A recent Psyche article revealed something unexpected: “67 per cent of the men and 25 per cent of the women opted to intentionally shock themselves, rather than spend a short period of time alone with their thoughts.” Hence, introspection is far from common (for men). Apparently, I’m an exception.
There are two primal emotions in life: Fear and Love (eg, my 2016 blog). Hence, fear must be our reason for avoiding introspection. A Google search indeed evidences this (eg, Jupiter Center, LinkedIn, Restoring the Mind, Blessed Reject). Introspection is indeed useless if you’re not willing to accept who you are. In such a case, you can better avoid it.
The abovementioned difference in introspection is intriguing because men and women appear to be each other’s opposites. In my view, many men love – and fear – Power, while many women love Knowledge. Both love – and fear – Love. Hence, yet another example of the triangle of Love, Knowledge & Power. For a long time, I’ve suspected this but was unable to find any evidence for my thought.
Why do we fear introspection? Most likely, we feel guilt and shame for having many hidden urges, and/or regret & remorse for things we did and/or should have done. These are (very) powerful emotions.
What are these hidden urges? The most obvious ones are undisclosed (sexual) desires; also see song below. The list must, however, be much longer, and probably includes urges like killing someone whom we hate.
An introspection does not automatically reveal these urges as our mind appears to use blockades to prevent access to these hidden and/or locked areas inside our mind. Perhaps, these blockades are some kind of safety valves. I’m not sure whether I’ve already found all the hidden / locked rooms inside my mind.
Sometimes, certain situations reveal additional urges, like in the 1971 Stanford prison experiment in which students playing guards abused students playing prisoners. Moreover, in sadomasochism some people enjoy hurting others, while other people enjoy getting hurt, and not necessarily at the same time. Serial-killer films suggest that some people enjoy watching their victims’ fear. These urges seem highly complex to me.
I suppose that once you know thyself, it’s easier to let your ratio prevail over your emotions. The fictional serial killer Dexter is an example of this line of thought. The more you suppress your undisclosed desires, the stronger – and uncontrolled – such urges become. In scientific terms, this topic is called confining pressure.
“Cravings and urges only last a few minutes. If you can distract those, chances are you will get past it.” A quote by Susan Gibbons (eg, blog, book, quoteHD, unfortunately without any name cross-reference).
Undisclosed Desires (2009) by Muse
artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2
I want to reconcile the violence in your heart
I want to recognise your beauty is not just a mask
I want to exorcise the demons from your past
I want to satisfy the undisclosed desires in your heart
Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.