"Sometimes, we need to take a break from trauma work." ~ Michele Rosenthal (parahrased).
When it comes to managing relationships; and we're totally lost, embarrassed, ashamed or, I suppose, lacking any trusted companions in the world: what do we do when we need advice?
We ask: "Dear, __________." I've often wondered why anyone would choose to seek serious relationship advice from a syndicated columnist, but this certainly is what many of us choose to do.
A simple search in Google, 'advice columns', generates 156, 000,000 potential guardian-angel pages, willing to answer any question we need to propose. A quick glance at a few of these pages finds most advice seekers asking for help with the 'others' in their lives.
"Dear Abby: Does playing with my boyfriends ear in public, REALLY make people uncomfortable?"
"Dear Ellie: My boyfriend is afraid to grow, brushing off my important discussions. Do I just accept his nature? Am I too critical and expecting too much?"
"Dear E. Jean: I'm in love with two guys. How do I choose?" **
Granted, this is a limited sample. Others ask about Daddy; Mommy; The Boss. In another, a young gal was asking why she was so uncomfortable with her man when he: 'talked with her about enjoying sex with her best friend'. Interesting reading. For the throne-room, I suppose.
Given the numbers in the Google search, offering freelance advice looks like it might be a pretty good gig. It's time to hang out my shingle: 'Ask, Joshua'! (Not my real name, for the record). Of course, a fellow will need some practice. So, off to Facebook to get some questions from the unsuspecting on my friends list. Here goes! Wish me luck!
It didn't take, too long. Only twenty-two minutes, for the first question. There were more. I'll rest on one. The best-of-the best of my friends, personal dilemmas.
Question: "Dear, Joshua: My elderly aunt exposed herself to a cop to get out of a fine. Even though her tactic worked for her, I'm worried. Should I let her son in on her behaviour? Concerned!"
Answer: "Dear, Concerned: Your worry for your aunt is definitely warranted, given her age. If this is out of character for her, there may well be a brain issue for the family to contend with. You'll rest better having filled him in. He'll appreciate your concern and if this was simply a matter of Auntie needing a bit of a thrill? At her age? Celebrate! She's still in the erogenous game!"
This is easy! I do, though, need something to guide me. This is a single question and answer session. It's a good enough example, mind you. What if, I turn towards philosophical principles for help? After all, this is provision of wisdom I've thrown my hat into the ring to perform. The likes of Socrates could assist me in this profound responsibility. (Naive, philosophical green-horn, Socrates might say).
So, I went to the works of Plato. I read through Euthyphro and Meno. Stumbled around for a time with Republic. Frankly, this avenue proved fruitless in my quest. All much too complicated for simple advice.
Google! This path, paid off, immediately.
An article in Mail Online, written by the editor of The Philosopher's Magazine, Julian Baggini in 2010, provided all the information required to start my work. It was like picking a perfect apple off of a magical apple-tree. The article, titled, Ten of the Greatest: Philosophical Principles, provided ten, full-out strategies, for espousing wisdom in this philosophical exchange*:
Ask a question? Get a simple answer. One size, does, fit all.
The downside of relying on Occam's Razor for guidance will be the depth of the questions those asking bring to my wisdom-seat. A second experimental question, one of my 'friends' proposed was asking Me to tell Her what she should do with a blow-hard administrator who was discriminating against her 'friends' disabled child in public school.
"I'm a simple advice columnist!", I told her. "I'm not a lawyer!"
Funny thing? She abandoned me at this point.
Note to self: "Be prepared in your new line of work".
Sometimes, I've learned, not all questions in life, can be resolved with simple answers. Advice for deeper query, may require Kant or Hume. Even, Aristotle. The Holy Bilble, from time to time.
In other words: "Joshua? Don't quit your day job!"
**Google: 2014. (https://www.google.ca/#q=advice+columns).
*Julian Baggini: Ten of the Greatest: Philisophical Principles: Mail Online: 2010. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1279320/Ten-greatest-Philosophical-principles.html).
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: 2014. (http://plato.stanford.edu/index.html)
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