Sunday, July 13, 2014

Some thoughts on splitting

Psychoanalysts will tell you a lot about "splitting" which is defined as "the failure in a person's thinking to bring together both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole." According to Fairbairn, the psychoanalyst who came up with the idea, splitting is a common defense mechanism used by many people.

Which is all well and good.

But this morning the thought occurred to me that what we like about the early phase of love is precisely the splitting -- the way that the rush of new love overrides our traditional doubts and fears.  

And then I realized that revolutions and revolutionary political theory (from Marx to Hayek) also engage in the splitting associated with new love (and that's what people like about revolutionary movements as well).  They romanticize their team and demonize some other. Everything is black and white and crystal clear -- unlike normal day-to-day life.  

It is only mature love that is able to integrate both light and shadow in ourselves and in others.  

So too, it is only the mature revolution that is able to see and integrate the flaws inherent in our own position.  

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