From Dr. Larry

Dr. Larry Gelman is fiercely devoted to each client, with a deep and profound respect for their own self-agency and self-determination.

The Dandelion and the Rose

As a young child, I was extremely curious about why so many of the adults around me considered dandelions to be a weed, especially, when dandelions seemed pretty-enough, in my opinion, to simply be a flower of a different kind.

Another intriguing observation for me was that many of my neighbors appeared to become frantically obsessed with pulling weeds whenever new weeds reared their youthful stems and shoots, either on their grassy lawns or gardens.

To digress, momentarily, an esteemed colleague recently provided me with a fascinating education about the old practice of “walkin’ beans,” which she claimed to have done frequently as a girl growing up in a rural farm town.

“Walkin’ beans” was described by her as a necessary, but laborious, task desperately required to prevent numerous kinds of harmful weed strains from interfering with the particular crop being cultivated, such as soybeans.

Presumably, there are a plethora of viable methods to deal with an infestation of weeds in a crop field ranging from pulling them out completely by hand to hacking them down with any sharp implement to whatever else may suffice.

The first goal of “walkin’ beans,” as I understand it, is to increase the probabilities associated with a bountiful harvest; the second goal is to decrease the probabilities associated with any decrement with respect to the first goal.

Back to the dandelion; such a maligned flower! If it is even conjecturally possible that “the lion shall lay down with the lamb,” then what would contraindicate a dandelion from communing with, say, a red rose?

Then, one fortuitous day, I discovered a fresh bouquet of discarded beautiful red roses, of which I appropriated a single red rose along with a random dandelion, plucked from a nearby garden and placed them both in a clear jar.

The jar was filled with clean, fresh, cool water and I recollect juxtaposing the dandelion maximally opposite the placement of the rose, as far away as the circumference of the jar would permit, with both receiving direct sunlight.

A day or two later, I was mildly surprised to see that the dandelion and the rose appeared to have moved ever-so-closer to one another in the jar, however, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the rose hadn’t really moved at all!

Another day or two later and the verdict was undeniable! The dandelion wrapped itself around the stem of the rose, in a deliberately serpentine fashion, and systematically choked off any remaining life completely out of the red rose!

From an epistemic perspective, might it be even remotely possible that the rose had colluded with the dandelion to put it out of its own misery or, alternatively, that the dandelion had been seduced by the rose to perpetrate a harm?

Some theorists hypothesize that in any dyadic relationship, a hierarchical power and control structure may result and obtain, whereby, one is more dominant and the other is more submissive.

Paradoxically, it may very well be the case that it is the submissive which really is the one exerting substantial power and control, insofar, as the collusion of the submissive with the dominant makes possible the dance between them.

And if, perchance, the submissive elects to opt-out of the power and control dance with the dominant, then the dance comes to a halt, analogous to the dance between the dandelion and the rose, but in reverse sequential order.

My childhood experiment of the dandelion and the rose, coupled with my recent education about “walkin’ beans” has had a profound impact upon my emerging and evolving understanding of what is necessary for healthy growth .

The weed, serves a dualistic purpose because it imitates something pretty, at times, like a flower of a different kind, to trick its neighboring flora into inviting itself in, following which, no good results or obtains for the unwitting host.

Then, if the growing life-form is unable to successfully adapt to and overcome the challenges posed by the weed, in the sense that “whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger,” then the unwitting life-form will be assimilated or die!

Such an odd, but terribly instructive, yet incongruous organic coupling, in the absence of ’walkin’ beans,” and representing, in vivo, the palpable but unpredictable dance of power and control,

Of a dominant and a submissive, within and between the emerging and evolving relationship, at the very core of the growthful or necrotizing conditions, at the very core of life and death...

The dandelion and the rose!

Author Note: Dr. Larry B. Gelman is a Clinical Psychologist and a Personal Mentor


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