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Thread: That which does not kill me makes me stronger

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    Default That which does not kill me makes me stronger

    Do you believe in this Nietzsche quote? What sort of validity or value does it have?

    In answering this question, please consider metrics for determining strength (re: http://www.the16types.info/vbulletin...-weakness.html) and the differential effects of mental vs. physical pain or trauma.

    Personally, I think this sentiment makes a nice Hallmark card and perhaps contains some motivational value, but I still see it as mostly baloney. First, it's generally unlikely that trauma leads to subsequent strength. Given that fulfilling certain societal norms reflects a type of strength, we have to admit that previous trauma makes one more likely to struggle with or fail at these norms. For example, drug addicts and homeless people are more likely than the general population to have experienced childhood abuse or neglect. Secondly, hardship does not lend itself to concurrent strength. Multiple stressors, in general, have a compounding effect rather than a mitigating one.

    In the previously cited thread, it seemed like several of you equated strength with adherence to principles. I concede that being challenged and engaging in defending one's principles could strengthen those beliefs and lead to increased certainty. But does strength in belief demonstrate strength of character? What if that belief is wrong?

    I'd like to feel otherwise about this quote because it would be comfortable, though, so please argue away.

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    Yes I do, but sure if you get ridiculous enough with it you can make it false, as with anything.

    Also about the drug addict thing... the quote is makes you stronger... not gives you a better quality of life. Drugs addicts that were from bad background actually are relatively strong individuals that are capable of enduring much more abuse that soft people with nice backgrounds.... but their quality of life is screwed up. Now if they were to quit drugs... they would grow stronger and have a better sense of self-control, which they may lack in comparison to someone brought up in a strict authoritative household and school system.

    Basically in short I don't think life is perfect, there are always challenges, and people who can move through them grow stronger for it. As for the challenges, they are different for everyone and personal based on your life, so its not like two separate challenges are to be weighed against each other, its a quote about inner strength of one's character and not a quote about your strength in comparison to an adversary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by April View Post
    Personally, I think this sentiment makes a nice Hallmark card and perhaps contains some motivational value, but I still see it as mostly baloney. First, it's generally unlikely that trauma leads to subsequent strength. Given that fulfilling certain societal norms reflects a type of strength, we have to admit that previous trauma makes one more likely to struggle with or fail at these norms. For example, drug addicts and homeless people are more likely than the general population to have experienced childhood abuse or neglect. Secondly, hardship does not lend itself to concurrent strength. Multiple stressors, in general, have a compounding effect rather than a mitigating one.
    Depends on what kind of trauma I think. If it is a trauma caused not by outside hostile environment (lets say poverty, lack of possibilities, inevitable life hardships in general) then I do believe it makes one stronger. In my opinion hardships do form a person to a degree. Overcoming those hardships makes one to appreciate simple small victories way more and enjoy themselves in contrast to most people who are drowning in problems they create themselves.

    If we talk about abuse from parents or similar kind of hardships (coming from the people you should trust, or from problem one creates for themselves out of carelessness or stupidity, not unavoidable outside hardships) then I dont believe in positive effect. It messes with your brain too much, its hard to bring out positives from that, being still sane after it is probably the best thing that can happen and anyone who achieves that has my respect.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HaveLucidDreamz View Post
    Yes I do, but sure if you get ridiculous enough with it you can make it false, as with anything.
    I think it's people who hold it to be true who are ridiculous. It's very easy to demonstrate that it's false, and very difficult to defend except by reasserting it to be true.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Subterranean View Post
    I think it's people who hold it to be true who are ridiculous. It's very easy to demonstrate that it's false, and very difficult to defend except by reasserting it to be true.
    are you kidding me, just consider how the bodies immune system operates. That's a very scientific grounded example of this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HaveLucidDreamz View Post
    are you kidding me, just consider how the bodies immune system operates. That's a very scientific grounded example of this.
    It's quite easy to see how something that doesn't kill you can yet make you more vulnerable to dying. For example, if you got an illness that permanently left you with no immune system, this wouldn't be very good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Subterranean View Post
    It's quite easy to see how something that doesn't kill you can yet make you more vulnerable to dying. For example, if you got an illness that permanently left you with no immune system, this wouldn't be very good.
    It can or it can not, so it depends on a disease and how much it screwes you up. However you were quite categorical in your assertion that it cant be true. Not all of the diseases leave you with no immune system.
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    As far as I'm concerned, I only need to demonstrate one thing to prove the statement ludicrous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by April
    I'd like to feel otherwise about this quote because it would be comfortable, though, so please argue away.
    I think realistically life is a series of peaks and troughs, and it becomes more and more apparent with the number of years that pass.

    Too many bad things in life affect us detrimentally, as per some of the examples you mentioned. However too many good things are also not good for us, for instance, eating too much food can make us fat, eating too much unhealthy food increases cholesterol, risk of heart attacks. Also too many good times ie life is easy, not having to work towards something, can make a person lazy, idle and create a sense of boredom for instance.

    I think that if we go through life with some good things and some bad things to balance it out, then we appreciate when life is going good and when it's bad we can try to take solace in the knowledge that it doesn't always have to be that way.

    So for yourself, if life isn't going too well just now, try to be optimistic that it can be better, that it can be improved, and it might take some modification to new circumstances if that situation occurs, but it might not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Subterranean View Post
    As far as I'm concerned, I only need to demonstrate one thing to prove the statement ludicrous.
    Not all staement have to apply to everything. Some of them are ideas which sometimes are simply wrong given the wrong context. However they originated in the correct context and in it they were correct. There arent that many sentences that apply to every single situation/context.
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    Just trying to understand your viewpoint here, HLD...

    Quote Originally Posted by HaveLucidDreamz View Post
    Drugs addicts that were from bad background actually are relatively strong individuals that are capable of enduring much more abuse that soft people with nice backgrounds.... but their quality of life is screwed up. Now if they were to quit drugs... they would grow stronger and have a better sense of self-control, which they may lack in comparison to someone brought up in a strict authoritative household and school system.
    What is your reasoning or evidence that drug addicts from bad backgrounds are stronger than individuals with nicer backgrounds? Stronger against what? How are you defining strength? This is the point I am mainly interested in.

    As to your second point, I do not think that the ability to quit drugs necessarily means that the person has gone through some process and grown stronger. They may have inherent resilience to begin with, thus allowing them to quit the drugs in the first place. (It's my understanding that such resilience is relatively uncommon, as most drug addicts do not seek appropriate treatment, and for those that do, an extremely substantial percentage relapse, though this varies by drug.)

    In this thread, I'm mostly interested in how the "typical" person or person at the median point of strength (if we could quantify such a thing) would react to trauma.

    Quote Originally Posted by HaveLucidDreamz View Post
    Basically in short I don't think life is perfect, there are always challenges, and people who can move through them grow stronger for it.
    What about most people? Again, what is your reasoning or evidence for this statement?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Subterranean View Post
    It's quite easy to see how something that doesn't kill you can yet make you more vulnerable to dying. For example, if you got an illness that permanently left you with no immune system, this wouldn't be very good.
    In my mind your taking it too literally... its like when people say "We are like apples and oranges"... they don't mean that literally the other person contains more vitamin C or they were harvested from varying geographical regions or some other ridiculous thing. Its a literary device and not a literal statement.

    Neitzsche's quote generally refers to the process of having to undergo struggle and pain in life, and how if you survive that struggle and pain how as a person you grow stronger from the experience, and therefore gain a positive from something negative.

    Quote Originally Posted by Subterranean View Post
    As far as I'm concerned, I only need to demonstrate one thing to prove the statement ludicrous.
    Lol once again its not a logical formalism in a mathematical proof. If it were it's simplicity would be destroyed, its an Aphorism. You have to take some liberalities with it's concreteness.

    A more accurate statement would probably be... "That which does not kill me, and which I recover from entirely without relapse, has a high probability of making me stronger and more resilient to a future occurrence of such an event."....... but it doesn't sound good like that lol, it sounds awful like something data would say on star trek.

    I'd much rather prefer a loose aphorism to an exact dissection of something, I mean the point of an aphorism is to get a little nugget of life wisdom, not to mechanically program your actions. Neitzsche is a philosopher not a computer programmer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ssmall View Post
    Not all staement have to apply to everything. Some of them are ideas which sometimes are simply wrong given the wrong context. However they originated in the correct context and in it they were correct. There arent that many sentences that apply to every single situation/context.
    Yes...but if that's the case, then the statement "That which does not kill me makes me weaker" may also be equally valid. I think if you're going to make statements like that, you should at least spell out exactly what you mean.

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    Quote Originally Posted by April View Post
    What is your reasoning or evidence that drug addicts from bad backgrounds are stronger than individuals with nicer backgrounds? Stronger against what? How are you defining strength? This is the point I am mainly interested in.
    Gah what I wrote was out of raw intuition which comes from a fixation on watching and observing other people. I don't have like experimental evidence or anything, its not like I've been hard at work in my laboratory trying to prove this result by experiments.

    It's not like I interviewed a group of people on their drug use and developed criteria from which I created two groups. With group A being drug addicts and group B being non-drug users and compared them on a variety of tests and reported their performance on a number of clearly defined criteria in order to have a statistical measure of their "strength".

    I mean that's basically what you're asking and really... that's just retarded, no offense. Anyone with half a brain and a little life experience can easily verify the validity of the statement as an aphorism.

    What I mean though outside of experimental evidence and statistics is, that people that are drug addicts are likely to have endure things that other people don't have to. For example drug addicts likely face poverty. Since they spend a large portion of their money on drugs they have less income and therefore must life a lifestyle where they get by on less resources. Someone who doesn't as much economic strain because they are from a nice family and have a nice stable job doesn't have to manage their life around tighter resources. So say things like dealing with being exposed to the elements, sleeping on the streets, going hungry for a day, having anxiety of not knowing where the next meal is coming from is a foreign experience, and if those who are acustomed to a stable and well-provisioned lifestyle where put into a compromising position with a drug addict who was used to and customed to such situations, one would except the drug addict to be more experienced at dealing with said situation than one who has no personal experience or emotional hardening to such an event.

    And it's not just economics, it's also say, a drug addict may be forced into crime or prostitution to fund their bad habit after they are broke. In prostitution they may have to be put into a position where they have a strange sense of their body and intimacy and personal space, they may have to emotionally harden themselves to someone they hate fucking them because they need the money. While someone without this experience would be weak emotionally to that kind of abuse and maybe breakdown the first time it happened to them.

    If you turn to crime, you become an enemy of the police and the state and instead of becoming protected, you become a tool for law enforcement to find other criminals, you become caught up in a different world and subculture, and that exposes the a different reality someone else may have been ignorant to. The law doesn't protect you because your a criminal and not an upright citizen and the criminals won't protect you because they have their own agendas, so you have to learn to rely upon yourself for protection more so than ever, something once again someone from a good neighborhood and lifestyle would never experience. People from nice suburbian neighborhoods are used to having ample protection at every turn... if they were put into a position where this was not so, it may incite emotional breakdown and open up their eyes to a darker reality they were pleasantly naive to.

    Quote Originally Posted by April View Post
    As to your second point, I do not think that the ability to quit drugs necessarily means that the person has gone through some process and grown stronger. They may have inherent resilience to begin with, thus allowing them to quit the drugs in the first place. (It's my understanding that such resilience is relatively uncommon, as most drug addicts do not seek appropriate treatment, and for those that do, an extremely substantial percentage relapse, though this varies by drug.)
    Now you are complicating things by throwing in nature vs nurture in this... I am assuming purely nurture here. Two people born with equal willpower, say twins separated at birth with equal genetics are put into two different circumstances. One a nice neighborhood where they learn drugs are bad early on, have ample distraction from such things, hell lets just say they are kept naive as much as possible, they don't even know what drugs are. The other grows up in a neighborhood where drugs are a way of life and there are no anti-drug programs and they are introduced to them earlier and have to struggle with them.

    Obviously the person who isn't even exposed to them can't really say they have greater willpower, because they aren't refusing drugs out of willpower but out of naiveity.

    Also as per the thing you wrote in parenthesis, may I ask what your actual extent or experience with drugs is?

    Quote Originally Posted by April View Post
    In this thread, I'm mostly interested in how the "typical" person or person at the median point of strength (if we could quantify such a thing) would react to trauma.
    Lol I don't think it works like that... I think people respond differently and you really don't know unless a person is put in duress. It's very hard to know though because people don't purposefully put themselves into painful situations, usually they arise out of circumstances greater than their immediate control.

    It's like if people get drafted for a war, you don't know how a person is going to respond to it, some people may appear really brave and stuff and a confident member of mainstream society, but become shellshocked when they actually get put into "hell". Other people are the reverse, they may come across just a typical joe in mainstream society, but be really amazing under stress when put into "hell".

    And its not just a war thing, but a general trauma thing.... people really may not know how they respond to trauma until they actually experience it. Experiencing trauma can actually tell you something about yourself or other people you may not have known and sometimes its not always positive, sometimes you learn people are selfish or weak, sometimes other things... but its hard to judge such a thing outside of direct experience.

    Basically I'm saying you can't ever develop a median of all people, you can only develop a median of people which are thrown into a particular circumstance. I can't tell you how the typical person would respond to crack-cocaine addiction because their is such a large segment of the population that has never had to face crack-cocaine addiction. Out of those that have to face it, for whatever reasons.... most struggle relatively hard to get off the drug and those that do usually display exceptional willpower.

    Quote Originally Posted by April View Post
    What about most people? Again, what is your reasoning or evidence for this statement?
    Well I've never ran across a person that convinced me their life is perfect, and believe me if I found one, I'd be taking advice from them.

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    I just spoke with my LII about this, and I thought his perspective was very reasonable. Essentially, he thinks that to a certain point, life experiences make us stronger and more resilient, but after that sweet spot, hardships and trauma no longer make us stronger but injure us. As a really dumbed down example, you can work out to build muscle, but after a certain point of exercising, you're just going to hurt your body. So I guess I'd like to amend my first post with the information that I'm generally referring to those life experiences or traumas that are quite significant to the average person.

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    I'm really sleep deprived so I'll get to your post later, HLD. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by April View Post
    I just spoke with my LII about this, and I thought his perspective was very reasonable. Essentially, he thinks that to a certain point, life experiences make us stronger and more resilient, but after that sweet spot, hardships and trauma no longer make us stronger but injure us. As a really dumbed down example, you can work out to build muscle, but after a certain point of exercising, you're just going to hurt your body. So I guess I'd like to amend my first post with the information that I'm generally referring to those life experiences or traumas that are quite significant to the average person.
    Lol that seems reasonable but its like.... the Aphorism isn't supposed to be applied like that. It's not like the quote relates to one's life in that way. It's not like its saying "go out an masochistically punish yourself and create un-necessary obstacles in your life to gain power and strength". Yea of course that's retarded.

    It kind of reminds me of this scene in zoolander (ignore the kid at the beginning and that isn't me ftr)....



    The files are in the computer... doesn't literally mean they are in the computer.

    The statement isn't supposed to apply to one's life as "better get to punishing yourself so you can be so strong and awesome"! It's not a life work-out program... its just saying that in retrospect the challenges and pain one goes through ultimately serve a purpose to make one stronger so that in looking forward do not be disheartened by difficult challenges on the way to your goals.

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    I've always found that quote inspiring.

    It always helps me to put my life in the right perspective.

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    at people who use this as their life philosophy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HaveLucidDreamz View Post
    It's not a life work-out program... its just saying that in retrospect the challenges and pain one goes through ultimately serve a purpose to make one stronger so that in looking forward do not be disheartened by difficult challenges on the way to your goals.
    Yes, I think this is the right interpretation.

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    I've read... that PTSDs are actually rather rare, and that people are surprisingly resilient. They usually bounce back from traumatic experiences. So, there's that. I do believe... that people have some sort of an in-built mechanism for growth. Which is why we have evolved and grew so much despite some of our hardship and pain. We learn from our experience and apply them to our lives. We then make choices, hopefully for the better, we generally wish to make better choices for ourselves. But if you ARE "damaged" in some ways, then you'd need to be able to look squarely at yourself, so that you can get ALL the help that you need. But if you take the wrong path, then you will be screwed. Being able to look at yourself squarely and honestly can be a very hard thing to achieve.

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