Notes Psychology

My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown

My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown 1My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown 2

My Left Foot is a movie based on a true story and was recommended by Jordan Peterson.

Christy Brown was an Irish writer with cerebral palsy, he was expertly played by Daniel Day Lewis in an award-winning performance. His life was tough, he had no control of any of his limbs, except for his left foot. His parents, who were poor, didn’t think he would ever speak. But Christy was a relentless character.

The most telling scene in the movie was when Christy was playing a soccer game as a young boy. Christy was a goalkeeper, since he could not play in any other position. The scene depicts him saving the ball from an opposing player’s shot – what was remarkable was that he saved the shot with his forehead, and when the other boy tried to shoot the ball once again, Christy stuck his head in there, refusing to concede the goal. Right after, Christy’s team was awarded a penalty kick, and he was chosen to take it. He did, while lying on the floor, with his head twisted, and his body in an awkward position, but he struck the ball well towards the centre of the goal, and the opposing team’s goalkeeper dodged the ball in fear. Christy scored.

Christy’s father was abusive and aggressive, but he his toughness played to Christy’s advantage. He wasn’t compassionate towards his son. This strengthened the young boy, who was forced to learn how to use whatever he had to the best of his abilities. Eventually, Christy got married.

Peterson’s message was not to do things for others that they can do themselves. Compassion can also kill someone. This is a common motif in families, where children are coddled to death. They are overprotected and when they grow up to be adults, they are unarmed, toothless, and clueless. Christy, unlike Helen Keller, was not an angel. He was an aggressive alcoholic, but he had heart, and he did everything he could to have a good life – while normal people, with no disabilities at all, who have everything they could possibly ask for, bitterly complain about the hand they were dealt. Like the goalkeeper who dodged the ball, it doesn’t take much to make them afraid.

When you want to help someone, consider whether you are doing it because you want what’s best for them, or because you want to save yourself momentary frustration.

"Silence is the best expression of scorn" - G.B. Shaw

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