Dr. Berne writes,
(‘A person acts and feels, not according to what things are really like, but according to his mental image of what they are like. Everyone has images of himself, the world and those around him, and behaves as though those images, rather than the objects they represent were the truth. They like to continue to feel according to these universal images, regardless of whether they correspond to what is really there. If there is reason to think anything to the contrary, deep down in their minds people hate to believe it. If they are forced to change them, they become sad and anxious, and even mentally ill. Such mental images, which guide our behaviour, are charged with feeling. When we say that we love someone, we mean that the image of that person is highly charged with constructive, affectionate and generous feelings. When we say that we hate someone, we mean that the person’s image is charged with destructive, angry and ungenerous feelings. What the person is actually like, or how he appears to other people and how they feel about him, does not come into the picture except indirectly. ‘)
The problem is obvious. The only way an individual can begin to adjust his or her behaviour is if they learn how to distinguish between their imagined interpretations and the actual objects or events their imaginations represent, thereby removing the conflict. However, needless to say, personal definitions are far more safe and comforting than what is out there.
Therefore, this in itself creates another problem. Perhaps a problem that is more difficult to solve. How to encourage an individual to see the need to begin to learn how to distinguish between his or her interpretations and what is really out there.
Being able to distinguish is a problem but it’s not as significant as the need to realize that one needs to begin to distinguish between his own interpretations of objects or events and what they really are.
It’s not easy to do so in a one on one session. Then how do we create a communications strategy that could encourage a large number of people to begin to realize that their interpretations of objects or events they are observing are limited by the extent of their knowledge and experience and therefore are not the actual states of the objects or events they are observing.
Clinging to our images is what defines us. Unfortunately, that’s all we are concerned with (the need to protect our interpretations).
Instead of cooperating with others in order to adjust our interpretations, we do everything we can to avoid those who question our interpretations. Thus others are seen as obstacles and not as an opportunity to adjust our understanding of the world.
Again we must being to use new technologies to create interactive models that would show people how and why they create their imagined interpretations and therefore how and why discrepancies and therefore conflicts occur and continue to exist.
To be continued.