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Unstuck 2.4: Echo

Learning to speak for myself as an independent practical reasoner confronts a number of different kinds of obstacles:

1- Failure to re-educate my originally infantile desire to please others may result in my becoming someone whose opinions are indefinitely responsive to a pressure to conform to the opinions of certain types of others ... What I present is an unconscious need for approval.

2- Infantile resentment of my need to please others — a relentless pursuit of disagreement.

In both cases, I’m an echo, not a voice.

I might also distrust my reasoning by unconsciously selective attention to some features at the expense of others. Overcome by having reasoning put into question by others.
Alasdair MacIntyre, Dependent Rational Animals

MacIntyre describes a little too close to where I’ve lived quite a bit of my life. I’ve spent way too much time as an echo, voiceless, trying to please others. Another dandy way to get stuck.

Fortunately, trying to always please others turns out to be a long-term self-defeating coping strategy. Some point comes where one gets so pissed off that the trance cracks and I want to do anything but please somebody else. I might even back into pleasing myself then.

My clients and friends might be unusual in this respect, but I think not. They, like me, unwittingly descend into the depths of the pleasing paradox only to eventually find themselves echoing at their wit’s end. Then other voices appear. Perhaps even my own.

I suspect that I’ll never lose that unconscious urge to please. I am learning to catch myself sometimes, and my Muse sometimes pinches me awake, usually by simply naming the previously preconscious game. If her observation really pisses my off, I can be pretty sure she’s unsticking me again.

Then, in my own voice, I can say, “Thanks, er, I guess.”

©2012 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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