Should

February 28, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Society, Unconscious

Exploring ideas in evolution, traveling with my consciousness instrument up and down the scales of biology, society, ontogeny and biography, concepts familiar to one level often evoke interesting, complementing melodies in another.

I was recently asked by an editor about a piece that he was using if I was saying that charismatic leaders will be unnecessary, or if I was saying such leaders should be removed.  The editor wasn’t clear by the way I wrote it.  I was confused by the question.  Why would someone suggest that I believed something “should” be different?  I experience myself as describing what I see and hear and the likely evolutionary repercussions.  Then I realized that people often evaluate the future based upon what scenario they prefer, what “should” be true.  I can see how the two can be confused.  My predictions must feel like expressions of ideals to some people, manifestations of a “should.”  To me, when I make predictions, I’m following implications of established patterns.

Having spent over 30 years of my life in psychotherapy, usually group therapy, and having received some training in psychotherapeutic interventions in my 20s (NLP, hypnotherapy, child clinical work), my world view has been deeply influenced by the 1960s humanists (Pearls, Rogers, Maslow, Laing, Janov, Berne) and Eastern paradigms.  In Gestalt psychotherapy, the word “should” becomes a marker for hidden scripts or story lines that inhibit the natural flow of personal transformation.  Practitioners encouraging psychotherapeutic change use a road map that includes frequently used, less than useful detours, barriers, dead ends and dangerous roads.  When the word “should” appears in client conversations, it often indicates that they are traveling one of those avenues.  They are not seeing the world as it is.  They are seeing it through the lens of a skewed world view based upon low quality information, usually acquired at some point in the past.

For example, if someone believes he or she shouldn’t express affection unless in private, or believes the behavior could draw derision, it is probably because the person had an experience where that was the case.

Regarding following an idea as it travels among the scales of biology, society, ontogeny and biography, the word “should” is a signal that natural, personal traffic flows are being impeded, and it also applies when discussing biological or social transformation.

No evolutionary biological theory should work better than another.  That’s like saying one fairy tale should be more satisfying than another fairy tale.  What works, works.

It’s not a question that we should have world peace or end starvation.  We seek to understand the way the world is now and the dynamics of transformation that lead to change.  The better we comprehend the present and the processes characterized by societal evolution, the more seamlessly peaceful options will emerge.

Psychotherapeutically and societally, providing high quality attention and present moment awareness serves to make a “should” unnecessary.  Focused on the present, future possibilities can unfold naturally in the context of a dynamic manifesting in the now.

There is only one moment.  The moment we are in.  “Should” suggests a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of evolution, transformation and change.

Personal changes and societal change are profoundly practical.  They only have time for the present.


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