Talking about Gestalt and the World 


Gaie looks after the Communitas page on the British Gestalt Journal
website, which is under development. Your responses to our changing economy, culture, and climate, are very welcome

Climate Change 

If climate change is not yet figural for you, I hope this excellent piece of writing by Reggie Norton 
(click here to read it) will reorganise the field.  

 A first response to the bombing of the Twin Towers in New York

Theory can help make sense of the world, and a way of describing what has just happened in the United States is through Gestalt theory. To many, the US was and is the land of freedom and peace and plenty. To its poor it is otherwise. To the people daily bombed and daily suffering starvation, at America's hand, in another part of the world, it is otherwise. It looks as if prosperity has been made a virtue at home, so its opposite is sharply polarised and in some ways actually exaggerated by the prosperous. It looks as if righteousness has been assumed abroad, so innocent people suffer in the Middle East, sometimes instead of the people who are nominally being punished.

Many of you reading this would respond to such a split in an individual by naming it, and suggesting an intrapersonal dialogue. The end of that dialogue, the closure, would happen when love had been admitted into the between. Humanity is one. A long and difficult dialogue needs one day to happen between the polarised parts of humanity. If it is to lead to a good outcome for us all, it will have to proceed pretty much as in therapy. First, the reality of what is now will need to be admitted from both sides. Then each will need to listen deeply to the feelings of the other. Then attitudes can change, and what people do can change, so the conditions for feelings of powerlessness and rage disappear. The topdog convictions on the other side, of power and right and distance, will melt too.

In South Africa, the 'Truth and Reconciliation' work used just these principles, and kept peace where a bloodbath had been forecast. So we have a means to evolution and peace in this horrendous conflict. Or we can have Armageddon. 

Gaie Houston

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