Friday, June 25, 2004

Metallica and Ontological Dichotomies

Henri Nouwen has said that the deeper you go inside a person the more universal the experience becomes. My own research and work in spiritual direction confirms this. I have found that there are what I call "ontological dichotomies" that all persons share such as, e.g., trust vs. control.
This means that cultural differences, though real, are on the surface and in a sense superficial. The deeper you go, the more we are all alike, no matter how we dress. Ontological dichotomies are cross cultural, cross-temporal, cross-ethnic, and cross-gender. Whether a person is 90 or 9, issues of, e.g., trust vs. control lie deep.
Recently this was confirmed to me in yet another way. I picked up last Sunday's New York Times and read the magazine article on Metallica . The band has spent a lot of time in counseling therapy with a man named Philip Towle. Towle writes: ''If you strip down all human beings to their core, you'll find the same stuff,'' claims Towle, who calls himself a ''performance enhancement coach'' (he is not a trained psychologist or psychiatrist). ''You will find fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, fear of being controlled, fear of being unloved and the desire to love and be loved. That becomes more complicated with hard-rock bands, because -- when you exist in a mode of instant gratification -- you're never hungry for depth of intimacy. Sex, drugs and booze are glorified in rock 'n' roll, but those are really just symptoms of the desire for relief.''
Which again shows that, deep down, the members of Metallica are no different than The Osmonds.