Marina Ortiz Lara
Have you ever started something that took a long time and the further you go the further away it seems like giving up? It is because we have invested a lot of time in a certain action and it seems more expensive to leave that venture than to give up and try it differently. As if we were “programmed” to persist.
This perspective can be related to Jeffrey Z. Rubin’s imprisonment theory, which suggests how we find ourselves trapped in meaningless conflict situations.
Programming to persist can be understood as an evolutionary adaptation that has helped us overcome challenges and difficulties throughout history. However, when this persistence is applied to meaningless conflict situations, as described by Rubin in his theory of imprisonment, it can result in an unnecessary prolongation of disputes and confrontations, such as war.
Rubin argues that entrapment occurs when parties involved in a conflict feel trapped in a perpetual cycle of negative actions and reactions, with no clear way out.
In the context of the aforementioned persistence, we could argue that our innate inclination not to give up easily can contribute to the prolongation of conflictive situations. Creativity comes out of context and thinking outside the box seems like a challenge to our pride.
Resistance to giving in can lead to a kind of “programming” that reinforces imprisonment, as the parties involved only focus on maintaining their position, rather than finding mutually beneficial solutions.
This does not allow us to identify that giving up may imply a more long-term achievement and we are left traveling a circuit without reward instead. Recognizing the importance of flexibility and finding constructive solutions can be crucial to breaking this cycle and moving towards more positive resolutions for oneself, for others, to end wars.