Thursday, August 26, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Five Stages

The Five Stages of Grief.

Everyone knows that the five stages are Denial, Anger, Deal Making, Depression and Acceptance.

They are in fact the five stages of making ANY unwanted decision. If there is a scenario we don't want to make a decision on we go through these five stages. Decisions such as getting out of bed in the morning:
Nope, I'm not getting up.
Oh, why do I have to go to work today?
5 more minutes and I'll skip breakfast and still make it to work.
My life sucks and work is worse.
Ok. Ok. I'll go. I'll get out of bed.

A similar process occurs with dieting or exercise - and the process often stops at Deal Making (Just, one more chip and I'll have two salads tomorrow) and then the depression sets in for an added bonus which explains why dieting makes people unhappy.

And of course, since we go through this process when facing up to the loss of a loved one (either by death or the break up of a relationship) is one of the most powerful emotional episodes we will experience it shows that these 5 stages are a fundemental, basic process that we automatically engage whenever there is ANY decision to be made when we just want the world to pass us by.
Which makes sense when you look at how a 3 or 4 year old reacts to being told it's time for bed (_particualrly_ when there are guests over). The same five stages.
No, it's not bedtime yet!
Why do I have to go to bed? i don't want to!
If I change into my jammies can I stay for ten more minutes?
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! It's the end of the world.
Ok. Ok. Good night everyone.

Of course, soft parents give in at the deal making stage and then they realise that they should never have had kids because they stop fun bappening and the depression is transferred to the parents but it's too late suckers!!!! hahahahahaha! Losers. I jest about the depression transfer.

So, the 5 stages of grief are not some hallowed process that is essential to our mental health - or anything else along that asinine touchy-feely overly-accepting and forgiving psychodrivel school of lameness - they are just the reactions of a child. The inability to accept/deal with reality is seen as childish (rightly so), so you could argue that those who linger at one of the stages are being childish, and that those who reach acceptance first are the most emotionally mature. Or, to be fair, emotionally shutdown. Ok, assuming they aren't emotionally shutdown, then maturity can be gauged by how quickly someone goes through the process. eg someone who simply jumps out of bed when the alarm goes off has used discipline to overcome the inner child who wants to go through the 5steps.

So, before people start expanding the 5stages to things other than grief we can shut them down with a cry of 'discipline!'.

Procrastination can be seen as getting stuck at the Deal Making stage ie 'I'll do it later'.
Hmm, bribe taking by someone trying to do a deal with the devil for the first couple of times could also be seen in the same light - the rationalisation that they will make up for it later is Deal Making.

So, does the process often break down as a way of avoiding the Depression stage - is it the abyss edge?
eg "What's the point of getting up, my work is pointless anyway?", "All this hard work probably won't pay off anyway", "I am as hollow and false as the bad guys. The whole system is broken because they always get away with it."

This is not to say that these depressing conclusions AREN'T true, just that they need to be Accepted ie discipline (to work past the Depression) will enable us to Accept and THEN be able to do something about work, pay offs and the system.

So, just as understanding evolution is all about embryology, human behaviour is childhood development.