The more often we sacrifice our integrity for the sake of cooperation, the more pain we incur. We can become so good at repressing the pain that neither we ourselves nor those around us notice it. Inevitably, however, we emit a verbal or non-verbal signal that something is wrong. If we and those closest to us take the signal seriously, then understand its significance and change the way we react, the conflict is solved and the pain eases or ceases. If none of these things happens, the signal increases or changes (becomes a physical act instead of a statement). Eventually, an actual symptom will reveal itself. The first signal is fatigue. The ultimate ones are murder or suicide.
I noticed that many people react to this quote in a very surprised way, after which they tend to say something like "I think this is exaggerated". They have difficulties understanding how can we not notice that, especially as adults, that we often sacrifice our own integrity.
We live in a world which tends to spin faster and faster, where renewal of objects, trends and behaviors is happening at an intolérable pace. The economy, based on permanent move and change, dictates that the faster you "adapt", the more likely it is to be "successful". The result is life as a vertigo, where pause, slowness, contemplation, are ignored or disdained, deemed "unproductive".
It is a way of living in which SIGNS of objects have become more important than the objects themselves: if the first (noticeable) layer looks good, that means that the object or the person behind that superficial layer is good. Not only that people do not have time to look behind the appearances. But there are now entire generations of individuals who are not aware and cannot understand that the world is made out of layers, that it has also depth, not only surface. If an apple is big, red, shiny and flawless, it doesn't mean at all that it is healthy to eat, since there is good numbers of unhealthy chemicals that have been used to create the SIGN of a "perfect" apple.
It is extremely easy, in a fast spinning world that projects a reality formed by signs of objects and persons, to not notice how often we sacrifice our own and our children's integrity? In bigger social systems (countries, states) politicians change laws and constitutions so that they can validate torture and bribery. In smaller social systems, like families and couples, we have created rules which legitimize and promote the sacrifice of the integrity, in the name of cooperation, in the name of becoming "good".
Therefore, it is only normal that ANGER and AGGRESSION have become such prevalent symptoms in both poor and rich nations.
It is precisely this repeated violation of one's integrity that creates individuals for whom destructive behavior, whether directed towards others or self, becomes a way of living.
The first and most common self-aggressive behavior that comes to my mind is the abuse of substances. As a professional I do not endorse abstinence as a way to prevent excesses, unless it seems to be the best solution to put an end to a long process of self-inflicted aggression. But it is still surprising to realize the extent to which the abusive consumption of illegal and prescribed drugs has been normalized. By creating a specific standard of "happiness", sacrificing integrity and individuality in order to appear to have achieved that standard, has become the norm. Showing sings of "happiness" or of "being positive", regardless of how sad or angry we feel, is a prerequisite for being "successful".
It is precisely this one of the most important sources of aggression: the forceful cooperation, the submission, the clash between reality and the forceful acceptance of signs of reality. An acceptance that can be possible only if we repeatedly ignore our intuition and sacrifice our integrity.