Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Liberating ourselves from the dependency that breeds hatred

“…I do know that beating are still recommended as method of parenting; that the United states, that self-styled model of democracy, still allows corporal punishment in schools in twenty-two states; and that, if anything, these States are becoming more and more vocal in their defense of this “right” to which all parents are entitled. It is absurd to believe that we teach children democracy with the help of physical force.

My conclusion from this is that there are probably a lot of people living in the world right now who have been through this kind of upbringing. All of them had their resistance to cruelty clubbed down at a very early stage; all of them have grown up in a state of what I can only call “inner insincerity.” We can observe this wherever we look. If someone says, “I don’t love my parents because they constantly humiliated me,” she will immediately hear the same advice from all sides: She must change her attitude if she wants to become truly adult, she must not live with hatred bottled up inside herself if she wants to stay healthy; she can free herself of that hatred only if she forgives her parents; there is no such thing as ideal parents---all parents sometimes make mistakes, and this is something we have to put up with, and we can learn to do so once we are truly adults.

The reason such advice sounds so sensible is that we have heard it all our lives and have believed it to be sound. But it is not. It rests on fallacious assumptions. It is not true that forgiveness will free us from hatred. It merely helps to cover it up and hence to reinforce it (in our unconscious minds). It is not true that tolerance grows with age. On the contrary. Children will tolerate their parents’ absurdities because they think them normal and have no way of defending themselves against them. Not until adulthood do we actively suffer from this lack of freedom and these constraints. But we feel this suffering in our relations with others, with our partners and our children. Infant fear of our parents stops us from recognizing the truth. It is not true that hatred makes us ill. Repressed, disassociated emotions can make us ill but not conscious feelings that we can give expression to. As adults, we will hate only if we remain trapped in a situation in which we cannot give free expression to our feelings. It is this dependency that makes us start to hate. As soon as we break that dependency (which as adults we can normally do, unless we are prisoners of some totalitarian regime), as soon as we free ourselves from that slavery, then we will no longer hate (see Chapter 10). However, if hatred is there it is no good forbidding it, as all the religions do. We have to understand the reasons for it if we are to opt for the kind of behavior that will free people from the dependency that breeds hatred.
Of course, people who have been severed from their true feelings since early childhood will be dependent on institutions like the church and will let themselves be told what they are allowed to feel. In most cases it is very little indeed. But I cannot imagine that it will always be like this. Somewhere, sometime, there will be a rebellion, and the process of mutual stultification will be halted when individuals summon up the courage to overcome their understandable fears, to tell, feel, and publish the truth and communicate with others on this basis.” From the book The Body Never Lies, page, 118 and 119

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