As we briefly touched upon in Chapter 4, people, by virtue of being human, experience incongruity between convictions. We all have "de-
fects and vices which we hope to conceal," but as Johnson noted almost 300 years ago, we are "secretly conscious" of our faults, our shortcomings. How do we become conscious of our shortcomings, our defects? Why should we be conscious of them? Would it not be better to either have no defects, as the perfectionist might assert, or at least not be aware of them? (The perfectionist would certainly consider that a wonderful state.) In order to be in a better position to answer such questions, and explore our all-too-human responses to such psychological and philosophical issues, we need to turn our attention to the concept of stress and its role in human functioning.