Optio In Cadre: Learned Helplessness And The Learned Condition

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If someone tells a joke and nobody 's around to hear it, does it make it funny? Maybe. That is, if the joke is funny in the first place. But is there a line drawn between jokes and the hurtful reality? Are some things we simply shouldn’t poke fun at?
Martin Seligman, a psychologist, once conducted an experiment for further research on classical conditioning. Using dogs and electrical shocks, he developed a new theory: learned helplessness. “Failure to take steps to avoid or escape from an unpleasant or aversive stimulus that occurs as a result of previous exposure to unavoidable painful stimuli.” (Morris, C.) In layman’s terms, the more we are exposed to negativity, the more likely we are to give into it; the more likely for it to consume us. But sometimes that isn’t the case at all. Sometimes, we are capable to overcome the negativity and come out stronger than ever. If we apply this thought to South Africa’s apartheid era- apartheid is the unavoidable stimuli and the learned helplessness is the learned condition. Like many other things that humans are thought, we have the
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“If the government wants us to carry these bloody passbooks, then so be it.” (Molusi, Omphile). Here there is a clear conflict between himself and the family. Even his wife, whose character is rather quiet and to herself, speaks bad about him for saying such things like this, “What?! How can you say that about your own flesh and blood? Then maybe this is for the best. I’d rather he die a brave hero, fighting for us like his brother...than live like a coward.” (Molusi, Omphile) This is a clear example of what self marginalization means. Here with have a father that would rather keep his head down and follow with the oppressive law, the exact opposite in which his sons- one of which he has disowned because of this- rather live their lives, in fight of the oppressive

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