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    nmw 18:37:25 on 2015/09/06 Permalink
    Tags: behavior, , , , , cultures, , , , , , , , , , societies, , sociological, , , ,   

    Delusions of Grandeur 

    Wikipedia.org has two articles that seem somewhat related — one is about “delusions of grandeur”, the other is about “grandiosity”. From the latter:

    A distinction is made between individuals exhibiting grandiosity, which includes a degree of insight into their unrealistic thoughts (they are aware that their behavior is considered unusual), in contrast to those experiencing grandiose delusions, who lack this capability for reality-testing. Some individuals may transition between these two states, with grandiose ideas initially developing as “daydreams” that the patient recognises as untrue, but which can subsequently turn into full delusions that the patient becomes convinced reflect reality.

    In this post, I hope to describe how my own world view is strongly shaped by sociological thought, rather than such psychological approaches. The way I see it, psychology tries to explain the behavior of individuals without any reference to the groups, communities, cultures or societies they are a “part” of. In my opinion such a perspective is wrong on many grounds — perhaps the most significant one is the nearly ridiculous view that the psychologist apparently considers himself/herself able to make observations regarding people that might pass muster as “scientific” or “objective”; a close second is the quite obvious observation almost anyone with even a minimal education could make, namely that people are indeed very strongly affected by other people. As psychology and psychiatry are normally considered to fall within the discipline of medicine, their focus is nearly exclusively on biological organs. This very parochial approach is not always and everywhere followed by each and every psychologist / psychiatrist (indeed, just a single exception would suffice to discredit such a hypothesis), but one can hardly deny that the more any psychologist / psychiatrist pays attention to sociological factors, the less likely they will be considered to be bona fide  medical professionals.

    Let me try to make all of this a little more concrete with an example. Sometimes people say to me: “You can only change yourself — you cannot change others”, several ideas occur to me (but most of these ideas are not exactly in my direct consciousness — I have to reflect on them in order to bring them fully into my awareness). First of all: Why does this person say this to me? If we cannot change other people, are they not wasting their breath in talking to me at all? Indeed: Following this thinking, it is completely absurd that humans developed language, that we send our children to school, that we pay people to do jobs, and so on.

    Secondly, even if this were not a completely absurd thing to say, I think: “Does this person actually consider me to be such a narcissistic idiot, that I might think I could say ‘X’ and then expect other people to simply ‘fall in line’?” What image do they have of me, to suppose that I would think this way? Although I do admit that I am happy when someone shares my opinion, I do not expect that other people will always accept my way of thinking. It is merely my opinion — and even if I strongly defend it, that certainly doesn’t mean I consider it to be an indisputable truth.

    Here is another example, perhaps even a little more extreme than the previous one: There is a so-called “Law of Attraction”, a quasi theory which wikipedia.org declares has no scientific basis — “the idea that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life”. In other words: merely by thinking something — nothing more than a mental state — people might be able to cause such events to happen … no, indeed even it is more fantastic than that: The supposition is that there is some sort of natural law, which will force these things to come about. Apparently, there must be a lot of people who think too much about cancer, or maybe they can’t help themselves from constantly thinking about car accidents. I do admit to having thought about sunny days before, but that doesn’t mean these thoughts actually brought about sunny days, does it?

    In contrast, I feel that a large part of the world we live in is socially constructed. No one can succeed on their own. Every success is a matter that is sanctioned by some group, some community, some culture, some society, etc. People who feel they are able to succeed on their own are deluding themselves. They apparently do not wish to accept the role that other people have played in achieving their status, their privileges and/or their awesomeness.

     

     
  • Profile photo of nmw

    nmw 21:04:52 on 2015/01/06 Permalink
    Tags: behavior, deceive, deception, deceptive, , , handle, , , , lying, ,   

    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act 

    On wikipedia.org, it is debated whether this line is a quote by George Orwell or not. Even worse: On yahoo.com, there is this question: What does “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act” mean? :|

    The reason why I bring up this quote (regardless of who it was that said or wrote it) is that it illustrates the phenomenon I wrote about in my last post. If the society you live in requires you to lie, then that behavior is a widely adopted handle in that society.

    Compare another quote (attributed to Viktor Frankl): “The last of human freedoms – the ability to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances.” If the circumstances are a society that tries to force you to lie, then it is nonetheless up to the individual to choose  what to do.

    A similar scenario commonly quoted is the exchange between Emerson and Thoreau, after Thoreau had been jailed for not paying taxes. Apparently, Emerson asked Thoreau what he is doing in jail. Thoreau answered by asking Emerson what he is doing in society.

    If your life depends on lying to people and using manipulative and deceptive practices in order to trick people into buying overpriced junk, then this behavior will sooner or later become a pillar of your world view.

     
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    feedwordpress 11:43:11 on 2013/07/03 Permalink
    Tags: behavior, , compassion, narcissim, , , , , , , ,   

    High self-esteem people make you feel good about yourself 

    I don’t think it’s that difficult to distinguish between people with narcissistic disorders and people with high self-esteem. Narcissists – real narcissists – abuse and destroy the people closest to them (and those of you who know what I’m talking about, raise your hand). High self-esteem people, on the other hand, uplift, empower, inspire. They are the Oprahs of your world. They make you feel good about yourself, as if their own sense of worth is contagious.

     
  • Profile photo of feedwordpress

    feedwordpress 22:34:46 on 2013/05/15 Permalink
    Tags: behavior, , , , , , , , ,   

    You are my bee’s wax 

    Two people I enjoy following are Justine Musk and Ted Ernst. They each recently wrote interesting posts — on the one hand, Justine suggested to “provoke the world“, on the other Ted suggested to “give up hope“.

    You know what? I disagree with both of them.

    I do not want to exist by myself. I am very inspired by many existentialists, but I view my environment as part of my own existence. I will not give up the hope that you might feel the same way about me — and that means we want to make each other feel good, at ease,… — in other words: not provoked.

     
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