What is divided life?

Strecker, who also offers illustrations of the blind spots, speaks of logic-tight compartments and segregation. There is a section for friends and one for enemies, one for the family and one for outsiders, one for professional and one for personal life, one for social equals and one for inferiors. Hence what happens in one compartment does not appear to the neurotic to contradict what happens in another. It is possible for a person to live that way only when, by reason of his conflicts, he has lost his sense of unity. Compartmentalizing is thus as much a result of being divided by one's conflict as a defense against recognizing them. The process is not unlike that described in the case of one kind of idealized image: contradictions remain, but the conflicts are spirited away. It is hard to say whether this type of idealized image is responsible for the compartmentalization or the other way around. It seems likely, however, that the fact of living in compartments is the more fundamental and that it would account for the kind of image created.

--Karen Horney

What is divided life?

The divided life comes in many and varied forms. To cite just a few examples, it is the life we lead when:

  • We refuse to invest ourselves in our work, diminishing its quality and distancing ourselves from those it is meant to serve

  • We make our living at jobs that violate our basic values, even when survival does not absolutely demand it

  • We remain in settings or relationships that steadily kill off our spirits

  • We harbor secrets to achieve personal gain at the expense of other people

  • We hide our beliefs from those who disagree with us to avoid conflict, challenge and change

  • We conceal our true identities for fear of being criticized, shunned or attacked

--Parker J. Palmer

What is divided life?

The only time we are free to act is during our leisure hours. All other hours are mortgaged to earning a living--in the accomplishment of which we often have very little outlet for natural trends. So it is only "after hours" and "over Sundays" that the masses of mankind have an opportunity to express their real natures.

--Elsie Lincoln Benedict and Ralph Paine Benedict