Socialism is the Best Medicine

Socialism is the Best Medicine

Of Human Bonding

December 20, 2006

Human beings are social beings. We need to belong and feel valued, and we suffer when we think we don’t measure up. This is what my patients teach me. Two of them, John and Jane, encouraged me to tell you their story.

John had been depressed for years and taking medications. Drinking with his friends helped him to feel better, but Jane was angry and threatened to leave if he didn’t stop drinking. They were causing each other terrible pain, yet neither wanted to end their marriage of 40 years.

As I listened to them complain about each other, I tried to put myself in each of their shoes. John thought Jane was angry because he didn’t meet her expectations. Unable to please her, he felt hurt and hopeless, and he drank for relief. Jane thought John was spending so much time drinking with his buddies because they mattered more to him than she did.

They were suffering from a social problem that is common among working-class people.

We live in a society that lectures people not to be needy, not to talk about their needs, and not to recognize that they need the same things. The less worthy people feel, the less they expect, and the more employers can profit by overworking them, underpaying them, and discarding them when they are no longer productive. By devaluing and depriving workers, a tiny elite have become obscenely wealthy.

People who are devalued tend to devalue themselves. And when they devalue themselves, they have difficulty accepting love. It’s just too confusing to be devalued and valued at the same time. This inner conflict can cause us to push away our loved ones in the mistaken belief that we don’t deserve their love and it’s only a matter of time until they realize it.

If all people were valued from birth to death, they would never accept bad treatment, exploitation, or oppression. They would never accept capitalism. They would demand a society where people’s needs come first.

By valuing John and Jane, I became a bridge they could use to reconnect with each other. Through me, they could see how much they mattered to each other. Until then, each had assumed that they valued the other more than the other valued them. This sense of not being valued, created by capitalism, lay at the root of their most intimate misery.

After several months of therapy, John stopped drinking, he no longer felt depressed, and he looked 10 years younger. Jane was no longer angry because they were spending more time together. They were working as a team instead of against each other, which made their problems more manageable.

Therapy can heal individual wounds, yet it cannot change the world. For that, we need a very different society based on strong social bonds, not one that tears them apart for profit.



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