May 21, 2012 / Theology
In this interview Paul Griffiths discusses the contours of a Christian understanding of evil—what it is, what it isn’t, and how Christians can acknowledge it without succumbing to it.
January 24, 2008
Tell the universe what you’ve done
Out in the desert with your smoking gun
Looks like you’ve been having too much fun
Tell the universe what you’ve done
You’ve been projecting your shit at the world
Self-hatred tarted up as payback time
You can self-destruct—that’s your right
But keep it to yourself if you don’t mind
– Bruce Cockburn, “Tell the Universe”1
With the line, “You’ve been projecting your shit at the world / Self-hatred tarted up as payback time,” Bruce Cockburn describes behavior that is consistent with “reactive attachment disorder” (specifically, disorganized attachment) as defined in part by the DSM-IV-TR, the diagnostic and statistical manual used to diagnose personality and psychiatric disorders.
As a psychotherapist and social worker, I have worked with a number of children who do project their feces, smearing them against walls and other objects, as an expression of shame and self-hatred.
In light of the policies of the Bush administration, particularly its war against Iraq, and of what we know about children who project their feces, does Cockburn’s diagnosis of George W. Bush make sense? Is it helpful?
How actually are we to understand the relationship between emotional health and global peace, between psychopathology and war?
The question has special poignancy for me because I live intensely in both worlds. I have been actively engaged in issues of peace and conflict, and the peace movement for almost thirty years beginning in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I have outlined some of the outcome of that ongoing journey in the recent book Hope in Troubled Times: A New Vision for Confronting Global Crises (co-authored with Bob Goudzwaard and David Van Heemst, with a Foreword by Desmond Tutu).2 I am also a registered social worker and have been a practicing psychotherapist for twenty years. Currently, I serve as the Executive Director of Salem Christian Mental Health Association, a province-wide mental health service in Ontario, Canada.
Remarkably, not much work has been done to answer the question, “what is the relationship between emotional health and international peace, and between psychopathology and war?” A few therapists have ventured into the territory, especially psychiatrists Robert Jay Lifton and Scott Peck.3 I admire their work. I myself wrote a Master’s thesis on the impact of war on the second generation of a family system.4 A prominent early psychiatrist, W. R. Rivers, developed an expertise in treating “shell shock” during World War I. One of his most famous patients was Siegfried Sassoon, a brilliant poet and soldier. Rivers wrestled with profound questions as he tried to “cure” Sassoon, who had gone “insane” in combat, in order to return him to the front lines. Rivers himself nearly became unhinged in the process as he was consumed by guilt and as the question of who was sane and who was insane gradually became altogether unclear.5 Many therapists work with veterans and victims of war and their families.6 And one of the most prominent diagnoses given today—Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder—is a war diagnosis, with origins especially in World War I and the Vietnam War.
Yet, with a couple of shining exceptions (the work of Lifton and Peck in particular), almost no work has been done past simply skirting the edges of the question. This is likely for two reasons. First, the question is fraught with danger, especially the danger of over-simplification. It carries the potential of deeply unsatisfying and damaging answers. Secondly, it is a massive question, with almost infinite points of entry, and any potential answers, whatever they may be, must possess at least the girth of the question itself. The undertaking is therefore both dangerous and daunting.7
Understanding the dangers, and in light of the size of the question, I explore three points of entry in this essay. I first describe what I believe the relationship between emotional health/psychopathology and peace/war is not. Then, warmed by the two fires within which I live—peace and conflict, and psychotherapy—I propose certain theses about the relationship that I hope sets out a beginning framework by which to satisfy the question with the answers that it deserves.
Let me begin with a suggestion about what the relationship is not. In my view, grotesque over-simplifications occur when one area, such as war and peace, is seen to originate in the other, such as emotional health/psychopathology. I am troubled by psychotherapeutic interpretations of war and peace. Consider Bruce Cockburn’s chorus recited at the beginning. In his lyrics, Cockburn assumes a psychotherapeutic stance with George W. Bush, but he violates almost all of the basic rules of psychotherapy. Cockburn does not have a therapeutic contract with Bush. There are therefore serious ethical issues about attributing psychopathology to him. More significantly, he violates the fundamental assumption required for arriving at a good psychological profile, namely that prior to the work the therapist truly does not know what the client’s psychological issues are. I find Cockburn’s statement to be armchair psychology at its worst and profoundly unhelpful. By definition, unless one is Bush’s therapist, it is impossible to know the accuracy of the statement. It seems to pull us into, rather than out of, the quagmire that Iraq has become, perhaps even flirting with the pattern of constructing images of the enemy that lies at the heart of violence.
Conversely, I cringe at political interpretations of emotional issues. Of course, there can be profound justice elements or layers to emotional issues, especially related to power imbalances, patriarchy and gender issues, not to mention racism and poverty. But explanations that locate the fundamental causes of psychopathology in political realities are ultimately unsatisfying, even contrary to the evidence. A statement like “the personal is political” of course contains the truth that all that we do has political ramifications. But on its own, it is inadequate. In its usage, it suffers from an illusion of completeness. It doesn’t seem to explain enough about either psychological or political realities.
The point is that one area is not derivative of the other. One is not the step-child or handmaiden of the other. Each area—emotional health/psychopathology and war/peace—is, to a certain degree, sui generis; that is, of its own origin.
I am persuaded, however, that there are deep reverberations or echoes of emotional issues with war and peace, and of issues of war and peace with emotional issues. My image for their relationship comes from the sound of a musical instrument, such as the ‘A’ string on a violin. When the string is played, one hears the ‘A’ note; however, if one listens carefully, one also hears reverberations or echoes of that note at other intervals on the musical scale. Reverberations of the note sound in various zones on the scale. I propose that we now play the ‘A’ string, listen carefully, and try to name some of the reverberations that resonate between emotional health/psychopathology and war/peace.
Let me identify three notes or themes that vibrate between peace/war and emotional health/psychopathology. Each of them is deeply related.
The first and most basic note is integration—emotional and societal. The second is “working models” or understandings of relationships and the world—internal working models (both positive and negative) in the area of emotion, and ideologies or faith perspectives in the area of society. And the third is a continuum moving from projection to relinquishment of an essential part of oneself (psychology) or a society (war and peace) onto someone or something else.
I explore these themes as I experience them first in relation to emotional health/psychopathology, and then to war/peace. I then conclude with reflections on the deep fundamental unity that I believe holds these areas together.
Note One: Integration (emotional health)
My own definition of psychological health involves integration. By that I mean that the various aspects of one’s personality, as well as the traumas, losses, and painful episodes that one experiences, fit together relatively seamlessly into a coherent, comprehensive life story. They are equally available for conscious review. Psychological problems emerge when difficult emotions and experiences are suppressed or repressed, which then become sublimated into other areas, such as abstract thought or one’s body, thus becoming difficult to access. Compartmentalization, or “splitting,” occurs where pieces of one’s personality remain broken off from each other and unavailable to the self for processing, resolution, and the attachment of meaning. At its rare and most extreme end, dissociation occurs. The ability to tell a coherent, comprehensive autobiographical narrative that includes pain and trauma is the fundamental marker of emotional health.
The more integrated a person is, the more capable he or she is of empathy (a term for the ability to have meaningful relationships) and, when confronted by emotional triggers, of remaining regulated rather than emotionally reactive.8
A number of schools of therapy are oriented to support this process of integration, especially the integration of past traumas into one’s emotional life. Grounded in attachment theory, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (developed by Dan Hughes) works especially with children and youth who have experienced severe abuse or neglect to build the bonds of attachment with an adult attachment figure. In that process, a coherent autobiographical narrative, incorporating the reality of the maltreatment, begins to emerge for the child.9 Emotionally Focused Therapy, developed by Les Greenberg and Sue Johnson, uses attachment principles to expand and reorganize key emotional responses between couples, in order to make a greater range of emotion available to themselves and their partners. In so doing, couples build stronger, more secure bonds.10 EMDR (Eye Movement and Desensitization Reprocessing) is a therapeutic approach which seeks, in part, to reposition the location of a trauma within a person’s brain structure in order to make it available to the client for processing and resolution. Narrative therapy is specifically structured around the concept of re-storying, for the purpose of helping a client to develop a coherent autobiographical narrative.11 And finally, Psychosynthesis, developed by Roberto Assagioli (a contemporary and colleague of Jung) understands unresolved traumas to coalesce into “subpersonalities” within a person, more or less frozen at the developmental stage at which the traumas occurred. The work involves synthesizing these subpersonalities into a deeper, coherent personality.12
Note Two: Understandings of relationships and the world (internal working models)
The notion of “internal working models” originates in John Bowlby, the father of attachment theory. Our view of the trustworthiness of relationships and of the world forms through the dance of attachment that occurs between an infant and a primary caregiver. The caregiver co-regulates affect and meaning with the child, including resolving and integrating painful emotional experiences. When the attachment is healthy, the child develops a positive internal working model which suggests that her basic needs will be met; that, after disruption, relationships are repaired in a timely and effective fashion; and that the world is basically reliable and safe. By contrast, a child whose primary caregiver abuses or neglects her comes to believe that expressing her needs for care and attention will result in further rupturing the relationship and in a loss of safety. In this case, a negative working model develops which sees relationships as untrustworthy and the world as designed to promote her victimization. At its core is a profound sense of self-blame for the maltreatment, self-loathing, and shame. As the child gets older, she may engage in shame-based, risky, or provocative behavior designed to make her feel safe (often by insisting on complete control of situations, which occasionally, in some situations, can involve smearing feces, and perhaps later, breaking the law in order to end up in a safe container). A marker of strengthening bonds of attachment with a reliable attachment figure here is a movement from shame (which is about who we are) to guilt (which is about something we do, and which has within it the possibility of repair).
Note Three: Projection/relinquishment and empowerment (projective identification)
One of the ways in which splitting or compartmentalization occurs is through a process called “projective identification.” In projective identification, a person takes something of himself that he finds abhorrent or reprehensible, projects that part onto someone else, and then tries to resolve his own internal conflict by means of interaction with the other person. For example, in simplified terms, if as a child I was seriously abused and assaulted by my father, and if I have not worked through that trauma at some level, I may despise what I perceive to be my own “weakness”—my own inability to defend myself and the emotional impotence that the abuse has caused. I may then project that despised part of myself onto my female partner and may then attempt to eliminate it, to deal with it once and for all, by beating her. Lesser degrees of projective identification are largely why we become emotionally triggered by the actions and attitudes of others.13 Projective identification is fundamentally violent, and it is the primary process by which domestic violence occurs. When, however, an assaultive man regains what he has projected, integrating his negative feelings within his own personality, he gains a sense of genuine personal self-control.
I experience these three themes—integration and compartmentalization; positive and negative internal working models; and projection/relinquishment and empowerment—in the world of psychotherapy. But I experience them just as forcefully in the world of war and peace.
Note One: Integration/compartmentalization
Peace is a process, not a state. It is an activity of continuous peacebuilding. As Desmond Tutu writes in the Foreword to Hope in Troubled Times, “peace is not a goal to be achieved but a way of life to be lived.”14
Peacebuilding becomes dangerously compromised, if not crippled, when compartmentalization occurs. A marker of deep compartmentalization in today’s world is the reality that though the world’s rising armament levels are historically unprecedented (the world has spent over one trillion dollars annually on military expenditures since 2004), the world’s nations consider themselves significantly less secure than they did ten years ago. It simply cannot be said that insecurity in today’s world is due to a lack of military capacity. Yet that realization does not translate into effective government and societal action on peace. Instead, governments compulsively trot out more sinister military solutions. Compartmentalization is the reason, and the world of war and peace, at almost every turn, is rife with it.
First, consider how a lack of integration afflicts the mainstream approaches to peace. Often two tracks are pursued in the quest for peace, and too often they remain segregated. They are “political realism,” embraced especially by governments and political commentators (and not questioned by the mainstream media), and “local peacebuilding activity,” typically undertaken by members of warring communities as well as by NGOs focused on peacebuilding. Too often the two streams are not integrated, even if consultation between them is taking place. Political realists often put little faith in the impact of peacebuilding efforts on particular conflicts and sometimes actively oppose them. They view them as “namby-pamby” social work at best, and as undermining their strategic objectives at worst. For their part, peacebuilding actors can stereotype and dismiss government and political “realists” as interested only in the expansion of power and self-interest, and they can consider government agendas suspect by definition.15
However, as the sophisticated work of John Paul Lederach has shown, where the efforts of government policy and local peacebuilding are integrated, peace is built.16 Using his extensive experience in conflicts around the world, Lederach emphasizes the necessity of building platforms for conflict transformation at three levels of society, in coordinated fashion, and with approaches tailored to each level. These include: 1) the grassroots level at which people live and NGOs work; 2) the level of civil society leadership, including medical doctors, teachers, lawyers, and religious leaders; and 3) the level of government leaders, whether elected or appointed, and their policy advisors. Different interventions apply at each level and at each developmental stage of the conflict, building on what Mary Anderson has shown, namely that local capacities for peace exist in every conflict—especially among women—no matter how dire.17 Integration occurs when government, for example, seizes upon and supports such impulses, and there the prospects for peace become immensely brighter.
There are many efforts aimed towards achieving integration of this nature. Groups like Project Ploughshares do important work.18 The United Nations’ “Responsibility to Protect” initiative may reflect elements of this approach. In Afghanistan, an integrated approach would suggest support for the Action Plan for Peace, Reconciliation and Justice, a formal element of the broad-based, comprehensive “Afghanistan Compact”, an agreement almost completely ignored by NATO governments. If, for example, in Iraq the ouster of Saddam Hussein had occurred under the rubric of “Responsibility to Protect”—a highly speculative possibility, and far removed from the actual intent of the invasion—then it would have involved immediate hand-over to an acceptable, non-aligned third party (as the Geneva Convention requires) and the meaningful empowerment of Iraq’s civil society. But as we shall see in a moment, the ideology of guaranteed security, an isolationist, compartmentalized approach does not at all permit adoption of such principles.
This means that no two approaches to peace will be the same. Each will be tailored to the culture, history and developmental stage of the conflict, and each will be comprehensive in scope, not fixated simply on formal government agendas. Peacebuilding involves a multiplicity of approaches, a comprehensiveness of solutions engaging all sectors. But compartmentalization leads to a continual application of simplistic, escalating, often deadly, or at the very least, ineffective approaches.
Note Two: Understandings of relationships and the world (ideologies/faith)
In our book Hope in Troubled Times we ask why, when the Cold War ended, the much-anticipated “peace dividend” did not materialize? The collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989 meant that the dramatic structural imbalances that had entered the world’s largest economies could now be righted, and substantial resources could finally be allocated to meet the desperate needs of the poor and the environment, while still maintaining more than enough capacity for defense. Why did this desperately needed realignment not take place?
What we found is that the ideology that had sustained the West’s pursuit of the Cold War remained unchanged after the Cold War ended—the ideology of guaranteed security. We trace the origins of the West’s commitment to guaranteed security from the Renaissance through the Cold War and through post-Cold War developments, particularly in Iraq.
We devote considerable attention to the origins and nature of ideology in the book, which I shall not repeat here. The point for our purposes is that an ideology always arises out of a real, persistent social experience of fear, deprivation, or suffering (such as the Holocaust), just as an internal negative working model originates in abuse or neglect. An ideology then functions as a meta-narrative for a group or society, the basic story or framework within which its adherents understand life, relationships (including “enemies”), and the world. With ideology, the goal of ending the fear and suffering becomes so consuming that the end justifies the means; currently-held values of justice, stewardship, peace, solidarity, and love become hijacked to serve the pursuit of the prized objective.19When ideologies succeed in this, they become earth-shattering movements that will stop at nothing until their objectives are met.
In our view, the peace dividend will not materialize without a fundamental relaxation of the West’s commitment to the ideology of “guaranteed security,” just as conflicts of identity and economic and environmental destruction will not ease without slackening today’s commitment to ideologies of “identity” (both ethnic and national) and “unending material progress.”
What then is the alternative to the ideology of guaranteed security? Rather than the relentless pursuit of pre-determined ends, we argue for careful but courageous attention to beginnings, to first steps. We advocate for taking first steps down the path of peace by carefully integrating strategic vulnerability with meeting the real needs of people and the earth, and by recognizing that conflict is always fundamentally embedded in social, economic, and cultural realities. This is a way of faith instead of ideology. Rather than an end, it contains a promise, the promise that the living God will bless first steps with the possibility of second and third steps. “I have seen an end to everything, but your Way is one that widens,” says Psalm 119 (Martin Buber’s translation).20
We call for recovering the rich, remarkable Biblical material on war and peace to help source this effort, though we note that that material will remain almost altogether inaccessible to us as long as the just war/pacifist polarity remains the fundamental interpretive framework by which we understand war and peace. That framework is, and has been, a hermeneutical travesty. By means of that framework, we continue to dissociate war and peace from their embeddedness in social, political, economic, religious, and cultural realities, both in Scripture and in contemporary events. It suffers from an illusion of completeness.
Note Three: Projection/relinquishment and empowerment (idolatry)
Earlier I described the process of projective identification. A parallel process occurs in ideology, but the nuance falls on a group or society handing over or relinquishing its power rather than on a person projecting a part of oneself onto another. Gripped by an ideology, people conscript certain forces or institutions in society to become the levers of social change. To these forces or institutions falls the task of concretely implementing the all-encompassing end. In order for this to happen, people have to vest the forces with the power they need to accomplish the radical change; people raise them up, support them institutionally and legally, and allow them to cut broad swaths through society. To do this the people surrender some of their agency or power, their ability to control their own future, to these forces or institutions, which now operate as powers of redemption and release. In this way, these forces and institutions begin to function as idols, as false saviors. But idols eventually become tyrannical and turn against their makers, betraying them. They hypnotize their makers, narrowing people’s consciousness, closing off the possibility of alternatives, and shutting down their future. Their ongoing development increasingly tramples over justice, truth, mercy, human rights, and sustainable economy, even as it renders their makers seemingly helpless.
In other words, Western ideology plays a comparable role to myths in other cultures—it serves as the backdrop, the matrix, the feeding ground which sustains idols. Contemporary idolatry is the “incarnational” aspect of ideology. And like projective identification, the ideologically driven relinquishment that occurs in idolatry has fundamentally violent consequences.
In today’s context, relentless military technological development and expanding military capacity, leading even to “full spectrum dominance,” function as idols designed to deliver to us guaranteed security. Their development breaks through every conceivable ceiling of justice, marching on with complete impunity, as if they have a life of their own, answerable to no one. How else do we explain the latest form of “friendly fire”—the use of bio-electromagnetic radiation in Iraq, designed to alter people’s neurological patterns, in contravention of both international law and U.S. military law, without even a slightly audible objection from people who subscribe to the so-called just war theory?21
We have identified three vibrations, three points of entry between emotional health/psychopathology and war/peace. They are:
* integration: the integration of traumas into a coherent life story and the integration of peace with justice for the poor, the marginalized and the earth, and of peace efforts across all sectors of society.
* working models: by which we understand ourselves, life, relationships, and the world—positive and negative internal working models in emotional life, and external ideologies and faith perspectives in war and peace.22
* projection/relinquishment and the regaining of agency: projective identification in emotional life, and the process of relinquishing agency or power in war and peace.
This conclusion then begs the question: what makes these reverberations possible? What is the musical scale or structure, the soundboard upon which the notes resound?
These questions require a faith answer. It is my deep belief that these vibrations—and no doubt the many more that exist—are held together by Christ in a deeper unity of life full of mystery and wonder. They reflect the seamlessness, the integration of life itself, which Christ in his redemption accomplishes. I am struck by the shema, the central claim repeatedly uttered by the community of God’s people in the Hebrew Scriptures—”Hear O Israel, the Lord, the Lord our God is One.”23 The power of this statement, especially its implication for the seamlessness of God’s creation, seems largely to have been lost in Christian communities. N. T. Wright has shown brilliantly that, as the antidote to the rampant idolatries of Corinth, the apostle Paul affirms and regrounds this claim under the banner of Christ.24
I am struck by the redemptive structure of so much of our human narratives, which I believe is due to Christ’s redemption.25 I am continually awed and humbled by the profound impulse to heal that I meet in people in the most dire circumstances, and to seek peace in the most war-riven circumstances. To me, this impulse reflects nothing less than the presence of the living Christ in our darkest hours, actively sending out invitations to turn our crises in a different direction. The movement towards healing and peace always comes at a cost: giving up our negative internal working models, and giving up our ideologies of guaranteed security, identity, and limitless material progress. Each involves vulnerability and risk; in language from the psychological literature, doing each means losing the “secondary gains” that come with the dysfunction—a sense of power, prestige, reward, or privilege.
Where can we find the courage to follow God-given ways of healing and peace? Perhaps by looking to Jesus himself. At the beginning of his ministry, in his inaugural sermon, Jesus describes his mission on earth: to proclaim Jubilee in which the poor, the slave, the widow, the sick, and all that have been marginalized or made reprehensible, are brought back into the centre of society.26 Jubilee is the quintessential integration initiative. Then, at the beginning of his Passion, in the Triumphal entry, Jesus uses the ancient Near Eastern form of a victorious king returning home to his capital city from battle. The people of the city come outside of the city walls to greet the king and usher him in as he processes on the most technologically advanced weapon of the day: the horse and chariot. But contrary to every expectation, Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey instead of a horse and chariot.27 One cannot underestimate either the drama of the event or its clarity to the people of the time. It would have been something akin to meeting a squadron of F16s in a hot air balloon. This was how this king would approach the palpable militarist oppression of the Jews by the Roman Empire.
With these twin signature events, pre-staging his death and resurrection, Jesus fundamentally vindicated all of the Old Testament material regarding shalom. In covenantal fashion, where Israel built its personal, social, and economic rhythms around integration and inclusion, and at the same time practiced peace (including dramatically refusing to adopt the military conventions of the day), there God would send healing and peace.28
In today’s different context, that promise still holds true. Jesus puts us on the path of personhood, to quote one of our prophetic witnesses, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In our emotional and societal lives, it is time to get off of our horses and chariots and onto our donkeys and follow him.
1. Written by Bruce Cockburn, Julie Wolf, Ben Riley and Steve Lucas, and performed by Bruce Cockburn on Life is Short Call Now (True North Records, 2006).
2. Hope in Troubled Times: A New Vision for Confronting Global Crises (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007). Additional material can be found in “Towards A New Vision of Common Security,” in “Paths to Hope in Troubled Times,” which is a companion piece to the book (available athttp://cpj.ca/aboutus/index.html?ap=1&x=112227 and www.icscanada.edu/resources).
3. Robert Jay Lifton has written, among other books, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide (New York: Basic Books, 2000), Superpower Syndrome: America’s Apocalyptic Confrontation with the World (New York: Nation Books, 2003), and Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima (New York: Vintage Books, 1967). Scott Peck was a US military veteran and chairman of a three-person committee of psychiatrists assigned to make recommendations for research that might shed light on the causes of the famous Mai Lai Massacre in the Viet Nam war, and to prevent other such atrocities. After his well-known Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2003; originally published in 1978) and People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983), Peck wrote The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987).
4. The thesis is entitled “Multigenerational Transmission of War-Induced Trauma: Its Effects on Family Structure and Process” (1987) and is available upon request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. This is documented in his own writings and in a fictionalized account by Pat Barker in Regeneration (New York: Penguin, 2003).
6. On occasion I use military metaphors with couples and therapy metaphors in relation to war and peace. I sometimes remind couples how the Cold War ended: not through political agreements (the SALT agreements merely gave permission to the United States and the Soviet Union to build more nuclear weapons) but through “reciprocal unilateral initiatives.” I sometimes compare the compulsive reach for the same political solution to insecurity today—increase arms, military expenditures and military capacity, despite an overwhelming lack of evidence that these are effective—to couples who come to therapy because they have run stuck implementing the same failed solutions over and over again, with greater intensity, simply because they don’t know what else to do.
7. A further reason may be that, while many therapists and social workers do clinical work with veterans, war victims and their families, issues of global justice and international relations take them outside of their clinical training and the dominant therapeutic paradigm. This is also a telling comment on the profession of social work, whose origins lay in advocacy for structural change (on this, see the article by Nicholas Wolterstorff, “Justice, Not Charity: Social Work through the Eyes of Faith” in Social Work and Christianity 33, no. 2, (Summer, 2006). A notable exception is the pioneering work of the “Just Therapy” group in Auckland, New Zealand, who have actively and deliberately worked to integrate justice concerns, particularly of their clients, with their clinical work. See Charles Waldegrave, Kiwi Tamasese, Flora Tuhaka and Warihi Campbell, Just Therapy (Adelaide, South Australia: Dulwich Centre Publications, 2003).
8. The notion of remaining “affectively regulated” is very similar to what Murray Bowen, the founder of the family systems school of therapy, means by “differentiation” and “individuation.”
9. See, among other publications, Attachment-Focused Family Therapy (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2007), Building the Bonds of Attachment: Awakening Love in Deeply Troubled Children 2nd ed. (Washington, D.C.: Jason Aronson, 2006), and Facilitating Developmental Attachment: The Road to Emotional Recovery and Behavioral Change in Foster and Adopted Children (Washington D.C.: Jason Aronson, 2000).
10. See Leslie Greenberg, Emotion-Focused Therapy: Coaching Clients to Work Through Their Feelings (Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 2002), and Susan Johnson, The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Creating Connection (New York: Routledge, 2004).
11. See especially the work of Michael White (Adelaide, Australia) and Karl Tomm (Calgary, Canada).
12. Psychosynthesis has Jungian elements. The difference is that what Jung considered universal archetypes Assagioli considered individual or personal archetypes.
13. I also hold the view that projection is not strictly a dyadic activity, but also involves triangulation in the manner spoken of by Murray Bowen. In other words, it takes three to tangle.
14. Hope, p. 10.
15. I am especially indebted to the work of John Paul Lederach for these comments. Lederach is Professor of International Peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute, the University of Notre Dame, and a Distinguished Scholar with the Conflict Transformation Program at Eastern Mennonite University.
16. It is not possible to do justice to the depth and breadth of Lederach’s work here. See John Paul Lederach, Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies (Washington D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1997), The Journey Towards Reconciliation (Scottsdale, PA: Herald Press, 1999), with Janice Moomaw Jenner, A Handbook of International Peacebuilding: Into The Eye Of The Storm (San Fransisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2002), The Little Book of Conflict Transformation (Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2003) and Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Social Change (New York: University of Oxford Press, 2004), as well as Jarem Sawatsky, “Extending the Peacebuilding Timeframe: Revising Lederach’s Integrative Framework,” Peace Research 37, no. 11 (May, 2005), pp.123-130.
17. See Mary B. Anderson, Do No Harm: How Aid Can Support Peace—or War (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1999).
18. See http://www.ploughshares.ca.
19. As Jacques Ellul expressed so eloquently already in his Hope in the Time of Abandonment, trans. C. Edward Hopkin (New York: The Seabury Press, 1973).
20. Psalm 119: 96.
21. For more on this, see Mark Vander Vennen, “Towards A New Vision of Common Security,” Paths to Hope in Troubled Times. Here is another area where war and psychology intersect.
22. I find the term and concept “worldview,” which might be used in this context, to be too generic and monolithic, lacking the nuances that are needed to account for the varieties of human experience. Further, with its origin in the historicism of the 19th century German philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey, I find it biased towards academic interests.
23. Deuteronomy 4: 6
24. See chapter 6, The Climax of the Covenant (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992).
25. Redemptive structures are fundamental to good fiction, for example, even in their apparent absence.
26. Luke 4: 18-19
27. Zechariah 9: 9-10; Luke 19: 41-44
28. Throughout the Old Testament, God consistently prohibited Israel from acquiring the most advanced weapon of the day, the horse and chariot, though it was used by the thousands against Israel. The horse and chariot gave an army a huge military advantage. From a human standpoint, militarily it would have been absurd not to have them, no less absurd than David attacking the military machine Goliath, unarmored, with a slingshot. There were no chariots in Israel until the time of David, who kept 100 of them (2 Samuel 8:4)—rejecting the dictum God gave to Joshua (Jos. 11:1-9) to burn chariots and hamstring horses. Solomon then acquired thousands of them and traded them with the surrounding nations (1 Kings 10:26-29). Micah 1:8-16 climaxes with verse 13, where God (based on the Hebrew text) calls Israel’s militarization by means of the horse and chariot “the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion.” (Lachish, a strong, fortified city whose name rhymes with Lachesh [team of horses], was a city larger even than Jerusalem). The Hebrew word for “beginning” here means “chief,” “cardinal,” “paramount,” “pre-eminent,” “of the highest rank.” In other words, Israel’s acquisition of the horse and chariot was the “paramount” sin of God’s people. The prophets, particularly Isaiah and Micah, rail against Israel’s horses and chariots and list them with Solomon’s other idolatries (Is. 2:6-8, the same list as is found in Deut. 17:16-17; see also Micah 5:10-14). “There is no end to their horses and chariots!” (Is. 2:7). Israel was not to go back to Egypt to acquire horses and chariots (Dt. 17:16-17; Is. 31:1-3); God’s curtain of water at the Red Sea was to close off that way of life altogether for Israel (Is. 43:16-18). The only use of a horse in the ancient near East was to pull a chariot; it was not a beast of burden, such as a donkey or an ox. In this way, the horse and chariot is the biblical symbol of military might (Ps. 20:8). It is Yahweh’s horses and chariots that are victorious, not any of the nations’, including Israel’s (see the story of Elisha in 2 Kings 6:15-17).
Mark Vander Vennen
Mark Vander Vennen is a registered social worker and holds Master’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology. His essays have appeared in numerous periodicals and he is a frequent public speaker on issues of violence and reconciliation. Mark currently serves as the Executive Director of Salem Christian Mental Health Association in Ontario, Canada, which provides individual, couple and family therapy, and specializes in Dyadic Development Psychotherapy for children and youth with attachment disorders, WrapAround (working with people with highly complex needs), and restorative justice in communities, schools and churches.