Sunday, May 18, 2008

Creation and Liberation

Liberation – one of the predominant metaphors of the therapeutic professions, and certainly one of the guiding influences within popular psychology and the self-help movement. A strong religious tradition, a particularly Western religious tradition embedded in biblical narratives such as the Old Testament exodus story. The liberation story insists that there is a “right” party, which is also an oppressed party, held captive through strong and destructive forces and people. In this posting I compare the liberation story with another narrative, one which also carries a religious lineage with it, but one which has not been as influential in the therapeutic culture. That is the tradition of creation. In the worlds of creation various possibilities for life are created -- communally formed or produced. In the liberation tradition oppressive ways of life are identified, fought against, and escaped from.

Why must our liberations so often insist that the only way toward an affirmation of one is through the negation of the other?

Why must our liberations so often insist that there must be a victim and a victimizer... and that this distinction between victim and victimizer be clear and unequivocal?

Why must our liberations so often minimize those many times in our daily lives, and amidst our daily relationships, where we live in ways other than the victim/victimizer roles?

Why must our liberations repeatedly amplify and enhance those very powers which produce cruelty?

Why must our liberations, when they do permit a recognition of our powers, insist that these powers be primarily tied to the victim/victimizer story?

Why must our liberations so often direct and limit our options regarding our sense of identity?

Can we instead tell tales of love, of influence, of laughter, of beautiful and powerful relationships?

Can we tell tales of creation, of together making worlds with joy, with response, with difference, with openings of understanding?

Can we tell tales of mischief, of the creation of Nomad War Machines, of the creation of powers which refuse to be limited by the institutions and influences at play?

Can our creative powers be given precedence over our needs for liberation? For any movement to more loving, connected and responsible worlds must be created, made by hands and minds, feet and voices. Perhaps these acts are more works of creation than they are works of escape. And these are always acts of joint creation -- even when the creative partners might not be easily evident.

Our creative movements are powerful. We must be aware of these powers. These powers have the potential of being destructive just as they can also be loving or funny or hopeful.

When we use our powers to create tales of liberation, can we remember the influence of these creations? When we generate tales of liberation, can we remember that we are creating worlds dominated by victims and victimizers? Can we remember that these created worlds are not simply pure and innocent? They can produce the powers of violence as easily as they can of love.

Can we remember that Nazi-thought necessitated an identification of a certain people as victims? Can we also remember that the creation of Nazi-like worlds also necessitate a victimizer? Arguably, the world’s greatest horrors have been generated through the creation of such victim/victimizer relations.

Could it be that much of the violence we encounter occurs when a person, or a people see themselves as being victimized by another group or another person? Could it be that much of the violence we encounter is an attempt to liberate, an attempt to ensure justice?

This is an invitation to create... to create worlds where many gifts become evident, where they grow, where they spread outside of limited identities, where they create connections , abundant and life-giving connections, rather than separations, boundaries and clarified distinctions.

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