Trauma and Man

On occasion western civilization seems bent upon engaging in a startling, and perhaps quite dangerous bit of psychic engineering. I would find it odd, but for the fact that people generally prefer the safe to the arduous, the certain to the speculative. It is the unusual ones, those who eschew the known for the unknowable, who chart most of the progress in the record of the advancement of species. That they also form the foundation of much misery and failure is the inevitable price to be paid. Evolution, both of creatures, and their societies, is not a game for the faint of heart.

The human animal is born in pain and fear. It is perhaps an accidental mercy that the memory of birth is so feeble, so deeply buried, that it does not haunt the dreams of every living man and woman every night of their lives. It becomes clear that in birth, Man faces His first great trauma. What surprises me when I choose to muse upon it is that Man seems desirous of eliminating that which forms the bedrock of His experience of life. Lacking trauma, what would drive the creature that is Man? That is the experiment the West seems to be setting forth. I wonder at its wisdom for the mind of Man seems to thrive on trauma. What will be made of Him should He somehow circumvent the hardening found in that kiln for the soul?

It is not some conscious endeavor, nor is it particularly well under way. It moves in fits and starts, being seen in efforts to shield the youthful against any and all duress or hardship born of failure. It is seen in the penchant for demanding that some greater entity stand in to assure that no one should be offended, distressed or discomfited by either malice or simple happenstance. Nor is this trend guaranteed to continue for reality is a mistress most harsh and given to stilling such foolishness in the womb.

Nonetheless, it does seem to be a process that could build a certain momentum. It bears watching.

4 Responses to “Trauma and Man”

  1. but dont people always seek the easiest way? isnt avoiding excess work the normal way you show you are intelligent?

    and dont most people always bitch no matter how good things are?

  2. People choose the uphill struggle almost as often as the easy path, from my own observations. Sometimes it is because they see the rewards of the struggle. Other times they are just rebellious. And then there are those who just don’t realize they are making things hard on themselves. The life of ease would dictate that we never reproduce, for example. Some of us have a family because we believe that it is a rewarding and enriching experience. Others run off and get pregnant because we want to assert our independence. And some of us don’t plan past the immediate gratification of sending a few rounds downrange to make sure the target is protected.

    Ease is a logical pursuit, but we really aren’t a logical people.

  3. Were it merely a matter of seeking ease it would be beneath commenting upon. The question, or more correctly, the issue, is the desire on the part of some to use imposed authority to guarantee a life free of any trauma or happenstance misadventure. Do not misunderstand: I do not see this as something well advanced, it is more a nascent development, and I am perfectly willing to accept that I may be wrong. It is also quite reasonable to suggest that regardless of what efforts might be made to move in such a direction, reality will act, as it is wont to do, to correct such foolishness if foolishness it is.

    The larger question is to imagine what effect an absolute loss of trauma, both physical and spiritual, would have upon the creature that is Man.

  4. An uncle of mine once told me a story about a woman who had grown fond of a squirel that lived in a tree in her yard. The woman had a bag of shelled pecans in her pantry, and decided she would feed her little friend. She enjoyed watching the animal come to the same spot each morning to eat, so she carried on with this for several weeks.

    After some time had passed, she noticed the animal seemed a bit listless, and soon became practically lethargic. She called a local veterenarian and asked what could be wrong. The vet informed her of the importance of finding food to the animal’s health, and of cracking the nuts with its mandibles, and advised her to stop feeding it shelled nuts.

    She immediately started putting out a few nuts in the shell, rather than the handful of shelled nuts. However, the animal had lost interest in the shelling process. It eventually died.

    It’s impossible to capture the colloquial tone my uncle had, but the wisdom is still there. We do things to alleviate suffering and labourbecause we are compassionate. We forget, though, that the suffering and labour are an important part of the process of becoming rational, productive humans. Pain, and the avoidance thereof, has always been a topic of interest to me, and was a topic of one of my own favourite journal entires here.