Communication. Hardly.

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.

Related posts: In Disguise, 27 Jul 2014, Boundaries, 30 Nov 2014

 

Political Projections

I’ve been recently inspired by an article, Re-Thinking Middle East written by Avi Melamed. Although Melamed writes about media (which in my view have no moral backbone documenting only what fits and by lack of objectivity contribute to the escalation of conflicts) his article reminded me of a phenomenon I had been observing almost since my emigration to UK in 2003.

In psychology projection is a “theory in which humans defend themselves against unpleasant impulses by denying their existence in themselves, while attributing them to others. In my experience projection happens also with the positive attributes (but to a lesser degree) to everybody and every day. In politics however this can take a form of an open or secret bullying of nations which are perceived as lacking something or needing correction by the West (here I mean US and UK). Needless to say it happens within societies and ethnic groups of the same country also.

Now, we have countries like the USA, considered the leading world economic power when in fact the country is in the unrecoverable debt, telling other nations what to do and how to govern. Democracy is failing or is absent altogether in a lot of states yet the USA insists on imposing the system onto countries of a totally different inheritance, culture, mentality and capacity. The arrogance, lack of respect, education and integrity (while waving a flag of a peace-bringer) in this behaviour are soul-cringing. Unable to look at their own mess Americans with obedient poodles from UK go and create mess elsewhere. See Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan. It seems post-WWII reputation of the USA has never been properly investigated or re-evalued.

The West had always been aggressive, I sometimes wonder if what is happening right now is not a projection of its impotence over and lack of understanding of the old cultures. The cultures that had created the British Empire and are the roots of a modern American society.

That said, I am a biased European.

Further reading: Noam Chomsky. Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy