We’re products of the culture in which we were raised and live.
We form beliefs and learn behaviors that become engrained over time based on our environment and the people we interact with most.
We can call it schema formation, social learning, mimesis, or whatever fancy words we like, but culture is a strong current and we are like boats unanchored drifting wayward sometimes without even awareness of our own best interests.
This might be fine, of course, except there’s a problem.
As of April 24, 2022 in the US, we are living in a toxic culture.
We don’t have to be anthropologists to see it.
Our political system grows more extreme and divided, our education system promotes debt, and our health system fosters obesity.
These are only a few of the most obvious symptoms.
Still, we strive to navigate but this is difficult as we have been conditioned by the distortions.
We don't just live in it. We are a part of it.
When we think of the word defiance, we usually assume the negative.
Defiant children are scolded and punished.
There’s even a mental disorder called Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) that psychologists diagnose when a kid has a behavior problem.
So we usually think of defiance as unhealthy or maladaptive across child development and often it is.
Not only is the defiant individual disruptive to the family, classroom, or workplace, but he may also wind up disrupting his own development, performance, and reputation.
Minuchin and the Problem Child
Salvador Minuchin was a brilliant and influential child psychiatrist during the second half of the 20th century who worked with whole families instead of only the problem child.
He believed that sometimes the family member identified as the problem was really the one person in the family trying the hardest to cope with or rise above a dysfunctional family situation.
That sometimes the black sheep was the one person striving for sanity.
Maybe this was a child who was oppositional, because the situation called for something. So even if the kid didn’t have the resources to effectively adapt, he was at least trying with the faulty tools he did have.
Kids rebel for a reason.
This is the situation we find ourselves in now with regard to personal health.
Our toxic culture promotes poor nutrition at every turn so obesity continues to rise.
From 164 pages of USDA Dietary Guidelines that are carb-loaded and convoluted to processed food conglomerates that deceptively advertise and package nutrient-poor foods to appear nutritious and cool to the priority we place on convenience to a Food and Drug Administration that finds this tweet amusing amid a metabolic syndrome epidemic:
In this culture, an oppositional streak is required to get healthy and stay healthy.
We must behave in ways that seem ridiculous to the collective.
We must resist and promote the resistance of this whack system.
We must practice adaptive defiance!
Well said as usual Phil. This applies so much to the stock market and probably most areas of life. The stock market is my focus. I am a longtime defiant market participant, it is probably one of the main reasons I am still a trader after I started in 1991. I refuse to buy into the collective bullshit the media constantly feeds us about how and why we should approach the market. Flexibility of opinion, self reliance and willingness to NOT search for a reason for every move, along with risk management are some of the key ingredients for my success. The media tries to feed us chocolate covered pizza all the time, don't fall for it!