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Thursday, December 31. 2009
Duty vs. Guilt, and Psychobabble, Plus a definition of "failure"
A Dr. B. re-post from our long-ago archives -
"Why do I do all these things for Jim, Dr Bliss, when for the past six months I can't stand his presence and I can't even stand the way he eats? Is it because I feel guilty, or have no self-esteem?"
Guilty? Self-esteem? It's of interest to me how the morality-free zone of psycho-babble in our popular culture can obscure the persistence of the old virtues, even among those who live them.
The language of duty, loyalty, honor, self-sacrifice, endurance, perseverance, reliability, courage, self-reliance - the things Bill Bennet wrote about - has been replaced by a language of "feeling" and "guilt" in some strange and ill-informed distortion of psychoanalytic understandings.
Indeed, "my feelings" appear to have replaced the virtues to the point that "not being true to your feelings" is like a modern-day sin. And yes, I guess it is a sin - if you regard yourself as a god.
But back to my patient. I know her well enough to know that she was raised with the sturdy Mid-Western Presbyterian virtues, internalized them, and lives them. Her kindness and thoughfulness with her husband are driven by character (in the old sense of the word) - not guilt, and surely not, at the moment anyway, by "loving feelings." For her, it would not be so much "guilt" in betraying her character - it would be "failure." And not life failure, but a failure to be who she was built to be.
The point I want to make is not about my patient's psychology, or how she ought to deal with her situation. That's another subject. It's about the pop-psych assumptions that are in the air that would cause a person who "does the right thing" despite her emotions of the moment is somehow afflicted by "guilt" or some other pathology (although guilt is not a pathology), rather than being a mature person whose habits of character are stronger than her emotions.
I sometimes joke that if we were all true to our feelings, we'd all be in jail.
A few take-home points:
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in Our Essays, Psychology, and Dr. Bliss at 13:53 | Comments (11) | Trackbacks (0)
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that summed me up for about 10 years....you can't make a decision when you're crying or feeling like punching someone...i had a lot of unhappy moments simply because i thought my heart was smarter than my head...of course i've had some fun at my intellect's expense too!
Nice piece, and one that I agree with fundamentally. What I have been trying to get to is this: all of us need to understand when behavior becomes abuse. We need to understand why allow ourselves to be abused, and at the same time we need to set limits to the abuse. Having confronted that then we need to evaluate those values which we have been raised with and determine what it is we think about those values. I abhor most of what the trendy left psycho babblers put out there. Many times I have stayed with Mr. Nice when I would have just as soon been gone. My point is that when you stay because of your value system--then shut up and move on making today as good as it can be. X____and I are not to far apart on this.
Good piece. Well done. You say more with fewer words than most of us.
I have spent the past ten years trying to recover from a terribly abusive environment. My beloved is a professor. He worked in a private, VERY liberal college that was taken over by the most extreme of fem/nazi/lesbian values, the type that Dr. Bliss is talking about. In my defense of 'old fashioned' values I have been labeled anti woman, and most importantly anti woman's independence . It is the last one that really gets to me. Given that I come from generations of women, who have built their own businesses, run their own lives, and most importantly raised their own children. It is a conjunction of some sort is it not, between the ideals expressed in the real world of academia and the values I and my husband try to live by?
Why I rebel against today's female leaders and the behavior of female academics.
I have become very aware that the leaders of the feminist revolution have made a deal with the devil, or as a nun I used to know would say:
"when you are having a revolution, you make a deal with those who can help you the most and the fastest". Enter the mafia and its system of values.
1. Those women in academia, who have made a career of teaching--have done so, with a complete contempt for any standard of academic excellence, or integrity. Unlike men, the gals are just are not allowed to stand up against a female abuser of the system; the women in power won’t tolerate that, and so they all become abusers of some very Old and important traditions in the system.
2. I don't mean to try to bring up a discussion about all that is wrong with academia today; I believe that it has been totally corrupted--mostly, because of the large amounts of money that are now involved in many of the liberal locations. But, also to a very large extent by the power and the opportunity to re-design American children into dependent, kowtowing ignorant slobs—you know just like they have in another very large country with billions of “willing workers”
3. What I do want to say is this: the large community of women, who have been expedited into positions they were not qualified for, have not now, nor will they ever have a sense of those individual values that Dr. Bliss is talking about. So, the question is this: Where the H---has everybody outside of the academic world been for the last 25 years? Why aren't there large groups of women out there investigating and repairing the damage that has been done? Why don’t those women, who share the same values that we have voiced a preference for here on this site, why aren’t they out there in large groups banging on the doors of academia demanding a halt to what is being done? Or, is it that we are just at another congruence of some sort? Is it that we have not yet accepted that women can and should be of independent mind and still adhere to those “old fashioned” values? Oh, and excuse me--where are the men, or did the abuse of Larry Sommers push them all back under their desks, heads down?
Then again there is that dancing naked in class and getting a pass anyway , that really got to me also!
With a population over 300 million coupled with a largely dyfunctional "core family" influenced for the past 35 years by an ultra liberal Hollywood-NewYork media axis what is surprising is that we have any traditional values left at all.
Psychologists tell us that at any given time there are approximately 20% of the population with treatable mental disorders. Do the math. I'm not even sure that includes the ones who feel they need larger breasts or bigger penis' to functional properly.
Into this brew look at todays youts. Their high school cirriculums were long ago dumbed down so that the system could "successfully" accomodate Brown vs the Board of Education. If MacDonalds cash registers didn't have pictographs of hamburgers and fries and calculate the change for the operator we'd be eating deep fried dust bunnies and walking out with $100 bills.
Americas embrace of socialism hasn't helped much either.
Our government operates on basically one principle. Collect as much money as you can from the citizenry and redistribute it to other citizens. In other words with "Tax Freedom Day" somewhere in late May/early June the government takes what you make, taxes it to the 9's and sends it across town to help buy $100 Nike's for the indigent poor. You're a dastardly SOB if you challenge this mindset with say a Norman Lear (All in the Family producer) or George Soros, mega hedge-fund operator and socialist.
And this morning I read where some of our National Guard troops were overwhelmed by armed insurgents from Mexico somewhere on the US side of the Arizona/mexico border.
Buckle up, it's Mr. Toads wide ride from here until the boney fingers of the Grim Reaper tap you on the shoulder.
So I say lets all get naked and smoke dope til we don't care anymore. After all marijuana is THE largest cash crop in the USA. Have a nice day.
mmm, deep fried dust bunnies...if you think America's values are waning, read up on the A.s.B.o in Scotland!
What scares me is, there's something new, some evaporation of the guardrail of shame, meaning the lid is off, katy has thrown away the door bar, and don't care who knows it.
We as a society can cope with a whole lot of dysfunction, but we have to remember that it IS dysfunction.
For example, Mr. Soros runs his tax-exempt and even tax-credit-subsidized socialist NGOs in full view, advocating for massive taxation to build Utopia, while he himself--a USA citizen--operates his hedge funds from offshore Caribbean island tax havens.
That's bad enough--but (kicker) he doesn't care who knows it, because it doesn't make a damn bit of difference to his acolytes.
Examples abound--the Kennedys avoid the estate tax via a Fiji Islands trust, which isn't so bad except Ted Kennedy is a firebrand populist proponent of the Estate Tax.
And even that's not the worst of it, the worst of it is, he don't care who knows it, it don't make a bit of difference to his machine, and the rest of us suckers can apparently just go f**k ourselves as far as he's concerned.
Another is the NYTimes, which goes to great lengths to not give a s**t about who-all knows that it lies as a matter of corporate policy.
Buckle up indeed. Think "Lexington Green".
I've been on Lexington Green alert for about two decades. Now we have this Islamic thing to deal with, the Dearborn cancer, and the 50% of the electorate who grew older but still believe this country is the epicenter of evil.
That 50% is an object lesson that even a common language isn't necessarily sufficient for communication. That's why "fiendish" --to describe the language problem--seems to be a reasonable word.
"Distrust the elevation of "feeling" over character. It is immature. That is not to say that we should ignore our emotions - it's just that they are not sacred, they are seldom what they seem, and they can be very poor guides to life."
haha--feelings aren't facts, feelings aren't facts! :) happy new year, dr bliss!