Thursday, November 3, 2022

Learned Helplessness

By Tim Gamble

Think back to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Remember the images of all those people standing around in knee-deep water waiting for the government or someone else to help them? They had several days warning that a major hurricane was on the way, yet they did nothing. Even after Katrina hit, flooding large sections of the city and collapsing its infrastructure, they did nothing to get themselves out of the situation. Instead they stood around in knee-deep water until authorities were able to round them up and ship them to the horrible and dangerous conditions of the Superdome. It was a truly stunning display of passivity in the face of adversity and danger. 

There is an actual term for this passivity. It is called "learned helplessness," a behavioral term for when an organism (animal or human) has been taught through external stimuli to NOT help themselves, but to depend on outside factors. In the case of those people in New Orleans, generations of public education and government dependence left much of the population unable or unwilling to help themselves. For most, it didn't even occur to them to try to get out of that situation on their own. And, if it did, they simply didn't know how to even start to help themselves.

Interestingly, the term "learned helplessness" appears in CIA manuals declassified in 1996 and 1997. The CIA defines learned helplessness as a type of instilled "apathy" which it is very difficult or even impossible to overcome.

Unlearning learned helplessness is difficult, but can be done if one is motivated to do so. Stop blinding trusting government, authorities, and experts (article, article). Learn to be self-reliant (article). Take responsibility for your own life. Learn DIY skills. Learn Situational Awareness (article) and Sociopolitical  Awareness (article). 

The single most important thing you can do to survive future chaos is to start taking responsibility for your own life now.

For more information, the these Wikipedia articles:
AD:  Resistance Operating Concept (ROC), by Otto C. Fiala and the Joint Special Operations University Press, teaches "developing a nationally authorized, organized resistance capability prior to an invasion and full or partial occupation resulting in a loss of territory and sovereignty." Although specifically written to address a foreign invasion, the ideas and concepts it presents could certainly be used by the people to resist an oppressive or tyrannical government. (This is the book T.J. of Bear Independent has often recommended.) 

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