Cassandra was the most beautiful daughter of Priam, the king of Troy and eventual loser of the Trojan War. She was coveted by the god Apollo, being given the power of prophecy and was to wed him, but broke her vow. Thus the God Apollo cursed her to be correct in her prophecies, but never to be believed by her brethren. She warned of soldiers inside the Trojan horse and the fall of Troy, but events in history seem to happen whether the players know or not.
As a chiropactor, it seems like I fall prey to Cassandra’s syndrome whenever I try to tell someone something they don’t want to hear. For instance if I say drinking is affecting your health and social behavior, people don’t believe me. Or losing weight will lead to living a better quality of life, or that chiropractic can help your headache not just your back pain, it’s just not believed. What my patients really want is for me to guarantee that coming to see me will fix the problem when many times the problem arises from a decision they made or a lifestyle they are unwilling to change.
I am beginning to think that people do not believe other people based on common statistics or common knowledge. We all have our biases, but when someone expounds an idea that threatens something we hold dear (like alcoholism, or their dietary choices). well this, I think, is the real concept when someone says “blinded by love”. Our addictions for good or worse make us who we are today, and for some, losing the addiction means having to redefine ourselves. It took years for us to define who we are today, so we reason that redefinition will take an enormous amount of time and effort.
However, real life changing moments never take course days, months or years. A life changing moment is by definition a moment, a wild and raucous redefinition that takes place in spite of time and space, though it takes the perserverance of a lifetime and strength of will to break through to that one moment.
This is why I always say that if a person cries, then that person has not learned and will resume the degrading behavior as soon as you look the other way. The cry is just the emotional tool used to “get you off their back”. For a person to change, they must seek the will to do it. We can all help our loved ones to get to that point, but we can never push them through the door.
Cassandra is a tragic heroine in history, doomed to be right, but never listened to. This may sound like a depressing post, but I also wish to express the fact that Cassandra is a heroine because she, up until the end, tries to change men’s minds knowing full well she is cursed. And that may be the most encouraging portion of the tale, that though a man’s mind may be difficult to change and history predestined, it is honorable to try to change it and cowardly to just walk away.