My purpose is to present original, creative and helpful psychotherapeutic ideas. While “pessimistic” may seem a provocative or self-sabotaging quality, it is actually a facet of optimism. Just as a physician would harm a patient by ignoring injury, and helps the best by facing the worst, so must a therapist know that we grow from roots bent by psychic injuries in our past. Optimism must be based in this reality, not on a cloud of wishful thinking.
Monday, June 26, 2017
Ripped from the comments section of The Atlantic online*
problem with abortion is not whether a human being in the womb is a human
being. People who believe abortion is moral and proper have a time and place
the womb a human being is a certain age. That is a time function. There are no
differences between a young human being and a newborn other than growth and
development, a function of time.
the womb or out of the womb is a place. There is no difference between a human
being in the womb or out.
is the only moral answer to an unwanted pregnancy.
Pessimistic Shrink –
Sam, it’s not that simple. Let me entertain you with some psychology (borrowed
from a Canadian psychotherapist).** Child, home from school, tells his mother: “Mommy, mommy, the teacher was unfair to me today!” Mother responds: “Now dear, the teacher was only trying to do his best.” She likely believes she is trying to soothe her child’s feelings. In fact,
she is not. She is soothing her own feelings and ignoring her son's. The boy is on fire with
humiliation: The teacher, let’s assume, laughed at him and the class followed
suit. He needs his mother to take his pain away. Instead, she doesn’t hear
his message, his feeling, and replies with a parental platitude. The child now
has nowhere to go with his pain. He must shut it down (repression and
suppression). This burial of his true feelings is the beginning of the
depressogenic process – the loss of the “real self” in childhood. The
lesson here is that parent's lack of empathy is one of the most injurious kinds
of parenting: A child will disappear in the face of this blindness. And yet no one would be foolish enough to call Child Protective
Services on this mother. “CPS, you must investigate. There’s a mother out
there who lacks empathy!”
is – There is an eternal conflict between a person’s legitimately living her
own life, with her own errors, and another person's legitimate judgment of
that person. Knowing what a mother’s or father’s lack of empathy can do to a child, I’d
hypothetically like that parent to be strung up by the toes for an indefinite
term, or be required to be monitored by some overseer – from the same moral
urge that would cause you to threaten or prevent a woman from having an
abortion. Here psychology fuses with philosophy: Each of us is a solipsistic
universe who can only live, for the most part, by his own lights and flaws –
the imperatives of his or her unique energy – yet each of us judges the other
person’s flaws and resultant behaviors.
Knowing the harm you are doing, should I be allowed to send you to prison for slapping your son on the face or for shaming your daughter with crushing words?
you had to write all of this but of course it is that simple. Everything else
is just your justification for supporting an immoral action.
Pessimistic Shrink –
Sam. What is simple is you.
* * *
believe morality can never be an objective fact. We can only have individuals
trying to make their life work: That is all that human motivation can be,
whether the result is altruism or selfishness, self-sacrifice or violence, adopting a child or child neglect, narcissism
or obsequiousness, drinking or suicide, making money or giving money. If there
will ever be a consensus “good,” sometime in the far distant future, it will
only be when love is ubiquitous and all acts are linked to it. There is,
though, a “catch” to this love: Its definition comes from psychological knowledge
more than from any other domain. It requires one to have been loved for being
his or her own unique child. It requires foundational respect for one’s child’s mental
processes – thinking and feeling. In that place where life is valued for itself,
where pain is not injected deep within children to come out later at
the world, each person’s “natural solipsism” will be trustable when the most
difficult decisions are made. I will understand that you simply cannot afford
to give to that helpless person, but I may be able to. You will accept that
this woman is too emotionally fragile to give birth,
though she loves life, and new life. We won’t have reason to judge anyone, in
this future time, because people will be fully human.
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* My sections edited
for improved clarity and civilized talk.