The crystallization of discontent or the epiphany that makes us see the global pattern

The crystallization of discontent or the epiphany that makes us see the global pattern

For those who like to be driven by a kind of Pyrrhic skepticism (I tend to opt for a mixture of the subdivision of the Zeetics and Aporetics) nothing seems to disturb them, but all, to a greater or lesser extent, can be shaken by a revelation that, if We knew instinctively that it was true, we did not see it coming.

When the truth explodes in their faces, that epiphany that can change the way we see the world, then what psychologist Roy Baumeister calls "crystallization of discontent" takes place.


These sudden revelations do not necessarily have to be momentous, of the type "this is the meaning of life", but can be much more pedestrian but just as profound : "my husband is mistreating me" or "I am involved in a cult."

These epiphanies arise mainly because there is a specific incident that allows us to see the general pattern, and crystallizes the feeling that something did not fit. Basically it is waking up and contemplating the forest, that forest that had previously been overshadowed by the branches of the trees. Chip Heath abounds in this in his book Magical Moments :

Baumeister argues that such situations are often characterized by a "crystallization of discontent," a dramatic moment in which a set of isolated reservations and complaints are connected in a global pattern.

In 2014, Research in Personality published a study in which 97% expressed their intention to modify some trait of their personality: to be more aware, outgoing, emotionally stable or open to new experiences. For Baumeister this is an example of "crystallization of discontent": once the person recognizes the patterns of deficiencies in his life, he can reorganize his basic values ​​and priorities for the better, whenever he experiences a sudden epiphany, that something does not fit, that everything was there but laziness or inertia did not allow us to see it clearly .