Living on Impulse (Addendum)

Don’t base your lifestyle on Darwin

It is a common assumption that human survival depends on adaptability to one’s environment. But overreliance on adaptability can lead to suffering. When you find yourself in a fishbowl with toxic water, from a human perspective we have the flexibility to look around for a bowl with better water. When there is a way out of a negative situation, it is just silly to remain and adapt. In Darwinian terms, adaptability in nature occurs over many generations that can take hundreds to thousands of years. With a mere 60-80 years of mortal existence, no purpose is served by suffering.  

Living on Impulse - Don't base your lifestyle on Darwin

As a Chinese woman I come from a culture in which much suffering is endured. Traditionally, it is a sign of weakness to ask for help.
I had a neighbor in Ohio who was a professor of counseling. She asked me to give a talk on cultural counseling to her class. She thought it would be beneficial for her students to learn how Chinese women respond to psychological counseling.


I laughed, answering that it would be a very short talk! Chinese people do not air their dirty laundry. We do not tell other people our secrets, let alone pay someone to listen to our woes. Nevertheless, I agreed, and the class benefited from a discussion of what held Chinese women back from telling others about their problems.


Of course, the issue is not limited to Chinese women. Few folks like to share their problems with others. Even if they realize they have a problem and two, they fail to consider that others may have similar problems, and that professional help is available.


So they suffer silently, or even unknowingly, with the presumption that it is their unique cross to bear, adopting that suffering as a way of life.


Even among those who acknowledge the suffering, the default is to do nothing about it, believing they have no power to change. At the extreme are people who embrace suffering as a means of qualifying into heaven.


Whatever the rationale, suffering is universal, cross-cultural and trans-generational. It is also mutable; meaning that it is a choice. Yes, I am a Chinese woman, but my lineage passes thru the Hakka sub-culture. Hakka women do not let problems define them; they are strong and in control, with no time to be wasted on suffering. If you want to experience Darwinian adaptation, look back thru your family tree, find the strongest branch, and become its most recent manifestation, adding to its strength by choosing to exert choice.


Related posts

It is hard to cope when you can’t see the water you swim in; but adaptation is dangerous as well.
Living on Impulse (Part 3)
Only cartoon characters live long and prosper by giving in to primal urges
Living on Impulse (Part 4)

Suffering: Part 3 on the Dr. Kweethai site.


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