The double bind

Gregory Bateson discovered the double bind. When people feel good, their hearts are open to others, and their spirits or soul are connected. When people have internal discomfort, their hearts are closed to them, and their blocks do not allow their souls or spirits to connect with others.

1/28/20234 min read

Gregory Bateson discovered the double bind. It is the cause of the most severe pathologies but also the foundation of the daily life of all people. When people feel good, their hearts are open to others, and their spirits or soul are connected. When people have internal discomfort, their hearts are closed to them, and their blocks do not allow their souls or spirits to connect with others. Ubuntu is an African word; it can be translated as "all things are connected". The souls of all people are interconnected but distinct. The distinction between individuals is due to their individual differences.

The ego has different functionality than the soul; it follows the principle of separateness - A separated from B. When we generate the separation principle, we begin to create the confusion principle, which coincides with the overpowering symbol. These three factors are interrelated. When a person uses power, it create a hierarchy. For example, if we said that the Germans are more intelligent than the French. We construct a system - Germans are superior to the French. A group of people is above, and a group of people is below. In this case, a separation develops between the two groups. The consequence of separation is confusion.

We are deeply connected with our souls when we are aware of ourselves. If we carry out destructive forces, when we realize it, we are happy. For example, we perform a violent, angry, or grudge-filled action; we are aware of our actions; then, we feel delighted that we have discovered something evil within us. So we can fix it. When we are in our ego, which is a judgmental structure, once we realize that we have done something wrong, we judge ourselves, and finally, we accuse ourselves. Thus, on the one hand, we have reparative justice for the soul after making a recovery mistake. On the other hand, a punitive justice, I punish myself after making a mistake.

Auctoritas and Potestas are two Latin terms. Auctoritas derives from auger, which means to grow. I obey authority ("ob" in Latin means to listen) if the authority is wise, acts for my good, and has a lot to teach. For example, I go to a musician, obey his lessons and learn from him. When I get good guidelines, I am happy to carry them out. The soul of the Auctoritas is good, aimed at community good and well-being. In contrast, Potestas is the power to make someone obey you against his will. Potestas is an expression of prevarication, abuse of power and arrogance. I obey authority because I have less power. So I succumb. If my boss forces me to do a job in the face of a layoff, I suffer. So, I follow his orders. Potestas is, therefore, the manifestation of the separative ego. Above the potent and below the inferior.

The Potestaes is summarized in the symbol of judgment. The Authority has as its symbol the open arms, the welcome. But what happens when both the judgment and the welcome are present in a person? Mental confusion arises, and the emotions become disconnected and unclear. Emotions are kinesthetic elements, which means physical. So the person will have physically unbalanced and unstable emotions. Also, the thought related to emotions will be confused and blurred. A person who confuses the Potestas (Judgment) and the Autoritas (acceptance of love) within them induces a double message in the people near him. The part that welcomes generates love, and the part that judges cause a split of the personality in two. On the one hand, the person who judges the others. On the other hand, the person who judges himself.

Synergy occurs when people welcome and support each other. The energy of both people grows thanks to their complicity. On the contrary, when the judgment between people occurs, they are antagonists, and the energy level of all the people decreases. For example, when a child is exposed to the double bind, the judging part (narcissistic) and the judged part (depressive) are formed and occupy the child's shadow. The child develops an unknown structure (shadow) of himself. He is unaware. The shadow is formed by a depressive, sad and defeated side and an aggressive, angry and hostile part on the other. The depressive part blames himself, while the narcissistic part blames others. In psychology, this structure is called structural balance. Everything a person does not know about himself will be projected onto others. Thus, as an adult, the individual that is accompanied by an unknown shadow will see oppression where it does not exist. He will project the oppression present within his non-conscience mind.

Let's try to schematize:

1) The child is innocent, open to external events and receptive.

2) He encounters oppression that generates confusion in the child, his expansive energy is perverted, and the child becomes rebellious.

3) The child's self-centeredness increases in size along with the power structure and judgment.

4) The parents judge the child for his integrated structure.

The (1) Innocence child is exposed to (2) oppression (3), becomes a rebel, and he is (4) judged for it. This is a very violent structure. Much of the world's evil stems from this structure. For example, (1 - innocence) the child continues to seek the mother's attention. (2 - oppression) The mother continues to be engaged in other activities without considering the child. After that, the mother decides that the child should take a shower, and she calls the child to take a shower. (3 - rebellion) The child does not respond. She keeps calling the son, but he still doesn't answer. (4 - judgment) The mother gets angry with the child and tells him: you never listen to me!

Let's see another example. (1 - innocence) The child is, by nature, open to his mother. (2-oppression) But the mother is traumatized, and with her non-verbal behaviour, a non-welcoming message emerges: "stay away from me". She keeps the child away from her as much as possible. (3 - rebellion) In response to this attitude, the child moves away. (4 - judgment) At this point, the mother judges him by saying: "you don't love me". When the child is exposed to judgment, he feels guilty, and his personality splits in two. One part becomes depressive (blames himself), and the other oppressive (blames his mother). Thus the central self is exposed to two insane forms of responding, and the child recreates within himself the structure that his parents or mother have passed on to him.

From Mauro Scardovelli