Tuesday, February 4, 2020


Today I listened to this YouTube video about the nature of beauty and suffering and what really stuck with me were Zapffe's four primary coping mechanisms which humans use to avoid dealing with the weight of existence. They are:

1. Isolation - where we completely dismiss all disturbing thoughts and feelings
2. Anchoring - which seem to give value and purpose to life and give us a fixed place within the construction. Examples of anchoring are religion, church, government, morality, fate, and other people.
3. Distraction - where we focus all of our energy on tasks and ideas to prevent the mind from turning in on itself.
4. Sublimation - which is the refocusing of energy away from negative outlets, toward positive ones. Those who tend toward sublimation distance themselves and look at existence from a more aesthetic point of view.

While I do believe that all four coping mechanisms have a degree of overlap, and most of us employ all of them, I like to think the one that describes my approach to life most of the time is sublimation.

What about you? What do you think?

tiffany davidson, blog, philosophy, zapffe, coping mechanisms, psychology