Acknowledging Harm and Repairing the World

How do we move out of a political discourse of blame and shame into one that acknowledges past and present harm done and the need to repair it? In this episode, renowned psychoanalyst, Dr. Jessica Benjamin, discusses the psychological barriers to the struggle for a lawful world based on recognizing our common humanity and universal needs. When basic human needs for recognition are denied, the resulting trauma creates a fragmented, black-and-white world of “doer and done to,” in which responsibility for harm done is denied. The myth that both sides are equally responsible for “doing to the other” then serves and obscures the perpetuation of the systemic asymmetry of racism, injustice, inequality, and economic exploitation. Deprived of recognition for their needs, many turn to exalting authority and stigmatizing weakness, affirming a predatory worldview in which only one can survive at the expense of the other. Dr. Benjamin talks to us about her useful idea of creating a third space in which we are able to to acknowledge and repair such harm, while taking account of the powerful forces of fear and resentment that have prevented recognition. © Copyright Original Music “Royal Flush Gang” by Composer Joel Goodman; Published by Oovra Music