One of my passions is psychology. I like to read and apply on myself the concepts that I read about, evaluating who I am and how I have constructed my relationships along time. One of my mentors is Carl Gustav Jung, an outstanding personality, a researched, a scientist I dare say, a scientist of human relationships and their roots traced back into subconscious level, a man whose views and high cultural level were outstanding, not only for his time, and whose contribution to society was, in my humble view, always to be remembered, a legacy, knowledge stored in huge amount of materials to be used by generations. I am in awe with his work, his impartiality and professionalism, the huge amount of notions to be studied and reflected upon, probably during my whole life, and I like to dream that someday I will be a person who might leave a sign for other generations to use too. I also like to look up to Margaret Mead, whose work I am just starting to familiarize myself with. Not many of the great people of the 20th century were encouraged to follow their calling and do their work, I somehow find that similar to my situation as not many people in my life have encouraged me to follow my passions, even some that I have considered close to me, in the past.
Psychology is part of everyday life in everything we see and experience, starting from the way our parents raised us to how materials in schools were created to promote education and notions to be taught, from young ages to adulthood, how media shapes information to be distributed, institutions create their agendas and materials to be integrated into society, in marketing to be applied into campaigns, attracting buyers, in politics to comprehend and also utilize the power of the citizens (soft power), to influence and shape culture, to establish trends. It is known that culture functions through patterns and with symbols to be comprehended at unconscious level. (The coined term and research of the collective unconscious we owe to Carl Gustav Jung.)
What is culture? I would like to bring a definition of it for people who might be confused about this term.
Defining culture is to state its key aspects.
First, culture is a quality of society, not the individual; second, it is acquired through the process of individual acculturation or socialization; and third, each culture is a unique set of characteristics dictating behaviour in every aspect of an individual’s life. Culture is the social identity individuals start to develop when they become aware of belonging to a social group: national cultures as well as political, economic, social, and historical elements form a national identity.
According to these classifications, culture can be compared to a program; it contains information about the society in which individuals find themselves. It provides information about social roles, the structure of relationships, etiquette and how everyday life should be arranged. Culture is a guideline for social interaction, but it is only valid in the social context in which this program is internalized among its members; therefore, it is necessary to understand the other members of the global society and their program. (The new public diplomacy, edited by Jan Milessen 2005)
Living in the world, with man being a social being, means living among people, developing your own character and personality through culture, through the dynamics of relations established during life, in accordance with psychological and physical needs, meeting demands and adjusting to the total setting, integration in the cultural ground one lives in.
Living in the world, in a democratic world, also means expression, creative expression of an individual.
It is already known that culture is a fabric of meaning in which human beings interpret their experience and guide their actions. (Clifford Geertz)
A coherent, holistic culture shapes action by informing consciousness and, in the formulations of the culture and personality writers, by moulding personality. (A theory of culture, Herskovits J. Melville)
Through the study of culture we can comprehend laws of cultural dynamics, the complex of patterned system of beliefs and bevahiour that shape identity of a culture, and an individual, the variables whose limits are set by probabilities that a given type or trend will emerge from a given complex of circumstances – making therefore prediction possible and creating an instrument for a process of enculturation.
What does that mean? How can this be used? Could this be used for political reasons or maybe economical by society?
What about private life, do we care to comprehend the people we meet in their full representation, their inner and exterior world (emotions, feelings, cultural background, historic of relationships, professional activity, priorities or needs, ideals, dreams, aspirations)?
Have we tried to do that for ourselves, firsthand, before trying to understand someone else?
I like that psychology gives the chance for everyone to know themselves, through accessible materials and easy guides, articles, books (for those who still are passionate readers and have the time to invest in it) and also through counselling. It is an amazing instrument of finding out who you are, so that you can present yourself accurately to the people you want to engage with in future relationships.
There is an increasing number, alarming one I would add, of divorces nowadays, children raised in mono-parental families or living without their parents, people living in solitude, singles, an increased number of depression cases or reported loneliness around the globe.
If we read the newspapers or watch international channels there is a subliminal wave of fear and threats promoted by the media, also on social networks, pressure on limited expression (spiral of silence, emotional manipulation) with the possibility of setting trends of uniformity and conformism not only at national level but transnational as global actors are brought under spotlight.
Where are we going?
I like the idea of change, not so sure everyone does, as I don’t see this idea encouraged through cultural means. The world has always changed, nature changes and we live in a world build artificially on the ground of nature. It is natural for things to change, old structures to dissolve for novelty.
Progress has always been made through struggle, new variables may establish growth, providing alternatives, meeting new demands. This is not surprising. People change, our relationships change, we are living organisms that are always set in motion.
What is the meaning of what we live, what is the significance of what is happening?
What is really happening?, is the question.
It is easy to notice that we are, as human beings, influenced by the cultural background we were born and developed into and also at psychological level, by all the information and all the social relations we have and are establishing.
Have we tried to comprehend what is it that we are doing as individuals, first, in how we conduct our own lives, before anything else?
Are we able to distinguish who we are, putting aside all the extra cultural material by society in which we have grown and all the expectations people around us had from us?
Who is the person who lives that daily life in a society, who wants a job, financial stability, a place where to be or feel at home, maybe someone to share it with, maybe a family in which this person demands sincerity and support – Is it offering the same? – the person who has the right to happiness, fulfillment, to express themselves freely in a democratic world, who has the right to create a living from their passion, to prosper and flourish in an environment where everyone feels safe?
Because there are times when we think of ourselves of the most peaceful and caring human beings and our behaviour states differently.
We all have aspects of personality that we are not so fond of, aspects we try to hide or manipulate in such a way that they might not seem terrible to other people, we’re afraid we might scare them so we choose to hide them away. But they still manifest, every trait of a person is presented sooner or later through the dynamics of social relations, at times at subconscious level, meaning a person “is not aware” of the things they did.
Awareness is gained through self-reflection, noted actions, evaluation of own behaviour and how is that behaviour shaping the world of the actor.
I have made a long introduction to present a few factors that are key aspects in the development of personality, with the aim to respond to the feedback I receive from some of my readers.
I have chosen to give my trust to many people in the past. Many I considered worthy of my time, my ideas, my shared opinions and some of my concerns regarding the world. I won’t hide that I dislike where the world is currently and how we have become to live. Insecurity of human life, how innocent children are caught in political and economic interests, wars, I see a proof that many world leaders aren’t self-aware about their behaviour. Organizations with the purpose and meant to support human life have their actions put under question, what is the truth?
Have we all chosen to trust instead of evaluating what is the real interest of some of the people that contact us or some of the institutions that have promoted peaceful and supporting messages?
Each message is shaped in a specific way, using symbols to be recorded by consciousness, stored by the mind of the individual, given a certain significance, an interpretation that will guide the actions of the receiver.
Have we discovered who are we, as the receivers, the individual, as an individuality in a society?
Building bridges is a reality when all the parties involved in an affair want to put the same effort into a fruitful outcome, thus supporting one another.
Is it how things happen nowadays, not only at national and international level through the governments of societies, but in the way we shape our relationships?
Do we really pay attention at the messages we send and the ones we receive?
In the past, I have met many times not only a lack of encouragement, because that is a free will action, but emotional sabotage from the people I have considered close to me. I was threatened in the past (in relation to education I chose or decisions I wanted to make for myself) that if I act upon my own intelligence I will face loss of a friendship, I was told repeatedly that my actions are not worthy or they are useless, pointless, thus emphasizing limitation of a person, I was told my questions shouldn’t be asked – then progressively marginalized (then asked about isolation), or subliminal messages or suggestions through random messages, aiming directed outcome.
But it is not surprising as these messages are a constant presence in society nowadays.
I dare you to analyze the cultural material you come in contact with.
Dear readers, one of the people who told me I was his best friend and will support me on the path I will follow – because he said – he believes in who I am (a person who talks about equality and equity, importance of education and women, global peace and prosperity), left me, a woman with a desire to learn but no financial stability, during winter, without any possibility to continue to do so, without any trace of empathy or feelings, not even for that little moment when he held my hand in the car, on one of the most amazing roads we have seen in our lives, on Transalpina, not even remembering the sandwiches I used to prepare him, the moments we shared during our sunsets together, the adventures we had in our travels, telling me he will pretend I am dead instead of actually trying to understand what is happening.
There was no equity here, I had chosen to trust in this person because I believed he was worthy of it, as a human being, and wished that this person will choose to be the best in any moment. This is what I thought about friendships, that its purpose was to support. I didn’t know his background, how and with who was he raised, the school he went to and how his relationships were shaped, who were his friends, not even his family, even though he had seen mine many times, was welcomed by my sister in the best way she knew.
I chose to see the best in him … even though, after I have finished my book (not many people do that during a lifetime), he told me it is “not good enough”, although this person seldom reads. He wasn’t curious even of the other books I wrote or what are my dreams… if I have the courage to follow them or what does it happen to me when everything around seems hostile, in a place where corruption is reported to be at its home? How will I manage to survive when there is nobody around and no option for me?
I am not upset, after all this, but sad… sad to see where promoted means through culture can reach, hitting personal relationships. It is no surprise the number of divorces.
We change during life, our relationships change, it’s normal, our priorities change their place on the hierarchy maybe along with our values, and our actions adapt accordingly. How we perceive the world and others (how we were taught to do so through culture) will establish the way we will develop our relationships and what we will offer and demand from them, according to our needs.
The question is:
How sincere are we when we want to establish a relationship?
First, towards ourselves, do we know who we are and what we want?
Then what do we expect from the other to offer us for what we have to offer them?
If we are honest, try to understand ourselves first and see lucidly what are our traits, discover our own individuality and manage these traits in a productive way, in a plural world, we can build bridges and we can grow, together, in peace.
This is my hope, a normal girl, trying to find herself a place in a forever changing world. But I cannot live alone, I wouldn’t be happy like that, I need you and your uniqueness. After that, when we learn who we are, maybe, one day, it will become reality, with all of us collaborating to development.