Tyrany of the Shoulds

Posted by Rex Alexander on Tue 7 Nov 23 in Demanding, musterbation, musty thinking |

In recent discussion, Amanda said :

Going out for dinner is a choice, bleeding monthly is not, [therefore] it should be covered by our health care”


The problem here is the word SHOULD as in SHOULD be covered by our health care. The word fucks up everything when otherwise intelligent people are trying to communicate intelligently, and usually failing.

If Amanda had said “I STRONGLY PREFER that it be covered by our health care” I suspect that everyone could and would agree with that, agree that it is Amanda’s preference, her opinion, her interpretation of existing facts, and that she feels strongly about it. We all have preferences that we feel strongly about that we would like to see become actual. However, saying should chases the conversation down the rabbit hole with all of the attendant Alice in Wonderland psychedelic distortions. It is embarrassingly faulty logic: Because I feel strongly about something, because I have a feeling of moral certainty about it, it SHOULD  therefore be so. And if it isn’t so, as it absolutely should be, it is terrible and I can’t stand it.  Therefore, those who are not aligned with my moral certainty are bad people and deserve to be punished.

The bold red, BTW, indicates specific irrational beliefs (IBs) and cognitive distortions.

Should  (also, ought, must, has to, and some others) elevates the preference, the opinion, the theory, the interpretation  into an absolutist, moralistic DEMAND, something mandated by God or the Universe or natural law or the Flying Spaghetti Monster; something not subject to argument or contradiction. 

Clearly this is not the case with health care, no matter how fundamental and basic such issues are, how they are implemented (or not implemented) they involve decisions made between men and women discussing the problems in good faith and deciding (not demanding) a way forward.



Whether or not something is covered or not covered under a health care plan is an agreement human beans come to among themselves as a result of what they deem to be rational, useful, “fair”, or compassionate reasons. And if they do so, that is fine. If they do not, there is no reason why they absolutely MUST no matter how passionately or righteously people feel about it.  It is hardly required or realistic that anyone on the planet live out his or her life utterly delighted about every aspect of the nature of reality.  It would be nice, I guess, maybe; but it is hardly required, much less likely.

It’s a pity, hardly anyone these days prefaces their ideas with “In my opinion…” and similar phrases which are not only courteous and nice, but actually a much better reflection of reality and if used consciously and compassionately, function as an  antidote to Karen Horney’s Tyranny of the Shoulds

I wonder if there is anyone reading this who I have not managed to piss off. In any event, please keep the discussion going, share your thoughts because we love hearing from you!



How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 2

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Originally posted 2017-01-23 04:52:14.

Follow me
Latest posts by Rex Alexander (see all)
Please share the love . . .

Tags: , , ,

Join discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2018-2024 All rights reserved.
This site is using the Desk Mess Mirrored Child Child-Theme, v2., on top of
the Parent-Theme Desk Mess Mirrored, v2.5, from BuyNowShop.com

Never miss a post!

Don't let this happen you you!
Get FREE weekly Newsletter Digest of New Posts

We respect your privacy.