“I Want to Help You”

When someone claims “I want to help you” or “I want to help him” what they often mean is: “I want to change you.” Another version is “I want her to get help” which really means: “I want her to change.” There are two problems with this. One, it’s disingenuous and dishonest. Two, it disguises an impossibility inside a possibility. It disguises the falsehood that one can change another — when in fact, one can only change oneself — in the equally false cliche that “helping” is always virtuous and therefore always rational, no matter what.