The problem with no recognition
There is a terrible price to be paid for renouncing the recognition of another person. Recognition is as essential to life as oxygen. For an individual who receives no positive recognition, it heralds psychic and emotional death. A community or society that receives no positive recognition heralds a communal psychic death and equates to a denial of freedom.
Recognition is a seemingly simple word. But recognition entails life and death struggles. Recognition entails being able to see and know, and to be seen and known. If we cannot see we remain blind. And if we are not seen, we are a nobody. A lack of recognition heralds a ‘nobody’s land state of Terra Nullius’ – and a nobody state of mind becomes sovereign. Everyone’s birthright is to be recognised. Recognition is only possible in a peopled land of equal and different relationships – a land belonging to and populated by people. A world without recognition spells death to humanity and to life itself; only pathological relationships can flourish in an unchanging world of what is.
Psychoanalytic endeavour is the story of recognition. Do you see me? Do you know me? Do you see my pain? Recognising the unfolding emotional world catalyses the narrative of pain and provides the healing transformations from breakdowns to breakthroughs, and from yesteryears to tomorrows.
Recognition is made possible by a facilitating environment, a holding heart and a home. Put simply, mutual recognition, determination and reciprocity in a facilitating environment allows the person or patient to breakdown, emotionally experience, represent and share the truth of suffering, find his/her voice, understand his/her story, undo it, transform it and be rejuvenated in a more human and alive life-world. Therapists do not know what will unfold or emerge, do not intrude, and do not dictate a script of what to do. In fact they sit with no memory and no desire, nor a script of what to feel, what to be, or what to become. Not knowing, seeing, reverie, dreaming, concern, care, surprise, respect, empathy, engagement, aliveness, reflectivity, relatedness, freedom and authenticity are both the ingredients and the outcomes of a therapeutic process and each person leaves with their own true story named, recognised, transformed and transforming. From no man’s land, a no-one, a no-body, can become a somebody. The story is discovered, on emotional ground, altering what is found and jointly, new truths are created in a dynamic, dreaming, third dimension. In knowing their story, they can tell it, and live the unlived life of new stories, unfettered by the shackles of a story untold.
You can read more about the importance of recognition in CASSE’s booklet, ‘RECOGNITION: A matter of life and death in Aboriginal Australia’.