Folly, by Meghan Howland.
Maybe I am a pain in the neck or simply sensitive about it, just like some people have a good eye for colour matching and others feel pushed to defend a bee's welfare. The fact is that I listen to others talking, I read the messages around me and I can almost feel the words in 3D, echoing deep inside me the connotations that they imply, their intention, energy, the things that they don't say. Words are important to me. That's how I feel it. And that's also why it is not the same to me to use one word instead of another. The choice matters because of the meaning is behind it.
In my last post I got into the subject, motivated in fact for that week in November when we all get together 'to fight against domestic violence', 'a blight to eradicate', so we keep asking for 'severity in the compliance of sentences' because this is without a doubt 'one of the biggest dramas of our time' (just using four examples from the public Spanish media). Of course, that fight (or resistance) is the same one that we maintain against cancer, corruption, powerful people's privileges, drugs... 'Being against' seems to be the move; fighting; striking back, but always using the law as a shield & raising democracy as our flag. Here is our carte blanche, served on a silver platter.
This doesn't mean that I am supporting violence of any kind, corrupted people or drug dealers. However I wonder, fighting against all these that are actually a reality, where is it leading us? "What you resist, persists; what you accept, gets transformed." This is a statement made by someone much more educated & brighter than me. It was Carl Jung. The meaning behind this quote is that resistance can only be overcome via acceptance, and that change comes only through awareness.
When I feel like hitting, insulting, killing, sniffing or robbing, there is an alive & very powerful energy pushing to desperately come out of me. And it does it in the only way it knows. If I resist it, that energy will search for another exit to come out.
What if the key is not to fight against my agressive or addictive instincts but to understand the intention behind (or underneath) those harmful behaviours? Where are they coming from? What keeps them alive? How did they grow? What are they trying to show me?
If we choose to think that the violent, the drug-addict, the drug dealer or the corrupt person are the way they are just because they decide to be so, voluntarily & unilaterally, because they are 'bad' people and want to cause pain, then we will be keeping a slanted view of the reality. The agressive, the addict or the offender are born, brought up and developed within an enviroment (external & also internal) that conditions them, building them up into the people that they become.
In his book A sacred unity, Gregory Bateson says (when talking about the observation of schizophrenic patients & their families, carried out by the team of professionals that he was part of): "both the injured person & the person who inflicted the wound were equivalent parts of a disorganised & wider process that neither of them could understand or control."
And this is where I find the key of all keys. Whether we talk about abuse, addiction or illness, they are expressions of something deeper that is happening on a another level (maybe in that 'shadow' that Jung talked about), one that we cannot access unless we do it through awareness. And I would like to connect this with the three systemic principles that govern our reality:
1- Belonging: whatever exists within the system, belongs to it. The system doesn't want exclusions or excluded members.
2- Order: each element of the system has his place and from there is fulfilling a mission than no other member can fulfill.
3- Balance between giving & recieving: every member gives into the system & must also receive back.
Observing & respecting these three principles brings the balance into the system. If any (or several) of them are unattended, imbalance appears (external expression): violence, agression, illness, addiction... These are all symptoms, and symptoms are signs that point out something else.
However, quite often, we don't want to look any further. We don't want to know what the symptom is trying to tell us. We just want to silence it because it hurts, because it is annoying, because we think it is wrong and we judge it according to our own beliefs (ones that normally are maintained & supported by the System itself). So like this, fighting against it, we will never manage to see what's behind, neither will we discover the message that it has for us.
The truth is that, instead of 'killing' the messenger, we could sit & talk to him to look inside.
Battered women have always existed, and they still do. The same with the men who attack & kill. So there is something that we are not yet doing right. Who is looking at those men to understand what's behind their agressive behaviour? And what's behind the woman that we define as a 'victim'? What lies underneath people who go through cancer, hook up into any addiction or commit an offense of any kind? Do we really think that it is enough to punish them, locking them up or medicate them? Do we truly feel that these actions are going to help them & help us as a society?
The System that we've built together is excluding a part of itself when we use concepts such as 'fight', 'against', 'chase', 'sentence', 'eradicate', 'blight'... And we don't realise that the whole cannot exclude any of its parts without paying a high price for it. As my Grandmother used to say when she was asked which of her grandchildren she loved the most: "Which one of my fingers could I cut off without feeling pain?"
"I have said that the soul is not more than the body,
And I have said that the body is not more than the soul,
And nothing, not God, is greater to one than one's self is,
And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud,
And I or you pocketless of a dime may purchase the pick of the earth,
And to glance with an eye or show a bean in its pod confounds the learning of all times,
And there is no trade or employment but the young man following it may become a hero,
And there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the wheel'd universe,
And I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes."
(Section 48, Song of myself, by Walt Whitman)