Damage control!!!!

Posted on January 11, 2011


“The day will happen whether or not you get up.” Ciardi.

Jenny: ” Help me out. Are you saying that we can only mentally and emotionally afford to analyse and change one of  our important beliefs – models of reality – at a time?  Whereas if we have to critically evaluate more than one we start to wobble, become overloaded and stressed out. For instance if we catch our mate – our trusted loved one – cheating on us AND we lose our job then managing the double uncertainty involved will overload two of our trusted bridges into the future. Then we automatically switch into damage control. For some that may mean  panicking, for some it may mean hiding  in bed, for others  gulping down booze or pills, for others debilitating anxiety or depression, for others calls for help, for others ‘running away’ (physically or mentally through denial), for others reliance on whatever reserve resources  are available (mental, emotional, social, financial) , for  everyone the inceased uncertainty means neglecting or ignoring  large parts of your life while you focus yout limited resources on survival.”

Peter: ” Give me a shout when you two  shift to a new topic – this discussion is making me real thirsty.”

Proffessor Wiggly:”As you said in sailing forth in your ship of life the effectiveness of your damage control depends on a variety of factors; the soundness of your ship and the skill and toughness of your crew (friends and family), the strength and length of the storms you encounter – in brief your capacity for damage control in tough times depends on your reserves. In earlier times people relied on large families and growing and storing their own food as their hedge and  investment in the future.  Gradually we moved into large cities, had small families, got are food at the supermarked, relied on lines of credit and loans. We got less exercise, got fat, ate junk food, no longer had large ‘clans’ of relatives or friendly neighbors to fall back on for support. Your banker is not your friend!”

Jenny:” I was just thinking I don’t have a whole bunch of beliefs that I feel strongly about. I’m probably a bit of a bigot about women’s rights, pretty closed-minded, not really open to new ideas there, unless it involves expanding our rights still further. And I’m pretty self-confidence about myself and my ability to do my job – I don’t see myself being fired. But it would really upset me if I found my boyfriend cheating on me… in fact the very idea makes me sick at mu stomach so maybe I’m not as confident about that as I thought. But most of my ideas or beliefs  are pretty weak or flexible, like beliefs about politics, or food, clothes, furniture, music,  holidays, or books so I go with the flow – I find that there’s something to be said for all sides – I read the NY Times and nod, then I listen ton Fox News and nod – so I tend to go with the last thing I heard. Is that weird?”

Peter: ” Well believing what’s written in the NY Times is certainly weird – that’s a socialist rag! And do really mean that you have no music preferences… come on can you really turn on to a string quartet?”

Professor Wiggly: ” I suspect most people are similar to Jenny, they have a few strong beliefs or biases or  models of reality  that they hold dear and defend vigorously. They’re not open to new learning in those areas. And would suffer greatly if they were somehow demolished. Whereas, most other ideas or decisions are  flexible or simply delegated to others and the recommendations accepted or involve minor easily settled squabbles. That way we can usually operate at a functional doubt to trust ratio. It’s only when one or more of out strongly held beliefs or biases is severely challenged that we suffer overload and we go into short or debilitatingly long damage control.”

Posted in: Sciencing