YOUTH: . . . !
    PHILOSOPHER: Well, say it out loud.
    YOUTH: ‘What should I do from now on?’
    PHILOSOPHER: Yes, this is precisely the point we should be talking to each other about: ‘What should I do from now on?’ We do not need ‘that bad person’ or suchlike. Neither is ‘poor me’ necessary. No matter how loudly you complain about them, I will just ignore it.
    YOUTH: You, you’re inhuman!
    PHILOSOPHER: I will not ignore it out of indifference. I will ignore it because there is nothing there that we should talk to each other about. If I were to listen to stories about ‘that bad person’ or ‘poor me’ and sympathise with your plight by saying things like, ‘That must have been tough’ or ‘It’s not your fault at all,’ it is true that you might get some temporary solace. And you might even have a sense of satisfaction that it was good to get counselling or good to consult this person. But how would that change things the next day and every day after that? Wouldn’t you just want to seek more solace the next time you are hurt? Isn’t that dependence? That is why, in Adlerian psychology, we talk to each other about ‘What should one do from now on?’

    YOUTH: But if you’re saying I should think seriously about my own ‘from now on’, then first I would need to know about ‘until now’, as its precondition.
    PHILOSOPHER: No. Right now, you are in front of me. It is enough to know ‘you who are in front of me’, and in principle there is no way for me to know ‘the past you’. I repeat, the past does not exist. The past you speak of is nothing more than a story skilfully compiled by ‘you now’. Please understand this point.
    YOUTH: No way! You are just sticking random pieces of theory together and reproaching me to stop whining. You’re just pushing the logic of the arrogant and strong, without any regard for human weakness, without even trying to become familiar with that weakness.
    PHILOSOPHER: That is not so. For example, it is not uncommon for us counsellors to simply pass this triangular column to the client. And we make the following request: ‘It does not matter what the subject is, so please turn it to show me the content of what you are going to talk about.’ At that, many people choose ‘What should I do from now on?’ of their own accord and then begin thinking about the substance of that question. YOUTH: Of their own accord?
    PHILOSOPHER: In other schools of counselling, there are shock therapy-style approaches that attempt to provoke explosions of emotion by tracing deep into the past. But there is absolutely no need to engage in such practices.
    We are not prestidigitators or magicians. I repeat, there is no magic in Adlerian psychology. A constructive and scientific psychology of human knowledge that is based not on mysterious magic but on respect for people—that is Adlerian psychology.
    YOUTH: Wow, you’re going out on a limb again and using the word ‘scientific’?
    YOUTH: All right. I’ll swallow that. For the time being, I will swallow those words. Now, let’s get down to talking together about what is really the biggest issue for me: my ‘from now on’. My future as an educator This dialogue with the philosopher wasn’t going to be wrapped up so easily, the youth realised. He had to admit it—this old Socrates was a formidable opponent, especially with all the abstract theories he kept bringing up. But the youth still felt sure he would win in the end. Take the discussion out of this little study as soon as possible, and bring it to the classroom. Put it to the test in the real world. I don’t want to just criticise it haphazardly. But it’s just a bunch of pie-in-the-sky theories that are totally divorced from reality, and I want to bring it all down to earth, into people’s actual lives. The youth pulled up a chair and took a deep breath.
    T H E C L A S SRO OM I S A DEMOCRATIC NATION YOUTH: In this world, the past does not exist. One must not get drunk on the cheap wine of tragedy. The only thing we should be talking to each other about is ‘What should be done from now on?’ Okay, I’ll go along with this premise. The issue I’ll be facing from now on, I suppose, is the kind of teaching I put into practice in my school. So, I’m going to get into this area of discussion right away. You’re okay with that, right? PHILOSOPHER: Of course. YOUTH: All right. Earlier you said that the concrete first step is to ‘Start from respect’, right? This is what I want to ask you about. Do you think that just by bringing respect into the classroom, that will solve everything? In other words, that the students will stop making any trouble? PHILOSOPHER: That won’t solve things on its own. There will still be trouble. YOUTH: Then, I’ll have to yell at them after all, won’t I? Because they’re still engaging in bad conduct and being a nuisance to other students.
    PHILOSOPHER: No, you must not rebuke them.
    YOUTH: So you’re saying I should just let them do bad things right under my nose and not do anything about it? But that’s no different from saying that a thief shouldn’t be caught and punished, now is it? Would Adler accept such lawlessness?
    PHILOSOPHER: Adler’s view is not one that ignores laws or rules. That is, as long as they are rules that have been created through a democratic process. This is an extremely important point, both for society as a whole and for running a classroom.
    YOUTH: A democratic process?
    PHILOSOPHER: Yes. Think of your classroom as a democratic nation.
    YOUTH: Huh! What do you mean?
    PHILOSOPHER: The sovereignty of a democratic nation is with its people, right? This is the principle of ‘national sovereignty’, where ‘Sovereign power rests with the people.’ The people, who are sovereign, establish all manner of rules on the basis of mutual consent, and those rules are applied equally to all citizens. It is for that reason that they can observe the rules. Rather than simply obeying the rules, they can observe them more actively, as ‘our rules’. On the other hand, what happens when rules are established according to someone’s solitary judgement, rather than on the basis of citizen consensus, and when, furthermore, those rules are enforced very unequally?
    YOUTH: Well, you can bet the people won’t be quiet about it. W hy N e
    Wadifa Club
    writer and blogger, founder of Dog food planet .

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