I just finished reading Eric Berne’s book, Games People Play. It was published way back in 1964…a year after I was born! A mentor recommended it to help a client of mine explore how to speak better. The book is written in psych-speak with colloquialisms that were popular in the 1960’s, but it still had a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to impart despite the author’s use of language.
While clearly not a “how to converse with others better” book, it was a fascinating read primarily because of its implications. If the author is correct in his theories, conclusions from experiments, and assumptions about transactional analysis, then we truly can be completely unaware of what motivates us to interact with others. That’s kind of scary. I thought I was aware of what needs drive me. But what if I’m wrong? What if my drivers are framed by experiences that have solidified into my beliefs about the world? Which then cause me to interact with others on a certain level that gets my needs met subconsciously — and it needs to be subconscious, because I can’t handle the conscious implications of how I interact. Whew! What if my subconscious is some kind of self fulfilling prophecy mechanism that makes sure the story I tell myself is the one I construct? I am actually the driver of my experience, and solely responsible for what I think, do and feel. So if that is true, how come I don’t feel so powerful? And why does my subconscious have to take over that job for me? I’m starting to feel really weird, which makes me think Berne might be on to something. 🙂
All of these questions have led to more questions. What is it that I am trying to gain by my interactions with other people? Is it comfort? Camaraderie? Connection? Power? Justification? Revenge? Redemption? Acceptance? Attention? Love?
The only way to find out is to start experimenting. I wonder how I can construct this kind of test? I will have to think more about this, and let you know what happens next week.
In the meantime, if this subject is at all interesting to you, check out Eric Berne’s book, Games People Play, and see what you think.
Until next time,