Workshop Part 5

WORKSHOP VIDEO PART 5: Not Seeing the Other

In Video Part 5 Bassam and Itamar talk about how Palestinians and Israelis can get to the point of not “seeing” one another, nor their own experience and behaviour. We follow Bassam and Itamar’s process of re-humanising themselves and one another.

Learning Objectives:

  • To become acquainted with the cognitive and emotional process of ‘not seeing’ the other:   In the absence of empathy, our projections may idealise or dehumanise the other, leading to violence, dissociation or denial of their existence.  By not including, responding or relating to the other, we psychologically ‘kill them off’.
  • Recognising how projections in the absence of empathy may idealise or de-humanise.


  • While projections can dehumanise, withdrawing projections can re-humanise and allow empathy and recognition of the real other i.e. our common humanity, our similarities and differences
  • Not seeing the other can become a collective defence mechanism for denial of fear
  • Winnicott’s False and True Self: our True Self may become invisible to self and others

Issues to Explore:

  • What is the difference between ‘being seen’ and‘recognition?’
  • Have you ever felt 'not seen' or not ‘recognised’? What did you feel or think? What, if any, action did you take?
  • Have you ever rendered another ‘invisible’? Were you aware it was happening? Did you re- render them ‘visible’ at some stage?
  • What action might help when we or the other are feeling invisible or ‘not seen’?


Facilitating the Workshop:

  1. Where might visible/invisible fit into The Ethical Mindset diagram?
  1. Become clear about the function served by consciously rendering an individual invisible.

    It might be helpful to look at whistle-blowers and how rendering them invisible serves the organisation.

  1. Look at your own strategies that help you hold onto your real and True Self when you are feeling ‘not seen’ i.e. when you are receiving someone else’s projection.

    How might you use the ground-rules if your group develops a hierarchy of those listened to and those ignored.

  1. Compare individual responses to the way groups collectively render others invisible (members of rival tribes, nations, oppressed groups, etc.).

    Enable the group to recognise that the stratagem of rendering whole groups invisible becomes a collective survival mechanism for denying fear.

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