TIHR statement

The Referendum

The outcome of the Referendum was intended to be binary – ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – and we woke up on the weekend to discover that complex situations do not lend themselves to simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers.  On Referendum Day, in everyone’s mind there would have been at least four positions – the good aspects and the bad aspects of Remain; and the good aspects and the bad aspects of Leave. As we placed our X’s in either the Remain or Leave box, hoping for a good result, ipso facto, we were obliged to deny the possibilities of the other three positions.  We had to believe only in the good aspects of our chosen option.

Now, it feels like we are being chased by the uncontrollable spirits of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice of the Denied Three Other Positions – the negative aspects of our chosen option, having to do without the positive aspects of our rejected option, and probably worst of all, being confronted by the negative aspects of our rejected option. To escape this maelstrom of confusion, we look for someone or something to blame and the conflict that the Referendum was meant to relieve, we discover, has opened a Pandora’s box of frightening goblins and trolls. How are we going to put them back in the box? Ushered into a vacuum of uncertainty by those who were trusted to lead the change, have we taken back control from the ominous ‘them’?

The Tavistock Institute works with Change and understands that Change is often a source of great fear as it is likely to unfold in the ways we do not want it to – and contrary to how Change was intended by its architects. The EU creation has been one such process. Like the creation of the EU, the formation of The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations was stirred by the terrible traumas of two World Wars.  Our work is based on the principles of social integration and working together. These principles are based on studying and understanding the powerful centrifugal, often unknowable, forces that threaten to and sometimes do tear us apart – our histories, our tribalism.  We are not concerned with romantic notions of togetherness. We work on the basis that through hard work, our differences can be overcome and partnership can be beneficial and gratifying through dialogue and joint effort, through risk-taking and engagement, not by withdrawal into the cosy embrace of one’s own.

Half the work of the Tavistock Institute takes place with and in Europe.  We intend to continue building bridges and walking across them with our European partners, friends and colleagues, and in doing so, we will continue to work with the people of this country, with the communities in the United Kingdom that have been ignored and marginalised by the rush to ‘bigness’ and for whom the benefits of EU membership are a mirage.

Dr Eliat Aram, CEO, and the Staff of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations

Some responses:

Thanks Eliat for these wise words and even more for putting them out. 
More than ever before, it seems we are all called to do the hard work of what it takes to live together and work together – whichever part of the globe we may be in, and whatever our contexts. I read with dismay the referendum outcome – more because of the concern that what may lie underneath it is a sense of the hated and dismissed other.
I must confess the issues of the economics were not uppermost in my mind and I’m not sure I understand them too well either 
rose  (Rosemary Viswanath)

Dear Dr. Aram,
Thank you for your timely and sanguine statement. I would be happy to deploy any experience, skill  and time I may have in initiatives you may have in mind. I attended the Leicester Conference of 1983 with Eric Miller et al. I am an analytical psychologist BCP member and I work in French and Polish. I have facilitated Dream Matrices here and in Europe. My genealogy links me to Theodore de Korwin Szymanowski, an early proponent, in 1885, of a unified Europe based on sound economic principles and structures.

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