Thursday, July 05, 2007

Through the Liberal Looking Gloss

Still rummaging throught the archives, trying to sort things out. Didn't get too far, since the baby woke up just after 6:00, followed by the wife at 8:45. Frankly, in dredging through these early posts, I'm more impressed by the attempts at humor than the substance. Or maybe it's just the mood I'm in, which feels very similar to before I started the blog, when I was content to sit on the sidelines and try to come up with zingers and one-liners to post on LGF and other favorite blogs. Anyway, here was an early stab at poking fun at the left's aways troubled relationship to language -- and with it, reality:

For example, when the MSM designate someone an ultra-conservative, this actually means conservative. And when they refer to a moderate conservative, they mean a liberal who is a Republican in name only, such as Chuck Hagel. Of course, the MSM's favorite Republican is John McCain, because he is a maverick, meaning that he holds a lot of positions that are to the left of his party. This is in contrast to Joe Lieberman, who is a pariah for holding positions to the right of his party.

A "moderate judge" is one who will strike a balance between what the Constitution says and what the left would like it to say.

The Democrats are the pro-choice party, meaning the party that wants to choose how to direct your retirement, where to send your children to school, and how best to spend your money. They also want a fairness doctrine to make sure that the free marketplace of ideas doesn't accidentally result in fairness.

When liberals accuse you of suppressing their freedom of speech, it means that you are criticizing them, or perhaps even censoring them. But when you censor conservatives or suppress their freedom of speech, it is called a speech code. Calling President Bush a liar is a courageous act of speaking truth to power, while criticizing the liberal stance on the war is questioning their patriotism. Likewise, dissent is the highest form of patriotism, unless it is directed against global warming hysteria. Global warming is what will destroy the earth if it isn't first destroyed by global cooling.

Evil, of course, does not exist. George Bush, however, is evil. Speaking of things that don't exist, there is no such thing as the liberal media. However, the conservative media are any media that are not liberal. There is no global jihad against Christians and Jews, but Christians and Jews who think so are more dangerous than the jihadis.

A homeless person is what you call a chronically mentally ill person during a Republican administration. Similarly, during a Democratic administration, deficit spending is investing in our children's future. During a Republican administration it is called mortgaging our children's future. Tax cuts involve stealing the government's money in order to give it away to taxpayers. Democrats will not raise taxes. Rather, they will just repeal President Bush's tax cuts.

Racial profiling refers to common sense police work in identifying likely suspects. It is not allowed. Affirmative action refers to government enforced academic or occupational racial profiling. You are a racist if you don't endorse this kind of racial profiling. Likewise, civil rights are special rights for designated victims. A civil rights activist is a lobbyist for special rights for his ethnic victim group.

Blacks are people who are helpless and bumbling victims without the support and assistance of white liberals. Black conservatives are people who are abused and victimized by the left for refusing to be helpless and bumbling victims.

Multiculturalism, of course, involves seeing beauty in all cultures but your own. Diversity is the philosophy that treasures neo-Marxists of all skin colors and sexual deviations. When a liberal uses the word tolerance, this actually means approval and celebration of differences. If you merely accept differences, this means you are intolerant of them. For example, if you only tolerate homosexuality, you are a homophobe.

Everyone in Hollywood believes the same thing. That's why they are such rebellious individualists.

A Vietnam war veteran is a baby killer, but a conservative who avoided being a baby killer is a chicken hawk. A war hero is a baby killer such as John Kerry who opposes the Iraq war. A quagmire, of course, is any war opposed by liberals. Otherwise, you will never hear the word "quagmire" used in human discourse.

Bilingual education involves the difficult achievement of learning nothing in two languages. It is often employed to teach illegal immigrants, who are undocumented Democratic voters. Feminism is the celebration of masculine women who have angrily overcome their femininity, femininity being another category of oppressed victimhood. If you are a man who loves femininity, you are a chauvinist.

Homosexuality is a genetically caused condition that renders one incapable of engaging in sexual relations with the opposite sex. Its opposite, heterosexuality, is an arbitrary gender identification caused by cultural conditioning. Similarly, there is no such thing as the homosexual lifestyle, while queer studies departments engage in the study of the homosexual lifestyle.

Moral relativism is the absolute belief that no beliefs are absolute. Pornography is a type of expression that is protected by the first amendment, while religion, especially Christian religion, is a dangerous type of expression from which we are protected by the first amendment.

Another definition of speech codes is that they are restrictions on language designed to protect liberals from the first amendment. Separation of church and state means state hostility to religious expression. Not to be confused with Bill Clinton's treatment of his intern, which only violated the separation of crotch and state.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Time, Freedom, and Transcendence: Aiming Your Eros For the Heart of the World

So, if time is headed somewhere, how would we know it? Science -- or scientism, anyway -- must be officially mute on the subject, since it begins with the assumption that time is linear and "empty," just a kind of abstract duration, pure quantity with no qualities. But what if time, like space, isn't empty, but conditions the events within it? In fact, modern physics reveals that there is no such thing as a kind of three dimensional empty space that contains various contents. Rather, things aren't in space but of space. And since space and time are inseperable, we would have to say that every manifest thing is "of" spacetime. But how can we say what that is, if we can't get outside of it?

I first encountered the idea that time has qualitative properties via the late Terence McKenna, who has got to be the most mesmerizing speaker I've ever heard. I've mentioned before that back when I used to work the graveyard shift in the supermarket, the local Pacifica radio station ran a sort of new age program from midnight to 5:00 AM called Something's Happening that would play McKenna's lectures. A lot of stuff that doesn't make sense by the light of day makes perfect sense when you are in a fatigue-induced altered state at 3:00 AM. Importantly, it's not just the fatigue, but the night that alters things. Night is the perfect example of time conditioning the events within it. As they pertain to consciousness, nighttime and daytime couldn't be more different. In fact, they're as different as night and day.

When I wrote my book, I wanted it to be sort of the equivalent of one of McKenna'a lectures. I wanted it to be a trip -- to somehow trigger an alteration in consciousness similar to what McKenna did for me at 3:00AM in 1984. As I mentioned, I basically wrote the book in the late 1990s, but did a lot of editing between then and when it finally came out in early '05, always asking myself the questions 1) is this weird enough?, and 2) is this funny enough? Of course, I was still searching for my vision at the time, and hadn't perfected the formula. If I could write it today, it would be much weirder and funnier. In fact, that's another example of what we're talking about here -- the idea that our future self is here, just over the horizon of the now, luring us toward it.

McKenna's first book was entitled The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching (I guess he published the Magic Mushroom Growers Guide before this, but anonymously). Yes, the book is often completely crazy, but in the best sense of the word. If you are going to speculate, I suppose you might as well pull out all the stops. But in my book, I definitely tried to hug closer to the shoreline of the known, so to speak. Whenever I speculate, you can at least see the dry land of science off in the distance.

I'm reading the forward of the new edition by Jay Stevens, who writes that he had heard about this strange book through word of mouth, and eventually tracked down a copy (this was, of course, in the days before Amazon, when this wasn't so easy):

"The bibliophiles among you will appreciate the keen anticipation I felt as I carried it to a nearby cafe and cracked it open and discovered that, indeed, this was a truly heavy book.

"Dense. Technical. Fascinating. Infuriating. Marvelously weird.

"Mixed in with theories drawn from the study of schizophrenia, molecular biology, and ethnobotany were pungent disquisitions on shamanism and psychedelic philosophy. Plus what seemed to be a story about an encounter with an insectoid intelligence who had curious things to say about the nature of time. The closest thing I could compare it to was an alchemical text published in the classic period -- the seventeenth century -- before the bonds linking science and magic were severed, when it was still possible to have a scientist magician on the order of Isaac Newton."

That's another critical point, because it cannot be overemphasized that our modern scientific and materialistic worldview is largely artificial and superimposed on a human template that is more poetic, holistic, magical, and visionary. To the extent that we lose contact with these latter faculties, we become alienated from the core of our humanness. If you think about it deeply, you can almost feel this philosophy of materialism as a kind of dead weight we all carry around -- sort of like a mute twin that lives inside of us and is always overriding us and interpreting things in its own coldly abstract way.

I am quite sure that the whole phenomenon of the "1960s" (if you know what I mean) was an attempt to throw off this "dead twin" and live more in direct contact with our human ways of knowing and being. As such, it was hardly progressive, but nostalgic and romantic to the core. As I (and Will) have mentioned in the past, there were many positive aspects to this unleashing of spiritual energy, and to a certain extent, I have taken it upon myself to try to rehabilitate this movement and weed out all of the pathological elements that inevitably crept in due to the very nature of our humanness (I should add that I throroughy reject perhaps most of McKenna's ideas, their entertainment and inspiration value notwithstanding).

For the trick is to integrate the scientific and "magical," not choose one over the other. Furthermore, "progressivism" is only progressive to the extent that it converges upon permanent and transcendent values that lay outside space and time. Otherwise it is either random -- i.e., in an arbitrary material direction -- or a direction imposed by elites from on high.

In the introduction to the book, McKenna writes that "The search for liberation, a paradisiacal state of freedom that mythology insists is the ahistorical root of the historical process, has always been the raison d'être of the human species' conscious pilgrimage through time." Through the course of history, various human groups "have all claimed possession of a set of concepts that would in some sense 'free' their practitioners. The entire human experience, individual and collective, can be described as the pursuit of that which frees."

As I attempted to do in my book, McKenna takes the widest possible historical view, noting, for example, how monotheism, as it developed in the West, "freed early humans from the nearly complete domination of consciousness by the pan-vitalistic animism seen everywhere resident in Nature," and how "the coming of Christianity freed its adherents form the fear of a wrathful and paternalistic God." Likewise, modernity offered freedom from what had become "the dogmatic stasis of late medieval Catholicism."

One could add the huge vein of freedom opened up by America's founders, along with the liberty inherent to the free market system. But to what end? Obviously freedom cannot be an end in itself. There is not just freedom from, but freedom to. To what? What is our freedom for?

Paradoxically, freedom is only meaningful if it is limited -- i.e., if it is converging upon something. For example, let us say that we are free to discover the truth. But the truth is fixed. Therefore, in a certain way, only the person who lives in illusion is radically free. In fact, I believe this explains the irrational freedom that is pursued by the left, which is a meaningless, solipsistic freedom. Since the truth constrains us, they imagine that if we only abolish truth, then we will be radically free. It sounds crazy, but this is the explicit strategy of all postmodern philosophies that undermine the existence of objective truth.

For example, if a radical feminist abolishes the idea of archetypal sexual differences, she imagines that this "frees" her -- which it does, in the same sense that you are free if I drop you on the moon.

This is why it needs to be said that the truth will set you free. Oh, really? How can that be? You don't say "2 and 2 are free to be four." Rather, they must be four. How can we reconcile truth and freedom?

At the conclusion of the book, McKenna includes an extended quote from one of my favorite philosophers, Hans Jonas, who outlines a sort of cosmic creation myth that might help to explain the conundrum:

"In the beginning, for unknowable reasons, the ground of being, or the Divine, chose to give itself over to the chance and risk and endless variety of becoming. And wholly so; entering into the adventure of space and time, the deity held back nothing of itself."

But "if the world and God are simply the same, the world at each moment and in each state represents his fullness, and God can neither lose nor gain. Rather, in order that the world might be, and be for itself, God renounced his own being, divesting himself of his deity -- to receive it back from the Odyssey of time weighted with the chance harvest of unforeseeable temporal experience....

"And for aeons his cause is safe in the slow hands of cosmic chance and probability -- while all the time we may surmise a patient memory of the gyrations of matter to accumulate into an ever more expectant accompaniment of eternity to the labors of time -- a hesitant emergence of transcendence from the opaqueness of immanence."

But the advent of man means the advent of the double-edged gift of knowledge and freedom:

"The image of God, haltingly begun by the universe, for so long worked upon -- and left undecided -- in the wide and then narrowing spirals of prehuman time, passes with this last twist, and with a dynamic quickening of movement, into man's precarious trust, to be completed, saved, or spoiled by what he will do to himself and the world. And in this awesome impact of his deeds on God's destiny, on the very complexion of eternal being, lies the immortality of man."

That's a pretty heavy cosmic responsibility. No wonder secularists reject it.

"With the appearance of man, transcendence awakened to itself and henceforth accompanies his doings with the bated breath of suspense, hoping and beckoning, rejoicing and grieving, approving and frowning.... For can it not be that by reflection of its own state as it wavers with the record of man, the transcendent casts light and shadow over the human landscsape?"

Well? What can freedom be for if not for truth, liberty if not for virtue, time if not for timelessness?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Hurtling Toward Our Deustination: Does Time Have a Deep Structure?

Very annoying. This post might be a little chaotic, since I was about halfway though writing it and lost it. So I had to speed up time and try to reconstruct it from memory -- or did I reconstruct it from the future? In a way, this little catastrophe exemplifies the topic of this post, which has to do with change, development, and the structure of time. (No time to proof-read or spell-check, either.)

Anyway, I was mentioning that I seem to have come to the end of another blogging cycle. Long time readers know that this has happened a number of times in the past, but that I've always cycled out of it. This one feels a bit different, in that it's not so much that I've hit a wall, as I feel the "inner call," so to speak. Instead of being in an expressive mode, it feels like I'm moving into a receptive one -- from output to input. I'd really like to shut up and spend more time reading and meditating. To every thing there is a season, and all that.

Of course, I could always force things, but to what purpose? This would not be the Raccoon way, but perhaps even more importantly, it would turn what is an enjoyable hobby into actual work, and we can't have that, now can we? One job is enough for any human. In fact, more than enough for this slack-seeking human.

More importantly, forcing things is the way of the ego. One of the ways you can see through all these new age con artists is on the basis of the outlandish promises they make. Real growth is unpredictable and it certainly isn't always pleasant. To the extent that you know where you're going to end up in advance, it isn't really growth but simply an extension or expansion of the ego. For example, a fraud such as Deepak Chopra promises in his Seven Laws of Spiritual Success "the ability to create wealth with effortless ease, and to experience success in every endeavor," "to fulfill your desires with effortless ease," "fulfilling relationships, creative freedom, emotional and psychological stability," etc."

Please.

It's the same way with psychotherapy. Occasionally a patient will stumble in with a very proscribed problem, but for most people, their entire life has more or less run aground and they need to unleash the deeper mechanisms of growth to get out of their impasse. But you can't tell where the growth will lead, which is one of the reasons why the ego defends against it. The ego is all about control, whereas growth is inherently unpredictable -- but within certain constraints, which we will discuss below.

It reminds me of something my favorite teacher in graduate school once said. Someone had asked him something to the effect of whether he would recommend psychotherapy. His response was, "No, I would never recommend therapy. I only offer it. I don't recommend it."

You could say the same thing about spirituality. Not exactly, because like food and oxygen, people do need to have some sort of spirituality in their life. Nevertheless, if it is real, it should bring uncertainty and surprises. After all, these are the hallmarks of the Real, are they not? Reality is what you are not in control of -- or, to put it another way, what you must take account of. If spiritual growth is predictable and certain, then it's again probably just your ego expanding.

Bion wrote about how real change is catastrophic. No, not as in a "natural catastrophe," but as in catastrophe theory, which, according to Wiki, is "a branch of bifurcation theory in the study of dynamical systems; it is also a particular special case of more general singularity theory in geometry. Bifurcation theory studies and classifies phenomena characterized by sudden shifts in behavior arising from small changes in circumstances, analysing how the qualitative nature of equation solutions depends on the parameters that appear in the equation. This may lead to sudden and dramatic changes, for example the unpredictable timing and magnitude of a landslide." This is also known as "butterfly effect," in which the flapping of a butterfly's wings in Indonesia causes a cascade of ripples that eventually results in a tornado in Kansas.

As such, catastrophe theory is related to chaos and complexity theories, which especially began to emerge in the 1980s. These fields study the dynamics of nonlinear change, and the mind is nothing if not non-linear. In fact, our neurology is so infinitely complex, that -- I read this somewhere -- that there are literally more possible synaptic connections in the brain than there are particles in the universe. And yet, in a way that we cannot comprehend, this infinite complexity resolves itself into the simple experience of a unitary "I," at least in a healthy person.

It reminds me of how the stock market, with its millions and millions of little decisions and transactions, ends up with a simple number at the end of the day: the Dow Jones Index. You would think that this number would be all over the place, but it has remarkable stability for something so infinitely complex. It's so stable that we remember the dates when it deviated markedly, e.g., 1929, 1987.

In a way, a major depression or a panic attack is analogous to a stock market crash. Usually one's mood hovers around a certain attractor in the mind's phase space, but with a depression or anxiety attack, one crashes through the floor, so to speak, into novel terrortory.

But again, real change of any kind is going to involve a departure from one's habitual phase space, or "comfort zone." Indeed, I once wrote a paper in which I speculated that this is why human beings don't just enjoy drugs, but need them. For example, the main reason people drink is that it temporarily vaults them into a slightly different phase space. You might say that it only becomes unhealthy to the extent that the person finds their normal phase space to be intolerably painful, so that they use drugs to escape it and exist in another space -- which obviously never works in the long run. But you can certainly understand why so many great artists throughout history have used "performance enhancing drugs" of various kinds. It's in order to "flip the switch" of catastrophic (if temporary) psychic change.

In the past, I believe I have written about the symbolic "triple death" that occurred to me a couple years ago, at the age of 49. As it so happens, I read this book back in my late 20s, The Astrology of Personality, by Dane Rudhyar. The main thing I remember from it was his idea that our lives run along cycles of seven years, and that each seven year cycle is a fractal of the others. In other words, the cycles are self-similar on a deep level, so that, for example, we will encounter the same basic challenges and conflicts in each seven year cycle, only in a different "key," so to speak.

I remember charting out my life at the time, and sure enough, I could see that major transitions and upheavals had taken place in my 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th years (i.e., when I was 6, 13, 20 and 27). Rudhyar also mentioned that a compete cycle is 7 x 7, so that a 49 year cycle is a complete analogue of the seven year cycle. Thus, just as seven years marks a kind of birth/death, so too does the 49th year.

Now, you needn't take this literally or hold to the structure too concretely in order to understand the wider point. All psychologists employ some kind of developmental model, in which we move from psychological stage to stage. The psychoanalyst Erik Erikson was probably the first to extend these stages all the way to old age. A quickie search yielded the following table:

Stage One: Oral-Sensory: from birth to one, trust vs. mistrust, feeding;
Stage Two: Muscular-Anal: 1-3 years, autonomy vs. shame, toilet training;
Stage Three: Locomotor: 3-6 years, initiative vs. inadequacy, independence;
Stage Four: Latency: 6-12 years, industry vs. inferiority, school;
Stage Five: Adolescence: 12-18 years, identity vs. confusion, peer relationships;
Stage Six: Young Adulthood: 18-40 years, intimacy vs. isolation, love relationships;
Stage Seven: Middle Adulthood: 40-65 years, generativity vs. stagnation, parenting;
Stage Eight: Maturity: 65 years until death, integrity vs. despair, acceptance of one's life.

With a little tweaking, it wouldn't be difficult to change this to 7 (the first three related stages), then 14, 21, 42, and 63. In any event, the successful conquest of each stage is supposed to bring with it the cultivation of a certain "virtue":

1. Hope
2. Will
3. Purpose
4. Competence
5. Fidelity
6. Love
7. Caring
8. Wisdom

But ultimately, everything that comes later is nevertheless fractally related to that very first stage: trust and hope. These will keep coming up at every successive stage, but in a slightly different way.

Now obviously, this is just one man's attempt to understand the "structure" of developmental time. Nevertheless, it is interesting that he intuited that "human time" does indeed have a deep structure -- not all that dissimilar to the earth, which has its own deep time that we call "seasons." "Earth time" is cyclical and self-similar, moving through spring, summer, fall and winter. Each spring or winter is both the same and different, the variation on a theme. In fact, the human impulse to structure time is quite deeply embedded in our soul. It is why we celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and new years, but also why theology speculates on the cosmic structure of time. (Quick note: in my opinion, much of the weather hysteria is simply misplaced intuition about the deeper structure of earth-time, i.e., a childishly materialistic view of the end of time.)

Consider the Bible: it begins with Genesis and ends in Apocalypse. Some Christian thinkers divide time into three: the ages of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Secular scholars can't help seeing sharp divisions, such as prehistory, history, the middle ages, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, modernity, and postmodernity. Were the changes marked by these divisions random? Inevitable, given the nature of man? Catastrophic, i.e., sudden nonlinear jumps? Could it be that they mirror something within the deep structure of the human race, in the same way that Erikson's stages somehow structure the life of each individual, like a temporal Platonic archetype?

Does historical time have a direction, a telos? Science reduces time to the flow of past --> future, but is it possible that the future is luring us toward it, like an attractor in historical phase space? In fact, Christianity certainly holds to this belief. It has always intuited an "end" toward which history is hurtling. Will often reminds us of the "quickening" which will occur as we approach this singularity at the end of time. As it comes closer and closer and we are drawn into its orbit, time seems to speed up. And what is time? Time is change, so change will occur more rapidly. But what kind of change? Is it ordered and patterned, or is it random?

Unfortunately, due to my little catastrophe, I ran out of time, so this post did not quite arrive at its destination. Therefore, tomorrow I will again attempt to peer into the future and locate my point.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Down in the Arkive and Your Psychodollars at Work

Well, I'm finally doing it. I'm going to try not to blog on weekends, so that I can start going down deep into the knowa's arkive and figure out what's in there. It is kind of like a virtual basement, isn't it? Who knows what kind of junk has been stuffed in there?

I suppose the purpose would be to assemble some of it into book form, but the volume of material is a little overwhelming, and I'm not even sure I'm able to objectively discern the quality of this or that post.

So far I've gotten from October 5 to October 22, 2005. I'm also taking the time to add tags to each post. This is because the titles are sometimes a bit mystifying, since they are often more to amuse than provide a hint about the content.

And since it takes no extra work, maybe I'll just pluck something I found in the basement and post it on weekends. This one from October 19, 2005 seemed mildly amusing. I don't know. You be the judge.

*****

I was driving home from work yesterday, silently lost in my meditations, absorbed with Booker T. in the changeless but mildly funkified realm that lies just above the afternoon commute, when Petey startled me from my reveries by blurting out, “psychodollars!”

Petey often operates in this abrupt and slightly cryptic manner, as if I could possibly know what he were talking about. The abruptness comes from having no recollection -- or pretending to have no recollection -- of what it’s like to cope with a sympathetic nervous system. I’ve told him that it took me forty years to finally be comfortable about being uncomfortable in my own skin, but he can’t relate.

Anyway, “go on,” I said. “Care to give me a hint?”

“Psychodollars. That’s the tax on fantasy -- the price we pay for not having our calendar synchronized with the Arab Muslim world.”

“Go on. I’m listening.”

“You know my idea -- geographical space is developmental time. Different cultures reflect different levels of psychological development and maturity. If you fail to reach that level, then you are punished by your culture, either directly or indirectly. But if you surpass that level and become too mature, you also get whacked.”

“Are you talking about what liberals do to conservative blacks again?”

“No, I’m talking about the middle east. Imagine a Palestinian who woke up one morning and didn’t have the paranoid delusion that Israel was responsible for all their problems. No, he says, we’ve created our own hideously dysfunctional culture, and only we can change it. He decides to publicize his thoughts, to write an editorial.”

“I know, I know, that would be his last editorial. It’s hard enough to write when you aren’t hanging upside down from a street lamp on the Boulevard of the Martyrs with your testicles missing and a couple of lumps obstructing your breathing. But what does this have to do with psychodollars?”

“I’m getting there. The Arab world is stuck in the wayback machine, mired in the dark ages, right? If every other country were in the same retrograde neuro-developmental time, then their oil would be worthless, because there’d be no advanced nation that would have any use for it. But because there are countries ‘from the psychological future,’ the petrodollars flow in, from the future to the past -- from the cognitive first world to the cognitive third world, from the civilized to the savage.”

“I know about the petrodollars. What about the psychodollars?”

“Normally to get that kind of dough, you have to do something -- achieve something, make something, know something, even even just be something. But these are people who never had to go through the awkward historical phase of actually familiarizing themselves with the properties of matter or coping with the real world, much less mastering their own minds. So they’re rewarded for their backwardness and barbarity, and they even develop a superiority about it, just like the southern slave holders did in the U.S. They felt like they were superior to northerners, because they didn’t have to get their hands dirty or work at the ‘servile arts.’ They could just sit around reading Greek philosophy and pretending they were royalty. Slaves did all the work.”

“I see your point. Kind of similar to all those lie-roasted wackademia nuts who feel superior to people who actually work for a living, no?”

“Remember the garden of Eden? Some people get offended when I say this, but psychologically, one way to look at it is as a fable of infancy. The omnipotent infant-god believes that he’s responsible for creating mommy and daddy -- Adam & Eve. He’s got it all backwards. They created him, but he thinks that he created them. After all, he has a desire to be fed and held, and ‘boom,’ there they are, as if created by magic. Why shouldn’t he believe he created them? He doesn’t know any better. Then, when the parents challenge his omnipotence, he banishes them. Well, the Islamists are like the baby. They don’t realize that we’re much older and more mature, and that we created and sustain them with our petrodollars. So they’re trying to banish us. From earth. They use their petrodollars to act out, when they should really use them for a little anger management therapy.”

“So we end up paying through the nose for Muslim insanity with...”

“Psychodollars! That’s the money we have to pay as a result of having sent all those petrodollars to a bunch of infantile cultures that think they’re superior to us. It’s the billions of dollars it costs to defend ourselves from the cultural pathologies of the Arab middle east, flush with their own malicious psychodollars that they’ve converted from petrodollars. Petrodollars are just a means for turning fantasy into reality -- or reality into fantasy is more like it. I’ll bet if you added up both sides, there would be something like one psychodollar for every petrodollar. Think of it -- what’s the combined cost of homeland security, airline security for every single flight, port security, border security, support for Israel and bribes to any other 'moderate' elements in the middle east, year in, year out, national defense, the war in Iraq, the cost to the economy as a result of 9-11. It’s all psychodollars -- the extra money we have to pay for giving so many petrodollars to psychos who want to spread their pathology and pull the future back into the past.”

“Er, so what’s your solution, Petey?”

“That’s the easy part. Do the same thing with them that we do with our own infantile, anti-American citizens with superiority complexes and too much time on their hands. Just rename the whole area The University of the Middle East, make everyone a tenured professor, and let them work out their feelings by writing irrelevant books and attending dopey conferences. Now that’s a smart use of psychodollars. In fact, you could save even more money by combining the university system with the mental hospitals, and calling it a ‘looniversity bin!’ Ahh, that last part was a little joke. You can laugh.”

Petey vanished, leaving me to ponder his latest brick hurled at the temple of tolerance and multiculturalism.

*****

Obviously, Petey's principle also applies to the left, which perpetually wants to raise taxes for the problems caused by high taxes, or increase the size of the welfare state to cope with the pathologies caused by the welfare state, or appease our enemies to deal with the problems caused by appeasement, or improve the environment by undermining the economic progress that makes the improvement possible, or increase education spending to pay for the problems caused by our dysfunctional educational establishment, or make health care insanely expensive by making it "free," or promote scientism to attack the religious traditions that made genuine science possible, or solve the problems of the black family by making fathers unnecessary, or halt AIDS by encouraging the behavior that causes it, or end racial discrimination by making it against to law to not discriminate on the basis of race. All of these things involve transfers of wealth and services from the mature to the immature, thus ensuring that the latter continue to flourish. So who's stupid? If nothing else, mind parasites know how to survive.

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