You Still Need To Do The Right Thing

Arthur Koestler wrote a novel called Arrival and Departure about a young man who undergoes classical psychotherapy, resulting in the discovery that his rage at the dictator of his country is a displacement emotion related to a childhood neurosis. It is something to do with the “family romance”, a rabbit and a flowerpot. He is thereby cured; whereupon he parachutes back into his occupied country to continue the fight against the fascist regime – as a terrorist, we would say now, but that is another story. For, the book seems to be saying, the dictator is still evil and still needs to be fought; but this time the young man can fight him for the right reasons.

I do not know how the psychotherapeutic community reacted to the book when it was first published, or what it thinks of it now; or, for that matter, what the comrades made of the psychotherapy. I would, however, venture to suggest that, were any therapist or psychiatrist to be astonished at the final actions of the novel’s protagonist, he would ipso facto be revealing himself to be a rationaliser of oppression. For it would then be demonstrated that the sole purpose of his therapy was to make oppressed people happier.

Just as psychobabble functions to divert attention away from the babbler’s own actions and towards the victims’ resentment thereof, so too on the societal level; all sciences of the mind have at least the potential to provide us with alternative explanations of rebellion, explanations that do not describe rational responses to oppression.

Posted on December 29, 2009 at 12:32 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, Therapists And Other Health Hazards

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