Scotland Stays in the UK: A Back-to-the-Body Perspective

Scots_GuardsI am delighted that the Scots have decided to continue to be a part of the United Kingdom, creating a single political unity together with England, Northern Ireland, and Wales. In this article, I will look at some of the issues involved in the Scots’ decision. I will draw insights from the Back-to-the-Body Perspective and will ask whether the lessons gleaned from Scotland might be applied to other spots in the world, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict.

United But Autonomous

struggle_subject_objectThe old standard for unity was the dualistic method of control. Unified wholes were often established by force, in which one part controlled the other. This is the dualistic way of controlling and controlled, dominating and dominated, commanding and obeying. This is a method based on struggle. People would fight to overcome others and to subdue them.

The old system of control exists in certain parts of the world today, such as in Russia, but for the most part, this old system of “controlling and controlled” is being replaced by a relationship of co-equals based on autonomy and freedom. Thus, in another article  I suggested that a better outcome for the Scots would be to reject the breakup and, instead, to strive for better conditions in their relationship with the UK. I am glad they chose unity rather than separation.

A Non-Dualistic Relationship

together_foreverInstead of the dualistic opposition of “dominating and dominated,” a more effective pattern for a relationship is the paradigm of the body. The pattern displayed by the body shows harmony made up os three parts instead of two parts of traditional dualism. In the Back-to-the-Body Perspective I have been using the terms “stomach,” “brain,” and “heart” to designate the three parts (click here for further clarification).

We already have a system like that in place for democratic governments. In democracies, we have three constituent parts, namely, the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary. These parts are autonomous in their own domain and yet they constitute a unified whole. Democracies flourish and prosper in an environment in which no branch controls another.

Fear of Autonomy within Unity

It is easy to opt for “control” and “domination” rather than autonomy and freedom, for fear that the people, once given freedom, will either misbehave or escape from the union. Thus, there is fear of autonomy within unity, and people seek to establish unions on the basis of controls and domination.

what_tomorrow_bringFreedom, however, is the destiny of humankind. Trust in people is of such value that it is worth taking chances to attain it. It is a sad day when one can no longer believe in someone or when trust is shattered. Nietzsche captured the value of trust in human relationships when he said,

Nicht dass du mich belogst, sondern dass ich dir nicht mehr glaube, hat mich erschüttert. (“What distresses me is not that you have lied to me, but rather that I can no longer believe you.”)
—Excerpt From: Friedrich Nietzsche. Jenseits von Gut und Böse, 183. iBooks.

Example: the Central Bank of Brazil

currenciesThis issue of trust is surfacing in the national politics of Brazil, with regard to the Brazilian Central Bank. The presidential candidates have been offering their views on how to structure Brazil’s Central Bank. One candidate contends that Brazil should have an independent central bank, similar to the Federal Reserve System in the United States. Another candidate cautions that such an independent bank cannot be trusted to do what is best for the people; instead, therefore, the Brazilian central bank should be under the control of the President of Brazil, who will make sure that the money is used exclusively for the benefit of the people.

I favor an independent central bank, and I base this opinion on the Back-to-the-Body Perspective. In the body, the wealth of the body (i.e., the oxygen-rich blood) is controlled by the heart, which is independent from the brain. Likewise, in the country, the wealth of the country (i.e., money) should be controlled by an entity that is independent from the federal government, which is like the brain of the nation.

This is just an example of the wealth of insights that can be gleaned from the Back-to-the-Body Perspective. It shows also that people can experience autonomy even within the context of a unified whole. It also provides a new paradigm for relationships.

It was from this perspective that I suggested that the Scots should stay connected with the United Kingdom. You can experience independence and autonomy and still be part of a larger unity. Greatness consists exactly in this: you continue to be yourself, and yet you are part of a greater whole. Could this pattern be used to establish unity between Jews and Arabs?

A Grand Union in Palestine?

scene_in_palestineAs mentioned, unification has been difficult because it has been made on the basis of the dualistic way of “dominating” and “dominated.” No one wants to be dominated by someone else. This brings about suspicion and the fear of exploitation. Mistrust and recrimination become prevalent, and the unified parts can break away. This mistrust has made it difficult for Israelis and Arabs to find a way to coexist and prosper together.

But greater prosperity comes from unification rather separation. I believe this consideration is what led the Scots to vote against separation. I think it became clear to them that, had they decided to break away from the United Kingdom, the very next day they would have to start negotiating the terms of cooperation with England, Ireland, and the European Union. But by staying connected with the United Kingdom, they already have all that in place. So, why give up something, only to build it again? Could this not be a way for Israelis and Arabs to find unity?

A Pattern for Israelis and Arabs

why_cant_be_friendsIsraelis and Arabs have long been looking for a kind of relationship that would allow them to thrive in a prosperous environment. Why not follow the pattern being demonstrated in the United Kingdom? Scotland has shown that unification does not mean that you lose your self-identity or your autonomy. With mutual respect and good will, a great deal can be achieved through unification while maintaining autonomy. If Arabs and Israelis start from mutual acceptance and a desire to prosper together, they can create a larger whole in which the two states are autonomous and yet connected, following the pattern that the Scots have decided to preserve.

I conclude with a quote:

It is incredible that humans should fear the most beautiful; but it is so.
— Excerpt From: Friedrich Hölderlin. Hyperion. iBooks.

Paulo-Juarez Pereira
Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA
September 20, 2014

Photo Credits:
Photo: Scots Guards
Author: Dan Davison
Creative Commons License: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Photo: Struggle for Dominion
Author: Jean
Creative Commons License: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Photo: Together Forever
Author: Marsel Minga
Creative Commons License: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Photo: Who Knows What Tomorrow Will Bring
Author: Tony Fischer
Creative Commons License: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Photo: Currencies
Author: epSos .de
Creative Commons License: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Photo: Scene in Palestine
Author: gnuckx
Creative Commons License: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Photo: why_cant_be_friends
Author: Tomi Laine Clark
Creative Commons License: Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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