A Word to the Wise

Role Playing

Psychological naturalism
tends to blame the socialisation process
for most of our ills.
This emphasis involves
a corresponding distrust of social roles.
Now I am well aware that role playing can sometimes
lead to artificiality.
But to read the literature of popular psychology,
you would think this is all that happens:
that playing roles only means
being dishonest or fake.
This is a new idea and is foreign to most other ages and cultures.
Even among the most primitive people
the idea is not accepted.
Men and women in tribal societies
do not seek to be 'natural'
but to play their roles well.
Proper behaviour in regard to one's position
- whether one of command or deference or of equality -
is what makes the man, not nature.
In fact, roles are indispensable.
We have only to consider what life would be like without them, to see this.
What kind of society would it be
where teachers refused to teach
and policemen refused to enforce the law?
There are people, some prominent psychologists among them,
who would welcome such a world.
But I think most of us would find it
a cause for considerable worry.
(Page 158 Psychological Seduction.)

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