Maybe Mugabe Should Mingle with Meerkats!

Peace-of-Eden Series no. 15

It is well known in psychotherapeutic circles that normal human development requires the right kind of physical, emotional - and some people would add - spiritual support! When any human being does not get enough emotional support he/she experiences a sense of deprivation rage - at some deep down level we know that we have not had enough of what we were designed to receive, that which should have been our normal human heritage. Unfortunately people who have been deprived emotionally are not prone to be the most generous, loving people, they often have a ‘chip on their shoulder’, think the world and others ‘owe them’ and everyone else is to blame. Even people who have grown up in financially impoverished situations, as long as they have had much love and affection, are able to rise above their circumstances and fulfill their God-given potential!

I watched an interesting documentary where scientists observed under a microscope that the blood capillary walls of lower ranking, harassed, less-groomed baboons were fragmented and fragile compared to those of higher ranking baboons who repeatedly received daily affirmations and rank-privileged grooming affections. The scientists extended their research to look at the blood capillary walls and consequent heart disease (including the propensity for heart attacks) of humans in different societies in America – city dwellers, compared to those in nature-loving, community-orientated Amish societies; and across time: modern day Londoners compared to Londoners who were involved in the second world war. Interestingly they found that very few people in Amish communities experience stresses that de-abilitate their blood flow leading to heart disease and heart attacks, compared to city dwellers who are not best adapted to the stresses and strains of city life and many aspects of our westernized lifestyles! Amazingly those in modern day city life in London suffered more heart disease even than those Londoners who were affected by the bombing and night raids of war-torn London during the Second World War! The explanation given was that those in the latter situation experienced the second world war not only as a period of unpredictability and life-threatening stress, but also as a time of great community camaraderie, where many supportive, shared-experience relationships and life-long friendships were developed!!

Now we look at Zimbabwe lead by a dictator who in his early life is described as a loner, very intelligent, raised in church schools. The biographical picture described is not of a person with an emotionally nourished life, or with good friendships and family connections!

Alice Miller, a post-industrialist psychologist, examines the life of Hitler and his cronies – the Third Reich. She takes a look at the parenting practices of the time. Interestingly she unveils Hitler as a man with a domineering and controlling father, with an inadequate mother who never came to his aid. Hitler idealized an emotionally unavailable father, always longing for the affection he never had, and acted out his deprivation rage, not only on younger, defenseless siblings, but also on the Jews whom he considered inferior to the idealistic Arian German race he was trying to establish. Hitler, like Mugabe, had a policy of domination and dividing, one race or culture against the other. Compare their actions and approach to life to those of Mother Theresa, Gandhi or our own Mandela, whose life philosophies and actions are of loving giving, acceptance and honoring of the differences within each one of us. Their lives fostered an attitude of reconciliation – man with himself and then with other men within the human species with whom he shares this earth.

If you spend time with wild Meerkats, the symbol of teamwork and connection, you will learn that good self care is a result of the right kind of kinship bonding and mutually reciprocal support. Possibly if Mugabe spent some time observing wild Meerkat antics and their approach to life he would learn from the wisdom of nature and these cute, comical little creatures - that we can all learn to reach our full potential without annihilating each other!