María: the chosen one and the one preferred by God’s love
Jesús: the Savior
I want to talk to all my ancestors now. You have paved and shown the way for me. Some of you were viciously tortured. Others were torturers. Members of many families that were united and merged, your tormented dramas mingled intensely and painfully with gracious splashes of joy and satisfaction, as if the music played by a symphonic orchestra led by an expert baton. What sort of elaborate destiny was designed for me? Who made the ultimate decision? What is it that you were unable to solve? A mirage has deceived me at every hour and confounded me every day.
I want to thank you all for giving me life. And now, your greatest mandate has been met. I have saved you. Now, we are all finally free… A wide space has opened up, and it is ready for the next dance… the next and subtle move…Please, dance with me… And gently… let me go now.
Interactionist Don D. Jackson, former director of the Mind Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, was the first to conduct studies on families that included one schizophrenic member in order to check for common processes among these families. He also studied families that included criminal offenders, neurotics and/or sufferers of psychosomatic disorders.
In 1954, Mr. Jackson coined the concept of family homeostasis. He had observed that the symptoms identified in a patient have an individual, as well as a family function to discharge. His findings led him to the following conclusions:
A. Other family members were interfering with the targeted treatment of their “sick” member. They were trying to either participate in or sabotage the treatment, as if the family had an interest in keeping this member ill.
B. Often, the hospitalized or incarcerated patient either became worse or regressed, after visitation by his/her family members.
C. Some family members became worse (fell in depression or developed psychosomatic disorders) when the patient got better, as if the affliction suffered by a member was essential for the operation of the family.
The homeostatic operation is based on the rules and/or beliefs held or expressed by a family; in other words, “the homeostatic behaving members restrict the fluctuations of other behaviors within the specific scope of a pre-established standard.” A household thermostat can be a useful analogy: when the temperature departs from a preset standard, a homeostatic mechanism is triggered to record and counter the deviation.
For instance, if the family has ruled that no dispute will be allowed, as soon as a difficulty erupts, a general sense of unease and a sudden change of topic of discussion can be observed. When the family members engage in an argument, the identified patient shows behavioral symptoms, such as acting stupid or making silly remarks; and he may even suffer some physical discomfort. Then, the family becomes distracted or coalesced (often against the patient), and the rule is enforced until the next occasion.
Much of the research in behavioral sciences has focused on the causes for certain observed effects. These causes are supposed to be linearly linked with their effects. In other words, “B” happened or is happening because “A” had happened or was happening.
Virginia Satir, Psicoterapia familiar conjunta, Ed. La Prensa Mexicana, Mexico 1980
Don Jackson D. OP. CIT. p.p. 147 – 148 – Don Jackson D. Ibid, p.p. 137 – 138
At this point, we have become aware of the fact that each family system has a primary need to create or give life to a member who can maintain this balance or homeostasis. For its part, the family system makes sure that the role or program allocated to a specific element is reproduced by another element of the same system in the future; and in this absolutely unconscious fashion, a project is developed to perpetuate the program with a concrete function or role; and as a result, when the program is integrated in a physical body, its embodying person will show automatic behaviors without the slightest understanding of their reason why; since what actually matters is what these behaviors are meant for.
What specific need of the system is charged with the designation of the next member in the succeeding line?
Who allocates the role to be represented by the next character in the family play?
In order to better understand this dance of synchronicities
within a family system, let us apply the game theory; in particular, the Nash equilibrium, the Cournot competition or the fear equilibrium; i.e., a solution concept for a game that involves two or more players and assumes as follows:
Each player knows and has adopted his best strategy, and is familiar with the strategies held by all the other players.
· Consequently, a player will have nothing to gain by changing his strategy unilaterally, so long as the other players keep their own. Hence, each player is making “his/her best move” in view of the moves by the other players.
The Nash equilibrium describes a situation in which each player is assumed to know the strategies pursued by the other players and has implemented the strategy that maximizes his gains. Consequently, no player has any specific incentive to unilaterally modify his strategy.
A Nash equilibrium situation does not necessarily mean the best cumulative payoff for all the players involved; rather, it means the best payoff for each player, taken individually. It is perfectly possible, however, that the payoff is better for all the players, if they could somehow agree to coordinate their actions.
Let us consider the cooperative game; i.e., a situation where two or more players are not competing; instead, they are striving to meet the same objective; therefore, they either win or lose together. In other words, it is a game in which players form coalitions and adopt cooperative behaviors, since the game is about a competition between player coalitions; rather than among individual players. An example of cooperative game is the coordination game in which players choose their strategies through a consensus decision-making process.
The above discussion suggests that systems can act either way: sometimes reflecting a cooperation game, and at other times, seeking a balance that will benefit no member in particular. Both options represent survival solutions, even if on occasions, they may prevent the system from evolving.