The Human Condition
Volume 1, Part 01

Have you ever wondered what is the platform for our one and only human experience? I have, for I once destroyed 99.9 percent of my human experience. With one tenth of my experience left, I took the time to learn how to learn from my insecurities. I learn to embrace that which one time intimidated me. I learned how to embrace my insecurities not as my weaknesses rather my strengths. I learned that whatever thought I validated influenced how I felt, and how I felt dictated my actions.

Personal and social self
In so many ways, when it comes to “who” we think we are, our sense of personal-self, more times than not what comes to mind is “how” we relate to the world; our social-self. Perhaps this is so because it is our nature as social interactionists to look out and not in. Nevertheless, at the hand of every situation, interaction, and event, we evaluate the experience through our perspectives of how the world should treat us. Through these perspectives, we manifest function or dysfunction in our impression management, frustration tolerance, and impulse control.

For many of us, it is difficult to define our perspectives of identity without applying behavioral terms. I define behavior as a pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting. To draw on an analogy, think of a pair of interchangeable shaded glasses. Depending on the lens we choose to validate, look through, that is how we see the world. Every morning we wake, we see “how” the world could, ought, and should be; that is our perspective from which we operate upon our world.

Through our perspectives, looking out and beyond from the moment-at-hand, we find ourselves personalizing the conflicts and anticipating the outcomes to that which we validate as real. Alternatively, we find ourselves reflecting back from the moment-at-hand anchoring our selves to varying degrees of hopeless helplessness.

In either validated direction, we overwhelm ourselves by our feelings and we reach out and strap on our behavioral baggage. Choosing to carry yesterday into today, we add a few pounds of “I can’t, It is, and I’ll never’.” Not realizing the power of control we give over to our worlds, we continue to waste our days to that which we “think” is responsible for our distress or despair. In effect, we hold the stage and reinforce ourselves as actors to our self-imposed prophecies of self-limitation and destruction.

It matters little what happens to us, rather it is more telling of us by how we respond to what happens.

As we go about our day, we are quick to displace our personal responsibility. Through our behavior, we point our finger at that which we perceive to be bothersome. By pointing, we fail to realize we literally deflect our personal responsibility required to take back the power of control we surrender to our worlds. By pointing, by looking outside ourselves we mask our insecurities while disassociating our sense of self from the three fingers pointing back at us. Figuratively, the three fingers pointing back at us are our self-protected limitations of inadequacy, inferiority, and insignificance; what I refer to as the InGroup.

We all have perspectives of insecurity.

Best expert enemy
Think of all the people, situations, and events in your life. Think of all the capabilities that constitute you the person. No one is fully satisfied, we are all wanting. In every situation, we are indeed our best expert enemy. Our being our best expert enemy motivates us.

Every moment is represented as conflict within our personal and social self. For every up, there is a down, good a bad, in an out, left a right, back a forth, et cetera. For every feeling of confidence, there is insecurity. Constantly our psychology is marked as we strive to maximize our comfort and minimize discomfort and in this course, we continue the interplay between approaching our desires and avoiding our fears. We are all physically predisposed to this vacillation. No one, absolutely no one is content for very long. The stage for this experience was set at day one.

Conflict is comfort versus discomfort
Day one was our first experience of conflict and that was birth. Imagine, prior to birth, on the average we spent the first nine months of our existence suspended in a lightless sea of embryonic fluid at or about 98.6 degrees warm. Not a care in the world, all of our survival needs were available as our only objective was to physically develop. Then we were born. We went from suspension in a lightless, warm fluid to a hard surfaced, brightly light, relatively cold, environment, and in that environment, for the first time, our senses were triggered. Bright lights, loud voices, hard textures, all came at once. For the first time we struggled to breath in life sustaining air. For the first time we experienced the discomfort of our wastes. In effect, from this first experience, we were born to conflict and through conflict, we needed to learn how to communicate to our worlds in order to satisfy our needs. From this moment of birth, life became interplay between comforts versus discomfort. Later on when we learned to discover our worlds, we would realize that we started out life very dependent. What we have not realized is our human condition constantly drove us toward independence and competence.

Human condition
The human condition is a wanting condition never satisfied. The human condition is physical and psychological wanting. Physically, our human condition is constantly changing; it is in always in flux as it strives for homeostasis. Homeostasis is the dynamic state of our organism to maintain equilibrium.

Think for a moment, whenever our organism experiences real or perceived threats to its survival, triggered physiological processions are put into play to regain control. In other words, when we experience conflict, stress through environmental, physical, or psychological influences, the body moves to cope, adapt to those threats. In response to threats and resulting stress, the body experiences and produces only that which the body can produce. For moments of inhale there are complements of exhale. For every nutrient absorbed there is waste removed. For every increase in body temperature, there is decrease body temperature, and so on. We do not have to think about our physiological conflict and what our bodies do to resolve that conflict; it is all automatic.

Physically or psychologically, the body can only produce what the body produces.

Psychologically, all of our sensations, perceptions, and cognitions are influenced by perceived or real threats to our wants and needs--our expectations to survival. Psychologically the body responds the way the body responds to conflict. When we experience a threat of loosing a job, our bodies will respond the same as someone putting a gun to our heads. After all, the body can only produce what the body produces.

As pointed out, the human condition is a wanting condition. The drive behind our wanting condition is our physical and psychological predisposition of conflict. Conflict is indeed the platform from which all thoughts, feelings, and actions originate. Without this predisposition, there would be no platform for learning.

Competence and independence
What drives our wanting human condition is our innate needs for competence and independence. Our needs of competence and independence constitute the confluence from which we draw our perspectives of power of control, or self-mastery. Power of control is self-mastery, for the surrender of such control is the conflict of lost or surrendered control. Watch a child, try to take its candy away and discover for yourself the innate drive to master power of control.

Whenever our power of control is threaten, we respond with compensatory behaviors, in other words thought, feelings, and action that serve a purpose. What that purpose is as unique to the individual as the individual is.

Compensatory Nature
The compensatory nature is the nature of utility. Compensatory behaviors are addictive behaviors. They are addictive because they serve a purpose, and out of fulfilling that purpose, they are reinforced and inculcated, difficult to change. Addictive behaviors are the habituated thoughts, feelings, and actions of the involved person. The actions of the behavior can be bad or good, however, the process that allows for the behaviors are neither good nor bad. They are not outcomes that can be labeled as addict, looser, stupid, et cetera. In fact nothing about compensatory behaviors are products, for they are the processes of the involved, and no one is a finished product until lay horizontal with tag on toe.

Psychology In Trouble
As I have pointed out, the platform from which we all operate upon this world is conflict. Conflict is the experience of comfort versus discomfort. Conflict motivates us to act. Driving our actions is our behaviors, our thoughts, feelings, and actions. This drive is our innate human condition. The human condition is our wanting condition never satisfied. The two dynamics necessitating this condition are our need for competence and independence. Taken together, the need for competence and independence constitutes power of control, or self-mastery. No one, absolutely no one approaches situations to surrender power of control, for the surrendering of power of control constitutes the path to learned helplessness and hopelessness. Another way of putting this is the surrendering of our personal and social self. Such a surrendering would of course set the stage for enduring distress and despair, for as long as power of control is surrendered, there can be no self-mastery.

Without perceived or realized self-mastery there would only be discomfort. Anchored to discomfort, the need for competence would be experienced as incompetence, and the need for independence would be experienced as dependence. The compensatory nature to addictive behaviors then would manifest into addictedness, addictedness to anger-based aggression, entitlement-based power and control, and other mediums of abuse. The addictedness then becomes an overwhelming wanting for relief as the involved is haunted by thoughts of substancelessness, the void of substance; the cycle of self-destruction is on with a psychology in trouble.

Author's Bio: 

Peter is an expert in the field of anger based lost control, intimate partner violence, and addiction. Unlike students and practitioners of general counseling psychology, for the past 20 years, his study and practice has been specific to compensatory cycles of emotional and behavioral lost control. Beginning with his graduate research, he had as his case study the life-spans of individuals who committed intimate partner homicide in contrast to individuals who violently offended within their communities while under the influence of alcohol and other drugs of abuse. As a result of this in depth contrast study, he gained unprecedented and unparallel insight into the acquisition, actuation, and maintenance to cycles of emotional distress expressed through Anger Based Aggression, Entitlement Based Coercive Control (Domestic Abuse), and Addictive Behaviors. Peter holds a Master of Arts Degree from Norwich University, Vermont. His concentration of study was Counseling Psychology specific to Addiction Theory and Intervention Applications. He is a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer specializing in stress management through the National Federation of Professional Trainers. He is a Certified Anger Resolution Therapist and Staff Consultant for the Anger Management Training Institute, and a Certified Addiction Specialist with the American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders, founded by Harvard School of Medicine – Division on Addictions. He is in private practice in Hampstead, New Hampshire. To contact Peter directly, email: