onsdag 22 augusti 2007

Guilt – part one…

I got interested in the book ”Normality” and started to read some words here and there. In the first chapter he (Jesper Holst) writes about the history of the social-pedagogy. He writes about the middle-age and feudalism and later early capitalism, as he thinks started in the 14th century. He wrote something about that during middle age it was Gods will that ruled. The churches and monasteries administered things: who was sinful etc. (I read this very fast, and this is probably very simplified from my part).

After the feudalism the early capitalism came, the relation between country-side and town was changed. The urbanization started. Now when the amount of poor and without work increased you had to put the blame step by step on each specific individual for their poorness. Earlier it was Gods will as mentioned above everything you met in life (fatalism!!?? You had to meet this to learn!? There was something you had to and should learn). Now one started to blame the ones without work or being unwilling to work.

This made me come back to the issue religion and guilt, a topic the Dutch therapist Ingeborg Bosch has written about. She has done this in the chapter about the primary defence. Which is about blaming oneself: I’m just no good. It’s my entire fault!! I can’t do it! I’m bad!!

Different people have different access to these feelings; they are lying more or less on the surface for different people. Generally women have more access to these, and therefore are more prone admitting them Bosch means. Men are hiding them more, both to themselves and to others. But we all have them more or less, because we all have experiences which have forced us to rely on this defence. Experiences we have had to suppress.

Holt wants to critically analyze the normality-concept. And it is interesting (and quite important in fact to get the perspective that knowledge about the history gives I suddenly feel from the little I have read now. That it doesn’t have to be as it is now, and how it is is made by man, by human beings, and thus also able to do something about – if we want!!! What sort of society- and world- do we choose??

The basic primary defense belief is, according to Bosch, that

“there is something wrong with me”
most often showing up as thoughts of either
“I’m bad” or “I’ m guilty.”
And the child used this to protect itself against the truth. Grown ups go on using it, despite they don’t need to use this defense against the truth any more. It is possible to survive but is probably so painful so it isn’t strange we still avoid it, avoid the truth. Probably nothing to blame anyone for!!??

Bosch writes (at page 68 and forward in her book) that

“Traditional religion legitimizes and enforces the primary defence. Many religions consist of a core conviction that we humans are basically sinful, unworthy creatures, and only by following the religion’s rules and rituals there might be hope for us. Can you see the destructive effect this can have on someone’s self-perception? In other words, these religions ideas about our ‘true nature’ can feed right into the primary defence, leading to intense suffering caused by negative thoughts and feelings about ourselves [and other people can use these tendencies in other people, play on them, and misuse them more or less seriously]. At the same time an almost insurmountable fort of self-protection has been erected.

A clients example: ‘You could say it was offered to me on a silver platter. What else could I do? I couldn’t do anything but accept, I couldn’t do anything but envelop myself in feelings of guilt. In this way I dind’t have to feel anything else. I didn’t have to feel how terribly, terribl alone I was. I only had to feel guilt. The church obliged me to feel guilt. Didn’t that come in handy, my rescue. I flee in feelings of guilt. I can handle those, because the church tells me they are good. Not knowing what I’m doing to myself. With this I kill every other feeling inside me and with that I kill every bit of life in me. Then I stop being alive. Only in that way can I continue, can I survive. There is no other way. There was just one feeling that I was allowed and that was guilt, I even was forced to feel it. And with that I condemn myself, so mercilessly hard, but with that I am also able to save myself.’

This woman was raised in a strict Christian tradition. A strict Christian religion which teaches its followers that mankind is sinful from the moment they are conceived; that although mankind does not deserve to live because of his sinful nature, people are alive and so must do penance daily; that it is vital to acknowledge, just how sinful mankind is; that man should live in a continuous fear of God, that Jesus died for mankind’s sins, etc. Although not all Christian traditions preach such severe concepts, the idea of being guilty by nature is a basic premise in Christianity.”

This has legitimized – what through history?? To beat the devil out of the child!!?? To humiliate he child in a lot of ways. And not only that, but also influenced political “interventions” of all kinds!!??? Legitimized things that should have been questioned!! Led to moralising!! The child should obey… You can draw a lot of connections… To phenomena…

In the middle of writing I am making jam of 4 kilos of lingon- (or cow-) berries!!! It smells delicious I think!! I am a bit hungry I think!! Think I am going to make pancakes and eat them with my warm jam!! And a big glass of milk to!!

Yes, what is actually “normal”??

Now I am going to take a break in writing and make those pancakes!!! :-)

Side-track: googled on a Suzuki-teacher in US, violin-teacher, and found a/the site for the
Suzuki association in America. I am going to put it in my link-list to the left I think!!

Eagerly and impatiently writing!!! So this is more like an open diary!! Need to pour things out!!??

Addition at 21.15 on the same or similar theme as in this post:
In a new readers’ letter on Miller’s web Miller wrote in an answer about not increasing the life-long feelings of guilt and about plenty of esoteric and religious offers of help for people.

In another a reader wrote abut that Miller has written that she thinks those involved in religious cults comes from an abusive back-ground. They are drawn (easily) to hem. The reader had belonged to such a cult for 17 years, but had quitted it. Had an older sister who belonged to another fundamentalist religious cult and had married an abusive man, but unfortunately still remained in the cult (and marriage??).

This reader also wrote about that he/she realized the dangers of the

“nice is better than honest”
philosophy impregnated much of the western church.

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