There is a raging battle for supremacy across the world between ninjas and pirates. Since there are no direct confrontations between the two outlaws in recorded history, ninja supporters and pirate loyalists have been relegated to hypothetical arguments (which often devolve into senseless trash talking) over whose hero is supreme.
I'd like to put the ninja vs. pirate controversy aside for a moment and concentrate on a larger issue - one that might impact the future of mental health treatment, and even shake the very foundations of academic psychiatry.
What is more important to mental health, the inner child or the inner ninja?
Let's take a look at the concepts, the former as defined by Wikipedia, and the latter as defined by this blog with its admitted bias. From Wikipedia:
Inner child is a concept used in popular psychology to denote the childlike aspect of a person's psyche, especially when viewed as an independent entity. Frequently, the term is used to address subjective childhood experiences and the remaining effects of one's childhood. The Inner Child also refers to all of the emotional memory and experiences stored in the brain from earliest memory. The Twelve-step program recovery movement considers healing the Inner Child to be one of the essential stages in recovery from addiction, abuse, trauma, or post-traumatic stress disorder...
By way of further analysis I'd simply like to say "fuck that." I'd suggest you discover the inner ninja. From an earlier post on this blog:
The legend of the ninja strikes fear into the hearts of the ruling class, the powerful, and the oppressors of mankind. The bravery and cunning of the ninja has inspired resistance among the people throughout the centuries. Whether you are with the ninja or against him, you must admit he commands respect among the elite warriors of history. Updated for our times you might say the ninja knows how to stick it to The Man.
The politics, spirituality, and military strategies of the ninja arose as cultural opposites to the conventional outlooks of the times. Ninjutsu developed as a highly illegal counter culture to the ruling samurai elite, and so the origins of the art were cloaked by centuries of mystery, secrecy, and deliberate confusion of history. Perhaps the ninja is long gone - forgotten with the sated largesse of our complacent modern life.
But some of us know better. We feel the ninja blood in our veins, the need to escape and undermine a reality which seeks to control us. The inner ninja lays dormant within, waiting for a spark, which then rises like a fire in the night, liberating us from our cubicles, mortgages, and 6 AM alarm clocks.
We are each made in the image of Him, the Ninja, the Inner Ninja that resides, godlike, in our hearts, waiting to be unleashed against the forces which restrain us. It is only a matter of degree.
For some that restraining force may be a career mired in mediocrity, or a boss who humiliates us. For others it may be that shady figure of subjugation collectively despised as The Man. Or it may take shape as an oppressive government which aims to replace our precious freedoms with mantras of fear and indoctrination. For yet others, this force of tyranny may simply be an expensive wedge of Roquefort Cheese at the supermarket. Whatever it is, at least it serves to awaken the Inner Ninja in all of us. This fragile dream must be discovered, nurtured, and then unleashed upon the forces which keep us down.
To accomplish this, one must utilize stealth and deception. The odds against us are just too great - any accountant can tell you that we are simply outnumbered by lemmings. Therefore we must hone the moral flexibility to sneak up on our enemies and steal back our Swingline Staplers, to take a bathroom break and return fully clad in black, crashing through the glass window to begin a new life, but without the open bloodshed of the repeated frontal assaults The Man would prefer. We must be smarter.
The legendary Masaaki Hatsumi once wrote: “The ninja lived their lives as naturalists and mystics, while the main-stream of society became increasingly structured, ranked, stylized, and eventually tightly controlled.” How chilling are these words, how prescient! Do we not confront these very issues in our modern world? Do some of us not seek to protect nature, spirituality, more weeks of vacation, and Radiohead’s artistic integrity? Do we not yearn for a world that consumes less of itself, that is freed from the military-industrial-political trinity? Do we not support personal responsibility instead of the lawsuit hell that embroils our society?
We do not hate the players, we hate the game. We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men might one day wear black ninja suits and fly across the sky, soaring like motherfucking Apollo himself. We unleash the indomitable potency of the Inner Ninja.
Furthermore, we assert that exaggerations of the ninja archetype such as supernatural powers, invisibility, walking across water, and reading minds, shall be acceptable. While purists may find this objectionable, it is felt that the term ninja should be one of inclusion rather than privilege. How else shall we grow the inner ninja revolution if we exclude those ninjas who kick the most ass? I don’t know about you, but if we’re taking on The Man, I want someone with throwing stars, foot spikes, and the ability to walk on the fucking ceiling to get my back.
Even psychiatrists are coming around to the lack of utility of the inner child concept. Will they soon embrace the inner ninja? From Wikipedia again:
Other writers who have developed and expanded the concept and methods include Lucia Capacchione, Louise Hay, Dr. Margaret Paul, and Pia Mellody. Some recovery methods such as "radical forgiveness" disdain the inner child concept and teach that the idea of 'nurturing the inner child' actually holds one back from full recovery by encouraging a victim stance.
So I hope this post has helped moved the discussion from the fruitless dispute between ninjas and pirates, and on to something more concrete, beneficial, and inspiring. Express yourself here if you agree with this bold paradigm shift in psychiatry. Less victims. More empowered ninjas. Freud would be proud.