How do humans find the strength to endure?
April 4, 2008 6:04 AM Subscribe
I'm looking for writings about human psychological endurance in the face of extreme hardship, whether that hardship is by choice or circumstance. Examples inside.
posted by desjardins to Human Relations (27 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
I watched a show recently about space exploration, and it briefly touched on the psychological strength the astronauts must have in order to survive in such isolated and confined conditions.
Awhile ago, I saw a documentary on a ten year old African boy who had become responsible for his entire family since his mother and brother developed AIDS. He lived in the face of crushing poverty and provided food for his family by walking barefoot for miles each day to sell [something, I don't remember what] at a market.
Certainly there are many examples in the news every day - people in war zones, people coping with natural disasters, etc. There are also those who put themselves in dangerous or high pressure situations, such as mountaineers.
I wonder how the people in these examples process their suffering. How did they find a reason to go on? How do they have the resilience to come back from hardship? What is the difference between those that mentally survive and those that crack under the pressure?