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Prejudiced about prejudice contd ...

NT: And its hard to identify what it is that initiated the change?

GC: Later, afterwards sometimes you can find which it is but you can never know before, you can never predict. And that little change can have an effect on the whole system. Then it starts to move, it becomes normal, to be in a state of evolution. Systems are always in evolution. But, when you try to fix a society in one position, you kill it. The social engineers tried to believe communism would make a perfect society. But it didn't survive. Apartheid was an attempt to make a perfect society which would last forever. But it didn't work.

NT: These new ways of doing therapy, the stages through which the modalities of therapy have evolved, should they be understood as prejudices?

GC: Oh yes, new ways of organising your way of looking at reality. We can say we have some eyeglasses through which we look at reality. But we organise our eyeglasses continually. You can see through the eyeglasses of systemic theory, through eyeglasses of psychoanalysis, of social constructionism. It is true that glasses decide your reality. So we should be aware what glasses are you wearing all the time, which ones do you like the best.

NT: Do you think it is desirable that people start to shake off prejudices or is that a vain hope?

GC: No, I mean they shouldn't. We have to have prejudices just to look at reality. But we should be aware they are prejudices. It is dangerous when you become too loyal to your prejudice when things don't work. You become a fanatic.

NT: I suppose you've lived that very actively by changing the way you work.

GC: Exactly. I suppose they say if you do it like that you are not a serious person. A serious person is always loyal to the same idea. Even if you kill everybody. You become a Hitler who believes in one idea so much that it drives a country to ruin, even if it doesn't work. He could never see it doesn't work. The whole idea didn't work. But they got so stuck in that idea that they keep repeating it worse and worse and worse until it became so self-destructive. It didn't work because it was too rigid and he didn't believe in change.

NT: Would you say a prejudice of constant change is a meta-prejudice?

GC: Yes, a meta-prejudice. As I have said, there are three or four prejudices I believe now to be better prejudices, but only temporarily. Even they change and go away. That nature takes care of itself, that people are basically good, prejudices like that. I keep them because they are useful. But that is another prejudice why should things be useful. That is a very strong prejudice functionality. It has a good result, but there again, if you are too loyal to that you can create all kinds of trouble. If you are hyper-efficient and you kill the place then you are too efficient.

Further reading

Gianfranco Cecchin recommends the following as choice introductions to his own work...

Selvini, M., Boscolo, L., Cecchin, G. and Prata, G. (1978) Paradox and Counterparadox. New York: J. Aronson.

A basic introduction to Milan systemic therapy, of which there are a number. ...

and these as three of his own favourite authors of late:

- Harry Goolishian, Lynn Hoffmann and Peggy Penn. Some suggestions are:

- Hoffmann, L. (1990). Constructing realities: An art of lenses. Family Process, 29, 1 - 12.

- Goolishian, H. A. and Anderson, H. (1987) Language systems and therapy: An evolving idea. Psychotherapy, 24, 529 - 538.


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