“Chestnut divided the whole of humanity into two very unequal parts: the hosts and the customers; there was a fundamental difference between the two: the former had the right to beat her, and the latter she had the right to grab her by the calves” (A. Chekhov’s Chestnut, 1892).
The mix of a taxi and a yard dog saw the world vertically: stronger and weaker than itself. From the stronger – you depend, maybe you admire, lick your hand, and the weaker ones can be warned: do not pay attention, talk, shout.
It seems that this worldview is vertical: if they are already superior to you, they are inferior. If you put your head in front of someone before, you will “lie down” on others. It is much more a treatment of one’s dark side of personality: negative emotions (fear, anger), resentment, frustration.
We need to help our feelings and emotions somewhere, and it is easiest to pour them on others. If you are overwhelmed at work, you will scatter the waiter or child. If you have experienced the power of another in the form of aggression, you are likely to seek such power that, first, you can defend yourself, and second, you can control others.
This phenomenon is widespread in the countries and regions of authoritarian regimes or in states that have experienced and are guided by dictatorships in the past.
What would it look like daily? With simple psychological violence: the one himself is overwhelmed by the word, the other is put up; if the director of a company leads with a fist, the fist is also used by middle managers, and in particular he seeks to climb the career ladder so that he does not have aggressive sponges and becomes a “silovika” himself. There are also much more subtle, hidden forms of aggression: silent harm, talking between lines, hinting at hints, and so on. After all, just the desire to please (the stronger) and not read with the weaker.
I have noticed such cases as well. The teacher (s) writes off the student, belittles, and when he comes as an adult (on the occasion of the n-year of graduation): “oh, Jonah, how you grew up he would not have oppressed him a year ago. To hear in it both guilt and surprise, some confrontation with its dark side, but that doesn’t stop it from continuing to use force against a smaller, weaker one.
In Western countries, such a power relationship is much less: less resentment, more awareness, more self-knowledge, and ultimately respect and trust as part of the culture of society. In our own country, we also want such respect and trust, but it is first and foremost that we should break free from resentment and vertical power relations.
Herein lies the danger. Some naive people think that smiles are enough to curb evil. Manifestations of power will never disappear, nor will the dark side of man (each of us). There will always be those who want to abuse – from the casual passer-by to humanity (corruption, conflicts, wars). In such cases, a boundary is drawn, an obligation to defend oneself or one’s country. I don’t mean aggression or violence, more often it’s naming what’s going on and determining the consequences; but it must also have the power to do so, especially when it comes to relations between states. So there must be a strong man, but a strong one – not one who beats the weaker, but one who respects the other and himself – can deal with his dark side; and the maturity of the state – the treatment of the weaker, the ability to take care of them.
If a child is abused, humiliated, he feels belittled, meager. And anger comes from the painful feeling of one’s minority, vulnerability. Of course, all this is unconscious, we don’t think: “I hurt myself, so now I’m hurting you.” This is how the vertical of the relationship is established.
It seems to whom are we talking about all this? “After all, such a world – accept and deliver!” Still, we strive for security, spiritual comfort, peace and happiness. We want such a life if not for ourselves, then at least for our children. We call such countries welfare states and migrate to them.
A horizontal view of the world is an understanding that there are no people bigger and smaller than me, just different people with different personalities. When I see the world horizontal, collaborative, learning to agree, no need to look at which side to hit, I can relax (for some it may sound like a dream). I can create such comfort in the family, in the neighbourhood, and maybe in the state.
Dr Alisa Miniotaitė is a management and leadership expert, founder of UAB Alisa Management Laboratory, ISM University of Management and Economics, Leadership Program Manager