Contain & Control .... Conflict

Gabrielle yelling at the telephone

As I was lying in bed stroking my cat, I started thinking. That's always a dangerous thing for me to be doing :0).

For some reason, I thought of our human society and how our social systems exist mainly for one purpose: to Contain and Control. I could put it this way:

  • Our religious systems exist to Contain and Control our human souls and spirits so that we can be shepherded into obedient behaviour, the controlling tool of choice being fear.
  • Our educational systems exist to Contain and Control our human brains and intelligence so that we can be educated into good little workers, the controlling tool of choice being humiliation.
  • Our political systems exist to Contain and Control our human aspirations and ambitions so that we can be limited into resigned individuals who know our place, the controlling tool of choice being manipulation.
  • Our policing systems exist to Contain and Control our human less appealing tendencies so that we can be protected, the weapon of choice being punishment.
  • And so on, and so forth with our financial systems, our commercial systems, etc...

All the examples I have cited above are all external Contain & Control. Our history and current newspapers are full of examples of what happens when there is tension between the Controllers and those being Controlled: put simply and obviously, there is Conflict.

What happens when Contain & Control become internal? What happens when the Controller is also the one being Controlled? Put simply and obviously again, there is Internal Conflict.

One of the most disturbing and difficult aspects of manic depression (or Bi-Polarism) is exactly that: there is massive Internal Conflict because there rages an exhausting on-going battle between the need to Control our internal explosion of energy and the need to 'let rip', to explode - literally. This is most certainly how I experience my PEs. They take me to the very centre of my own Internal Conflict.

Having experienced it, I am well aware that manic depression (or bi-polarism) is extremely painful and frankly bloody awful. Medication is therefore indispensable. However, I am also wondering whether the way we view the illness doesn't, in a way, make it worse.  I wonder what would happen if:

  • We used drugs to stabilise without actually suppressing? The medical treatment itself introduces Conflict.
  • We thought of this condition not as something that must or can be cured (frankly, in view of the statistics available, I don't think that's realistic) but rather as a characteristic that can be expressed? There is Conflict here also between what we are encouraged to expect and what we actually experience.
  • We faced up to the fact that, on the one hand people will openly tell you that manic depression is associated with genius (a bit of an over-statement in my book - creative intelligence would do :0), and on the other also tell you that it's a scourge that's got to be eliminated? How do we square those two ideas up? We just introduce more Conflict between something we consider to be good and something we consider to be bad.

I am aware that I haven't come up with any great new solution to anything. I also know that the first step towards any progress in any area is to ask questions. Questions open doors in our minds and thus give us access to new ideas. Asking powerful questions is indeed  considered to be one of the foundation coaching skills.

I am also aware that it's now time for me to go back to bed. All this opening doors is very Knackering :0)

I take the micky but I do recognise that 'thinking' burns a tremendous amount of energy. Although it may seem obvious to you, it's something I have just recently learnt. When something comes very naturally to us, we tend to assume that it doesn't 'cost us'. Not true - it does cost us in energy terms, and one of the ways to avoid Knackering ourselves is to recognise it. This has been one of my personal blind spots for a long time. I wonder whether they do contact lenses for idiots........ :0)

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.