First Aid page
This page is meant to be of help for readers who find themselves in emotional turmoil through contents of this Wiki. Below, we will present a number of advises for different situations of distress, cognitive dissonance, depression or even suicidal tendencies.
Feeling a failure
One of the more frequently occurring problems that readers of this Wiki may encounter is being overwhelmed by feelings of failure and fear. Some articles on this Wiki do lead to inescapable conclusions about personal shortcomings in our functioning, that is, for us humans in general.
On the one hand these personal shortcomings are occurring in Homo sapiens so frequently, that they can be considered as a current characteristic of our species.
On the other hand the personally emerging awareness of such shortcomings may come as an unpleasant surprise, demolishing many illusions of personal adequacy and personal well-functioning and well-being. If that happens to a reader, the fact that such a personal state is not really different from the average state of all other specimens of Homo sapiens, is often of not much help. The personal feelings of disappointment and failure then tend to rule and to determine the day. The result is feelings of helplessness, sadness, stress and fear, ranging from just a bad mood to even suicidal tendencies.
Experience has shown us that these possible effects on readers are not exaggerated. People often tend to take the described irrational biases in human behaviour as personal and since these biases are explained to have disastrous and deleterious effects on human life, many readers, recognizing that they too suffer from those biases, tend to take these biases with their negative effects on human society as personal failures. In such cases it does not help those readers that these biases are regular, species specific characteristics of human behaviour and that it is therefore unreasonable to be personally blamed for such characteristics. In spite of that fact they take it personally and may thus be overwhelmed by feelings of "being not good enough", of being a "failure".
If this happens, we can give some help with a number of considerations that the suffering reader could then try to become aware of. These are:
1) Emotional states are by definition (relatively) short lasting.
That is how mother nature has structured our emotional system and at that the emotional system of all animals. Emotions are designed to make us move and for that very reason they are also designed to last for short periods only. The advice should therefore be to "sit it out" and to not attach too much value to any emotion in question and in particular not attach too much "permanent value" to it. Because emotions are designed to make the individual move, any awareness of its "temporary" character tends to be suppressed. That perceived permanent quality makes the emotions more "real" and thus more effective, but such sense of absoluteness or permanency in reality is just a perceptual fallacy.
Awareness of this factual "real" state of affairs may be of help. Patience can in principle be sufficient to overcome bad feelings. That's how we are structured and that is how it is supposed to be. The problem here is that we are designed specifically to nót understand this state of affairs. "Not understanding" is an ESS (Evolutionarily Stable Strategy). "Understanding" is nót an ESS.
2) It is a fallacy to think that the reader's suffering is unique.
The articles on this Wiki underline that the condition of Homo sapiens during the last 5,000 to 10,000 years has primarily been a condition of fear, neuroticism and slavery, more so than it used to be in earlier times and more so than our genetic endowment would permit under better circumstances. In short, the depressed reader is not the only one suffering this way. Many fellow victims may be found nearby. Besides, humanity has known better times in this respect. And ........... such better times may return.
3) Being in existence is sufficient proof of being worth the trouble.
From a purely evolutionary perspective, the reader's very existence is proof of being of value. He/she is the result of long processes of natural selection. Mother nature apparently found this result good enough to bring it forth. That is not a small feat.
The reader may counter that nevertheless feelings of failure and shortcomings prevail and that one feels that this must be the "end of the line", feeling to be justifiably "weeded out" as a failure. But that holds for all living beings that happen to be around. They all are involved in a struggle for survival. Therefore, feelings of falling short emerge regularly with all of us. They only may differ in the relative frequencies of such feelings to emerge and in the persistence of such feelings.
From the pages of this Wiki the conclusion can be drawn that we are, like all other living beings, subject to processes of natural selection. Being weeded out or failing to reproduce are therefore possible outcomes of our personal life. Statistically, such failure is even the most likely outcome of anybody's life.
However, it is argued on this Wiki(*) that after the expected Point Omega shift, mankind will find itself in completely different circumstances. In those circumstances one of the primary rules will be that the whole of mankind will be held responsible for the life of every human being on earth and that this responsibility will be accepted. Once this novel state of affairs will have spread, every human being can rely on being accepted as a fellow human being, deserving support and assistance from the beginning to the end. Basically this is a logical and unavoidable consequence of "Conscious Evolution"(*) which will be one of the characteristics of after Point Omega. Then, the customary evolutionary processes of competition and painful selection will be replaced by conscious strategies, taking the pain and misery stings out of the process for us humans. So, anticipating on that novel state of affairs that is coming, we had better already accept the notion that each one of us is sufficiently worth the trouble. It goes without saying that such a general attitude will make a tremendous difference for the well being, not only of the distressed reader, but of the whole of mankind.
Perspective for better times
The main conclusion of this Wiki (**) is that our personal and social behavioural systems are organized in such a way that we are at the brink of a completely novel way of functioning, personally as well as socially. We have labeled that transition as Point Omega. If we interpret the current changes well, that transition is to be expected very soon. In fact it seems to have started already and gaining speed.
For our emotional states this implies that we may expect better times to come. This may help to exercise some patience if the going is rough.
Also, this knowledge may help to be aware that many a painful circumstance in the present day structures is not to last but is likely to be replaced by something more agreeable to us all, and that this may happen within the near future. From this awareness one may derive confidence in one's own preferences as compared to what the power structures usually demanded and still demand from us. And that confidence may help us to not be as emotionally disturbed by the power structure's onslaughts as is generally (supposed to be) the case.
Tricks and props to improve the quality of our feelings
From the information on this Wiki(**) we can derive a better understanding of the mechanisms ruling our emotions and motivations. And from this improved understanding we can derive a number of methods and recipes that can help us to improve our emotional states on the short term. We mention here 4 of such recipes:
1) Breaks and pauses
From the information on this Wiki it can be concluded that the most powerful tool to improve a person's well being is to make sure that enough paratelic states can emerge. In a "natural" situation, a situation for which our behavioural systems have evolved and have been adapted to, there is on average sufficient opportunity for paratelic states to emerge automatically and frequently enough to enable the individual to grow into mastery in most areas of life. However, in our modern "advanced" and modern societies the power structures in charge make sure that for most people, for most carriers of their culture, there is not sufficient time and space to trigger paratelic states to emerge frequently enough. That is one of the most basic and elementary tricks of power structures to create highly dependent and malleable people. Neurotics are easier to manipulate than people who have attained mastery in most fields.
So, exerting counter-pressure on this power-structure force that keeps us down by blocking frequent enough paratelic states by preventing enough breaks and pauses and resting periods, is the best we can do. The recipe is to make use of the available culturally established breaks and pauses, tea-breaks, lunch breaks, limited working hours per day, holidays, etc. In most modern societies these breaks and pauses are part of the societal fabric. However, large and by the pressures from society on its carriers to work under too high stress levels are still high enough to cause the average citizen to grow into a state of mild but still crippling neuroses. That average situation prevents most people from deploying their full potentials, but it makes them malleable and predictable and thus reliable for the power structures in charge. The recipe is therefore to make ample use of the offered breaks and pauses, short term as well as long term and to expand this approach further than what is considered "normal". The neuroticizing "normalcy" should be outflanked.
2) Meditation techniques
Apart from the above one may apply meditation techniques, designed to bring about pauses in the internal radio, thus opening the road to breaks and pauses on another level, that may strongly help to regain emotional and motivational balance.
3) Understanding our (meta-)motivational system
From this Wiki(*) one can easily obtain the information needed to come to grips with our internal motivational system, including our meta-motivational system, the dynamics of the telic and paratelic state. Once one is aware of these dynamic processes, one is less frequently "taken by surprise". It thus becomes easier to take "cool" decisions when and where needed, making it easier to manage one's own emotional dynamics.
4) Understanding the "Devil's tricks" that keep us down
This recipe is very powerful, but it is less suitable / applicable in phases of early acquaintance with this theory. It is more useful in later stages of gaining knowledge and insight.
It consists of acquiring insight in the many mechanisms, tricks, superstitions and deceptions that the power structures utilize to impose, exert and maintain their influence and power over us humans. On this Wiki one can find descriptions of a host of such tricks. Since all those tricks serve to keep us down instead of helping us forward, we might, using ancient language, call these tricks the "tool-kit of the devil". The number of such tricks described on the Wiki(*) is too long to repeat them all at this place. Suffice it to say that more understanding of that tool-kit of the devil will work as antidotes. Insight makes us less vulnerable for these tricks. And that in turn can improve our daily feelings and emotional states. Thus the advice here is to take notice of all that information on the Wiki, irrespective of this being a longer term action.
Renounce information or move forward ?
Knowing or not knowing
In case novel insights are causing turmoil, doubts and pain, when one's traditional world is shaken up and old certainties are vanishing, a first reaction may be to try and get rid of all those new insights and perspectives. The new information is felt as a threat to the familiar world.
However, that is not so easy. The information on this Wiki(***) is dealing with the intricacies of our internal functioning, with how we tick ourselves. Basically, we are dealing here with our own learning process, with how the learning processes feel inside. The new insights are about how we learn, with how we wish to live, with how we choose our fields of experiences, and with how all this is processed and digested. It is dealing with how mastery comes about, but also with how fears and neuroses emerge and can grow into overwhelming avalanches of misery(*), as alas is usually the case until now.
Learning process in two directions
As can be concluded from the information on this Wiki(***), the learning process in principle can work in two directions, the direction of mastery and the direction of continuing cumulation of fears and avoidance reflexes. This is a consequence of how our emotional and motivational system is organized. In that technical sense it is a symmetric system. It can work both ways and that makes evolutionary sense.
Learning is easier than un-learning
However, there is an important asymmetry in this learning mechanism in that once a situation has been mastered, it can hardly be undone. Reversely, fear clusters, negative COEX systems, can very well be undone. In fact the learning system is geared to reduce and reprocess negative COEX systems whenever enough time and energy is available to expand and improve the total of the learned capacities. In that sense the learning system is large and by a one-direction process. It is far easier to "un-learn" fear clusters than it is to "unlearn" acquired skills and mastery. And that also makes evolutionary sense. (See for instance the learning experiments with mice(**) for an experimental demonstration of this principle.)
So, once the reader has acquired new insights about his/her own position and about the workings of society and his/her own role therein, it is almost impossible to return to the previous levels of ignorance. Acquired knowledge, acquired skills and mastery, can hardly be undone. It is basically a one-way dynamic system of development.
Forward or backward
Our advice in such cases of emergency through cognitive dissonance and stress is therefore to choose to move forward, rather than to try getting back in the previous ignorant states. In general, the latter just won't work. It is one-way traffic. And once the theory on this Wiki has been understood and processed, it will be clear why this is the case.
The above implies that in other animals with learning capacity normally speaking the learning process is more likely to finally produce mastery than to produce unlimited cumulations of avoidance reflexes, phobia's and neuroses. Avoidance reflexes are in principle the most immediate and easy to achieve results from aversive experiences. They are meant to save the individual from emergencies, to save life. Besides, the system tends to keep the individual in safety until sufficient energy and equilibrium have been restored to tentatively seek contact again with the problematic field of experience in question. Thus experiences tend to be dosed precisely enough to maximize the likelihood that in the end mastery may occur. And where avoidance reflexes will not be overcome in the end, we are in general dealing with a danger that warrants continuous avoidance. So, under natural circumstances continuing cumulation of avoidance reflexes only keeps occurring in that minority of individuals that are on a path of final elimination. As such it is supporting the normal evolutionary forces and thus enhances the over all evolutionary outcome, supporting the adaptive qualities of the species in question.
Homo sapiens, an anomaly
That in human beings the situation seems to be different, in that a majority is suffering from overload of negative COEX systems (badly digested areas of functioning), seems to be an evolutionary anomaly. In a sense it is the "misfiring" of the open ended learning system, which in itself is one of the most successful achievements of evolution. On this Wiki(*) it is argued that this unfortunate situation with Homo sapiens only has emerged for no more than 5,000 or 10,000 years and that it is shortly coming to an end and that the mechanisms of "conscious evolution" will then replace the sources of neurotization and enslavement with more agreeable mechanisms.
Ahead of the herd
Whereas, subjectively speaking, this coming about of the Point Omega transition will still take a considerable time, it may here and now already give us the confidence that we inescapably will move into that direction and that we, by taking notice of the insights as presented here, just find ourselves in the vanguard of progress. That may at first feel uncomfortable, but in the end it is no doubt the best position as seen from the perspective of personal growth and well being in a changing world.