squarepeg wrote: ↑
15 Mar 2017, 20:20
If we have built the soulless cities, maybe we can put the soul back into them again?! Although I feel like it would take going out and talking to strangers and I have way too much social anxiety to do that on a daily basis.
Ok, that's not funny, just frustrating, and perhaps yet another manifestation of subtle mental illness that affects Agency.
This raises a question in my mind. What is "mental illness" and what is "normal"? There are all kinds of interpretations.
I don't mean to pick on you, honest, it's just that your post offers up an example that could help us see shades of gray in our interpretation of normal.
Is the ability to talk to strangers normal? If you feel social anxiety in those situations is that a sign of an illness, however mild? Can both be considered normal? Can both be considered a sign of an illness?
In that context do we consider something an illness when we view a desired behavior, talking to strangers, and recognize that there may be factors that limit our ability to develop said behavior, social anxiety. Normal becomes a trait we judge to be good and the things that serve as obstacles to developing that trait are the illnesses?
Could it be that we identify normal as what the majority does and identify what the minority does as an illness? What if 99 people out of 100 have too much social anxiety to comfortably talk to strangers regularly but one person out of 100 has no issues at all? In that scenario who is normal and who has the illness?
You mentioned social anxiety. This is me guessing about nature and evolution, there's no scientific basis to the comments I'm about to make, just me shooting from the hip. I imagine isolated tribes of homo erectus doing their thing. What could happen when an individual from the Ohio State homo erectus clan comes across an unknown individual from the Michigan clan? (or Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona for the non Americans among us) Who knows? It could be a friendly encounter were fire making secrets are shared or it could be club swingin' time (me guessing).
Animals and evolving humans were (and are) tribal and territorial. Could it be that evolution programmed us to be socially anxious as a survival mechanism? Approach a stranger, you could get your skull caved in. In time we're conditioned to avoid strangers.
Fast forward a hundred thousand years, give or take a million years. Toss boats, cars, and planes into the mix. Nationalism remains but our sense of safe territories (spaces) start to erode as we all come together. Tribes start to become non-visible things like beliefs and political leanings. If it's not skin color, race, or gender we can't tell who is in our tribe and who isn't based solely on appearance. Everyone that we don't recognize is not in our tribe. Is the human that feels uncomfortable around strangers considered normal because they're more responsive to a subconscious survival instinct? Is the person that's cavalier around strangers crazy because they went right up to that stranger, don't they know they could be clubbed?!?!?
As the years pass, as fewer and fewer humans club other humans (hopefully), is the person that's still responding to instinct, still experiencing disquiet around strangers considered mentally ill? Silly, no one is going to club you (physically anyway, emotionally - whole other ballgame). Someone that's still responding to a base instinct despite the passage of a few generations of non-physical clubbing. What's their problem?
I feel like I'm only clubbing the surface of social anxiety, and there are many, many mental illnesses that we haven't come close to understanding. I'm only trying to add shades of gray.
Interpreting social anxiety as an illness that affects agency reminds me of another topic I could drone on and on about.
As an orthodox believer I equated extroversion with righteousness and introversion as a sin (of omission). Hand on Bible I feel it was the result of the teachings and emphasis we place on things as a church culture.
It set up a nice dynamic for me. Do the things that made me comfortable as an introvert, feel bad because I wasn't measuring up to the culture's standards. Try to measure up to the culture's standards, feel bad because as an introvert it made me extremely uncomfortable. There are many examples, home teaching is the low hanging fruit.
Don't do home teaching? Feel guilt. Do home teaching? Feel the need to retreat to a place of solitude to recharge... which meant no home teaching for a while... which meant more guilt.
IMO the church is a church for extroverts, by extroverts. Standing up and telling myself that it's okay to be me was a game changer. I might not earn all the gold stars in programs designed to reward extroverts but that's okay. I no longer feel like god
is impatiently waiting for me to participate in programs that are better suited for people that are not like me.
So, is introversion an illness? I hope so.