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Feelings of inadequacy are a cause of social problems

  1. #1

    Feelings of inadequacy are a cause of social problems

    Feelings of inadequacy, I've decided, are the root of all social problems ever.

    Introspection is not a trait of the inadequate, as you can imagine. Though not everybody who feels inadequate necessarily is, the same problems can arise.

    Ever noticed how the most patriotic people are always the most uninformed and uncultured? Its not that patriotism = stupidity or anything, but the most bombastic and boastful of them are often under informed and over opinionated losers. But believing that their country is the best thing that ever happened to the world makes them feel like winners because their a part of it. The fact they don't actually know that much or haven't reflected on their history means they are also impossible to argue with. A quote I heard somewhere; “Idiots drag you down to their level, where they beat you because they have more experience“, or something like that. A healthy amount of pride in your country is something else altogether, but the raging patri-idiots are an embarrassment to their countrymen in their attempt to cope with their inadequacy by enthusiastically acting like wankers.

    Ignorance is popularly the cause of racism, but I think there are plenty of racists who should really know better. People who feel inadequate may well need to feel better than someone to cope and feel better. So Mr Patel the corner-shop keeper comes into the picture, we will ignore the fact he is a successful sole trader with a wife and kids, he’s Asian. Aha! Our inadequate friend decides, I am actually superior even without any of that, and I better let him know about it. I know racists are very tetchy about the success of those they hate, they won’t like driving past a bigger house and seeing a black guy in it. A reported once turned up to a run-down council estate on a news program and asked the troublesome kids why there was pro-BNP slogans sprayed on the walls here and there (the racist British National Party). “if all the… black people were gone… there wouldn’t be any problems” said one kid shrugging, and the reporter asked him, “You don’t really believe that, do you?” to the which the kid eventually shook his head, feeling somewhat shameful I suppose.

    There were a lot of black kids on the estate and you’ve got to assume they grew up alongside each other, ignorance about black people was obviously not the problem (maybe in the middle classes its different), but obviously that these kids needed to blame somebody else for what they done, the kid was trying to say that despite everything he‘d done himself, it was the black people keeping them back, which was so ridiculous a statement (a backdrop of the estate they were harassing was in the background) even he decided to retract this a moment later.

    The rise of teenage pregnancy’s among girls can be attributed to this as well, though this is already the general consensus among those working with the those young mothers anyway. So some girl leaves school with little to no grades having squandered her chance for an education and realised the mistake she’s made, she’s poor and basically feels worthless. To cope with her inadequacy in life she decides to have a baby, as it gives her a sense of worth and that she means something to somebody even if the dad does fuck off. The medias been trumping the idea lately that all these girls are just out for meal tickets and free flats, which is a bit far fetched for me, that thousands of girls leaving school get this idea into their heads, it is far more likely they simply need feel the need to be loved and not feel so worthless.


    And some other stuff I couldn’t be bothered writing up, you get the idea. This can go hand-in-hand with the “most people are stupid” theory I suppose too. Stupid people who know their stupid can be quite bitter, you can see them seething when they’ve lost a simple argument that wasn’t all that important anyway. They start a fight with someone not because they lost the argument, but because that person made them feel inadequate, they may feel your laughing at them inside. Obviously we can’t be aware of everyone’s hidden insecurity and inadequacy problems though, and it is their problem.

    Personal feelings of inadequacy partly causing a lot of social problems, agree/disagree? Perhaps the "celebrity lifestyle" sham everybody thinks is so great makes people feel mediocre and unimportant?
    Last edited by Penitent; 13th Apr 05 at 7:55 AM.

  2. #2
    Redwing Hydralopod SquidDNA's Avatar
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    I admire the effort you've put into this. Please don't take it personally when it gets picked to shreds as a matter of rational discourse.

    Also, I invite everyone to carefully observe the tone in which this thesis is made as a proposal, so please make your criticisms respectfully.

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  3. Homeworld Senior Member  #3
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    Yes, social inadequacy is ONE root of SOME of our social problems,but I have do disagree with you on some points.
    Teenage mothers don't have babys because they have little to no grades and don't see a bright future ahead, they ruin the possible bright future by having a baby too soon. We could blame this on ignorance (lack of sexual education) etc.
    My point is that you can't blame the problems of something as "large" as society on a single human trait. True,social inadequacy is a real "troublemaker" but this concept is too broad to be disscused upon as a whole. We should find some of the problems in our societies that make a person feel inadequate and solve them.

  4. #4
    Heh I should have changed that "all problems ever" line :bandit:

    I think a lot of these mothers though really don't have bright futures ahead, by having a baby too soon they cement their position, but its hard to say that things would be that much better for them if they didn't have a baby.

    What do you feel the causes of insecurity are then?

  5. #5
    That was a real good read, but I wonder how the feelings of inadequacy can be dealt with on a large level? It may be the cause of the problems, but what can we do to help improve these feelings? (serious question)

  6. #6
    I'm actually of the opinion that pride is the cause of all social ills. The belief that one is better than anyone else in any way allows one to treat others poorly because "they don't deserve better".

    -Paladin
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  7. Gamers Lounge Senior Member General Discussions Senior Member Dawn of War Senior Member  #7
    Extremely Interested [Vertigo]'s Avatar
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    What about amorality then, that hardly stems from feelings inadequacy. Mostly just psychotic people though, but there are stable amorilst out there. I use stable in a loose sense.
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  8. #8
    I've met people like that Paladin, but the majority of people don't feel they have anything personally to be that proud about I reckon. Some people with a talent can act like that.

    I think it goes with my patriotism thing though, people take pride in their country if not themselves.

    Amorality, totally unrelated to insecurity I suppose. psycopaths generally aren't killers but still amoral, they are born like that aren't they?
    I don't think amorality is a major social problem, though these people can do quite a lot of damage to those around them, before it all becomes apparant.

  9. General Discussions Senior Member  #9
    terrible, terrible damage Starfisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by different people, same sentiment
    We should find some of the problems in our societies that make a person feel inadequate and solve them.

    ...

    It may be the cause of the problems, but what can we do to help improve these feelings?
    "We" can't and shouldn't do anything to help people who feel indequate, jealous, worthless, etc. If someone feels worthless, or is jealous, they need to develop the inner strength to overcome those feelings. No amount of anti-make other people feel bad laws will fix the problem, because people are inherently weak. They need to have shit happen to them so they can learn to deal with it - if someone feels bad about themselves, they should do something to better themselves, not project it elsewhere. If you try to fix the latter problem through legislation, or the first through trying to completely homogonize humanity, not only will you fail but you will be doing a great evil.

    People need true confidence in themselves and the knowledge to use it correctly. People who develop these things do it in myriad different ways depending on their culture and circumstances. Many don't, due to the fact that a large society with little pressure will inevitably result in individuals who don't care about either. If you want to fix people feeling bad about themselves, you have to find a way to teach them perspective, inner strength and rational morality - good luck. Religions have tried for a couple of thousand years and have failed. Buddhism came close, but then another problem raised it's ugly head:

    Human nature.

    What's that? Xenophobia is hardwired? People are petty, jealous, generally ignorant animals who are capable of terrible things?

    Yeah. No law is going to undo evolution, and nothing short of a complete removal of all of humanity's differences will stop fear of different ideas. If you can figure out a way to teach rationality and tolerance, more power to you. I'll settle for trying to raise whatever offspring I produce in that model and helping others to do so if they ask.

    Problem is, it has to come from within. And most people aren't willing to make the effort.

  10. #10
    Hmm, well don't confuse me (or others) with people obsessed with leglislating ways to change this through silly laws, no one had suggested that (yet), I suppose you were pre-empting them? because your quote only says "solving" the problem so chill.

    So despite your attack on humanity in general, do you still believe people can be taught the right way to stop this? Perhaps there are flaw in our society rather than innate human nature?

    Discipline is too lax, there is a clear correlation in schools for instance with underachieving and sucess depending on whether discipline is lax or tough. There are indeed too many people willing to believe that "nobody should ever feel bad ever", some top politician for education for instance in britain recently said something like:
    "don't call the talented kids talented, it might make the others feel bad".
    This kind of attitude is the problem I fear, as like you say, by not forcing people to deal with it themselves, they won't be able to deal with it when they eventually have to.

  11. #11
    Postcyberpunk jetfx's Avatar
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    I think inadequacy is better said as social alienation, since it doesn't matter how smart or successful you are, you still can feel alienated. We all feel it from time to time, some more than others. Hell even with my far superior self I still feel alienated by society sometimes.

    I don't think Buddhism came any closer than any other religion to explaining the terror of the human condition and came up with a way to deal with it. Basically all of the religions agree that existence is suffering, just the some of the causes may vary. Buddhism says if desire is eliminated you have just gotten rid of about 95% of your suffering. Christianity and Catholocism in particular say pride is humanity's basic failing. Really none of them get the full picture and none of them accept the terror. They all offer some form of escape rather than a true realization and acceptence. Life is shit, get over it!


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  12. #12
    Penitent: While I admire the effort into finding a root cause for a complex problem set, from an intelectual point of view I can't agree. So many factors your willing to overlook and then find a cause in what is nothing but a symptom of a complex social phenomenon.

    I bet you get high on math.

    I can agree that society is too focused on wining, and fails to teach people, that if by wining we understand "filthy rich" "young or young looking and beautifull" then, really, allmost everyone will lose.

  13. General Discussions Senior Member  #13
    terrible, terrible damage Starfisher's Avatar
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    Penitent: Heh, if you think you can solve people feeling bad about themselves, you're wrong. I'm not pre-empting anyone with the law talk - the only effective way to change a society is popular momentum. Since people are fast becoming too complacent for real social effort, the only real course of action left is goading politicians into doing it for us. Laws imposed from above without strong support or at least ignorance from below inevitably fail.

    Chill? Huh? 0_o

    jetfx: Buddhism comes the closest because it's essentially a practice of acceptance of reality. You can say, "Negation of desire" as "understanding I don't deserve anything" - it's more or less the same statement. You can want things, but as long as you understand that not getting them is a perfectly acceptable outcome, you're fine. All other religions want you to fight reality and yourself, and they teach a confusing mix of punishment, reward and entitlement that can only cause problems.

  14. General Discussions Senior Member  #14
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    psycopaths generally aren't killers but still amoral, they are born like that aren't they?
    Penitent, there are many levels of psychopathy and you are right to say that psychopaths are generally not killers but to call a psycopath amoral is a bit of a stretch.

    Sometimes psychosis is an at birth thing, but almost as often it can be caused by some kind of traumatic or emotionally draining event in one's life which causes a nervous breakdown which can cause some crossed circutry in the brain. Calling someone amoral because an event in their lives caused a serious flaw to develop in their brain or simply being born that way is a rather Victorian way of looking at mental helath. They may indulge in amoral acts but it is due to a chemical imbalance that causes those "amoral urges".

    They are not psychopaths because they are amoral nor are they amoral because they are psychopaths. They simply indulge in amoral acts because something in their brain (chemical imbalance) that causes them to act out in amoral ways.
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  15. Child's Play Donor  #15
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    Here's another chance for me to act as Howard Bloom's ad manager and suggest The Lucifer Principle to anyone that feels interested. He blames social ills on evolutionary adaptions that include inadequacy, lack of control, and pecking-order issues.

    I'm actually of the opinion that pride is the cause of all social ills. The belief that one is better than anyone else in any way allows one to treat others poorly because "they don't deserve better".
    Given this statement, your outlooks upon other aspects of life, and the dreams you ostensibly have, I think I should get an 11-foot pole before attempting to prod your issues any further. No offense.

  16. #16
    Okay Starfisher, solving "people feeling bad about themselves" as you put it is silly, though I suggested stronger discipline in response your thought that people shouldn't be cushioned to the blows of life, and that helping people just get over it is the best way. I also understand that this is one cause of several in the issues I'm talking about, I was just being a bit silly when I said "cause of all problems ever" and stuff.

    Making people tougher then, perhaps? Young people who go into the army and others like those who take up boxing often say they get a sense of discipline in their lives, so yeah, conscription is the solution to all social problems ever!

  17. #17
    Is watching TheDeadlyShoe's Avatar
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    "We" can't and shouldn't do anything to help people who feel indequate, jealous, worthless, etc. If someone feels worthless, or is jealous, they need to develop the inner strength to overcome those feelings. No amount of anti-make other people feel bad laws will fix the problem, because people are inherently weak. They need to have shit happen to them so they can learn to deal with it - if someone feels bad about themselves, they should do something to better themselves, not project it elsewhere.
    Repression can cause lots and lots of problems, too. I dunno, I read that and I boil it down to "don't be a bad person". Not helpful.

    People sometimes need help to cope.
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  18. General Discussions Senior Member  #18
    terrible, terrible damage Starfisher's Avatar
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    Yes, they do. That was part and parcel with what I said. If you have problems, you seek to correct them. If that involves therapy or some other group activity, so be it. You don't project it on to other people through all the social problems penitent mentioned.

    But when it comes to being a good person, that's largely an internal effort. You can just blindly follow what other people have taught you, but by and large the only way you come out "truly good" is through observing and coming to those conclusions yourself. It's just like learning anything - whenever you actually work it out yourself, it sticks much better than if you just absorb what someone tells you.

  19. #19
    Habla, my own belief is that we are all of exactly equal value, therefore I am neither better nor worse than anyone else. Since I'm worth just as much as anyone else, I'm entitled to kill others to preserve my own life where necessary.

    -Paladin

  20. #20
    Postcyberpunk jetfx's Avatar
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    We're all of exactly equal value; nothing.

  21. Child's Play Donor  #21
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    Well, okay. I don't need to analyze what you believe is your entitlement, nor does it appear you care to hear it. Frankly it just sounds like you want someone to threaten your life or make some other "unacceptable for any reason" action so that you can smite them. Justifiably.

  22. #22
    BACK TO THE GOOD PART! Atreides's Avatar
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    I think the whole "chip on my shoulder" nonsense goes a long way toward adding to societal problems. Paladin is just an example of the type that waits to be wronged so he can lash out self righteously to punish the "evil doers". Do not misunderstand me though, if my life or that of my family was threatened I would not hesitate in the least to maim, kill and destroy, I am not looking for the opportunity though.

    Another slightly different example: I was talking and arguing with a Shiite Muslim last week about political systems and how they relate to social classes, he was arguing that in the US the upper classes have the only chance to make it in leadership roles. I told him he was completely wrong and I gave him an example, a boy was born to a mother who had alcohol problems and bounced from boyfriend to boyfriend, the poor kid was raised as "trailer trash" and yet rose up and became governer and then president, the man was Bill Clinton and I told him that you can accomplish ANYTHING in the US. Well a guy was standing off to the side and said "Hey, I was raised in a trailer house, and it is not trailer trash!" He then glared at me and stomped out. Menawhile the Shiite Muslim from Iran and I looked at each other and he said "what an asshole". The guy heard the conversation and immediatly took offence at an expression completely missing the context, and yet he was standing there listening. Those type of people sadden me with their total lack of rational thought. With the racial and religeous stereotypes that are flung about in this case I was having a much more constructive exchange with an Iranian Shiite Muslim than I had with a guy who was born and raised in the same culture as me... go figure.
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  23. #23
    wake up and smell the ashes The_Assimilator's Avatar
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    The cause of many social problems is that those who feel inadequate are often not, while those who feel completely adequate are often not.
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  24. Child's Play Donor General Discussions Senior Member Homeworld Senior Member The Workshop Senior Member  #24
    Ignorans, te absolvo Homdax's Avatar
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    Should not a feeling of inadequacy be a trigger to overcome that very state of mind?
    Just like fear triggers a response to evade or defend?

    Sadly many are of the opinion that society does not help with these issues (or very little), and according to all socio-political pragmatism we are all equal and do not deserve any help to rise above our fellow citizens. Further emphasized by all "Equal Right Organisations" who tend to overlook the individual needs and apply a stereotyped vision to all humans.
    This is also reflected in politics, because "we only want a limited number" of strong, self-developing individuals, otherwise there would be no "masses" to manipulate with our "great political manifest".
    Last edited by Homdax; 14th Apr 05 at 2:39 AM. Reason: typo

  25. #25
    Forum punned-it Retroboy's Avatar
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    Penitent - you might want to avoid phrases like this in essays that are intended to spark discussion.
    ...and some other stuff I couldn’t be bothered writing up
    Anyways, the topic is worth a response, regardless of the above.

    I'll save a lot of typing here by basically agreeing with Starfisher's first post, especially this bit:
    Problem is, it has to come from within. And most people aren't willing to make the effort.
    ...with an addendum: "or don't know how to get to the point where they can actually make that effort".

    It is possible to do something from a general social perspective to help with feelings of inadequacy, but the only things you can do are provide the necessary tools for self-improvement, and find a way to get the word out to the needy that these tools are available.

    An example is the local "dress for success" program, which is a charity that provides business-class apparel to lower-income persons so they can approach white-collar jobs after training, and not look out of place. But it doesn't create the qualifications that are necessary to actually do the job - that depends entirely on the person in question. You can give an alcoholic ex-carpenter a hammer, but that doesn't mean he'll help you build a house.

    To address the root question, however, feelings of inadequacy and social problems are a vicious cycle, and either one can lead to the other. This is a "which came first - the chicken or the egg?" question.
    Should not a feeling of inadequacy be a trigger to overcome that very state of mind?Just like fear triggers a response to evade or defend?
    Your example actually answers your question, Homey. Fear triggers different responses in different people and under different circumstances - some actively pursue it for the adrenaline rush, while others shrink from the smallest risk. Feelings of inadequacy are the same - they can trigger efforts to improve the situation, or can trigger further withdrawal from the stimulus that creates it. However, in the latter case, it's the possible start of another vicious cycle.

    -- Retro

  26. Child's Play Donor General Discussions Senior Member Homeworld Senior Member The Workshop Senior Member  #26
    Ignorans, te absolvo Homdax's Avatar
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    Exactly my point why humans should feel the urge to improve themselves, according to this discussion.

  27. #27
    find confession in your dreams boolybooly's Avatar
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    well if people are different and that means they are not all alike then since I dont know them except by my guesses its hard to be sure why they do stuff and what stuff they will do.

    the problem is (I would guess) a lot of people live by guesses and assume they reflect reality when they do not. So probably some people guess and some do not, but who does and who does not is all a guess, mine, or in your case, yours.

    Thats why people agree its wrong to punish someone for having a dislikeable character (tempting though it may be), you can only hold them to account for their deeds in the law.

    But Education is a subtle sort of in between where you converse and try to hold a dialogue, and I think it sometimes helps, like this thread but you have to be careful which direction the conversation goes.

    The trouble is you can end up getting bigotted about bigots, 'if only there were no bigots everything would be alright' you might say, but is it true or is it the same scape goating that you think you see in racist others ?

    *stirs the pot*

    to be continued....

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