Betrayal In Four Acts #2
…I think it's [romantic love] more powerful than the sex drive. You know, if you ask somebody to go to bed with you, and they say, "No, thank you," you certainly don't kill yourself or slip into a clinical depression. But certainly, around the world, people who are rejected in love will kill for it. People live for love. They kill for love. They die for love. They have songs, poems, novels, sculptures, paintings, myths, legends. In over 175 societies, people have left their evidence of this powerful brain system. I have come to think it's one of the most powerful brain systems on Earth for both great joy and great sorrow. -Helen Fisher The Brain In Love
Meaning - Act 2 (read Act 1)
Betrayal, on first glance, seems obvious…we know the feeling. Yet in the context of life experience, betrayal only has meaning when juxtaposed with its opposite - trust. Whether the context is purely romantic and individual or part of a larger social contract, betrayal makes implicit the preexistence of trust and implies an ability to identify trust as a feeling state. So essentially betrayal, no matter how painful, can be a road map to trust. Conversely, and this is startlingly important, the ability to know/feel trust does not imply we understand betrayal. Essentially we teach one another the meaning of betrayal.
It would be unfair and perhaps even inappropriate for me to try to talk about betrayal outside my own experience. Attempting to do so would place us in the land of judgment; a space I prefer not to visit. We actually spend much of our time trusting one another. In fact, civilization itself is built around trust…or at least trust and verify. When you consider the sheer number of people and institutions we place trust in for our food chain or the cohesion of our transportation systems, it is astonishing. Regardless of the context, whether institutional or interpersonal, trust represents the alignment of words with actions. Culturally, on a broad scale, laws signify the alignment represented by trust painted over the span of time.
Betrayal represents the loss or negation of trust. Betrayal can be petty, like gossip in a locker room. It can also be highly traumatic, like the state sanctioned genocide that lead to the holocaust. Regardless of its source, betrayal is highly correlated with trauma and emotional conflict. Whatever the form or depth, betrayal points the mind to the loss or fragmentation of some idyllic state bounded by trust. For many people this is where they land, caught between FEELINGS, which are temporary, and the ensuing thoughts about those temporary feelings.
You can’t think your way out of betrayal and this is one of the reasons it is so powerful.