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Admirable traits and mental abnormalities
delirium happy
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It's taken me a few days, but here's the follow up to my entry from the other day about admirable traits.

If people who possess a given trait (or set of traits) are considered more admirable than others, then it logically follows that people who lack these traits are considered less admirable. So consider the following statement:

"I consider strength and agility to be admirable qualities, and therefore consider the physically disabled to be less admirabe than able bodied people."

Acceptable? Hardly. And yet for a great many admirable traits, there are people who are unable to really display these traits, through no fault of their own. I'll stick with what I know and mention depression. Depression makes it incredibly difficult to display determination, dedication, or hard work, for instance; all three of which were named by people who filled in my poll.

Looking at the answers that people gave, almost all of the attributes named were purely mental. There were two or three which could be considered either mental or physical traits, and absolutely none that were purely physical traits.

There are certainly still elements of our society who will discriminate against people based on physical attributes (or lack thereof), but in most civilised circles it's something which is distinctly frowned upon and looked down upon. And rightly so.

The same cannot be said when it comes to mental abilities. There are plenty of (otherwise reasonable) people out there who would suggest that if I'm not able to really work hard then that's my own damn fault, and I deserve anything that happens to me, and depression is no excuse.

(I should point out, for the record, that I'm quite, quite certain that none of the people who suggested hard work related qualities in my poll would think that of me, and I'd be mortified if any of them thought I was impying otherwise.)

And there are other obvious ones in the list: is an austitic person less admirabe because they lack empathy? Or someone with ADHD due to lack of patience? Or what about someone who try as they might just isn't very intelligent?

There's still a whole lot of stigma attached to any sort of mental abnormality. I'm really not sure where I'm going with this though; it feels as if there's some reasonably profound conclusion to be reached behind everything, but if there is then I don't know what it is. It's interesting to think about though, I think. I guess the obvious conclusion to be drawn is that it's not beneficial to judge someone based on one single trait, but rather to view them as a whole person, but I knew that anyway. Draw our own conclusions, and then let me know if any of them are interesting.

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I think there's a fairly obvious extension to the admirable traits tickybox, that they are admirable when people display such traits to the best of their ability. Yes, depression is a terrible thing, and it does affect your ability to function in many ways, but there are two ways (or at least two ends of a spectrum) to react to it - you can either do your best to fight it, or accept it and focus on the victories you can achieve, or (OK, three ways) you can just use it as an excuse to not even do the things you're actually still capable of doing. I have to say that the former two approaches are more admirable than the latter, and I don't think that that makes me particularly discriminatory.

I try (I won't claim I always succeed) to admire people for what is admirable in them, rather than thinking less of them for traits they don't display.

Many things are relative. I'm proud of my physical strength--it may not be much compared to a lot of people (I'm short, fat, and female), but it's something I've worked to have, and continue to work to maintain. I'm not proud of my ability to spell--that seems to be a pattern recognition thing that's part intrinsic and partly drilled into me by grade school.

It's a personal best thing--what matters isn't whether I or the person who used this machine before or after me can lift more. What matters is that I'm continuing to build my own strength. It is good that there are people who are more patient than I am; I try to learn from them, not look down on myself for not being as patient as I'd like.


While I am not disagreeing with your main point, I would like to say that context does change what is admirable in a specific person. I mean, getting out of bed in itself is not an admirable quality per se, but it is for someone with depression (esp. severe). It's more that $FOO is an admirable quality /all other things being equal/.

I do agree, though, that there's a distinct stigma towards mental abnormalities. To a small extent it's just that people who haven't experienced X (or something similar) don't understand the effects it has and the extent of the problem (hence the smile-it's-not-so-bad advice for shaking depression).

To a small extent it's also that there is no visual indicator of mental abnormalities, much of the time, and so it's impossible to tell for certain whether someone else is faking it or actually has that extent of a problem. (Or is using it as an excuse for other things, like the person I knew once who claimed, when she interrupted someone, that the reason she didn't realize the other person wasn't finished talking was because she was dyslexic, and the reason she couldn't memorize song words (and therefore had to use cue cards during performances) was because she was dyslexic, and... Mind, I suspect this person had mental issues instead of (or in addition to) depression, but she still used it as an excuse for more.)

It's kind of the same thing as how someone with a nonvisible physical disability may get thought lazy, or may get glares for parking in a handicapped spot, or whatever. It can't be seen, therefore it isn't there, or something.

I do agree, though, that there's a distinct stigma towards mental abnormalities. To a small extent it's just that people who haven't experienced X (or something similar) don't understand the effects it has and the extent of the problem (hence the smile-it's-not-so-bad advice for shaking depression).

I'm not sure why it should be but I think that people have more trouble imagining themselves experiencing X physical disability than they do Y mental disability which contributes to this. I know thats certainly true of me anyway.

"I consider strength and agility to be admirable qualities, and therefore consider the physically disabled to be less admirabe than able bodied people."

I'm not 100% sure this follows. If I consider strenght to be admirable then I may therefore consider that the weak have not reached maximum admirability but that doesn't necessarily mean that I will consider them less admirable than the strong. Each individual will display a subset of available admirable traits and also a subset of non-admirable traits which will allow me to rank them in terms of overall admirability if I so desire but unless I specifically weight strenght as of higher importance than all other admirable traits then my opinion of the overall admirability of weak people as a whole is not affected.

Does that make sense? It doesn't feel quite coherant but I can't quite make it more coherant.

I'd say people with depression are in the best position to display hard work and dedication. It takes so much more of both to manage such everyday tasks that they tend to display it constantly when they manage to stay functional. Wheras many healthy people rarely need to display hard work or dedication, since they can accomplish so many goals without either.

I'm glad I didn't take the poll, because I dislike being manipulated. You knew going into the poll what you wanted to prove by it, thus posed the question in a way so the answers were guaranteed to support your point.

Suppose I'd said that I admire people who lie. Your (flawed) logic would state that I therefore thought honest people were less admirable. But you wouldn't be claiming that I'm discriminating against you for being honest, would you? No, you'd think I'm an idiot for admiring liars, because honesty is an attribute you admire and are capable of possessing. (And, I'd venture a guess, you think that everyone's capable of honesty and those who lie always do so by choice.)

Everyone's not equal. Some people are better people than other people. That doesn't mean that the "less good" people aren't worth anything, that the best people are worth more, or that extenuating circumstances can't legitimately explain away the lack of an admirable quality.

But what it sounds like you're saying is that we should never think that any trait is more admirable than its opposite, which is a ridiculous position. In most examples that people will name when asked what they admire, there's an opposite which is clearly negative, which no rational person would say that people ideally should do or be. That just means that we should be aiming for that trait, not that we should be looked down upon for having not achieved it. The problem isn't with not reaching that goal, it's with reaching for the opposite.

This reply is ikely to be fairly terse, because I haven't the mental energy at the moment for anything but excessive brevity.

1. I never intended to manipulate anyone. I can see, with the benefit of hindsight, how what I wrote could come across tat way, and I apologise to anyone I offended. However, I believe that my motives and intentions were good. There was a lot that I wanted to say in the entry ut couldn't find the words for, and a lot that came out wrong, but I felt compelled to post anyway, as I didn't like to leave the original poll unexplained.

2. And, I'd venture a guess, you think that everyone's capable of honesty and those who lie always do so by choice.

You would be wrong with that guess. I think there are some people who are sufficiently messed up in the head, for one reason or other, that they find it difficult or impossible to be honest, and that such people deserve help and understanding.

3. What you put forward in your final paragraph as what it sounds like I'm saying isn't what I'm intending to say. I've sat here for 5 or 10 minutes now trying to think how to explain what it is I actually mean, and the words just aren't coming (see point 1). So at this point I think I'm just going to give up on the whole thing as a bad job, apologise again for my general leels of crapness, and leave it at that.

The mental health units are full of posters saying what percentage of people are going to experience mental health problems during their life. But of course, once you're in there to see them, they're already pretty much preaching to the coverted. That always made me laugh.

You sound like you're on the verge of openly saying something very important to you/about yourself and are maybe testing the water. I don't think that will help, because you'll never get an answer you can use.

Ultimately if you look for any kind of measure by which to compare yourself (or another person) to other people, you realise it's fairly pointless. I despise that whole "loving yourself is the most important thing", yeah, tell that to the woman sitting next to me on the bus who objected to me doing it.

But there's a grain of truth in it. Having lost years to depression and now only finally getting my life back on track, my take is that the rest of the world can go fuck itself. The very very clever people don't have my level of empathy, but the people with better empathy aren't as musical, but the better musicans aren't as good with IT, the people who are better with IT don't know as many bad jokes as I do, jesus you can spend your time endlessly playing Top Trumps with attributes, or you can just focus on yourself and making sure you're fulfilling your own potential.

I really MUST stop posting here on vodka.

im a 20 year old acting student frome manchester/england and im working on a play adapted form the book 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat' by oliver sax, which is what brought me to this page in the first place, google rulz ;)

my take on this whole thing, a conclution if you will, is that nature makes us different (has been doing for a long time). its easier to think that these differenes are physical differences, such as skin colour and size etc... The reality is that every aspect of what makes us living, is slightly different in all people (icluding that way people think). this is the basis behind evolution (the randomality of reality), i think its importand to note that mental anomalies like 'autism' and 'add' are due to a lack of or highten ammount of traits that are evident in us all (like the difference in leg sizes from person to person, most of us have legs but they are all different sizes/shapes/colours/textures...)

another thing that would be good to note is that people with these 'abnormalities' are still able to acceive amazing things in life due to those so called 'abnormalities'

are we truly at a level of intelegence to know what is good and what is not good for the sustainment of human life/ or are we just stuck in our ways of doing things and unable to get out due to a flawed way of thinking

someone once said (not too sure who) 'there is nothing wholly good or bad only thinking makes it so'

true imo

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