Enculturation and Our Human Needs

Source: https://www.rachellelamb.com/blog/can-needs-be-harmful#

My notes:

Even in scenarios where the conversation revolves around intangible needs such as love, trust or honesty, and where it would appear that there could not possibly be any negative consequences to the rest of the world when we narrow our gaze towards our internalized personal realities and how those personal realities interface with those of others, could it be that in these modernized times, we have come to place too much attention on our respective internal landscapes to the detriment of the outer landscape? Could it be that we place too much emphasis on our personal truths, defending them as irrefutable, and not enough emphasis on what is concretely around us? Could it be that a good many of our depressions, anxieties, neuroses and alienating behaviours are a symptom of, among other factors, an increasingly self-centric view of life trying unsuccessfully to find its way though the concrete overgrowth of civilization to some semblance of sound, balanced and meaningful community life? 

How has my enculturation compromised my understanding of needs? How has my enculturation compromised my understanding of what it means to serve and enrich life?

All too often we use the term “life-serving” and “life-enriching” to describe desires and outcomes what would work for us personally. Our lens is pretty self-centric. And when it extends to others, we perceive it as an improvement but it still remains human-centric. I think it’s important for us to ask ourselves how is this thing that I’m wanting ultimately life-enriching? If my answer goes only as far as satisfying my own needs or the needs of my fellow humans without considering what life needs in order to keep our human enterprise afloat, then I’m deluded into believing that my own personal well-being both determines and supports the well-being of what sustains me, when in fact it is the health of the earth and the health of human culture that sustain me

Leonard Cohen summed it up well when he said, “What is the appropriate behaviour for a man or a woman in the midst of this world, where each person is clinging to his piece of debris? What’s the proper salutation between people as they pass each other in this flood?” Our relationships do not unfold in isolation of the socio-cultural and environmental landscapes to which we belong. They are deeply informed by them and they are either nurtured or starved by them. It’s important to know this as we attempt to address our personal or social woes when connecting to needs. And it’s equally important to remember we humans are not at the centre; life is at the centre.

Fascinating Research on Negging and Nagging


The results of the study indicated that women who had their self-esteem temporarily lowered found the male research assistant significantly more attractive than the women with temporary high-self esteem. Walster (1965) theorized that this effect occurred for two reasons. First, individuals who feel “imperfect” themselves may demand less in a partner. Second, a person usually has an increased need for acceptance and affection when their self-esteem is low. Overall then, when an individual is made to feel “low”, they find potential romantic partners more attractive.


Research by Gudjonsson and Sigurdsson (2003) explored the relationship between self-esteem and compliance with requests. Both male and female participants were asked to complete various measures of self-esteem, compliance, and coping behaviors. The results of their analysis supported the hypothesis that individuals with lower self-esteem are more compliant and agreeable to the requests of others. Thus, lower self-esteem appears to lead to greater compliance with requests (or demands) as well.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-attraction-doctor/201308/can-insult-make-you-fall-in-love

Communicating with Kids (from Mr. Rogers)

Some much of my formative years was spent enjoying watching Mr. Rogers. Now, as a father, I hope I can bring some of his communication skills to being a father.

Mr. Rogers’s Simple Set of Rules for Talking to Kids – The Atlantic

He insisted that every word, whether spoken by a person or a puppet, be scrutinized closely, because he knew that children—the preschool-age boys and girls who made up the core of his audience—tend to hear things literally.

Fundamentally, Freddish anticipated the ways its listeners might misinterpret what was being said. For instance, Greenwald mentioned a scene in a hospital in which a nurse inflating a blood-pressure cuff originally said “I’m going to blow this up.” Greenwald recalls: “Fred made us redub the line, saying, ‘I’m going to puff this up with some air,’ because ‘blow it up’ might sound like there’s an explosion, and he didn’t want the kids to cover their ears and miss what would happen next.”

State the idea you wish to express as clearly as possible, and in terms preschoolers can understand.” Example: It is dangerous to play in the street

“Rephrase in a positive manner,” as in It is good to play where it is safe.

“Rephrase the idea, bearing in mind that preschoolers cannot yet make subtle distinctions and need to be redirected to authorities they trust.” As in, “Ask your parents where it is safe to play.”

“Rephrase your idea to eliminate all elements that could be considered prescriptive, directive, or instructive.” In the example, that’d mean getting rid of “ask”: Your parents will tell you where it is safe to play.

“Rephrase any element that suggests certainty.” That’d be “will”: Your parents can tell you where it is safe to play.

Rephrase your idea to eliminate any element that may not apply to all children.” Not all children know their parents, so: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to pla

“Add a simple motivational idea that gives preschoolers a reason to follow your advice.” Perhaps: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is good to listen to them

“Rephrase your new statement, repeating the first step.” “Good” represents a value judgment, so: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is important to try to listen to them.

“Rephrase your idea a final time, relating it to some phase of development a preschooler can understand.” Maybe: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is important to try to listen to them, and listening is an important part of growing.

There he was exposed to the theories of legendary faculty, including McFarland, Benjamin Spock, Erik Erikson, and T. Berry Brazelton. Rogers learned the highest standards in this emerging academic field, and he applied them to his program for almost half a century.