Unconscious dynamics in Kashmir

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Unconscious processes are those we are not aware of. Before all the high IQ internetizens assault me, let me say, most of what we do is unconscious. We are automatically reacting to many things which come to action only if there seems to be no automatic response possible, or if something unexpected happens. Like, you are reading this page and scrolling as needed automatically. If I changed the behaviour of the page in how it responded to the mouse, you’d notice, consciously figure out how to achieve what you wanted.

There are also many layers and processes happening simultaneously – sometimes related, sometimes independent. For example, while you read the page and scrolled, you were also maintaining balance, evaluating what you read, planning a response…. none of which changed or even became conscious when you addressed the dissonance with the scrolling.

Many, many things we understand somewhat are unconscious. Stereotypes, superstitions, bias, reactions, perceptions….

Usually, when something is inexplicably illogical on the conscious plane, something contrary to what is in our consciousness exists in our unconscious. This is a vast and diverse subject, which I cannot do justice to in article, so I suggest reading up a variety of writers and learning from observing the world, if you find this intriguing. Good start is “Shadow Aspect – Jung” or Freud. But there are many.

The thing is that these processes being UNconscious, pointing them out is usually met with utter disbelief, rejection and disagreement. That is because they are not conscious, duh. It takes some digging and examining data rather than memory – which is ‘written’ by the unconscious anyway.

Unconscious perceptions rarely evolve without conscious intervention. For example, a child’s instinctive fear of heights keeps getting revised with his awareness of increasing capacity to handle it. Even an adult will balk at a fall greater than he believes he can jump, but that distance keeps getting revised as improved ability is registered. People also fear heights irrationally. They have usually ‘clubbed’ all heights as dangerous rather than ‘graded’ their threat. Point being, new information needs to be assimilated in order to revise old perceptions.

I have a diagnosis on Kashmir’s problems with the Army.

Kashmir is an integral part of India is the government line. Kashmir feels occupied rather than included is the Kashmiri. There are a million dimensions and psychological processes.

One big thing. The unconscious is fairly primitive. Expect ghastly things, zero logic beyond action-consequence, imagery rather than complex ideas and feelings driving everything once you step into the ‘zone’.

Kashmiri Pandits were persecuted out of the valley. It was horrendous. It ‘hurt’ India deeply. The Army presence increased. The Army are ‘protectors’. The Kashmiri Muslims were the ‘culprits’. India is largely Hindu. The unconscious perception of the country as well as the Army becomes that the Army is dealing with the Kashmiri Muslim barbarians to protect the country from their criminal acts.

Since then, militancy has become better understood, better controlled. However, we have not stopped thinking of the Kashmiri common man as inherently dangerous. The Army is still “protecting” the country from its own citizens.

In effect, the country has unconsciously judged Kashmir for the ethnic cleansing of the Pandits and the Army holds them imprisoned for the safety of all. To the unconscious, these things like human rights don’t exist. Either you are for, or you are against, and if you are against, you will be picking up fights. Be it detentions, rapes, tortures, killings, whatever. Consciously, of course they don’t. OF COURSE. They fully believe that they are protecting the Kashmiri citizens as well, but some will keep ‘breaking rules’ so to say. The unconscious sense of revenge is a powerful thing.

It is equally true for the Kashmiris. To them, the Army is the ‘enemy’. They can do no right. No matter what they do, they are evil. Anybody being hurt for any reason by the Army is an intentional Army atrocity intended to attack kashmiris. Etc

This process is locked in a strong, defining perception. It isn’t going to go away unless addressed specifically. It is powerful enough to create memories to illustrate, and it is powerful enough to suppress memories that don’t fit – on both ends.

Similarly, the separatists, Pakistan, etc have their own narratives. Equally illogical. The only reason I’m not listing them out is that there is no point in the specifics and getting into arguments – the point is in looking beyond assumptions of reality. These ‘jumps of logic’ will actually be individual to each person and it reflects in what they speak of the most.

The unconscious ‘knows’ what is right/wrong based entirely on the experiencing. I can tell you a tale of some atrocity done by a fictitious king of a fictitious country on fictitious citizens of unproven innocence and if you even have so much as a strong opinion against that king now, I can give you a book a year later with the hero having the same name as this fictitious king, and you’ll call it a lousy book. You may not even remember the story I tell you now, but still! How many times have you been inclined to think of someone favourably or unfavourably simply based on look or name? Your unconscious decides that if they look like that, they abuse their dog, or if they have this name, they are snobbish – likely because you formed that perception elsewhere with someone else who looked like that or had that name. That’s how the unconscious operates. Logic has nothing to do with it, and it is devastatingly real. It has a name. Its called projection. Google it up. Its fascinating insight into just how primitive we all are.

A participant in a lab where we explored unconscious processes once said that the scariest thing in the entire world was what she could discover hiding in her own mind.

The only fix is making it conscious. Questioning those perceptions and re-evaluating reality.

All parties should also look into their own projections and come to a more reality oriented understanding of the picture. The answers will always be uncomfortable, because they were suppressed for a reason – discomfort. However, those buried realities skew everything they look at.

And we have an instinctive understanding of this, because there have always been demands of going back into history to investigate and “fact find”.

This will help resolve Kashmir, because it will allow people to work with reality. It will help the Army regain its honor. It will help the Kashmiris regain their dignity. It will even help Kashmiri Pandits find acknowledgment – they are currently buried next to all the suppressed issues around their story. It may not solve any political problem, but being able to address the human conflicts will allow breathing space and healing for better answers to emerge.

India has many excellent people who have devoted their lives in the study of the unconscious and its impact on people. It might be worthwhile to invest in entirely apolitical large scale interventions for all stake holders as a humanitarian contribution towards resolution. If Kashmir is suspicious of India, it could even be possible to ask foreign social scientists.

Think of it. We have trauma counselling for a reason. The entire valley AND the soldiers qualify.

Note: All the intense Kashmir debaters on both the three sides of the two sided coin, please excuse. I am not about judgments. I throw in everything that seems significant. If it makes sense, great. If it doesn’t, that’s okay too.

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About the Author

Vidyut
Vidyut is a blogger on issues of National interest. Staunch advocate of rights, learning and freedoms. @Vidyut

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