November 27th, 2004

Carl Rogers

Marsha gave a talk tonight on Carl Rogers at David Ramsey Steele's monthly Libertarian Seminar.

(David is an editor at Open Court Publishing and the author of this book.  He is often extremely critical of Objectivism, but he is also a brilliant guy who tends to have a unique and insightful take on the world.)

Anyway, Marsha was talking about Carl Rogers, a very influential 20th century psychologist, who formulated "nondirective" or "client-centered" therapy.  The talk went fine, but on the drive home she was wondering if there was a better way to convey how this style of therapy actually effects change, since its method is counter-intuitive.

After all, if you've got a problem, shouldn't you be seeking advice on how to solve it?  Rogers believed that for your own life problems it was best if the person solved them himself, but that the therapist could best assist by listening in an accepting manner and showing that he "got" what the client was saying.

You can see how this might sound "libertarian" in its way.  But Rogers has never been a hot item in the Objectivist/Libertarian subculture, which has tended to see more promise in therapies that communicate lots of direct information to the client.

Rhyme of the day:

He showed respect,
But refused to direct.


Dirty Dogs

Both of my dogs are black. Well, one has some tan markings on his eyebrows, chest, and toes, befitting his part-Rottweiler heritage.

I believe he is probably a Huskweiler, like this dog, but his exact origins are obscure, since the city pound was silent on the subject.

My other dog is solid black.  Well, in the sunlight, there's a slight red tinge to her fur. I have papers to prove she's a black labrador, and her mother definitely was a black labrador, but her father was obviously some other sneaky dog, probably an Irish Setter.  She looks a lot like the dog in the lower left hand corner on this page.

One of the nice things about their color is that they don't show how dirty they are when they have been outside playing in the mud on a rainy day.  Like today.

Anyway, they both got baths today, and they are temporarily presentable, a situation that will only last until their next trip into our back yard.

Rhyme of the Day:

A liking for mud
Must run in their blood.

  • Current Music
    How Much Is That Doggy In The Window

Spartan vs. Alexander

Spartan, with Val Kilmer, is out on video. I give it a thumbs up. It's written and directed by David Mamet, so it's snappy and dark and keeps you guessing. When the movie's done, you're left with some things to think about, including trying to figure out exactly who was up to what. Kilmer is excellent as the very macho special ops guy who needs to reexamine his moral priorities - and who does so.

The title refers to an ancient story about the Spartans, who were regarded as the best soldiers in Ancient Greece.  It was said that when they were asked for military assistance, they would send one man.

Alexander, with Colin Farrell,  is about another man who has some problems with his moral priorities - but who does not succeed in resolving them.  Oliver Stone, who directed, wants us to see Alexander as the stuff of hubristic tragic myth.  But somehow the movie doesn't work.  The sets and scenes are spectacular, and many of the performances are interesting, but the story seems somehow disjointed and Alexander's character remains somehow too unfocused for a guy who conquered the "known world."  It seemed like a script problem, rather than an acting problem.  Farrell does a good job with what he has, and shows Alexander's passion.  But Alexander was a kind of genius and I didn't feel I got that from Farrell.  Of course "be a convincing genius" is a very hard acting assignment.

Val Kilmer shows up in this movie too, playing Alexander's father, Philip of Macedon, so he in effect makes the transition from "Spartan" to Macedonian.

Rhyme Time:

I have to rate
This Alexander
"Not so great."

  • Current Music
    Mars theme from "The Planets"