In light of a recent conversation in the LGBT thread, I wanted to pose this question.
What is strength?
A lot of people seem to think of things such as stoicism and apathy to be forms of strength. "I didn't show my pain, or I just didn't care in the first place. I won't show myself being vulnerable". "That other person was easier to hurt than me, that makes them weak". I think it comes from idealization of individualism, that these same people think of being a strong individual to being the basis for 'strength'.
And I can see how that is an appealing way to frame things. It feels like it checks the right boxes intuitively. But is that really right way to look at strength from a human perspective
? We are not very traditional animals. Being an individual in the truest sense, being on your own, was pretty much a death sentence for a human. Even the modern human who decides to leave society to live on their own in the wilderness likely didn't make any of the gear they take or the home they live in, but even if they did they are bolstered by the survivalist knowledge that humans before them discovered. They are only as strong as the species as a whole was able to make them. Ostracization is the ultimate form of punishment, and people still use it today when they cut off other people from their network. Loneliness can actually kill a person, even when your other needs are provided for.
So what I'd like to postulate here is that what many of us consider "strength" (what I'll refer to as individualist strength) is in fact a weakness to humans and what those same people consider a weakness is in fact our strength.
Think of it like this, was the species ever as strong as a lion or a gorilla? Could we take them on one on one without the assistance of allies or tools? Pretty much never. We were a weaker species, and that became our strength. We had to compensate for it, by becoming a collective and becoming smarter. Right? In this sense, being weak was our strength. We overcame every other species by being weak as individuals.
Even empathy and emotional frailty I would consider strengths of our species. These qualities bring us closer together, making tighter knit communities. That increases collaboration which is our strong suit. Totally lacking in empathy, both emotional and cognitive empathy, I might argue is the greatest weakness a human can have. This is what gets you ejected fromPost too long. Click here to view the full text.