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  1. #1

    Default Reliance on others: Strength or Weakness? Make your case.

    Recently, I have had occasion to think about whether reliance on others is a strength or weakness. Of course, a dichotomous choice in itself could be a case of narrow framing.

    I suppose a case can be made for many, many things.

    Relying on others to do what we are (relatively) bad at so that we can do what it is that we are (relatively) good at is the cornerstone of making us more productive overall. This is embodied in the notion of opportunity cost in economics. It is also the foundation of the case made for diversity in society, and finds its way into notions of partnership in pair bonding.

    However, the above can also imply a "transactional" view point that may imply that if we are too needy, and do not provide enough in return, that it is a weakness. However, when what we provide is more than what we take, then it is a strength...or we can even flip it. Those who take more then they give are stronger because it serves their self-interest better. If we add a transactional component to otherwise uncontroversial views, then how strong or weak someone is can be different if viewed from the stand point of the individual or the society.

    We could interpret "reliance" to include emotional reliance. Perhaps here, being individually "compartmentalized" is a strength? Or even in the realm of emotion, is there a notion of opportunity cost?

    Anyways. I post this in the philosophy section, and leave the framing of the question intentionally open ended. (A poll would prompt too little thought, with pre-selected answers). So let us know how you interpret the question, make your case for your answer.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    5w6 sx/so


    If you can have hope in others and give it to them, then there's much strength in that. But if you believe everyone must do stuff for you, then it's a weakness.

    There's nothing wrong with giving others the chance to help us. It's just that we also need to be strong enough to help ourselves as well when it doesn't do any good to bother others about it.

    I don't know for sure though. This is a good question. It might revolve greatly around the idea of justice, or even the principle of the greatest good, whether for now, or what makes us better in future times.

  3. #3
    Infinite Bubble


    We all rely upon others and have no choice in the matter. It is a reason why humans are so successful.

    To what extent though, is more subjective. The extent is relative to the vantage point.

    It's a collective strength and an individual weakness.

  4. #4
    Cheeseburgers freeeekyyy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    5w4 sx/sp
    ILI Te


    "Needing" others isn't good, but caring for them, and being tied to them in as much as is required to be empathetic, is good. Empathizing with somebody is feeling what they feel, which requires a certain level of "need." But beyond that, no, I don't think it's good.
    You lose.


    Respectful Leader

    Johari Window|Nohari Window

  5. #5
    Senior Member AzulEyes's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    7w6 sx/so


    We are NOT made equal.
    We cannot do it all alone.
    Relying on others- accepting our human-ness is a strength.
    Denying this truth is a weakness.
    It is NOT a competition. My husband takes care of me (I feel) MORE than I take care of him.
    It's okay. He is satisfied. I am satisifed. We do not keep score.
    It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. ~e.e. cummings

    7w6, 4w5, 9w8

  6. #6
    Senior Member Santosha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    6 sx
    iNfp Ni


    You said it yourself, a dichotomous choice and narrow framing. A balance needs to be found and what that balance is, is far too individual. Ones needs, resources and ideals need to be entered into the equation. For me personally, I feel that I've relied far too much on others and need to develop more self-sustaining traits. I suppose it's the reason behind the choice that is most important. IF you rely on others through your own insecurity then it's ultimately a weakness. It'll be a weakness because the continuance will never challenge and succeed past the mental or emotional limitations one needs to be a more secure person. Otoh, someone may rely on others out of preference instead of need and many secondary benefits can occur.
    Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun - Watts

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009


    If a realistic assessment and analysis was done of anyone I strongly suspect they would prove to be much less self-reliant than they would believe they are, there are often co-operative and collectivist norms underpinning all individualist thinking and behaviour and making it possible in the first place.

    Marx and others criticised Robin Crusoe and other similar books (there were many but no one remembers them because they were the equivalent of clones or pulp fiction) as the literary equivalent of the ideologies reigning in culture or in economics as utopias and aspirational fiction. I think that's pretty important. I like to read science fiction, fantasy and ghost stories, I wouldnt suggest that any of them are a basis for public policy or a personal philosophy.
    All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.
    Chapter IV, p. 448. - Adam Smith, Book 3, The Wealth of Nations

    whether or not you credit psychoanalysis itself, the fact remains that we all must, to the greatest extent possible, understand one another's minds as our own; the very survival of humanity has always depended on it. - Open Culture

  8. #8
    Its time. Cassandra's Avatar
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    Nov 2008


    It is a skill set, like anything else in life.

  9. #9
    MyPeeSmellsLikeCoffee247 five sounds's Avatar
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    Jul 2013
    729 sx/sp
    IEE Ne


    Balance baby. It's all about balance.
    You hem me in -- behind and before;
    you have laid your hand upon me.
    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ColonelGadaafi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008



    1. You'll always have to depend on them for tasks, and there is no way you can control their conduct.


    1. You'll have time to focus on other things.
    "Where can you flee? What road will you use to escape us? Our horses are swift, our arrows sharp, our swords like thunderbolts, our hearts as hard as the mountains, our soldiers as numerous as the sand. Fortresses will not detain us, nor arms stop us. Your prayers to God will not avail against us. We are not moved by tears nor touched by lamentations."

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