Democracy needs mature individuals (Tamera 4)

This is excerpted from a book originally published 30 years ago, by Dieter Duhm, initiator of the Tamera community in Portugal.

Dieter Duhm:

“Democracy is a question neither of verbal commitment nor of the outer political form of a system. Rather it is a question mainly of the emotional state and structure of drives in the human. Unfulfilled libidinous needs still stand fundamentally in the way of a free and democratic society. The emotional structure of today’s human is not democratic and autonomous, but rather feudalistic. Just as in old times he longs for Father, God, and Caesar; but he does not want them in the old form, he wants a psychological equivalent for them. As long as no deliverer is in sight he does not recognise his inclinations and speaks of anything, such as democracy or even anarchy. But as soon as such a god-like father-figure becomes visible, he starts to come alive and forgets everything he preached the day before. I have often seen critical intellectuals, Marxists, ponderers and individualists arrive at the extremely hierarchically organised Friedrichshof in Austria and in very little time cease their resistance – not because they were broken down through brainwashing, as a sensationalist newspaper depicted it – but because they could no longer believe in their own resistance. Their true desires had been awakened. Here I remind the reader of the example of the two wanderers who went thirstily through the desert … Some readers may now understand me when I state quite simply that our culture of today, including our counterculture, is a pseudo culture. At the verbal level hardly anyone is credible any more, for people want something different from what they say. People are thirsty, but hardly anyone dares to say what for. The communities of AAO and Poona have brought this thirst out into the open, and what they teach us should be taken seriously. The political slogans of democracy, peace, and justice sound like Salvation Army hymns when compared to real life, as long as their psychological roots are not reflected upon deeply, down to the dynamics of their underlying drives and their emotional core, and realised from there.

True humanism needs democracy. All guru structures, all adoration of a leader, and all forms of organisation of human communities that are based on emotional fixation may be an important temporary learning phase for those involved, but they do not answer the question that we are faced with. That question is: what organisational form and inner constitution can we create for living together that can be applied generally and, in the long term, make humane structures possible?

Truly responsible humaneness can come into existence only after the fixations are overcome and the time has arrived when democracy is psychologically possible. The development of real democracy will be based on the reality at hand, for example, on the fact that in every community there is a kind of natural hierarchy (which can always change itself). Before the community can give itself a conscious form of organisation, some sort of group structure will already have evolved through the hierarchy of perceived human differences. These differences are a part of the variety of human biotope. They must not be suppressed through an overlay of egalitarian claims but rather should be used for creative learning processes.

Grass-roots and group democracy that reflects the Living is not based on egalitarian structures but on the optimum possibilities for individual development and growth in the intellectual autonomy of all members. These are high terms.

They require the realisation of three things in the democratic society of the future:

* Firstly, the child-parent fixation – which so far has held people in lifelong childish dependency on authorities – must be overcome through new social forms of raising children and new social forms of love.

* Secondly, all emotional repression – which so far has stopped the emotional development of the human at an early stage and thus prevented him from growing up – must cease through a social system of free love, free research, and free work.

* Thirdly, the greatest possible social transparency needs to be created (allowing the individual, from childhood on, to have an overview of his social environment, to know his present position in the community, and take part in current decisions). The next section considers some principles for achieving this social transparency.

Democracy cannot be achieved by fiat. It can only emerge and grow when the necessary emotional, mental, and social conditions are there. As it grows gradually and slowly, the community in which it develops will take the form of a circle. A circle where each element carries a different weight and is of different meaning but has its place and its relation to the whole.”

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