You may have heard the joke that there are two kinds of people.  There are those that think there are two kinds of people, and there are those who do not.  This joke is very serious.  The human heart and the human world are divided exactly along those fault lines.  Those who think that there are two kinds of people believe that there are likely two kinds of everything.  They divide the world into good versus evil, soul versus body, and us versus them.  The other kind sees the world as a continuum, such that the laws of mathematics apply everywhere, and such that the final answer to any properly posed question is a number.

The people who believe in ‘two’ versus those who believe in ‘one’ are at war.  They are at war to see which group may destroy the world first.  The first group tends to be ideological, or religious.  They categorically distinguish believers from non-believers.  The most extreme of them believe that destroying the earth perhaps by nuclear warfare will purify it of disbelief, and hasten divine intervention.  The other group tends to be quantitative.  Profit is the quantity with the greatest social power.  In their pursuit of profits, business corporations may be heating up the planet irreversibly toward the destruction of civilization, as we know it.

That is just the big picture.  My colleagues and I operate everyday in the small picture world of business consultation and psychotherapy.  We have identified the same split as causing havoc in psychological and social lives.  Actually, our understanding began in our decades of work with individuals, families, and businesses, and extended quite readily to the world scene.  We use the terms, Roles and Rules™ to diagnose the division as it festers in everyday life.

Many philosophers have believed that creativity is conceived of holding two opposite ideas at the same time.  As I shall explain, roles and rules represent the most ‘opposite’ ideas possible.  Our method of every-day consultation aims at the most radical outcome possible: the reconciliation of opposites in wholesome understanding.

Members of our group offer legal and psychological consultation to businesses, and psychotherapy to individuals and families.  Attention to roles and to rules as distinct elements provides our intellectual and spiritual foundation, and a kind of compass that orients us in our work.

An unfamiliar word, ‘maieutic’, may best describe how we work.  The word is from the Greek for obstetrics or midwifery.  It was Socrates’ term for his philosophical method of eliciting the ideas of others; he delivered their conceptions as if he were a midwife.  Socrates’ mother was a midwife who claimed that midwives were the best marital matchmakers.  When we speak of bringing roles and rules together as opposites, we mean no more than happens quite naturally in biological conceptions, but perhaps less naturally in mental conceptions.

I invite you to read and to reflect, and to express your point of view to us at any time.

Richard Goldwater, MD

Sample chapters and other downloads

Below are several articles that explain or represent the Roles and Rules(tm) way of looking at the world. The Time Management of Compassion was written for a magazine for physicians. Marriage Is for Men and Divorce Is for Women offers the first three chapters of a book looking to be published. It represents the experience of practicing psychotherapy with individuals and families for three decades.

- Three sample chapters from the marriage book
- Time Management of Compassion, Primary Psychiatry, April 2002.

Welcome to Roles and Rules.com