Monday, March 28, 2016

The Wisdom of Insecurity

Yes;  it is the title of a 64-year-old classic by the late (and greatly appreciated) Alan Watts. That book is highly recommended.

As is the one by the late Jiddu Krishnamurti entitled Inward Revolution (London: Shambala, 2006, and do see the link at the bottom hereof to his Wikipedia page) that triggered me to look into the matter of supposed "security" in interpersonal relationship, where it comes from, and how it can only contaminate, corrupt and ultimately make a co-dependent mess when we require it.

The word "require" is italicized above because I am using it in the sense that Stanley and Carolyn Block has used it in a series of excellent, self-help workbooks (see below). For them, a "requirement" is a mental demand, a must, a have-to. It's use in this particular context should become obvious in a few minutes.

Back to Krishnamurti, who was, as usual, expounding upon the nature of so-called "knowledge" as belief that what has been experienced in the more distant past is wholly and thoroughly reliable as an indication of what has just happened... as well as what is likely to occur in the future. Krishnamurti was more than wise enough to grasp the dialectic between the obvious utility of lessons learned as well as the potential of past experience to mislead (as it does for the delusionally paranoid schizophrenic and many with severe post-traumatic stress disorder, for example).

He saw very clearly in lecture after lecture (and book after book; there are more than fifty that I know of) that history is great stuff in the realms of technology, politics, the law and just remembering where you put your keys. But he also saw that mindless attachment to what happened in the past -- without due diligence to the potential for misapplication thereof in the present or future -- is probably the No. 1 reason for conflict in relationships.

For my part, I will suggest that this occurs because we have been almost universally conditioned to look to the past for explanations of the present and possible future from virtually every possible direction since we were old enough to understand verbal re-present-ations (yes; please do consider the way I just broke up that word). Small children, after all, are far more oriented to what is vs. what was, may have been, will or might be. But, we teach them, both instructionally and by behaviorally modeled example how to project explanations, interpretations, evaluations, assessments, judgments and attributions of meaning from experiences of the more distant past into events of the more recent past, as well as a future that has not yet occurred.

(Reconsidering the mental activities of the traumatized combat veteran or rape victim, as well as the schizophrenic who was repeatedly confused by his "crazy-making" family of origin may ring some bells here.)

Again, back to Krishnamurti, who said regularly that 1) "love is the result of seeing what is in relationship," and 2) "you can see how knowledge -- which is the past; the images you have built -- prevents relationship" by displacing observation in the present in favor of fragmented and suspect memory, ill-considered experience and (even worse) unconscious behavioral policies derived from internalized, unexamined and often unrecognized beliefs, instructions, rules and requirements.

"Don't just sit; use your capacities [to observe without unconscious judgment]," he wrote. So I did. And after a few minutes, I wrote:

"The vast majority of people will never understand that the concept of 'security' is just that... and only that: a concept. A mental invention by someone in the distant, un-recalled past that was repeated often enough (by those savvy -- and cynical -- enough to understand its profit potential in a world full of threats to life and limb? I dunno) to make it stick. "Security" is one of many ideas about the way things should be or ought to be or must be or are required to be that only exist as ideas. But if taught, trained, instructed and repeated sufficiently, such ideas become socialized, habituated, accustomed and normalized to such an extent that they are then taken for granted without further consideration.

"If we do consider it, however, we can see that 'security' is merely a hopeful, barely conscious projection of strongly desired future circumstances, regardless of whether those circumstances can actually ever exist... or not. Which -- because there is no such thing as wholly reliable fortune-telling or predicting what will be, makes 'security' a fantasy.

"The instant we are re-captured by our conditioned, socialized, habituated and normalized belief in, desire and demand for, and requirement of 'security,' we are no longer in direct contact with the actuality of the present moment. We are out the door and into Krishnamurti's specific conceptualization of mental 'time.' Which is projecting the future according to the fleeting, fragmented, suspect, often inaccurate, unquestioned and even unconscious memories of the past.

"One may have felt 'secure' in the arms of one's mother when one was a toddler. But as that toddler grows into school-yard childhood, he or she is confronted with the fact that The World is The Way It Is... regardless of how he or she might prefer it to be. And if it weren't for the perpetuation of the fantasy of 'security' by the agents of cult-ural tradition -- not to mention those who stand to make a buck selling it as the antidote to in-security (which really does exist) -- most children would see, hear and otherwise sense reality and come to terms with it.

"For many (and especially those who survived -- rather than enjoyed -- childhood) the institution of marriage is one of the unfortunate upshots of the actuality of in-security and the fantasy of supposed 'security.' Authors like Melody Beattie, Anne Wilson Schaef, Barry & Janae Weinhold, Charles Whitfield and the redoubtable Pia Mellody built entire careers on demonstrating the upshots clinging to the fantasy of supposed 'security' in marriage, as well as other institutions. They call the result 'co-dependence.'"

A bit later, it occurred to me that all of those authors did a bang-up job of describing the syndrome, its patterns and characteristics, and how to work around it, none of them got down to the core of the onion. Which is -- at least in my view, and that of some of the other authors listed in the References below -- psychotizing the populace into co-dependence by marching on and on behind the tattered flag of something dearly (and direly) hoped for that simply doesn't exist: 'security.'

If "security" really doesn't exist, what do we do? "99.99% of the population has been lulled into a daydream. If we wake them up, they'll go nuts!" Sadly, some of them do. Schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder -- see Gunderson, Millon, Freidel, Preston, and Kreger below -- are very often the result of insisting upon "security" instead of its far better alternatives.

The principle alternative is skill. Skill at dealing with life. And that skill is built on the diametric opposite of fantasy and belief.

I was able to develop the skill in the manner described at length at http://pairadocks.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-10-steps-of-emotion-processing.html and discussed with respect to broader issues at http://pairadocks.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-10-steps-for-recovery-from.html. There are other ways, of course. And a number of them are mentioned in those two articles. Some have used Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Some have used Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Some have used Action & Commitment Therapy. Some of have used Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. Some have used Mind-Body Bridging Therapy. Some have used the even newer somatic experiencing therapies. And some have used what they have learned from the real spiritual giants like Siddartha Gautama, George Gurdjieff and Jiddu Krishnamurti.

(A pair of earlier posts that may be germane: 
http://pairadocks.blogspot.com/2015/07/security-is-just-idea.html and 
http://pairadocks.blogspot.com/2015/09/jiddu-krishnamurti-on-loneliness-vs.html.)

The main thing is to find one's way up the path however they do. Because "security" is just a superstition, and as Stevie said...


References

Anonymous: Co-Dependents Anonymous, Phoenix, AZ: Co-Dependents Anonymous, 1995.

Beattie, M.: Codependent No More, San Francisco: Harper/Hazelden, 1987.

Beattie, M.: Beyond Codependency, San Francisco: Harper/Hazelden, 1989.

Beattie, M.: Codependents’ Guide to the Twelve Steps, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990.

Beattie, M.: The New Codependency: Help and Guidance for Today’s Generation: Simon & Schuster, 2008.

Block, S.; Block, C.: Come to Your Senses: Demystifying the Mind-Body Connection, New York: Atria Books / Beyond Words (Simon & Schuster), 2005, 2007.  

Block, S.; Block, C.: Mind-Body Workbook for PTSD, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2010. 

Block, S.; Block, C.: Mind-Body Workbook for Anger, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2013.

Friedel, R.: Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified: An Essential Guide for Understanding and Living with BPD, Cambridge, MA: De Capo Press, 2004. 

Gunderson, J.: Borderline Personality Disorder, New York: American Psychiatric Publishing, 1984.

Gurdjieff, G.: Life is Real Only Then, When I Am, New York: Viking, 1974, 1991. 

Henry, J.: Culture Against Man, New York: Random House, 1964.

Henry, J.: Pathways to Madness, New York: Random House, 1965. Schizophrenia.

Henry, J.: On Sham, Vulnerability and other forms of Self-Destruction, London: Allan Lane / Penguin Press, 1973. 

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Kreger, R.; Shirley, P.: The Stop Walking on Eggshells Workbook; Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2002. 

Krishnamurti, J.: Education and the Significance of Life, San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, (1953) 1975.

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Mellody, P.: Miller, A. W.: Facing Love Addiction: Giving Yourself the Power to Change the Way You Live, San Francisco, Harper, 1992.

Millon, T.; Grossman, S.; Meagher, S., Millon, C., Everly, G.: Personality Guided Therapy, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1999.  

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Whitfield, C.: Co-Dependence: Healing the Human Condition, Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications Inc. 1991.

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