The Lifespan of a Fact

It's a curious phenomenon.

Our government requires cigarette companies to put health warnings around their packages.

Not just in print form. But with graphic images or photos of cancer etc caused by smoking.

Once, I had a group session with men who were all smokers.

They acknowledged the medical effects of smoking on their health. Some had actually been hospitalized already.

But during breaks in our sessions, they'd still smoke together outside the hall where we were.

Carrying their cigarette packs with ominous warning pictures, they knew how smoking can shorten life, even lead to death.

But the fact didn't seem to inspire them enough. To be able to stop.

The fact has too short a life span in their brains to alter destructive patterns.

Likewise, the fact that regular exercise or healthy foods prevent disease and all kinds of aging don't seem to be enough as well.

People just know the fact but don't heed.

So it is in the mental health field. Nowadays, many die from untreated, severe mental illnesses.

Even with the best knowledge and interventions, many still drown in their despair.

What could be clearer?

Something is patently and privately irrational about the lifespan of facts in so many people's brains.

I, like them, must struggle too with this problem of being human.

Dr. Sugmund Freud calls it "repetition compulsion."

Its maladaptive behavior that repeats itself. It's origins can be traumatic or non-traumatic.

It's one of the primary reasons people seek Psychotherapy.