Pockets of Sanity in an Insane World
On the other hand, our founding fathers were visionaries. St. Paul was obviously one of the most important, if not the most important, visionaries in history.
Newt Gingrich is a visionary, which is the reason why he probably wouldn’t be suited for president. Ronald Reagan was clearly a visionary, but in a different way than Gingrich. In Reagan’s case there was a strong component of very grounded spirituality that I don’t see in Gingrich. Again, this can cut both ways, but I would almost regard Reagan as a “nationalistic mystic,” similar to Hitler, only in a good rather than demonic way (interestng that leftists continue to regard Reagan as demonic). Sri Aurobindo described Hitler as an “infrarational mystic” who embodied the dark spirit of his nation. He clearly possessed unusual vertical powers over others, but in a wholly maniacal and diabolical way. Reagan, like Lincoln before him, came to embody America--almost as if he were the “idea” or logos of America made flesh. I do not believe that the strong emotional reaction that people have to Reagan has to do with Reagan the person. Rather, it has to do with his embodiment of the ideal of America.
How did we get off on this tangent? Oh yes--my troubling visions. For whatever reason, I just cannot see a thing and leave it as it is. Rather, the way my mind works, I instantly see all sorts of hidden connections between things that you might not think are connected. There are inductive thinkers who first see the parts and then attempt to build “upward” toward a model of reality. I am the opposite. It’s as if I first see the whole pattern, and then figure out how all the parts fit into the pattern.
For example, when I first began studying psychoanalysis some 22 or 23 years ago, I immediately saw connections between it and other things--quantum physics, chaos and complexity theories, neurology, history, politics, you name it. I never saw it merely as “a way to treat patients.” Instead, my mind reeled at all of the possibilities and implications.
Much of modern psychoanalysis revolves around attachment theory. In the early days, psychoanalysis was rather doctrinaire and detached from empirical observation of actual mother-infant interactions. Freud tended to regard memories of childhood as consisting primarily of fantasies and wishes, whereas now there is much more appreciation of the real experiences of children, and how those experiences shape character and development.
Instantly I began to wonder about the cultural and historical implications of this. Even when I was a big liberal, I was never really very politically correct. It very much went against the grain of my personality. In fact, I frankly thought most people--and especially most cultures--were more or less crazy. Even before studying psychology, I can distinctly remember thinking that the world was basically insane--that insanity was its default state--but that it was sprinkled with little “pockets of sanity.” The purpose of life was to locate or create one of these little pockets of sanity as a bulwark against the world’s perpetual madness. Your family should be a little pocket of sanity. America has clearly been the deepest pocket of sanity in world history. Perhaps you consider this blog to be one (which is why I pledge to be more vigorous in deleting and banishing insane trolls).
This, by the way, was why history was so boring to me in school, since it largely consisted of irrational people doing insane things. Naturally, I wanted to know why. But no answers were ever forthcoming. I was not impressed by the pyramids. Rather, I wanted to know why ancient Egyptians spent hundreds of years building oversized crypts for their pharaohs, where they would bury their family and slaves alive with them so they would have company in the afterlife. I didn’t care about the “beauty” of indigenous American cultures. Rather, I wanted to know why they thought it was a good idea to conduct human sacrifice and to cut the beating heart out of thousands and thousands of sacrificial victims in order to prevent the sun from going out. Why did Nazi Germany believe insane things? What really motivates Islamists to believe things that are not only untrue, but cannot possibly be true?
Clearly these are important, even fundamental questions. Think about it. Our current war, for example, is not over territory or resources or even ideas, because Islamism, properly understood, is not an idea at all, any more than nazism was an idea. Rather, it is plainly a mental (and spiritual) illness that uses whatever materials are at hand to elaborate itself and metastasize. If it were an idea, you could sit down and have a sensible discussion with them, which is why liberals are so naive. Islamism is a deep pathology that has even deeper roots in cultural and historical pathology. But where does cultural pathology come from? Where could it come from?
Here is where my visionary ideas could well be wrong, for the first place I want to look is in their manner of child-rearing, since that is where the vast majority of psychopathology emanates from. Of course, there are more or less purely genetic conditions such as bipolar illness, schizophrenia, and certain depressions, but those diseases afflict individuals, not whole cultures.
But what does one make of a whole culture, say, the ancient Greeks, whose men did not fall in love with women, but with young boys? Women and wives were basically regarded as subhuman nuisances, whereas the love between man and boy was idealized by poets and philosophers. Perhaps I am the one who is naive, but I just can’t understand how historians can look at such craziness and pass over it as if it were of no consequence, no different than their preference for columned architecture.
What could possibly cause ancient Greeks to be so psychosexually messed up? Perhaps we’re asking the wrong question. For if history is actually a field of insanity sprinkled with little pockets of sanity, we shouldn’t be surprised by this systematic abuse of woman and children. Rather, we should only be surprised when we encounter the opposite--humane and empathic treatment of the weaker members of society.
When we look beyond the beautiful art and timeless philosophy and examine the actual cultural beliefs of Ancient Greece, a disturbing picture emerges. Historians of ideas like to talk about the link between ancient Athenian and modern democracy, but these people were not like us. Well, not like me, anyway. You can speak for yourself.
We are naturally appalled at the barbaric way our captured soldiers are treated by the Islamist savages, but this was pretty much the norm in history. For example, the Mycenaean pirates of ancient Crete subjugated the peoples around them, who paid tribute with pre-pubertal boys and girls to be used as human sacrifices to their bull-god (just as Islamists make such sacrifices to their bullshit god).
According to Breiner, author of a book entitled Slaughter of the Innocents: Child Abuse Through the Ages and Today, the women of ancient Greece were essentially slaves. A wife’s function was to “look after the household and produce children--preferably boys.” While courtesans--who were used for pleasure rather than procreation--could be educated, wives were illiterate.
Similar to Islamic societies today, the ancient Greeks “viewed men as sane and stable while women were considered mad, hysterical, and possibly dangerous and destructive to men.” Furthermore, “a woman’s freedom was severely restricted” and she was without power. “A man could sell his daughter or sister into concubinage if he wished.” Children of concubines were simply “aborted, killed or sold into slavery.”
At the time of Pericles in the late 5th century BC, a girl could marry only through parental arrangement: “no man married for love.” And once the marriage took place and the Athenian bride went to live with her husband, “she was cut off from her family and became a menial worker in her husband’s home.” Even the children she bore were not her own, but belonged to the husband to dispense with as he saw fit. Out of a population of 400,000, only 14,240 people had full civil rights. The rest were women, children and slaves. Unwanted children were simply exposed on a mountainside to die. “In all the Greek cities except Thebes the father had the right to kill his child at birth without question. In all cities except Athens the father could sell his children to slave dealers.” Female infanticide was the norm. Very few families raised more than one daughter. Even then, girls were given inferior food and no education.
Breiner feels that the revulsion towards women was at the basis of Greek male homosexuality. Can you think of a better explanation? The fashionable modern idea is that homosexuality is “genetic” and not subject to environmental influences. If so, how does one account for the prevalence of Ancient Greek homosexuality? “It was considered quite proper for the young men of Athens to engage sexually with older men, and most did.” “Merchants would import handsome boys to be sold to the highest bidder”; these boys would “be first used as concubines and later as slaves.”
Breiner speculates that “homosexual pederasty was so universal in Greek society” because it was “a means of ‘rescuing’ the male child from the perceived dangers of women...” “Boy brothels flourished in every city and a child prostitute could be rented, even at the height of Athenian culture... A freeborn child might see his father having sexual relations with a child his own age who was a slave.”
I don’t even have time to get into the human and animal sacrifice. “Human life was considered so short and cheap that there was little concern about killing. When a town was captured the men were automatically killed or sold into slavery and the women were taken as concubines or slaves.” Traits such as “gentleness, kindness, industry, honesty, and integrity were scorned as effeminate and inferior.”
I could go on, but I think you get the point. Remember Petey’s law: history is basically insane, with pockets of sanity. One of the first tiny pockets of sanity to appear in history was the ancient Jewish people, which we will discuss tomorrow. All of us continue to benefit everyday from that little sliver of light that miraculously opened up in a world of infrahuman darkness.