Saturday, December 04, 2021

Zombie Theory

 Kubler-Ross Is Back! It has no supporting evidence for dealing with grief.  It's just this weird European idea that sounded plausible a few decades ago. There are no "stages" of grief that people go through.  They experience these feelings in no particular order over time, and return to them as circumstances suggest them. No cycle. No progression. Just a list of things people often feel when contemplating the loss of those they love.  None of it is false in an absolute sense. It just seems comforting to folks to think there might be this pattern which they can count on to bring them to the other side.  It ain't so. Grief is grief. It can be devastating and immediate, it can be very slow and complicated.

But it was one of those ideas, like Freudian psychology was to people who wanted to talk about sex but still sound intellectual, that caught the imagination, and now is apparently being pressed into service to explain any idea that people have trouble accepting right off.  As far as I know, there is no pattern to ideas we don't want to accept but ultimately have to.  I have had several over the course of my intellectual and emotional life, and don't see a clear progression even for this one individual.

The article isn't bad, really.  Some good thoughts about hard truths.  But Kubler me no Roths, thank you.


james said...

Caught the imagination, and scratches some itch. Like communism, and gnosticism, and ... (I wonder if you could still find some monarchists in France). Fascism is popular again, albeit with a different name. I'm not up to speed on educational fads, but they probably recycle bad ideas.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

In my most cynical mind-set I think they recycle the same fad endlessly, that if you can just get children to love something and feel good about themselves, all will be well.

Everyone take a deep breath and 48 hours before telling me I'm wrong on this. I know I'm wrong. But I am just right enough that you first need to absorb it.

Jonathan said...

I haven't yet read the Roberts piece. He is usually worth reading. However, WRT your post:

-"Stages" and "cycles" are metaphor.

-Maybe Roberts uses metaphor well here, but we should be cautious about using metaphor to explain events, behaviors or causal relationships. Words and ideas can appear to explain things without explaining anything.

-Maybe "grief" is a metaphor too. Grief might be different things at different times, lumped together under one term like "common cold".

random observer said...

I've always thought worrying about the decline of the American empire was an entirely rational process, at least if you live in a Western nation, since no other such country is either interested in or even the least bit capable of stepping into America's role, and no other alternative world order is on offer that will be anywhere near as positive or beneficial to any of our countries. Mileage may vary for those in non-Western nations. Though I don't see India benefiting much from any plausible alternative world, either.