Excerpt About Vulnerability
Believing that we need to be thick-skinned to survive is not something we hide from ourselves; it’s completely accepted in our society. We are told that to get ahead, we have to become more thick-skinned and not feel things. And this point of view is actually rationalized with all kinds of philosophies. But something happens when we build a shell and hide inside it, which is the source of most human complaints. When we cover up our vulnerability so that we’re not open to hurt and pain, fear and influenceability, we also become insensitive to joy, love, happiness, pleasure, and aliveness. This helps us understand further what vulnerability means. It is true that we are physically vulnerable, but if you look at the physical vulnerability of a human being, you see that that vulnerability itself is also an asset. This vulnerability gives us the capacity to adapt better than other creatures. Vulnerability ultimately means sensitivity, transparency, penetrability. We see it as influenceability, which we think is negative, but it actually means that we’re open, we can be penetrated, we’re sensitive to impressions coming into us and going out of us. This leaves us at the mercy of all kinds of influences, but also gives us the possibility of greater versatility and flexibility in terms of what we can do, how we can respond, what environments we can live in. We can adapt and respond differently to different stimuli. Human beings have been able to adapt to and live in all kinds of environments. Most other creatures can’t do that because they have a narrower range of responses. We have been able to adapt because of our mental, emotional, and physical vulnerability.