The Rational Man Project (RMP) is a term coined by British Psychologist and foremost expert on boarding school trauma, Nick Duffell. The RMP involves a brain that is “over-trained in rationality, has turned away from empathy and has mastered and normalized dissociation in its most severe dimensions; it is consequently incapable of recognizing the fault in its own system.” (Nick Duffell, “Wounded Leaders: British Elitism and The Entitlement Illusion”, 2014) “Rational Man was (and still is) permanently at war. He was at war with himself and with the world he created. The self he was at war with was his own indigenous self, the natural, emotional, innocent, spontaneous, sometimes lazy, sometimes erotic self.” (ibid. Duffell) To varying degrees, Western man and woman have exiled this poor self that fills the void with a cornucopia of addictions (Food, Shopping, Illegal Drugs, Sports Teams, Sex, Cell Phone, Legal Drugs, Alcohol, Cigarettes, Working, Pain, Working out, Coffee, Surfing the Internet, Facebook, Soft Drinks, Porn, Sugar, Television, Video Games).
“The fallout from the British Rational Man Project is alive and well” at home and in the United States, Canada and Australia. “It causes our societies grave problems as: (1) It maintains the inherited class structure with its… male elitism intact (2) It prevents emerging new paradigms” from coming to the fore – “due to fear of foreigners and fear of losing the status quo. (3) We do not notice the Rational Man Project’s grip on us because we are too close to it, like the fish who do not know the water; identified with it, we believe it to be our hallowed tradition.” (Duffell)
With the arrival of the ‘The Age of Reason’ in the 17th century Western world, Spirit was supplanted by Science and Reason. Man now controlled his own destiny. The British created their own particular brand of the Rational Man Project. The British boarding and private school system had two roles: (1) churn out men who would be sent around the world to run the greatest empire the world has ever seen (2) be a ‘home’ for the children of these very same men who were far away from England.
Regardless of circumstances, when God was at the centre of most people’s lives there was a direct connection with the unknown, the mysterious, the Feminine. The Rational Man Project kind of ‘civilized’ and sanitized the misogyny (and racism) which had always been there, and then exported it to the colonial world. With succeeding generations of abandoned and betrayed boys running the world, logic became bereft of Feeling.
Further to the alienation of the Feminine, Psychiatrist and Oxford Professor, Iain McGilchrist, writes in his book “The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World”, about the respective roles of the Left- and Right-brains and how our culture, having been overrun by the Rational Man Project, has become predominantly Left-brained. Unfortunately, while the Left-brain approach “facilitated the accumulation of knowledge and skills, its downside has resulted in a crisis of Compartmentalization.” Duffell on McGilchrist, “there is a precise order to how the two hemispheres work: thought and language are born… on the Right, then grow up… on the Left, to provide the ‘necessary difference’ for self-reflection.” Crucially, what is sent to the Right then returns back to the Right, “where a new synthesis can be made.” (Duffell). The ‘Return’ is the key to balanced thinking and good choices.
The Right-brain is more concerned with the Feminine, visual, non-linear, heart connection, receptivity, softness, sensitivity, creativity, the instinctual, the unexplainable, the conscience, the feelings, emotional IQ, big picture, cooperation and doubt. The Left-Brain is more concerned with the Masculine, verbal, linear, logical, details, organization, structure, labeling, analysis, specialization and hierarchy.
As children, between the extreme Left-brain nature of our societies and our own personal traumas, we create what Duffell calls a Strategic Survival Personality (SSP) to cope. The defining component of the SSP is limiting emotional access so as to protect the self. While we all do this to varying degrees, when our connection to the Right-brain becomes too compromised we are at risk of alienation, violence and mental illness – all of which have reached epidemic levels.
Periodically, we single out one or another of our Institutions – Media, Corporate, Banking, Legal, Police, Health, Government – for their failings and excesses. The reality is that because these Institutions operate at the behest of the Rational Man Project, meaningful change is predictably problematic. We have created these Institutions. We work in them. They represent us. We are tacitly, and in most cases unwittingly, complicit in their actions. In short, we and they are not doing any of this on purpose. We have been on automatic pilot for 300 years. At this stage, we are simply the fish in the sea, thinking that this is just the way things are. Anyone who suggests otherwise is just naïve.
Once we begin to understand the foundational RMP forces at work in our culture – and within each of us – we can accelerate the re-integration of the Left- and Right-brains, which will re-ignite the Empathy that we all deep down desire. As we connect more with the Divine Feminine we will move beyond our current myopic Rational approach to a more harmonious existence, personally and globally.