Media Type: News / Op - Ed
Date of Publication: November 19, 2018
Year of Publication: 2018
Author(s): Norman Brown, Marsha Hudson
Our November 20 Blog describes how psychological training may bring about a rebalancing of today’s human relationship to Earth’s Biosphere from the destructive dominance of an addictive power motive (largely in the hands of some greedy men) to a more compassionate blending of power with love. The rise of women leaders today, who are typically socialized to operate with love and empathy towards both humans and other living things, is the most significant positive direction in the world. But a very large-scale concerted training effort is needed to reeducate both men and women towards embracing the internal emotional dynamics of power and love so that they may act in consort. Only then will what has long been labeled the battle of the sexes transform itself within both men and women into admiration for and collaboration with each other in planning and actions for restoring human sustainability.
The urgency of recovering a sustainable balance in our biosphere points to New Technology, but not just for repairing the many environmental problems now getting worse. For the new technology of information and its digital communication now reaches farther and faster than anyone could have imagined in the 20th century. The Silicon Valley digital technology and social media companies are masters of more powerful information broadcasting and persuasion than the world has ever known, much more powerful than any national or international government.
For example, the American government is now among the global climate change deniers. But the entire American population could be scared into wakefulness by one YouTube video ad showing the atmosphere choking on hydrocarbons while roaring genocidal fires devour silently screaming humanoid pine trees and thus further intensify global warming, or another video showing ocean currents and sea creatures of all sizes strangling in plastics and metallic garbage—since such images could rapidly go viral worldwide. Such powerful advertising could bring worldwide attention to bear on our global problems at the same time and thus hyperfocus our minds and hearts on finding solutions faster. In fact, Silicon Valley’s control over new communication technology makes it significantly involved in world governance. And with so much power comes extraordinary responsibility for the fate of the planet.
What are we to do?
Our plan acknowledges that this vision of generating “new improved” gender-socialized and more-fully-conscious emotional personality structures might be impossible to achieve in just one generation. Or that the eventual results of enriching human consciousness of all emotions probably would turn out differently than we can now imagine. (We haven’t completed but a fraction of this work ourselves, but our own changes are encouraging that the future benefits for humanity will be good.) Thus we’re convinced that a period of research and development must come before any rollout of new supermodel women and men.
So the first step is to join with one bold forward-leaning tech powered company willing to embark on research and development with us. (We have one in mind, but they don’t know it yet,) This future birthplace of the new human would provide the personnel, work time and facilities for two experimental training groups: 1. The singles group of eight or ten tech-geek type men who are more intimate with computers and less comfortable with women, and the same number of women, who are by nature more emotionally aware, but still hampered by their digital device use since their teenage years; 2. The couples group of eight or ten committed and cohabiting or married pairs whose emotional competence also varies by gender and by their balance of skills between tech and social relations. The singles group would benefit through gaining enough emotional and empathic skills to attract and make a romantic intimacy work. The couples group partners would benefit through developing secure attachments between each other, also gained and maintained through facilitated empathic process.
The first phase of R & D would last at least 3-6 months, possibly more. For we must learn what works by doing the emotional immersion and empathy processes we’ve envisioned and partially tried, and then learning with our new-human-prototypes-in-training and tracker-researchers how to improve the processes for better realistic success.
How Can Our Plan Get Started? What’s in It for the Tech Leaders?
Since most leaders of Silicon Valley have not yet embraced the responsibility that comes with the power of their media, incentives may be needed to get them involved. In our explanation of the emotional dynamics of love and of power, we suggest that women’s motivation to love and nurture living things can be extended to include empathic relations with every being on the planet, be it animal, plant or human, and even to whole ecosystems, whether earthly, oceanic or atmospheric. So perhaps tech women and tech partners can show the way. And perhaps if tech company leaders were to grow more complete awareness of their emotions and embrace conscientiously their own dynamics of love and power, they too might want to share their compassion for the biosphere with everyone their media can reach.
But as of now Silicon Valley companies are capitalistic, meaning addicted to wealth and power, and perhaps also to inventing, which is novelty-excitement driven, a “positive” addiction too. Most do want immediate profit and don’t want to be responsible for discriminating between helpful and harmful Inventions or information, now or in the future. They market immediate gratification (entertainment) and cultivate an appetite for excitement and enjoyment (hedonism) in their world clientele, without concern about the future. Silicon Valley’s palette of emotions is strong on excitement and joy but weak on their vital counter- partner shame. Yet shame is essential to conscientiousness in caring for all our relationships, including our planetary home. Why would these leaders want to change their ways? What would they stand to gain?
The first answer to this is worldwide fame as the first companies in the world to have the foresight, courage and world-patriotism to make saving the world from human predatory exploitation their highest priority besides making profit. To make serving the world integral to their brand. Their name/brand would be on every YouTube (owned by Google) that’s alerting the world to the onrushing catastrophic climate gyrations and global pollution, such as in the fire and ocean video examples above, and the addictive greed behind them. And their high-profile commitment to altruistic compassion for our world might save their brand from bankruptcy due to Russian and extremist power-addict pirate-usurpation of their power tools (aka “platform”) to sabotage naïve democracy for Malthusian warfare (oh, but that was only Facebook).
The second answer is we don’t know for sure. So why don’t you (the reader) help us out, by talking to thoughtful people that you know, especially if they work in digital tech or similar engineering companies. Meanwhile we’ll carry on with our plan for planting the seeds of new men and women in Silicon Valley soil, especially social media giants. Read on now, as we outline a key corner of our emotional analysis and treatment of normal human personality that plagues digital tech and other machine-powered industries and even exposes further roots of male power-drive besides fear.
It All Goes Back to Sex
We first thought of going to Silicon Valley with our training skills in mid-2017 while reading news about the sexual misconduct scandals there, which was soon followed by the rise of #MeToo. For there’s a lucid explanation of the roots of male sexual misconduct with tendrils that reach so far out into human nature that they’d even tickle Freud awake to squirm and quiver in his grave.
Freud didn’t realize that he was projecting his own male obsession when he wrote that the sex drive and its developmental orifices were the giant poles on which he spanned the entire circus tent of human nature. Sex drive is far more immediate and insistent in men than women. Women must be slow to arouse to intercourse, because they’re instinctually responsible for tending not just babies but through them the genepool that they’ll expand when they reach mating age. Men need to be both expendable and easily seduced, so women’s intuition has a better than 50-50 chance of saving humans from evolving into the suigenocidal maniacs we’re now becoming.
What’s Shame Got To Do With Tech?
Teenage boys are very awkward about connecting with girls, because their untrained insistent sex drive makes them too excited to cope with public exposure when they’re around girls. And (here comes a bit of Tomkins emotional theory) when in public communal norms trigger shame to warn against social misconduct. So, boys hold back on expressing their sexual excitement, which automatically increases their shame. (Tomkins discovered that shame is triggered whenever excitement or joy are impeded but not extinguished. And it’s stored up unconsciously until released, even if much of its excitement-braking energy is soon released in other ways1.)
Some teenagers, boys and girls, turn their energies to machines to avoid sex-shame and feel good at something safer than adolescent people. Ten years later many of them end up employed in engineering or computer cultures. Once in the tech workplace the men (at least) naturally react to sexual arousal cues with the four-directional compass of shame1. Withdrawal is the most primitive way to escape shame awareness: get away from its source. So tech men avoid being around women. And many women may learn to avoid men because of uncomfortable moments dealing with male sexual-excitement-colored attention. Second, while shrinking from female presence, men may blame themselves; thinking “I’m incompetent with women, ugly, unworthy, a loser,” etc. Third, people may replace shame with alternate forms of enjoyable interest and excitement where they can succeed, such as computer competence. This gives them reasons to feel superior, quite the opposite of sexually incompetent. The final defensive response is to blame women for turning men on—well-known in male bar-talk and harassment culture: “they’re dressing up and seducing us to get ahead, to get power.”
In fact the urge of some men to get power over both women and the planet is partly rooted in their superior-competent-excitement avoidance of sex-awkwardness via success and pride, known to women as the mighty male ego. Many of them—the bosses and the Trumps—have become so impervious to social cues that they can get their thrills through sexual aggression without any warning signs of shame. Furthermore, misogyny is a minimally conscious, contemptuously colored male attitude toward women as second-class citizens, just like racism, that makes us unconscious of the shame that might otherwise warn us of damage to our human community caused by the “battle of the sexes” and racial/ethnically divided identities.
So Here’s Another Benefit to Digital Tech Giants
Eliminating sexual misconduct problems that continue to plague their reputation is another way to win the hearts and minds of Silicon Valley companies. In fact, healing the tensions arising from unconscious shame-defensive reactions may literally reach the minds of both hi-tech leaders and employees through their hearts. Since the emotional origins of workplace sexual tensions are excitement, joy and shame, with further outgrowth into anger, loneliness (distress-sorrow) and contempt, the most direct and lasting way to heal this suffering and strife is in-depth training with these six emotions.
This training needs to proceed through empathic encounters between men and women—as introduced in part one of this blog. It must begin with education about shame in gender relations and then go more deeply into dyadic sharing of shame stories. For only when we are interested in shame can we balance out our normal urge to withdraw, that is to flee from it. Once we are comfortable with our shame we can study all our other unpopular emotions, such as distress, fear, anger and contempt, with enlivened interest. And then perhaps develop skillful and respectful emotion management by empathic practice within cross-gender pairs.
The best results of such training will be both disappearance of sexual misconduct issues and an increase in durable couple relationships, along with greater attraction of skilled women into this industry. In fact, investing in emotional competence for romantic and friendship relationships between men and women not only supports employee loyalty and satisfying couple relationships but could also lay the foundation for restoring sustainability of humanity in time to save our species. For if this unprecedented upgrading of emotional competence can bring fulfillment of love motivation to tech employees—and we must keep experimenting, testing and improving our methods until they do achieve these results—then these happy and emotionally conscientious individuals and couples could become prototypical new men and women, and thus leaders in the shift in cultural consciousness.
Can Leadership in Private Life Become Leadership in Public Life?
We’ll boldly prophesize that some graduates of singles and couples training would be so comfortable with shame that they would gladly present YouTube testimonials to inspire others. They would bear witness to their development from emotionally normal, but underdeveloped and love-deprived computer operators into emotionally complete and conscientious practitioners of love, empathy and possibly also socially collaborative power.
The depth of emotional competence envisioned would prepare graduates of both level one and two training for empathic response to all living things and highly skilled people management. This is emotional leadership training for life in and out of the workplace, which means both in public and private life. The third level would build on these basic emotions to understand the emotional dynamics of love and not power, and in their similarities and differences between men and women, as outlined in our November 20 blog, part 1.
Thus, our plan for training human sustainability invites tech leadership to support Love Power Institute experimentation on a Level 3: training emotionally competent graduates of level one and/or two to develop collaborative leadership through merging the skills of both men and women, along with the emotional dynamics of both love and power in developing new leadership personality dimensions. These could spread new global citizen attitudes through movies and documentaries that new types of heroic commitment to the imminent future of our race and earth. The audiovisual capabilities of social media companies could also promote transparency and expert participation from all over the world for continuously experimenting and improving training options as well as establishing satellite facilities to train conscientious leadership for other industries and governments.
Meanwhile the new leadership of more emotionally conscientious and collaborative women and men could expand the political and cultural activism of thousands of dedicated groups already pushing back against existing predatory exploitation of the biosphere. These new egalitarian leaders can redirect the actions of all governments and industries to more nurturant and sustainable management and stop the actions of those addicted to their predatory ways.
Norman Brown and Marsha Hudson are retired professors and practitioners of psychotherapy and humanities who founded the Love-Power Institute, a nonprofit corporation with plans to pursue these trainings. By sharing their work with the MAHB, they hope to interest others in continuing the conversation around the dynamics of love and power and joining them to build a training force for spreading love and power dynamics as well as empathy for the biosphere worldwide, especially to those who would lead industries and governments.