Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Insight into Yourself

You can no more gain insight into your own psyche than you can perform a root canal or a surgery on yourself. It sucks but it’s true. 

Smart, highly educated people with rich vocabularies, however, are very good at constructing narratives that, to them, sound like insight into the recesses of their subconscious. These narratives are a mechanism the psyche uses to protect itself from insight and from the subsequent need to change familiar patterns of self-destruction.

“I know all about my problems,” they exclaim. “But knowing and understanding why I’m this way isn’t helping!”

It’s clear to everybody who observes them that they know dick but you can’t force people to get better if they are so invested into getting worse. 

This is a prequel to a review of a book by Richard Russo that I just read, just in case anybody thinks I’m referring to them. 


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9 thoughts on “Insight into Yourself

  1. Which one of his books?


  2. I am utterly convinced my neuroses have to do with childhood emotional abuse. I think practitioners do not realize it, and have these convoluted theories because they aren’t trained for it. But every time I get mega-upset, once I realize: “this was abusive, and you are having an abuse reaction!” I straighten right up.


  3. Jonathan Mayhew on said:

    We can agree that some people have very little self-awareness. Many times I’ve been wrong about myself in spectacular ways, but not through lack of effort or intelligence.


  4. The Dark Avenger on said:

    “A man may be a fool and not know it, but not if he’s married.”

    H. L. Mencken


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