Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The world needs more pilots, fewer psychiatrists

George Jonas, in The National Post:

What's wrong with this world? The answer I keep coming back to is that we let psychiatrists run it, not pilots.

Why is that a problem, if so? Well, psychiatrists believe that blaming yourself is sick; it's something to cure. Pilots believe blaming yourself before anyone else is healthy; it's something to encourage.

A psychiatrist tries to assure his patient that things aren't his fault; a pilot resists the temptation to exclude anything from being his fault, at least potentially. A shrink wants you to go easy on yourself, including your vices; a flight instructor urges you not to be complacent even about your virtues. [...]

The casual observer may see a psychotherapist and a flight instructor walk side by side, but they live on different planets. The first revolves around Feeling Good; the second, around Doing Well. [...]

A flight instructor doesn't worry about your self-esteem; he just wants you to land in one piece. If we're in a mess today it's because we've been listening too much to therapists and not enough to pilots. Now, with our self-esteem intact, we're falling out of the sky.