I think I've mentioned that my father was a professor--and practitioner--of clinical psychology. One of the things he used to say that has always stuck with me is that people actually may choose to become insane. It's an escape mechanism for coping with reality that some people find preferable to dealing with the real world on its own terms. The title of this blog--meaning in history--is related to the idea that my father propounded. Humans, as rational animals, are geared toward the discovery of meaning and order in existence. History records that search for meaning in history. All societies exist in history and seek to express on a societal level the meaning of their existence.
When that meaning is threatened, when it is challenged to the extent that severe doubt arises, humans and societies can react in a number of ways. They can, for example, seek to refine their understanding of the meaning and order of existence. They can redefine that meaning in relatively new terms--although the nature of reality usually limits at least limits the possibilities for a re-understanding of existence. More radically, individuals and societies can attempt to deny reality--refuse to recognize existential threats for what they are. Alternatively, people can rush to embrace illusory meanings that seem preferable. We see many examples of the reactions both in history and in the contemporary world around us.
I've linked two video presentations that look at alternative aspects of what I'm talking about. Neither are long. The first is about 20 minutes and was linked by a commenter a few days ago--I've forgotten who it was, but: Thanks! This video is concerned with the turn to authoritarianism, and why a society can plunge into non-freedom. In a sense, it's a prelude to Orwell's vision of 1984. What conditions can lead to such a choice--because in a very real sense, just as my father maintained, we see that people semi-consciously choose this alternative, which is a form of madness. Madness in this sense, that it's a surrender of the most noble aspect of our human nature--reason--in favor of the illusion of a simpler and safer existence in unfreedom and unreason. Thinking can be difficult and disturbing.
The second video, which I can't embed but for which I provide a link, addresses what's going on with the Covid Panic and warns of the consequences of non-resistance. Whereas the first video seems to have primarily in mind earlier forms of totalitarian--Soviet, Nazi, Fascist--this second video is very much geared to the present threat of a superficially soft and nurturing, but nonetheless coercive, type of authoritarianism--reminiscent of what de Tocqueville saw as the possible end development of Democracy in America.
See what you think of them--separately, in combination, in contrast with what I've just written.
I should add something else that connects with these videos. In my view one of the prime motivating factors in human nature is a very strong desire to belong--to be part of a supra-individual group. This derives from the very structure of human society, because the basic 'unit' of human society in not--contrary to the libertarian or classical liberal ideology--the individual but, rather, the family. As such, all societal ordering--very much including government--reflects the natural human response to the authority of father and mother figures, as well as to the different relationships with siblings and outsiders. The result is a very natural tendency to go along and get along, rather than rock the family/societal boat. Just as siblings who rock the life of a family are resented, so too are dissenters within a society.
In a sense you could say that the modern American democratic ideal runs against basic human dynamics, in that there is a natural tendency to follow authority rather than to periodically elect it and conform to it--even when we disagree with it. Disagreeing with one or both parents is one thing--we still belong to the family--but disagreeing with elected officials whose authority is more metaphorically connected to us becomes more problematic. When a society, like ours, is riven by deep and fundamental differences, it can seem like being part of an abusive family relationship.
I suggest that the conservative 'instinct' is to go along with the established societal order within the bounds of mutual respect--with occasional tweaks--just as each human family may differ somewhat in its established customs and relational order. The liberal tendency, by contrast, tends toward an enforced conformity that is less respectful toward established order ('tradition') and more inclined toward enforced conformity. I see this as resulting from a partial dissolution of natural institutions--the family in particular--and a desire to create a replacement unifying relationship based on concepts rather than real relationships. This reflects a disconnect with reality and a tendency toward mental illness.
If this is the state of our modern life, a return to a healthier life will not come easily. Christian faith offers the possibility of a return to sanity, but it comes with a high entry cost: a commitment to hard reflection on the nature of reality and the nature of human nature. That cost is too high for many individuals and, lacking the support of institutions, may not be chosen. The alternative, as it seems to me, is social dissolution. Artificial patchwork solutions won't work in the end--we see this constantly in the failure of 'planned' societies.
I'll stop--but I urge everyone to reflect on these fundamental matters. See what you think of these videos--is the Covid Regime a reflection of an underlying mental illness at a societal level?
Next, you'll need to follow the link. However, rather than simply supply a link, I'll embed Dr. Robert Malone's brief recommendation:
OK - this video has a super powerful message and a lot of it rings true. I don't agree with all of it - but it is worth watching and thinking hard about. Detangling the hyperbole from just how bad things actually are - is difficult now for me. https://t.co/VNd2UEG3WH— Robert W Malone, MD (@RWMaloneMD) August 19, 2021
In A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (1957), Leon Festinger proposed that human beings strive for internal psychological consistency to function mentally in the real world. A person who experiences internal inconsistency tends to become psychologically uncomfortable and is motivated to reduce the cognitive dissonance.ReplyDelete
They tend to make changes to justify the stressful behavior, either by adding new parts to the cognition causing the psychological dissonance (rationalization) or by avoiding circumstances and contradictory information likely to increase the magnitude of the cognitive dissonance (confirmation bias).
Festinger argued that some people would inevitably resolve dissonance by blindly believing whatever they wanted to believe.
At least half in the US have have become mentally unstable, Democrats.ReplyDelete
Mental illness has a variety of definitions so I'm not sure how useful a term it is.ReplyDelete
There are not a small number of mentally ill or disordered people whose conditions are manifested in their political outlook. But I think irrationality is a bigger problem and rather than being a mental illness it seems to be the natural default setting for most people, certainly for all ideologues.
But a bigger problem yet, IMO, is a different psychological and moral one. And that is the tendency of man to succumb to societal and social pressure. Many formerly fully and marginally rational people will all too readily submit and succumb to a wave of social and policial irrationality because it is easier than resisting it. That's not mental illness. It's cowardice, weakness and laziness. Without that large and vital contingent of support the vast majority of mass movements would never become mass movements and the nutjobs, cranks and manipulative ideologues would die in obscurity, as they should.
"That's not mental illness. It's cowardice, weakness and *laziness*."ReplyDelete
Most folks don't care to expend the time/ effort, esp. when vocal brats would breathe down their necks if they defy the Party Line.
It's so much *easier*, to stay in Tall Grass.
But, calling the leaders "mentally ill" may be too charitable.Delete
Many/ most are just plain sociopaths.
I think they are evil and controlled by the devil.Delete
I sure hope and pray that Saturday is a step in the right direction for our friends down under.
One last thing, if we don't get the audits done to ensure we have free and fair elections (a thing the D's oppose), and I'm not talking just a few states. I mean all of them that have electronic counting such that the results can be easily tampered with. I we don't get our arms around this are a country, we are done, and it will be one party rule which is just the start of what could be as they say in medicine - a bad outcome.
Those 17 Republicrats aren't stupid either...
Thanks again Mark!
Gosh Mark, I'm not just more informed and educated, but enlightened as well. I am truly surprised the the TNI (Trusted News Initiative) has shut Dr. Malone and Alex Berenson down yet and he's been able to keep dropping these moabs on Twitter. The first video really does tie it all together and we we're already seeing this mass psychosis in places like N. Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, as well as the former Soviet Union, but now I fear Australia and NZ are the verge of being the latest victims to this tyranny. Isolating people, on and off lockdowns, all the variant fears, are just a few examples of this attempt to coerce as many into their grips. I think back to last year when you could go to Walmart, but going to church was verboten. The Aussies now aren't allowed to talk to one another. And so on. It's imperative they stifle discourse, interaction with your family and fellow man to isolate and bring on more terror to achieve compliance. If you can drive people to the media you can control and keep them from talking to each other, perfect! Explains why Newsome is behaving like no rational/reasonable governer would and all the other blue state Tyrants are playing running the same plays on their "subjects".ReplyDelete
A couple of other observations regarding ways to counter this oppression. I can now see how they have been operating to try to silence those that countering their narrative with truth and real information. The incident with Tucker Carlson is one example where I speculate that the individual trying to provoke him was part of an attempt to diminish his wide influence. He's certainly a lot smarter than them and didn't bite. Mike Lindell had similar encounter last week where I think the thugs were trying the same ploy by hurting him and trying to get him to fight rather than flight mode. Didn't work either. They (the media) to their consternation sure do their best to trash Desantis as well.
Not allowing people in NYC to live life unless they have gotten jabbed even though some have excellent natural immunity from recovery is one that was driving me crazy as I have NI and rationally it was irrational, but they wouldn't allow discourse not accept NI anywhere. I think you probably remember my comments on the St. Jude study where 10 employees with NI and 9 without all got vaxed and their T-Cell immunity which helps the body recognize new variants changed and from heavily weighted to attack the Nucleocapsoid (ball) and some Spike to a mostly Spike based T-cell immunity. There's not enough data to know right now since they didn't have an unvaxed natural immunity only control group and there were only 2 sample periods. We can't say for sure, but is it possible that adding the jab to your robust NI might "wreck it" and leave you vulnerable to the next variant? We don't know and of course what's more disturbing is no one seems to want to know either. "Get the jab if you want to participate in society - or else!"
As disturbing as all this is, I'm hopeful that "Red" America which the left disdains refuses to comply and one of the unique things about of founding father's genius in setting up our constitutional republic is the decentralization of power pushed out to the states so places like Fl, SD, Tx, as well as others have the ability to resist and also give hope to those traumatized by their tyrants information, hope, and even a place to go to avoid this mass psychosis.
Mark, great post! Your father was a wise man!ReplyDelete
I've posted it before but The Century of the Self (BBC) is a LONG watch but worth seeing at least the 2 episodes. (the third gets long in the tooth). However it explains in context the processes of pushing out madness through wholesale propaganda to the masses.
This subject is also why I've largely rejected the two parties and most parties of "anything". I can never agree to go along with the tribalistic mentality of agreeing to agree.
Yes you get bashed for not going along with the "supra-individual group" think but oh well. Listening to my mental lunacy radar generally pays off.