I was discussing change with my friend Debra the other day, and mentioned this quote by Sheldon B Kopp from his book If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him:
“It is not astonishing that, though the patient enters therapy insisting that he wants to change, more often than not, what he really wants is to remain the same and to get the therapist to make him feel better.
His goal is to become a more effective neurotic, so that he may have what he wants without risking getting into anything new. He prefers the security of known misery to the misery of unfamiliar insecurity.”
To my own astonishment, she had never heard that, and while I understand that she’s not a Buddhist, she is a therapist. So I threw out another one I would have bet my last Xanax that she knew.
From W.H. Auden’s The Age of Anxiety: “We would rather be ruined than changed. We would rather die in our dread, than climb the cross of the moment, and let our illusions die.”
She never heard that one either, which completely blew me away. I mean, I’m open to change and I’m willing to listen to her point of view, but what I really want is to remain the same and get her to make me feel better. Wait a minute, I think I’ve heard that somewhere before…
Note: if you walk into a Laundromat to photograph a change machine, make sure you adjust the white balance, because changing things later can be hard.