By drs. ing Joseph A.M. van Keulen
A new role for Europe!
Why do countries want to export fear? Why do countries need all these wars against Iraq, against weapons of mass destruction, against terror, against drugs, against crime, against you name it? Why do we want no, need an opposition? What would be the alternatives? What are Europe’s options? What are the arguments for such choices? What has all this to do with terrorism? How could terrorism be seriously reduced and helped to fade away from the world and regional scenes? How can we defuse the atom bomb of the voiceless as suicide bombings are sometimes called?
The most general and fundamental argument is that any movement against something will never resolve anything but can at best shift the nature of the issue or fragment it. A negative objective is like the famous carrot dangling from a stick bound to our own back. Thinking within the framework of our current ideologies, this dilemma is not resolvable no matter what we do. To resolve it we will have to change the perspective from which we see the reality and change the rules of the game. In short we need to change our current paradigm and find and construct a new view of the world in which we live. For an analysis of the war against terrorism I propose to do the same, Change our perspective and formulate the first elements of a new Paradigm from which we may select to take action. However before we discuss in depth terrorism as a phenomenon we first need to analyze some aspects of current day reality so that we can answer the questions: What are the reasons for and why choose vested powers for war, why do and can democracies not always work and why does violence work like a boomerang, coming back to those who use it. Answering these questions might open a path and provide the rational for a constructive, more promising dialogue that might give peace a chance and which might well result in the fading away of terror.
Why would this be the right time, why now?
At the dawn of the knowledge era we as humanity stand for new choices. We are offered the opportunity to deliver and realize abundance; we can eradicate hunger, poverty, and the misuse of our ecosystem all at once. Our economic ability has the opportunity to explode in capability another fifty times, much like historical changes did when moving from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies and again when we moved from agricultural to industrial societies. Through these changes we climbed the mountain of material prosperity. The big caveat is, however, that we have reached the current summit of that mountain. From the top of the mountain, there is no further to climb; if we do we come crashing down upon ourselves. From the top of the mountain we can stay there and enjoy and marvel at the view or we can come down from the top back to the valley. The hard work of climbing the mountain does not need to be repeated there now is a different challenge. We have all the options we can imagine for instance to take a micro light and fly off, to skydive, to ski down in winter or to take our snowboard or use our mountain climbing gear or do anything else we think will be enjoyable or a learning experience. Alternatively we can take the industrial approach and start constructing a rail way or road down the mountain or construct another type of machinery to bring us down. The first, more pleasurable abundance options requires the mindset of setting our self free, to work together on certain issues, to cooperation and to collaborate for the sake of realizing the joy of the experience. This requires is a completely new and different mindset. The second option of creating machinery to bring us down can be done through a continuation of the current control paradigm of the industrial age. This, the industrial age paradigm had as key components competition, control, and was dominated by the aspect of management. To manage a system it needs to be controllable. To be controllable it needs to be a relatively or temporarily closed system. So ‘closeness’ is what the vested interests require to maintain their current secured power based positions.
War is the most effective form of a closed system as its dynamics are completely focused on closing ranks. So it is the perfect vehicle to create and maintain opposition. A declaration of war automatically closes a system. However in order to have a war you need to have an opposition, you need an enemy in order to keep your own system closed and to keep the existing structures effective and intact. If you have no longer an enemy you must make one even if it means that you have to inflate something out of all proportions Fighting is an essentially useless and meaningless activity unless you have an opposition. Shadowboxing can only remain exciting for so long.
Fear is the force of contraction and thus of creating the substance you can fight against. So calling on fear, activating fear, bringing fear to the forefront of everybody’s mind is the most direct recipe to maintain the war model and to restore control that threatens to slip away. And since there is much at stake here, anything is good enough to instill fear and maintain the need for war. Gandhi deeply understood this dynamic and was in recent history the most prominent reminder and who demonstrated through his actions the reality of this deep truth. All of the western economic system is built on the control paradigm which produced focus and technological advancement. The paradox is however that the same technological advancement in turn threatens to break up the control paradigm itself. In other words the student threatens to surpass the master, and the master must let go. Whether he likes it or not, in the end the old reality has no chance to successfully defend its position and prevent the emergence of the new. That is how evolution works. The current case is one of global social evolution.
Why democracies cannot always work
In order to discuss this point I will draw a parallel with the cycle of human development from infant to successful independent professional. In the early formative years the infant and child is fully dependent on the parents to fulfill its needs, so the well being of the family is of paramount importance and a child on a subconscious level is willing to do anything to restore balance or keep intact and balanced this family structure.
This holds true even if it means becoming unhappy, getting ill, or even an early death. Such is the power of the deep hidden loyalties. In the next (second) phases of development the child goes to school and learns to deal with externally imposed rules and roles, and makes contact with the concepts of being judged and of arbitration. All are externally imposed ideas with opposing dynamics to those of the natural family experience. After the child is finished with school, a young mature person enters a world in which it can self-determine, self-select and coordinate choices that are driven from within.
This simple picture of three phases of the human life cycle is what I would like to use as a model for society since it helps to better understand how things are. The clan, the tribe, the one party system, the secret society, and the lobby are all somewhat equivalent forms of the family system phase. Democracy as a system is rule, role, and justice based and thus part of the second externally imposed and humanly designed system stage.
An organization of networked self-steering, independent individuals would represent the third phase. Communities of Practice are an example of a third stage form of organization and so is the United Nations. It is because of this reason that looked at from a second stage it often is seen as ineffective. A third stage is not about action and decisions but about consensus and communication. The security council with its vetoes are thus a degenerate form of this third stage and effectively function at level two.
Societies like infants, children and adolescents have a certain stage of development along parallel lines. It is for this reason that in countries who are still very strong with their tribal or clan structures an “individuals based ” democracy cannot exist and it would be more accurate to call them tribal or group democracies. Equally, in countries where power groups and lobbies control the scene it would be more accurate to call them pseudo-democracies whilst only if you have a phase with multiple (effectively more than two) parties, we should consider it as a full democracy. That is until societies reach in their own development the third stage of dominantly self-steering individuals with corresponding values and motivation. In this stage one would get consensus democracies and in this stage the political game changes in nature. The ruling role of the political establishment is changed to become infrastructure for a consensus society evolving from a base of wisdom. It make the system overall much more efficient and effective since the road ahead and a compelling vision are the permanent perspectives against which decision making and trade offs can be negotiated.
From the application of this comparison it becomes clear why in certain countries in the developing world democracy seems to have brought such misery. The admission that under certain circumstances it cannot and thus will not work is a precondition for us to create the conditions for it to work in the future. Similarly, once we take this four step model for qualifying the stages of maturity of democracies then we can suddenly also see how nations advance or in certain cases retreat on the ladder of development. We can start to see how countries advance but also how they regress. For instance, when big money and lobbies take control of a democracy it can slip back from full democracy to pseudo democracy or if families, tribes or secret services take control or an too dominant position then a pseudo democracy can fall back to a tribal or group democracy.
Why violence is like a boomerang
I propose a different viewpoint, the supposition that violence is a force and a force field. Like a thunder cloud. It can exist at the personal level and resides then in the family. It can exist at the group or clan level and resides then in the region. Finally it can exist at a people’s or religion level and then resides globally in the world. All three of these modes can coexist next to one another or become connected. When such connections are made between personal fields and one or two of the fields with a collective nature then something extra ordinary happens: The collective field takes precedence. This can be temporary as in the case of football hooliganism or more permanent as in the case of terrorism and terrorist groups. To understand these phenomenons we need to make contact with them and accept them as they are. We need to recognize and acknowledge their strength and their nature as they represent the collective result of our shadowy past bundled together in hate violence and frustration. To deal with it we will need to deal with those shadows of our recent past and sometimes even distant past. However, before we have a chance to effectively deal with these forces and phenomenon we need to take the investigative steps and to familiarize ourselves first with the laws of these dynamics. After that we can apply the principles learned and initiate the healing processes necessary. In addition we can adjust the reasoning and justification of our proposed (re)action strategies to terror attacks.
To illustrate and help to understand and accept the idea that violence is a force field, a morphogenetic entity, I propose to look at the dynamics of certain occurrences on why history seems to repeat itself. Why in families occurred violence seems to reproduce violence. Then it will be up to yourself to make up your mind if this perspective of reality makes sense and of so what the action consequences would have to be.
Some reasons why (violent) history repeats itself
We as individual human beings are by definition a synergetic product of the family system of our father and our mother. There are no exceptions we all have a father and a mother even if we do not know them and we carry in us aspects of both sides. The family therapeutic work initiated by Bert Hellinger has brought to light that any person is also an active part of a larger entity, the family system. This family system has a collective ‘knowingness’ and works on the basis of certain laws and principles. In biology, Rupert Sheldrake did analogue research in the knowingness of other fields such as they exist between birds or between a dog and his master, to mention just two with which he achieved astounding and spectacular results.
A prime law of family systems is that every member has an equal right to belong and no one may be denied that right. However if the right is denied, then a new member of the system (usually a child) will be ‘taken in by the system’ and given the role to represent the denied member in order to remind the system and its environment of his or her existence.
One of the other basic dynamics of family systems is that in case of serious crimes the victim and perpetrator become part of one another’s systems. Therefore, the victim becomes part of the perpetrator’s system whilst the perpetrator fuses into the victim’s system. We speak here of energies and in that sense there is no differentiation between the live and the death. So a seriously violated or killed person becomes attached to (part of) the family system of the perpetrator and visa versa.
In many cases, perpetrators’ families do not recognize or acknowledge the now intimate relationship with the victims, so as a balancing movement by the system some member(s) of the family will be ‘nominated’ to start to ‘live out’ aspects of that ‘victim hood’. The reverse is equally true and a common yet little understood phenomenon. Therefore in families of victims the perpetrator energies and tendencies will emerge if the perpetrator aspect of the modified family system structure is not given a recognized place. The result is that one or more members will start to show perpetrator qualities (the black sheep of the family is a consequence of such a dynamic and so is the violence ‘justified’ by the idea: Never should it happen again). It is through this mechanism that victims become criminals and criminals become victims and the cycle of violence repeats itself until such times that the underlying entanglements are brought into consciousness and free choice can have its beneficial liberating effects. Only after this happens has peaceful co-existence and harmony a chance to re-emerge.
The work of Dr. Gundhart Weber, of Professor Matthias Varga von Kibéd , Dr. Insa Sparrer and others have effectively demonstrated that analogue system dynamics apply in larger people systems such as organizations and collective groups like ethnic communities, tribes, clans, nations, peoples and religions. Observing through the perspective of a People System Model and observing these collective dynamics gives us new insights into the forces at work. From such insights we can deduce the statement, made earlier, that the phenomena of violence can be considered force fields with a charge. That charge which in a way is a bit like that of a thunder cloud, seeks an opportunity to discharge itself and will do so spontaneously if the ‘load’ exceeds a critical value. A terrorist attack is then like the lightning of the thundercloud discharging the surplus energy of that field. The violent discharge tends to work through certain members who seem to have a certain ‘weakness’ or sensitivity for it. In a way this structural weaknesses in the “defense” system of individuals is often either caused by structural factors in the culture or by personal traumatic experiences by the person or its family line. The cultural component is valid for certain religious and ethnic groups in which exist an extreme unbalance between male and female values.
A movement for peace and the exit for terror
At the crossroads of time with a chance of prosperity and freedom, dare we face the risk of the wrath of our own insecurity? Dare we let go of our pain and choose to enter a new reality and make that reality to come true?
To make this choice conscientiously we first of all have to be truthful with ourselves, truthful with the situation we live in and truthful with the fears that we will have to overcome and let go. To let go of all those trusted dynamics so familiar to us and that brought us in deep trouble over and over again. Yet the trouble is so familiar and so deer to us that it is most difficult to let go. To do it we need courage. Anyone can suffer; it takes courage to become a happy and harmonious society
Dare we step out of that trouble or do we prefer and thus chose the known path back into a new cycle of suffering until our next chance to step out presents itself? In other words, as the current train stop do we get out and change track or do we at the last minute jump back onto the same old train whose destination and path we know only too well?
My proposition is that we change trains which will take us to a new and as yet largely unknown territory of promising beauty and prosperity. Does Europe dare to let the ‘American dream’ come true in view of the fact that the Americans have become lost and stuck on one of the old tracks? Does Old Europe dare step out of its cocoon and show the world the beauty of the butterfly? We need to dream our new reality, shape it and give it form and in that way make it come true. Never in the last 12,000 years have we had a better chance to do it.
This opportunity is of course much larger than the issue of terror, but let us focus for now on the aspect of terror as an expression of force fields of violence. If we see violence as a force field charged with the energy of violence and accept that this field is charged and discharged by acts of violence, then the first law to obey is that the reaction to violence must always be a tempered one. The reaction must be less than the original act. In the same way that a loving and sound way to punish a child is to make the point but never equal out or surpass the gravity of the offense. In the same way a reaction of communities and governments to acts of violence should be similarly restrained. If not, it charges the field of violence with more energy and the only mathematical certainty it gives is that it will produce new and more violence. So violence cannot be stamped out, only stamped in! Once the energy is in the field it will need and want to come out. Finding less damaging ways to do that will be the challenge of the years ahead and the current time.
To discharge the fields of violence, the first act is to hear and acknowledge the pain it represents, the crimes that were committed and the reasons for our guilt. We must acknowledge the crimes of slavery, the genocides and killings committed for profit, for the empire, for the church, or because we wanted the new or promised land, oe we wanted to give ourselves a new chance. Acknowledgment opens the mind and the heart to treat the causes and reestablish the collective energy flows that were blocked. A harmonious system has free-flowing energies. It will eliminate the dark pockets of frustrated forces needing to express themselves through terrorism. Such an approach would be lasting and not in vain be absorbing more and more resources and be drawing our attention away from much more important challenges, chances and opportunities that face humankind and the globe at large.
Building on a well founded vision of the future based on the fundamental zeitgeist forces at work and the experience gained with political, organizational and family constellations an anti terror approached can be sketched out which has a very good chance to work very beneficiary viewed from all aspects.
Brussels 28 March 2004