by Charles Curtis
It is rather interesting to observe the trances going on within the political scene. By stepping back from whatever political position you may prefer, and examining the whole political scene for evidence of trances and trance behavior, some rather interesting conclusions may be drawn.
One of the first observations you might make is how many on the political scene seem to have left rational thought behind, and are making decisions and taking actions purely from an emotional point of view. Thinking through an issue seems to be a lost art among many. I saw a quote in a Sunday NY Times front-page article where a Tea Party member was being interviewed, and when confronted with some seemingly contrary facts by the interviewer, the interviewee replied by saying that the issues were so upsetting that the facts no longer mattered.
There has been a huge amount of such extreme emotion expressed by some segments of the populace, seemingly out of all proportion to the issues raised. The amount of polarization in the public dialog seems to have grown exponentially. From the events reported in the news, it seems clear that large segments of the population are not listening to the other side at all, such that the word “dialog” hardly seems appropriate any more. It’s more like the two sides are carrying on monologues that no one else is listening to.
Both sides are convinced they’re utterly right, no matter what the position. Centrist views are characterized as leftist by the right, and rightist by the left. Those truly in the middle are accused of being traitor to their own party, no matter which party it is. And no matter what the President does, he is accused by villainy of all kinds by both the radical right and the radical left.
This has led to the most scrambled thinking patterns. In that same article, the NY Times interviewer found that many Tea Partiers were being supported by government programs, such as unemployment, social security, and disability, so you have a situation where protestors on the far right are using their government-paid-for welfare checks to support themselves in taking an anti-welfare-state stance. I was particularly struck by the drama of the past week, in which Republicans, including Mitt Romney, are condemning a law based on the Republican model proposed by Mitt Romney for his home state.
Meanwhile, those on the far left, who one would think would be happy to have their Holy Grail of a reform bill passed, are instead furious with the Democrats for being too centrist and not going far enough. During all of this political circus, the 24/7 media outlets seem to have gotten more and more raucous themselves, often seeming to value sensation over substance.
And on the political scene itself, the idea of “working together” seems to have been utterly lost, with those politicians of a moderate bent lamenting the old days when those across the fence from them could meet them for lunch and discuss differences without bitterness. Whereas now even being seen together briefly becomes fodder for the next political food fight.
WHAT IS GOING ON?
Has the world gone mad, one might ask?
But if one pays attention to the various points of view, trance states are evident everywhere throughout this drama, and people in trance states act out their feelings without thinking about them, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing. The news is reporting a 24/7 hypnosis stage show that never ends, a political stage show, except the participants aren’t laughing, they’re really angry.
Having a 24/7 video or audio news channel to listen to all day long of either one’s favorite or least favorite persuasion easily stokes passions to the boiling point and then keeps these trances in place. The Internet has become a focal point for all of this, with bloggers of all political points of view free to disburse their opinions widely through print and YouTube video.
If one looks at all of this through the perspective of projection, it begins to make even more sense. Those who project are in denial about their own unhealed issues, which they are projecting onto “the villainous other”. This “other”, whether a particular political figure, or a party, or something else identifiable, becomes completely evil. The denial inherent within such projection enables the projector to feel completely justified in accusing the “villainous other” of the most heinous things.
Just like in the George Orwell novel 1984, where each day contains a programmed period of hate, in the more polarized groups, the rhetoric has already gone completely off the charts. One side shouts “socialist”, the other side shouts “traitor”. People caught in this polarized context are no longer in touch with the more sensitive human emotions but are instead thinking the adrenaline soaked thoughts that come from the physiological state of “fight or flight”. In this poisonous atmosphere, those who truly want to have a dialog and to talk about their true feelings and thoughts feel like any true national conversation is getting lost in the noise and static of the war drums.
This trend was unfortunately exemplified by some rather nasty “shadow self” material that surfaced in the form of recent reports of radical militias and other armed groups and persons beginning to use combat metaphors to depict their thoughts, feelings, and actions concerning the “villainous other”. That, plus some well-aimed bricks meant to intimidate the other side through the use of force, made it seem like the national discourse was truly coming off the rails.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. As the national drama concerning these recent changes in the social contract continues to unfold, it will be up to those of us with saner points of view to soften the national dialog. Those of us who know how trance works need to educate ourselves on the national discourse and be aware of what is transpiring so that we are not taken by surprise when confronted by someone caught in the trance of a more radical point of view.
In addition, our training in resolving conflict within the subconscious mind gives us tools to help resolve conflict occurring in those with whom we come in contact. And our ability to communicate effectively puts us in a position to shape the dialog happening with those who are within our sphere of influence.
In this polarizing time, many find themselves unconsciously caught up in acting out the overheated emotions and black-and-white thinking of whatever political trance logic they are most susceptible to.
If such trance logic is not to dominate the national discourse, then it is important for the rest of us, who can, as the NLP model says, “go meta”, to step back from the fray, and to use our persuasion skills to encourage others to look at things more rationally as well.
For as we know from resolving conflict within our clients’ minds, when the heat of strong emotion is drained from the subconscious, sanity returns. From this more rational point of view, several seemingly opposing points of view can be simultaneously entertained and conflicts resolved in real ways that satisfy and solve the problem.
A LITTLE BIT OF PEACE
This is no less true within the national discourse. And our part, as practitioners of the peacemaking profession of hypnosis, is to do what we can to help others, no matter what their points of view, join hands to work together in constructing solutions that work.
And so it becomes a matter of professional responsibility, whenever we are given the opportunity, to use our persuasion skills to help others look at life more rationally.
And in the process, we, who are skilled peacemakers within our client’s minds, also become peacemakers within our own social and professional contexts.
And right now, the world could use a little bit of that, a little bit of peace.