the dog boasts to the wolf all the contraptions of comfort and luxury he has, almost prompting the wolf to enlist. Until the wolf asks the dog about his collar and is terrified when he understands its use. “Of all your meals, I want nothing.” He ran away and is still running. From Skin in the Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Freedom is never free. It involves, firstly, the strength to recognize our shackels from both within and without, and secondly, the courage to challenge old modes of thinking, habits, and behaviors in ourselves and in others. If your self-image is flexible—made up of your direct experience with things, how you perceive them and react to them, unbiased by any complex associations with other things—you are free to revise the old associations when you encounter those things in new settings rather than cling to or cleave from them because you feel that those experiences are somehow intrinsically linked to who you are as a person. For, when you appropriate singular experiences as fact and
The more you believe that your role in life is a product of your chromosomes, how you were raised, the influences of your early years, the more you will play the part of the victim. A minor character in a plot penned by the hand of fate that dealt out your genetic code, heredity characteristics/attributes, numerous traumatic experiences accidental or otherwise that have befallen you, parental temperament or
When you live in harmony with your daimon, your self image is simply a flexible catalogue of how you perceive things and how you react to them. You may revise how you feel as you encounter those things in new settings or in a new light or “experiment with new ways of being.” But when you adopt the singular instances of experience as immutible fact and abandon further exploration, the provisional catalogue becomes a list of injunctions/precepts/dictum that must be rigidly adhered to. If parts of your self image are labels foisted upon you by a parent or some other authoratitive figure from your past, however be they negative and unjustly so, then you will devote a lot of energy to constantly maintaining this persona, pretending to be someone you are not and proving to others that you are, in fact, who you think you are or “decided to be”.
Analogue cues, that is, our body language, especially our facial expressions, are more telling than the words we use as apparent subterfuge. Reservations are manifested in reticence, diffusiveness, and genteelism. Fear or guilt are characterised by averted eyes, slips of the tongue, hesitancies,
In Making Contact (1965), the family therapist and psychologist Virginia Satir placed behaviours that we habitually indulge in, without being consciously aware of them, into four types. However, what is useful about her categorization is the focus on the bodily basis of the behavior and the feelings evoked when they are enacted.
When we are placating, we believe that we are worthless; that we are unworthy of this life; that we should be grateful that we are even allowed to eat or sleep in our bed. When we are placating we have very little faith in ourselves and the constant refrain is “I always do everything wrong.” On the inside, we feel we need to keep everyone happy so that they will pass us by without incident or injury to our fragile ego, or otherwise. We feel helpless. So we talk in an ingratiating manner, apologising if we so much as infringe upon another’s time or personal space. In this subservient modus, the body is stooped and contracted. The voice is whiny and squeaky because the body is so lowered and constricted ‘that we do not have enough air to keep a full, deep voice’. Faith in oneself and courage in deed are marked by deep and full breathing. The respiration of the plucky optimist is always slow, deep, and regular. ‘The victims of fear and fright are always shallow breathers, the respiratory action being quick and irregular.’ Deep down we feel that we are unlovable and this feeling is characterised by pains in the stomach. In time, this guilt, pity, and contempt for self manifests into contempt for others.
She is not one who can cope with difficulties. She is not one of those who can see beforehand the danger that must come. She is one of whom others will look round and say ‘We want a victim. That one will do’. Agatha Christie, The Third Girl
When we are blaming, we assume an air of superiority over others, pointing a finger at them and talking in a loud, tyrannical manner. We feel that without a show of violence, we cannot ask for what we want or get anyone to listen. When blaming, like the placating, we feel unlovable and ugly on the inside. Like the placater, the body of the blamer feels tight and constricted. The breath comes in short, tight spurts or is held althogether so that the lack of free, flowing oxygen to the brain induces anxiety or could escalate into a panic attack. The voice is loud but shrill or staccato, due to a forced effort to speak in as intimidating a way as possible with the short supply of air at hand. Blaming is usually the product of distrust in others and self inculcated in childhood: “don’t be a coward”, “don’t let anyone cheat you”, “no one can be trusted”.
When we are being overly analytical, we are usually trying to prove that we are smarter than other people. Speech is convoluted, calculated to leave our introluctors discombobulated by brobdingnagian words and esoteric frames, even if we do not understand their meaning . The aim is simply to impress our audience, even if this adulation is short-lived. For no form of deceit goes unnoticed and unrevoked. “The body feels like a dried up husk, cool and disassociated. The voice is a dry monotone.”
When we are being distracting,