Website owner: James Miller
What is the cause of emotional disturbance, mental problems? There may be a multitude of contributing mechanisms but I think that at the bottom of a large portion of emotional disturbance is two things: 1) fear, and 2) anger. Fear of what? Fear of personal failure and ruin. Fear of losing out in a competitive world. Fear for your future. Fear of being unable to hold a job and thus survive in this world (where it is understood that without a job there is no money and thus no food nor shelter). Fear of finding yourself out in the cold with no food. Fear of ruin and destruction. Why these fears? Well, we all have our strengths and weaknesses, abilities and inabilities, our idiosyncrasies. Some of our weaknesses and inabilities are more important than others and some may present real threats to our ability to cope and compete in life. We are all aware of our weaknesses and inabilities although we may try to hide them from others. And we are aware of the threats they may pose to our ability to compete and survive in life. So what does this translate into? It translates into lack of confidence in oneself, personal insecurity -- a person inclined towards feelings of insecurity and lack of confidence. And so what happens? A person is afraid others will see their weaknesses and inabilities and scorn them and put them down. So they respond defensively. They put up walls. Instead of being open to other people they become closed in their personalities. They keep people at a distance. They fear close scrutiny. They don't want to open up and let people see them. Now for anger. Anger at what? Anger at people and life for all its unfairness. Anger at being put down, humiliated. Anger at society for its unjust institutions which grade you, judge you and destroy you. Institutions like the educational system, for example. And connected with all this is another very important thing: Ego. We all have a certain amount of pride. We all have a need for a certain amount of respect from others, to be treated with decency and respect. We all want to feel that we are as good as someone else. None of us wants to be a failure. None of us wants to be put down, trampled, used disrespectfully, used abusively, be humiliated as may happen if others see our weaknesses and inabilities. And of the two fears, that for material survival and the fear of humiliation, the later is perhaps the worst. For respect is very important to man. A man would almost prefer to give up food and shelter, to die, than to be humiliated. I think it is important to understand the great role played by ego and need for respect in understanding the human mind. A man will do almost anything to preserve his self-respect. The worst thing you can do to a person is to use him disrespectfully, to humiliate him. Bad, malicious people know this. That is why they can use their tongues so skillfully. Inner anger, hostility, lack of confidence, insecurity. It is a very unhealthy combination. It is an unhealthy, abnormal mental pattern that adds up to emotional disturbance and mental problems. What tends to happen is that a person with these problems loses all perspective. He is living so close to his problems that he can't see himself with perspective. He blows his idiosyncrasies, weaknesses and inabilities up into things much bigger than is merited, makes mountains of molehills. He fails to understand that we all have our strengths and weaknesses, abilities and inabilities, our idiosyncrasies. We all have them and must accept them. And that the most important thing in life is not abilities but what we are in a moral sense. There may be things we can't do as fast or as well as others, but we can all serve God and live good, moral, principled lives. A person lacking confidence needs to understand that his weaknesses and inabilities are probably not as important as he thinks, that many weaknesses and inabilities can be overcome, that persistence and hard work will compensate for almost any weakness, and that life has many niches and most people can find a niche where their weaknesses are not a big factor. And he needs to understand that the very worst thing a person can do is allow himself to be taken over by anger and hostility. One must cope with it all without anger. Anger will destroy you. What happens is that things tend to snowball. As the problems become more serious one starts worrying about his mental problems. He feels caught in a trap. And just that worry about his mental condition gets bigger and bigger, takes over his mind, becomes an obsession, and becomes the biggest problem of all. He feels like a fly caught in a spider's web. He doesn't know how to get out of his trap and becomes frantic. It all escalates. His mind becomes all hung up on his personal problems and doesn't function normally. Worry about his mental state has his mind in a continual state of mental distraction. Then he starts seeing psychiatrists who tell him all kinds of foolish things and get him more messed up than he already is. May 2007 More from SolitaryRoad.com:
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