Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Guest Blogger Dr. Jesse Hellman: Why Can't We Be Friends?


Back when we discussing The Basic Treatment Plan, I asked Jesse if he would write a blog post on Non-compliance.  Jesse, however,  was non-compliant and he wrote a guest blog post on how we dialogue here on Shrink Rap.

Was St. Bernard right? 
Qui me amat, amat et canem meam
 "Who loves me, loves also my dog."  --St. Bernard, 12th century
  
St. Bernard quoted this Latin saying in a sermon, and it led me to consider whether it applies to much of what we discuss on Shrink Rap. Granting that St. Bernard had a very big, and most likely unwashed and untrained, dog, which would have tried the patience of many homeowners of his time, may we apply his principle beyond retainers, followers, and family to equally speak to our possessions, words, actions, and beliefs?  If you love me, you'll also love all that I think, say, and say.

How often do we see here on Shrink Rap dialogue which is heated rather than restrained, opinions which are held ex cathedra, invectives thrown with careless disregard, and individuals attacked quite casually? Shrink Rap is not unique, but a rather educated example of what we see commonly in the news, on talk shows, in editorials. 

What I am positing is that St. Bernard's adage is often taken in the reverse: if you do not agree with what I say, you do not love me, and I will respond accordingly. There is a failure of empathy, and hurt feelings, the sense of not being loved, leading to an exaggerated response.

Shrink Rap is a psychologically attuned blog with a thoughtful community. Do others see  what I do, or disagree? Do you see that when an opinion is presented a disagreement may lead to a nuclear response rather than to a thoughtful reexamination of whatever argument is present? Do you think that hurt feelings are frequently underneath this?

Lost in history is the housewife who did not want Bernard's big unwashed dog on her couch. How do you imagine the conversation went?  

Moral: if you disagree with an adversary, it is best said in Latin.