Making Everyone Safe from Any Stressor Just May Be Unsafe In Itself


Antifragility is defined as a property of systems in which they increase in capability to thrive as a result of stressors, shocks, volatility, noise, mistakes, faults, attacks, or failures. Our bones and muscles are antifragile, the more stress equals the more durability and strength. This principle can also be applied to feeling and emotions. 


The term was coined by author Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book titled Antifragile. He gives some examples of antifragility: “The phenomenon is well studied in medicine, where for example Wolff’s law describes how bones grow stronger due to external load. Hormesis is an example of mild antifragility, where the stressor is a poisonous substance and the antifragile becomes better overall from a small dose of the stressor. This is different from robustness or resilience in that the antifragile system improves with, not withstand, stressors, where the stressors are neither too large nor small. The larger point, according to Taleb, is that depriving systems of vital stressors is not necessarily a good thing and can be downright harmful”. 


For example, astronauts while in space for large amounts of time, reported a decrease in bone density. Without gravity pulling and pounding on their bodies, their bones did not have to work as hard. But, does this apply to more than just our bodies?


The old saying: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words shall never hurt me”. The saying first appeared according to wikipedia, in a book called Eothen in 1830. “The rhyme is used as a defense against name-calling and verbal bullying, intended to increase resiliency, avoid physical retaliation and to remain calm and good-living”. 


Emotions are antifragile. The more “abuse” one takes, the less it affects that person. But nowadays, society is told to never hurt people’s feelings. Because of the less resistance people are taking to their feelings, the more and more sensitive people are becoming. It is the same principle as the astronauts that lose density in their bones after not experiencing gravity for a while; the less emotions are pushed, the less one can take.


In an article published by the CDC, they state that “bullying can result in physical injury, social and emotional distress, self-harm, and even death. It also increases the risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, lower academic achievement, and dropping out of school. Youth who bully others are at increased risk for substance misuse, academic problems, and experiencing violence later in adolescence and adulthood. Youth who bully others and are bullied themselves suffer the most serious consequences and are at greater risk for mental health and behavioral problems”. 


To improve the weakness that is all around right now, we must be “meaner” with each other. Emotions and feelings are antifragile, but the less they are testest, the easier feelings can be hurt.


To step away from the fragile world, we as a society need to be a little more mean to each other. The more honest people are with each other, the more change. The less accepting we are, the more normalcy.