Question: The aim of the psychological portion of the integral upbringing course is to teach people to communicate with each other, to hear one another, and to develop a meaningful and deep contact between themselves. How can this be done?
Answer: We need to understand what interpersonal contacts are.
They say that it’s not a family if there are no children. What do people live for? Suppose today a couple likes each other physically, they are satisfied with each other physiologically, they are comfortable together. Comfortable for now…. A child is somewhat of a middle ground, something common that binds them together.
When a person tries to establish contact with someone else, he or she should clearly see what they have in common with each other, what mutually ties them together. It isn’t just some junction, but a common emotional, physiological, physical, social, and cultural realm where they don’t simply touch but as if overlay over one another.
Each individual represents a “circle,” and the extent to which he or she can overlap with the “circle” of another person defines their ability to establish a deep and multidimensional contact.
First and foremost, we need to understand that in our time, contact between two people is such that their individual circles don’t touch each other because their egoism has grown to its ultimate state, and whatever my circle encompasses doesn’t fit into any other circles. I feel so exceptional—a personality, an egoist—that I cannot perceive another as an individual who has their own interests and needs. To me, another person is just an object of consumption. If that interests me, I enter into contact with him, but I don’t treat him like a person, an individual with his own inner world and circle of interests, but interact with him as a consumer with a source of pleasure, and nothing more.
And this is how we communicate with each other. It’s convenient this way: Everyone has their cell phone, computer, and email. We hide behind them and thereby mask our absolute separation from each other.
We see how different communities gradually disappear, and we are hiding behind our monitors, seemingly socializing, while in the meantime inventing new standards of rules and behavior for ourselves. But all of this happens virtually, without adjoining emotionally with any other circles. We invent a new language, hiding behind some other forms, other shells, present ourselves online completely differently from the way we actually are, use emoticons instead of our own face, or sign in with different names. In other words, people are playing without revealing themselves under any circumstances. And egoism goes along with this, it feels good and comfortable.
Our main task is to reveal whether people have something in common, and not just two people, but everyone. It’s because we’re talking about an integral society towards which nature is pushing us, either through suffering or by our voluntary realization and drive towards this bright state of humanity. That is why having revealed what all of us share in common, we will then be able to make contact on an emotional level; we will not conceal ourselves from each other but on the contrary, will try to open ourselves up.
Each will reveal their inner “I” and place it above the external one, above this image, above their first and last name, above their occupation and all kinds of external habits, customs, language, and everything else. One’s emotional world will rise above their usual physical state given to them by nature. This is what we need to develop in a person.
For that we need to show people that by unifying between ourselves, by superimposing our individual circles on one another, by bonding with each other into a single mechanism, we will not turn into robots or become vulnerable, like in the famous Russian saying, “Open your soul so that someone could spit into it.” We are doing it so that in our unified integral movement, when we are like a single unified analog mechanism, we will reach a special goal and give birth to something new, just like a couple that unites in order to bear offspring.
Except here we are all giving birth together, creating a completely new state in humanity, where we won’t have to hide, fear, or strive to snatch away from each other so as to raise ourselves. On the contrary, our ascent will be mutual, precisely through this common “offspring” of ours that we will nurse and cherish, constantly raise and develop.
From a “Talk on Integral Education” #6, 12/14/11