I’ve seen two shows this past month in London. The Wall – an epic production which chronicles Roger Water’s rite of passage from boy to adult, and Lord of the Flies – an open air theatre experience in Regents Park, which does the same.
They seem to perfectly encapsulate the two modes of behavior that we adopt in our struggle to adapt to our circumstances.
We hide or we rage.
Building a wall to hide behind looks good on the surface. The schoolboy becomes the civilized adult, takes his place in society, pays his taxes and climbs the success ladder. But there’s a price. The wall that keeps the bad stuff out also keeps the good stuff from coming in. Life feels dead. There may be brief moments of happiness but there’s no lasting excitement. The inevitable consequence of a life behind the wall is depression, and of course reactions to the depression… things like affairs and bungee jumping.
Then there’s the rage option. The schoolboy becomes a terrorist. There are various forms of terrorism going on within our systems, both overt and hidden. We are shocked when we read about the barbaric cruelty of some of the prison guards at Guantanamo and the soldiers in Afghanistan. When this behavior comes to light, the perpetrators of the brutality talk about getting “carried away” by the behavior of others, that they “didn’t know what came over them”.
Standing from the sidelines we can easily say “what were they thinking!” Of course the answer is… they weren’t.
They were taken over by some unconscious aspect of themselves – just like the boys in Lord of the Flies.
Unless we address our unconscious behavior, things don’t look too good for humanity. We can sanitize it, civilize it, or silo it, but the energy doesn’t understand these terms. Trying to hold back energy is like holding a beach ball under water… eventually it will pop up somewhere, with more force than was expended by pushing it down.
Energy has to be expressed or contained in a suitable container. This is the masculine and feminine aspect of energy. So far, in our evolutionary history, we have been all about the expression of energy. We need… Direction. Action. Creativity. Ingenuity. Goals. Focus. There are thousands of websites and methodologies that give advice on these topics. We haven’t placed any value on its counterpart. In fact we haven’t paid any attention at all to the benign “containment of energy”.
Containing energy is a female thing. There were no girls on the island… just as there was no true female energy behind Roger’s Wall (just the lower conscious stereotypes of suffocating mother and manipulative vixen).
Life is about the management of power. We need to access a much higher level of creativity if we are going to survive as a species. If we hide behind a wall, we create in isolation – so our creativity is limited, not collaborative. If we rage, we continue to create mayhem on the world stage.
Life is a game for grown ups now.If we can find center, we can learn to live in the heart of the paradox where everything is seemingly reversed. In the energetic world, big is small and small is great, big huge – as the survivors of Hiroshima will attest. Faith as tiny as a mustard seed can move a mountain. Flexibility wins over rigid rage. Transparency sees through the walls of defence.
The wind of change is coming. In this wind, our vulnerable houses of straw will stand firm. Our strongholds of bricks will be reduced to rubble, leaving many little piggies exposed.
Dominique Strauss–Kahn is one of them.
One minute Lord of the IMF the next crying We, we, we…all the way home.