Wednesday, 18 April 2012

One Way Mirrors: What’s ‘Mine’ is ‘Yours’

It’s the classic psychological symptom of our materialistic and ego centred culture. Denial. Like an ongoing abusive relationship, the superficial veneer presented to the neighbourhood and family often masks a corrosive and destructive co-habitation. Appearance can be everything, to both the victim and the abuser. The victim of the abuse is lost in the pain of the abuser who symbolically enacts the denied aspects of his or herself onto their partner. The irony is that the suffering endured by the victim is not their own pain, but simply the reflection of a one-way psychological mirror.

Cultural and social conditioning in the West has developed a deep-rooted sense of inner deprivation. This is symbolically demonstrated through levels of personal debt, the increasing rise in cosmetic surgery and the pervasive competition that grips individuals in their career and relationships. The swathes of people lost in the pursuit of material gratification are classic examples of the one-way mirror. They deny the sense of inner deprivation that has formed in them through the abusive agenda of the advertising media, and blindly follow the messages they are given. Like a classic sociopath/victim romance, the ongoing commentary of the abuser finally breaks the psychological stronghold of the victim. Whilst lost in the pervasive glare of the one-way mirror the victims are still given the chance to try and analyse and understand the abuse of the partner. Quite often, the choice for self-analysis is denied and the intoxicating glare of the one-way mirror ensures that they become the puppet of the abuser, living out the fear and pain that the abuser refuses to acknowledge in them self. In the same way the aggressive marketing and branding of products is a form of deep-seated emotional abuse, but like a classic line from a violent relationship ‘it’s being done for our own good’. The marketers, in denial of their own sense of inner deprivation, have brainwashed themselves into believing that they are helping the public by making them constantly aware of products that they don’t really need. In a double binding feedback loop, the brainwashed consumers often purchase the goods with money they can ill afford, simultaneously validating the aggressive marketing companies into thinking there is purpose and value in their agenda. The parallels are eerily similar with the sociopath/victim relationship. The victim eventually adheres to the messages of abuse and feels unworthy to be with the abusive partner who is only projecting outwards their own lack of self worth.

The co-created affects of the one-way mirror run far deeper then the physical actions and messages that the abuser and victim impart on one another. Gestalt therapy carries the theory of the ‘field’ that was integrated from Kurt Lewin’s understanding of the organism-environmental field. Lewin suggests that behaviour is ‘embedded in a context which intrinsically includes the person, with all their characteristics and perceptions, and the environment with all its forces and influences’. In some mysterious way we carry our history and life force in its totality within the here and now. This can create ‘openings’ within our psyche to any unhealed traumas or sensitivities that we may not be consciously aware of. Whilst with people that do not take responsibility for their own pain we become susceptible to the toxic energies and pain that somehow becomes reflected onto the environment. A classic case of this could be the high-flying salesman. In a general sense the salesman is looking to make a sale, to both earn money and validate the sense of inner deprivation that his own profession creates. Quite often the top-level sales professional will have sociopathic tendencies, thirsting for personal gratification whilst denying their own inherent psychological characteristics. As a result of this the sense of deprivation will be projected outwards in the sales meeting, ensuring that the environment and potential client will become more aware of a sense of lack in ‘themselves’ and moving them further forward in making a deal.

The individuals that project the one-way mirror are generally doomed to repeat the same patterns for their entire life. Usually they will push their own life force against the will of the universe in personal denial of their wrongdoings to others. In other words, they will become more abusive and manipulative to attempt to distort reality and impart their own will on their environment. The situations should eventually become unworkable or damaging to them however, giving them yet another chance to see what they are co-creating. It’s almost comically obvious that the abusers only need to look back on themselves and take responsibility for their own pain for this path of destruction to stop. The temptation of the one-way mirror and the instant gratification it can bring them illuminates their weakness in taking personal responsibility. This often propels them in an increasingly corrosive lifestyle until burn out ensues.  At the very least it will narrow their lifestyle until they open up to the sense of interconnected responsibility that is intrinsically present in all of life.

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