How to Create Your Very Own Demon (12.01.11)
As I mentioned in my book -- which has now been in the amazon top two million for 93 consecutive weeks -- when we encounter collective beliefs and practices that appear insane and self-defeating, we are probably dealing with mind parasites. While they don't appear adaptive, they actually are. It's just that they are adaptive to the internal, not external, world. This is no different than a neurotic patient with a baffling symptom. Ultimately the symptom can be traced back to some earlier adaptation.
The most difficult challenge for human beings is to adapt to the problem of having a mind. Ultimately, mind parasites come down to the problem of thoughts and what to do with them -- anxious thoughts, fearful thoughts, envious thoughts, greedy thoughts, angry thoughts, sexual thoughts, etc. One of the primary purposes of culture is to collectively manage these primitive thoughts.
In the course of writing my own book, one of the better works I found on the topic of lethal mind parasites was In the Shadow of Moloch: The Sacrifice of Children and Its Impact on Western Religions. It's probably been over a decade since I read it, so I can't give it an unqualified recommendation. Here's what it says on the inside flap:
"In ancient times, humans projected their hostility into their gods; 'bloodthirsty' gods who 'demanded' the sacrifice of children. In the Shadow of Moloch begins with pre-biblical times by examining Moloch, the god of the 'Children of Ammon' who demanded the burning of children. Tracing the legacy of child sacrifice, Bergmann shows that the greatest efforts to overcome this ritual can found in biblical accounts of the suspended sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham and of the sacrifice of Christ by God the Father to atone for original sin. He argues that the development of Judaism and Christianity can be seen as an effort, only partially successful, to ameliorate past aggression of child sacrifice through the creation of an entirely loving god."
I would say discovery of an entirely loving God, but you get the point, because there is no evolutionary reason to believe that human beings could have "invented" such a being, given their dismal track record. Obviously, the systematic murder of one's children poses a challenge to natural selection, unless there is some deeper mechanism to account for it. Again, I believe that mechanism is the urgent need to adapt to the catastrophic condition of having a self-conscious mind.
It is difficult for us to imagine how catastrophic that was -- to have been, as Richard Prior so poetically put it, the first motherf*cker to look around and ask himself what in the f*ck is goin' on?! Then again, not really, if you can empathize with the emotionally catastrophic conditions of infancy -- which, sad to say, many, if not most, parents still cannot do. I would estimate -- actually, studies on maternal attachment estimate -- that perhaps only a third of parents in the West are able to do this. In more primitive locales, such as in the Islamic world -- well, fuggedaboudit. Child sacrifice goes on unabated. They just call it intifada instead of infanticide.
And in the West, we simply have more subtle means of engaging in child sacrifice. We don't kill the body, but murder the soul. I mean, I literally cannot imagine sending my son to a California public school, because I would in effect be sending him off to be sacrificed to the leftist collective.
I could not bear doing to him what was done to me -- back when the leftist takeover of the educational system wasn't nearly as complete as today. He would have to internalize all of their strange gods -- multiculturalism, moral relativism, materialism, scientism, environmentalism, etc. -- and in so doing, die to his own -- God's own -- soul. I could no more do that than I could have sent him out to a nursemaid moments after his birth -- which is what most well-to-do people once did in the West. Why did they do that? Because they could not tolerate their own internal infant and therefore not tolerate their external infant. Likewise, if you do not know your own soul, you cannot protect and nurture your child's soul.
In fact, continuing with Bergmann's flap, I think it is a truism that "the psychological conflict of child sacrifice still haunts the unconscious of modern men and women." He posits a "Laius complex -- hostility of the father toward the son -- to explain sacrifice. He discloses that, in psychological terms, the development of Western religions is an effort by insufficiently loved men and women to change their inner balance away from hostility, toward a more loving center."
The only problem with the book is that it takes a purely psychoanalytic approach, and is therefore reductionistic. But you can take the same ideas and place them in a more expansive religious metaphysical framework, which is what I attempted to do in my book.
I'm at a crossroads here... continue with Bergmann, or return to MOTT? I'd better stick with the latter, or we'll never finish.
Regarding the collective mind parasites, you can see that UF is really not far from Bergmann: although "engendered subjectively," these artificial demons "become forces independent of the subjective consciousness that engendered them. They are, in other words, magical creations, for magic is the objectification of that which takes its origin in subjective consciousness" (again, think of the image in the card of the man and woman chained to a larger entity that they have co-created).
UF compares these collective demons to psychological complexes, which is why it is something of a truism to say that a culture is a public neurosis, while a neurosis is a private culture. But there are also public psychoses, e.g., the community of dailykos or the viewership of Keith Olbermann.
Yes, they are very frightening to think about, because they really do believe those things. But it's not so much "the things they believe," i.e., the contained (♂), as the container (♀) -- i.e., the very space in which they live -- that is so disturbing. Again, think of that deeply irrational container as a sort of desperate effort to contain their own unbearable proto-thoughts and impulses. You could say that the kos kids and Olberchildren are pathological products of an insane pairing of ♂ and ♀. Leftism is what happens when you put together an abandoning ♀ and a homicidal ♂: uncontainable and incoherent.... yucktoplasm leaking all over the place.
You could also say that these demons represent the premature birth of the unborn due to an inability to tolerate reality and allow the thoughts to "gestate" in the womb of being. In other words, they represent premature closure of the psychic field, which is again one of the main reasons why people believe such weird things.
These weird ideas nevertheless have to be "nourished" by the psychic life of the parent, which is why intellectuals devote their lives to feeding and propping up their craziness -- e.g., Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and thousands more. Their body of work is a kind of pathological psychic body that is completely detached from reality. When they die, it will "live on" in followers who have been infected by these ghostly and ghastly ideas. Think of "patient zero," Marx, who is still spreading his spiritually fatal infection. Religion -- properly understood -- inoculates one from the infection, but that's the subject for a different post.
Suddenly I am out of time. To be continued.....