The biosphere is part of the earth in which life occurs. Once thought to be only the crust of the earth, it is now recognized that areas deep within the ocean are also part of the biosphere. We can not assume the biosphere will always remain stable with our impact on the environment. When an environment declines, there is a depletion of resources, an accumulation of toxic waste, an increase in infectious disease and an extinction of species.
Many ecosystems once evolved in isolation (i.e.: Hawaii, the Galapagos). With global communication, the boundaries between ecosystems are diminishing with time, having a dramatic effect on evolution. Many different ecoregions exist on the earth.
There is a complex manner in which all life forms are interdependent upon each other. Peaceful co-existence and greater awareness of this complex interdependence is needed for our balanced survival with other life forms.
The human race consists of many different groups of people. Many groups have developed their social structure in isolation with many different cultural norms and beliefs. Increased communication is breaking down the barriers between race, culture and religion. It remains challenging to survive the culture-clash with respect to our differing heritages. Increasing population pressure increases the prevalence of aggressive social behavior. The world population continues to grow rapidly.
Our technology in the basic sciences has and continues to evolve faster than our progress in the social sciences. Improvement in our social capability will help us manage new technology with a higher level of responsibility at a time when population growth may contribute to aggressive tendencies that threaten our social structure.
We are a member of many different groups and different types of groups throughout our lives upon which we have mutual impact. Groups impact our development, values and behavior. Government, legal, regulatory, religious and other social systems create and enforce different moral/ethical codes of conduct. The Health Care System is an additional structure, whose goal is to make the benefits of many technical advances available to the masses. The quality of our health care system can be viewed as a barometer of the morality of our society. Our character is judged by our level of compassion in dealing with vulnerable individuals-the young, the old, the sick, the disabled and the truly disadvantaged.
A balance of power among people is the sign of a healthy society. There will always be individuals and groups motivated to control by shifting the balance of power excessively to their advantage. Some are much more motivated in this direction than others.
Throughout the animal kingdom we can see the trait to engage in struggles for dominance and man is no exception. We are an exception, however, in the manner in which we compete for control in so many different and creative forms. Throughout history, much of the competition for control has been in physical, aggressive and military arenas. Now, we see more of a shift to use economic strategies to control other people. The presence of the industrial revolution and computer technology opened up entirely new opportunities for individuals to usurp the balance of power away from the public.
When power struggles, either physically aggressive, economic or otherwise, are on a small scale, there is a face-to-face, eye-to-eye balancing of control that no longer exists when the same struggle occurs in a larger, more anonymous arena i.e.: large scale business, government bureaucracies etc. The same phenomenon occurs when a victim is blindfolded before he is tortured. The eyes are no longer visible making it easier to abuse the individual. Large bureaucratic computerized systems, likewise, are anonymous, lack empathy and open the door for abuse on a large scale.
In the past years we have witnessed examples of catastrophic loss as a result of ruthless economic manipulations, i.e.: the Savings and Loan scandal, banking fraud, fraud committed by insurance companies, Wall Street thefts etc. We are seeing the beginning of similar large-scale scams, which are in the process of destroying an already vulnerable American Health Care System.
Dealing with an abusive organization is like playing chess against an opponent having twenty moves planned in advance. You have a fighting chance if you plan twenty-one you also have a fighting chance if you don't play the game.
"you love someone who meets your needs."
Finding a compatible partner is our most significant life decision and maintaining a healthy intimate relationship is one of our greatest life challenges. The goal in an intimate relationship is a genuine appreciation of the capabilities, style and personality of a partner with closeness, comfort, compatibility, commitment, empathy, sharing, respect, trust, friendship, fidelity, balance of power, mutual attraction and responsiveness, the reciprocal sharing of vulnerabilities, the capacity for personal growth and the capacity to function effectively either as individuals or together with mutual effort in the full spectrum of the activities of life.
In most cases, the family is the core social system that impacts our development and functioning to the greatest extent. Healthy family development strengthens us to better adapt. Unhealthy dysfunctional family dynamics may restrict our potential. Communication patterns within the family, particularly the manner of emotional communication is a critical issue in development.
Our capacity to integrate our emotions to facilitate adaptation is a result of our emotional maturation process. In a state of normal, healthy development, the family facilitates this process. Nurturing family members recognize our emotions. Their appropriate emotional responsiveness facilitates our capacity to recognize and express our emotions in a socially appropriate manner. This process helps to develop our ability for healthy emotional reciprocity with others.
Insight into the roots of our emotional development provides an explanation for the development of our learned traits. Regardless of this explanation, the individual still holds the primary responsibility to control the current and future direction of his/her life.
In healthy family dynamics, there is a balance of power within the family. We are able to adjust our coping mechanisms to appropriately impact and be impacted by other family members.
When pathological family dynamics prevail at times of critical development, it can stunt our emotional maturation process unless compensated through nurturing relationships with others. A failure of appropriate nurturance can greatly restrict our adaptive potential, thereby increasing our vulnerability to abuse at a later point in life.
Unhealthy family dynamics occur when there is a clash of coping mechanisms among family members. As the different family members perceive threat, they become increasingly guarded, counter-provoking other family members. This leads to a vicious cycle in which family members unknowingly contribute to a pathological group dynamic. Each individual sees him/herself as a potential victim and implements coping mechanisms that provoke defensiveness from others.