The 2021 US Day of Independence and Freedom...Or Fear?
Joy and happiness, being easy-going and feeling good with a sense of peace and contentment, security, and freedom is rare, even non-existent for many people these days. I believe it becomes less and less with time. Especially so since the Covid pandemic exposed more clearly than before, the dysfunctions in our lives.
Dysfunctions of high anxieties, stresses, insecurities, frustrations, restrictions in our behavior and thinking, and tensions in our bodies and feelings are common. In the culture, these individual dysfunctions manifest as insanity: lies and delusions form the basis of ‘reality’ for a significant number of Americans. Current American delusions of victimization and threat are similar to the delusions that destroyed Germany and much of Europe during the last century. Division, conflict, paralysis and power-seeking amongst self-serving psychopathic leaders drives the US towards autocracy and away from freedom. Not just in the US, but around the world, often following the lead of the US.
Photo by Elisha Terada on Unsplash
On this US Day of Independence, the 4th of July, representing the ideal of freedom, with rights of ‘pursuit of happiness’ for all citizens, it is good to reflect on the nature of freedom. In my reflection, I see much more fear than freedom operating in our society. Instead of pursuing happiness through our desire and for our pleasure, we are much more pre-occupied to do what we must out of fear. We have all sorts of fears: fear of missing out (FOMO), fears of rejection, intimacy, connection, abandonment, humiliation, guilt, shame, embarrassment, insecurities, self-consciousness, being used, or of what will happen if things don’t get done. We control these mostly unconscious fears by restricting our breathing and energy, but our fear of losing control further restricts our aliveness, spontaneity, and well-being. Fears are the pre-dominant motivating forces I see as I work to help my clients feel better.
These fears, with the deeper fear of desire and the aliveness of life, precludes motivation by desire. It is as though the body pleasures of movement, connection, sexuality, engagement, resonance, empathy, and feelings…the pursuit of happiness, and joy, are unconsciously forbidden and off-limits. Rather, we chase the ego pleasures of status, wealth, influence, and power. When excessive, it can be shown these ego pleasures are motivated by fears of loss…and loss of control, love, connection, security, and freedom. At the deepest levels there are fears of insanity and death. Of course, these fears are not conscious or recognized. They are denied or rationalized. They are disconnected from the mind’s awareness and perception of reality. It is a condition in which feelings do not inform thinking, and thinking does not inform feelings. It is the Mind-Body Split (MBS). It is a condition that is widespread but almost unrecognized. It is little explored even within the body-psychotherapy practice from which it emerged in the last century.
The Alexander Lowen Foundation recognizes the importance of the MBS. It appears to be fundamental to psychological disorder, and as well, to the ‘normal’ behavior that creates massive and dangerous social dysfunction. It will likely be shown to be fundamental to much medical disorder as well. The MBS is a condition which masks one’s truth from oneself, making it impossible to accurately assess truth and external reality. The proliferation of fake news, and political and commercial deception, and obvious disconnected governmental and commercial operations that are wasteful and ineffective, are all evidence of the MBS getting worse; more widespread and more disconnected.
If the reality of the MBS and the psychological factors are not understood, no educational, political, or technological solution will materially transform our unsustainable self-destructive culture. As long as fear is the dominant emotion that moves us through life, the pursuit of happiness, pleasure, fulfillment and meaningful occupation will only be an elusive dream and idea.
Psychotherapists are the professionals who see and work with the reality of the MBS every day, even if they don’t think in those terms. As such, it is an opportunity, but more importantly it is a responsibility for psychotherapists to articulate and educate anyone who will listen, of the nature of MBS. Too, we should refine and develop our critique of society, as it has become abundantly clear over the past 100 years of psychological practice, the social structure is severely dysfunctional. If the American population were a single individual, they would be in extreme need of emergency psychotherapy!!
May the force be with you,…but beware the force of fear. Rather, let the force of desire and pleasure move you and be with you. Gaining a feeling awareness of fears is one’s path to pleasure and joy.
Have a safe, fun, and happy 4th of July holiday!