Promises, Promises…

Hello all
Well once again it has been awhile since I have contributed to this blog.

It has become clear to me that one of the last things I want to do when I get home is to sit in front of a computer and carry on typing after having spent all day in front of one writing software. However I still want to get my thoughts down.

So to overcome this I decided to invest, partly as a test and partly out of interest, in a new toy. The toy in question is a copy of the speech recognition software called Dragon Naturally Speaking. As ever with any piece of technology it may take some adjustment but at the moment I am being pleasantly surprised about how effective it is. It does seem to need a computer with a fair amount of power and memory but I am finding it nicer to use than sitting typing. Of course there is always the chance that it is just a new toy 🙂 but if it helps me get my thoughts down here that is all to the good.

So the process I have used for this post is to speak most of the text into the computer and then to edit it by hand thereafter.

Having re-read the last post I realise that I have managed to find a rather good antidote to the problems of the enquiring mind. The answer is quite simple: Exercise, cycling to be exact.

Anyway – down to business.

I would like to connect some of the thoughts of one of my favourite thinkers that I highlighted in that last post, David Bohm, to some recent viewing I have been doing. His writings and comments related to a rather surprising subject (for me) that I normally do not deal with here. So I would like to warn you that I am going to deal with a politically loaded subject. Yet still strongly connected to how people can get stuck into patterns of thought thus leading to behaviour.

We recently bought the DVD of the Channel 4 series “The Promise” and I have to say that this is not viewing you would want to watch just before going to bed. After every episode I would find my mind turning the issues over and over, each time coming back to certain thoughts which would invariably interfere with sleeping. Given also that recently I have read the book “Mornings in Jenin” by Susan Abulhawa which detailed the experiences of families from Ein Hod, there were quite a number of parallels as you would imagine.

Let me say that I am well aware that these are works of fiction, but this doesn’t in any way reduce the value of the thinking one can do, and particularly the imagination of what life might be like for people caught in those conflicts.

My impressions about this whole subject? I was mainly struck by how psychological damage rattles down through the generations. Although I am not so familiar with the details of what started World War 1, it was the reparations from that war that set the context for World War II. And it seems that that in turn set the context of the current crisis being played out in the Middle East. This stream of thought was driven by asking myself the question: How is it that the same mistakes keep getting made over and over again?

So after World War I it was the Germans that were traumatised leading to their dire economic state. After World War II it was the Jews who were traumatised, thus leading to a violent birth of the state of Israel. If one allows oneself the luxury of standing right back from the details of the individual conflicts you can see this tragic progression of traumatisation from one group to another. It was at this point that I remembered David Bohm writing about thought as a system. It is as if the human race in conflict is being driven along like leaves in a storm, but of its own creating. I can well imagine that if one got caught up in the conflict in the Middle East now, one’s view would be affected by the particular experience one had, which in turn would dictate one’s sympathies, be it pro-Arab or pro-Israeli.

The hard thing would be to hold oneself neutral and see the recurring behaviours. My goodness. Could I do that?

So I wonder – would it be fair to think that we are being driven by our own unconscious thought processes. I don’t underestimate how strong the feelings may be for the individual but if the cycle of violence is not to be perpetuated the human race as a group has got to be able to step outside of certain trains of thought and strength of feeling.

Or is that thinking all too detached? In my defence I can only say that my wish is to understand how to stop it happening again. Of course I have not been involved directly in the conflicts I have mentioned so who am I to comment upon them? But make no mistake : it is the weight of popular opinion that will be the strongest force in stopping a conflict. This has already happened in Northern Ireland among other places.

To me – popular opinion is based upon the experience of families. In each example of conflict, the real tragedy is the effect that it has on family life and how people are catapulted out of a very loving environment into a horrible and violent situation. Thus the hurt children of one age become the soldiers of a subsequent one. If only those in power would, when making their decisions, consider in an imaginative way just what effect their deliberating will have on family life, then maybe there would be more reason to hope.

Once again it is a case of thinking being too abstract rather than being imaginatively grounded in reality.

I have experience of a situation where doting grandparents did not see their grandchildren for 10 years due to the fear and instability fostered by the prevailing political climate in the grandparent’s own country. It is so easy to spend time worrying about high level political changes going on but for me the reality of this aspect of the world can be seen in any airport arrivals terminal when you see the love and joy of families being reunited after long absences.

Next time will be on a more upbeat note. Promise!

Till the next time…

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