Episode 86 – Splitting, Polarization & Conflict

Nov 21, 2019


It happens all the time: people and problems split into opposing camps, whether the conflict is internal, between partners, in a family or—as we know all too well—between political parties. When positions become polarized conflict ensues, whether between mind and body, partners and families, or value systems and religious affiliations. What makes it possible to reach across the chasm between entrenched extremes? The Jungian concept of holding the tension of the opposites allows energy, like electricity, to flow between both poles; each can have its full say. Instead of remaining mired in fixity or moral judgment, curiosity may open the way for a new attitude that transcends the polarities.

“I am going for a holiday to Bali with my husband and best friend. We are running late for our flight. At the airport, I check in my huge suitcase, but then I realise I don’t have my passport. A young man with dark hair, whom I know to be a playwright, says, ‘Go to the counter. You look young, like a six year old. Act innocent. You should be able to talk your way on to the plane without a passport.’ But I don’t want to do this. Instead, I get in the car with my husband and friend. They are pissed at me. I know it is impossible to get back home to get my passport and make the flight. Part of me doesn’t really care. I don’t wan’t to go to Bali. I feel busy and overwhelmed in my working life – so I want to stay to attend to things – and I don’t like the tourist culture in Bali – it is infantilising. Still, I feel pulled in all directions. I have let down my companions. We stop by the side of the road to talk about it alongside an oil refinery. I say ‘They have already boarded our luggage, so they are not going to take off without us.’ Still, it is not clear what we should do from there.”

Neumann, Eric. Depth Psychology and a New Ethic (Amazon).
Woodard, Colin. American Nations: A History of Eleven Rival Regional Cultures (Amazon).
Haidt, Jonathan. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion (Amazon)

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  1. Rhonda Smith

    Hi, enjoyed the material until I was derailed by the example of adoption being a warm and affirming alternative making abortion unnecessary. I am, like most adoptees, attachment disordered. We have a four times greater suicidality. Overrepresented for mental health care. The first lesson we learned was our fundamental unlovability; the second – that our survival relied solely on being whatever our buyers- monied childless couples – wanted us to be. Neuroscience is finally catching up on the profound damage relinquishment causes, for a lifetime. Adoption is trauma. Temporary birthing homes for women in poverty do exist. They’re predominantly fundamentalist Christian, and as soon as these women have delivered the product (a white baby goes for about 40K) these women are dumped right back into the situations that got them there. Likely, in hopes of another product for profit. Those are not destigmatizing, loving homes. They’re labor camps, literally.

    The loving, accepting solution is family preservation. A majority of abortions are due to an inability to afford to raise the child. Women experience stigma for whatever choice they make, but most of that stigma is reserved for women who can’t afford to keep their own child, and is shamed into giving that child to strangers who do not have that child’s best interests at heart.

    If not family preservation, abortion is a mercy. I beg you to look these things up, to reduce disinformation. Thank you!

    • Joseph Lee

      You are offering powerful insights that deserve consideration. Thank you for adding to the conversation ~ Joseph


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