Resistance and the Nakken diagram

Reading Nakken again. It’s on resistance and I LOVE it. Finally, finally an answer to a question that has bothered me for years. I’ve been doing courses in haptonomy and the were lovely. Following a course I would be zen for days, really Digging It All. And then when the next course would come up I would feel this resistance. Something nagging, something that wanted to sabotage me, something that made me set two alarms instead of one, that made me distrust my intentions, that made me check, check and double-check the timetables of the train I needed to take. And then when I’ld arive I’ld be like ‘NOOOOOOOOO’.

And now I know how this works! Gonna do an old fashion content steal:

As shown in the Pleasure, Power, Meaning and Connection diagram on pages 68, 85, and 90, there is an area named resistance. It stands between our drive for pleasure and power and our drive for meaning. Our drive for connections which propels us upward toward meaning, can be subverted by our resistance. We can therefore stay caught in the cycles of power accruing power and pleasure-seeking pleasure, and though we may catch glimpses of meaning, we will not partake in it in a meaningful and beneficial way.

Human beings have a desire for change and a desire for permanence. Though we have a natural desire to express our spiritual nature, we also have a natural resistance to change and become spiritual beings. We resist transformation of the self into spirit because it goes against our survival instincts. We fear we will cease to exist if any form of spiritual transformation takes place. Because we fear giving up our egohold on the things of this world, we tell ourselves subconsciously that it is better to stay in control, avoid pain through pleasure, and not surrender.

YES, YES, YES!!! I subscribe to that, which is a piece of page 91 of ‘The addictive personality – understanding the addictive personality and compulsive behaviour by Craig Nakken’ – the 1996 edition. Do you agree that the book is quote worthy? ๐Ÿ™‚

And I now I also know why I don’t understand his diagram. In the book Nakken explains that addicts are out of balance when it comes to pleasure, power and meaning. To much of the first two, too little of the last. Nakken seems to place pleasure and power opposite meaning although he recognizes that there are ethical versions of both pleasure and power.

I agree with everything I read so far but had (have?)ย  difficulty understanding the diagram that he made of this. I think it is because he aligns stuff vertically. To me, the power-driven person, that indicates hierarchy and I guess he means that too because he writes about ‘propelling upwards’. Meaning is up, power is down, obviously….

I do not agree with that. I think, in general, that all three (meaning, power, pleasure) are equally important parts of human and animal life. Kids do not learn if they do not experience pleasure, neither humans or animals can take care of their own if they don’t understand and practice power and sitting around being all meaningful all day is not going to take care of the mortgage. So I would not vertically align these 3 in a diagram and say that the one thing is better than the other.


By putting meaning up as the ultimate goal he disses both power and pleasure. But meaning is not the goal. The goal is sustainability in the sense of sustainable procreation-ish; to build a life that is happy (pleasure), responsible (power) and meaningful (meaning) in a society (connected) that supports that and to which I support. Traditionally, in the biological sense, power, pleasure and meaning contribute to that equally. And of course you can argue that happy is not only ‘pleasure’ but also ‘meaningful’ and responsible is not only power but also has to have some meaning. So I’d put sustainability in the center and have pleasure, power and meaning circle around that. Guess that did not fit on the page. ๐Ÿ™‚

And I soooo need to get a life. Imagine taking one and a half hour to work out and write down why you don’t understand something and to come up with your own version in order to… Well, I needed to work it out because I thought it was me. Turns out it’s him?!ย  ๐Ÿ˜€

And while you continue your life I’ll just sit here and see when I get to livin’.

3 thoughts on “Resistance and the Nakken diagram

    • In fact they are not, I have concluded / have the arrogance to say that he is just bad in diagrams. Like where ‘Ethical power’ points at Predator mentality’ – that arrow should not be pointing like that, if anything it should run uninterrupted from right to left. Same for the top arrows. He tried to make a diagram of something that is actually a picture. That’s pretty much an 80’s thing to do – Word Perfect had just started to conquer the world.

      I find that his text speaks directly to me but maybe typing down a quote from page 91 does not put that idea across very well. ๐Ÿ™‚

      If you are curious to read a little more from the beginning you can also Google ‘addictive personality Nakken’ and then not look at the normal screen with all the internet findings but go to ‘more’ and then ‘books’ in Google. The whole book is actually online in Google books.

      However, to make it difficult for readers that don’t want to pay for the book they only show page 1 to 18 or so. If you want to continue reading you can adjust your Google search by using text from the index table of the part that you are missing and adding that to your search. Say with the former search you have read part one, now google ‘addictive personality Nakken stages of addiction’ and it will point you to part 2 that is called stages of addiction.

      Hope you enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚


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