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The Coddling Of The American Mind. Yup. Someone's a Big Fragile.

by Mike Levin

Saturday, September 10, 2022

I am reading The Coddling of The American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt. Wow, this explains a lot. I can’t believe some of the behavioral patterns I see in my own child. I had attributed much of it to the home-schooling by my previous wife, but I’m now seeing that a lot of it is a product of the times. It’s a timely read.

I just finished chapter one, The Untruth of Fragility: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Weaker. It’s so appropriate now with my child freaking out at me for being myself, rather silly. Silliness is fine. What’s not fine is freaking out in anger to try to modify the behavior of your father, no matter how many YouTubers riled you up into righteous indignation and a false sense of entitlement.

Chapter one winds up with the following conclusions which I will do well to internalize through repeated reading.

Children like many complex adaptive systems are anti-fragile.

Their brains require a wide range of inputs from their environment in order to configure themselves for those environments.

Like the immune system, children must be exposed to challenges and stressors within limits and in age appropriate ways, or they will fail to mature into strong and capable adults able to engage productively with people and ideas that challenge their beliefs and moral convictions.

Concepts sometimes creep.

Concepts like trama and safety have expanded so far since the 1980s that they are often employed in ways that are no longer grounded in legitimate psychological research.

Grossly expanded concepts of drama and safety are now used to justify the overprotection of children of all ages, even college students who are sometimes said to need safe spaces and trigger warnings least words and ideas “put them in danger”.

Safetyism is the cult of safety; an obsession with eliminating threats both real and imagined to the point where people are unable to make reasonable trade-offs demanded by other practical and moral concerns.

Safetyism deprives young people of the experiences that their anti-fragile minds need, thereby making them more fragile, anxious and prone to seeing themselves as victims.

I own this in Audible format, but I think I’ll buy the Kindle version so I can truly internalize the teachings. I can tell I’m going to have to go toe-to-toe with coddles in the future who are telling my child they have no control over their cognitive tigers. Wow, that’s exactly the chapter 1 lesson. There is a strong belief that if you are intellectually challenged that you are being done harm. I need the counter-arguments that are very tied to having an immune system that can deal with allergens.

It is my moral duty and obligation to ensure that my child is not super-fragile and unprepared for the future. You can’t keep yourself sheltered forever, not if you want to engage with the world and life.

I just fed the kids Cthulhu stew (octopus in vegetable broth with potato’s and seasoning). Hope they like it. Even this goes a lot towards the resiliency. Openness to new things, and perchance new ideas. Open minds. Don’t knock it ‘till you try it. Put a little on your plate. Don’t make a face until you taste it. Some kids think it’s great!

Get some more thoughts together in this regard. The fragile-brigade loves to go on the attack in groups. If you can rally enough people together with false beliefs out on a witch hunt, they’re going to kill themselves some witches.

Be smarter and more aware than to let yourself get burned at the stake, LOL! It’s exactly this sort of joking they object to. Yes, it’s horrible people really got burned at the stake (and probably still do here and there through ought the world, statistically speaking), but you’re allowed to use those expressions. A person going on the attack against you for using such expressions are hollow empty people with too much time on they hands. Be better than that. Live better than that.

Rule #1: Treat Yourself Like Effing King

Life is good and much of what matters is how we vim itvimin our own minds. What’s important is what we decide is important. Society and group norms play some role, but don’t let group-think ruin you. You’re here on this world to get out of it something of your deciding, and once you decide what that is, pump it up to Eleven. That’s your reward for being alive. Eat grapes. Cuddle kitties. Do whatever makes you rejoice to be alive.

Rule #2: Don’t Let ‘Em Getcha Down

They’re going to tell stories about you. They can say anything they want, but that doesn’t make it true. One of the easiest things in the world is to make stories that make you feel better about yourself at the expense of others, vilify others, and find comfort and happiness in playing victim and finding excuses. Be better than that. Do your thing. Be your cool self, and your self is so cool that you attract knocker-downers. They can’t help it. They’d like that genuineness in themselves, but in the end they’re snarky leaches without an ounce of the stuff they covet in you. That’s why they’re shit-talking you. Know that and take it as a source of validation rather than being bothered over wanting to be liked or some stupid herd-mentality group-think.

Alternative Rule #2 paragraph:

The key thing you’ll encounter as a lover-of-life who’s met the wrong person is their attempt to end your loving-of-life. They’re jealous and a seething hatred they’ll keep secret drives then to monopolize your time and energies, sucking you dry until you are a shell of your formal self, and those rats still won’t be happy. They’ll be satisfied as a hunter is at bringing down prey but their conquest won’t feed the village. If you find yourself in that situation, I recommend honking their nose like a clown when they think you should be deadly serious and deadly drained. Let them know their best ain’t enough to take you down, then learn from your experience with them and move on.