Dreams of Ego, Nightmares of History
As a brief aside, this is why I am never surprised when any politician, left or right, is involved in scandal or corruption. I expect it. As I may have mentioned last week, I see the world of “professions” in a very Darwinian manner, as a field of occupational “environments” that selects certain personality types. Politics, as much as any other field (including show business, which is merely politics for the attractive), attracts narcissistic, insecure, vain, and power-seeking individuals. Therefore, I am hardly shocked at the sexual misconduct of a Mark Foley, Gary Condit, Bill Clinton, Gerry Studds, James McGreevey, Barney Frank, or JFK. Rather, I am shocked by a James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill or Ronald Reagan.
I might add that the field of psychology also generally selects for a certain type of personality, which is why I have never related to the great majority of my peers, with obvious and profound exceptions. Take Dr. Sanity, for example. I’m very glad she lives halfway across the country, in Michigan. Being that she is two time zones ahead of me in hyperspace, when I’m out of ideas, I can always count on her post to inspire me and get me off the dime. This morning’s meditation on the evils of multiculturalism is no exception.
Dr. Sanity gets to the heart of the primordial battle of our day, which is not just against Islamic jihad, but our own culture war between left and right. She notes that the “politically correct road which the left has taken us all down--billed as the path to peace and harmony--has instead led to a land dominated by emotions; a place where barbarism of the most primal sort is tolerated and excused.”
But why should anyone be surprised at where this unenlightened ideology has led us? “Multiculturalism after all celebrates--not belonging to the family of humanity--but to one's sexual, racial, ethnic, or religious identity above all else.... Like many ideas of the left, it should now be apparent to anyone with a brain, that--in the case of multiculturalism--the exact opposite of what was promised ends up being delivered.”
“Just as the false promises of socialism and communism were found to lead to misery instead of happiness; poverty instead of wealth; enslavement instead of freedom--so too, have multiculturalism and political correctness, instead of harmony, brought lethal discord.”
Thus, just as Dr. Sanity is a couple of hours ahead of me in her wisdom, Europe is perhaps a generation ahead of America in its folly. Thanks to the useful idiots of Europe, we can see exactly where the idiotic road of leftism leads. The French are like the frogs in slowly boiling water who have no idea that their goose pate is cooked. They took the wrong fork in the historical road, which we may now stick in them. They are history.
This is what I am referring to when I write about the unbridgeable chasm between left and right. Half of our country has already gone the way of Europe. If a significant portion of the other half goes, then I am not at all optimistic about the future of mankind. The stakes are that high.
I am a psychologist. I carry a badge. I diagnose individuals. But it is said that a prophet diagnoses mankind. Thus, if you look at the DSM, there are, I don’t know, a couple hundred different diagnoses. But if you look at the Bible, or the Upanishads, or the Tao Te Ching, there is only one diagnosis, which is that human beings live in falsehood, alienated from reality. They habitually confuse what is ephemeral and valueless with what is transcendent and of eternal value. His consciousness exteriorized, hypnotized by the parade of images, the spiritually untutored man wanders from sensation to sensation until falling into the abyss at the end of his daze, wishes to ashes, lust to dust.
The “dream of ego” is a dream by the ego and of itself. This, in my view, is why revelation is so important, because--if it is what it purports to be--it is the only way human beings may truly look at themselves from outside themselves, through a non-manmade source that is uncorrupted by the ego. In my own lifetime, I have been shocked to discover that religion, properly understood, is both the shield and the corrective for certain inevitable metaphysical delusions to which humans are heir. I neither looked for this wisdom nor expected to find it.
Left to itself, the dream of ego, which is embedded in the wider dream of culture, eventually displaces our true self, and becomes a sort of second nature. This is what it means to be a fallen being in a fallen world. According to Schuon, the fallen ego "is woven of images and of tendencies” which “are our responses to the world around us; as we exteriorise ourselves, we create a world in the image of our dream, and the dream thus objectivized flows back upon us, and so on and on, until we are enclosed in a tissue, sometimes inextricable, of dreams exteriorized or materialized and of materializations interiorised.”
The more primitive or "sophisticated" the culture, the more it lives not in the world but in its dream of the world. Obviously this is the problem we face in the Islamists. They live in a dream, which wouldn’t concern us in the least if we weren’t being asked to play such a vital role in it. On the other hand, sophisticated multiculturalists have for so long asked us to honor the dreams and fantasies of other cultures, that we no longer have the means or the will to speak truth to these powerful delusions, as the Pope attempted to do a few weeks ago. It would be like a psychologist who attempts to heal a patient by “honoring” his neurosis as just another beautiful way to live. (There was actually a school of therapy which attempted to do just this in the 1960's, the Rogerians, who perfected the vacuous technique of "unconditional positive regard.")
One of the perennial delusions of the left is their naiveté about human evil. In their ahistorical view of history, they regard war as the exception rather than the rule. Thus, they see our struggle with Islamic jihad as some kind of aberration. In fact, many on the left won’t acknowledge that we are even in a war. Rather, it is a phony war, a quote-unquote “war on terror,” "blood for oil," "contracts for Haliburton," blah blah blah.
But wherever human beigs are, war follows. In his book Constant Battles, archaeologist Steven LeBlanc writes that the “cruel and ugly” truth is that in traditional societies, an average of twenty-five percent of the men died from warfare. Anthropologist Lawrence Keeley, in his War Before Civilization, notes that whenever Homo sapiens "appears on the scene, definitive evidence of homicidal violence becomes more common.... If anything, peace was a scarcer commodity... than for the average citizen of a civilized state.”
Indeed, LeBlanc writes that the homicide rate of some prehistoric villages would have been 1400 times that of modern Britain and about 70 times that of the United States in 1980. Although roughly 100 million people died from all war-related causes in the twentieth century, Keeley estimates that this figure is twenty times smaller than the losses that might have resulted if the world’s population were still organized into bands, tribes and chiefdoms.
Keep that last figure in mind in considering the nature of World War IV--or what I believe is the denouement of Cosmic War I. At the moment, our enemies are limited to killing only as many as they can. But what if they were only limited by how many they wanted to kill? The primitives with whom we are at war are limited only by the means, not the will. We, on the other hand, are not limited by our means, but by our will. If the sophisticated dreamers of the left continue to conspire with the primitive dreamers of Islam, the result can only be more nightmares.
Related on LGF: John Howard Blasts Left-Wing Elites