Compartmentalization original abstract painting

Compartmentalization in Society & Culture

Compartmentalization of society & culture

If we talk about compartmentalization in the psychology world, we see that it is classified as a defence mechanism.  We often separate conflicting thoughts, emotions, or experiences to avoid the discomfort of contradiction and confrontation.


Compartmentalization in Psychology

Compartmentalization, in the psychology world, says that it is a defence mechanism. We typically separate conflicting thoughts, emotions, or experiences to avoid the discomfort of contradiction and confrontation.  Culture aims to pigeonhole us into categories. I have resisted that my whole life.

Society & Culture

On a larger scale, many groups identify with only one cultural group. They see their identity as predominant, thereby excluding other identities. I would not call this diversity. If you want to raise support for your cause, your best chance of success is to be inclusive. Otherwise, it may alienate the others who have every right to exist, be and create. For movements to be successful, it must be inclusive.

Our society inadvertently promotes a victimhood mindset. We reward it, and the media promotes it as the norm. Social media has an influential impact as well, especially with false information. This mindset is now one we hold collectively. It has become an integral part of our identities. Seeking love and recognition, the lack of the ability to feel empathy for others has become reduced. We cannot find harmony, resilience, and peace in an unwell society.

Spiritual Connotations of Compartmentalization

We hear so much about oneness, and how we are all equal, but that only looks good on paper. Because what is happening is the opposite. Awareness is what is needed here.

The separation we feel in the world today, is partly due to compartmentalization. Yet, from a spiritual point of view, we want to be moving in a very different direction. Then there is the darkness we have all been seeing. We cannot have light without darkness, and perhaps it is just that all this is floating to the surface to be released. But can we release it? Or will we be imprisoned by it?

om symbol with gemstone
divine om symbol with gemstone from original painting


Effects of Compartmentalization

A handful of people hold the majority of the wealth, creating a deeply oppressive societal structure. The pandemic made it worse. Suddenly, on top of it all, life is unaffordable for many. It destroyed our relationships, our businesses, livelihoods, by erasing our connections. We were left standing in a very different place. For many, all the groundwork was stolen from beneath them. The rich got richer, and the rest of us are getting poorer. A more level playing field and continued flow is crucial for society to flourish.


We see the clawing back of our rights, and most feel powerless to change it. Many politicians do not hold the same values as the rest of us, yet they are running the show. They don’t always show their true selves, while on the election trail & many are fooled.

Daily, the rolling back of personal rights, is wearing people down. Courts create laws only to compromise our human rights. A prime example in the USA was the overturning of Roe vs Wade. Next, they will come after reproductive rights, gender bias, and personal medical decisions. Books will be banned, and history decimated so no one remembers or learns. What we do not remember, we are destined to repeat. And this is spreading to other countries. Why are we going backwards? Is the entire world in retrograde???

In groups

All this compartmentalization weakens the groups that require the most support. We are stronger together, even though the natural response is to protect our domains. We shrink inward to give ourselves the false belief that we are in control.

rise blue angel painting
Rise original painting by me, 36 x 48 (inches) available
Problems and solutions

To no one’s surprise, our society has created a stunning number of narcissists. Empaths are like fishes out of water. Looking within is the starting point if we wish to find peace. The loss of resiliency, partially through the breakdown of our connections, leads to judgment of ourselves and others. Separation happens when we compartmentalize and label people, as does duality.

I know that my business success comes from my connections.  And that’s been flattened, though I am beginning to build things back up. 

Dropping our defences

I have a theory that all the lock-downs caused damage to the nervous systems of people, specifically a Dorsal Vagal Shutdown, which invoked a Freeze: immobilization, dorsal vagal response or state accompanied by the fight-flight mobilization, as a sympathetic response. The dorsal vagus nerve is a sort of shutdown switch that disconnects you from others and makes you feel frozen in response to overwhelming fear as a form of self-preservation. It seems like a bit of compartmentalization is going on with this.

This infographic from The Movement Paradigm Integrative Health tells us a lot. Next to Maslow’s hierarchy, I think this is the next most useful chart.

polyvagal chart dorsal vagal shutdown

Humanity needs resilience, to bounce back from all of this. Building a playbook to resolve these types of problems may require therapy, and bodywork. Acupuncture, Reiki, etc. and/or, at the very least, a plan to discover the solutions for the things that affect us in our everyday lives. Individually, traumas are stored in the body to cover the shame, and we pass them down through our ancestral lineage. We have not addressed our collective shame. But we need to.

Supportive relationships come once we learn to love ourselves. Building a support system is one of the best things we can do. I outgrew my support systems for one reason or another, and I now must rebuild them for my well-being. Toxic positivity is an issue because we cannot ignore the shadow, personally or collectively. We need to do so much work on this planet, but we often fall into the trap of distraction(s). We need to empower ourselves and others. When we do, everyone wins.

The Arts

How can an artist use this effect to their benefit? The resolution for me is to strive to direct and channel meaningful purpose into my art. See my art here. 

Weaving all the threads of emotions, themes, and techniques allows us to create a tapestry of creation. We can send our message. Much creativity is born from chaos, especially our inner chaos, which we can channel into our work. We can call on it to inspire us while sorting through our inner world. Sending a message to the ones who consume art is powerful. Some will relate and possibly be inspired to take action.

Remember artists, culture is most likely not your friend.
“The artist’s task is to save the soul of mankind; anything less is a dithering while Rome burns. Because of the artists, who are self-selected, for being able to journey into the Other, if the artists cannot find the way, then the way cannot be found.” ― Terence McKenna  

Compartmentalization in Society & Culture was last modified: March 12th, 2024 by Deborah Robinson

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