Will wonders ever cease? Recent events have necessitated something quite unpleasant: my contemplating the notion that I could - yes, actually could - be wrong about something! Not an easy thing for an arrogant, smug-mug like myself to swallow.
In truth, the question, "Could I have been wrong all along?" begs another maybe-not-so-simple question, that being: "About what, specifically?" In all candor, I am fully prepared to accede in some respects, but defend in others.
It seems I have not fully appreciated a few crude realities about certain aspects of life. One of them being that most people in their seventies and eighties come from a generation that persistently resorts to the practice of internalizing that which today's more enlightened perspective strongly suggests they not internalize - things like mental illness, abuse, the far-reaching effects of alcoholism, and sordid, emotional family dynamics to name just a few.
The internalizing of these phenomena predictably causes serious problems in maintaining relationships. Its effects are usually so profound the only wise course of action is the intervention of mental health professionals. But today's more aged generation is often mistrusting of this "new" way of coping, opting instead to keep it all bottled up and turn to things like God and religion - or worse.
It has been proposed to me that this is not only a viable solution, but the only solution many older people will consider. And for that reason, making an appeal to one that he or she "get help" becomes an act of futility, especially when the appeal is coming from someone whose worldview is diametrically opposed to that of the person so in need of help. The glaring lack of any foundation built upon trust - owing to these conflicting worldviews - virtually disqualifies that person from being the best candidate to even attempt such a thing. In fact, to my short-sighted amazement, it apparently can cause a lot of pain.
As I mentioned to the person who made me aware of this, I can buy this way of thinking so long as it is not packaged and sold as a sort of better informed or higher kind of reasoning. On the contrary, it represents a total capitulation to a solution that is far from ideal.
And what about the consequences? We can't forget those. The consequences of this internalizing option has serious drawbacks. Among them the continued absence of any intimacy and love being shared between this victim and her family. Whereas, the getting help option offers what may be the best hope for a life consisting of at least a smattering of love and happiness. My antagonists, here, seem perfectly willing to accept that my mother live on without these benefits. It is a very sad and imperfect choice, to say the least.
So, to the argument that I am not the one to be making these appeals to my mother, fine - point well taken. Why, then, don't any of the other principals try to make the case? For two reasons. First, none of them have cultivated any trust with her either. And second, they have convinced themselves that their option is by far the least objectionable of the two.
Is it possible that some lingering anger over perceptions of having been misparented are providing at least some of my motivation? Absolutely. To deny this would be dishonest. It is categorically untrue, however, that I am attempting to impose my personal belief system on my mother. Her revulsion toward my skeptical philosophy speaks much more to her intolerance than it does anything else.
It suddenly occurs to me that I am not really admitting to being wrong about very much here, am I? Well, fuck it! I tried. I can't help it - I'm just an imperious little bastard whose arrogance knows no bounds and whose impertinence is quickly approaching legendary status!
So much for this exercise in humility.
3 years ago