fear of misapprehension

entertainment

Well-known member
I suspect a fundamental part of how I relate to the world can be traced back to some early childhood instance of misunderstanding something that someone else had apparently understood. Maybe of being exposed of that misapprehension to others and perhaps feeling ridiculed if it was something absurd -- BUT the feeling I want to describe is not exactly of the social plane. It's not only the humiliation, the sinking feeling of a faux pas; it's about the implication that it carries about something deeper, about how you understand the things around you. It's sort of an anxiety of not being able to trust the way you understand the world. A fear that your senses are somehow compromised compared to everyone else, onto whom you automatically project some other, inaccesible level of seeing things. Not a higher, more sophisticated understanding, but some intuition that you lack, some way of simply seeing things that are invisible to you, and constantly communicating these cues among each other in a language you don't speak.

I don't remember many actual experiences from early childhood but of those I do remember, many feature this aspect. One I recall as clear as day: I must be 5 or 6 and football training is finishing up. I walk over to a friend and say to him that I'm supposed to be picked up and driven home by his dad. My mother has told me this. But he says no, that's not true. Feeling embarrassed I do not walk with him over to the parking lot but stay in my place as the other kids pack up and leave. I go over and try to look for my older brother who sometimes train on the next pitch but I can't find him anywhere. Now I'm alone and it's getting dark and I don't know what to do, but the fear is not about what's about to happen to me, it's about having misunderstood something and because of it having been left behind - not just physically but on some other level I can't describe because every other kid went happily on their way and I'm standing alone and I don't know how they all understood what to do when training finished but eveidently they all did.

I think something like this epistemological anxiety is lodged deep inside me and governs the way I think and feel to a high degree. Also who I am, what I do. On some level I suspeect the reason why I read books or go on dissensus or discuss anything with anyone is to assuage this fear - to feel that I understand things the same way that others do.

When I think about it this fear must be the basis of all insecurity - the feeling of not being able to trust that you understand things in the same way that others do. If normal shyness is an apprehension caused by doubt as to what others will think of your action, it always features a deeper anxiety that others have understood some principle that you haven't grasped, that you don't see things on the same plane as others, which is an essentially alienating feeling, something that you can organize your whole life on trying to evade.
 

Leo

Well-known member
I suspect a fundamental part of how I relate to the world can be traced back to some early childhood instance of misunderstanding something that someone else had apparently understood. Maybe of being exposed of that misapprehension to others and perhaps feeling ridiculed if it was something absurd -- BUT the feeling I want to describe is not exactly of the social plane. It's not only the humiliation, the sinking feeling of a faux pas; it's about the implication that it carries about something deeper, about how you understand the things around you. It's sort of an anxiety of not being able to trust the way you understand the world. A fear that your senses are somehow compromised compared to everyone else, onto whom you automatically project some other, inaccesible level of seeing things. Not a higher, more sophisticated understanding, but some intuition that you lack, some way of simply seeing things that are invisible to you, and constantly communicating these cues among each other in a language you don't speak.

I don't remember many actual experiences from early childhood but of those I do remember, many feature this aspect. One I recall as clear as day: I must be 5 or 6 and football training is finishing up. I walk over to a friend and say to him that I'm supposed to be picked up and driven home by his dad. My mother has told me this. But he says no, that's not true. Feeling embarrassed I do not walk with him over to the parking lot but stay in my place as the other kids pack up and leave. I go over and try to look for my older brother who sometimes train on the next pitch but I can't find him anywhere. Now I'm alone and it's getting dark and I don't know what to do, but the fear is not about what's about to happen to me, it's about having misunderstood something and because of it having been left behind - not just physically but on some other level I can't describe because every other kid went happily on their way and I'm standing alone and I don't know how they all understood what to do when training finished but eveidently they all did.

I think something like this epistemological anxiety is lodged deep inside me and governs the way I think and feel to a high degree. Also who I am, what I do. On some level I suspeect the reason why I read books or go on dissensus or discuss anything with anyone is to assuage this fear - to feel that I understand things the same way that others do.

When I think about it this fear must be the basis of all insecurity - the feeling of not being able to trust that you understand things in the same way that others do. If normal shyness is an apprehension caused by doubt as to what others will think of your action, it always features a deeper anxiety that others have understood some principle that you haven't grasped, that you don't see things on the same plane as others, which is an essentially alienating feeling, something that you can organize your whole life on trying to evade.

it's a head fuck, for sure, particularly at a young age. I had a couple of experiences in my 20s that are along those lines: getting let go from a job that I thought I was doing well at, and getting dumped by a girlfriend. most times in both of those situations, you have a sense leading up to the big event that things aren't going well, and even if you don't want them to happen, you at least have an inkling that they're possible. but in both of these instances, I was completely caught off guard and really had a "WTF just happened/how could I have gotten this completely wrong?" moment.

I chalked both of them up to being naive in both work and relationships, so maybe they were learning experiences that helped me in the long run.
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
@entertainment I think most others have the default benefit of not overthinking things, but just doing what everyone does without as much of a layer of rationalization. IE they don’t get stuck in their own heads, and being stuck in your own head can have the effect of making one more complex and leading one to more nuanced apprehensions of the world, even if this greater nuance is debilitating or overwhelming, and thus effectively disadvantageous in some respects.
 
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Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
I’ve only recently, over the course of the last year, started to realize the power of not overthinking things, but just going ahead with what feels right, instead of trying to assert myself as some being of superior nuance.
 

entertainment

Well-known member
@entertainment I think most others have the default benefit of not overthinking things, but just doing what everyone does without as much of a layer of rationalization. IE they don’t get stuck in their own heads, and being stuck in your own head can have the effect of making one more complex and leading one to more nuanced apprehensions of the world, even if this greater nuance is debilitating or overwhelming, and thus effectively disadvantageous in some respects.
yes, that sounds right.

i was thinking about how people's different reactions to this basic anxiety is something that gives rise to a large part of ones personality.

some opt to just conform to the way most people see things and identify with that outer layer of understanding as ordinary truth.

while others are more interested in - if not some actual truth - then the deeper principles behind how others understand something.
 

entertainment

Well-known member
of course if your life repeatedly validates and feeds into this anxiety it can break into something skizoid in nature - like those weird passing thoughts you (or maybe just me) had as a child that you fx were somehow retarded and everyone else was just playing along, pretending you were normal - if those suspicions took actual hold in your thoughts
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
of course if your life repeatedly validates and feeds into this anxiety it can break into something skizoid in nature - like those weird passing thoughts you (or maybe just me) had as a child that you fx were somehow retarded and everyone else was just playing along, pretending you were normal - if those suspicions took actual hold in your thoughts
Haha this occurs to me sometimes as well, along with the amateur self-diagnosis of some ASD.
 

Leo

Well-known member
a different but related anxiety is imposter syndrome, maybe more in the workplace than in personal situations.
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
a different but related anxiety is imposter syndrome, maybe more in the workplace than in personal situations.
Ah yeah, maybe imposter syndrome comes as a result of someone trying to disguise their anxiety of feeling out of the know, rather than just ruminating on it.
 

woops

is not like other people
maybe impostor syndrome is a side effect of doing something you haven't done before and people have different ways of managing that
 
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