This week’s Language Yoga Challenge is a potent one. The translations are subtle and so very revealing. There is so much hidden behind these words! Want to see how the translation tool works? Let me show you how I do it.
The quote to translate is: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
Let me start with “we.” What does “we” represent? In its simplest form, “we” stands for you and me. In this quote, the “you” aspect of the word “we” is used in reaching out to all of mankind, anyone who agrees with me. It feels good to be part of the “we,” like I belong to something greater than me. But what if I don’t agree with the we? Division is born, which I’ll explain more in the next paragraph. For now, let me examine the other aspect of we, the root of the we, namely me. “We” always must include “me,” so by replacing “we” with “me” I haven’t really changed anything at all. If we have done something, surely this we includes me, right? Can I own the part of the we that is me? I can own the me part of we, and when I do the quote is simplified to, “I have met the enemy, and he is us.”
Now I will examine the word “us.” “Us” is like “we,” it includes a me and others. The quote is basically saying that the enemy is us. This is interesting and true because if there is an us, then there is also a them, as in us vs them. So if I think they are the enemy, and then I put myself in their shoes, I see that we are also their enemy. So saying the enemy is us is a very true statement. Just like the word “we,” using the word “us” perpetuates division because an us implies a them. Again, “us” includes a “me,” so to simplify and take ownership, I replace “us” with “me,” revealing: “I have found the enemy and he is me.” Nothing new is being stated here. The “we” and “us” already include the “me,” and the point of using this translation tool is to own my side of the problem first before projecting onto others using externalizing pronouns such as us and we.
Next I will examine the pronoun “he,” another externalizing pronoun. The enemy is he, why not she? The “he” represents mankind and is a symptom of my duality saturated, male dominated patriarchal society. Why need a gender at all? This gender imbalance is certainly an enemy, the enemy truly is “he.” To clarify, I replace “he” with “the enemy” to reveal, “I have met the enemy, and the enemy is me.”
The point of this exercise reveals that I am the enemy. Whose enemy? Your enemy, their enemy? What about at the root, am I my own enemy? I am my own enemy because I am responsible for controlling myself, and when I lose balance, I hurt myself. I say hurtful things and cave in to my desires and feel guilt and shame. I react and become emotionally triggered. There are many ways in which I am my own enemy. Also I project my imbalance without owning what I’m saying, which is the point of doing this exercise, to own myself so that my projections are not hurting me or others. By owning that I myself am the enemy, I stop projecting my enemy self onto others with my externalizations, I take control of myself and change my behavior, then I become my own friend. I may be the enemy, but first off I am my own enemy, and I replace the generalized “the” with “my.” The phrase now says, “I have met my enemy, and my enemy is me.”
Here’s the final step. Now that I’ve owned that I am my own enemy, I can substitute “me” for “my enemy.” This is the moment of realization, that it’s all me. Owning my shadow and shifting my behavior allows me to come into self-control, self-ownership and self-healing. Using this translation tool allows me to merge myself with my words of externalization, therefore I literally meet myself with every phrase I translate. This is my enlightenment, using my words to reveal my hidden self and to take responsibility for this part of me. So here goes, I substitute “my enemy” with “me” to reveal, “I have met myself, and I am me.” Wow! This is a very potent mantra for me. All the projection has been owned and unified. My translation tool is like a lens to view the hidden aspects of my psyche buried in my subconscious. “I have met myself, and I am me.” These words are so true and so beautiful to me!
In conclusion, words like “we” and “us” perpetuate violence and division because those not included in the “we” become a “them” creating an “us vs them” mentality. To overcome this polarity, I see that both sides are me. When both sides are me, the only enemy I have is myself. By using the Language Yoga translation tool to see how I am my own enemy (in this case by projecting my own internal division onto my world using dividing and externalizing pronouns), I can learn what behavior to shift in order to become my own friend. Again and again I change my behavior by translating my words in order to see my hidden self and to “meet myself” through my words of ownership. “I have met myself, and I am me.”
I wrote a whole article on the translation of just one sentence, just think of what secrets lay waiting to be discovered in a single blog post. Are you ready to look into your own subconscious and take ownership for what you see? I am and that is exactly what I am doing, and I have never felt more confident, healthy and connected to my self and my world than I do now. Language and culture go hand in hand. What kind of culture do you want to create? The key is in the words. Much love!