|The Self and the Other: Sustainability and Self-Empowerment (WB, 1996, 76 p.)|
|Development and the self|
Following the presentations of the panel members, Afaf Mahfouz opened and chaired a discussion in which she asked seminar participants to link the ideas that had been presented. She also asked them to suggest ways of working together to put these ideas in place, recognizing the many goals they have in common.
Ms. Mahfouz noted that some speakers were not familiar with other speakers' fields, which had caused them to hesitate when they began to speak. She said this gathering was only the beginning of a dialogue and that more time will be needed to fully explore the ideas proposed by people from such a variety of fields.
Virginia Straus, Boston Research Center for the Twenty-First Century
Henri Parens asked how we can link what we know about the individual with society. A Buddhist concept that might be helpful in this regard is esho fund, which means that the self and the environment appear to be two, but in reality are not two. On a deeper level they are one. The relationship between the self and the environment-including not just the physical environment but all of the relationships we have with others-is thought of as analogous to the body's relationship with its shadow. This concept has implications for how change occurs. If our "shadows," that is, our environments, are crumpled and we work hard trying to straighten them, we will never succeed. In the same way we have to address our own situations by first looking within and straightening our "bodies"-our inner selves. Then our shadows, or our environment and our relations with others, will change.
In Buddhist thought the three poisons inherent in human life are greed, anger, and ignorance. The purpose of life is to work from within to bring out our enlightened selves and rid ourselves of our illusions and the three poisons. Our enlightenment will manifest itself in our environment, but so will our three poisons. If human beings' lives are poisoned by greed, it is reflected in the broader environment by famine and inequality. Some people, motivated by greed, hoard resources, while others have nothing.
We are concerned with natural capital. We cannot deplete natural resources and count that depletion as profit We have to subtract the loss from the balance sheet -Gloria J. Davis
If as a people we need to prove that we are superior to others, constant conflict and warfare will ensue -Virginia Straus
If as a people we need to prove that we are superior to others, which derives from the poison of anger, constant conflict and warfare will ensue.
If we live in ignorance, we will be subject to illnesses and plagues.
These concepts might be useful in a discussion relating the individual processes described today to the broader social processes.
Dennis Frado, Lutheran Office for the World Community, Lutheran World Federation
We who work at the United Nations are thinking about the implications of this discussion. How can we confront military leaders, those in Europe and Africa in particular, who exploit ethnicity and are ruthless in the way they pursue their objectives?
At this seminar economists are asking social scientists and analysts for help. However, it seems that events are moved by economic interests and that our emphasis on subtle psychological and social factors may often be misplaced.
At the moment people from both sides of the war in Bosnia are angry at the United States for not having become more active in the region earlier. According to those who seem to be well informed about the latest peace initiative, the United States has indicated that Bosnia should be divided in any way that can be managed but has pointed out the importance of maintaining a way for the various divisions to work together economically.
One year before the Iran-Iraq war ended, I was on a ski lift with two businessmen, an Iraqi and an Iranian, and they told me that the war was going to stop within a year or so because the economic conflicts that had fueled it were winding down.
What mechanisms do we have for using economic pressure to fight military dictators?
We would be mistaken if we imagined for an instant that economic interests are anything other than just that. They follow their own logic, and capital is a follower, not a leader. Capital goes where the incentive structures make it attractive to go.
Actions that people consider economic actions are actually the economic consequences of political actions. A boycott is a political action that enforces a view and a set of restrictions on the flow of capital, regardless of whether there are attractive returns for that capital in the target country. It is the result of political decisionmaking.
It is important to understand how economics work, how incentives affect capital flows, and how through changes in tax structures and incentives-capitalists, businesspersons, households, and farmers respond to the new realities created by these changes. For example, if the principles of making polluters pay the full costs of pollution and users pay the full cost of what they use were properly exercised-they are very seldom exercised now-the appropriate choice of technology would logically follow. Polluters and users are very pragmatic and are driven by the profit motive.
The chairman of a Japanese steel company told me that the company's plant in Japan is three or four times more energy-efficient than its plant in the United States. I asked him why he did not transfer Japanese energy technology to the United States, and he replied that it did not pay to do so because the price of energy in the United States was too low. The problem was not a lack of technology; it was a matter of responding directly to the incentive structure that exists in the United States.
When fuel prices rose rapidly in the United States after the 1973 oil-price shock, Detroit automakers suddenly began thinking about producing small cars, a decision they had previously maintained they would never make. So the economic factor exists.
However, the globalizing trends I was talking about are real, and sometimes they are positive. For example, in 1977 a very strange situation developed that I do not think existed before or afterward anywhere in the world. A "hot war" was fought between Libya and Egypt while 280,000 Egyptian nationals were working for the Libyan government. The Libyan government did not put these Egyptians in jail, nor did it expel them from the country because Libya could not run its services without them. The Egyptian government did not try to withdraw the Egyptians from Libya because it feared that they might not return to Egypt since they were earning good salaries in Libya. The absurdity of the situation and its link to economic reality caused the "war" to grind to a halt in less than a week. Political will was therefore tempered by economic reality. It is unthinkable that the countries of the European Union would go to war with one another to resolve any of their disputes because they have so many common interests.
Political movements are not always based on economic interests. They are based on symbolism and myth and on the manipulation of something greater than the self that can persuade people to join forces. The set of issues around political symbolism, cultural myths, and decisionmaking is not as well studied as the issues of economics and decision making, but it is equally important.
I have been very pleased with the presentations and discussion today. There has been a desire to see how we can link our ideas and take action to carry them out. This is the real challenge. Of course, as we all know, there are no miracles, and there is no perfection. This seminar is only the beginning of a process of bridging fields of knowledge to work toward better, more effective socioeconomic development.
This process also makes room for learning from our past and present mistakes. To do so, we must determine how we can enable ourselves to tolerate these mistakes, to learn from them without attacking one another. Many of us in the NGOs have criticized the World Bank in the past and still criticize it. The Bank on the other hand has its own perception of NGOs. In preparation for this seminar I have been at the Bank frequently and have worked with many wonderful people. But I have felt that I was not only the "other" but also someone foreign to the World Bank culture. Psychoanalysis was not part of this culture. Little by little a human relationship was built, and something happened. Today's seminar is the product.
At various points during the preparation, and even today, there have been several parallel discourses. But our most important achievement by far has been that we are willing to work through our differences and integrate our collective knowledge to increase the possibilities for more effective environmentally sustainable development.
Political movements are not always based on economic interests. They are teased on symbolism and myth and on the manipulation of something greater than the self that can persuade people to join forces -Ismail Serageldin
Education is a continuous learning process that helps us achieve self- empowerment, sustainability, equal participation in community affairs, and capacity building - Afaf Mahfouz
During today's discussion Shelton H. Davis spoke about the culture of hope versus the culture of violence, but two or three people also spoke about cultural despair. When we speak about hope, violence, and despair, it brings us to the self and the other and to the prejudice that can exist.
Although I have been involved in socioeconomic development, I tend to think from the point of view of a psychoanalyst. When I first spoke about development at the American Psychoanalytic Association seminars, everyone thought I was speaking about child development. The word "development" has different meanings in different contexts and fields. We use our own vocabulary because it is familiar to us, but others may not perceive it in the same way. Therefore in our dialogue today as we decide how to translate ideas into actions, we know, as Betty Reardon said, that education is not simply formal education. To me and to many others education is a continuous learning process that helps us achieve self-empowerment, sustainability, equal participation in community affairs, and capacity building, not only in the short term or the medium term but also in the long term. Even when we are open and communicative and are trying to learn from one another, we still remain in boxes and ivory towers. How can we open up and communicate with one another to address problems related to war, poverty, and violence? Inequality, poverty, and prejudice are types of violence.
We can slowly try to create a pilot project by using the techniques and knowledge from each field involved in the World Bank projects that Gloria J. Davis told us about. Because there are people from UNESCO and UNFPA at this seminar, perhaps some common projects involving population, gender issues, and education can be started. In peace education it is important to explore and discuss this type of education further and to propose ways of attaining peace within ourselves and with others to generate the self-esteem and self empowerment that comes from within us and that will lead to sustainability.
Gloria J. Davis outlined the following plans of action concerning social development, which seem to be consonant with what we psychoanalysts would have formulated: fostering equality; expanding the participatory process; working together; understanding social, institutional, and cultural contexts; and creating capacity.
The challenge is to find ways to institute these tremendously important goals that she has in mind. One cannot carry them out without applying psychological and psychoanalytic concepts to the process.
Through my parenting education work I have been involved to an extent in linking what we know about the individual through psychoanalysis to society as a whole. The issue of modifying education to make it more meaningful than it is, as Betty Reardon suggested, is an avenue to the poor.
We must bear in mind that we have a point of view, but our interlocutor has another point of view. We must be able to recognize that the other person may be different from us in some ways. We cannot immediately apply the professional methods that we would use to help an individual change to our methods of changing society, nor can we try to understand a culture or group using the parameters or measures that we would use to get to know an individual.
The projects that the participants in this seminar are carrying out are enormously important for society, and so is the work we analysts are doing. I have decried the fact that we analysts love to stay in our offices. to work with one mind, one person, one human being. However, I think we should make what we have learned available to other disciplines so that it can be of use to society. As early as 1933 Freud said that the greatest contribution of psychoanalysis would be the application of what we have learned in a clinical situation to the rearing of the next generation.
Perhaps we are finally doing this. If we do not have immediate answers, I hope you at the World Bank will not get discouraged about having a dialogue with psychoanalysts and will continue that dialogue.
We analysts have learned that the effects of educational efforts are limited because they underestimate the power of unconscious motivation.
In an experiment conducted by psychologist Janet Beavin Bavelas, a person is told that a light will go on if he or she pushes a series of buttons in the right sequence. The person starts pushing the buttons, and twenty minutes later the light goes on. The person keeps working. The next time it takes ten minutes for the light to go on, then three minutes, and then the individual is interrupted. The subject is asked to tell the examiner the correct sequence for pushing the buttons and gives a complicated answer explaining how he or she managed to make the light go on.
The subject is then told that there is no correct sequence for pushing the buttons and that the intervals between illumination of the light are coupled to a theoretical learning curve and have nothing to do with the subject's actual behavior. The subject does not believe the experimenter. The only way to persuade the subject to change his or her opinion is to have the subject watch another person do the experiment and see that person formulate a different theory about the correct sequence of buttons, with equal conviction.
Changing convictions is very complicated. At this seminar we are all interested in change, and we know how difficult it is to institute change. To do so, we think that we need a rather rigorous framework in which people feel safe. Within that framework people can rewrite history by going back and forth in their psychic realities, identifying alternately with both the self and the other. This was illustrated in the change of conviction in Bavelas's experiment that came about after one person had been both the subject and the experimenter.
We can identify with the other only within a framework that offers safety that is enforced by rules. Within such a framework the other will not destroy us. Identification with the other on the affective level, rather than a superficial role change, can produce profound change.
We can identify with the other only within a framework that offers safety enforced by rules. Identification with the other on the affective level, rather than a superficial role change, can produce profound change - John Kafka
Even if we are using the same jargon with members of a professional fraternity, we might not understand the language by which we attempt to communicate concepts about the South and the North, or the East and the West - Maurice Williams
Maurice Williams, Overseas Development Council
We have the self and the other, and the "we" and the "they," within us. Even if we are using the same jargon with members of a professional fraternity, we might not understand the language-the tool kit-by which we attempt to communicate concepts about the South and the North, or the East and the West.
One interesting insight that the people from the South attending this seminar have gained is that the acquisitive societies of the West, which used to believe in values of individual freedom and profit maximization, are now shifting toward values of security maximization. This is a major shift.
With reference to the presentation that Henri Parens made concerning the relationship between parenting and development, I think parenting should be concerned with the process of internalizing and with creating a sensitivity in children and in the future generations.
I have a problem with the concept of sustainable development as an intergenerational tradeoff. It is not an intergenerational tradeoff because it is already a tradeoff within the present generation. The richest 20 percent of the world's population is getting 82 percent of the world's income, and the poorest 20 percent is getting 1 percent of it.
The only way we will be able to make any changes in the process of development is to approach it by beginning with our own internal sensitivity. It is a universal misconception that reason and logic are Western attributes and that intuition is an Eastern attribute. We find that reason, logic, and intuition are all coming together to give a new meaning to development.
Environmentally sustainable development improves the quality of people's lives by expanding exercisable choices. It is important that we continue to expand these choices and that we go back to the concept of survival first and security second in the context of sustainable development.
Elaine Valdov, Beyond Borders: World Organization for Peace and Development
To address the issue of global survival, security, and sustainable development in a significant way, on July 12, 1995, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution calling for a "World Week of Peace" to begin on October 24, 1995. This resolution proposed that cease-fires, conflict-resolution forums, and humanitarian efforts be carried out around the world during that week.
The resolution was initiated by NGOs and was proposed to the General Assembly by the Costa Rican mission. But it was cosponsored by only sixty-two UN member states. Although UN countries viewed the activities in the resolution as positive, they believed that carrying them out would be considerably difficult and that it would be almost impossible for them to be globally effective. Thus even though the resolution was unanimously adopted by the General Assembly, governments created no significant global action plan. In addition there was little press coverage of the resolution because it was deemed impossible to carry out. However, NGOs are now lobbying member states to follow up in some way on the unanimous passing of the resolution.
Based on this resolution, NGOs have established a "Campaign for a Culture of Peace." This will begin some of the work we have been talking about during this seminar, such as promoting the development of parenting groups, greater conflict resolution programs, and more peace education forums around the world.
"Beyond Borders" has started a Culture of Peace Campaign that will help world citizens focus on peace issues in their daily lives, where peace must begin. We are working with people around the world toward launching programs that will further establishment of a culture of peace. These include people in South Africa led by Ela Gandhi, grant/daughter of Mahatma Gandhi. An example of their work is the introduction of peace concepts into the regular school curriculum to make peace education available to all, rather than a separate learning experience for some.
We must create think tanks that will collaborate with the World Bank and others on organizing conflict resolution and peace education forums to study the causes of conflicts and create action plans to resolve them. If we do not deal with conflict resolution now, the world will continue to maintain a pessimistic mindset toward world peace and development. This pessimism will continue to influence the actions and decisions of all people, from great leaders to young children. We must take on the responsibility of believing that we can be agents of change globally in the direction of peace, and we must act together to make this a reality.
In discussing the problems education is facing, we did not mention the fact that the quality of education depends on the programs used in schools. Who decides which programs will be used for teaching subjects such as the history of the United States, the history of Europe compared to that of the United States, or the history of the non-Western cultures we have been discussing?
We have not achieved the revolution we desired in determining which programs are taught at all levels of education, from elementary school to the university, because in every society the state has a monopoly on deciding what the curriculum in the schools should be. When private schools are allowed in democratic countries, a broad diversity of juxtaposed systems arises, but they are systems that promote mutual exclusion, not systems that further knowledge of other cultures.
Is the teaching process at all levels preparing students to look for criteria that will enable each one to think critically? Experts who give advice on how to carry out teaching programs have all been trained in the same systems of education. Instituting the principles we are discussing depends on the quality of the educational programs being used, the ideology of the people determining which programs are taught at all levels, and the intellectual posture being taken in the programs.
I would like to elaborate on what I call the "structural violence" going on in society. It has been established through the systems of education to which I have referred and through the official discourse of states throughout the world. Structural violence and open violence- I would call it "bloody violence"-have existed throughout history and still exist everywhere. This is the hidden violence in cultural and intellectual strategies that conceals the determinant forces at work in society and obscures the fact that each society is a system of inequality, rather than one of equality. We repeat the discourse that each system should be one of equality. But each system has been, still is, and will continue to be characterized by inequality. The effects of this problem have not been overcome anywhere in the world in any civilization, culture, religion, or system of thought. In our work we are all dealing with societies based on systems of inequality.
In every society the state has a monopoly on deciding what the curriculum in the schools should be. When private schools are allowed in democratic countries, a broad diversity of juxtaposed systems arises, but they are systems that promote mutual exclusion, not systems that further knowledge of other cultures -Mohamed Arkoun
Western-minded people from the North speak about the individual self in psychic, mental, and psychoanalytical terms. The people from the South speak much more often about the collective self, the collective space in which the self can be reflected on, and cultural and spiritual values - Adel Rifaat
At this seminar the Western-minded people from the North speak about the individual self in psychic, mental, and psychoanalytical terms. The people from the South speak much more often about the collective self, the collective space in which the self can be reflected on, and cultural and spiritual values. These two different approaches are quite natural.
If you go back to what was said in the video "The South Slope of Liberty" about the individuals in the North and in the South, you notice that these individuals may appear to resemble each other because they are basically alike in the way they speak, dress, and eat. But the deep difference is the fact that in the North people have inherited a five-hundred-year effort to bring society within the reach of individual endeavor. Philosophers, writers, artists, and lay people have for centuries brought every philosophical, ethical, and aesthetic value in line with the individual dimension.
This has not happened in the South, where individuals have had no more than half a century to cope with a reality that is not appropriate for them. In general societies in the South do not help individuals assert or express themselves. All the philosophical, ethical, and aesthetic problems are either half-solved or have not been dealt with at all. Therefore it could be said that individuals exist and have to cope with their own personal destinies, but they are not yet citizens. Individuals have no actual rights that are recognized by society, by official authorities, or even by the people around them. When an individual in the South begins to speak, he or she can say, "I think that...," but in the individual's inner self he or she wonders if the other family members have the same feelings. Being oneself in the South requires much more hesitation than in the North. It is really a kind of suffering.
It is extremely important to remember these factors when we speak of individuals in the North or in the South.
It is also as important, if not more important, to remember these factors when we refer to women. We have not spoken directly about that yet.
I would like to note that the importance of listening to a person whom you are trying to serve applies not only to the analyst's office but also to parenting. Good parenting requires the parents' ability to continually listen to their child and empathize with the child's experiences to understand him or her.
In our discussion we tend to simplify problems to a large degree. When UNESCO was created, its constitution was written by prominent intellectuals who said that it was "in the minds of men" that wars began and thus in the minds of men peace could be constructed. They thought that world peace could be achieved if people got to know each other. The fact is that modern wars began in Europe between people who knew each other, and now wars everywhere in the world are fought between people who know each other, who live with each other or very close to each other. It is true that education, economic progress, and democracy can help achieve peace. But we must not imagine that one factor alone can solve the problem of war and peace.
Despite all of our good intentions there is a worldwide increase in the alienation and dependency of individuals, groups, and nations. We have been talking about establishing environmental sustainability before promoting self-empowerment. I would like to reverse the process and put first self-empowerment, or even the empowerment of the other, followed by sustainability.
Although many relevant issues are being addressed in development literature, we still have a long way to go. I have been working in the development field for a number of years and have noticed that many development assistance programs perpetuate people's dependency. For example, many of the income-generating activities that are provided for women throughout developing countries collapse after the funding ends. Women are knitting, sewing, and embroidering, and they are hurting their eyes everywhere. These activities do not further the empowerment of women. In many instances they represent the disempowerment of women and their dependency on the funding agency.
Although the NGO movement has been doing wonderful work in recent years, it still has a lot of problems and fosters certain aspects of this dependency. Even the movement's capacity-building efforts-through which NGOs are assisted in the writing of proposals to get funding from donors-focus on helping these organizations to be dependent. There is a great deal of dependency of individuals on other individuals and of organizations on other organizations. Nations that are receiving aid are becoming dependent on the nations providing aid. What would happen to these nations if the funds were suddenly cut off?
We have mentioned that education can be helpful in resolving these problems. It depends on the kind of education that is promoted. Education has been irrelevant to the needs of people, especially women, for a long time. Mohamed Arkoun touched on this when he talked about Islamic culture and Islamic science. Does anyone in the Islamic countries know anything about the scientific achievements of Muslim scholars in the Golden Age of Islam? The science Muslims study in school is alienating because it makes no mention of these scholars or of the Islamic origins of Western science. Muslim students get the message that Muslims are inferior and have never accomplished anything significant. Students in most Islamic countries learn that they may be able to use Western science, but they cannot contribute to it. There is a good deal missing from education in these countries.
We have to think seriously about the empowerment of people. Often those who believe that they are helping others are the ones being empowered.
Many development assistance programs perpetuate people's dependency. Many of the income-generating activities represent the disempowerment of women and their dependency on the funding agency - Nagat El-Sanabary
The same historical events should be viewed from the perspectives not only of those involved but also from various observer stances to show that there are not only multiple perspectives but also multiple interpretations. It is the mediation of interpretations that is required to find our common ground -Betty Reardon
I would like to suggest a practical theme around which there could be some cross-cultural-because I think our disciplines become cultures-discourse toward a common project. The point about the content of education and who creates school programs is profoundly significant, particularly in relationship to history.
Women have been talking about developing "her story." I would like to see us develop "our story"-the story of humanity. For years I have advocated the teaching of history using the idea that the same historical events should be viewed from the perspectives not only of those involved but also from various observer stances. One of the most important aspects of this approach is to show that there are not only multiple perspectives but also multiple interpretations. It is the mediation of interpretations that is required to find our common ground.
One of the major contributions psychoanalysts can make to such a discourse is in interpretation. I am not talking about having psychoanalysts provide interpretations. Psychoanalysts work with their clients so that the clients will be able to interpret their own experiences. This is what we are suggesting is necessary in the teaching of history.
We are talking about the significance of culture. We learn about the evolution of our cultures by learning history. One of the reasons history is taught is to enable us to know who we are. We need to know who we are in relation to others and in the context of at least a possibility, if not a conviction, that everyone is of equal worth. UNESCO has done some work concerning the interpretation of history texts, but I propose that we do more. I hope we can move forward with something practical.
When I was a student in Paris in the 1960s, UNESCO initiated an excellent project that was discontinued. In the project an international group of students read textbooks on history, and each student gave his or her interpretation of the historical events. The goal was to communicate these interpretations to governments to come up with a collective accepted version of each historical event. Unfortunately, at least to my knowledge, UNESCO did not follow up on this project.
I would like to comment on Adel Rifaat's statements about the difference in the way the individual develops in the North as opposed to the South. In the North conditions foster the progression of the self from infancy to latency to adolescence to adulthood. But some cultures do not foster this progression. The cultures of the South do not allow individuals to progress to adolescence, a stage at which they can emancipate themselves and become independent. The people of the South are still in the earlier stages of development, and that is why individuality has not crystallized in the South. These people are like latency children. They are still dependent on the environment. It is a matter of life and death for them to please the environment because their livelihoods are attached to it. In the same way a latency child cannot react violently to the ideas that are inculcated by the authority figures with whom he or she lives because the child's livelihood depends on those figures.
This brings me to the issue of dependency that Nagat El-Sanabary talked about. Dependency is not necessarily a bad word. It can be good or bad, depending on the way we extend help to another human being. We can extend help in such a way as to enslave a person if we are fixated on a symbiotic level of the developmental profile I have given. For example, a mother can help her children in such a way as to foster their dependency instead of helping them to become independent. Instead of being attuned to the next step of development, the mother tries to obstruct and stifle continued development. She is not mature enough to enable her children to become autonomous and have their own identities. The children are unable to advance beyond the mother's level of development.
Three weeks ago I attended a meeting in Cairo at which peace education was discussed. Everyone at the meeting appeared to agree that education for peace is indeed an ideal to be pursued. But as the meeting progressed, disagreement and problems arose for several reasons.
In the context of inequality peace is a very controversial issue. In the Arab context, in which the peace process is viewed as not meeting the needs and aspirations of the people living in the region, peace is perceived as something that is imposed.
Everyone at the meeting was extremely worried because it looked as if certain countries-Arab countries-were being targeted for peace education programs. Nobody felt that these programs were being instituted in France or the United States. The participants thought these countries also needed peace education programs.
I am making this point to stress that certain assumptions are made and particular cultures or countries are targeted for certain projects. It is assumed that people in the Arab countries need peace education, whereas people in such countries as France and the United States are exempt of all blame and do not need this education.
My other point involves the credibility of the agencies that are carrying out the programs. It seems programs should be introduced at home before they are introduced in other countries.
I see the word "development" hidden in the title of this seminar. I understand the emphasis the World Bank puts on environment and sustainability. But the issue of development still exists. The difference, even by conventional measures, between the economic well-being of Africa and the rest of the South is enormous, and the disparity is growing.
When I heard the suggestions concerning the psychology of dependent populations, I wondered about the culture of entrepreneurship, a concept that is related to development. There seem to be continental differences in the culture of entrepreneurship. The boom in Asia is certainly not equal throughout the region, but the Asian piece of the economic pie is growing extremely rapidly, whereas the African piece of the pie, in per capita terms, is dwindling. The basic question is whether there is something wrong with a culture's relationship to ways of expanding its portion of the economic pie under all of the caveats concerning environmentally sustainable development. Education is, of course, relevant here.
Certain assumptions are made and particular cultures or countries are targeted for certain projects. It is assumed that people in the Arab countries need peace education, whereas people in such countries as France and the United States do not need this education - Hoda El-Sadda
I cannot accept en earlier speaker's suggestion that, according to the Freudian model, the people in the South are not reaching full maturity - John Kafka
I find it hard to believe that manhood and womanhood have not been fully achieved in African countries. This would be an unjustifiable ethnocentric perspective of psychiatrists who have conducted in-depth studies only of Europeans and Americans. Have any comprehensive psychoanalytically oriented in-depth studies of poor people in developing countries been conducted? Some attempts have been made to conduct such studies, and, on the basis of the findings reported, I cannot accept an earlier speaker's suggestion that, according to the Freudian model, the people in the South are not reaching full maturity.
This was a generalization, and I agree that not every culture in the South obstructs the development of the individual. But some cultures emphasize a certain phase in the development of the individual. I am not saying that the people in these cultures are not capable of further development. There are, however, conditions in the environment that do not encourage or foster further development, such as the tightness of family ties that results in the fear of being autonomous and independent from the family. Adolescence cannot be fully achieved in this kind of situation because the individual cannot afford to separate emotionally from the inner circle of the family. He or she is fixated on a level of development at which separation from parents is equated with their loss.
I feel quite uneasy when we cite the shortcomings of a culture as the essential reason for all the impediments to individual self-assertiveness.
Almost all traditional cultures prefer collectiveness to individuality, and conformity to originality and change. However, purely traditional societies that live within a coherent set of archaic values no longer exist. All Southern societies have been perforated by the international culture of individual assertiveness, by market rules, and by humanistic values as a result of Western influence. The international culture is now permanently embroidered in the very fabric of these societies.
It is all right to speak of traditional cultures going against individual assertiveness, but now more and more individual assertiveness is impeded by totalitarian states. In these states the political and economic elite monopolize all the privileges and have no interest in having millions of people say that they "would like this instead of that." The problem is one of citizenship and democracy, and we should keep this essential point in mind. Naturally, different cultural backgrounds play a role.
In sum it is worth pondering something Nelson Mandela said shortly after he was freed from prison. A journalist asked him what sort of political system would be appropriate for the new South Africa. As he was asking the question, the journalist spoke about the necessity of preserving African-rooted values. Mandela listened to him politely and then told him that he would prefer the nearest thing to British democracy.
We have totalitarian parents as well as totalitarian regimes. Totalitarian parents do not allow their child to become an adolescent. They instill fear in the child whenever he or she is deviating from parental expectations. Instead of fostering the child's development, they cripple it through intimidation and rigid control.
Millions of fathers have left Egypt to work in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Libya to send money back to their families. The role of the father is therefore changing and disintegrating in Egypt, for the moment at least.
Parenting should in fact include fathers, although we have been concentrating on mothers and mothering. Mothering and fathering are both important.
After I spoke to Russian psychiatrists in Moscow, it became clear that living in a culture in which the individual has to be absolutely submerged for the good of society, as he or she is under communism, is an enormous problem.
One psychiatrist told me that as a young boy in school he would not necessarily raise his hand when he knew the answer to a question. He did not want to stand out because he would be told that he was trying to be better than the other students. We analysts need to learn more about a variety of cultures as we try to apply what we have learned from working with individuals in one geographical area to what happens to individuals in other parts of the world.
I would also like to comment on Mohamed Arkoun's strong argument about the malignancy of inequality. The problem in addressing this issue is that, as psychoanalysts, we know that identification is a very powerful process and that we all identify with those who rear us. Narcissism plays a role in concepts such as "my religion is better than your religion." In their liturgies some religions say that their adherents are "the chosen people." Who are the others?
Another important issue is the need for people to have enemies that will be the recipients of the hate they actually feel toward their mothers and fathers and toward themselves. Psychoanalyst Vamik Volkan's work discusses this issue. Displacing self-hate onto others gives rise to prejudice.
Gloria J. Davis
I would be the last to deny the importance of culture in influencing behavior. I once gave the Thematic Apperception test to Hawaiians and Japanese. All the Hawaiians thought that a woman who was lying on a mat had just been killed by a man who was leaving the room. All the Japanese thought that the man was her husband and that he was going to get medicine for her.
I would also like to defend traditional people. It has been suggested that traditional people may not be as socially "mature" as more modern people. Yet many of us have lived in cultures where there was as much diversity, innovation, and creativity among traditional people as there was among more modern groups. But they might not have expressed it in the way that we are used to seeing it expressed, for example, in public forums and schools.
We analysts need to learn more about a variety of cultures as we try to apply what we have learned from working with individuals in one geographical area to what happens to individuals in other parts of the world - Henri Parens
We are talking to people in slums in developing countries. After defining the meeting of their economic needs as the most important problem, these people say they are worried about crime, conflict, and lack of security. These factors prevent them from achieving what they want to do - Gloria J. Davis
I would also like to make a connection between the paradigms that have been presented at this seminar and the development work in which we are involved at the World Bank. While I was listening to the discussion on survival, security, dignity, and self-respect, I thought of Maslow. In development the bottom line is certainly survival. If people do not survive, a great deal of what we have discussed is irrelevant. I think we agree therefore that we have to address economic and material needs.
It is interesting that we at the Bank have not spent much time thinking about the importance of security. We are talking to people in slums in developing countries. After defining meeting their economic needs as the most important problem, these people say they are worried about crime, conflict, and lack of security. These factors prevent them, both psychologically and physically, from achieving what they want to do. Women cannot go out at night. People cannot go to work. They cannot let their children go out alone or leave them at home unattended.
Many governments in developing countries are involved in a delicate balancing act between imposing national unity and encouraging diversity at the state level. Many corrupt, hostile forms of government use repression to suppress individual rights rather than fostering civic order. Determining how to create a secure environment poses a dilemma for a government.
But security is different from empowerment, dignity, and self-respect, which follow and flow from material well being and security. We are seeing examples of how self-empowerment can be achieved. For example, Muhammad Yunus from the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh gives small amounts of money to women and organizes them into five-person credit associations. The importance of the groups he has formed is not in the fact that they mutually guarantee small loans. When they have a function these groups of newly empowered women organize themselves for a variety of purposes in their communities, and new types of organizations emerge that cut across traditional organizations.
Our work at the World Bank has indicated repeatedly that the functioning of many organizations such as these depends on the participation of women. The men in traditional societies are locked into traditional organizations through reciprocity and kinship, but the women are not. Women can cross many of these boundaries. Therefore, if you are trying to develop new types of organizations at the local level, empowering women and giving them resources is one of the wisest things you can do.
When I came to the World Bank fifteen years ago, it was self-evident to my colleagues-and I took it at face value with only a few reservations-that governments were legitimately constituted, that they represented their citizens, and that if you were going to channel financial resources to people, you had to do it through governments, which would provide the goods and services.
That paradigm has evaporated, and nobody accepts it today. Indeed it is time to develop a new social policy for the World Bank that includes visions concerning peace, history, and an emerging form of global empowerment, which did not exist twenty years ago.
Carl Schieren, African-American Institute
Last week I talked to a woman who had just returned from Bali, where she met some young girls on a beach. She was impressed by their literacy and the fact that they could discuss a variety of subjects they had been reading about. Two days later I talked to a woman who had just returned from Egypt, where she had been evaluating the basic education system. She said that enormous amounts had been spent on educational programs in Egypt over the previous five years, but there was a real question as to whether this had improved literacy or learning. I would like to believe that formal education can bring about all the changes Mohamed Arkoun mentioned, but Egypt makes me wonder if money going into formal education should not be reengineered or reallocated. I have had the same experience talking to some people from Sub-Saharan Africa.
In Egypt the situation is a result of economics, which we have not discussed adequately. It is a result of the salary incentives for teachers. If international development agencies such as UNESCO want to improve peace education in Egypt, for example, they do teacher training or curriculum development. The teachers then use their training-if they use it at all-to give private lessons outside the classroom to make money. They do not use it in the classroom. If they did, the students would learn more and would not need private lessons. If the teachers did not earn money through these lessons, they would not survive because they are so underpaid. Planners must address issues of survival and incentives in developing countries.
Another question is how people in developing countries learn about their own culture or identity. Some people say they get information from the mass media, probably more than they would like; others say they get it from organizations, religious groups, and associations of various kinds. But they do not learn about their culture through the formal educational system to the extent we do in the United States. In Asia certain societies have begun to produce enough goods to ensure a level of survival that allows people to discuss ways of allocating educational resources effectively. How important has the role of identity, culture, and roots been in these Asian societies, and what has been the role of formal education? Are there relevant comparisons with what we see in the Middle East and Africa?
A third question relates to the empowerment of women and their identity. At the 1995 UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing an informed observer said the real drive on women's issues seemed to have shifted from the North to the South. I cannot forget the face of the woman street organizer from India and her power at the end of the video "The South Slope of Liberty." What is the source of her identity? She and the women who work with her are dealing with practical issues concerning their own day-to-day survival. Because these women are driven not by anyone's ideology but by their own shared experience, they feel they can comment on injustices toward women, such as policies on inheritance, credit, and land ownership. Today women in developing countries have gut vitality that surpasses much of what we see in the North. This vitality comes from associational life, a new role for women in civil society, which is generating confidence and empowerment.
Women in developing countries have gut vitality that surpasses much of what we see in the North. This vitality comes from associational life, a new role for women in civil society, which is generating confidence and empowerment - Carl Schieren
The interaction at this seminar between psychoanalysts and people involved in development could result in creative models from which people can learn Antoine Hani made a point about research on prejudice. Prejudice cuts across North and South, rich and poor. If insights could be found as to why we discriminate, why we are prejudiced against other people, they might help mitigate the extent of prejudice and its significant negative social, economic, and political consequences.
Alicia Hetzner, World Bank
Earlier we discussed links with the poor to close the gap between rich and poor. In 1993 the World Bank worked with NGOs for six months to plan an October
1993 international conference to reduce world hunger. At the conference Ismail Serageldin told the participants that it would not be just another conference on hunger. He pledged that action would come out of it. For the past two years he and others at the Bank have worked hard on that commitment, and as a result the Bank, with many other agencies, has established the Consultative Group on Assistance to the Poorest, or CGAP (which could also stand for 'Close the Gap"). The CGAP facility, whose secretariat is housed at the World Bank, will support institutions that grant micro-credit to the poorest, loans that are frequently no more than $100 apiece to individuals, based on the Grameen Bank example in Bangladesh. The grants will be intermediated by NGOs. This process is complicated by the fact that, as Nafis Sadik said today, there are so many NGOs that sometimes it is difficult to decide which ones are authentic. ·