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Translation: Jean-François Gauvry

The Little Pinguin Principle :

do you suffer from overadaptation?

What if our environment no longer made sense, asking

too much from us and making things unbearable to us?

Here is a short presentation:

" Everybody living in a hostile environment tends to die slowly, its needs no longer finding means to assume its development. The Human Beings have this ability to adapt themselves very easily, which can sometimes end up with the syndrom of over-adaptation. The remedy suggested by the author is to stop acting this way, to learn how to make one's choice and to take things easier! This practical book gathers exercices that will allow the reader to identify and get rid of various obstacles. "

A sample of my book follows... to give you an insight into the contents:

Throughout the history of mankind, there have never been so many antidepressants and tranquillizers prescribed than these past few years. In comparison with the previous decade, 75% more antidepressants are being prescribed in Quebec, depression becoming the second cause of medical consultation after high blood pressure. More and more people are getting blasé, simply ?functioning? and showing but minimum energy.

The fact that such a high amount of the population is under the effect of a powerful substance to ?function? speaks volumes about the values of the society we live in.

The World Health Organization foresaw that by 2010 ? 2010, indeed, not by 3010 ! ? nervous breakdown would be the second cause of work disability in the world !

So, do they all suffer from an adjustment disorder ? Are they weaker than the others ?

Why is there so much anxiety, a twenty-first century ailment which keeps haunting a greater number of people ? Has something gone wrong in our minds ? Have we become chronic dysfunctional people for life ? Should we consider this fact as a fate of the figures we will have to learn to live with ?

Maybe not?

We might as well lay the blame on our environments instead. What we are required to do may not make sense or be consistent with what we have been designed for. We may be the prisoners of a logic which precisely has no logic. We may have become sick by dint of overadaptation. As Jacques Languirand puts it so well, normose can be defined as adaptation through submission.? By the way, leading too ?normal an existence, which resembles everybody?s lives?, thinking to yourself ?everybody endures, I have no choice? may be very tricky and backfire on you. Furthermore, overindulging yourself in wasteful expenditures in keeping with the current trend ?I buy, therefore I am? will not be very helpful to you either.

People feel overrun, stressed out, overwhelmed, in distress, torn, at a loss, confused, bewildered, speechless, helpless, in a dead end. That is the really strange picture of a society whose hobbyhorses are the ?Happy Face?, ?Entertainment Show? theories. It must also be admitted the promise of a leisure era has led to the creation of ?workaholic world? instead.

What makes this book different from the others ? First you will learn you must get the idea off your mind that you are unable to adjust yourself to your environment because this is the contrary in most cases : you are often tricked by your too great a readiness to adapt.

If I asked you to spend the rest of your life confined in a room where the amount of oxygen is lower than the quantity you need to breathe, would you be willing to do so ? If I told you to live in a world devoid of sense, where the top and the bottom would be inverted, where darkness would stand for light, would you agree to live in such a world ? If I shut you away in a big iron cage where electric shocks would be arbitrarily administered to you, would you remain passive ? Well, why do so many people agree to undergo all these hardships in our modern society ?

Follow me into Little Boy's story. Soon you will begin to understand !

Summary of chapter 1 :

Little Boy stands for all of us who pay the price for being cheated. Big Mouth represents everything that is related to authority and exerts such a pressure on us that our health is threatened.

These two characters deftly recur throughout the book in order to exemplify the psychological concepts involved in overadaptation.

Chapter 2 : we are millions of little penguins on Earth

I have heard this story so often that I know it by heart. The most deplorable thing is the fact that all these Little Boys who come and consult me are almost convinced they suffer from an adjustment disorder.

In my opinion, most of them do not suffer from any ?adjustment disorder?, a term implying ?misadaptation?, but rather from the ?over-adjustment syndrome?. In my view, this term refers to people?s excessive efforts to adjust themselves to their environment?s conditions or expectations.

Thus, by acting against their own natures, they eventually feel an imbalance in their lives, which gradually become unbearable, most of the time insidiously. This phenomenon may appear through symptoms such as feelings of faintness, a loss of the senses, demotivation, a drop in energy, erection problems, anxiety, phobias or completely different signs.

Do not delude yourself ! Having proper eating habits, exercising and sleeping well are not enough for everything to work out fine in your life. Your vitality greatly depends on your deep satisfactions. You may lie to yourself as long as you like and deny this law, but it will catch up with you sooner or later. Besides, it has already caught up with thousands and thousands of people whose lives are similar to Little Boy?s. Like him, they are under Big Mouth?s control.

How many acquaintances of yours can boast about feeling full of joie de vivre ? Few of them nowadays. Indeed, everybody ?functions?, that is manages to do their jobs, pay their bills, take out their garbage and put on a two-second smile when running into a connection at the shopping mall. The luckiest of them manage to go and spend two weeks a year in sunny places. But are these people truly happy or do they rather mimic a masquerade in which everybody plays the part of the ?happy guy?, like actors re-enacting events through daily performances which invariably remain similar to the ones given the day before ?

What strikes me in my job is to see that the question jarring most on people ?on sick leave for emotional reasons? is the familiar sentence ?How are you ??. Do you know why ? Because when you are going through a rough patch which makes you more fragile, you sometimes fail to give yourself what I call ?composure? in front of people. ?Composure? is that kind of mask the ?healthy? have no trouble keeping on, sometimes with full knowledge they are wearing a mask, sometimes not.

Are they ?misadapted? or ?overadapted? ? That is a good question. Do people who no longer feel well in their jobs, their couple lives, their cities, or in agreement with their religions, their family cultures and habits miss something ? Have they lost their ability to adjust themselves ? Do they suffer from an ailment ? Should they be assigned a diagnosis labelling them as being no longer able to adapt and deal with their environments ?

In my opinion, most of them do not.

They suffer from another ailment that we all suspect, but we do not dare to talk about it openly. Actually, they overadapt to their environments ? past, present and future ? : they make superhuman efforts to look like those ideal workers employers dream about or those ideal wives husbands fantasize about, to embody those ideal sons parents wish for or those ideal sex partners mentioned in magazine articles, to stand for those ideal students teachers expect them to be or those nice guys friends would like them to be, and so on?

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