Time Passes No Wiser
It is a popular idea that in the passing of time human creatures become older and wiser.
Of course becoming older is obvious. But wiser?
People coming into counselling often ask “won’t I just get better in time?”.
It is true that the passing of time and gathering of experiences deepens us. We start to recognise things that have happened before. We start do things for the second or third or fourth time: each time we do it better.
Perhaps if we look at our behaviour more closely. The clue is in the previous sentence. We are born to repeat.
We underestimate how predicted and rigidly determined our lives are. If we are so flexible why do we see siblings, parents and partners repeat and repeat? Sure – they do the repeat better and better.
But it is still a repeat.
When Aaron Green an American psychoanalyst was asked by Janet Malcolm how he knew the difference between the passing of time, and being in analysis. He replied:
“I’m old enough now have to have a sense of how my life would have gone if I hadn’t had analysis”
“What would have been different about your life?”
“It would have been extremely constricted, full of bitterness and depression. To some extent, I know that because it still is” Aaron said with a rueful smile. “You see, I haven’t changed that radically. I don’t think basic character structure ever changes. We are not that malleable.” (Malcolm 1997:56)
Is this being wise?
It is the difference between ignoring and denying who we are, and making some small attempt at knowing, and being friends with who we are. Rather that being caught out by the repeat and at the end of the repeat feeling “there we have gone again.”
Rather knowing at the beginning, middle and end of the repeat that we are in it!
And maybe just maybe thinking do I have to keep repeating this?
Time Passes No Wiser
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2016
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique