As civilized humans, we are made up of two things.
We are a Living Self, which is our human body-mind-spirit with direct in-person ties to other humans and to the natural world. This is the part of us that walks, talks, eats, sleeps, has kids and parents; the part that is born, and the part that passes.
As living selves, we also have an institutional persona. This is the collection of information about us – name, SSN, job title, bank account, etc., which are the tools we use to function in relation to the institutions of our civilized culture.
The living self and the institutional persona are woven together intimately, to form a civilized human individual.
Nonviolent communication teaches us that our well-being as humans resides in our living self – that we all have some basic feelings and universal needs, which if understood and fulfilled will lead to well-being. The proper role of the institutional persona is to serve these natural needs of the living self.
Nonviolent communication was pioneered in the 1960’s, as a way of talking directly as living self to living self, to stay ahead of the institutional persona which gets in the way of loving and supportive communication. As we learn to talk living self to living self, something very special, spiritual and loving happens.
By understanding who we are as civilized human beings, namely a living self with an institutional persona, and by learning the extraordinary but simple communication tools of non-violent communication, we can begin to live with each other day by day, moment to moment, in a loving and mutually supportive way.
Alec Tramposch is author of “The Living Self,” the seventh in a series of books about what it means to be human. After 30 years as a lawyer in the international organizational system, Alec undertook an extended sabbatical to explore the relationship of our natural self with the institutional culture of civilization. After studying the history of civilization, the evolution of our ability to talk, and practical awareness exercises that help us feel more human, Alec discovered Nonviolent Communication as a synthesizing technique that can help us express our true nature as human beings, and thus live a more fulfilling life in our highly institutional culture.
Arland Hurd is the founder and CEO of Warrior Walking on Air, a Social Purpose Corporation. During his 5-years as a Registered Agency Affiliated Counselor, he used his degree in Social and Human Development to produce Life Coaching Products. He has studied Nonviolent Communication for over a decade, and recognizes the importance of behavior and belonging, which he shared on FM Radio for two years as host and producer of “Behave As If You Belong.”
We will continue our discussion of The Living Self (based on the attached Chart), and Nonviolent Communication.
Humans are made up of a living self, which is the part of us that is alive, and a civilized identity, which is the information about us that makes up our institutional persona. Understanding this can help us live a happier and more fulfilling life. Nonviolent communication is a technique for communicating living-self to living-self, without getting distracted or sidetracked by the civilized persona.