So … I’m reading the Theory of Human Ecology.
Now, before you raise your eyebrows or quietly tut in that knowing way, or maybe steel yourself to slap me on the back and declare ‘well done that man!’… I should let you know it’s only the ‘Brief Introduction to the Theory of Human Ecology’, a mere 112 pages.
There are many interesting concepts therein – I confess to liking a concept more than a theory – so I thought I’d share this one…
As we know Abraham Maslow first documented the most basic of human needs is to be safe; we know that experiencing being unsafe or afraid can leave long standing memories in us. One of the concepts discussed in this paper is the idea of having a ‘front stage’ and a ‘back stage’ as one way in which we can manage personal risk and keep ourselves safe.
Our ‘front stage’ is the version of ourselves we show to the world. We develop it to gain acceptance and to belong, to retain the audience’s interest and maybe even get a round of applause sometimes, or at least a polite clap.
Our ‘back stage’ is the bit of ourselves we keep hidden away – it’s where we do our rehearsals, our script writing and where we keep our costumes and props. We don’t tend to let the audience backstage – only those we really trust.
By developing a front stage and a back stage we keep ourselves safe in an inherently unsafe world. It allows us to show the world what we believe we need to, in order to be accepted, affirmed, welcomed in. Meanwhile that part which we need to protect – our vulnerability – we keep hidden away from harm.
A nice theatrical metaphor…?