Us and Them?
Julian Rose, Contributor
As Inside – So Outside
Is it possible that a thread of unity ties together even the most disparate of forces?
Are we actually that different from those who we think are our mortal enemies?
Is it possible that all humanity shares one collective unconscious mind?
These are important questions, because the old weapon of ‘divide and conquer’ is exercising an almost total paralysis over society at this time. Nothing new, you might say, but the remorseless sowing of the seeds of division has once again become a key weapon in whipping up factions to accept ‘war’ as the only, and inevitable end point.
But this war-cry can only work if and when we fall prey to the corrosive indoctrination which accompanies the rhetoric of ‘us and them’. Wars would not happen if the fuel for vindictive finger-pointing was no longer so easily assimilated into our everyday lives.
Now some might say that what’s going on now is beyond such logic – that it’s a whole other dimension of insanity that’s driving the apocalyptic state of affairs on this planet. That can be a persuasive argument. However, it would be most unwise to leave ourselves out of the picture, as though we were mere observers and not players. For all that happens ‘out there’ has its seed in something that happens ‘in here’. Events could and would be different if we could learn to recognise the symptoms of division both within ourselves and in our interactions with others.
So how do we best get a handle on this seemingly pervasive human weakness for ‘us and them’ which appears so open to exploitation by those who prosper from inciting faction and discord?
The first response which I try to turn to when feeling irritably vulnerable to accusing someone of having wronged me, is what the French call ‘mettre en place’ – put yourself in the other’s place. If one can master this technique, it gives the opportunity to have a look at what we are about to do or say, as though we ourselves were at the receiving end of it.
Now, when one gets a dose of one’s own accusatory medicine it can have a quite dramatic affect!
“Oops, better not launch into that one – it’s bound to provoke an equal or likely even stronger reaction.” A reaction likely to be based more on defensiveness or anger than on reasoned argument based upon true feelings.
For a ‘reasoned argument based on true feelings’ should be the goal of all dialogue, of all intercourse. And if it was, we wouldn’t have war. Because war starts with, and in, us. Our war-state is unavoidable so long as we remain divided against ourselves. So long as the way we interact with others is clouded by egotistical and selfish concerns, rather than illuminated by reasoned and considered responses.
Now, a ‘reasoned’ response demands a pause.
A reflective moment or two to take-in just exactly what it is that’s going on. And in the space created by that reflective pause, we are able to reorder our emotional self. We are able to catch the moment and slow things down. Take a look in the mirror. Or stand in the shoes of the other party and consider just what we look/sound like to them.
Nine times out of ten, neither the accuser nor the accused has reflected for even one moment, on what is driving the emotional exchange. So unless one of the participants (and ideally both) can step back and establish this reflective space – this non partisan territory – then all too often things run quickly out of control. A blood rush leads to an irrational tit for tat exchange, which in turn creates further disharmony and a lingering sense of suspicion. This suspicion in turn, becomes a fecund breeding ground for differences to become hard wired and seemingly irreconcilable.
We know our world is teetering on the brink of major conflict. We feel disempowered by the sheer scale of the engineered divisions that stand behind this dire state of affairs. It is not an easy predicament for any of us to cope with. Yet the source of the insanity that is so readily on display on the global stage is not a far cry from that listless state of irritation and edginess which manifests within all of us when we feel cornered or unreasonably provoked.
How can we respond to the threat of war when we have not yet come to grips with our own unconscious reactionary responses within our day to day life concerns – let alone when faced with the irascible volatility of a planet on the edge of global conflict?
That ‘pause’ which I recommended in order to set our house in order, is the key. It’s a technique employed by the the most seasoned diplomats when faced with the need to diffuse and temper potentially dangerous accusation and aggression. But to deal with the world scale madness of today, such defusing skill needs to be magnified, deepened and made manifest as an expression of profound intent. Intent to uncover lies and falsity and to manifest truth, whatever the cost. For this is the only genuine antidote to the slippery slide into war.
Truth emerges out of inner peace. But such ‘peace’ is by no means passive; it is burning with conviction, determination and a rock hard steadfastness of intent. The will to bring this world through – however badly scarred – and bring it to life once again, like the smile that lights up and transforms a baby’s once forlorn face.
Why else are we here, if not to achieve mission impossible?
There is a collective unconscious. It is (slowly and fast) awakening and transforming into a collective consciousness. It is happening mostly on unseen levels, yet it can be felt. Anyone can feel it, but not everyone will. That is because it is a seriously inconvenient truth for those whose wills are obdurately directed elsewhere. Towards the absolute denial of their reason to be; and then towards the annihilation of that which attempts to remind them.
Yet screaming murder at those trapped souls will do nothing to ameliorate their fate or ours. For so long as we remain caught in a world of ‘us and them’ we are unable to achieve the breadth of vision which enables us to see beyond our bit-part roles as ‘antagonist or victim’ on this fretted stage of man made conflict.
In the end, we all play our part in hastening the madness of war, unless or until we can dissolve the imaginary, deeply toxic dividing lines that set man against man, country against country, belief against belief.
The division lines are actually an illusion. An illusion made to feel real by the fear and falsity that builds-up brittle walls of concrete instead of dissolving into flowing rivers of empathy.
It is division and conflict that provides fuel for the false gods and divisive demons that prey on the war-fear of ordinary mortals. They would starve and fade away should that which feeds them finally be vanquished and consigned to the annals of history.
At this time of unmitigated warmongering and provocation, it’s vital that we redouble our efforts to come together, both internally and externally, so as to expose that which feeds on the cancer of ‘divide and conquer’ – on the falsity of ‘us and them’. Those crazed forces that are willing to terminate life on Earth, just for the sake of an insatiable ego.
Let’s remember that we are not actually hermetically sealed from that which appears to be alien to our own emotional condition.
For in the end, there is no us and them. There is only us.
About the Author
Julian Rose is an early pioneer of UK organic farming, international activist and author. Contact Julian at www.julianrose.info to find out more.
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