HOME  |   ENGINEERING  |   RESEARCH  |   CONTACT
The Courage to be Disliked

ICHIRO KISHIMI
2013

This world is astonishingly simple and life itself is, too

  • None of us live in an objective world, but instead in a subjective world that we ourselves have given meaning. At present, the world seems complicated and mysterious to you, but if you change, the world will appear more simple. The issue is not about how the world is, but about how you are.
  • Adlerian Psychology was a completely new school of psychology that was established by the Austrian psychiatrist, Alfred Adler, at the beginning of the twentieth century.
  • Adlerian psychology is accepted as a realisation; a culmination of truths and of human understanding.
  • Aetiology is the the study of causation.
  • Teleology is the study of the purpose of a given phenomenon, rather than its cause.
  • Those who take an aetiological stance would argue that what you were suffering from stemmed from such-and-such cause in the past, and would then end up just consoling you by saying, "So you see, it’s not your fault." The argument concerning so-called traumas is typical of aetiology. In Adlerian psychology, trauma is definitively denied. Freud’s idea is that a person’s psychic wounds (traumas) cause his or her present unhappiness. Adler, in denial of the trauma argument, states the following: No experience is in itself a cause of our success or failure. We do not suffer from the shock of our experiences—the so-called trauma—but instead we make out of them whatever suits our purposes. We are not determined by our experiences, but the meaning we give them is self-determining.
  • We determine our own lives according to the meaning we give to those past experiences. Your life is not something that someone gives you, but something you choose yourself, and you are the one who decides how you live. People are not controlled either by emotion or the past.
  • The Freudian aetiology that is typified by the trauma argument is determinism in a different form, and is the road to nihilism.
  • People are not driven by past causes, but move toward goals that they themselves set. The important thing is not what one is born with, but what use one makes of that equipment. You find living hard, and even wish you could be reborn as a different person. But you are unhappy now because you yourself chose being unhappy.
  • The Greek word for "good" (agathon) does not have a moral meaning. It just means "beneficial". Conversely, the word for "evil" (kakon) means "not beneficial". Our world is rife with injustices and misdeeds of all kinds, yet there is not one person who desires evil in the purest sense of the word; that is to say something "not beneficial".
  • Lifestyle is the tendencies of thought and action in life. In a narrow sense, lifestyle could be defined as someone’s personality; taken more broadly, it is a word that encompasses the worldview of that person and their outlook on life. Lifestyle is something that you choose for yourself.
  • Although there are some small inconveniences and limitations, you probably think that the lifestyle you have now is the most practical one, and that it’s just easier to leave things as they are. On the other hand, if one chooses a new lifestyle, no one can predict what might happen to the new self. It will be hard to see ahead to the future, and life will be filled with anxiety. It’s easier and more secure to be just the way one is. When we try to change our lifestyles, we put our great courage to the test.
  • No matter what has occurred in your life up to this point, it should have no bearing at all on how you live from now on. That you, living in the here and now, are the one who determines your own life.
  • In order to not like yourself, you don’t see your strong points, and focus only on your shortcomings. Get the person first to accept "myself now", and then regardless of the outcome, have the courage to step forward. In Adlerian psychology, this kind of approach is called "encouragement".
  • Being alone isn’t what makes you feel lonely. Loneliness is having other people and society and community around you, and having a deep sense of being excluded from them.
  • All problems are interpersonal relationship problems.
  • Feeling of inferiority is a term that has to do with one’s value judgement of oneself.
  • Value Judgement is the feeling that one has no worth, or that one is only worth so much.
  • We cannot alter objective facts. But subjective interpretations can be altered as much as one likes. And we are inhabitants of a subjective world.
  • People enter this world as helpless beings. And people have the universal desire to escape from that helpless state. This is called the Pursuit of Superiority. Simply "hoping to improve" or "pursuing an ideal state".
  • The pursuit of superiority and the feeling of inferiority are not diseases, but stimulants to normal, healthy striving and growth.
  • Complex refers to an abnormal mental state made up of a complicated group of emotions and ideas, and has nothing to do with the feeling of inferiority. It’s crucial to not mix up "feeling of inferiority" and "inferiority complex". There is nothing particularly wrong with the feeling of inferiority itself. The inferiority complex, on the other hand, refers to a condition of having begun to use one’s feeling of inferiority as a kind of excuse.
  • Apparent cause and effect is when you convince yourself that there is some serious causal relationship where there is none whatsoever.
  • When one is suffering from strong feelings of inferiority, and, on top of that, one doesn’t have the courage to compensate through healthy modes of striving and growth, the person thinks of trying to compensate in some other fashion. That is a fabricated feeling of superiority. One makes a show of being on good terms with a powerful person. And by doing that, one lets it be known that one is special. Those who go so far as to boast about things out loud actually have no confidence in themselves.
  • Some people try to make themselves "special" by way of their experience of misfortune, and with the single fact of their misfortune try to place themselves above others.
  • A healthy feeling of inferiority is not something that comes from comparing oneself to others, but from one’s comparison with one’s ideal self. Even if you’re not a loser, even if you’re someone who keeps on winning, if you are someone who has placed himself in competition, you will never have a moment’s peace.
  • There is a difference between personal anger (personal grudge) and indignation with regard to society’s contradictions and injustices (righteous indignation). Personal anger soon cools. Righteous indignation, on the other hand, lasts for a long time.
  • Let’s say you take control of the quarrel. And then the other man, who was seeking to defeat you, withdraws in a sportsmanlike manner. The power struggle doesn’t end there. Having lost the dispute, he rushes onto the revenge stage. Once the interpersonal relationship reaches the revenge stage, it is almost impossible for either party to find a solution. To prevent this from happening, when one is challenged to a power struggle, one must never allow oneself to be taken in.
  • When you’re subjected to personal attacks right to your face, "bearing it" is proof that you are still stuck in the power struggle. When you are challenged to a fight, and you sense that it is a power struggle, step down from the conflict as soon as possible. Do not answer his action with a reaction. That is the only thing we can do.
  • Anger is a form of communication, and that communication is nevertheless possible without using anger. We can convey our thoughts and intentions and be accepted without any need for anger.
  • No matter how much you might think you are right, try not to criticise the other party on that basis. This is an interpersonal relationship trap that many people fall into.
  • The rightness of one’s assertions has nothing to do with winning or losing. Admitting mistakes, conveying words of apology, and stepping down from power struggles—none of these things is defeat.
  • Life Tasks are objectives for behaviour: to be self-reliant and to live in harmony with society. Then, the objectives for the psychology that supports these behaviours are the consciousness that I have the ability and the consciousness that people are my comrades.
  • Life Tasks can be divided into:
    • Tasks of work: Interpersonal relationships of work have the easy-to-understand common objective of obtaining good results, so people can cooperate even if they don’t always get along
    • Tasks of friendship: There is none of the compulsion of the workplace. It is a relationship that is difficult to initiate or deepen.
    • Tasks of love: can be divided into two stages: one, what are known as love relationships; and two, relationships with family, in particular parent–child relationships. It is the most difficult. When one can think, Whenever I am with this person, I can behave very freely, one can really feel love. In love relationships and marital relationships, there is the option of separating. In a parent–child relationship, however, in principle this cannot be done.
  • No matter how distressful the relationship, you must not avoid or put off dealing with the life-lie. One is running away from one’s life tasks by saying that everything is the fault of other people, or the fault of one’s environment.
  • Adlerian psychology denies the need to seek recognition from others.
  • Adler was very critical of education by reward and punishment. It leads to mistaken lifestyles in which people think, if no one is going to praise me, I won’t take appropriate action and if no one is going to punish me, I’ll engage in inappropriate actions, too.
  • It is in order to overcome the nihilism of a godless world that it is necessary to deny recognition from other people.
  • Do not behave without regard for others.
  • Separation of tasks: In general, all interpersonal relationship troubles are caused by intruding on other people’s tasks, or having one’s own tasks intruded on. Carrying out the separation of tasks is enough to change one’s interpersonal relationships dramatically. A simple way to tell whose task it is. Think, Who ultimately is going to receive the end result brought about by the choice that is made?
  • Adlerian psychology does not recommend the non-interference approach - the attitude of not knowing, and not even being interested in knowing.
  • I’ve got that boss, so I can’t work. This is complete aetiology. But it’s really, I don’t want to work, so I’ll create an awful boss, or I don’t want to acknowledge my incapable self, so I’ll create an awful boss. That would be the teleological way of looking at it.
  • If one is living in a such a way as to satisfy other people’s expectations, and one is entrusting one’s own life to others, that is a way of living in which one is lying to oneself, and continuing that lying to include the people around one.
  • Separating one’s tasks is not an egocentric thing. Intervening in other people’s tasks is essentially an egocentric way of thinking.
  • If one were to say that living like a stone tumbling downhill and allowing such inclinations or desires or impulses to take one wherever they will is "freedom", one would be incorrect. To live in such a way is only to be a slave to one’s desires and impulses. Real freedom is an attitude akin to pushing up one’s tumbling self from below.
  • The courage to be happy also includes the courage to be disliked. When you have gained that courage, your interpersonal relationships will all at once change into things of lightness.
  • Adler was opposed to any kind of dualistic value system that treated the mind as separate from the body; reason as separate from emotion, or the conscious mind as separate from the unconscious mind. This view of the human being as "I as a whole", as an indivisible being that cannot be broken down into parts, is referred to as "holism".
  • The sense of others as comrades, this awareness of "having one’s own refuge", is called Community Feeling.
  • When Adler refers to community, he treats it as all-inclusive, covering not only nations and all of humanity, but the entire axis of time from the past to the future—and he includes plants and animals, and even inanimate objects. A way of living in which one is constantly troubled by how one is seen by others is a self-centred lifestyle in which one’s sole concern is with the "I". Feeling that one has one’s own place of refuge within the community; feeling that "it’s okay to be here", and having a sense of belonging—these are basic human desires.
  • A sense of belonging is something that one can attain only by making an active commitment to the community of one’s own accord, and not simply by being here. One needs to think not What will this person give me? but, rather, What can I give to this person? That is commitment to the community.
  • Physical punishment is out of the question, of course, and rebuking is not accepted, either. One must not praise, and one must not rebuke. That is the standpoint of Adlerian psychology. The mother who praises the child by saying things like "You’re such a good helper!" or "Good job!" or "Well, aren’t you something!" is unconsciously creating a hierarchical relationship and seeing the child as beneath her.
  • The Vertical Relationship is a relationship that Adlerian psychology is highly critical of. This includes reward-and-punishment education is that its intention is to manipulate children. The feeling of inferiority is an awareness that arises within vertical relationships. If one can build horizontal relationships that are "equal but not the same" for all people, there will no longer be any room for inferiority complexes to emerge.
  • Intervention is a vertical relationship kind of intruding on other people’s tasks, and directing them. Assistance presupposes the separation of tasks, and is a Horizontal Relationship. One neither praises nor rebukes. This kind of assistance, which is based on horizontal relationships, is referred to in Adlerian psychology as Encouragement.
  • When one is not following through with one’s tasks, it is not because one is without ability, but simply that one has lost the courage to face one’s tasks. Giving praise is a judgement that is passed by a person of ability onto a person without ability.
  • When one hears words of gratitude, one knows that one has made a contribution to another person. When a person is able to feel that he has worth he can possess courage..
  • Instead of thinking of oneself on the level of acts, first of all one accepts oneself on the level of being.
  • Self-affirmation is making suggestions to oneself, such as "I can do it" or "I am strong", even when something is simply beyond one’s ability. It is a notion that can bring about a superiority complex. With self-acceptance, on the other hand, if one cannot do something, one is simply accepting "one’s incapable self" as is, and moving forward so that one can do whatever one can. We do not lack ability. We just lack courage.
  • Resignation has the connotation of seeing clearly with fortitude and acceptance. Having a firm grasp on the truth of things.
  • When we speak of Trust we are referring to something that comes with set conditions. From the standpoint of Adlerian psychology, the basis of interpersonal relations is not founded on trust but on confidence.
  • Confidence is doing without any set conditions whatsoever when believing in others. To feel "it’s okay to be here" one has to see others as comrades. And that to see others as comrades, one needs both self-acceptance and confidence in others, and contribute to others.
  • Contribution to others does not connote self-sacrifice. Contribution to others, rather than being about getting rid of the "I" and being of service to someone, is actually something one does in order to be truly aware of the worth of the "I".
  • A way of living that is lacking in "harmony of life" is one where one sees only a part of things, but judges the whole.
  • For a human being, the greatest unhappiness is not being able to like oneself.
  • Happiness is the feeling of contribution. If one really has a feeling of contribution, one will no longer have any need for recognition from others. Because one will already have the real awareness that "I am of use to someone", without needing to go out of one’s way to be acknowledged by others.
  • Life is a series of moments, which one lives as if one were dancing, right now, around and around each passing instant.
  • The kind of life which tries to reach a destination, may be termed a Kinetic (dynamic) life. By contrast, the kind of dancing life I am talking about could be called an Energeial (actual-active-state) life. Kinesis has a starting point and an end point. The road one takes to get to that destination is, in the sense that one’s goal has not yet been reached, incomplete. This is kinetic life. Energeia, on the other hand, is a kind of movement in which what is "now forming" is what "has been formed". The process itself is treated as the outcome. Dance is like that, and so is a journey.
  • Life is always simple, not something that one needs to get too serious about. If one is living each moment earnestly, there is no need to get too serious.
  • When one has adopted an energeial viewpoint, life is always complete.
  • The greatest life-lie of all is to not live here and now.
  • Life in general has no meaning whatsoever. But you can assign meaning to that life. And you are the only one who can assign meaning to your life.
  • If "I" change, the world will change. This means that the world can be changed only by me and no one else will change it for me.

These notes were taken from Ichiro Kishimi's book.
Search more about the book at Google


© 2020 Cedric Joyce