Democracy and dictatorship have direct impact on our mental health. How? We can explore that. It may be mind-freshening to just compare these two polar systems in the context of psychological footprint on individuals.
Democracy is as an embodied, dynamic, and growing movement, while dictatorship can be described as an static, monologue, and rigid system. These two social contexts are providing socially embedded field for mental health and growth while most certainly in two opposite directions.
Being human means we are moving towards a goal in our life from day one. This goal is always pertinent to survival, growth, and self-actualization. Moving towards a goal happens whether we know it or not. Alfred Adler, the founder of individual psychology argues human being is a goal directed individual (Ansbacher & Ansbacher 1956).
In countries where oppression, censure, and brutality is the norm, individuals cannot move towards the goals they have in mind. With democracy you can have choice, freedom to speech, and freedom to feel. It is incredible how people who live in democratic countries take this right for granted. In dictatorship we know that reading one book, one article, or one newspaper literally can cost life and fortune.
We have to consider the fact that in democracy writing, thinking, feeling, perceiving, and listening are significant factors for living a human life that we all deserve.
If food, shelter, air are the basic human rights, then democracy meaning the right to feel, to be, to think, and to decide are also integral parts of our basic rights.
This is something we Iranians have felt it with our flesh and blood. our history is filled of crack down of our intelligent, brave, and decent citizens who ask for the right to be healthy,physically, emotionally, spirituality, and mentally. Democracy does open the filed for a holistic health.
June 25, 2009
Ansbacher, H. L., & Ansbacher, R. R. (Eds.). The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler. New York: Basic Books.