On Thomas Paine’s Common Sense

I read Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” on holiday. Paine asks us to review the way we view monarchy and aristocracy and the right they confer upon themselves to take ownership of our lives. He relates the tale of Gideon who destroyed the Midianites with a small force. After the battle the elated Jews thanked Gideon and attempted to give him and his heirs kingship over them. Gideon, understating that this “gift” was not given freely but given as a bind to ensure his service to them, replied simply, “I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you.” Paine notes that Gideon did not thank them, thereby refuting their right to offer their gift, rather, he said, that God ruled over them, thereby refuting the hierarchical system they had created. Gideon ignored their claim over him and his children and rejected their attempt to incorporate him into their system.

I am reminded about the numerous times I have heard this same view taken young people on Pastoral Support Programmes (programme created by an individual school to support a young person presenting difficult behaviour in school)!

Finally, whatever intervention I offer in my work this week in Bournemouth, Poole or Dorset, be it, CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), Mindfulness, Psychodrama, Person Centered Therapy, Humanistic Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, Psychoanalysis, Solution Focused Therapy, Integrative Therapy or Family Therapy, I will be mindful that I do so with my clients’ permission. If all I do is to provide a dogma, my clients’ refusal to accept it or to understand it, would most likely precipitate a sense of failure on both sides and their sense of rejection.