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When Collective Trauma Struck. Are we all truly in ‘it’ together? (Mini Series1, part1)

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

“We are all in it together” is a highly popular term in our society, and one that has been catching my attention and intriguing my individualistic mind for a considerable period of time. Since the global pandemic and the cost of living crisis, one cannot help but notice the frequency and wide spread of this togetherness assuming terminology such as “we are all in it together” and “we are all on the same boat”. Are we really?

Do people truly share the togetherness in their experiences?

In short, certainly not. Let me stay with the metaphor of ‘being in the same boat’ for one more moment to illustrate my thought process around what might join us in togetherness and what makes us separate.

Let’s envisage that an event of collective difficulty (e.g., the global pandemic or financial crisis) is a metaphorical sea in which we all suddenly appear. Some turn up with boats to sail the sea, some have inflatable dinghies, some have yachts, some are in the water swimming, and some may even be drowning because they cannot swim or have no more reserves to keep themselves afloat.

The shared ‘together’ element is being present in the ‘sea’ (in the global pandemic, financial crisis etc.), but what keeps us apart is our experience and our means to cope with the situation. Perhaps it is not entirely untrue to state that we are all in it; but it would be naïve, assumptive and highly dismissive to suggest that we are all in it together.

We are all in it, but not together. We are in it apart.

The construct of our experience (even of shared collective events) is rooted in an individual’s unique internal self-structure, which can be seen as exclusive as our DNA. Besides the unique structure of self, each individual has variable external means by which to cope, including support network, financial security, spectrum of physical and mental health and other external factors.

The only one thing, we all reliably share is difference!

With all these above listed variances in mind, it seems unrealistic that we could truly be in anything together, when considering our exclusive experiences and ways of being or coping through any event. I strongly believe that claims of experiential togetherness are mostly presumptive, idealistic and – potentially – controlling.

This assumptive language only contributes to feelings of extreme sense of loneliness as people congruently recognise that they do not feel “in it together” or that they do not “feel the same”. Every person fosters their own unique feelings. Slogans of collectiveness such as “we all feel the same” oppress the opportunity to feel, to experience and to be unique, different and incomparable.

Only by embracing our experiential difference we can grow as healthy individuals in a healthy, freedom nurturing society. Contrary, proclaimed togetherness deprives people of their individuality and most importantly, it creates depth of toxic incongruence among individuals and entire societies.

Make sure to stay tuned to the next blog as I continue to talk about incongruence.

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