Feeding the crocodile, II
0 comment Monday, October 13, 2014 |
We all know the term ''fight or flight" in its usual sense, and in the sense in which we've discussed our predicament on this blog.
But how many are familiar with the phrase ''tend and befriend"?
That's a label applied to the supposed feminine strategy for dealing with a threat.
The model, called "tend-and-befriend" by its developers, won't replace fight-or-flight. Rather, it adds another dimension to the stress-response arsenal, says University of California, Los Angeles, psychologist Shelley Taylor, PhD, who, along with five colleagues, developed the model.
In particular, they propose that females respond to stressful situations by protecting themselves and their young through nurturing behaviors--the "tend" part of the model--and forming alliances with a larger social group, particularly among women--the "befriend" part of the model.
Males, in contrast, show less of a tendency toward tending and befriending, sticking more to the fight-or-flight response, they suggest.''
Here is an interesting analysis of that idea, in light of liberal and conservative politics:
Fight, Flight...or Tend and Befriend?
'When I was a psychology professor in the 1990s, it was commonly accepted that there were two ways that people coped with fear: fight or flight. The scientific understanding at that time was that when we sense a threat, our body shoots noradrenalin in our blood stream, causing our heart to pound faster, and our muscles to fill with increased blood. This biological response readied us to sustain increased physical activity, whether to fight or run away. The fight or flight theory lent credence to the liberal's contention that the conservative response to wage war in Iran was a response to fear-- to fight.
But a more recent theory supports the conservative contention. When Shelley Taylor at UCLA looked at the research on fight or flight, she found that it was primarily based on studying men. In her studies of women, she found a very different response to fear, which she termed "tend and befriend." It also had biological underpinnings. When women sensed a threat, they emitted oxytocin, sometimes called the bonding hormone. Rather than fight or flee, they would talk, soothe, and try to connect. I saw a similar response to fear when I worked with women rape victims. Many reported that rather than fight off their assailant or try to flee, they were kind to the rapist in hopes that he would change his mind.
Both ends of the political spectrum lob accusations at their opponents for feeling fear, as if it is a shameful feeling-- the adult version of the "You're a baby" attack. But I contend that it is more admirable to feel fear than to block or minimize it.''
In this real-life example of a female victim 'befriending' her attacker and captor, it appeared that the effort was a success and the woman's 'heroism' was hailed by the liberal media. It seemed that the 'tend and befriend' strategy was the answer. But did it work ultimately?
From Wikipedia, more information on the perpetrator and his trial:
The defense called psychiatrist Mark Cunningham to the stand to testify about Nichols mental condition. Cunningham said Nichols had an emotionally distant relationship with his parents because when he was a child they worked long hours and were seldom home. His father routinely drank alcohol and also smoked marijuana which led Nichols to begin abusing the same substances as a child.
Cunningham said Nichols was sexually abused by a cousin and his older brother and that he was bullied as a child. "The stresses of his childhood is what carries forward into adulthood," Cunningham said.
He said Nichols began to show extreme beliefs in college and he presented a college essays that Nichols wrote in 1992. In them, Nichols lays out his belief that there is an organized and deliberate attempt by whites to eradicate the black race, by imprisoning black men, and keeping them from having children. One of Nichols essay read "If violence can be a righteous tool for the white man, then surely it can be used as a righteous tool for the black man. If violence can be used to murder defenseless women and children in South Africa and Vietnam, then surely it can be used to defend the human rights of dark-skinned people all over the world." Nichols wrote he believes blacks should use violence to rebel arguing that if violence is right in Vietnam and the Middle East "surely it can be used in South Central Los Angeles."
Cunningham said those beliefs "are the seeds of what later grew into a delusional disorder" as he was confined in the Fulton County jail. Nichols said the conditions paralleled slavery: labor without pay, poor sanitation, chains; and he compared his white judge, Rowland Barnes, to a slavemaster. He said Nichols eventually became so delusional he thought he was at war with the government and that he did not know right from wrong even as he pulled the trigger. Cunningham also read an excerpt from Nichols confession: "I felt as though I was a slave rebelling. I was a slave rebelling against the government of the United States. And as a soldier, I don't feel as though I committed any war crimes.... Slaves have a tendency to rebel. And as a result, I felt as though it was my right as a human being, basically, to rebel as a slave. And I felt that it was my right to declare war on the United States government."
Prosecution: Nichols will always be dangerous
...Lead prosecutor Kellie Hill said jurors only have to read Nichols� own words in letters to fellow plotters to realize that the risk of escape is real. Nichols� last known plot was at the beginning of jury selection for this trial, when paperclips fashioned as handcuff keys were found in his cell at the DeKalb County jail, where he was housed after his escape plots were uncovered at the Fulton County jail, Hill said.
Also found in the cell were sharp pieces of broken tile that could be used as a weapon, Hill said. "His plots to escape are not fantasy � he is able to manipulate people inside and outside the jail," Hill said. "He is still planning. He is still dangerous� He is someone who must be sentenced to death for the safety of our society."
Hill read from one of Nichols� letters to a Fulton County jail inmate where he talked about how he had bribed a guard and gave advice on how to overpower guards for their escape. The guard in question was later fired. "What better way to get a glimpse in to a mind of a cold-blooded killer than to look at his own words", Hill said.
[...] Nichols, 36, had been a successful, middle-class, church-going man, earning $80,000 a year as an UNIX system administrator for UPS. His life began to fall apart when Nichols impregnated another woman, causing his girlfriend of seven years to end their relationship.''
There are a number of obvious lessons in the story of Nichols. He should have been a black ''success story" of the kind that Republicans like to cite as proof of the idea that blacks just need to acculturate and follow the rules. He did not come from a poor or 'disadvantaged' background. His parents were professionals. He himself got a good education and was making a good living, as mentioned above. So what went wrong? That's a question for another blog entry.
The issue here is the way in which the interaction between Nichols and his White female captive, his ''Angel," reflects our society's current approach to dealing with threats.
We are a feminized society, and when it comes to dealing with evil, we are losing because in liberal fashion, we try to 'block or minimize' fear, and to appease evil by 'tending and befriending', hoping that we can reform and redeem those who are out to harm us.
The White female hostage encouraged her captor, who had just been on a killing rampage, to read not the Bible, but Rick Warren's Purpose-Driven Life. If that isn't a commentary on the state of our watered-down 'Christianity' I don't know what is. And when this bit of proselytizing seemed to work, momentarily at least, this was hailed as a triumph for 'purpose-driven'-ism.
The accounts of Nichols' later comportment and behavior show that there was no 'conversion' or repentance, at least none of a lasting nature. The fact that anybody was naive enough to think that a little Oprahfied pop psychology and a dose of pop-Christianity could change this man in the twinkling of an eye should be cause for embarrassment. But it isn't, apparently.
We as a society are pursuing the same strategy with regard to all the threats which face us. We first try to 'block or minimize'' the fear we refuse to recognize, and we try to 'tend and befriend' all those who breathe out threats against us. If only we appease everybody, use all the politically correct, deferential language, and behave in a generally 'nice' fashion, we imagine we can win over our enemies, change them, save their souls, render them harmless.
The altruism about which I blogged yesterday is another manifestation of this 'tend and befriend' feminized response. And it seems that even those self-deluded liberals and leftists recognize on some level that threats do exist; everyone is not our friend. Not everyone means well. Danger is real. But the choice to block and minimize the threats and to deny the fear, and the choice to try to feed the crocodile in hopes of being eaten last, is the wrong choice. It's far better to acknowledge the reality of the threat and act accordingly so as to ensure survival.
Maybe Nichols' captive rolled the dice and won that particular time. Maybe she herself succeeded in escaping with her life. But it could well have turned out tragically for her. Appeasement of evil is always a huge gamble, and the odds are not in our favor if we rely on this tactic.
Now is not the time to 'tend and befriend'; it's been tried and found wanting. Let the more primal response serve its intended purpose.

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