Self-deceit: A means forward when genuine achievement is impossible?

Discussion in 'I Have a Question...' started by Obsessive, Apr 12, 2014.

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  1. Obsessive

    Obsessive Well-Known Member

    Generally the treatment strategy for depression is to disprove negative thoughts under the assumption that the patient's perceptions have little basis in reality, but what about cases in which they do? All of the behaviors people engage in towards progress and happiness are products of brain function which can be impaired developmentally and physically, from the ability to learn to the ability to paint for pleasure. In severe cases of low functioning where you just don't come to understand certain things, lack basic cognitions such as perception of beauty and capacity to love, don't connect with humans, and simply have no capacity for growth or fulfillment is there any actual room for positive self-image or happiness? Do you think self-deception could itself be a means of genuine progress through the promotion of positive illusions that cause you to overestimate your control over your life and influence on others in the absence of other means to achieve self-esteem and contentment?
     
  2. meaningless-vessel

    meaningless-vessel Well-Known Member

    To me - the very words self-deceit would suggest painting a lying mask over the top rather than opening the negative thought-minded people to the option of there being positivity out there.

    In the same way substance abusers mask their own version of reality - rather than dealing with the issues at hand.
     
  3. Obsessive

    Obsessive Well-Known Member

    Is there really such a thing as positivity "out there"? You could show me a mountain and gush over how beautiful it is, but to me it's just a mountain; there's no inherent positivity value to it.

    Moreover, what if the issues at hand are things that can't be dealt with? What if the things you'd like to do, to be, have fallen into a pit of cognitive impairment and can never be retrieved?
     
  4. meaningless-vessel

    meaningless-vessel Well-Known Member

    There is positivity out there - to balance the negativity.

    Taking a quote from Sir Isaac Newton no less - "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction" - for every 1 breath of negative air there is one of positive.

    In the case of your second string - If things you'd like to do are beyond your reach - either look at changing the overall goals and dreams - or piece together a platform of smaller ambitions/desires that link up with each other and build up to the overall dream.

    For example. I may want to travel abroad one day in the future, but I have no passport, and limited funds to work with every four weeks. Rather than say "I want to go abroad but it's beyond my control" - I can break that up. Set aside some money - and get relevant paperwork to fill out to get a passport. Then I'd look at saving towards booking a week off.. Then book the holiday and have funds to go with/spending money etc... (It's the small steps that build up to a staircase that can look like a mountain to begin with).

    What would be the difference in trying that analogy in terms of cognitive changes?

    Another example - I know I'm not good at physical sports or going to a gym. But rather than focus on being frustrated at not being as able as others to do such events - I look at what I can do - not what I can't. Focusing on what I can do/am better at doing - I don't get myself as frustrated at the lack of being able to do these things.

    Both examples utilise physical over mental. I know that. But the meaning behind them? Can be modified to suit individual needs whether it's physical or mental. Either break the "mountain" into multiple "hills" - or select a different route. Focusing on what can be done not what can't. There's a distinct difference in approach - and by going more for things you can do - there's more chance of rebuilding confidence in one's own abilities.
     
  5. youRprecious!

    youRprecious! Antiquities Friend

    I certainly do, to an extent......although not towards the promotion of anything negative (illusionary). There's that adage: "Fake it till you make it" - and that's not all bad. We can think our way into a new self-image. After all, that tends to be what happens in reverse, owing to the 2nd law of thermodynamics (disintegration occurs when no positive effort is made to prevent it).
     
  6. Obsessive

    Obsessive Well-Known Member

    I'm not so sure the principles of motion and physics can be stretched to apply to models of cognition. That is rather tantamount to suggesting that the facts of evolution imply the moral imperatives of social Darwinism. There is no objectively "negative air" in a breath as though it were somehow a loss - the facts don't necessitate such a value judgment because the reality is more complicated than a binary good vs. bad as though human emotions were things neatly divvied up as some overarching function of the universe.

    The level of cognition I'm talking about is far more subtle than the means to go on a trip, but just as powerful. If you don't have a concept of beauty or a concept of fun, what good is a trip? If you crave the cognitive benefits of going on a trip, but lack the physical capacity to reap those benefits when you do, it would be functionally indistinguishable from having no means to go on the trip in the first place. How does one "work up" to obtaining a faculty they do not have?

    What if the things you can do are things you don't want or are of no benefit towards your desires? If one could simply appropriate their desires at will to fit their limitations why would anyone ever feel the need to go the extra mile for the sake of pleasure when they could simply lower the bar such that the ability to sit still in their chair becomes just as rewarding an accomplishment as anything else?
     
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