Getting Help – Towards the Gift Tensegrity (5)

Timothy Wilken

INTERdependence is the human condition. Once we acknowledge our INTERdependence and accept our dependence on others, then there are only three ways that we can get the help we need to meet our needs.

1) We can force others to give us help—This is adversary help.

2) We can pay others to give us help —This is neutral help.

3) Or, we can trust others to give us help—This is synergic help.

We will examine each of these three ways in detail. Today we will examine:

Adversary help

This is help obtained with coercion—force or fraud. The givers of help are losing. When you force others to give you help you, they do the least they possibly can. Because the helper is hurt, adversary help is always of a low quality.

Adversary relationships are hurting and negative experiences. The giver of help experiences a loss. He is less after helping you than before. When you force others to help you, it natural that they do the least they possibly can and stop helping the moment they don’t feel afraid.

Adversary INTERdependence—Conflict

Sometimes I force others to give me help me, and sometimes others force me to give them help.

Slavery, indentured service, tenant farming, and child labor are examples of adversary help. The criminal makes you help him, when he steals your property. The government makes you help it, when it forces you to pay taxes. You are being forced to help others anytime you are given an ultimatum.

Adversary relationship originates on earth in the animal world. Earth supplies limited space for the animals. Space is finite. Good space is even more finite. It is very limited. There is only so much good water, so much good grazing land, so much good shelter, and so much good potential food. There is not enough to go around. The space-binders must compete for this limited amount of good space. They compete adversarily. They compete by fighting and flighting. They compete by attacking and killing other space-binders. They compete by devouring the energy-binders.

Animal survival depends entirely on finding others to eat. The herbivores depend on finding plants to eat. The carnivores depend on finding other animals to eat. The animals inability to utilize sunlight to synthesize organic tissue means they must eat organic tissue. Animals survive by eating either plants or animals. Animals are completely dependent on other for survival. This fact makes animals the dependent class of life—dependent on other.

Imagine a fox chasing a rabbit, if the fox is quick enough, it will win a meal, at the expense of the rabbit who loses its life. On the other hand, if the rabbit is quicker, the fox loses a meal, and the rabbit wins its life. The animals live in an adversary world of losers and winners. This is a world of fighting and flighting—of pain and dying. To win in this world someone must lose. Winning is always at the cost of another.All animals, from the smallest insect to the largest whale are struggling to avoid losing—struggling to avoid being hurt.

CONFLICT —def—> The struggle to avoid loss—the struggle to avoid being hurt.

The animals must fight and flee to stay alive, and they do. Always ready at a moments notice to go tooth and nail to avoid losing—to avoid death. Losers/winners is the harshest of games. Winning is always at the cost of another’s life.

The loser tends to resist with all of its might occasionally prevailing by killing or wounding its attacker. So both parties can lose, turning the game—losers/winners into losers/losers.

If we analyze adversary relationships, we discover that individuals are less after the relationship. (1+1) < 2. In the animal world where the loser forfeits its life (1+1) = 1. Or in the end game of losers/losers, both adversaries may die in battle, then (1+1) = 0.

Adversary relationships are hurtful. The parties in these relationships experience loss. They struggle to avoid the loss—they conflict. In an adversary relationship, one individual plus another individual are less after the relationship. In other words (1+1) < 2, and often much less than two. Adversary relationships are marked by high conflict, low effectiveness and poor productivity. Now lets examine how the natural life tensegrity of Needs and Actions would operate in adversary INTERdependence.

Coercion Tensegrity—a prey-predator tensegrity

When we obtain help from others by force or coercion, we are entering into the Prey-Predator Tensegrity. Recall I discussed in an earlier passage. The prey is continuously pulling predators towards it. It must be continuously on alert ready to fight or flee. The predator is only discontinuously pushing towards the prey in the hunt. So we see a balance between the the continuously pulling prey and the discontinuously pushing predator.

Like all tensegrities, the larger it is the more stable it is. In nature, we find that the more animals within a prey-predator group the more stable the population.

Recall the natural Needs-Action Tensegrity of Life. Needs are continuously pulling on me take action to meet them.




Needs are passive. They are continuously needing to be met. But I only occasionally act to meet my needs. Remember my needs pull on me, I need a continuous level of oxygen dissolved in my blood, but I only act discontinuously—pushing the used air out of my lungs and then taking a fresh breath fourteen to sixteen a minute.

In an INTERdependent form of life, individual organisms are not able to meet there needs with out help from others. They need the occasional actions of others to meet their continuous needs. This leads to the emergence of receivers of help which are continuously needing help and givers of help are only occasionally acting to give that help.

For human beings, life and survival then is all about the continuing pull of our needs and the discontinuous push of the actions taken to meet those needs. Some of the actions are our own, but most of the actions are the gifts of others.




Receivers of Help—Givers of Help

Alternating Roles

Within the relationship between self and other, the receiver has continuous needs, but the giver only occasionally acts to help the receiver. Sometimes self is a giver of help. Sometimes self is a receiver of help. Sometimes other is a giver of help. Sometimes other is a receiver of help. Sometimes my actions help others meet their needs. Sometimes other’s actions help me meet my needs.

Within the Coercion Tensegrity this means, sometimes I am the prey to stronger predators who force me to give them help, and sometimes I am the predator forcing weaker others to give me help.

Within the Coercion Tensegrity, the predators are the active members. The prey is continuously vulnerable to attack by the predators. For an INTERdependent species like humanity that means that the Receivers of help are the active members. The givers of help are continuously vulnerable to discontinuous attacks by the receivers of help.

Now compared with the natural pattern,




Receivers of Help—Givers of Help

We see that within the Coercion Tensegrity there is loss of the natural pattern. Actions and Needs have switched places as have the Givers of Help and Receivers of Help. The Prey is coerced to give help in the form of their actions to meet the needs of the Predators. The predators are in control.





*Givers of Help—*Receivers of Help

The prey are continuously at risk of predator attack that will coerce them to give help to the predator.

Enemies—the adversary relationship

As a victim in the Coercion Tensegrity, I am continuously attracting predators to take help from me. As a predator in the Coercion Tensegrity, I am only occasionally forcing others to give me help. Our relationship is as enemies. I hate and fear the predator who is stealing my help. I will do the least I can for him. I will help him only as long as he makes me. I cease helping him the moment I stop fearing him.