Last year, inspired by the Scottish Referendum, I wrote about identity and indicated that externals like family, religion and nation claim the rights to our selves. I put these in ‘external’ category as these groups/phenomena can be easily identified in the outside world in form of members of family, or church, the preachers, politicians, national flags and geography.
I regularly hear from fellow migrants of various nationalities “They think I’m stupid” or “They just don’t understand” when referring to the natives. I smile then and nod or laugh out loud depending on which social class I happen to be representing. I understand the migrants’ frustrations but also see how enclosed they are in their own understandings. We rarely appreciate that every time a native encounters a foreigner they have no idea what level of English they will be dealing with. Even as the conversation progresses, the native cannot know (unless it is evident from the content of the conversation) if he was really understood. An interesting social landscape considering the Brits are in their own country. Or are they?
Even though only 7-15 per cent of communication happens verbally, and but a fraction of human behaviour is governed by reason, communication is still vital as it facilitates true understanding and expansion. Today, it is one of the most important arts we could be practicing. There are very few non-commercial bridges left between nations and we cannot be sure if those will last long. Communication is the only bridge which, even though burnt time and again, can be re-created and each time it is re-built, it can grow stronger. (Given the objectives of the parties involved are similar).
Of course open, direct communication can be scary. In open communication everything comes out, shadows included. There we find out our own attitude and level of acceptance towards what’s ugly, irrational and criminal as well as vulnerable, hurtful or downright contradictory to what we believe/think about ourselves. It takes patience and maturity to remain impartial or not be disgusted by what comes out of the mouth of another or our own. It’s a risky affair, it can escalate and often does. But it’s the only way forward ~ through it. The result of a dialogue depends on how well it is contained. And that is an art in itself. Unfortunately, the upper class concepts of equality and political correctness drive divisions and lack of understanding even deeper. There is everything but honest exchange and communication between individuals of one class, let alone across social spectrum.
All that said, the most important communication that the rest builds upon starts with-in us. Do we listen to each aspect of ourselves with respect? Do we give our shadow, the inner child, the wise woman, the architect equal time and attention? Do we hinder or facilitate our archetypes towards their full expression in the world? Do we recognise which aspects are in conflict within us? Until we do, there is little chance we will ever be able to understand and transform the conflicts which happen on a larger scale. Because the roots of those are not found in the military or politics.