believe in ourselves, we will realize that what we thought we were lacking was really there all along. We just had to dig a little deeper to find it.

  7. donotfear profile image83
    donotfearposted 13 years ago

    You answered it in your post statement: Self-devaluation.

    If somebody has been devalued all their life by the people in their environment, it's going to create self-defeating behavior and actions. This turns the clock to continue the cycle of self-devaluation.

    1. ceciliabeltran profile image64
      ceciliabeltranposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      while that does happen, sometimes it flips on itself and actually the person learns to value himself outside of people's opinion. it really depends on the person.


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