On being misunderstood

October 20, 2008

I would want to promote the idea that it’s impossible to be misunderstood. That when one feels misunderstood, what you’ve stumbled upon is the fact that there are other people in the world. In a way that is the most interesting thing. The better world would be one in which I wouldn’t be sitting there feeling outraged and scandalised at being misunderstood; I would be thinking, ‘That’s really interesting’. I would be interested, in that moment, in seeing what’s coming through, rather than wanting to blow the system apart by my rage. There are affinities in this acknowledgement of difference that I think are better than the outrage if people don’t understand me. I think that rage is adolescent. We shouldn’t want to be understood, we should want to be redescribed.
..the thing we are likely to be affronted by is the thing with which we have some affinity. And there’s a loss of energy in the repudiation of the opposing view. Because your enemy, so to speak, has something profoundly in common with you.

Adam Phillips

3 People reacted on this

  1. Wow. I love his ideas. He takes me on a journey, or maybe I could say I go on a journey taking him with me so that I might see things differently and different things.

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