I write about Conflict Resolution, but I think there are many inter-woven roots of Conflict Resolution; some you can see because they’re visible and above-ground, and some you can’t see because they’re often invisible, unseen because of ventilating and creating underground.
In the scheme of things, Conflict Resolution has much to do with culture and how inter-cultural relationships function either in unhealthy or healthy ways. Culture is much more than just the kind of language spoken. It consists of many, multiple layers upon layers and social conditioning upon social conditioning elements. The fact that it has so many variables means that conflicts and embracing, death and life, separation or diversity, etc. are all part of the gift-wrapped package.
If you leave Austin, you can go out to the wilds, forests, state parks, and national parks, and view the micro-culture of a chosen ecosphere. Here, you don’t find places that have the same kind of plant or tree lined up, military style, standing at attention, and getting ready to salute the top dog. No, in the wild, you see chaos, destruction, thriving and growing, going through evolutionary growth development, there’s a general messiness in any kind of healing-- galore! You see randomness, a natural graffiti of flora and fauna colors, leaving their colored pollen to remind us of their presence, because we are all interdependent beings, joined in the circle of life, and dancing crazily on the edge of a forest fire.
“Monoculture—the practice of replicating a single plant, product or idea over a huge area—is about the most unstable, unsustainable, unimaginable form of organization that exists, but in the short term it keeps the system running smoothly and keeps the power in the hands of a small number of people” (P. 1, The Icarus Project: www.theicarusproject.net, “Friends Make the Best Medicine: A Guide to Creating Community Mental Health Support Networks”—you can obtain copies of this book free of charge by going to the website above).
Living in a Monoculture means you want everyone else to be a carbon copy of you. A Multi-Culture celebrates and respects difference, diversity, the freedom and dignity of each person individually, an equality-fueled partnering, an avoidance of the Doctor (once known as the supreme expert, infallible god with scalpels, icon, distant, often unapproachable and acting without much humility, monologic communication, often acting as if superior to a patient (a peer?) and family members, as if they are somehow separate, “better than,” “grasping for control,” etc. Do any of these images resonate with you?
Monocultures are not conducive to life, and generally within natural systems you see Multi-Cultures living and breathing interdependently. In the Monocult, primarily in Western Democracies is a way that wealthy people and systems control and exploit others. “Powerful people figured out awhile (sic) time ago that it’s a lot easier to control things if everyone’s eating the same foods, listening to the same music, reading the same books, watching the same TV shows, and speaking the same language. This is what we call the Monocult, and while everyone is supposedly more and more connected by this new ‘”global culture,”’ we’re more and more isolated from each other.” (Ibid., p. 1).
The Icarus Project is both a pioneer and an outgrowth of a psycho-social wave that is now growing and picking up steam. This is a peer-based model of recovery that functions on the basis of self-empowerment, self-transformation, and supportive community; it’s known by various names (Peer Support is perhaps the most common), but suffice it to say that many are concerned and disillusioned about the old school Medical Model that’s built on an hierarchal, up-down, doctor as boss/patient as servant. Many individuals and organizations are resisting how the Medical Model runs counter-intuitively and out of alignment with the natural systems in which we live.
These people are rising up in diverse ways to use their voice to clearly and personally state their own identity, and to offer peer resources and initiatives to those with Mental Illness, many who have been very damaged by the current rigid model of The Medical Model.
So we have a perfect set-up for conflict, right? Yes, that’s true: and we also have a perfect set-up for psycho-social-creativity to work. It’s good for us to remember that one of the powerful, growth-producing phenomenon that dynamically is a Conflict>Creativity>Transformation>Conflict>Creativity>Transformation cycle that continuously re-images and reformulates itself, changes, flows, takes two steps back, lacks permanency, is randomly impacted by conditions, causes and effects, is simply a part of the life-death process, opens us up to our incredible mind-bodies capacity for mindfulness and awareness, etc.
We are not victims, we’re not weak, disassociated or unthinking; we base our view of reality on empirical facts, not what we always think about facts or scientific laws or functions of living, but our experience that speaks to other listening voices, and is our credibility and legitimacy that we own and use. Many in this peer movement don't disbelieve in the undercurrent of spirits, supernatural beings, visions, voices that lead us deeper into compassionate, unconditional love-so this may be a both\and and a situation as seen as a juxaposed or an either/or, an extremist position. Our stories ride out our path of self-expression as well as journey us towards fulfillment of our human potential. Our stories have the power to heal us and send out the energy that is available for any healing on this planet to take place.
I urge you to check out the Icarus Project Website (www.icarusproject.net). They offer resources that clear-mindedly give meaning to our humanism, our return to the garden of humanity, and the ecstasy and dignity of human selfhood.
I am gathering information presently as I envision a group gathering of those who have been negatively impacted and affected by the Monocult in the area of Mental Health and Mental Illness. The group mission would be to offer a safe and confidential place for folks to communicate their stories; if you, or anyone you know, have ideas, creative inspirements, input, questions, would like to be a part of this kind of group, etc. Please email Christopher Bear-Beam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Christopher Bear-Beam January 2, 2014