The World as a System
According to the teachings of the perennial philosophy and Ageless Wisdom, the natural state of the universe is harmonious interdependence. This may be difficult to believe with all the conflict that exists in our world. The whole universe seems out of balance because of persistent intractable conflicts.
Each of us can help restore that balance by understanding the systemic nature of conflict and that the world is a system. This begins by recognizing that we contribute to the world’s conflicts by projecting our own unresolved internal conflicts and trauma outside ourselves.
Our Personal Projections Affect the World
Systemic conflict is primarily anchored in the family. Because many of our unresolved conflicts began in our family of origin, we unconsciously project our unresolved internal conflicts onto the people to which we are closest in hopes of finally resolving them. Unfortunately, this approach seldom works.
When people hit the wall in our couple relationships, for example, they either get divorced or have kids. Sometimes we do both. Our unconscious hope is to recreate another family-of-origin situation involving children where we can finally resolve our conflicts. This also doesn’t usually work.
Because most families lack effective methods of resolving these conflicts, they blame others outside the family for their problems and project their conflicts onto the larger social systems: their schools, neighborhoods, workplace, communities, culture and nation. They also reenact the traumatic events causing their unresolved internal conflicts through collective events such as athletic contests, political battles, economic and social competition and through ethnic, religious and national wars. If you find yourself overreacting and judging or criticizing other people for something that doesn’t personally concern you, you may also be reenacting an untreated trauma.
Collective Trauma & Conflict
The very public trials and tribulations of celebrities and politicians have provided people around the world with a stage where they could collectively reenact their individual traumas and have “collective therapy” experiences.
These events engaged people at deep levels, causing many of them to overreact. You often see very rational and educated men and women overreacting to the issues and people involved in these kinds of collective events. Your own reactions to these events may indicate whether or not you have undiscovered and unresolved traumas.
Working On Yourself: Taking Responsibility for your Projections
If you found yourself riveted to the television set or consumed by reading all the newspaper accounts during these events or had an unusually strong reaction to any of the people or the issues involved in these collective dramas, you may be reenacting elements of a hidden trauma.
If this is the case, ask yourself some of the following questions:
• “Whom does this person remind me of from my past?”
• “Does the issue or conflict that this person is dealing with remind me of an unresolved issue or conflict from my past?”
• “What about this situation or issue reminds me of a conflict or trauma from my past”
If we all took responsibility for identifying the sources of our unresolved internal conflicts, particularly those that we project out into our schools, neighborhoods, workplaces, communities, culture and public figures, the world could be quite different. We might have no need for frenzied athletic contests, hateful political battles and ethnic, religious and national wars. We could begin to restore the universe to its natural state of harmonious interdependence.
In order to achieve world harmony, we must learn how to reclaim our individual projections on collective figures and on collective events. Our approach, The Partnership Way of Resolving Conflicts, shows you how to do this.