The most basic action, in being alive, is to reach and withdraw; it is the basic survival dynamic, to reach out for food or to withdraw from danger. It is also the basis of communication. If sufficient intention is used and another is paying attention and duplicates that which is being put across, then communication is taking place. The basis of communication and interaction, then, is: reach - withdraw; speak - listen; give - receive. If viewpoints are shared through a process of two-way communication, affection and empathy may be built up, resulting in mutual understanding.
In practice of course, people have different objectives and viewpoints in life and these can conflict. "Reach toward" becomes "fight against". Conflict may be between one's self (or any part of one's self or environment that is being identified with, such as parental "shoulds", child insecurities, family, friend, boss, lover, teacher, footballer, politician, pop star, possession, or fixed attitude, belief, idea or feeling) opposing any element of the outside world that is felt to counter the intention of self.
This conflict only becomes a problem if one can't confront (face up to with equanimity) or experience comfortably, the confusion it creates; otherwise it could be handled and the situation viewed (realistically) as part and parcel of the "game" of life. Possible responses to a conflict situation include:
- Reach TOWARD - when rational it is communication with affinity; when neurotic it is dependence.
- PACIVITY - when rational it is acceptance of reality, when neurotic it is resistance to the truth.
- Fight AGAINST - when rational it is to negotiate needed changes, when neurotic it is aggression.
- Withdraw AWAY - when rational it is to simply give space, when neurotic it is avoidance or flight.
- Two-way COMMUNICATION - when rational it is to interact, when neurotic it becomes an obsession.
To the extent that these movements are flexible and spontaneous, the individual is free. When they are inflexible and rigid, he has become entrapped. The neurotic behaviours are based on fear.