Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Psychodynamics of Polarity

MikeT swings the wrong way:

I'm not sure if some of these feminists are actually people sometimes. They often come across as MIT-designed artificial intelligences because of their ability to craft superbly hypocritical content. No normal human can deplore something in others, see it in themselves, and then celebrate it when they're doing it the way they're doing it!
Mike, Mike, Mike. Such behavior is anything but artificial. It is deeply, deeply human.

You see, Mikey-poo, 'these feminists' that you are referencing are certainly people. The sad and unfortunate proof of this fact is that they are damaged people.

Pretty Lady has often noticed that the Most Radical members of any given social, political or religious movement are the most highly likely to be reeking of Unresolved Trauma. In throwing themselves into Activism, they are pursuing the time-honored tradition of 'making lemonade from lemons,' 'learning from the past,' and 'making sure that that Horrible Thing Does Not Happen To Anyone Else.' As such, Pretty Lady has nothing but compassion for them.

The fact that they often go much, much Too Far in their endeavors, get hold of the wrong end of the stick, or attempt to make an apple into an orange by making the Personal into the Political is, sadly, par for the course.

Once a person realizes how often this sort of thing is true, it tends to decrease her will for engaging in Matters Political at all, at all. Because a problem cannot be solved on a level other than at its source. If the problem is, indeed, Personal Damage, a Political Solution will not be forthcoming, and any attempt to argue politics with a damaged person is doomed to failure and frustration.

As a tangential, but perhaps relevant, matter, Pretty Lady read a splendid essay while standing in a bookstore this weekend, about problem-solving in backwards villages and in hospitals. It seems that whenever there is a problem with an obvious solution, that solution can never be effectively implemented by outsiders coming in and imposing it. For example, all efforts by well-meaning Westerners to march into Africa and tell them to curb the AIDS problem by using condoms have been abysmal failures; all attempt to curb the spread of disease in hospitals by urging doctors to wash their hands, similarly so.

However, if an outsider goes into a hospital, assembles the healthcare workers, and asks them, "How would you suggest we make it easier for you to wash your hands between every patient?" reams of Excellent Solutions pour forth, and are implemented.

The trick is, once these solutions are found, to go into the next hospital and ask the same question. Simply attempting to implement the successful solutions will not work.

So, MikeT and friends, the next time you hear someone declaiming thus irrationally and hypocritically, Pretty Lady suggests that before you confront them with their blatant hypocrisy, that you first STOP. Stop and ask them, "What's this about? What's the problem? What happened?"

Solutions may not be found, but you, MikeT, may learn something.

UPDATE: The book was called 'Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance' by Atul Gawande. It was good enough to read standing up, but was not yet out in paperback, so Pretty Lady didn't buy it.

4 comments:

Miss Introvert said...

wonder what the name of the essay was? i would love to get my hands on it!

Morris said...

"However, if an outsider goes into a hospital, assembles the healthcare workers, and asks them, "How would you suggest we make it easier for you to wash your hands between every patient?" reams of Excellent Solutions pour forth, and are implemented.

The trick is, once these solutions are found, to go into the next hospital and ask the same question. Simply attempting to implement the successful solutions will not work. "

The difference being, I guess, between the imposed (which people will resist) and the invited? Food for thought, for me.

k said...

Yes.

Just like the Queen said, it all comes down to this:

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

prettylady said...

Morris, for me it also says that the seeds of the solution to any problem are contained within the problem. In a Larger Sense, of course. ;-)