Concrete Gains For European Unity

Here are some general remarks on the workshop led by Molnàr Gabriella in Calacea, Romania, or, if you wish: "What did this workshop bring new to us?"

1. First of all I think it is good to know that this was the first workshop held in Romania with such a diverse participation (one person from Belgium, four Austrians, seven Hungarians, fifteen Romanians, two English).

There are two positive effects of that:

a. The first is that the presence of persons of so many different countries was an important contradiction to the geographical isolation which the people of Romania have been subject to for so many years, and which I think is common to all the former communist countries.

b. The second positive effect is that those who came here from elsewhere were offered the chance to confront their own fears concerning the visit to such a country and on the other hand they could better realize some of their patterns that "show better here"( for example, the patterns of people from more developed countries to always assume responsibility and to always go up front, patterns of material comfort, etc.).

2. The workshop gave everybody who was present the chance to pick up information about other people and give information about their own lives first-hand (through the panel; the direct contact between individuals; the possibility to see Romania, the scenery and traditions of the country).

3. And last, but not least, I think it is good to say that this was the first international workshop led by a person from the East (Molnàr Gabriella) with participants from the West. This situation contradicts the general pattern existing in Eastern Europe (and not only here) that the Westerners (coming from economically more developed countries) are the leaders; that any change "depends on them" or anyway, that they "know everything better."

This was the third international workshop led by Gabi here in Romania, and her presence here brought, on the one hand, important changes in the lives of the people in this Community, and on the other hand, changes in this part of the world. That much for now about the general setting of the workshop.

Now I will refer to the subject proposed by Leah Thorn: East and West. I will start with (1) questions and answers from one of our leaders' classes concerning this subject, (2) then I will continue with some personal remarks on this issue, and (3) a list on what I think is useful to do about these things (to restore the right situation).

1. Questions and answers from the leaders' class that had this subject ("Thoughts on the situation of East and West as seen at the workshop in Calacea").

What did you do well for the Westerners?

  • We invited them to get to know us and explained what we thought would be unknown or new to them.
  • We offered them a place where they could counsel on how they feel in this part of the world.
  • We treated them with much love.
  • We showed them this is not "the end of the world."
  • We gave them information and offered them the chance to confront their fears and patterns which they can better realize here.
  • I supported a Westerner on a concrete issue.

What area do you feel like the Westerners are better than us?

  • In the area of language -- they all speak perfect English, and we often forget that for some of them this is their mother tongue.
  • We tend to believe that because they can travel about easier (i.e. the possibility of visiting other countries) that they have more information about RC and are better counselors/clients.
  • We tend to think that they are more refined and used to things of good quality; therefore they don't accept being treated badly or disrespectfully or ignored.
  • Because they know how to get up front we tend to think that they don't need us; that's why some of us didn't ask a Westerner for a session.
  • We got carried away thinking that we wouldn't be wanted, that we would be rejected, but after a few people opened up to us, things changed.

2. That much about the questions and answers. Now here are a few personal remarks about the workshop:

I think one of the most important and interesting parts of RC theory is the theory on oppression and the ways it is used to divide people and destroy relationships between them. A Latin quote says: "Divide et impera" ("divide and rule"), and we have started to realize how negative the effects of this kind of thinking can be. We can witness right now in the world huge changes; the fall of communism brought lots of change and confusion. (Just today I found out on TV that there has been another fire set to some refugee camps in Germany.)

This is why I think we have to face the fact that in today's world, the differences between "developed countries," "developing countries," and "underdeveloped countries" are felt more and more. These material differences produce and bring up much confusion and distress. We each heard about these material differences, sometimes even felt them, and yet we seldom if ever realize that they can have the negative effect of producing distress patterns specific to the countries where we come from. From my point of view this division of countries into "developed," "developing," and "underdeveloped" causes oppression between nations which is no other than (and here I speculate) a projection on a larger scale of class oppression (owning-, middle-, and working-class). Here are some patterns of the owning class which are very similar to those of people coming from "developed countries" -- like those in Western Europe:

  • the idea that they have to have a good time at any cost;
  • the need to be in charge under all conditions;
  • arrogance -- sometimes in the guise of bold initiative without consulting the others (for example, the decisions that the developed countries take regarding the rest of the world);
  • always taking the initiative (remember at the workshop only Westerners had any opinions).

Some patterns of the middle class -- i.e. of the "developing countries" (like in Eastern Europe):

  • the fearful need of approval and praise from "those in power";
  • the deep belief in partial reform -- take for example the governments in Eastern Europe;
  • lack of self-confidence -- remember the voices on the Eastern panel and that very few Easterners got up front;
  • the illusion that property produces value (the goal of all "developing countries" is to get to the level of "economically developed" countries -- remember what the director of the resort where we held the workshop said, "We promise next time we will do everything to have better conditions: hot water, better food, etc.").

So much for now. I have become confused, so confused that I'm starting to believe that "I'm not at all right." I will stop and continue with the list that I made before I started this letter and which is about:

3. "What we should do to restore things."

a. Institute a rule that no Westerner speaks before at least one Easterner has spoken. This would contradict on the one hand the responsibility patterns of the Westerners, and on the other hand the Eastern pattern of feeling unimportant and the lack of self-confidence.

b. Contradict and eliminate the isolation:

  • The geographical isolation can be eliminated by Westerners making the first move (visiting our countries) and this for two reasons: it contradicts the pattern and idea that they have to feel materially comfortable and also it is a concrete way in which Westerners can be in a position where they need to ask for help. (I think they should do it, too.) Another way of eliminating geographical isolation is to send letters, pictures, postcards to the people from the East (attention: The Easterners might not reply out of discomfort).
  • The physical isolation. (concerning direct contact between individuals) should be eliminated, I think, with the Easterners taking the first steps so that they break down their patterns of lack of self-confidence and unimportance.

Now I will stop because I'm in a hurry to get to a support group (for working on chronic patterns). I'm sure there are many more things to say on this subject, but I think first I need more sessions on it.

Codruta Constantinescu
Timisoara, Romania

 


Last modified: 2015-07-21 09:37:03-07