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  1. What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Weaker

    #252632012-05-09 16:07:21eterno said:

    Lived a tough life? Well, too bad that all of those suffering you had gone through might've made you a weaker person than before.

    It does seem to make sense too, given that for most of human history, we have been ruled by utterly spoiled royal families and feared and therefore unopposable dictators. In fact, the leaders who lived through hardships (Hitler is a very good example) suffered mental breakdowns when they started to lose power whereas those who didn't (Napoleon, Caesar) simply just tried again.

    For lazy people, relevant quotes from the article

    But the bulk of psychological research on the topic shows that, as a rule, if you are stronger after hardship, it is probably despite, not because of the hardship. The school of hard knocks does little more than knock you down, hard. Nietzschian--and country song--wisdom notwithstanding, we are not stronger in the broken places. What doesn't kill us in fact makes us weaker.


    Mayhem and chaos don't toughen you up, and they don't prepare you well to deal with the terror of this world. Tender love and care toughen you up, because they nurture and strengthen your capacity to learn and adapt, including learning how to fight, and adapting to later hardship.

    So, be nice to your kids folks! Don't 'tough love' them unless you want wimpy kids.

  2. #254292012-05-11 00:47:59eterno said:

    @redwater Well, to put in things in perspective here, here's a quote from the article you posted

    Although he stressed that ‘negative events have negative effects’, Dr Seery added: ‘I really look at this as being a silver lining. Just because something bad has happened to someone doesn’t mean they’re doomed to be damaged from that point on.’

    Basically, they agree on the same thing: distress is bad. It's just that they favor different wordings to interpret the same subject.

    Bottom line: The more shitty events you get in life, the worse off you become.

  3. #254362012-05-11 02:20:24redwater said:

    @eterno stress is bad! i know that! but it has made me stronger mentally. i am able to take and handle things better now b/c of it. if people do not stress, then they have not lived life. surely you have been stressed out before too?

  4. #254372012-05-11 02:46:43eterno said:

    @redwater I said distress, not stress. As in suffering.

    And your claim is based on a literary argument, not scientific. Please be more clear on this part

    i am able to take and handle things better now b/c of it.

    And to be honest, me being stressed out for most of my HS years set my mental age back by 3 years. Now, I can't even think in terms of 'planning for the future' or 'choosing a side in an argument' because I'll always revolt at the idea of 'planning' and 'sides'.

    The article isn't partially true, it's all true. It will only be partially true if it applies only to a part of the human population; which is not the case.

    Please try to use less rhetorics and use clear statements.


  5. #254832012-05-11 12:21:57 *eterno said:

    @Kirn That's the spirit!

    Technically speaking, the article speaks from a scientific perspective and so all the findings were analyzed like any other scientific research. The quote was only used as a literary device to make the article more interesting.

    Also, your position about truth is purely based on your faith on truth itself. In science, we test to see how things work and if it repeats itself all the time, then it is true. That is, until someone disprove it.

    BUT, the Nietzsche quote itself is PURELY PHILOSOPHICAL. So really, it doesn't matter much.

    Basically, both articles are true while conflicting each other. In this case, the only way to determine which is superior is easy: look at the date, and so the latter article 'wins'. This however, supplements the first one so, the first one is still TRUE except for the non-scientific part like the Nietzsche quote but this doesn't make it partially true because the quote was used as a literary device.

    Technicality aside, now let get to the bulk of the important stuff.

    Believe me, I saw people leading good lives and being confident and happy. And I saw people who grew up in tough conditions - and you wouldn't want to fuck with those people. And the opposite is valid too - I saw people from broken families who themselves became broken both physically and mentally. And I saw fuckers who got all the love and support from their parents and later just couldn't survive without them.

    'Saw' as in what? Did you follow all these people closely, monitor them, and gather data? Or did you just like 'yeah, this guy had tough life I know because I saw him suffer once/twice/three times but now he's one badass motherfucker'?

    This here is a problem with your assessment because you literally got nothing to back anything that you said. This doesn't mean you're wrong of course, but it does lose a lot of credibility because you can't really provide proof. Unfortunately, I'm having a hard time believing you even though I had 'seen' the things that you claim to had seen too.

    But now, let's pretend you are right. Your assessment really isn't conflicting to the article in any way. During the research, we can safely assume that the scientist observed all kinds of people you mentioned as well. However, given that the majority is that people who suffered became weaker, then the conclusion was that

    Mayhem and chaos don't toughen you up, and they don't prepare you well to deal with the terror of this world. Tender love and care toughen you up, because they nurture and strengthen your capacity to learn and adapt, including learning how to fight, and adapting to later hardship.

    But then the second article tried to explain the situation further in which you can see that Mark Seery from the second article said, "A lot of ideas that seem like common sense aren’t supported by scientific evidence." So presumably he did more research and the research found that "although traumatic experiences such as losing a loved one can be psychologically damaging, small amounts of trauma can make us more resilient."

    He then went on to say, "negative events have negative effects", and then he added: "I really look at this as being a silver lining. Just because something bad has happened to someone doesn’t mean they’re doomed to be damaged from that point on."

    Do you see what he did there? He agreed with the first article BUT philosophically he didn't agree. This means that if you don't believe the first article to be true, that automatically makes you not agreeing with the second as well. That aside, you can agree on whichever philosophical position that suits you but it still doesn't change the fact that both articles are true.

    And sorry I bypassed your life experiences. I really don't want to contest people's faith because well, you can see how religious debates goes; If you want to think of yourself as John McClane then it's your right to do so. But again, this doesn't change the fact that the article is true and in fact, your story makes it true because you clearly display something called a confirmation bias

    From the first article:

    Another reason is that American culture, born of trauma and imbued with a hopeful can-do ethos, wants to believe this idea, finding it self-affirming. Once we have acquired a certain belief we tend to see, remember, and report mostly instances and events that support it. This is called confirmation bias.

    So yeah, that's really what your scars and x-rays worth. And screw America, lots of other cultures including my own believes in this too.

    It is true that the article is aimed at Americans but the research is most likely have been done in other parts of the world as well. If you'd put aside your confirmation bias for a second, why don't you try finding similar research from your own country?

    And lastly, you really don't have a right to tell people how to live their lives.

  6. #254842012-05-11 12:24:26Cloud-VK said:

    Your kidding me BS Because of that saying I use to shove my hand in boiling water every day just to see how long I lasted and that was just warming up my real workouts realy are insane and Id say Ive grown from everything fine... except hahahahaha I was technically insane a one point...

  7. #254932012-05-11 13:06:04eterno said:


    This is psychology. The thing that I'm trying to prove is just how the human brain really works. Really, that's what I meant by saying 'applies to all human population'.

    I really don't know what else to say really because all the proceeding statements are based on your faith and not on anything that can be concretely worked on.

    Then this

    So, in the end - you become weak from hardships and stress because you become weak from hardships and stress, not because some scientist said so.

    So what's the problem? No really, you agree with the scientists but you don't believe the article to be true? Hmm... I really don't get your point here...

    And I was saying the last line as a joke really. All the intricacies of text communication lol

  8. #255222012-05-11 15:02:58eterno said:


    confirmation bias is why I disregard your examples. You don't have any empirical data and that's why I can't really work on them. I call them faith because you have gone to believe in them because you only take whatever is in favor to your own beliefs as evidence.

    And you're right. They don't matter with what I'm trying to prove because I'm trying to prove that psychologically speaking, humans get weaker with more negative events that happen in their lives as a rule. This is caused by some intricacies in how our brains work in which, well, it's prone to fallacies.

    In fact, all your statements are all further evidence on this confirmation bias, I mean look at this statement.

    You said "just how the human brain really works". The thing is - brain works differently for people. Seriously. And here we are talking not just about brain, but about nervous system, and that one is totally not the same for everyone, I mean, even for men and women - women have higher pain threshold. And it's the same with the brain - brain chemistry is a bit the same for everyone, but very different when you get to the fine details.

    Proof, proof, proof. Ok, sure you can go on google them now and they'll help you and I'm sure that it's gonna give you some cookie points. But the fact that you specifically choose 'nervous system' to help your cause is just so that your beliefs can get confirmed because apparently the brain science doesn't approve with your theory.

    Of course when I say how brain really works is more on how well the brain does all of its functions, including the nervous system, after it's been put through a lot of stress. The research shows that it doesn't do as well as before the stress. However, the second article says that life without stress is impossible, so maybe it's better if it's just exposed to some little stress and maybe it'll perform better.

    Unfortunately, it turns out that all we have is just concessions. Bad events leave bad marks on us and the reason why we feel that we're getting stronger is not because of all of the troubles, but despite. In other words, despite all those bad life experiences you've had, you're still here and you're boasting about them to make yourself feel superior. In truth, you are actually worse off than before but the confirmation bias prevents you from seeing that and that's where science comes in.

    And that retort works for this next paragraph too

    And when I said what you quote, what I meant was - you become weak from hardships and stress because it works like that for you. You know, like, for you personally. It will not be so for someone else. Or it will be the same for some other person. So I do not agree with the article - even if it talks about one single country (and it does).

    We're really talking about what really happens to you here not about what works for each of us. The truth is simple: we all become weaker from hardship. You may believe otherwise but that doesn't change the truth.

    Now for the historical examples. Not arguing with the Japan one because it's working for me (Thank you wise samurai :p ) so let me address the Viking one.

    With vikings you got the completelu opposite thing. Right from the get go you knew about trolls, crazy gods, crazy people, hell and all other good stuff. You also had to survive pretty harsh natural conditions, and you knew that if you wanted to be rich and famous, you had to, when you grow up (and they grew up much earlier then kids today, you know), go on a ship, sain to England and plunder it while killing people who would be defending that country. And they did. In that society kids had it tough and hard, and they grew up to be tough and hard.

    Let's look at the history of vikings further. What happened to them? Their whole culture got wiped out and replaced with Christianity, a much less harsh in comparison to their old culture in which they just need to obey god and everything will be all swell. Further into the future, the Vikings have gone from raping and pillaging people to welfare states people so really now, did they really become stronger? More advanced perhaps, but influentially? No

    And yes, the key word here is 'were'. Those Vikings really were strong because they just raided every European coast they found. But as time goes by and the raidee got used to raids and the Vikings themselves adopted the more tame cultures of their victims.

    In fact, they actually got more power once they became the Kingdoms of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Cnut The Great established the North Sea Empire by being the King of England, Denmark and Norway at the same time. Later on, William the Bastard of Normandy, conquered England and established Norman rule in England long after the Normans have left their Viking culture and adopted French culture instead. Today, lots of English word get their roots from French thanks to the Normans which were basically French-loving Vikings.

    See? Even the Viking thought that their ways of doing things were wrong and adopted less harsh cultures. In fact, now we have the Viking descendants doing this

  9. #256532012-05-13 11:02:28break said:

    not gonna butt in your discussion, but one thing bothers me; @Kirn you cant really use the vikings as an example as opposed to the smaurai kids not gettign told ghost stories before knwoign its nto true, because the vikings firmly believed in their gods and stories. for them, the existence of all those supernatural thigs was afact, so naturally you'd educate your children, in case they meet a troll or a wane or a valkyrie, because otherwise they woudltn know how to deal with them and be in trouble. its better to know "you cant tkill a berserker while he's in berserk mode becuase hes invincible during that time due to thor's help" for their children, even if there would in relaity be a chance to kill them, ebcause for the vikings it was true.

    btw regardign the discussion after all (xD) you cant really say anythign aout pain and unfortunate events either making you stronger or weaker (mentally) because reallly you have no way to know how you life wouldve played out without that hapening. it really works both ways; a person that always got rejected in the past will be used to it and not be hrt as uch by it if it happens again, but he will also lose more an dmore self-confidence until he practically hs no other chance but to get rejected anymore. a guy hwo always got hurt will be better at dealing wit the pain because hes used to it, but he will also think its normal to get hurt a lot, and try less hard to not get hurt or do anythign against it which results in him getting hurt more. so it really works both ways; you dotn get stronger, you just adjust. and you dotn get weaker, you lose the common sense to prevent the bad thing precisely because you ajusted.

    or at leats thats hwo I see it.

  10. #256662012-05-13 13:42:36eterno said:


    It's a scientific study with a lot of proof to back it up. For the record, that's how we got every modern day coveniences.

    And it's not about adjusting, it's about your physical and mental capabilities before and after a negative thing. Research shows they decline.

  11. #256712012-05-13 14:03:24break said:

    @eterno i know that i was just saying tjat the idea of getting "weaker " or "stroner" from this is prettty much a problem f how we word it, uhm, you know cuz it may be more appropiate to use other terms but we are bent on using those terms becuase they fit so well tot hat idiom "what doesnt kill you makes you stronger". but i think those terms are not 100% appropiate for this whole idea, uhm, you know. im currently nott oo good at explainign what i mean, am i? xD

  12. #256722012-05-13 14:08:39eterno said:


    I don't think literary device is a problem. We can use abstract words or definite words in trying to get our point across. Besides, I've rephrased it quite a few times in this thread already.

  13. #256822012-05-13 14:46:28break said:

    hm i just think its better not to speak of direct "strength" or "weakness" in general.. i think those arguing against it most furiously would be better able to accept it if you didnt word it "weak" too, because that, even ifits unconcious, atacks their pride i guess so that they'll be in amore opposing stance ot it from the get-go

  14. #258392012-05-14 12:03:50eterno said:


    I'm going to break this down for you

    First of all, I'm not arguing @break 's point at all because it's valid. The problem with this is only because we're so focused on the 'stronger' and 'weaker' moniker that it's really hard to see the true discussion here.

    What's really the point of the article is that 'bad events harms you mentally and if you feel stronger after such events, it's only because you think you feel stronger'. In other words, negative events traumatizes you and leaves a mark on you and in effect, before you had the event, the mark doesn't exist, thus you are better off. This here is the true point here.

    What break is saying is that afterwards, it's hard to tell whether or not the person will be able to move on or whether it will be a barrier in life from him. If he were able to move on, then he would be called 'stronger' not because he IS stronger, but because he's able to function normally afterwards as if the event never happened. On the other hand, if he had not moved on, the he would be called 'weaker' not because he IS weaker, but because he lets the event get on him and therefore impedes his progress.

    All of these is what's called, living with 'whatever it is that happened to you'. You know how cancer patients are called 'living with cancer' or how Vietnam War veterans are called 'Living with Vietnam'? It's not like that they all just go up and kill themselves afterwards, but they are still able to function normally after the events. It's just that now, they have to live with something, like a dark past you want to bury, this in no way is helping to make them any 'stronger', right?

    And confirmation bias comes when they think "I have gone through all that and I'm still here, that means I'm strong" which is what your life experiences is all about. However, you can't say that all those stress and injuries you have gone through has benefited you in some way right? You broke your back, and you said " It heals, it becomes as it was - or better" you're not even sure because you have no idea what you're talking about other than you're lying to yourself but you're also lying that you're lying to yourself.

    I'm not saying that you are 'weaker' now in terms of "haha, you're a wimp cos u broke ur back!" but in terms of "Now you've had a broken back, that event will stay with you forever. You might learn from it and move on but the fact still stays, your back was broken. Now you are living with a once broken back". And again, this doesn't mean this haunts you utterly or anything like that, but let's say you break your back again, what will happen to you then? No one knows but one thing is certain: Now you are living with a back that is broken twice.

    What if you keep going? Three times? Four times? Wow, you must be on your way to become The Hulk then because you get 'stronger' each time. Humans aren't like Saiyan unfortunately, they pretty much stay the same after a bad event but research shows that 'bad events are actually negative for you'. What happens is that you are able to minimize the damages but still, the damage was done. It's because you are able to minimize the damage that makes you think you're stronger.

    Second point, just used your argument there. And besides, I've been using your argument all this time. I'm just grouping them as confirmation bias to make it simpler but perhaps it was unclear.

    The reason why I didn't want to break them down is because it challenges your 'faith' but there I just did it.

    For scientific proof, Articles are valid proof. This is true for any discussion. What would be another valid proof? Another article showing results that are of the contrary. This is how discussion works and not 'this happened to me and therefore proof' because you have nothing to back them up. But, if you say 'this happened to me and I have this research to back it up' then it's a valid proof.

    Yes, as it had stood, my article and redwater's article are the only valid proof here. None of your arguments had been validated and therefore could not be accepted as proof. Which in turn, my 'proof' that you so viciously attacked is not 'proof' at all and is just like what your arguments had been all this time: bullshit.

    It's only now that you have presented something that would qualify as proof: The article writer's comment and the whole comment section itself. NOW, I can work with your arguments because it's been validated and not just 'Believe me!', 'This article is not full truth!', 'Accept God!'.

    So now I'm just gonna list things where I am stand corrected: This article applies to everyone it turns out:

    Agreed. Individual differences exist in this as in practically every realm of human experience. Also agreed that every law in psychology has exceptions. Ours, after all, is a probabilistic, not deterministic science

    Right, this article probably doesn't apply to everyone but you did miss the last part of his comment

    One complication is that it's not easy to know whether someone who 'grew stronger through calamity' would have grown even stronger still had the calamity experience been replaced by an experience of hoy, proper nurture, or happiness--all else being equal.

    Yes, this has been my point all along. And because it's science and due to the nature of it, if this is confirmed then it applies to everyone. BUT, science also studies probabilities and so when the study is confirmed, then it will become 'this probability applies to everyone'. And because science is the 'truth', not half-truths or maybe-truth, it is TRUTH, however it is not an ABSOLUTE TRUTH.

    Woah but wait a minute here, we're not done! Further studies was done AFTER this article which is redwater's article so we have to look into that also. This is how it turned out:

    He suggested that those who go through difficult experiences are given a chance to develop an ability to cope with such situations in the future.

    Yes, imagine a die. say five sides are 'you're fucked' and one side says 'you're superman'. That's the probability of you getting 'stronger' after going through a difficult experience. The only problem however, I just pulled the probability numbers out of my ass.

    But still, the chance of getting stronger is there and because science is comparison of empirical data, the chance is 'low' because while a handful of people did become stronger, THE MAJORITY didn't. Until we know exactly on what happens INSIDE our brain (the related chems, etc.) we just don't know for sure but this doesn't automatically make this NOT TRUE.