Thursday, May 4, 2017

Can We Get Beyond Partisanship?

     Partisanship - my political party, my religion, my personal short-term interests, my possessions, ... feral egocentricity to hell with everyone else, the environment be damned - is what got us into the global mess we're in now. More on partisanship:

     But if we're brave and invest the time to look a bit more deeply at ourself & our life, we may see things differently enough to perhaps work towards improving the quality of life for all. More on bravery:

     "Studies of self-affirmation typically ask the experimental group to write about their most important value and the control group to write about a low-ranked value. The consistent superiority of experimental over control groups in beneficial outcomes suggests that thinking about one’s own highly ranked values is important. This finding is consistent with theories of optimal human functioning that emphasize the role of autonomy. Self-determination theory identifies autonomy as one of three basic needs (along with competence and relatedness) that are essential for psychological health and life satisfaction. Ryff’s comprehensive theory of psychological well-being also includes autonomy as a critical element of healthy functioning. Studies of the self-concordance model show that pursuit of goals that reflect authentic personal interests and values is associated with increased goal attainment and higher overall well-being.

     Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) experts note that when clients are encouraged to think autonomously about their deepest aspirations, they almost invariably choose prosocial values, such as meaningful work, loving relationships, and contributions to a community. When this does not happen, e.g., a client says that he values making a lot of money, further discussion about why money is important is likely to reveal prosocial underlying values, such as providing security or opportunities for one’s family. If values appear to conflict (e.g., providing financial security for the family versus spending time with them), discussion focuses on finding patterns of committed action that serve both values and provide greater overall satisfaction with life.  
     The prevailing tendency to identify prosocial values is believed to reflect universal human requirements for biological survival, social interaction, and the welfare of groups. That is, individuals and societies are more likely to thrive if people take care of them- selves, help each other, and work for the benefit of the group. Of course, these universal needs do not invariably prevent harmful behaviors. However, current psychological theories, research, and treatment methods consistently suggest that encouraging people to identify their own most deeply held values may promote adaptive and prosocial behaviors more effectively than adopting a list of values prescribed or suggested by others
     A central concern of positive psychology is the understanding and cultivation of human virtues that define good character or the domain of moral excellence."
       Ruth Baer. "Ethics, Values, Virtues, and Character Strengths in Mindfulness-Based Interventions: a Psychological Science Perspective." Mindfulness 2015; 6: 956–969.

This morning, at the Canada Games Center, Halifax, NS

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