Anchored in Time
by George Hatjoullis
I have made use of the concept of being anchored in time in two previous blogs (1 and 2. In these two blogs I suggest that humanity is stuck at a point in time we call ‘history‘. Individuals can also remain anchored in time. Traumatic events can keep us locked into a point in our ‘past‘. It is not however out past if the event dominates our lived experience. It is our present even if we understand it to have occurred earlier on the linear time scale. We are anchored in time.
In order to move on we need to disconnect from such anchors emotionally. We do not and cannot forget the event (or events). Nor should we want to do so. There is valuable information contained in these events. We must aspire to treat them as archives of disembodied experience, but as if they happened to someone else and we observed. In a sense they did happen someone else. They happened to a previous us. There is a powerful urge amongst individuals to connect past events and create a continuous narrative of ‘self’. It is this urge that connects us emotionally with our past and can anchor us somewhere traumatic but not much fun and unrelated to our physical existence in the present.
It is possible and desireable to live in the present both physically and emotionally. To do so we must continuously renegotiate our relationships and our relations to others. We should not take family, friends, alliances, enmities etc for granted. We need to constantly renew them and make them relevant to the physical present. Forget past emotions and form new ones that are relevant to now.
I was reflecting on this view for other reasons but disinclined to write about it until I came across a Tweet from someone asking why she/he should vote for the Lib Dems given they had once been in coalition with the Tories. My response was that the coalition is the in the past and this person should not remain anchored there. In the present, where I live, it is the Labour Party that is enabling the Tories. This is the emotional fact that needs to be dealt with. The Tweet originated from a Labour Party supporter.
Whatever we have been, whatever we have done, or said, things change. The quicker we adjust to the changed conditions the sooner we will fulfil our needs. Does this mean everything Labour has ever done is wrong? No. Does this mean everything espoused by the Lib Dems is good? No. The issue of the day is the EU and UK membership of the EU. It is a profound issue that overwhelms all other considerations. To deal with it correctly from a personal perspective you must unanchor yourself and deal with now. If you want Brexit vote Tory. if you want to Remain vote Lib Dem. If you vote Labour you enable the Tories. This is true irrespective of past voting behaviour, preferences, or views.