Fragility & Resilience

Corey deVosPolarity Map

<< back to index

The polarity between fragility and resilience represents the dynamic interplay between vulnerability and strength, both of which are essential aspects of human experience and development. Fragility embodies the sensitive, delicate, and vulnerable aspects of our being, allowing for empathy, understanding, and deep connection with others. Resilience, on the other hand, stands for the capacity to recover and bounce back from adversities, embodying strength, stability, and robustness. This polarity is a dance between embracing vulnerability and fostering strength, where each pole has its unique offerings and drawbacks, and their harmonious integration leads to a state of antifragility.
Fragility is characterized by a heightened sensitivity to external influences, which can foster deep empathy, understanding, and a rich inner life. It allows individuals to connect profoundly with others and to appreciate the delicate nuances of human experience. However, when overly emphasized, it can lead to vulnerability to harm, emotional instability, and a tendency to be easily broken or damaged. It is a state where one might find themselves overly cautious, avoiding risks to prevent potential hurts, which can limit personal growth and the exploration of broader horizons.
Resilience represents the inner strength and fortitude that enables individuals to recover and thrive despite facing adversities. It embodies a spirit of endurance, adaptability, and a positive outlook towards life, fostering a sense of stability and security. Resilient individuals can navigate challenges effectively, learning and growing from them. However, an overemphasis on resilience can lead to a dismissal of vulnerability, a lack of emotional depth, and a tendency to overlook the finer, sensitive aspects of human experience. It might foster a rigid personality, resistant to change and lacking in empathy and understanding.
Antifragility is the harmonious integration of fragility and resilience, where one not only withstands adversities but grows stronger through them. It embodies a state of dynamic balance, where sensitivity and strength coexist, allowing individuals to navigate life with a deep understanding and a robust spirit. In this state, people no longer try to avoid chaos but are rather able to see chaos as an opportunity for personal and collective growth. Antifragility fosters a rich inner life coupled with the courage to face the world boldly, embracing both vulnerability and fortitude. It represents a mature, evolved state of being, where one can dance gracefully between the poles of fragility and resilience, leveraging the strengths of both to forge a path of growth, understanding, and harmony.
A state of being broken and brittle emerges when there is a disintegration between fragility and resilience, leading to a condition where the individual is unable to recover from shocks and adversities. Too much resilience or “hardness” makes us brittle, while too much fragility can leave us broken. This state is characterized by a lack of balance, where one might be trapped in a cycle of vulnerability without the strength to recover, or in a rigid state of resilience, devoid of sensitivity and understanding. It represents a fragmented self, unable to navigate the complexities of life effectively, prone to breaking under pressure, and lacking the depth and richness that comes from a harmonious integration of both poles.
Tips for
To integrate the polarity of fragility and resilience into a state of antifragility, one can reflect on the art of “kintsugi,” which involves repairing broken pottery by filling the cracks with gold, celebrating the beauty of imperfection. Similarly, engage in practices that foster both sensitivity and strength, much like the delicate yet resilient pottery. Cultivate a deep inner awareness and understanding through mindfulness meditation, allowing the golden threads of wisdom to weave through your vulnerabilities. Simultaneously, fortify your inner resilience with practices such as physical fitness and psychological therapy, creating a secure foundation. Within this mosaic of life, artistic pursuits become a canvas to embrace fragility, like the delicate pottery piece, while setting and pursuing achievable goals acts as the sturdy frame that builds resilience. The key is to nurture a balanced approach, akin to the art of kintsugi, gracefully dancing between fragility and resilience, and celebrating the full spectrum of human experience in a harmonious, integrated manner.

Related Media

Integral Perspectives on Alcoholism

Dr. Keith Witt and Corey deVos

Alcohol addiction is a deeply entrenched issue that affects a significant portion of the population, with around 10% of children being raised in a family with at least one alcoholic parent as of 2019. In this episode of Witt and Wisdom, Dr. Keith Witt and Corey deVos undertake a comprehensive exploration of alcohol addiction, its effects, and the recovery process through the lens of Ken Wilber’s integral theory, which encompasses all four quadrants – individual (internal and external) and collective (internal and external).

Recommended Training

with Beena Sharma
Integrating Polarities is a revolutionary new training program by Beena Sharma, designed to teach you the higher-order thinking common to leading-edge individuals at the integral stage of development. This training is designed to model the higher-order thinking associated with integral stages of psychological maturity, offering you a step-by-step process to help you learn these thinking skills and apply them to your life, your relationships, and your work in the world.
Enroll Now

More Polarity Maps

Corey deVos

About Corey deVos

Corey W. deVos is editor and producer of Integral Life. He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996. Corey is also a professional woodworker, and many of his artworks can be found in his VisionLogix art gallery.