Attacks on Truth (or Let's Play R.O.P.-a-Pope)
This is why the Lie is satanic, because it is the great enabler of immoral violence. For example, in the Arab Muslim world, the reason why they hate America and Israel--and therefore feel justified in their aggression--is that they are inundated with vicious lies about us, just as nazi Germany murdered Jews because they were were steeped in lies about them.
I believe it was Burke who said that culture “reconciles a man to everything,” no matter how foolish or barbarous the custom. But some cultures are so immersed in the Lie that they cannot help producing lying liars, most dramatically in the Middle East, but obviously here in the United States as well, only in a more subtle form. For example, the pressure of political correctness is an instrument of coercion designed to reconcile you to the lies of the left, or to punish the thinker who speaks certain impermissible truths.
Amazingly, the Pope is being attacked for uttering a banal truth about Islam. But it is not really the Pope who is being attacked. Rather, this is an assault on truth itself, abetted by the world’s major news media. For if the media were interested in truth, why would they even note the Pope’s words, except perhaps in passing? If the Pope had said something outrageous or controversial, that would be worthy of attention. But the fact that the media give so much attention to what the Pope said about Islam only underscores their belief that what he said was somehow open to doubt--as if any doubt is possible based upon the violent reaction to the Pope's words.
The psychoanalyst W.R. Bion coined the term “attacks on linking” to describe a certain pathological mental mechanism that dismantles the thinking process so as to be unable to recognize an unwanted truth (it was later turned into a virtue by leftist academics who call it "deconstruction"). The reaction in the Islamic world to the Pope’s statement is a fine example. In order to not perceive the simple truth that Islam has a long and bloody history, the mind must unconsciously “attack” any evidence that leads to that conclusion. Thus, it may look like the Pope is being attacked, but he is incidental to the deeper process of attacking and dismantling a reality that Muslims do not wish to see. And this angry attack on reality is at the very root of the problem we face with both Islam and the left.
In the past, I have written about what I believe to be defense mechanisms against the “upper vertical.” Broadly speaking, the upper vertical would be the realm of truth, beauty and morality. We can also apply Bion’s concept of attacks on linking here. Understood this way, it would involve a sort of willed stupidity that dismantles the ability to think clearly, not just in the realm of truth, but in the realm of morals (“the good”) as well. This is why any society that assaults and devalues truth is going to engage in immoral violence, whether it is the Soviet Union, nazi Germany, or the Muslim Middle East. If any of them were capable of assimilating truth, their violence would stop in an instant.
You will have noticed that one of the reasons you cannot debate a leftist is that they do not (and perhaps cannot) meet your argument on the plane from which it arises. Instead, they hijack that plane and try to drag you down to the level from which their minds operate. This is why they never address the content of your argument, but attack your motivations. And this is one of the major reasons why left wing talk radio cannot succeed, as the constant attacks on truth and on motivations quickly grow tedious.
You know the tiresome drill: if you are for tough interrogation of terrorists, you are for torture; if you are against government enforced racial discrimination, you are a racist; if you are against the redefinition of marriage, you are a “homophobe”; if you are against the Kyoto protocols, you wish to destroy the earth; if you are in favor of tax cuts, you want to line the pockets of the wealthy; if you are in favor of the liberation of Iraq, you are greedy for oil; if you want to control your own retirement, you just want to give a boon to mutual fund companies; if you are against inefficient socialized medicine, it’s because you want poor children to be sick; if you want to control the borders, you hate Mexicans; etc. The list is endless, and although it is superficially diverse, the same mental mechanism is at its root: attacks on linking.
In his heart, even absent a divine commandment, man (a normal man, anyway) knows that he should not lie. This is why you will also have noticed that liberals never give straight answers in interviews. They like to say that this is because the answers are too subtle and nuanced, and that you can't just blurt out a liberal idea the in the way that conservatives blurt out their simple ideas. So they habitually obfuscate, dodge, dissemble. In the words of their guru, the linguist George Lakoff, they must frame their ideas, as it is the frame that makes the lie appear true and thus eases the conscience.
Not for nothing did Jesus crack that the adversary “was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own substance, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
This is an interesting statement, for it suggests that lies are somehow a "human substance," somewhat like a spider that spins a web out of its own body. Truth, on the other hand, is not, and cannot be, of human origins. It is somehow anterior to us, and it is only for us to discover or remember it. And oh what a tangled web we weave, compared to the spider.....
Animals cannot lie. While they can have certain naturally selected mechanisms of deception, they cannot live a lie. But living a lie is in the normal course of events for human beings. Talleyrand once remarked that language was given to man so as to conceal his thoughts. Interestingly, this problem is fully recognized in scripture, as the very first conversations recorded in the Bible are a tissue of lies. The serpent lies to the woman, the woman transmits the lie to the man, and the man lies about it to God. The very emergence of self-consciousness seems to be inseparable from lying.
A cursory glance at history--or at the idiotorial pages of the New York Times--establishes the fact that lying is absolutely fundamental to human existence, even though the idea wasn't systematized until the early 20th century, in the works of Freud and his followers. Bion in particular developed a sophisticated epistemology showing how a vital lie is at the basis of most all forms of psychopathology. He made the provocative observation that the lie requires a thinker to think it, whereas the truth does not, for it simply is. We discover truth, but it takes a thinker to concoct the lie (and, I might add, a brilliant thinker such as Marx or Chomsky to create the most grandiose lies). And once the lie is in place, it causes the psyche to enter a sort of parallel universe, for it constructs itself on the foundations of that primordial lie.
Just as freedom and truth are necessarily linked--i.e., no one who is living a lie is actually free--those who are in thrall to the lie are slaves. While they may enjoy a subjective sense of freedom, it is an illusion. In fact, they have forfeited their freedom and are attached to a spiritually suffocating demon generated out of their own psychic substance. And this is why Muslims wish to spread their lie around the globe, for until the entire world is caught in the same web, they will have the nagging sense that something is deeply wrong with their lives. Out of unconscious envy for the living, they want everyone else to be ruled by the same demon that enslaves them.
The left is powerless against these Islambies, for the secular mind cannot in good faith object to nihilism. After all, a nihilist is simply a good faith atheist, humanist or secularist--someone who has drawn the implications of their impoverished philosophy to their logical endpoint. A nihilist is simply someone with the courage of their lack of convictions. They are no match for those who are passionately attached to the Lie.
Meaning--any meaning--always involves the bringing together of diverse details into a higher unity. In reality, it is a sort of higher vision that sees through the surface to the inner unity of a mass of data. It is very much analogous to those Magic Eye pictures, which look like a bunch of random markings on the page. But when you relax your eyes, out of nowhere pops a three-dimensional image. The image was actually there all along, but was buried amidst the phenomena. You might say that it was a message awaiting a messenger capable of seeing it.
All truth is a synthesis of particulars, the reduction of multiplicity to unity. There are some truths that people, for one reason or another, do not wish to know. One way to rid the mind of unwanted truth is to attack the links that allow the truth to emerge. In order to accomplish this feat, inchoate meanings must be beaten down, attacked, and strangled in their crib before they can emerge as a full-blown catastrophic Truth that the liar knows but does not wish to Know. On some level, knowledge of truth must always precede the lie. Such a person is condemned to living in a mass of meaningless particulars that actually make no sense. But, as always, the mind will covertly elevate this cursed condition to a courageous virtue, whether they call it "extending the caliphate," "speaking truth to power" or giving you "all the news that's fit to print."
Which is why the Pope must apologize.