Wednesday, 12 December 2018
The Monsters within ourselves that we only see in others....
I read a depressing story about a former local politician from Swansea. The story is full of human frailty and imperfection and all of the darkness and despair that we are capable of. The truth is that the politicians and rulers that we have are merely echoes, projections and displacements of ourselves. The monsters within are the monsters without. It's so easy to see the shadow and the monsters that others have. It's not so easy to see them within ourselves. I glance dance the list if the comments on the story. The comments are brutal and vengeful I always run in horror from those who seek vengeance and never criticize themselves or apply the same level of loathing. It's no accident that within the prison system the sex offenders are the projections if the others.
The truth is that all sex crime is caused by the structures of power. It's about the reduction of individuals to the level of objects. It's an instrumental problem. And we all are all guilty at some level or in some way of that crime. The ambitious politician, the salesperson and the company director are as guilty as this individual. I suspect fear, desire and a psychological pattern of behavior and experience could explain much. I suspect that all of us given the tragic circumstances and our own frailties could end up in similar circumstances. I have sat in therapy both with the victims of abuse and of the abusers. I am a near victim myself of male power and its implications and of the potential it brings. Yet without that experience at an English Prep school I would not have the insight I have into both abused and abusers. I fear that those who lead the charge of condemnation have rarely looked at themselves. It's easy to deny our own monsters by hunting more powerful monsters in others. It's no accident that it's a sub text of the far right it's convenient to condemn others but seek to excuse ourselves.
How many men can honestly say they have not seen a woman as an object at some time or other? How many law and order fanatics not sort the role of both judge and jury? How many fantasize about capital and corporal punishment on everybody but themselves?
I know the individual concerned. Swansea is a small place. I have seen his imperfections and his abilities. Yet they are the same in degree with some difference that we all might have. I do not excuse his behavior I simply state that given the circumstances we might all in particular situations do the same. We should simply be thankful that the great majority do not. We each experience the gaze and attention of the monsters in our own personal abyss. We should know and understand these monsters within ourselves and seek to protect the vulnerable from monsters wherever we find them. The degree and power of these demons depends upon blind spots, ignorance and lack of self-awareness. The abuser and the abused is within all of us. Every saint has a past and every summer a future. If we can stone others we must also be prepared to stone ourselves. Denial of the self leads to fear of the others...we must judge and condemn ourselves rather than those we have never known, talked to or met. Social media has much to answer for in saving ourselves from being examined. And as Socrates says the unexamined life is not with living. So when you read the story about a particular former Tory Councillor from Swansea.
When you complain about the expected lightness of his sentence it's more about you feeling guilty and your imagining that you would be treated harshly. The truth is that you are both judge and jury of yourself but you deny it and become the judge and jury of another person that you have never met. .know your Id and your Shadow and look within for the answers....the Monsters have all the time in the world....if we condemn this man we must condemn many more through the to a former Deputy Speaker and to our selves.. some behaviours are exposed and others not...and some escape the confrontation with the shadow by clinging to and celebrating their duty to God. it is power that leads to abuse and nothing else