Learned Helplessness is Here.....

bzmazu

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2015
Messages
1,552

Plus check out some of Haidut's enlightening posts on learned helplessness.
 

cjm

Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2013
Messages
387
Age
34
"One key insight that can be garnered from this research is that, just as people can be conditioned into a state of helplessness by being subjected to uncontrollable shocks, they can be “innoculated” (to use a phrase) against that feeling of helplessness by first being exposed to a situation where they do have control."

The freedom "vaccine," or learned powerfulness. Have your kids vaccinated every day!
 
Last edited:

cjm

Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2013
Messages
387
Age
34

Thanks for the link. Hadn't read before but it's quick and thought-provoking.

The gatekeeper gives the countryman an opening.

“'If it tempts you so much, try it in spite of my prohibition.'"

But the countryman is paralyzed by the fear of innumerable future gatekeepers that promise only to inflict more pain on his journey.

"'But take note: I am powerful. And I am only the most lowly gatekeeper. But from room to room stand gatekeepers, each more powerful than the other. I can’t endure even one glimpse of the third.'”

Turns out he only needed the experience of seeing someone else go through the first gate to empower himself to tackle the next ones.

"'how is that in these many years no one except me has requested entry?'"

Truly, there is only one reliable path through great challenges/opportunities and that is your own.

"The gatekeeper...shouts at him, 'Here no one else can gain entry, since this entrance was assigned only to you. I’m going now to close it.'"
 

CreakyJoints

Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2020
Messages
196
Thanks for the link. Hadn't read before but it's quick and thought-provoking.

The gatekeeper gives the countryman an opening.

“'If it tempts you so much, try it in spite of my prohibition.'"

But the countryman is paralyzed by the fear of innumerable future gatekeepers that promise only to inflict more pain on his journey.

"'But take note: I am powerful. And I am only the most lowly gatekeeper. But from room to room stand gatekeepers, each more powerful than the other. I can’t endure even one glimpse of the third.'”

Turns out he only needed the experience of seeing someone else go through the first gate to empower himself to tackle the next ones.

"'how is that in these many years no one except me has requested entry?'"

Truly, there is only one reliable path through great challenges/opportunities and that is your own.

"The gatekeeper...shouts at him, 'Here no one else can gain entry, since this entrance was assigned only to you. I’m going now to close it.'"

Apart from motifs around insignificance and futility, much of Kafka's work is also concerned with nightmarish and paradoxical bureaucracies - which I think are also relevant themes here. I recommend The Trial, if this is of interest - Berkoff's stage adaptation (in which he himself plays Titorelli) has some fun moments if you can find it: sadly, it is also a drama school favourite so it may be difficult to source a good version. There's a very abridged version with Tim Roth as part of a documentary, too, but I didn't like how they did the painter scene very much. The original text is also good, of course, but reading too much Kafka in one go can induce a unique and long-lasting combination of guilt and sadness. Before The Law is blissfully short, almost like a little meditation. I'm glad to see it mentioned! @gaze

EDIT: a much more accessible text with similar themes, which probably many people here are already familiar with is Heller's Catch-22. One could definitely see learned helplessness everywhere in that book if they wanted to. I felt it was heavily influenced by Kafka, but that's somewhat contentious.
I liked the ending a lot - the implication that Orr managed to escape is very hopeful, and the very last scene is almost like a Looney Tunes cartoon with Yossarian scampering off in glee.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 21, 2015
Messages
8,376
Attainability is very important. I’ve done things that I would never have done except that I could see someone else doing it and I knew that if they could do it I can do it. Very empowering.
 

jet9

Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2018
Messages
424
Great share, thanks!

But Seligman didn’t stop his research there. He had told his supervisor that he didn’t believe in causing suffering unless it had some inherent value that would lead to bettering lives, both canine and human. So he and Maier [his colleague in the original experiments] set out to figure out a way to reverse the effect of learned helplessness in the dogs. What they found was that one simple tweak could stop the passivity from developing.

When the researchers first put all the dogs in the shuttle box, where the shock was controllable by a jump, and, only then, into the inescapable harness, the effect of the harness was broken: now, even though the dogs were being bombarded by shocks, they didn’t give up. They kept trying to control the situation, pressing the panels despite the lack of feedback. And when they were again put into the box, they didn’t cower. Instead, they immediately reclaimed their ability to avoid shocks.

One key insight that can be garnered from this research is that, just as people can be conditioned into a state of helplessness by being subjected to uncontrollable shocks, they can be “innoculated” (to use a phrase) against that feeling of helplessness by first being exposed to a situation where they do have control.
 

bzmazu

Member
Thread starter
Joined
Oct 29, 2015
Messages
1,552
Thoughtful input, all...wonderful
 

cjm

Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2013
Messages
387
Age
34
Reading too much Kafka in one go can induce a unique and long-lasting combination of guilt and sadness. Before The Law is blissfully short, almost like a little meditation.

Blissfully short indeed. My meditation on it continues.

The countryman's failure to act is my own.

What Gatekeepers down the line does my gatekeeper warn me about?

I don't hear that voice anymore. I shamed him for imagining monsters, stopped listening, and slowly lost my senses.

It's a comfort to know I'm just working off a hangover on the side of the road by the first gate.
 

cjm

Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2013
Messages
387
Age
34
Finally got around to pulling A Way of Being off the shelf and start digging in. Peat mentioned the author, a therapist named Carl Rogers, in an article:

"40 or 50 years ago, advocates of student-centered education were encouraged by the popularity of psychologist Carl Rogers' client centered therapy. Rogers was interested in what made some therapists successful, and he found that their personality and attitude, not their theories or techniques, accounted for their success. Successful therapists had three essential traits. They offered their clients acceptance or “unconditional positive regard” and empathic understanding, and they themselves were congruent, not presenting a facade of authority or esoteric knowledge. According to Rogers, “accurate diagnosis” and “specific treatment” didn't have anything to do with helping the client."
How do you know? Students, patients, and discovery

There's a bit in the first chapter of A Way of Being that's relevant to learned helplessness. I'm transcribing from my copy of the book:

"The first simple feeling I want to share with you is my enjoyment when I can really *hear* someone"
...
I have often noticed that the more deeply I hear the meanings of this person, the more there is that happens. Almost always, when a person realizes he has been deeply heard, his eyes moisten. I think in some real sense he is weeping for joy. Is it as though he were saying, "Thank God, somebody heard me. Someone knows what it's like to be me." In such moments I have had the fantasy of a prisoner in a dungeon, tapping out day after day a Morse code message, "Does anybody hear me? Is anybody there?" And finally one day he hears some faint tappings which spell out "Yes." By that one simple response he is released from his loneliness; he has become a human being again. There many, many people living in private dungeons today, people who give no evidence of it whatsoever on the outside, where you have to listen very sharply to hear that faint message from the dungeon.
...
When I have been listened to and when I have been heard, I am able to reperceive my world in a new way and to go on. It is astonishing how elements that seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens, how confusions that seem irremediable turn into relatively clear flowing streams when one is heard.
...
[on the other hand...]
When I task the gamble, the risk, of trying, to share something that is very personal with another individual and it is not received and not understood, this is a very deflating and a very lonely experience. I have come to believe that such an experience makes some individuals psychotic. It causes them to give up hoping that anyone can understand them. Once they have lost that hope, then their own inner world, which becomes more and more bizarre, is the only place they can live. They can no longer live in any shared human experience."
 
Last edited:

TheSir

Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2019
Messages
609
Attainability is very important. I’ve done things that I would never have done except that I could see someone else doing it and I knew that if they could do it I can do it. Very empowering.
It's interesting that many athletic achievements seem to follow this rule. A pioneer has to first show everybody that it's possible, then not long after dozens of people will succeed in what the pioneer did. It's also sad in a way, because it shows that not many people believe in their own potential.
 

bzmazu

Member
Thread starter
Joined
Oct 29, 2015
Messages
1,552
Finally got around to pulling A Way of Being off the shelf and start digging in. Peat mentioned the author, a therapist named Carl Rogers, in an article:

"40 or 50 years ago, advocates of student-centered education were encouraged by the popularity of psychologist Carl Rogers' client centered therapy. Rogers was interested in what made some therapists successful, and he found that their personality and attitude, not their theories or techniques, accounted for their success. Successful therapists had three essential traits. They offered their clients acceptance or “unconditional positive regard” and empathic understanding, and they themselves were congruent, not presenting a facade of authority or esoteric knowledge. According to Rogers, “accurate diagnosis” and “specific treatment” didn't have anything to do with helping the client."
How do you know? Students, patients, and discovery

There's a bit in the first chapter of A Way of Being that's relevant to learned helplessness. I'm transcribing from my copy of the book:

"The first simple feeling I want to share with you is my enjoyment when I can really *hear* someone"
...
I have often noticed that the more deeply I hear the meanings of this person, the more there is that happens. Almost always, when a person realizes he has been deeply heard, his eyes moisten. I think in some real sense he is weeping for joy. Is it as though he were saying, "Thank God, somebody heard me. Someone knows what it's like to be me." In such moments I have had the fantasy of a prisoner in a dungeon, tapping out day after day a Morse code message, "Does anybody hear me? Is anybody there?" And finally one day he hears some faint tappings which spell out "Yes." By that one simple response he is released from his loneliness; he has become a human being again. There many, many people living in private dungeons today, people who give no evidence of it whatsoever on the outside, where you have to listen very sharply to hear that faint message from the dungeon.
...
When I have been listened to and when I have been heard, I am able to reperceive my world in a new way and to go on. It is astonishing how elements that seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens, how confusions that seem irremediable turn into relatively clear flowing streams when one is heard.
...
[on the other hand...]
When I task the gamble, the risk, of trying, to share something that is very personal with another individual and it is not received and not understood, this is a very deflating and a very lonely experience. I have come to believe that such an experience makes some individuals psychotic. It causes them to give up hoping that anyone can understand them. Once they have lost that hope, then their own inner world, which becomes more and more bizarre, is the only place they can live. They can no longer live in any shared human experience."
Great thank you...all so true.
 

cjm

Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2013
Messages
387
Age
34
"'But take note: I am powerful. And I am only the most lowly gatekeeper. But from room to room stand gatekeepers, each more powerful than the other. I can’t endure even one glimpse of the third.'”

More meditation...

I am the gatekeeper!

I only know the next gatekeeper, just like my gatekeeper hasn't seen any past the next one.

I resented the gatekeeper for misleading the man but he's probably just scared like me, imagining the gatekeeping system to be infinite and increasingly powerful.

The very idea of the gates is a consensus between you and your gatekeeper(s), nothing more.
 

jet9

Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2018
Messages
424
Attainability is very important. I’ve done things that I would never have done except that I could see someone else doing it and I knew that if they could do it I can do it. Very empowering.
Related to study Ray Peat mentioned:
In one of the studies in which rats had been taught learned helplessness so they would drown in five or six minutes, just being able to see another rat escape would let the informed rat go for days without drowning. Just the recognition that someone else did it can make all the difference.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Mauritio Fasoracetam upregulates GABA-B receptors and reduces learned helplessness Scientific Studies 14
dilantinoid Powerful Against Learned Helplessness Ask For Help or Advice 12
D Learned Helplessness And Anhedonia Mental Issues 8
Marcine Corona Mass Learned Helplessness Mental Issues 5
GutFeeling Reversal Of Learned Helplessness By SSRIs In Rats Is Not Dependent On 5-HT Availability Scientific Studies 0
haidut The Government Knows Stress Causes "learned Helplessness" / Depression Scientific Studies 2
haidut Stress And Learned Helplessness May Be The Main Cause Of Dementia Scientific Studies 27
Peatogenic Learned Helplessness/low Grade To High Grade Trauma/when I Realized Diet Wasn't Enough Experiments 13
haidut Nitrous Oxide (N2O) Prevents Suicidal Behavior, Reverses Learned Helplessness Scientific Studies 53
H Learned Helplessness, MS Story Ray Peat Topics 7
pete Learned Helplessness And Learned Optimism Society 1
cyclops Learned Helplessness In The Solar Plexus Mental Issues 22
Velve921 1x A Month - Exhaustion/Learned Helplessness Increases - Thoughts? Ask For Help or Advice 20
M Milk's Log. Orthotropics, TMJ, Learned Helplessness. Expert Advice Appreciated Logs 6
Xisca The Freeze Response At The Root Of "learned" Helplessness Mind, Sleep, Stress 110
L Overcoming Learned Helplessness Mind, Sleep, Stress 29
Dopamine Nicotine Is An Anti-Depressant And Reverses Learned Helplessness Supplements, Pharmaceutical Drugs 102
J Freewheel Running Prevents Learned Helplessness (How Would This Fit Into Peat's View Of Exercise? Exercise 5
burtlancast Learned Helplessness, KMUD, 2013 Audio Interview Transcripts 6
haidut Many psychiatric drugs are useless, cause learned helplessness Scientific Studies 6
CellularIconoclast Escaping Learned Helplessness Ray Peat Quotes 151
charlie KMUD: 9-20-13 Learned Helplessness, Nervousness KMUD Radio-The Herb Doctors 8
R Enhancing Motivation And Overcoming "Learned Helplessness" Mind, Sleep, Stress 45
yerrag Just Learned From Experience Bicarbonate Intake Isn't the Real Solution, May Even Cause Problems Supplements, Pharmaceutical Drugs 20
thingsvarious I Have Tried It All: T4, T3-only, T3/T4-combo, NDT. Here I Share What I Learned T3 99
DANIEL Lesson Learned: Dropping All Supplements Is Peat Approved Supplements 43
thingsvarious I Tried Out Every Diet Under The Sun. Here I Share What I Learned Diet 58
thingsvarious I Replace All My Hormones. Here Is What I Learned Experiments 40
ecstatichamster What I Learned About Frequent Severe Headaches Recently Ask For Help or Advice 16
methylenewhite EVERYTHING We Learned About Butter And Beef Fat Is Not True Anymore Diet 71
Mito Dairy Foods, Dairy Fat, Diabetes, And Death: What Can Be Learned From 3 Large New Investigations? Articles & Scientific Studies 8
F Just Learned That Ray Peat Has A Brother Ray Peat Topics 26
jzeno Guide To Ray Peat: Simple, User-friendly Guide To Applying Lessons Learned From The Research Of RP Experiments 24
S Learned Response From My Immune System? Health 4
Lecarpetron Finding Sleepiness. Lessons Learned Insomnia, Sleep Issues 5
lindsay Things I've Learned About Foods From Having Pet Snails Diet 35
P Methylene Blue Facilitates The Extinction Of Fear In An Animal Model Of Susceptibility To Learned He Scientific Studies 6
Nicholas My Top 10 Things Learned Through Peat Health 10
Blossom Lesson Learned Testimonials 5
M Some things I've learned Testimonials 7
taesch Learned a bunch thanks to Dr.Peat but... Meet & Greet 18
jaketthomas Things that I've learned from Peat-ing 75 days... Discussing Dietary Models 21
charlie Covid "Vaccine" Adverse Reaction Reports (Post Here) Vaccines 59
charlie "Gestapo is not allowed here!" " Nazi's are not allowed here!" "Nazi psychopaths!" The Ray Peat Forum Lounge 48
youngsinatra Post Your Experience With Topical Vitamin A Here Metabolism 17
C Chronic health problem (Dehydration) - Faint hope somebody here might have some ideas Symptoms, Causes 139
A New here! Edema, blood sugar, and the likes Ask For Help or Advice 0
M Anybody here really cured histamine intolerance? Ask For Help or Advice 99
G Anyone here have access to a lab or hospital or research facility? Blood Work, Labs 3
M Anybody here got real sick from covid? Ask For Help or Advice 45

Similar threads

Top