Not Every Flaw Must Be Illuminated

Film maker Werner Herzog believes psychoanalysts are “a disease of our time.” Why? Not every bit of the human psyche needs to be understood in order for that psyche to function. In fact, it sometimes works better if we don’t poke around in it too much.

“When you inhabit a house, and you illuminate every last corner of the house with strong lights, the house becomes uninhabitable,” Herzog says. “Human beings, illuminated to the very last corner of their darkest soul, become inhuman and uninhabitable.”

Every house needs some light for you to navigate it well — but light it up too much, and you can barely move around at all, let alone with confidence. Everyone has trauma. Every soul has dark corners. Some reflection on our flaws can be very helpful. Reflect too much, however, and once again, you can barely move at all. Self-paralysis through over-analysis.

You’re not perfect, but you don’t need to justify every shortcoming in order to move past it. Learning is as simple as not repeating a past mistake — knowing the why may help, but in the end, it’s changing your behavior in the present that matters. Keep flowing, and don’t let intellect keep you from doing a good thing.