Denial and Survival

Louis CK is a very talented comic. Why? Because he is honest. He is able to set aside political correct notions (read:censorship) in our current social climate to get ‘to the heart of the matter’ as the lyrics to the song The End of Innocence states. He is able to choose a topic and drill down to its core and unearth valuable truth nuggets to then share with us, his listening and laughing audience. When we laugh we are being anesthetized with endorphins so that the Truths being accepted into our brains are more palatable. While we laugh the truth slips in under the radar of our gate keeper critic and like CBT it then challenges our previous and current notions in our heads. And if you believe the adage not to “believe everything that you think” this is a good thing. And think about it, how much of what you currently think of as facts and truths are in fact shit! I’ve experienced this time and time again in therapy, and especially in group therapy. I have offered up a great many ideas that I have had held in this head of mine that I thought, through years of reason and analysis, were unassailable, as great and true Ideas for the Ages, only to be shot down by another fellow traveler and philosopher. Initially I dislike when someone challenges ideas that I have held dear to me and that I consider to be great flawless ideas. Now I anticipate my resistance, wait for it to pass, then I consider the new information that I have obtained from another philosopher (we are all philosophers btw – fact) and if it makes sense, I try to integrate it into my existing ideas and voila, a new paradigm is born. Now my head has been altered my the introduction of new logic and ideas that then allow me to jettison ideas that were not what I thought they were. In the parlance of the psychological world I think they call this CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Changing the way you think with logic and facts and challenges to the mental status quo.
A philosopher that I know said recently that he does not like to admit that he is wrong because then the other person or people will see this as weakness and use it against him. He was assured that indeed some will. And some won’t. We should try to hang around with those who won’t. They are the ones who respect our dignity and privacy. The others who use it against us have hidden agendas for doing so and the price of knowing that they are cads is in their betrayal. Yes it hurts but knowing that they betrayed us allows us to then free ourselves from them. It we don’t the fault then is ours. My point in this paragraph is this: If you are wrong, admit is so that you are no longer still wrong. If you don’t admit that you were wrong this is wrong so now you have two wrongs. School taught us that we should try to be right as often as possible. When we admit our mistakes we cut our losses, let go of our proud-based inability to admit the error of our ways or words, and move on. The recipient of our error and our correction learn two things. We are fallible and we are honourable. If they use it against us they are dishonourable and petty. We should rid ourselves of them, that is unless admit that they were wrong in betraying us in which case they too are only human and have honour and should be cherished. This is what I call dialogue with dignity.
I used to think that if people disrespected you but were unaware on a conscious level that they were doing so that they were still cool to be around. I have since learned that I am too sensitive to be with people who are not. I can’t help it. I wish I could take their mean statements and chalk them up to that person’s subconscious issues. I do that but I also internalize their mean words and before you know it I am deeply hurt.
As you can see I am trying to figure it all out before I go. When we are gone I do hope that we get to retain the sum of all that we learned while on this planet. I read somewhere that ‘denial’ has helped humans cope the the knowledge that we are all going to die. We know this fact but most of us try to deny it for as long as possible and try to live our lives as if we are never going to die. I like this idea. It explains a lot. It helps to explain why we care about our lives when we know they are going to disappear in a New York minute. It also helps explain why we ignore Global Warming issues, famine, poverty, the list goes on. Denial. Doubt. These human traits allow us to move forward but move forward into what? Nazi Germany’s citizenry had plenty of denial which allowed them to commit heinous acts against it’s fellow philosophers. Yet they are but one example, of many.
Denial may be our undoing. If we continue to deny the very things that threaten our survival the think that has kept us going could very well be the thing that extinguishes us. Ironic. See? English literature terms that we learned in high school do come in handy in real world discussions! Our hubris as a species can be a trait as toxic to society as cancer is to an individual. Time will tell. Do we have the wherewithal to overcome our heredity trait of denial in order to face our social demons without resorting to amusing ourselves to death with media cult figures and silly topics of young Hollywood celebs on the loose with money and crack to burn? Can we collectively admit our mistakes and therefor stop the bleeding that comes from not owning up to our mistakes, and then, once the tourniquet is applied, we then move forward BUT we move forward in the direction of our choosing, and not in the direction decided upon by our base instincts of denial, violence, frivolity and the like. In short, we see our challenges for what they are, cease denying them, have dignified dialogues, then attempt to fix the problems in the long term. We respond to our challenges instead of reacting to them. Frontal lobe vs. reptilian brain kind of stuff.
Whatdoyasay we give these ideas a whirl? What do we have to lose?


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