Monday, March 2, 2009

The Rectifications…of names and things (2) – ‘Deal with it... Get over it… Move on....’

The Rectifications…of names and things (2) – ‘Deal with it... Get over it… Move on....’
Torrey Orton
March 2, 2009

Following the suggestion of Confucius, I continue some rectification of names for our times. Elsewhere ( ) I offer some ‘solutions’ to some problems of linguistic degradation.

‘Deal with it’, ‘Get over it’, ‘Move on’ …These are among the public tools of socially (re)enforced denial. It is professionally encouraged by the psycho-popularists who claim thought can overcome all (like will, focus, commitment and so on in the leadership field), that our historical wounds can be erased by thought correction exercises and happiness will reign in the land.

The prominence of the ‘Deal with it, Get over it, Move on’ mantra in public discourse, and its purveyors’ prominence in the celebrity stakes, adds an implicit ‘ya oughta’ tone to the suggestion for most of us. As if we are failing to be the fully human beings our adverts tell us we can (should) be … a kind of self wounding by the future. Should we get over that, too?

Having a history, of any sort, is to have ways of doing, thinking and feeling things which are soft-wired in the memory of our bodies, our social patterns and our minds. All our habits were functional when learned and, so, are resistant to change. They consciously reject change (if it is possible without damage to the self sustained by these developed habits), or unconsciously subvert it (if conscious and visible resistance is contextually dangerous). The conditions for unconscious subversion are as obvious (but undiscussable in their contexts) as is the behaviour through which it is enacted – sniping, whingeing, etc. These are often the best influencing tools of the structurally low powered and the situationally disempowered.

When habits are successfully changed, they usually come with a patina of experience. This may add to the lustre of the success, but as often signals a complexity which slightly intensifies the use of the new competence or skill. Obvious example: ex-smokers who parade unconsciously their lost obsession’s replacement by another like patches or worry beads. Less obvious example: the newly assertive person whose previous passivity is expressed in the unnecessary apology which precedes their assertions (acknowledging that there are times where preparing the other for a surprise is a good idea if you want to be heard about something likely to shock them).

This mantra (DGM) is part of a stream of public consciousness including ‘going forward’ and its associate redundancies like ‘In X hours time…’ - a measure of the energy required to go? Would it be less consuming to go backwards, as we are often accused of doing? These also measure the distance which is put between us, and between us and our lives by our time(s). An unnecessary verbal qualification often has the implicit effect of distancing us from our partners in talk, of suggesting there is something more there than the apparent, something in our relationship which is defective, or about to become so. And, they are difficult to challenge or explore because they are at the edge of awareness. That’s where the denial gets a foothold.


  1. Another related one I like is: "get a life".
    I wish I could find & post the Leunig cartoon about this, where the guy is told to get a life and then goes to a shop to buy a life ...

  2. ...and what about when he buys it and it works?? The great commercial dream.