Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Too Much Too Much-ness

Originally posted on March 30, 2014

My darling wife Allee was talking about a book she was reading about mothers and daughters, and commented that the author of one of the chapters overdid it on the use of the Jungian idea of the “Shadow.”  I think this is a useful concept, so I asked her to explain. It turned out that what she didn’t like was the way the author seemed a bit precious or sanctimonious about that concept.

Yes, on reflection, sometimes it isn’t so much the content of a written work or its accuracy so much as the way those ideas are emphasized. It’s possible to make them heavy, sentimental, a big deal, as if others  “should” recognize what a big deal it is. Well, I do recognize that it’s a big deal for the writer, but most folks I knew were mildly precious about their pregnancy, delivery, and baby-raising, but not so much.

I have no objection to people getting precious with whatever—their values are matters of taste, and of taste there can be no dispute, as some ancient Latin scholar once observed. It’s just that preference and weighting, preciousness, degrees of indignation, emotional tone can be added so as to imply that others morally are obligated to care as much.

I have an irreverent streak, alas, and it occurred to me that it gets triggered when anyone about anything cares so much that a contrary view becomes a bad thing. It’s a reaction not to whatever is judged as good—often I agree—but to the edge of preciousness that forbids considering that there can be a “too much.” And I am inclined to think there can always be a too-much-ness about darn near everything.

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