The vote is done, the negotiations are underway and seemingly everything that could be said about the political climate in the UK has already been said. Today’s blog isn’t necessarily about the Brexit, but what that meant from a psychological standpoint for Britain.
The attitude Britain seemed to have towards Brexit (right and left wing) has gone through what most psychologists would deem the “Paranoid-Schizoid Position”. To sum this up generally, from the beginning of our lives until the end we have periods of great anxiety. For example, infants experience this after the trauma of childbirth and after initially experiencing hunger and frustration. The infant then uses these anxieties to project and introject a subjective reality (things which might have some base in truth, but the ideas aren’t necessarily true as a whole). Then the infant will go on to divide experiences into inertly good or bad ones, and then the theory goes that that is how one begins to develop a personality.
I would argue that this has been the British reaction to Brexit. We went through periods of uncertainty that we were quick to label as either positive or negative, creating contrasting opinions. These opinions were formed out of a time of anxiety (similar to that of the infant), and everyone had to invent a reality for both scenarios which undoubtedly was biased. This is because we have already associated these scenarios with the good and bad. For example, Viewsbank initially held a survey to try and determine the outcome of Brexit before the vote, and it was correctly predicted that Britain would vote to leave the European Union. Now, as we have had time to reflect, and the reality is less of a fantasy and more of a reality, Viewsbankers thought that a second vote would lead to Britain remaining the in EU. In fact, the exact numbers are as follows:
- 51% voted to leave the EU
- 76% are unhappy with how the negotiations have gone so far
- 60% think that if there was a second vote, the country would vote to stay in the EU.
Disregarding anyone’s personal political beliefs, these numbers show a clear change in how we are viewing Brexit because it’s no longer the idea of Brexit, but the actual reality. There’s no objective reality where we know everything that is right or wrong, we only have facts that we project our personality onto to form an opinion, and it seems Viewsbankers think that the majority of the U.K. regrets that particular decision made in anxiety. What’s good about the Paranoid-Schizoid Position is that it means we are in a position of change, so at least we know that we will be a different Britain by the time we actually leave.