4Sight Insight: Resiliency

The thing about 4Sight is that there's often a universally agreed to concept in the mental health field along with a self-evident, easy-to-understand explanation of how that is integrated into our daily life. Resiliency is one of those as 4Sight explains it as the combined proficiency of your Self-esteem (SE) and Self-confidence (SC) processes. For more information on the psychological persepective, I always like to direct people to wikipedia and I'll assume that this web page will adequately explain the concept if you're not already famliar with it.

The problem with Resiliency, though, in the US today can be summed up in the clarification of this key phrase: "manage normal stressors". Adequate SE and SC give us the ability to manage what I'll refer to as natural stressors. Unfortunately, when either process goes below a certain threshold, we invent stressors. So while it is one thing to be able to handle the ups and downs that life - and really, statistical probability - sends our way, it is an entirely different equation to deal with the stress the we literally fabricate with our feelings. The end result is that we become self-involved, focused on our own emotions while ignoring or dismissing the feelings and needs of others. That fact fundamentally breaks down the group, the social structure that emotions enable in the first place.

Animals are inherently selfish, and if you think about this from a purely logical standpoint, it makes sense. If I am some "being" and my fundamental goal is my own survival, then my priority is on me, not my offspring let alone some other member of my species. Survival is a primary need and really the most powerful one we have. Secondary to that is the feelings I have for my own kind. This contradictory situation was seemingly solved with the evolution of our higher-level thinking via our neocortex. So while our selfish drive may be to dismiss or even hurt those in our tribe for our own benefit, that drive is thwarted by the advantages I know I derive from acting as a group. Consequently, we literally are taught from birth to be social and think of others. It is something we need to learn. However, if that process goes awry, consideration of the "group" can be greatly diminished.

Understanding why our emotions are out of control in a modern world is a pretty simple exercise *if* you take the time to look at it. All you need to look at is what has occurred during the past couple hundred years and the fact that we've not kept up socially with the pace with other developments. Before the printing press, life's purview was mostly limited to our town and even more so to our household. Yes, there were the few who knew what was going on in the bigger world, but the day to day vision was very myopic. During that time the child rearing process itself was done by multiple people working together. The close-knit farm group - and even the family business later on as industrialization took hold - was the typical experience for the vast majority of the population. We had many siblings, multiple generations and lots of relatives working together. This small clan approach is something which we had worked out over millennia before and it worked well. The proof being the proliferation of our species. Then cities happened.

To be clear, cities aren't the problem per se, but they are a symptom and an evolution necessity. The world in which we live today would not be possible without the coordination of thousands and thousands of people. The planet's ability to sustain billions of people require such collaboration. The market economy, of which we're pretty much all intertwined, by definition facilitates it all. The problem is that as we've moved to this technological need and endpoint, we have failed to socially advance as well.

I will close with this thought: we are not a very resilient species at this moment in history given what our daily lives require and the world dictates but we really need to be. The result, I'll suggest, is the divisiveness and conflict and chaoas that is daily reported in our news. It doesn't have to be this way, and unless we figure out how to get out of this mess, we may literally cease to exist. Global warming alone may be the uniting factor, but it will take a concerted worldwide effort and likely a massive redirection in investment to get there. But given the fact that climate change is regularly dismissed by those receiving the benefit of our current misdirected focus - business in general and defense in particular - it may be too late before we come to the realization that fighting each other is a destructive, worthless and counterproductive process. It is time to move the micro-benefits that collaboration instilled upon the clan and roll it out on a macro-international scale.

Real leaders wanted. The rest of you? Please sit down and be quiet. Follow if you even know how. The wisdom of the crowd is needed now more than ever.

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