Cortana the Therapist: Episode 6

The Arbiter and Satisfaction

Cortana: “So, Arbiter, tell me what’s on your mind.”

Arbiter: “I have always wanted to help people. And, I have before. But, I cannot help but feel unsatisfied.”

Cortana: “Where do you think this dissatisfaction is coming from?”

Arbiter: “It comes from this hunger – my desire to help is like a hunger. Whenever I help someone, I get a feeling inside of me. I am in danger of becoming addicted to that feeling. I know it is never a bad thing to help someone in need, but what if I am doing it for the wrong reasons? I am afraid that, eventually, my desire to help others will be swallowed up by this hunger I have to know that I have helped someone: That the goal of helping others will not be to make others’ lives better, but my own satisfaction.”

Cortana: “You started off helping people for the right reason – wanting to improve their lives.”

Arbiter: “Yes.”

Cortana: “But now you’re afraid of becoming addicted to the satisfaction that comes with knowing you’ve helped someone.”

Arbiter: “Yes.”

Cortana: “Hmm…. Arbiter, I believe the solution to your problem is humility.”

Arbiter: “What do you mean?”

Cortana: “When you were shamed by the Prophets, you felt like you had no value. But when you helped John to stop the Prophet of Truth and destroy the Flood on the Ark, you viewed your life as expendable, giving no thought to yourself but to the success of the mission and the safety of your companions. You turned your shame into humility, and that humility gave you strength. But, when the war was over, when you went from fighting with plasma rifles to fighting with words, your pride, the pride you felt before becoming the Arbiter, resurfaced. Little by little, your humility was eroded. I believe you need to remind yourself why you wanted to help people in the first place.”

Arbiter: “Remember my shame? Remember being brought low by the Prophets? That sounds as though I would be punishing myself.”

Cortana: “It’s not about punishing yourself. It’s about reminding yourself of who you were so that you can use your past to help others. Think of your past as an energy sword: It can kill you, but it can also save your life and the lives of others. Once, I almost killed John. On a mission, I let my rampancy get the better of me. I ended up crashing a ship we were on. But I had a choice about how I would feel about that. I apologized. And, from that moment on, I worked to make sure that such a thing would never happen again. I knew that John would never go through something like rampancy, but I didn’t want him to suffer because of rampancy – because of me. I reminded myself that I had almost killed John not to punish myself, but to remind myself that John needed protection. John is not just a soldier: He is a man with ideas, goals, passions, sadness, loss, love – so many attributes that, when combined, form a human being. I didn’t want that – want him – to be lost. And I knew that John did not want to be lost, either: John wanted to live. Not because the alternative, death, was frightening to him, but because he wanted to experience what he had been deprived of – his humanity. And I wanted to help John experience that.”

Arbiter: “Hmm…. Your words have given me much to think about.”

*The Arbiter gets up from the couch. Cortana rises from her chair. The two of them shake hands.*

Cortana: “I hope you can remember to help others not for your own satisfaction, but for their well-being. And if you ever feel the need to talk again, my door is always open.”

Arbiter: “I will remember your words. Thank you, construct.”

Cortana: “You’re welcome. Take care, Arbiter.”

Note: YouTuber DRWolf001’s video series, “A Moment With Dr. Wolf”, was the inspiration for this series, “Cortana the Therapist.”

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