The Difficulty Of Maintaining Positive Relationships In A Vacuum World

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The Difficulty Of Maintaining Positive Relationships In A Vacuum World

Trust and love represent two positive emotional attributes of the human relationship to the external world.  Although they can be interconnected with one another, they are always distinct from one another.  Trust refers to the positive connection of a person to either himself, other persons, an animal or else some external world phenomenon or entity that is brought about by how well grounded in the external world the person himself is or the other people, animal, phenomenon or entity are.  Good grounding usually means that the persons, animal, phenomenon or entity are reliable, dependable, and predictable in their  behavior.  If the behavior is reliable, dependable and predictable, that means that the person, animal, phenomenon or entity is not as likely to surprise the original person with one or more disruptive actions.  In other words, the behavior resolves into a series of defined discrete states of being and processes for which the original person can prepare most of the time. 

 Trust is an important component of traditional marriage.  A person likes to think that his partner is not going to commit adultery.  Trust is also an important component of a business relationship.  A person likes to think that someone with whom he is doing business is not going to cheat on him and wrongfully take his money.

People are less likely to commit untrustworthy actions if they are grounded both in the external world as well as within themselves.  And, of course, such grounding is going to be more readily available in a traditional natural environment.  Now I know it sounds crazy to impute the presence of certain emotional attitudes to the availability of certain external world environments.  But a traditional natural environment acts as a good template for positive organic interactions to occur between a person and other parts and aspects of the living environment.  Nevertheless, some might say that external world environments have unsettling events such as earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, floods, epidemics, attacks by wild animals, etc.  Yet usually, if a person has been well-grounded in his external world living environment, he can get through these natural catastrophes, that threaten to undifferentiate him as a defined discrete human entity and swallow him up.

Whereas when physical catastrophes of any sort occur to a person in a modern technological living environment – in an experiential vacuum with very weak or no meaningful grounding – that person is much more likely to experience post traumatic stress syndrome.  One of the most salient features that can appear in a person with PTSD is the loss of trust that things are going to proceed as they normally do in the external world.  Also, there can be a loss of confidence in oneself as a capable functioning human being.  This can lead a person to withdraw from many of his normal activities in the external world.   And paranoia can occur, so one can become suspicious of the motives of others.  Catastrophes reverberate as human experiences in a vacuum.  Whereas, in a traditional natural living environment, there are usually enough positive organic stimuli to help him to weather most catastrophic events.

While trust focuses on the need for grounding in a living environment, both of a particular person and that which surrounds him, love focuses, in addition, on the need for bonding.  With trust, the emphasis on human connection is created by the template of good grounding, while with love, along with a base of grounding, there is a focus on the direct connection of human emotional bonding.  For solid love to occur there has to be a foundation of trust.  Whereas trust does not require the presence of love in order to create a meaningful human relationship.  Trust by itself is a more mediated experience.  The introduction of love into a relationship generates a more immediate experience.

Again, love, as a connection between people, functions best with the template of a lot of organic stimuli in a more traditional natural environment.  Love as a form of human bonding becomes to some extent hollowed out in the experiential vacuum of modern technological society.  People tend to be just too numb today to be able to feel intense positive emotions the way they used to.  Frequently, when they make the effort to have such feelings, people experience them as overwhelming and overstimulating.  Such feelings can simply just swallow them up.

Plus, without much grounding, people bounce around more, engaging in unpredictable behavior which can damage or entirely destroy the love bonds between people.  The same can be said for relationships between humans and animals.  Regarding relationships with inanimate phenomena and entities, people can be turned on and off by many of the products and services that they purchase today.  A good case in point is the fast fashion clothing that was discussed in a previous article.  In other words, positive relationships with other people, animals, products and services today all tend to be much more disposable than they were in the past.  Even love and confidence in oneself tends to be more disposable, which is why there is such an epidemic of self-destructive behavior in modern times.  Today is simply not the best time in human history for foundational relationships built on trust and love.

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Acerca de Laurence Mesirow

Durante mi estadía en la Ciudad de México en los años setenta, me di cuenta que esta enorme ciudad contenía en sus colonias distintos "medio ambientes vivenciales", que iban desde muy antiguas a muy recientes; desde muy primitivas a muy modernas.Observé que había diferencias sutiles en la conducta de la gente y en sus interacciones en las diferentes colonias. Esta observación fue fundamental en la fundación de mis teorías con respecto a los efectos de la tecnología moderna sobre los medio ambientes vivenciales y sobre la conducta humana.En México, publiqué mi libro "Paisaje Sin Terreno" (Editorial Pax-México), y luego di conferencias para la U.N.A.M. y la Universidad Anahuac. También, presenté un ensayo para un Congreso de Psicología.Ahora que mis hijas son adultas, tengo el tiempo de explorar mis ideas de vuelta. Le agradezco mucho a y en especial al Sr. Daniel Ajzen por la oportunidad de presentar mis ideas.

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