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Detachment Theory

A psychological and evolutionary theory that attempts at explaining human behaviour is the Attachment Theory, mainly propounded by a John Bowlby, whose basic tenet is that infants need to develop a relationship with atleast one parent or a caretaker for its natural development to occur smoothly. This relationship, that Bowlby talks of, exists mainly between the 'caregivers' and infants aged 6 months to 2 years old. Bowlby published the full theory in his trilogy Attachment and Loss, and his Attachment theory has since become "the dominant approach to understanding early social development, and has given rise to a great surge of empirical research into the formation of children's close relationships". 

While this theory does supposedly explain attachment of infants with their 'caregivers', what still eludes my mind is the nature of the myriad other attachments we have, all of which affect our behaviour, and psychological state equally, or maybe even more than, the attachment we have as infants. From this primary 'attachment', we tend to develop intimate attachments to all kinds of things - right from people around us, folks we care about, to things, to objects - from gifts to the papyrus sheets that certify our formal education's various stages, that first penny that we ever earned, that first promotion email, that cherished gift, offer letter, that special text message(s) on our phones, or that email from a long-lost cherished friend, or anything else - attachments come in all shapes and sizes. 

I'm trying hard not to sound too much like a preacher or one of them 'thinkers', but there's an inherent fear of ostracization that causes us to have these attachments. We'd probably be better off if we were dispassionate and detached enough and learnt to 'take everything as a bonus', but I know I'm not one of those types, as are most others(or if I may, all others). The Gita and a million mortal preachers talk of detachment or Vairagya as a means to attain salvation...but aren't they attached to their cause as well? So, aren't the detached attached as well? Can we be passionately attached to something, and yet stay at a dispassionately long distance from it to not be perturbed even to the slightest extent by its ripples? Is detached attachment possible? Is it possible to not expect anything and instead 'take everything as a bonus'? 

P.S.: Yes, I am like this wonly. Kindly adjust.


Yashoteja said…
A nice set of observations man!

Wel I personally feel there is a basic difference between social attachment,
and attachment to a cause, and that is fear.

How much ever one is attached to someone, there is always a fear of being left out,
or maybe fear of losing that someone.

This is the case wid anything material i guess.
Anonymous said…
This is a great write up! You put into words something I thought would be the Detachment Theory :)

Keep on observing!
Anonymous said…
nice read.. ... "but aren't they attached to their cause as well?" ... smirk.. good one

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