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Friday, May 13, 2011

The Drive to Requite

Today the mayor of Saint Petersburg released the new organization chart for the City.  My name is not on it, though I am there somewhere deep down in the structure by implication. This brought to my mind my desire in my youth to have my name in a prominent place on such a chart.  I have analyzed my drive to be discernably prominent and have concluded a major factor was a drive to requite my parents (who loved me unconditionally, and I understood this aspect of their love).  It is important to remark that I was not trying to earn their love.  I just wanted to honor them.  This was one way I could dress my unconditional love for them.  The definition of “requite” is “to return in kind a kindness or hurt that somebody has done” (Encarta Dictionary).  This makes me wonder if sometimes unproductive human behavior may be also an attempt to requite—either from paradoxical exercise of the good or deliberate choice of the bad.  To what extent is juvenile delinquency, for example, an attempt by the juvenile to requite their parents?  The juvenile attempts to honor (from parental kindness shown) or dishonor (from parental hurt felt).  I am convinced that a large part of delinquency is an attempt to honor the parent, the child sensing an antisocial aspect on the part of at least one parent and acting this out in honor of the parent.  There are occasions where a parent can be deeply if inexplicitly appreciative of their child’s delinquency.  As I wanted to excel in work to honor my parents, it is entirely conceivable to me that under different dynamics I could have desired not to work but to remain unemployed to honor my parents.  When we come across what seem to be intractable problems, I have no doubt that the drive to requite (driven often by the force of unconditional love) is at the heart of them.

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