Speaker Encourages Self-reflection to Assist Stress Relief

Photo by Steve Fallon

Hank Brightman, a full-time professor at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I., came to speak to Ramapo students and faculty on Thursday about stress and other challenges that are common in higher education, and how to combat those stressors.

Brightman spoke on a variety of subjects, beginning with fields of relevance. A field, in this context, is something you can relate to. A field that Ramapo students can relate to, for example, is college. There are many different fields: college, teenagers, happiness and so on.

“You can live within multiple fields at once, and we all do. Attractor sites are things within the field that generate energy,” Brightman explained. He then went on to explain archetypes.

“There are all different kinds of archetypes. You could have the archetype of a goddess, a god, a king, a student or a teacher, to name a few. You can also live in more than one archetype,” Brightman said.

Within each archetype, he explained, there are both good and bad sides. For example, a king can be a leader and he can be strong, but he can also be selfish and dictatorial at the same time.

Brightman also explained shadow elements, which are, as he put it, the opposite of the archetype.

“Have you ever been in a situation where you met someone for the first time and you hate them?” Brightman asked.

Several people in the room began to nod their heads in agreement. Brightman asked what traits make us hate a person. Answers quickly followed: their personality, selfishness, indecisiveness, being annoying, being obsessive and so on. Brightman offered an interesting idea that not many people have considered. He suggested that the things we hate about others is often a projection of the traits that we do not like about ourselves. For example, say a person is greedy, but this is something they hide. When said person meets someone who is overtly greedy, they despise them. Such behavior becomes a complex.

“We try to change other people as opposed to trying to change ourselves,” said Brightman as he explained the idea behind this complex. "You cannot change other people. That is why people tend to be who they are.”

Although Brightman touched on a few different subjects, the central purpose of his speech was for the audience to learn about themselves as individuals.

“His message was positive, but the interesting thing is that a lot of people have problems identifying what field they are in,” said freshman Melissa Love. “Even at the college age, some things from our past still come and haunt us, and can hinder us from doing our work to our full extent.”

Michelle Shneyder, also a freshman, commented on Brightman’s message: “I believe that sometimes it takes working and establishing yourself into a field before understanding yourself and if that is the path you really want to take. When it comes to hiding different personality traits, I believe we definitely do, but I feel like we are too conscious of those traits to hate them in other people.”