One of the great frustrations in life is dealing with unstable people. Part of the reason for this might be contained in the very description “unstable”. If we have achieved some equilibrium in our own lives, dealing with an unstable person threatens that equilibrium. It causes psychological nausea. Of course, it’s probably good to shake the equilibrium of our lives occasionally, but not all shaking seems to be good shaking. Some shaking makes us stronger, while some shaking weakens our foundations.
Missy did not seem able to overcome this nausea when dealing with Karishma, who appears (to me at least) quite emotionally unstable. Missy responded to Karishma’s instability in a way that many people do – she tried to fix the instability. She thought that taking the instability with a sturdy hand could stop it. Sometimes that works, but in this case, she misjudged how strong Karishma’s instability was. Like many unstable people, especially ones with genuine power like an immunity idol, Karishma did not consider herself unstable.
Elaine, on the other hand, didn’t try to fix Karishma’s instability. Instead, she rolled with it, like a boat on a tsunami. She treated Karishma’s grievances with outward respect, even though inside Elaine was probably feeling the same nausea as Missy. Karishma responded very well to Elaine’s flexibility and the result was that they built an alliance to vote Missy out.
Philosophy usually deals with foundational questions. Unstable people threaten those foundations. Therefore, it is an important issue whether the foundations should always be defended adamantly or whether they can absorb an occasional shock and survive. I think that in general Elaine’s flexible approach is generally the best, but without the Missies of the world, the unstable people would probably overwhelm us all. I have no answers for you. As the philosopher Jonathan Dancy has noted, the answers are always particular to the situation.