"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

The Wounded Healer, The King’s Speech and President Barack Obama

I am one of the 75% in Britain who havn’t seen The King’s Speech movie. Our local cinema has been showing it several times a day to meet the demand. I really must go.

But I would not have thought of any link with the Wounded Healer until I read Pythia Peay’s interview for the Huffington Post Academy Awards 2011: Which Myth Will America Choose? with Jungian analyst and psychiatrist John Beebe, lifelong moviegoer as well as psychological teacher, who in his lectures often draws on movies as a way to illuminate Jung's theory of psychological types and to discuss the drama of therapy.

And I would not have linked this immediately with President Barack Obama either.

Now I know President Obama understands empathy. In his superb book, The Audacity of Hope, writing on the difficulties he sometimes experienced in his relationship with his grandfather, he observed ‘that sometimes he really did have a point, and that in insisting on getting my own way all the time, without regard to his feelings or needs, I was in some way diminishing myself.’ He goes on to say: ‘I believe a stronger sense of empathy would tilt the balance of our current politics in favor of those people who are struggling in this society. After all, if they are like us, then their struggles are our own. If we fail to help, we diminish ourselves.” He reaffirmed this message later on the campaign trail, when he spoke of those he had met ‘whose dreams and struggles become my own; they will stay with me in the White House.’
This is the message of a Wounded Healer.

John Beebe takes this further. He does not think it's accidental that "The King's Speech" film came out at a time when a lot of people were worried that Obama was not speaking out enough.
“Obama, who is not interested in resurrecting the hero myth, is post-heroic. He's interested in the archetype of the good parent. He wants us to be better parents, and he wants to protect the infrastructure and take responsibility for the country. But at the same time, Obama has had a reluctance to be assertive in the bully pulpit. Some have felt that he was being too cautious, and that he needed to come forward. He finally came through in the beautiful speech he gave in Tucson and in his State of the Union 2011 address. After hearing from their president, the public brought his ratings up.
King George VI of England needed to master his fear of public speaking,” Beebe continues, “in order to help his people deal with their fears at the terrifying moment that World War II began. By combining courage to lead with the humility needed to face his speech problem, he became a "wounded healer" who helped his country -- the right king for his people at their most trying time. So "The King's Speech" drew on the historical precedent to the situation Obama faced of someone who worked on his reluctance to speak out in order to become an effective father figure for his country -- an example of a collective issue being mirrored and resolved in a brilliant film.”

It’s really worth going to read the full interview between Beebe and Peay, and catching up on Obama’s speeches. Obama at his oratorical best.

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