On January 7th, 2015 two gunman entered the Paris headquarters of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. They proceeded to shoot and kill 12 people presumably because of the newspaper’s controversial depictions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. In the days following this tragedy people from all over the world have united to speak out about media censorship and to support the victim’s families and friends.
A hashtag movement was quickly born. #JeSuisCharlie quickly became one of the most popular hashtags in the history of Twitter, accumulating 3.4 million tweets in just 24 hours. In addition there were mass vigils held around the world, the largest being held in Paris which was attended by many of the world’s leaders. Some of these leaders are known for their own media censorship, which sparked cries of hypocrisy from some online news outlets. Hollywood also got involved during the Golden Globes, with several actors sporting Je Suis Charlie signs and mentioning the incident during their speeches, which elicited more cries of hypocrisy given Hollywood’s history of censoring sex, homosexuality, and politics.
While it’s easy to point fingers at corrupt politicians and elite Hollywood actors and actresses, it’s more difficult to acknowledge my own hypocrisy. When I embrace the tag #JeSuisCharlie, I am empathizing with the victim and his or her family, but not acknowledging that I played a role in creating their pain. By paying taxes and supporting “first world” governments that wage wars on the “terrorist,” I am supporting a climate of terror and violence. I am in some ways implicit in the death of not only the Paris cartoonists, but also Islamic civilians. By refusing to acknowledge my inner dark side, I project it onto others and I create a culture of division which reflects my inner division.
In his autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections Carl Jung wrote, “Therefore the individual who wishes to have an answer to the problem of evil, as it is posed today, has need, first and foremost, of self knowledge, that is, the utmost possible knowledge of his own wholeness. He must know relentlessly how much good he can do and what crimes he is capable of, and must beware of regarding one as real and the other as illusion. Both are elements within his nature, and both are bound to come to light in him, should he wish – as he ought – to live without self-deception or self-delusion.”
I can address my own hypocrisy and stop deluding myself by coming into a deeper self-knowledge. I do this by recognizing and owning both the good and bad aspects of my nature through harnessing the powerfull linguistic tool, Language Yoga, which translates externalizing nouns and pronouns which I use to project (you, we, they, it, other people, Charlie…) into personal pronouns which promote ownership (me, myself, I…).
So what’s the translation of Je Suis Charlie? Je Suis Myself, or I am myself. YES! This translation is how I can own all sides of my multi-faceted self. In doing so I no longer need to project my darkness onto a “bad-guy,” I step out of victim consciousness and into a more holistic understanding of myself.
When I am united within I can start promoting a culture of unity instead of division, a future of healing instead of destruction. Please join me in using the Language Yoga translation tool to reveal projections and come into self-ownership because I believe this work is the catalyst for transforming the world as we know it.