I am blessed with some friends who do the unusual. One of them is Ashwani. He was reading Dan Brown’s Inferno and came across a number of instances of “Denial”. He pieced together a collage from that book and other sources, into a fascinating and coherent narration and sent it to me. Here it is.

“A subject that fascinates me – Denial.

The human mind has a primitive ego defense mechanism that negates all realities that produce too much stress for the brain to handle. It’s called denial.

People have heard of denial but don’t think it exists. But it’s very real. Denial is a critical part of the human coping mechanism. Without it, we would all wake up terrified every morning about all the ways we could die. Instead, our minds block out our existential fears by focusing on stresses we can handle – like getting to work on time or paying our taxes. If we have wider, existential fears, we jettison them very quickly, refocusing on simple tasks and daily trivialities.

A recent web tracking study of students at some Ivy League universities revealed that even highly intellectual users displayed an instinctual tendency towards denial. According to the study, the vast majority of university students, after clicking on a depressing news article about arctic ice melt or species extinction, would quickly exit that page in favour of something trivial that purged their minds of fear; favourite choices included sports highlights and celebrity gossip.

That’s why sometimes a situation/action that seems impossible is not impossible, just unthinkable.”

Thank you Ashwani.

34 thoughts on “Denial.”

  1. I am wondering if maturity is when we embrace denial to the point that we can calmly face everything that happens around us.

    1. An interesting way of looking at it, as long as it is not life threatening. Take the case of addicts who are in denial about their addiction. Can they afford to?

  2. Hi Rummy,

    As part of my job, I read stressing or dramatic news (i.e. terrorism, national security issues, politics, corruption etc etc) and I don’t shy away from it – could it be said that I can’t afford to yield to denial? Don’t know; perhaps, I yield to it in other areas…but I haven’t stopped to analyse it yet.

    But I agree that denial, like the Great Creator, exists even though we may not see it 🙂

    Thank you, Ashwani and Rummy. Food for thought :D.

    Max Coutinho recently posted..Maxiavelli: Arguments of Gays Opposing Gay “Marriage”

    1. Let me give you further food for thought. With the latest closing down of American embassies following the threat from Al Quida, a message is doing the web rounds. “The war on terror is over. The terrorists have won.”

  3. One person’s denial is another’s positive thinking. Personally, I believe that denial is a god-given right:) Can’t find the image that comes to mind…when I google “denial” it brings up a real can of worms.
    Talk to Me…I’m Your Mother recently posted..Perfection

    1. An interesting way of looking at it. I went to google too and found exactly the same worms before I decided to just reproduce what Ashwani had sent.

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