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Old 02-07-2006, 01:49 PM
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Default Partners pitted against each other(long read)

Family Court Threatens
the Worst Thing In the World


By David Shackleton

I awoke one morning with a disturbing conjunction of ideas. They are dark and bleak, but I have decided to share them with you for, as Howard Schwarz says in his magnificent Revolt of the Primitive, “for the social scientist, the capacity to sustain pessimism is a gift beyond measure. The constraint imposed by optimism, the requirement to explain how everything will come out all right, clouds the vision, It makes it impossible to follow disagreeable ideas wherever they go, and forces us to distort them in order to arrive at conclusions that will reassure us. Pessimism imposes no such constraint.
In his most famous novel, 1984, pessimistically prophetic author George Orwell describes a world in which a totalitarian regime has taken over and seeks t o control people's very thoughts. Winston and his lover Julia rebel against this regime, but are captured and tortured in a brainwashing process designed to make them love the very regime that destroys and punishes them. The final torture takes place in the infamous Room 101. O'Brien, the torturer and brainwasher assigned to Winston's case, explains what happens in Room 101:
"The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world. In your case, said O'Brien, the worst thing in the world happens to be rats."
A sort of premonitory tremor, a fear of he was not certain what, had passed through Winston as soon as he caught his first glimpse of the cage. But at this moment the meaning of the mask-like attachment in front of it suddenly sank into him. His bowels seemed to turn to water.
"You can’t do that!" he cried out in a high cracked voice. "You couldn’t, you couldn’t! It’s impossible."
"By itself’ [O’Brien] said, "pain is not always enough. There are occasions when a human being will stand out against pain, even to the point of death. But for everyone there something unendurable - something that cannot be contemplated. Courage and cowardice are not involved. If you are falling f rom a height it is not cowardly to clutch at a rope. If you have come up from deep water it is not cowardly fo fill your lungs with air. It is merely an instinct which cannot be destroyed. It is the same with the rats. For you, they are unendurable, They are a form of pressure which you cannot withstand, even if you wished to. You will do what is required of you."
"But what is it? How can I do it if I don’t know what it is?"
The mask was closing on his face. The wire brushed his cheek, and the - no, it was not relief, only hope, a tiny fragment of hope. Too late, perhaps too late. But he had suddenly understood that in the whole world there was just one person to whom he could transfer his punishment, one body that he could thrust between himself and the rats. And he was shouting frantically, over and over, "Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don’t care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Not me!”
...............................

In the novel, Winston’s coerced betrayal of Julia, and hers of him, destroys their love for each other - which is exactly what their brainwashers intended. Winston and Julia meet after their release:
"Sometimes," she said, "they threaten you with something - something you can’t stand up to, can’t even think about. And then you say, Don’t do it to me, do it to somebody else. Do it to So-and-so. And perhaps you might pretend, afterwards, that it was only a trick and that you just said it to make them stop and didn’t really mean it. You think there’s no other way of saving yourself, and you’re quite ready to save yourself that way: You want it to happen to the other person. You don’t give a damn what they suffer. All you care about is yourself."
"All you care about is yourself," he echoed.
"And after that, you don’t feel the same towards the other person any longer."
"No,’ he said, ‘you don’t feel the same.’”
...............................

For most parents, the thought of losing their children is Room101. The worst thing in the world. In a divorce, some parents have enough maturity to accept that their separation must necessarily mean a changed, slightly reduced parental role as they share the children with an ex-spouse who will now live elsewhere. Such parents can usually negotiate an arrangement that will work for them and their children. But what of those parents (usually mothers) who cannot bear to contemplate any reduction in their parental role? For them we offer family court, which with its winner-take-all process threatens them with the very worst thing in the world. For a parent can lose custody in family court, And so mothers, who tend to fight for sole custody (unlike fathers who usually argue for joint custody) are like Winston faced with the rats: in effect they cry, “Losing custody is the worst thing in the world; don’t do it to me, do it to him! Not me, him! Rip his heart out! Strip his children from him and give them to me.”
Statistics show that mothers who have won sole custody in family court often badmouth the father and frequently deny the children access to him. Why are we surprised? After they have been forced by their fear to cry “Do it to him!” How can they continue to respect him and his role? Surely any love they felt for him must be destroyed by their betrayal. By this analysis family court, for the person who out of fear fights for sole custody may be the most profound brainwashing, love-destroying process in existence, a genuine Room 101 Where the worst thing in the world can happen to you unless you selfishly sacrifice your ex-lover, unless you make the worst thing in the world happen to him instead of you. Why do we not see that such a process must result in massive psychological wounding? Why do we permit it? How can we be so insensitive to such torture of both parties?
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Old 02-07-2006, 02:04 PM
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Interesting read.

Thanks Bearall
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