Interesting that this post sounds similar to the previous one, even though the previous one was not written yesterday. These are some thoughts jotted down, in a raw state (since I’m giving myself permission to write in that way these days) so please jump in and swim in my words and try to follow it even without explanations or introductory statements.
Well, I’ll give a short introduction at least. This came in the aftermath of a discussion about how people live parallel lives. There is even a trend (that was news to me) of married couples each having their own bedroom. My vision was to move away from this kind of avoidance of friction at all costs, to a place where people can be together while maintaining their separateness. The parallel lives lifestyle I’m calling “me-ness” and the special kind of togetherness I’m calling “we-ness.”
What does me-ness look like? What does we-ness look like?
What are the tools with which to move from me-ness to we-ness?
In me-ness there is a sharp line separating me and you. I might say in response to a situation “What’s in it for me?” I might also decide to cooperate or be helpful. In any event what’s good for me has no relationship to what’s good for you. We are living two parallel lives.
In enmeshment on the other hand there are no boundaries. I have no sense of self. I might take care of others needs at the expense of my own or I might think that what they want and need must be the same as what I want and need.
We-ness is different from both me-ness and enmeshment. In we-ness the people involved feel themselves to be individuals with boundaries and they act accordingly, with behaviors that promote things like privacy and uniqueness of taste and style. However, my assumption, if I have a we-ness mentality, is that what’s good or bad for me has an impact for good or for bad on what’s good or bad for the other and vice versa.
Together with their individuation, these boundaried individuals carry a sense that they are all part of the same picture, like puzzle pieces that fit together or like a carefully balanced ecosystem.
When a group, whether a marital dyad, family, community or world thinks in this way, they consider the impact of what they are doing on others in the system.
Rather than either being selfishly wrapped up in one’s self or not having a self, in we-ness the needs of the other and of the self are all put on the scale and weighed to see which are more important or in need of more immediate attention at a given moment.
Each individual has the agility to be both inside and outside the self at one and the same time. Inside the self, the individual is in touch with and aware of his needs and is honest in the way he expresses them. Outside the self, he can self-distance from himself and take a wider perspective of viewing the entire picture of his own feelings and needs as well as the feelings and needs of others at a glance.
We can conceive of this in terms of perspective (as described above) or we can conceive of it in terms of a felt sense. In terms of a felt sense the individual picks up on what is going on inside himself and all around him and intuits what is called for in the situation. Thus, while being in touch with his feelings he is not overly attached to them, and is able to put his needs aside temporarily for the sake of another’s need if the other’s need is more pressing at the moment. At the same time he is aware of when his own need is more pressing and will put that forward if this is what is called for.
Do you share my vision? If you do, how can we create a world like this? What do you think?