At an earlier stage of the human group one participant interrupted another outlining their frustrations with people using the word ‘we’ when exploring a certain topic. The discussion was on this particular disagreement. One human felt interrupted and unheard whilst the other was defensive about being included in ‘we’ generalisations.
‘You know when we speak, we affect the environment around us.’
‘I know when I speak, I affect the environment around me.’
What is the difference in speaking from the ‘I’ compared to speaking from the ‘we’?
We discussed that power and responsibility that comes from owning our own experience and speaking from the ‘I’. There is an intangible quality, almost a withdrawal of energy to the individual. This way of communicating can develop independence and personal power, leading to self-determination.
Noted from last night, most men’s groups are directed to speak from the ‘I’. This aligns itself with the masculine or yang qualities of individuality, independence and will power. As a generalisation this way of speaking aligns the individual with the masculine. This can be thought of as ‘taking’ the conversation and inviting challenge.
Yet what are the cons of the ‘I’.
Leaning too hard upon the ‘I’ can lead to complete separation, isolation and an ‘us versus them’ mentality. Our present reality is built upon a zero sum game delusion in which there can only be one winner in each game. This is merely a story that we respond to in fear of not gaining what we wish to gain. The ‘I’ way of expressing is a successful pathway within the present economic value system that works in gaining more external power; things, power over people, the environment, money, etc. It is forceful, direct and at the greatest extent can be destructive to relationship in all aspects.
Speaking from the ‘we’ is inclusive. It invites people to participate and collaborate on ideas, providing an openness for people to step into. In speaking this way the individual is dispersing their power amongst the group. This can be thought of as ‘sharing’ the conversation, inviting participation and collaboration.
A human described this way of speaking as ‘wishy-washy’ and ‘mental masturbation’, in which nothing is actually being said, just flirted with, in a never ending hypothetical. However, there is pleasure in masturbation, foreplay and flirting and it is often within the feminine yin aspects of ourselves that experience the pleasure and value of this.
In the ‘we’ way of conversing there are qualitative aspects at play; harmony, trust and love is being created. It is less about the direct content and outcome and more about the process. Unaware and not even needing to know where it is heading or even if it is on/off topic.
However, with every coin comes a flip side.
Speaking from the ‘we’ can be used as a mechanism to escape responsibility and can also lead to a slave morality in which anyone who stands out as the ‘I’ is considered morally corrupt. This is at play within our zero sum game delusion as tall poppy syndrome, selling out or even over confidence, arrogance and unpleasant behaviour. Forcing everyone, with relationship at ransom, to be the average in order to create harmony, unity and satiate everyone’s need for inclusion and acceptance.
There is a balance needed in order to move forward. One in which we support one another as we lead our own lives amongst a community of empowered individuals both equipped to speak exclusively and inclusively. This would in turn create powerful individuals able to receive hard feedback and not be offended by the what’s what, whilst the individuals fear of independence subsides as they understand the mutually beneficial power of collaboration within community, both for the individual and the group.
The resistance to being part of something and the resistance to standing out is what creates this destructive cycle and leads to infinite misinterpretation and destructive projection.
Have a look at a very generalised dynamic in a relationship between a man and a woman. The man wants to maintain his independence and the woman wants to create a union, a relationship, something together. If the man reacts and resists the collaboration, the woman tightens her grip in fear of being left alone. Two old insecurities amongst men and women play into each other leaving them both alone, or together in complete resentment or resignation. These polar needs of independence versus dependence have evolved through survival models. The independence maintains the distribution and survival of the species, whilst the dependence does the same in a more local family or community scale.
The ‘I’ and the ‘we’ are tied to these poles of difference; yin and yang, solar and lunar, masculine and feminine. We need both in conversation as we need both in survival. So in order to have a dialogue between the two, we must allow for the ‘we’ and ‘I’ and if there is a problem with hearing one or saying the other, perhaps that needs to be investigated further. Perhaps there is a hidden fear of standing out or losing independence.
The second part of the conversation we spoke about informing our present by envisioning the desired future. The future and the past are just as conceptual as one another and in the present paradigm we rely heavily on knowledge from the past to inform our present decisions. What if this is no different to creating a story of the future and informing one’s actions through that?
I was driving outside of Melbourne with my girlfriend at the time, looking for somewhere to camp and look at the stars. Half-way along the drive I realised I had forgotten the tent.
‘Let’s manifest it’
I imagined the tent sitting in the boot alongside our bags, and then I imagined a space in my cupboard where the tent usually sits. I sat with this visualisation until I had embodied the state I would be in if I had the tent; I was relaxed, enjoying the drive, there was no stress for I ‘had’ the tent. Anyway we struggled to find a campsite and had driven through the entire national park to find a house with its lights on.
‘Let’s go in and ask where we can find somewhere to camp.’
We wandered in cooee-ing to make our presence known when a bloke walked out of a lit up studio full of cartoons. He happily drew us a mud map and conversed with us about his work and our little adventure.
He asked us what we had to sleep in and naturally I replied;
‘I forgot the tent.’
‘I can lend you a tent.’
Bam we had a tent and had a wonderful time.
We can completely de-construct the the story, make sense of it rationally and dispel the magic, but this is an act of contracting the possibilities of reality rather than expanding. With Quantum physics coming in strong with the power of intention we have been given permission to believe that intention affects the outcome.
This is something that indigenous cultures around the world have understood while we have completely undermined their knowledge of reality by labelling them with condescending and belittling terms such as savage and primitive.
Our ignorance has led to a slowly contracting world of possibilities as we walk into the future with our hands and minds tied to stories and intentions brought forth from the past.
The Australian indigenous have a term called ‘back-tracking’ and Quechan people of South America understood that through facilitated meditation we could travel to the future or the past and edit certain details that will help us navigate the present.
In ‘Backtrack Boys’ an amazing documentary about misinterpreted wilful kids working with dogs and informing their present with visions of the future. Bernie Shakeshaft, a jackaroo from the top end of Australia, had learnt this technique whilst tracking animals with the Australian indigenous (1). Envisioning the desired future compared to practicing ideas from the past made it possible to move out of the old story. For example; ‘I am probably going to muck up again and go to jail.’ Compared to; ‘I will have a ute with a dog box on the back and I will be working as fence contractor among a community that knows, respects and values me.’
Alberto Villoldo describes a similar way of tracking Llamas in the Andes. He was instructed to visualise the Llamas whilst entering a meditative or trance state facilitated by drums or a rattle. He visualised the group of Llamas, and clarified the location with the locals, arrived at the spot and non Llamas were to be seen, apart from some droppings neatly in a pile. The Shamans then asked Alberto when did you envision them? In the past, present or future? Alberto said, the present. They shook their heads and said you have to envision where they will be in the future and that way we can meet them there. Back at the village he did the exercise again and visualised them walking into town, and to their surprise there they were (2).
Reading this you may think it is bullshit, but it is being confirmed by many different seemly disconnected areas. Landmark, an effective self development platform, uses the phrase, ‘step into the possibility’ and an Irish poet and mystic, John O’Donoghue says, ‘imagine yourself honourably and act from that’ (3,4).
What happens if we act on possibilities, we can heal, we can love, play, learn, live the life that we dream of living. Try it on.
Possibility is always within reach of the imagination, act upon your imaginings
1. Scott, C. ‘Bernie shake shaft in Backtrack Boys’. 10/06/18. Documentary Feature.
2. Villoldo, A. One Spirit Medicine. 28/04/15. Shamanic healing literature.
3. Erhard, W. Landmark. Founded January 1991. https://www.landmarkworldwide.com/.
4. O’Donoghue, J. Imagination is Path to the Spirit. 11/12/12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0bg7lNeKY4. Youtube video.