I just got home from my first therapy session in two years. It was nice. I really like my doctor.
The take away message was that a lot of the things I blame myself for are not necessarily my fault. My parents subtly and unconsciously guided my behavior to be exactly what it is today. This is hard for me to type, because it sounds so strange to externalize my own problems. But in many ways, it's true.
For example, my parents made it very clear to me as I was growing up that I needed to achieve. I needed good grades. I needed to behave appropriately at school and elsewhere. Anything less was unacceptable.
And when I did fail to achieve my potential, my parents would cluck their tongues and say "What are we gonna do about that boy?" instead of actually helping me. They would find it made more sense, to them, to criticize rather than help me. At least that's my therapist's take, I'm not totally convinced. But it does make sense.
By sticking to my under-achieving ways, I am sticking to an old family dynamic wherein I am talented and gifted, but I kind of ramble along, doing things I don't really want to do, being unhappy and unfulfilled, and my parents looking at each other saying, "What are we gonna do with that boy?" while they refrain from looking at each other and saying, "What did we do to make him like this? What can we change about ourselves?"
He told me to watch Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, because it was one of his top 3 therapeutic movies, and illustrated a struggle similar to my own. Ted (Keanu Reeves) has a father who is the hard-nosed sheriff of the town. Ted is a goofball slacker. How can this rough and tough sheriff create such a goofball son? By subtly turning him into his (dad's) own worst fears about himself. So the dad is afraid of being a goofball, and then when he sees something in his own son, he begins to treat him as the goofball. Then, at the end Ted realizes that he can and should start to make his own way in life. This makes him sad. He's saying goodbye to the old him, the old dynamic, the old comfort zone. He's sad to see it go; it's hard to say goodbye to the old relationship with his father.
He also explained to me economics, politics, and education in about 5 minutes. Economics is on the back of the dollar bill, he said, and what's on the back of a dollar bill? A pyramid. So it's all a pyramid scam, which confirms my suspicions.
As for politics, he says to be a politician you have to lie, because democracy on such a large scale as in America is completely unrealistic, and will never work. He says humans are most comfortable living in tribes, we did it for hundreds of thousands of years. The hierarchies we create are great for bees and termites, but not as good for people. But since we live in a crazy culture, we continue to do the same thing, and expect a different result.
As for education, he says it works great. But not at what we might think. The real motives behind our education are to instill social hierarchies into our children. Even though we're all relatively the same level of intelligence, we can't all be millionaires. So we have to have a way to separate the kids so that a few will be rich, some will be middle, and some will be the garbage men. How do we do this? Solve for x. The kids who do it well will be on top, the kids who do it ok will be our white collar cubicle monkeys, and the kids who do it the worst will pick up our garbage.
Education also works well to keep kids out of the work force. There are only so many jobs to go around, and as our population grows, each person's slice of the pie shrinks, so that the more people we keep away from the pie, the more we get to have. Used to be, a 6th grade education was enough. Then a highschool diploma was mandatory. Now a college education is practically required, and soon a masters degree or higher will be necessary. The longer we keep our children as non-working consumers, the more money our companies can make. Also, since our schools teach our kids zero survival skills, these kids are forced by necessity to join the workforce immediately out of school, forcing them to take whatever crap job they can find. Which, of course, all ties back to economics and political hierarchy.
But anyhow, we got sidetracked for a minute, but it was fascinating to hear what he had to say about the issues I think about constantly.
I made an appointment to see him again next week. I hope to continue learning more. I want to talk more about my dad and stuff, and see where that goes. In the mean time, it's long past time to start looking for another job, or something. I just need to start with one thing. Because if I start thinking about more than one thing, I get overwhelmed and paralyzed.
What do I want to do more than anything else in the world? Get a new job. So I'm going to do that first.