Why worry

Dr. Sanity describes the urge to understand odd behavior. A part of this urge is to just understand, create a model, for what we see. Another part is to be able to anticipate trouble. Critical to this is the realization that people grow and change and solve emotional troubles over time. They may start with solutions that are “immature” and dangerous if they do not change to more productive and effective or “mature” means of dealing with reality.

Some defenses may be considered “immature” or even completely out of touch with reality; while others are “mature”. This is not necessarily a value judgement, since it only reflects the fact that throughout development from childhood to adulthood; certain psychological strategies are generally discarded in favor of healthier and more effective strategies. The difference between the two types–mature and immature–is that the psychotic and immature defenses may cause considerable human misery and are, in the long run, not particularly adaptive or healthy. In some cases, they can even distort or warp reality to such an extent, that the person using the defense puts his life (and possibly others lives) at stake.

This is a very high price to pay to avoid a reality that is unpleasant or unacceptable.

Thus, when I see the predominance of “immature” strategies (e.g. projection, fantasy, acting out)–and/or some of the more primitive and potentially psychotic strategies (denial, distortion, paranoia)–being used by supposedly grownup adults, I begin to look around for explanations of their conduct that are not being acknowledged.

When I observe such strategies being used by large groups or even nations, I cringe; because the liklihood of a large number of deaths and considerable human misery is an almost inevitable outcome.

Often what another does to deal with reality isn’t of any concern to us. At other times, their efforts to cope impinge on us. This can either be by a tragedy such as the recent run Amok or the Venezuelan decent into delegating basic civic responsibilities – both extreme cases to illustrate just how far and how disastrous it can go.

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