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How ‘Authentic Relating’ Made Vulnerability a Movement (2017) (theatlantic.com)
113 points by wallflower 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 98 comments



Made me think of some of my own experiences with 12-step meetings. I have seen that it's possible to share vulnerably, and to do it with dignity and grace. I've also seen first-hand what acceptance and honest sharing can do for a person's sense of self-worth. It's too bad this kind of interaction with others is so hard to find. I don't know that I would have ever found it, if I felt I had another choice.


My local needle sharing program and doctor run amazing group “therapy” sessions, that they advertise to everyone regardless of their drug usage or lack thereof. It’s a surprisingly diverse set of people, and builds amazing closeness between the people who are there. I’m currently attending one of the sessions every week that focuses on mindfulness, and then explores that within the context of personal relationships.

Anyone in Brisbane, checkout QuIHN. Highly recommended :)


I find most people will be vulnerable if you start the conversation that way by exposing your own vulnerability.

The book Conscious Loving touches on “telling the microscopic truth” which provides a lot of tactics for telling messy, complicated feelings. It’s a wonderful read and will improve your relationships.


Exposing vulnerabilities is also how con artists and cults build rubes' trust.


That doesn't seem to disprove the thesis.


That is true, however I think the point GP is making is that the failure mode is too catastrophic to actually entertain it as a possibility (I'm not saying I agree)


I guess I find "never seek closeness with anyone at all because they may attempt to cheat you" a worldview too depressing to really adapt for myself.



Many years ago I used to listen to Lino Rulli on the Catholic Channel (XM radio). I considered myself a christian at the time, but not catholic. Nevertheless, his show was hilarious and I tried to listen as often as possible.

They had this segment called 'minor confessions' where people would confess things that were pretty inconsequential, but still honest.

Around that time I was on a road trip with some friends and I thought it'd be fun to play the game. I figured it'd be goofy and kill a few minutes while we waited for a 'Q'. It didn't take long before the game turned into one of the most genuine and honest experiences of our relationship together. It was surprising how quickly we skipped past the minor and got into some pretty heavy stuff.

Years later I found myself in a booth at a pub with a bunch of dudes from church essentially having a doubt-group. A friend started out with questioning the divinity of Jesus -- and it carried from there.

Only a few years ago I was in a depression group therapy program provided by my local hospital --- and the same raw honestly and openness prevailed.

For me it was clear that early on I wanted this openness and honesty in my everyday life and not just a few times every few years and I've made a concerted effort to make it so. At first it was tough to overcome the fear or fear of shame, but once I got into the habit of it, I discovered that people value vulnerability and will often mirror this in the relationship.

There is also a line between being honest about struggles and stuff and being a whiner or a chronic complainer. I think it all boils down to your intention --- are you being open and honest for the attention or purely for the sake of something free and beautiful.

I truly hope that 'Authentic relating' catches on... but maybe without a formal title or 'movement.'


I'd love to see more of these kinds of interactions between people with differences.

Can you imagine what would happen if people of different races or cultures did this? Or if a mix of Republicans and Democrats did this? I guess it might be harder to find common experiences, but there would still be some.


I've found one of the most common things to be "I was really down and depressed and was crashing on couches and didn't have a place to live, and I was helped by ______" - for some people it was like, some christian charity or group, and others its like some social worker who took the time to help me out. That ends up being the difference between what side one is on later in political terms.


You may like this channel (someone recommended to me but I haven't watched yet):

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJjSDX-jUChzOEyok9XYRJQ

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBVNJo7nhINSVQXlPu7xW...


I have been with quite a few relating groups spanning a few countries. The author's experience reflects what most newcomers feel.

However, I find the demographic very surprising. The relating groups I frequent had more women than men, and very few people under 30.


Throughout much of human history, extended family, shared locality(ie village), and/or religion used to provide people with a sense of community. With the breakdown of all three in the Western world, it is not surprising that commmunity and the intimacy that goes along with are are now being monetized.


Human weaknesses have been monetized, exploited and preyed upon by other humans through all the known history. Yearning for the community/intimacy is a weakness that religion for example has been exploiting all that time, and now others is getting a piece of that pie.


can't edit, so excuse my self-replying. At least some religion had some "exercises" like caring about and helping the less fortunate, like the poor, etc. What the article describes seems to be extremely self focused/centered on "I" and "myself", kind of very narcissistic.


"Yearning for the community/intimacy is a weakness"

Do you seriously believe all human needs are just weakness? What will someone's life be like if all that 'weakness' was removed? To my mind, it'd be incredibly dull.


Not all needs, and even the same need can be either strength or weakness. For example - just being afraid of "dull" is kind of weakness where is curiosity and drive for exploration is more like a strength. The same for the community - needing it in order just to not feel lonely (basically to satisfy your own need) looks to be a weakness where is wanting/building community/team to achieve some goal looks more like a strength to me.


Those ‘games’ are Meisner technique acting exercises


I think there is tremendous potential in baking in these sorts of games into some kind of chat application.

The creators of Chatroulette originally wanted an app that could connect people around the world, it just turned out become a platform for people exposing themselves over webcam. If you could avoid that, and build a platform that nudges people into building these intimate conversations across the world, you might bring huge value to a world where people are increasingly lonely.


Omegle used to do something like this. The random stranger chats often started with prompts (but I don't remember what they were).


This comes from religious perspective, and one probably not widely shared (idk), so I expect this to be taken with a grain of salt: (hopefully, it is still comforting)

God's purpose is not to make us comfortable or to make life easy. It is to make us better, and happier. As part of that setup and goal, there are a couple of ways we can experience hard times. It can be from our own actions, and even the actions of others. Other times, it can be because we are doing things right, and are ready to grow and push our limits.

My point is this: experiencing a hard time doesn't mean you are doing anything wrong - it can come just as easily to someone doing everything right as to someone doing everything wrong. And in both cases, it can feel much the same

Bonus Analogy:

When searching for the absolute maxima in a 3d plane, you can be at low point for one of two reasons - either you're not doing it right and aren't actually heading uphill, or you reached a local maxima, and need to go lower in order to reach higher heights.

Corollary: We don't get to judge others for their hard times :)


Atheist interpretation: there is no God and no purpose, so experiencing a hard time doesn't mean you are doing anything wrong.


One of many atheist interpretations.

There's no consensus in the group of atheists except that they reject the idea of a god. Trying to frame it like there are more common assumptions ("Atheist interpretation: <your assumptions what you and other atheists think>") seems generalizing to me.

Speak for yourself. I'm an atheist and I see how people have purpose and I also find meaning in life (although I struggle with it all the time like many other people including theists).


Of course people can create goals for themselves, but there is no one external purpose made for them.

I think this is pretty universal POV among atheists, but if you disagree - whatever. I never even claimed it's the only possible interpretation.


>there is no one external purpose

Avoiding pain and seeking pleasure seems to be a built in goal to almost all living beings.

No living thing creates that goal for themselves, it comes built in.

One of the easiest way to find meaning then, is to strive to reduce other sentient beings sufferings, and to increase their happiness.

There is no need for a god, or an idea of a god to promote this point of view.


The concepts of pain and pleasure don't really apply to many forms of life. Bacteria, plants, fungus.

The only goal that all livings things share is the drive to reproduce. Anything without that drive dies out, which explains why it's essential to life.


> One of the easiest way to find meaning then, is to strive to reduce other sentient beings sufferings, and to increase their happiness.

This is basically https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilitarianism and the simple counterexample to that is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utility_monster

At any rate - it's clear to me that these goals are self-created, and different between different people, so claiming them to be universal seems wrong.


If you say so, but i don't think other animals and organisms are 'self-creating' the goal I described.

They come with that built into their neurochemistry, and so do we.

It's the closest thing to a universal moral system I could think of.

And I don't see it as utilitarianism, I was thinking of Buddhist ethics which also contains other precepts to counteract some of the pathological cases in utilitarianism.[1]

[1] Does it do so perfectly? Probably not, but it attempts to be a practical set of precepts, you still have to use your brain.


And experiencing a good time doesn’t mean you’re doing anything right.


But if you prefer to have good times over bad times, then experiencing a good time is evidence you're doing something right, and experiencing a bad time is evidence you're doing something wrong.


I think that's more correctly defined as "Nihilist".

Atheism by definition has "no theology". You are free to experience life as you see fit.


I think that's a good feeling. I also don't think you need to involve any superstition for this good sense to be meaningful. You can just replace this God ex Machina with your own will / your understanding of a life worth living and this will resonate just fine with atheist folks. Anyway nice comment.


your own will / your understanding

Kant would say that this is indeed God.


Does Kant say this explicitly?



>When searching for the absolute maxima

Another corollary: When searching for an absolute maximum in a population of individuals with the ability to communicate with each other, it may be helpful to compare notes with those who appear to be at higher levels on the dimension whose maximum you are seeking.

Also, choose the right dimension (or projection).


> God's purpose is not to make us comfortable or to make life easy. It is to make us better, and happier.

Someone tell that to the millions of children who have died of AIDS.


This seems to be a very shallow analysis of the question of theodicy. Modern theology isn't that ignorant of suffering and its origin as you might imagine.

I'm not a religious person, but I see how people see meaning in their belief systems. I don't see any underlying beliefs in your comment that have a positive attitude, it has a rather negative focus (without trying to neglect it).

I just happen to wonder what your goals are. What are you fighting for with this statement, what is the underlying belief system that leads you to this statement?


> This seems to be a very shallow analysis of the question of theodicy.

It's about as deep as is necessary. The answer is really that simple, people just don't like it.

> Modern theology isn't that ignorant of suffering and its origin as you might imagine.

Theology is (and has been for many centuries) expending a lot of effort to handwaving away the answer people don't like, that much is true.


> God's purpose is not to make us comfortable or to make life easy. It is to make us better, and happier.

I'm not religious and I don't think life has a purpose, but this sounds like a contradiction. How can life be good if it's not comfortable and easy ? You're basically saying she's making life better by making it worse. That makes no sense.

> My point is this: experiencing a hard time doesn't mean you are doing anything wrong - it can come just as easily to someone doing everything right as to someone doing everything wrong

Of course it doesn't, but that doesn't mean there is some higher power guiding it. Life is just random, bad stuff happens for no reason, so does good stuff.


> How can life be good if it's not comfortable and easy ?

Do you have fun playing tic-tac-toe? The harder a game is the more rewarding it is to succeed at it. Some games are so hard they can crush you but if you manage to rise up again and eventually succeed then you will be stronger for the experience and happier.

One example of this is the game of regular jobs vs the game of startups. A regular job is easy and comfortable but few people are content and the ceiling of achievement is not that high.

A startup can make you have mental breakdowns but if you manage to eventually win you'll be much richer /respected than someone who played it safe.


> The harder a game is the more rewarding it is to succeed at it.

No it's not. I hate games that are too hard. Back in the day when cheat codes were still a thing I used to play most games in 'god mode' all the time.

Also, what do you define as 'success'. For me a comfortable and easy life is success.


Everyone hates games that are too hard, that is why people progress gradually and depending on each individual's ambition they will work harder to progress faster and play harder games as they progress.

Even if you're not ambitious you still don't play the simplest games possible, you still try to play games that are somewhat difficult.

The analogy for computer games cheats in real life are drugs / wireheading. If your goal is to just feel good regardless why not do heroin?


> Even if you're not ambitious you still don't play the simplest games possible, you still try to play games that are somewhat difficult.

Not really. I mainly play games for the story.

> If your goal is to just feel good regardless why not do heroin?

Because that also has negative consequences. If all it did was make you feel good, then sure.


I'm not talking about computer games or board games; life, jobs, interpersonal realtionships can all be modelled as games.

> Because that also has negative consequences

Well that's just your perspective, maybe someone might believe that 10 years of pure bliss is more worthwhile than 60 years of playing tic tac toe.

Everyone chooses which games they want to play and at which difficulty. I choose to play hard life games because my goal in life is to maximize my fitness and that of everyone around me. You might choose otherwise but you must make that choice consciously.


> How can life be good if it's not comfortable and easy ?

Really? As soon as you encounter discomfort or difficulty, life's no longer good? That philosophy will be wearying over the years.


> As soon as you encounter discomfort or difficulty, life's no longer good?

Yes. I'm also of the opinion that the good doesn't compensate for the bad. Life is suffering, and being born is the worst thing that can happen to a person (I'm an anti-natalist and supporter of the voluntary human extinction movement).


You and I have very different views I think.

I'm amazed, humbled, and grateful to be alive (not to any sentience, mind you, just grateful). To be the universe experiencing itself.

Life includes suffering, yes, but also the opportunity to ease the suffering of self and others.

I interpret your point of antinatalism that you see humanity as the fluke of the probability. Personally, I think we give ourselves meaning, and I can think of no better long-term mission for existence than beating heat death of the universe, even if it's simply to give a middle-finger to the universe for the suffering people endure.


This is hedonism. If you are a hedonist, then this sentence will not make sense to you. Some people go through their entire lives without ever thinking they could approach it any other way, so I don't think it's as wearying as you imply here. It all depends on what you think is important.


My personal take is that Hedonism isn't zero-sum. By that I mean, a hedonistic life-style can't support itself, so if you're living a hedonistic lifestyle and never have to rebalance yourself you're taking energy somewhere or somebody is emotionally bankrolling you. Thus you sacrifice your individuality, independence and a sizeable chunk of the human experience. For most people if such an approach continues unchecked it leads to burnout.


> if you're living a hedonistic lifestyle and never have to rebalance yourself you're taking energy somewhere

What kind of energy are hedonistic people taking ? Electric ? Kinetic ? Thermal ? Magnetic ?


A bit of everything. Of course I meant emotional energy which you're likely to poopoo as "not" energy but I'd contend that the definition of energy in physics is an operational one.

But even so, if you're partying all the time then somebody has to pay to keep the lights on. Somebody has to clean up after you and somebody has to constantly buoy your emotional state and protect you from the negative thoughts that might otherwise threaten your party.

I would contend that all of this takes "energy" as defined in the canon of physics.


> if you're partying all the time then somebody has to pay to keep the lights on. Somebody has to clean up after you and somebody has to constantly buoy your emotional state and protect you from the negative thoughts that might otherwise threaten your party

Sure, but that's not what I would call and 'easy and comfortable' life. If I live alone on an island with enough food growing around me to feed me, that would be an easy life. What would that take of other people ?


Fair enough. I don't think that's what most people think of when they hear the word "hedonism".

Sounds lovely though. Sounds like a very nice holiday.

Wouldn't want to get sick.


Sounds like a form of karma.


Yeah it does actually, though again I'd be concerned about being consigned to the woo category if I used that term.

Also, being a westerner it's one of those concepts I've heard a lot about but almost certainly don't completely grasp, so I wouldn't feel comfortable using it for any kind of rigorous analysis.


How much discomfort and difficulty are too much?


Any. Good doesn't compensate for bad. That is: if you start out life at a neutral score of 0, subtract points for anything negative, do not add any points for positive stuff.


Former religious person here. A common analogy drawn upon is a tree. A tree that faces no hardship (bad weather, etc.) looks pretty but has little depth and can't sustain during high winds and such. The converse says that if a tree has survived hard times it probably will survive additional hard times.

It's bollocks, of course, and often pacifies folks from working to improve their own personal situations. Nietzche's religious critiques come to mind in this type of situation.


> A tree that faces no hardship (bad weather, etc.) looks pretty but has little depth and can't sustain during high winds and such.

It doesn't need to because it doesn't face hardship.


> How can life be good if it's not comfortable and easy

Good question. Nietzsche talked alot about this issue, this was his very main concern when he talked about "becoming oneself" as one of many desirable (subjective) goals in life that can give us meaning. You don't even need religion to endure suffering with meaning.

It depends on your definition of a good life. I hope you see that it's not a objective truth that life is good when it's comfortable and easy. It can be that you see it as your goal, but e.g. I don't want that - but this isn't even relevant. Important is to understand that all truths that we believe in are assumptions (some of them called "facts" which are assumptions commonly shared by many people or in a group) and that they can differ between individuals which means that we perceive reality differently. Objectively describing what reality is is not possible - this is one key aspect of epistemology.

"Bad stuff" and "good stuff" has also subjective and normative aspects. What do we perceive as good or bad? It's based on values and a belief system. For a nihilist there's not even "good" or "bad" because those can only be defined with a belief system. Nihilists have a collapsed belief system which says that nothing has inherent value. But the question is: What is the motivation for an individual to become a nihilist? (pro: you don't have to take responsibility and fight for your beliefs, con: it can suck alot to have a meaningless life)

Does your belief system enables you to be happy and fulfilled (in your terms)? This is the relevant question I would personally use to assess if a belief system is enabling or hindering you.


> It depends on your definition of a good life.

For me it's simple: an easy, comfortable life with as little contact with human beings as possible.

> Objectively describing what reality is is not possible

I disagree. I believe there is such a thing as absolute, objective truth. A 'fact' is not a shared assumption, a fact is any statement to which a truth value can be assigned.


To say it in programmer terms: belief systems are functions that assign truth values to assumptions.

for example a belief system can look like this:

belief_system("earth is flat") -> false

belief_system("life is meaningless") -> true

Where is the truth value coming from? For a flat earther: They can e.g. use a emotional and individual belief system to determine truth values. For a scientific-minded person: They assign truth values based on scientific evidence (which is a type of assumption).

btw: saying there is absolute and objective truth is highly unscientific - science is based on the premise that you can replace theories with another theory if the evidence suggests it. The problem of induction shows the limit of empiric evidence and I hope that most scientists are aligned with this scientific principles (otherwise they aren't scientists by definition). IMHO there is no absolute truth that can be identified as such (I'm not assuming that there isn't objective truth, but merely that we couldn't identify it if there is such a thing).

It's like IT security, it is a relative measurement and the relations (in this case) are made by belief systems. There is a consensus that there is no "absolute security" in the security sector. If you accept that there is no absolute security in IT systems and only "reasonable security" (I do not assume that you do assume this), why do you have problems to accept that there might not be a way to recognize the "true truth values"? If you see absolute security as a given you don't have to solve this conflict.

I'm merely exercising logic here using my assumptions (and yes, some of them I call "facts", but I see them as something which gets defined by my belief system).

your belief:

belief_system("there is such a thing as absolute, objective truth")

my belief:

belief_system("truth as we use it in our daily lives is defined by our belief systems")

btw, would love to see discussions using assumptions and then logically deriving conclusions. Especially funny when somebody has conflicting assumptions (logic of explosion).


> btw: saying there is absolute and objective truth is highly unscientific - science is based on the premise that you can replace theories with another theory if the evidence suggests it

Where is the evidence coming from if there is no underlying absolute and objective truth (a.k.a. 'the real world') to generate that evidence ?

> There is a consensus that there is no "absolute security" in the security sector. If you accept that there is no absolute security in IT systems and only "reasonable security" (I do not assume that you do assume this)

To use your analogy, of course there is such a thing as absolute security. As in, it is theoretically possible for a system to be 100% secure. The difficulty lies in designing one and proving it. It's not fundamentally impossible.

Just because it's very hard or even impossible to discover the objective truth, that doesn't in any way mean there isn't one.


Although I share your point of view w.r.t. scientific thinking and I don't disagree on objective reality (personally), this question can still be answered in a different way and may lead to the conclusion that objective reality is a construct that gets created by perceiving.

Subjective idealism states that there don't has to be objective reality to get truth values from it. Trying to understand this from a materialistic point of view is not easy because those philosophies are basically in contradiction to each other.

It's just important to realize that the belief that objective reality exists is one of many points of view.

> As in, it is theoretically possible for a system to be 100% secure. The difficulty lies in designing one and proving it.

> It's not fundamentally impossible.

How is "100% secure" defined in this context if you can't prove it?

In a sufficient complex logical system Gödel's incompleteness theorems are turning relevant. It might not be possible to prove some aspects of it if the system is logically consistent. This may also apply if you model reality in a logically consistent way. Logics has its limits.

Although I agree with you, I think it's important to realize that our positions are and can't exceed to be beliefs or even strong beliefs called facts.


Having some challenges is more fun than just vegging all day. Having too many challenges, maybe not, but some? Necessary for most people's happiness.


It is not 100% sure that a Vulnerability movement is authentic. There are always lies within a movement.


This is depressing for a reason I can't really articulate. There are this many people with unresolved issues, or a lack of connections, or is it an outgrowth of the self-centered oversharing movement?

I wonder if most of these people have kids or not, or plan on it.


It's probably a mix of all of it, but there are more people struggling than it first appears. Relevant quote from a prominent leader in a church I attend:

When I was a young man, I served as counselor to a wise district president in the Church. He tried to teach me. One of the things I remember wondering about was this advice he gave: "When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half the time."

I thought then that he was pessimistic. Now, more than 40 years later, I can see how well he understood the world and life.


Thanks for passing this on.


I don't think there's an easy answer. There's a story that may be relevant: a guy is standing on the beach. He's completely aflame and seems to be looking around. Another guy approaches and says "Hey! Jump in the water!" And the on-fire guy says "Yeah, after I find out where the fire came from."

Humans need connection. Some more than others. Imagine how tightly-knit human societies had to be for the bulk of human history. Whether this is the right answer, I have no idea, but it seems like people are grasping for something like connection.



That's an interesting observation.

While EST has the reputation of having been abusive, its descendant The Landmark Forum is not. A lot of The Forum consists of people opening up about their lives, their fears and emotions, events that have shaped them, and their inner life.

Of course the attendees are a self-selecting group, but my #1 take-away from The Forum was the discovery that everyone else in the room was insecure, too. The stories they shared were fascinating and worth the price of admission.


In my experience, "authentic relating" was a major part of est, and has remained a major part of Landmark Education. All of their programs involve verbal sharing, one-to-one and full-group. Also nonverbal sharing that they call "being with".

Also, I'm sure that many found est programs abusive. It was certainly much harder. Rather like military boot camp. Long sessions that didn't end until everyone "got it". The "Six Day", for example. I doubt that it could be done today. Just four hours sleep, at most. Running uphill for maybe one km every morning at dawn. A being-with exercise in swimming suits, in a pattern that had everyone eventually face everyone else. No coffee, tea, tobacco, or other drugs. A ropes course. What a trip :)


The Landmark Forum looks about as controversial as the similar russian cults I've been reading about in "Nothing is true and everything is possible."

The Forum also has mentions in the literature about cults.


It was bound to happen as more and more of our personal lives are turning into personal brand-building moments... and as the mechanics of capitalism have permeated ever increasing swaths of people's time.

There is a building backlash and this is just seems like a stop gap, therapeutic measure.


Some times I wonder if the Algorithms getting better, or are we simplifying our humanity to make it easier for the algorithms to interpret?


Website: Help me relate this to the Web of Trust


you cannot say 100% that a Vulnerability movement is authentic. Because lies were also witing in every movement.


> Authentic relating uses exercises, or games, to teach the skills necessary to quickly create deep, meaningful human connection.

You can not create deep meaningful human connection quickly. It's just a game with emotions. A game plenty of organizations and cult gurus abuse for money and power.

If a person feels safe he might talk about things he would not otherwise. Yes. But deep meaningful connection requires both people knowing each other for a long time, spending a lot of time together and living through a lot of different situations, both hard and easy, dead serious and playful.


In my case, it is easier to be open with people I hardly know. All my fiends and family do have strong opinions and outdated views of myself. Talking to a stranger who is willing to listen is easier and deeper.


I think this is an interesting line of thought. I'm almost 50, reasonably accomplished in my career, financially successful, respected by my peers, but whenever I'm around my older sisters, I'm right back in that annoying, barely tolerated little brother reality. I don't much care for it, which is why I don't have much of a relationship with them, haven't for years.

Anyway I've thought this for years, is there a name for it, or some other deeper meaning? Familiarity breeds contempt, maybe?


Are you saying you act that way, or they treat you that way?

People, for many reasons, automate other people in their minds. They define them, and aren’t willing to adapt their definition. They want the world to remain as they think it is, so they continue to treat it, and you, like it was.

Sounds like they’re clinging to a sense of superiority in an effort to delude themselves that you aren’t all that.


That's a good point. On the other hand strangers are easier to manipulate, because they don't really know each other. The connection is all just words and projection of their personal life experiences onto each other. (at first) If they're opposite sexes there's risk of infatuation.

So it's easier to be open, it all may feel great, but has its own challenges.


I think there's some subtlety to the language here.

Based on what I understand the author is talking about I specifically think the term "create" in particular might be inexact. "create" implies making something from scratch but I don't think that's what's intended.

"establish" might be better since what is sought is to bring to life the deep and meaningful human connection that is already there.

What I mean is, is that as humans we all share the human experience and we all have more in common than we differ. The purpose of this school of thought seems to be to help build on that and open our minds to that.


> as humans we all share the human experience and we all have more in common than we differ

Reading the opening paragraph again, the author basically claims the training aims at improving curiosity and empathy and that these are necessary (not sufficient) to create a deep and meaningful connection, but leaves how that happens to the reader.

I tried to find more information about AR and found AR international training website, where they (do not really) describe their approach. They seem to be inspired by Fritz Perls and his Gestalt therapy, but that's itself a complicated view of human psychology. It's not clear what parts of Gestalt psychology they accept.

It's all just too vague. I wouldn't call it a school of thought. Gestalt certainly is though!

They also seem to overpromise a bit, to say the least, in introductions to their trainings. It's ridiculous actually for a weekend workshop.

https://www.authenticrelatingtraining.com/level-1


> You can not create deep meaningful human connection quickly.

It depends on your definition of quickly. With authentic relating games, I've had some deep, impactful experiences with people I'd only known for a couple days.

There is a theory that you have to slowly take emotional steps with people over a long period of time before you get to the "good stuff", but in my experience that isn't the only way.

If the two people are open, vulnerable and conscious in their intentions you can take some pretty big leaps instead of all those small steps.


I think you and the article disagree about what "deep, meaningful human connection" means. I don't want to quibble about definitions so I'll just share my experience with circling (one form of authentic relating).

In circling you just talk about how you're feeling in the moment. So a newcomer might share that they're anxious. Someone might ask them how that feels physically in their body (butterflies in the stomach etc). Someone else might share their reaction (I'm feeling protective of the new person).

So what do I get out of it? When people share their feelings I generally feel a lot of empathy for them. It's also interesting when people have different reactions to what's going on in the circle. They share those reactions much more openly than people normally would.

I leave feeling like I understand the other people at some deep level. But I don't know where they work, what their hobbies are, if they're in a relationship, etc. I trust that in circling I can be vulnerable with them and they won't hurt me. But I haven't built up trust with them in other areas (loaning money, etc.).

Compare that to meeting a stranger (we both read the same blog) for a beer. I know his hobbies, his career aspirations, what he thinks about politics, etc. The feeling of connection is very different compared to someone I met circling.


Highly related (no pun intended): "How to make a friend fast" based on research https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14731181

When it comes to me, I learnt about the positive aspect of vulnerability from Mark Manson's "Models". It's one of the two key points of this book, after "non-neediness".


What positive aspect was it?

I have a tainted view of vulnerability as I saw it preached for years by someone who turned out to be a world class opportunist and manipulator. Some youtube personality I'll not mention the name of, because he seems to thrive on negative publicity these days.

It's one of those human ideas that a zebra would not understand as Sapolsky would say. Try explaining to a zebra benefits of being vulnerable. :)


he seems to thrive on negative publicity these days.

Can only be that Canadian guy ...

Try explaining to a zebra

As pack animals, intra-zebra emotional intelligence is essential for maintaining the cohesion of the herd. Looking from the outside it's hard to see this as all we see is the daily struggle for survival.


> Can only be that Canadian guy ...

You're a world class guesser. :)


The characteristics you describe make it a pretty narrow segment lol


Eh? Is this a Jordan Peterson thing?


No.


"You can not create deep meaningful human connection quickly"

You're likely correct, but it takes more than time to make deep meaningful connections. It also requires skills like empathy, which can be taught.


>You can not create deep meaningful human connection quickly

In your experience, perhaps.

Other people have different experiences, and some of these experiences you might find surprising! :-)




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