After today it will be over, the end of two sides at war with each other. The spectacle of watching people with little emotional maturity attack each other without understanding the long term consequences has been disheartening. There will be no winners today as whatever the result the only winner will be a divided, polarised and resentful populace.
Susie and I were in Scotland during their referendum. We talked to a highlander whose deepest feeling about the result was his perception of the behaviour of the opposing camp. Today’s referendum has been more dramatic including the killing of a rising star, plus accusations of misinformation, deceit and outright lying. It has exposed the lack of maturity of our leaders and our press. It appears to have started as an election strategy, which seemed to be a simple exercise but has now divided a country.
As I travel around the world I often muse about why our small island extended so much influence around the world. While there are many factors, in our opinion the major one is our emphasis on boarding schools or taken further our distant style of parenting. How else did we grow a nation of people who didn’t want to stay home but instead went out into the world being empire builders? That domination, doing to others what was done to them, can only result from our Olympian levels of dissociation, so we have no idea of how our behaviour affects those around us. This dissociation leads to independence, basically the desire to go it alone.
There are two forms of independence. Firstly there is a dissociated independence, which is a cover for how hurt and emotional we feel. When we face a crossroads and things don’t seem to be going our way, these repressed hurts will be triggered. Either that, or the insistence to maintain our independence and dissociation results in us inflicting on others our repressed emotions. The main hallmark of this form of independence is being right, which leads to polarisation and therefore conflict. My neighbour talks of some of his friends wanting to go independent and march into the future and put the “Great” back into Great Britain.
The other form is authentic independence, which comes from being resourceful, confident, trusting in our ability to change what ever needs changing and having the skills and perseverance to find a way through to partnership and mutuality. Naturally, many of the first group claim they belong in this second group, but the outcome of their actions is the proof of the process. The first group divides, believes in attacking, imposes their way on others and claim to be leaders. The outcome will show us the truth.
This dynamic shows up as a daily choice in all our relationships. When we are being mean we know the one thing to say that will upset our partner. Each time we use this strategy it creates lasting hurt and finally builds a chasm between people. Meanness is driven by fear and the desire to push others away. The opposite is sharing, a major aspect of love. Sharing builds a sense of inclusion and builds a willingness to find our way through any challenges.
At present, wherever we look we see deep and lasting polarisation; around the world people are fighting and killing to be right. We seem to have lost the ability to communicate with each other and find the common goals that can lead out of conflict. On one level this feels like a nightmare in the making; however maybe we needed to reach this place to see the gossamer of civilization over our deeper nature. Hiding underneath this veil we all have so much to learn and so much to heal. Hopefully, we will make the choice to take that direction at this crossroads before it becomes more of a crisis than it already is.
I believe, in time, we will all make that choice and the only question is how bad does it have to get before we do.