Monday, August 05, 2013

Safety Will Kill Us in the End: Are are protecting ourselves to death?

I have never come right out and said that I think the very survival of the human race is threatened by psychology. So there. I said it. Roving bands of psychotherapists, grief counselors, and radio shrinks are wandering the cultural landscape, destroying everything in their path.

No one is supposed be upset about anything. Ever. And it's causing massive amounts of anxiety.

And it's not only the psychologists but the entire medical establishment, as well as the new safety bureaucracy which sees it as its job to make sure than no one ever does anything dangerous. It will kill us in the end.

Diet drinks. Seat belts. Skim milk. OSHA. Safety goggles. Consumer protection warnings.  Hospitals. Brakes on cars.

Am I the only one who has hurt myself trying to open a child-resistant safety cap?

We are becoming too kind, too considerate, too caring, too safe, too protective. And unless it stops, we're all doomed.

And I am not alone in my apolcalyptic view of the situation. Here is a new in Psychology Today talking about the problem of over-involved parents who are apparently becoming the enemy of childhood:
Maybe it's the cyclist in the park, trim under his sleek metallic blue helmet, cruising along the dirt path... at three miles an hour. On his tricycle. 
Or perhaps it's today's playground, all-rubber-cushioned surface where kids used to skin their knees. And... wait a minute... those aren't little kids playing. Their mommies—and especially their daddies—are in there with them, coplaying or play-by-play coaching. Few take it half-easy on the perimeter benches, as parents used to do, letting the kids figure things out for themselves. 
Then there are the sanitizing gels, with which over a third of parents now send their kids to school, according to a recent survey. Presumably, parents now worry that school bathrooms are not good enough for their children.
"Coplay"? Isn't that a rock group? We can't even talk about the problem without engaging in nonsense.

The doctors and psychiatrists and safety experts are so determined to stop people from doing anything that might result in people inadvertently killing themselves that they are in the process of creating a completely boring existence here on earth. So boring that people will want to kill themselves.


Survival of the Fittest is supposed to be good for us as a species. So says Darwin, says Herbert Spencer. And even some modern psychologists are starting to question the Brave New World:
Behold the wholly sanitized childhood, without skinned knees or the occasional C in history. "Kids need to feel badly sometimes," says child psychologist David Elkind, professor at Tufts University. "We learn through experience and we learn through bad experiences. Through failure we learn how to cope."
In fact, people are already becoming so fed up with the people who are trying to protect them from themselves that they are doing things like "Extreme Sports." Hang-gliding from active volcanoes, bungie jumping from suspension bridges, wingsuit flying from high altitudes, and going to Mexico. These are all activities in which people go some place where they are safe from the safety officials and do dangerous things for the exclusive purpose of doing something unsafe. This is how desperate we have become.

This has never before been seen in history. The Egyptians did not hang glide off of the pyramids. The Babylonians did not bungie jump off the ziggurats. And the Romans did not jump out of airplanes for fun (Of course, this is largely because they didn't have them). And if they had they would at least have had the self-respect not to wear protective headgear and knee pads.

Pre-modern people did not have Extreme Sports. They had extreme farming and extreme hunting. People never did extreme sports in ancient times because they got to do dangerous things all day long. And they were a lot better off for it.

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