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Disputes that have escalated to this point typically create a clear winner and loser. The loser is unlikely to survive, particularly if he or she remains in the territory occupied by the winner, now a mortal enemy. In the aftermath of a losing battle, regardless of how aggressively a lobster has behaved, it becomes unwilling to fight further, even against another, previously defeated opponent.

A vanquished competitor loses confidence, sometimes for days. Sometimes the defeat can have even more severe consequences.

If a dominant lobster is badly defeated, its brain basically dissolves. Anyone who has experienced a painful transformation after a serious defeat in romance or career may feel some sense of kinship with the once successful crustacean. This is reflected in their relative postures. Whether a lobster is confident or cringing depends on the ratio of two chemicals that modulate communication between lobster neurons: serotonin and octopamine.

Winning increases the ratio of the former to the latter. A lobster with high levels of serotonin and low levels of octopamine is a cocky, strutting sort of shellfish, much less likely to back down when challenged.

This is because serotonin helps regulate postural flexion. A flexed lobster extends its appendages so that it can look tall and dangerous, like Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti Western.

When a lobster that has just lost a battle is exposed to serotonin, it will stretch itself out, advance even on former victors, and fight longer and harder. In one of the more staggering demonstrations of the evolutionary continuity of life on Earth, Prozac even cheers up lobsters. The opposite neurochemical configuration, a high ratio of octopamine to serotonin, produces a defeated-looking, scrunched-up, inhibited, drooping, skulking sort of lobster, very likely to hang around street corners, and to vanish at the first hint of trouble.

Serotonin and octopamine also regulate the tail-flick reflex, which serves to propel a lobster rapidly backwards when it needs to escape. Less provocation is necessary to trigger that reflex in a defeated lobster. You can see an echo of that in the heightened startle reflex characteristic of the soldier or battered child with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Principle of Unequal Distribution When a defeated lobster regains its courage and dares to fight again it is more likely to lose again than you would predict, statistically, from a tally of its previous fights. Its victorious opponent, on the other hand, is more likely to win. That same brutal principle of unequal distribution applies outside the financial domain�indeed, anywhere that creative production is required.

The majority of scientific papers are published by a very small group of scientists. A tiny proportion of musicians produces almost all the recorded commercial music. Just a handful of authors sell all the books. A million and a half separately titled books!

However, only five hundred of these sell more than a hundred thousand copies. Bach, for his part, composed so prolifically that it would take decades of work merely to hand-copy his scores, yet only a small fraction of this prodigious output is commonly performed.

The same thing applies to the output of the other three members of this group of hyper-dominant composers: only a small fraction of their work is still widely played.

Thus, a small fraction of the music composed by a small fraction of all the classical composers who have ever composed makes up almost all the classical music that the world knows and loves.

It can be modelled using an approximately L-shaped graph, with number of people on the vertical axis, and productivity or resources on the horizontal. The basic principle had been discovered much earlier. Vilfredo Pareto � , an Italian polymath, noticed its applicability to wealth distribution in the early twentieth century, and it appears true for every society ever studied, regardless of governmental form.

It also applies to the population of cities a very small number have almost all the people , the mass of heavenly bodies a very small number hoard all the matter , and the frequency of words in a language 90 percent of communication occurs using just words , among many other things. All a victor needs to do, once he has won, is to wiggle his antennae in a threatening manner, and a previous opponent will vanish in a puff of sand before him.

A weaker lobster will quit trying, accept his lowly status, and keep his legs attached to his body. All the Girls The female lobsters who also fight hard for territory during the explicitly maternal stages of their existence14 identify the top guy quickly, and become irresistibly attracted to him.

This is brilliant strategy, in my estimation. Instead of undertaking the computationally difficult task of identifying the best man, the females outsource the problem to the machine-like calculations of the dominance hierarchy.

They let the males fight it out and peel their paramours from the top. This is very much what happens with stock-market pricing, where the value of any particular enterprise is determined through the competition of all. When the females are ready to shed their shells and soften up a bit, they become interested in mating. If properly charmed, however, he will change his behaviour towards the female.

This is the lobster equivalent of Fifty Shades of Grey, the fastest-selling paperback of all time, and the eternal Beauty-and-the-Beast plot of archetypal romance. This is the pattern of behaviour continually represented in the sexually explicit literary fantasies that are as popular among women as provocative images of naked women are among men. It should be pointed out, however, that sheer physical power is an unstable basis on which to found lasting dominance, as the Dutch primatologist Frans de Waal15 has taken pains to demonstrate.

Among the chimp troupes he studied, males who were successful in the longer term had to buttress their physical prowess with more sophisticated attributes. Even the most brutal chimp despot can be taken down, after all, by two opponents, each three-quarters as mean.

The political ploy of baby-kissing is literally millions of years old. But lobsters are still comparatively primitive, so the bare plot elements of Beast and Beauty suffice for them. Once the Beast has been successfully charmed, the successful female lobster will disrobe, shedding her shell, making herself dangerously soft, vulnerable, and ready to mate.

At the right moment, the male, now converted into a careful lover, deposits a packet of sperm into the appropriate receptacle. Afterward, the female hangs around, and hardens up for a couple of weeks another phenomenon not entirely unknown among human beings.

At her leisure, she returns to her own domicile, laden with fertilized eggs. At this point another female will attempt the same thing�and so on. The dominant male, with his upright and confident posture, not only gets the prime real estate and easiest access to the best hunting grounds. He also gets all the girls. It is exponentially more worthwhile to be successful, if you are a lobster, and male. Why is all this relevant?

For an amazing number of reasons, apart from those that are comically obvious. First, we know that lobsters have been around, in one form or another, for more than million years. Sixty-five million years ago, there were still dinosaurs. That is the unimaginably distant past to us.

To the lobsters, however, dinosaurs were the nouveau riche, who appeared and disappeared in the flow of near-eternal time. This means that dominance hierarchies have been an essentially permanent feature of the environment to which all complex life has adapted.

A third of a billion years ago, brains and nervous systems were comparatively simple. Nonetheless, they already had the structure and neurochemistry necessary to process information about status and society.

The importance of this fact can hardly be overstated. The Nature of Nature It is a truism of biology that evolution is conservative. When something evolves, it must build upon what nature has already produced. New features may be added, and old features may undergo some alteration, but most things remain the same.

It is for this reason that the wings of bats, the hands of human beings, and the fins of whales look astonishingly alike in their skeletal form. They even have the same number of bones. Evolution laid down the cornerstones for basic physiology long ago. Now evolution works, in large part, through variation and natural selection. Variation exists for many reasons, including gene-shuffling to put it simply and random mutation.

Individuals vary within a species for such reasons. Nature chooses from among them, across time. We make many assumptions about nature�about the environment�and these have consequences.

The environment�the nature that selects�itself transforms. The famous yin and yang symbols of the Taoists capture this beautifully. Being, for the Taoists�reality itself�is composed of two opposing principles, often translated as feminine and masculine, or even more narrowly as female and male.

However, yin and yang are more accurately understood as chaos and order. The Taoist symbol is a circle enclosing twin serpents, head to tail. The black serpent, chaos, has a white dot in its head. The white serpent, order, has a black dot in its head.

This is because chaos and order are interchangeable, as well as eternally juxtaposed. There is nothing so certain that it cannot vary. Even the sun itself has its cycles of instability.

Likewise, there is nothing so mutable that it cannot be fixed. Every revolution produces a new order. Every death is, simultaneously, a metamorphosis. Considering nature as purely static produces serious errors of Plywood Dinghy Plans Free English apprehension. If that demand is conceptualized as static�if nature is conceptualized as eternal and unchanging�then evolution is a never- ending series of linear improvements, and fitness is something that can be ever more closely approximated across time.

The still-powerful Victorian 20 Foot Plywood Fishing Boat Plans English idea of evolutionary progress, with man at the pinnacle, Fishing Boat Plans Pdf 023 is a partial consequence of this model of nature. It produces the erroneous notion that there is a destination of natural selection increasing fitness to the environment , and that it can be conceptualized as a fixed point. But nature, the selecting agent, is not a static selector�not in any simple sense. Nature dresses differently for each occasion.

Nature varies like a musical score�and that, in part, explains why music produces its deep intimations of meaning. As the environment supporting a species transforms and changes, the features that make a given individual successful in surviving and reproducing also transform and change.

It is more that creatures are in a dance with nature, albeit one that is deadly. Nature is not simply dynamic, either. Some things change quickly, but they are nested within other things that change less quickly music frequently models this, too.

Leaves change more quickly than trees, and trees more quickly than forests. Weather changes faster than climate. The order that is most real is the order that is most unchanging�and that is not necessarily the order that is most easily seen. The leaf, when perceived, might blind the observer to the tree.

The tree can blind him to the forest. It is also a mistake to conceptualize nature romantically. Rich, modern city- dwellers, surrounded by hot, baking concrete, imagine the environment as something pristine and paradisal, like a French impressionist landscape. Eco- activists, even more idealistic in their viewpoint, envision nature as harmoniously balanced and perfect, absent the disruptions and depredations of mankind.

It is because of the existence of such things, of course, that we attempt to modify our surroundings, protecting our children, building cities and transportation systems and growing food and generating power. And this brings us to a third erroneous concept: that nature is something strictly segregated from the cultural constructs that have emerged within it.

It does not matter whether that feature is physical and biological, or social and cultural. The dominance hierarchy is not capitalism. It is instead a near-eternal aspect of the environment, and much of what is blamed on these more ephemeral manifestations is a consequence of its unchanging existence.

We the sovereign we, the we that has been around since the beginning of life have lived in a dominance hierarchy for a long, long time. We were struggling for position before we had skin, or hands, or lungs, or bones. There is little more natural than culture. Dominance hierarchies are older than trees. The part of our brain that keeps track of our position in the dominance hierarchy is therefore exceptionally ancient and fundamental. It powerfully affects every aspect of our Being, conscious and unconscious alike.

This is why, when we are defeated, we act very much like lobsters who have lost a fight. Our posture droops. We face the ground. We feel threatened, hurt, anxious and weak. If things do not improve, we become chronically depressed. And it is not only the behavioural and experiential similarities that are striking. Much of the basic neurochemistry is the same.

Consider serotonin, the chemical that governs posture and escape in the lobster. Low-ranking lobsters produce comparatively low levels of serotonin. This is also true of low-ranking human beings and those low levels decrease more with each defeat.

Low serotonin means decreased confidence. Low serotonin means more response to stress and costlier physical preparedness for emergency�as anything whatsoever may happen, at any time, at the bottom of the dominance hierarchy and rarely something good.

Low serotonin means less happiness, more pain and anxiety, more illness, and a shorter lifespan�among humans, just as among crustaceans. Higher spots in the dominance hierarchy, and the higher serotonin levels typical of those who inhabit them, are characterized by less illness, misery and death, even when factors such as absolute income�or number of decaying food scraps�are held constant.

The importance of this can hardly be overstated. It monitors exactly where you are positioned in society�on a scale of one to ten, for the sake of argument. People compete to do you favours. You have limitless opportunity for romantic and sexual contact. You are a successful lobster, and the most desirable females line up and vie for your attention.

And, like your dominant male counterpart, you will compete ferociously, even pitilessly, to maintain or improve your position in the equally competitive female mating hierarchy.

Although you are less likely to use physical aggression to do so, there are many effective verbal tricks and strategies at your disposal, including the disparaging of opponents, and you may well be expert at their use. If you are a low-status ten, by contrast, male or female, you have nowhere to live or nowhere good.

You are more likely to fall ill, age rapidly, and die young, with few, if any, to mourn you. Money will make you liable to the dangerous temptations of drugs and alcohol, which are much more rewarding if you have been deprived of pleasure for a long period.

Money will also make you a target for predators and psychopaths, who thrive on exploiting those who exist on the lower rungs of society. The bottom of the dominance hierarchy is a terrible, dangerous place to be. The ancient part of your brain specialized for assessing dominance watches how you are treated by other people. On that evidence, it renders a determination of your value and assigns you a status.

If you are judged by your peers as of little worth, the counter restricts serotonin availability. That makes you much more physically and psychologically reactive to any circumstance or event that might produce emotion, particularly if it is negative.

You need that reactivity. Emergencies are common at the bottom, and you must be ready to survive. Unfortunately, that physical hyper-response, that constant alertness, burns up a lot of precious energy and physical resources. This response is really what everyone calls stress, and it is by no means only or even primarily psychological.

You will therefore continually sacrifice what you could otherwise physically store for the future, using it up on heightened readiness and the possibility of immediate panicked action in the present. Too much of that and everything falls apart.

The ancient counter will even shut down your immune system, expending the energy and resources required for future health now, during the crises of the present. It will render you impulsive,20 so that you will jump, for example, at any short-term mating opportunities, or any possibilities of pleasure, no matter how sub-par, disgraceful or illegal.

It will leave you far more likely to live, or die, carelessly, for a rare opportunity at pleasure, when it manifests itself.

The physical demands of emergency preparedness will wear you down in every way. It thinks the chance that something will damage you is low and can be safely discounted. Change might be opportunity, instead of disaster.

The serotonin flows plentifully. This renders you confident and calm, standing tall and straight, and much less on constant alert. Because your position is secure, the future is likely to be good for you. You can delay gratification, without forgoing it forever. You can afford to be a reliable and thoughtful citizen.

Malfunction Sometimes, however, the counter mechanism can go wrong. Erratic habits of sleeping and eating can interfere with its function. Uncertainty can throw it for a loop. The body, with its various parts, needs to function like a well-rehearsed orchestra. Every system must play its role properly, and at exactly the right time, or noise and chaos ensue.

It is for this reason that routine is so necessary. The acts of life we repeat every day need to be automatized. They must be turned into stable and reliable habits, so they lose their complexity and gain predictability and simplicity.

It is for such reasons that I always ask my clinical clients first about sleep. Do they wake up in the morning at approximately the time the typical person wakes up, and at the same time every day? If the answer is no, fixing that is the first thing I recommend. Anxiety and depression cannot be easily treated if the sufferer has unpredictable daily routines. The systems that mediate negative emotion are tightly tied to the properly cyclical circadian rhythms.

The next thing I ask about is breakfast. I counsel my clients to eat a fat and protein-heavy breakfast as soon as possible after they awaken no simple carbohydrates, no sugars, as they are digested too rapidly, and produce a blood- sugar spike and rapid dip. This is because anxious and depressed people are already stressed, particularly if their lives have not been under control for a good while.

Their bodies are therefore primed to hypersecrete insulin, if they engage in any complex or demanding activity. If they do so after fasting all night and before eating, the excess insulin in their bloodstream will mop up all their blood sugar. Then they become hypoglycemic and psycho-physiologically unstable. Their systems cannot be reset until after more sleep. I have had many clients whose anxiety was reduced to subclinical levels merely because they started to sleep on a predictable schedule and eat breakfast.

Sometimes this happens directly, for poorly understood biological reasons, and sometimes it happens because those habits initiate a complex positive feedback loop. A positive feedback loop requires an input detector, an amplifier, and some form of output.

Imagine a signal picked up by the input detector, amplified, and then emitted, in amplified form. So far, so good. The trouble starts when the input detector detects that output, and runs it through the system again, amplifying and emitting it again. A few rounds of intensification and things get dangerously out of control.

Most people have been subject to the deafening howling of feedback at a concert, when the sound system squeals painfully. The microphone sends a signal to the speakers. The speakers emit the signal. The sound rapidly amplifies to unbearable levels, sufficient to destroy the speakers, if it continues. Addiction to alcohol or another mood- altering drug is a common positive-feedback process. Imagine a person who enjoys alcohol, perhaps a bit too much.

He has a quick three or four drinks. His blood alcohol level spikes sharply. This can be extremely exhilarating, particularly for someone who has a genetic predisposition to alcoholism.

When he stops, not only does his blood alcohol level plateau and then start to sink, but his body begins to produce a variety of toxins, as it metabolizes the ethanol already consumed.

He also starts to experience alcohol withdrawal, as the anxiety systems that were suppressed during intoxication start to hyper-respond. A hangover is alcohol withdrawal which quite frequently kills withdrawing alcoholics , and it starts all too soon after drinking ceases.

To continue the warm glow, and stave off the unpleasant aftermath, the drinker may just continue to drink, until all the liquor in his house is consumed, the bars are closed and his money is spent. The next day, the drinker wakes up, badly hungover. So far, this is just unfortunate. Such a cure is, of course, temporary. It merely pushes the withdrawal symptoms a bit further into the future.

But that might be what is required, in the short term, if the misery is sufficiently acute. So now he has learned to drink to cure his hangover. When the medication causes the disease, a positive feedback loop has been established. Alcoholism can quickly emerge under such conditions.

Something similar often happens to people who develop an anxiety disorder, such as agoraphobia. People with agoraphobia can become so overwhelmed with fear that they will no longer leave their homes. Agoraphobia is the consequence of a positive feedback loop. The first event that precipitates the disorder is often a panic attack. The sufferer is typically a middle-aged woman who has been too dependent on other people.

Perhaps she went immediately from over-reliance on her father to a relationship with an older and comparatively dominant boyfriend or husband, with little or no break for independent existence.

In the weeks leading up to the emergence of her agoraphobia, such a woman typically experiences something unexpected and anomalous. Some real event typically precipitates the initial increase in fear of mortality and social judgment.

This makes her even more stressed. The thoughts of vulnerability occupying her mind since her recent unpleasant experience rise close to the surface. They trigger anxiety. Her heart rate rises. She begins to breathe shallowly and quickly.

She feels her heart racing and begins to wonder if she is suffering a heart attack. This thought triggers more anxiety. She breathes even more shallowly, increasing the levels of carbon dioxide in her blood. Her heart rate increases again, because of her additional fear.

She detects that, and her heart rate rises again. Positive feedback loop. Soon the anxiety transforms into panic, regulated by a different brain system, designed for the severest of threats, which can be triggered by too much fear. She is overwhelmed by her symptoms, and heads for the emergency room, where after an anxious wait her heart function is checked.

There is nothing wrong. But she is not reassured. It takes an additional feedback loop to transform even that unpleasant experience into full-blown agoraphobia.

The next time she needs to go to the mall, the pre-agoraphobic becomes anxious, remembering what happened last time. But she goes, anyway. On the way, she can feel her heart pounding. That triggers another cycle of anxiety and concern. To forestall panic, she avoids the stress of the mall and returns home. But now the anxiety systems in her brain note that she ran away from the mall, and conclude that the journey there was truly dangerous.

Our anxiety systems are very practical. They assume that anything you run away from is dangerous. The proof of that is, of course, the fact you ran away. Perhaps that is not yet taking things far enough to cause her real trouble. There are other places to shop. But maybe the nearby supermarket is mall-like enough to trigger a similar response, when she visits it instead, and then retreats.

Now the supermarket occupies the same category. The agoraphobic will even eventually become afraid of her house, and would run away from that if she could. Anxiety-induced retreat makes the self smaller and the ever-more-dangerous world larger. There are many systems of interaction between brain, body and social world that can get caught in positive feedback loops.

Depressed people, for example, can start feeling useless and burdensome, as well as grief-stricken and pained. This makes them withdraw from contact with friends and family. Then the withdrawal makes them more lonesome and isolated, and more likely to feel useless and burdensome.

Then they withdraw more. In this manner, depression spirals and amplifies. If someone is badly hurt at some point in life�traumatized�the dominance counter can transform in a manner that makes additional hurt more rather than less likely. This often happens in the case of people, now adults, who were viciously bullied during childhood or adolescence. They become anxious and easily upset. They shield themselves with a defensive crouch, and avoid the direct eye contact interpretable as a dominance challenge.

This means that the damage caused by the bullying the lowering of status and confidence can continue, even after the bullying has ended. Their now- counterproductive physiological adaptations to earlier reality remain, and they are more stressed and uncertain than is necessary. In more complex cases, a habitual assumption of subordination renders the person more stressed and uncertain than necessary, and their habitually submissive posturing continues to attract genuine negative attention from one or more of the fewer and generally less successful bullies still extant in the adult world.

This can happen to people who are weaker, physically, than their opponents. This is one of the most common reasons for the bullying experienced by children. Even the toughest of six-year-olds is no match for someone who is nine.

This happens not infrequently to people who are by temperament compassionate and self-sacrificing�particularly if they are also high in negative emotion, and make a lot of gratifying noises of suffering when someone sadistic confronts them children who cry more easily, for example, are more frequently bullied. I have seen people with a particularly acute sensitivity to petty tyranny and over- aggressive competitiveness restrict within themselves all the emotions that might give rise to such things.

Often they are people whose fathers who were excessively angry and controlling. Psychological forces are never unidimensional in their value, however, and the truly appalling potential of anger and aggression to produce cruelty and mayhem are balanced by the ability of those primordial forces to push back against oppression, speak truth, and motivate resolute movement forward in times of strife, uncertainty and danger.

When skillfully integrated, the ability to respond with aggression and violence decreases rather than increases the probability that actual aggression will become necessary. If you say no, early in the cycle of oppression, and you mean what you say which means you state your refusal in no uncertain terms and stand behind it then the scope for oppression on the part of oppressor will remain properly bounded and limited.

The forces of tyranny expand inexorably to fill the space made available for their existence. Naive, harmless people usually guide their perceptions and actions with a few simple axioms: people are basically good; no one really wants to hurt anyone else; the threat and, certainly, the use of force, physical or otherwise, is wrong.

These axioms collapse, or worse, in the presence of individuals who are genuinely malevolent. In my clinical practice I often draw the attention of my clients who think that good people never become angry to the stark realities of their own resentments. No one likes to be pushed around, but people often put up with it for too long. So, I get them to see their resentment, first, as anger, and then as an indication that something needs to be said, if not done not least because honesty demands it.

Then I get them to see such action as part of the force that holds tyranny at bay�at the social level, as much as the individual. Many bureaucracies have petty authoritarians within them, generating unnecessary rules and procedures simply to express and cement power.

Such people produce powerful undercurrents of resentment around them which, if expressed, would limit their expression of pathological power. It is in this manner that the willingness of the individual to stand up for him or herself protects everyone from the corruption of society. When naive people discover the capacity for anger within themselves, they are shocked, sometimes severely.

A profound example of that can be found in the susceptibility of new soldiers to post-traumatic stress disorder, which often occurs because of something they watch themselves doing, rather than because of something that has happened to them. They react like the monsters they can truly be in extreme battlefield conditions, and the revelation of that capacity undoes their world. And no wonder. Perhaps they were never able to see within themselves the capacity for oppression and bullying and perhaps not their capacity for assertion and success, as well.

Such individuals typically come from hyper-sheltered families, where nothing terrible is allowed to exist, and everything is fairyland wonderful or else. They develop more self-respect. Then, perhaps, they begin to resist oppression. They see that they have the ability to withstand, because they are terrible too.

They see they can and must stand up, because they begin to understand how genuinely monstrous they will become, otherwise, feeding on their resentment, transforming it into the most destructive of wishes. To say it again: There is very little difference between the capacity for mayhem and destruction, integrated, and strength of character. This is one of the most difficult lessons of life. Maybe you are a loser. Maybe you just have a bad habit.

Circumstances change. If you slump around, with the same bearing that characterizes a defeated lobster, people will assign you a lower status, and the old counter that you share with crustaceans, sitting at the very base of your brain, will assign you a low dominance number. Then your brain will not produce as much serotonin. This will make you less happy, and more anxious and sad, and more likely to back down when you should stand up for yourself.

It will also decrease the probability that you will get to live in a good neighbourhood, have access to the highest quality resources, and obtain a healthy, desirable mate.

It will render you more likely to abuse cocaine and alcohol, as you live for the present in a world full of uncertain futures. It will increase your susceptibility to heart disease, cancer and dementia.

Circumstances change, and so can you. Positive feedback loops, adding effect to effect, can spiral counterproductively in a negative direction, but can also work to get you ahead. Some of these upwardly moving loops can occur in your own private, subjective space. Alterations in body language offer an important example. If you are asked by a researcher to move your facial muscles, one at a time, into a position that would look sad to an observer, you will report feeling sadder.

If you are asked to move the muscles one by one into a position that looks happy, you will report feeling happier. Emotion is partly bodily expression, and can be amplified or dampened by that expression. If your posture is poor, for example�if you slump, shoulders forward and rounded, chest tucked in, head down, looking small, defeated and ineffectual protected, in theory, against attack from behind �then you will feel small, defeated and ineffectual.

The reactions of others will amplify that. People, like lobsters, size each other up, partly in consequence of stance. If you present yourself as defeated, then people will react to you as if you are losing. If you start to straighten up, then people will look at and treat you differently. You might object: the bottom is real.

Being at the bottom is equally real. A mere transformation of posture is insufficient to change anything that fixed. And fair enough. Standing up physically also implies and invokes and demands standing up metaphysically. Standing up means voluntarily accepting the burden of Being. Your nervous system responds in an entirely different manner when you face the demands of life voluntarily.

You respond to a challenge, instead of bracing for a catastrophe. You see the gold the dragon hoards, instead of shrinking in terror from the all-too-real fact of the dragon. You step forward to take your place in the dominance hierarchy, and occupy your territory, manifesting your willingness to defend, expand and transform it. That can all occur practically or symbolically, as a physical or as a conceptual restructuring.

To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order. It means adopting the burden of self-conscious vulnerability, and accepting the end of the unconscious paradise of childhood, where finitude and mortality are only dimly comprehended.

It means willingly undertaking the sacrifices necessary to generate a productive and meaningful reality it means acting to please God, in the ancient language. To stand up straight with your shoulders back means building the ark that protects the world from the flood, guiding your people through the desert after they have escaped tyranny, making your way away from comfortable home and country, and speaking the prophetic word to those who ignore the widows and children.

It means shouldering the cross that marks the X, the place where you and Being intersect so terribly. It means casting dead, rigid and too tyrannical order back into the chaos in which it was generated; it means withstanding the ensuing uncertainty, and establishing, in consequence, a better, more meaningful and more productive order. So, attend carefully to your posture. Quit drooping and hunching around. Speak your mind. Put your desires forward, as if you had a right to them�at least the same right as others.

Walk tall and gaze forthrightly ahead. Dare to be dangerous. Encourage the serotonin to flow plentifully through the neural pathways desperate for its calming influence.

People, including yourself, will start to assume that you are competent and able or at least they will not immediately conclude the reverse. Emboldened by the positive responses you are now receiving, you will begin to be less anxious.

You will then find it easier to pay attention to the subtle social clues that people exchange when they are communicating. Your conversations will flow better, with fewer awkward pauses. This will make you more likely to meet people, interact with them, and impress them. Doing so will not only genuinely increase the probability that good things will happen to you�it will also make those good things feel better when they do happen. Thus strengthened and emboldened, you may choose to embrace Being, and work for its furtherance and improvement.

Thus strengthened, you may be able to stand, even during the illness of a loved one, even during the death of a parent, and allow others to find strength alongside you when they would otherwise be overwhelmed with despair.

Thus emboldened, you will embark on the voyage of your life, let your light shine, so to speak, on the heavenly hill, and pursue your rightful destiny. Then the meaning of your life may be sufficient to keep the corrupting influence of mortal despair at bay.

Then you may be able to accept the terrible burden of the World, and find joy. Look for your inspiration to the victorious lobster, with its million years of practical wisdom.

Stand up straight, with your shoulders back. Imagine that a hundred people are prescribed a drug. Consider what happens next. They might not even take it at all. Physicians and pharmacists tend to blame such patients for their noncompliance, inaction and error. You can lead a horse to water, they reason. Psychologists tend to take a dim view of such judgments. We are trained to assume that the failure of patients to follow professional advice is the fault of the practitioner, not the patient.

We believe the health-care provider has a responsibility to profer advice that will be followed, offer interventions that will be respected, plan with the patient or client until the desired result is achieved, and follow up to ensure that everything is going correctly. This is just one of the many things that make psychologists so wonderful � :. Imagine that someone receives an organ transplant. A transplant typically occurs only after a long period of anxious waiting on the part of the recipient.

Only a small number of donated organs are a good match for any hopeful recipient. This means that the typical kidney transplantee has been undergoing dialysis, the only alternative, for years. It must happen five to seven times a week, for eight hours a time. It should happen every time the patient sleeps. No one wants to stay on dialysis.

Now, one of the complications of transplantation is rejection. Your immune system will attack and destroy such foreign elements, even when they are crucial to your survival. To stop this from happening, you must take anti-rejection drugs, which weaken immunity, increasing your susceptibility to infectious disease.

Most people are happy to accept the trade-off. Recipients of transplants still suffer the effects of organ rejection, despite the existence and utility of these drugs. This beggars belief. It is seriously not good to have your kidneys fail. Dialysis is no picnic. Transplantation surgery occurs after long waiting, at high risk and great expense.

How could people do that to themselves? How could this possibly be? Many people who receive a transplanted organ are isolated, or beset by multiple physical health problems to say nothing of problems associated with unemployment or family crisis.

They may be cognitively impaired or depressed. They may not entirely trust their doctor, or understand the necessity of the medication. Maybe they can barely afford the drugs, and ration them, desperately and unproductively.

So, you take him to the vet. The vet gives you a prescription. What happens then? You have just as many reasons to distrust a vet as a doctor. Thus, you care. Your actions prove it. In fact, on average, you care more. People are better at filling and properly administering prescription medication to their pets than to themselves. Your pet probably loves you, and would be happier if you took your medication.

It is difficult to conclude anything from this set of facts except that people appear to love their dogs, cats, ferrets and birds and maybe even their lizards more than themselves. How horrible is that? How much shame must exist, for something like that to be true? What could it be about people that makes them prefer their pets to themselves? It was an ancient story in the Book of Genesis�the first book in the Old Testament�that helped me find an answer to that perplexing question.

Then He created birds and animals and fish again, employing speech �and ended with man, male and female, both somehow formed in his image. That all happens in Genesis 1. That is Genesis 2 to To understand Genesis 1, the Priestly story, with its insistence on speech as the fundamental creative force, it is first necessary to review a few fundamental, ancient assumptions these are markedly different in type and intent from the assumptions of science, which are, historically speaking, quite novel.

In whatever manner our forebears viewed the world prior to that, it was not through a scientific lens any more than they could view the moon and the stars through the glass lenses of the equally recent telescope. Because we are so scientific now�and so determinedly materialistic�it is very difficult for us even to understand that other ways of seeing can and do exist. But those who existed during the distant time in which the foundational epics of our culture emerged were much more concerned with the actions that dictated survival and with interpreting the world in a manner commensurate with that goal than with anything approximating what we now understand as objective truth.

Before the dawn of the scientific worldview, reality was construed differently. Being was understood as a place of action, not a place of things. It was something similar to the stories we tell each other about our lives and their personal significance; something similar to the happenings that novelists describe when they capture existence in the pages of their books.

Subjective experience�that includes familiar objects such as trees and clouds, primarily objective in their existence, but also and more importantly such things as emotions and dreams as well as hunger, thirst and pain. It is such things, experienced personally, that are the most fundamental elements of human life, from the archaic, dramatic perspective, and they are not easily reducible to the detached and objective�even by the modern reductionist, materialist mind.

Take pain, for example�subjective pain. Everyone acts as if their pain is real� ultimately, finally real. Pain matters, more than matter matters. In any case, that which we subjectively experience can be likened much more to a novel or a movie than to a scientific description of physical reality. The Domain, Not of Matter, but of What Matters The scientific world of matter can be reduced, in some sense, to its fundamental constituent elements: molecules, atoms, even quarks.

However, the world of experience has primal constituents, as well. These are the necessary elements whose interactions define drama and fiction. One of these is chaos. Another is order. The third as there are three is the process that mediates between the two, which appears identical to what modern people call consciousness. It is our eternal subjugation to the first two that makes us doubt the validity of existence �that makes us throw up our hands in despair, and fail to care for ourselves properly.

It is proper understanding of the third that allows us the only real way out. Chaos is the domain of ignorance itself. Chaos is what extends, eternally and without limit, beyond the boundaries of all states, all ideas, and all disciplines. Chaos is the despair and horror you feel when you have been profoundly betrayed. It is, in short, all those things and situations we neither know nor understand.

Chaos is also the formless potential from which the God of Genesis 1 called forth order using language at the beginning of time. And Chaos is freedom, dreadful freedom, too.

Order, by contrast, is explored territory. Order is tribe, religion, hearth, home and country. Order is the floor beneath your feet, and your plan for the day. Order is the place where the behavior of the world matches our expectations and our desires; the place where all things turn out the way we want them to. But order is sometimes tyranny and stultification, as well, when the demand for certainty and uniformity and purity becomes too one-sided.

In the domain of order, things behave as God intended. We like to be there. Familiar environments are congenial. We seldom leave places we understand�geographical or conceptual�for that reason, and we certainly do not like it when we are compelled to or when it happens accidentally.

When the same person betrays you, sells you out, you move from the daytime world of clarity and light to the dark underworld of chaos, confusion and despair. Most people would rather be mugged than audited. Before the Twin Towers fell�that was order. Chaos manifested itself afterward.

Everyone felt it. The very air became uncertain. What exactly was it that fell? Wrong question. What exactly remained standing? That was the issue at hand. Chaos is the underground kingdom of the dwarves, usurped by Smaug, the treasure-hoarding serpent.

Chaos is the deep ocean bottom to which Pinocchio voyaged to rescue his father from Monstro, whale and fire-breathing dragon. That journey into darkness and rescue is the most difficult thing a puppet must do, if he wants to be real; if he wants to extract himself from the temptations of deceit and acting and victimization and impulsive pleasure and totalitarian subjugation; if he wants to take his place as a genuine Being in the world.

Order is the stability of your marriage. Chaos is the experience of reeling unbound and unsupported through space when your guiding routines and traditions collapse.

Order is the place and time where the oft-invisible axioms you live by organize your experience and your actions so that what should happen does happen.

Chaos is the new place and time that emerges when tragedy strikes suddenly, or malevolence reveals its paralyzing visage, even in the confines of your own home. Something unexpected or undesired can always make its appearance, when a plan is being laid out, regardless of how familiar the circumstances.

When that happens, the territory has shifted. Make no mistake about it: the space, the apparent space, may be the same. But we live in time, as well as space. In consequence, even the oldest and most familiar places retain an ineradicable capacity to surprise you.

You may be cruising happily down the road in the automobile you have known and loved for years. But time is passing. The brakes could fail. You might be walking down the road in the body you have always relied on. If your heart malfunctions, even momentarily, everything changes. Friendly old dogs can still bite. Old and trusted friends can still deceive. New ideas can destroy old and comfortable certainties.

Such things matter. Our brains respond instantly when chaos appears, with simple, hyper-fast circuits maintained from the ancient days, when our ancestors dwelled in trees, and snakes struck in a flash. All that response is instinctive, in some sense� but the faster the response, the more instinctive.

Chaos and Order: Personality, Female and Male Chaos and order are two of the most fundamental elements of lived experience� two of the most basic subdivisions of Being itself. Things or objects are part of the objective world. This is not true of chaos and order. Wood Turned Lamp by magicman in Lighting. Turned Mallet by jakh in Woodworking.

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