The foundation of systemic phenomenological work


29 June 2017| Societal

Life wants to produce life!

6-8 November 2017, Kobarid Slovenia.

By coincidence, a year ago I, Jan Jacob Stam, asked an ex Dutchbat soldier innocently: “What have you learned about humanity by having been in a war?”

To my surprise, the man was immediately brought to tears, saying: “Please hold me for a moment. No-one ever asked me this question. Not at the de-brief after Srebrenica, not later. I’m willing to tell you, but I need some time…”

Same reaction from a Slovenian former soldier…

Same reaction from a Danish former soldier…

My innocent question came from the feeling that there must be a lot of wisdom stored in all those people who have been in a war. A wisdom about what it means to be human. I’m not interested in what happened and whether they killed people. I’m interested in the potential.

But it goes further: All three men have a capability of healing. They are not very open about it, but it’s there. Asking about this, it seems that having been in a war at least enhanced these healing capabilities. “Would it be possible that people who are in the position to take a life, can also be connected with the other side of the same coin: To heal?” When I carefully shared this thought with a woman from the Dutch army, her reaction was: “Oh, we know this in the army, that soldiers have healing capabilities. But it’s not so easy to say this out loud.”

We spoke a couple of times with Edi Lazar, the Slovenian owner of a restaurant and campsite at the border along the Soca river, and the inevitable came up: A three-day workshop for people who have been in a war. At the place where, one hundred years ago, the biggest battle in the mountains ever took place. The mountains around the Soca valley, the Isonzo front. My wife Bibi and I agree that this area is one of the most peaceful places we know.

“What we feel in this area is not just the death of 300 000 people, but their life potential that was cut off.” That potential, that life energy, is still around.

Jan Jacob Stam

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