The Ill Logic of the Left
In The Symmetry of God, Bomford cites a typical but fascinating example of how the symmetrical logic of the deep unconscious mind applies to three-term propositions. Up to now, we have been discussing the symmetry of two-term propositions, for example, how it is that the left can turn a quintessential patriot such as General Petraeus into a traitor, while transforming their own treasonous beliefs and actions into patriotism.
In terms of conventional, aristotelean logic, this makes no sense -- as indeed so little of the leftist project makes sense. For example, when they dissent, it is the highest form of patriotism; when conservatives do, it is nazism. How can this be? Are they just cynical and calculating? Or is there something deeper going on?
Human beings are not "logic machines." Or, to be precise, there are at least two distinctly different forms of logic that govern thought: the machine-like asymmetrical logic of the conscious mind and the very unmachine-like symmetrical logic of the unconscious (and I believe supraconscious) mind. One of the most important points to bear in mind is that we might believe a person to be illogical, when they are in fact obeying a different form of logic: symmetrical logic (as elucidated by the brilliant Chilean psychoanalyst and logician Ignacio Matte Blanco).
Indeed, this was one of Freud's central insights, that the sick person was actually logical in his own way. One of purposes of therapy is to expose the unconscious logic that is causing pain or dysfunction.
But it is also critical not to automatically "pathologize" all symmetrical logic, as many scientistic, atheistic, or rationalist types do, for without it, we would not be human. Rather, we would be hyper-rational Vulcans with no "emotional intelligence," no interior understanding of things, no ability to comprehend God, religion or art, and no ability to love or create.
In reality, our "humanness" takes place in the transcendent "higher third" that unifies symmetrical and asymmetrical logic. The more "harmonious" this marriage, the more healthy the person. You might say that it gives depth to asymmetrical logic and height to symmetrical logic. Love, play, creativity, and worship would all be impossible without it.
To take an example ripped from this morning's headlines, it is obviously kooky for the left to regard citizens who don't want the state to take over their healthcare as "fascists." For one thing, logically speaking, anyone who wants a smaller and less intrusive government is the polar opposite of a fascist.
But in the unconscious mind, where symmetrical logic rules the night, it is the work of an instant to convert terms to their opposite. This is how we may understand what makes the leftist tick: whatever he accuses others of, is what he is unconsciously guilty of. Thus, when he says, "you are astroturfing," he means "I am astroturfing." When he says "American citizens are behaving like fascists," he means "we and our union thugs are behaving like fascists." When he says "you are a racist," he means "I am preoccupied with race and cannot see beyond it." Etc.
This is nothing new. The left does the same thing with criminals. It makes no sense to a psychologically healthy person, but to an unhealthy person, liberal victimhood is psychologically empowering, because at least it allows the self-proclaimed victim to externalize their subjugation while secretly being responsible for it. Consciously they look like masochists, but unconsciously they have internalized a sadistic part that positively glories in the abuse. This is why self-proclaimed leftist victims are always such bullies. But because they are victims, they can consciously deny their aggression. Who's a bigger bully than Keith Olbermann?
This is also why, for example, Al Sharpton panicked at the idea of Henry Gates and Sgt. Crowley getting along. If there is no hostility between the races, then Sharpton is not only out of business, but he is stuck with his own internal sadist, with no one to project it into. The left must keep racial discord alive. One cannot be opposed to the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor because she is an idiot and a leftist hack, but because she is "Latina." One cannot think that Obama is a socialist joker. Rather, one must be racist.
A leftist can be a typical loser whose failure is entirely self-generated. But proclaiming oneself victim means never having to say I'm a sorry-ass excuse of a human being. Perfect! You oppress yourself all the way to secular godhood, for the victim is the sacred liberal icon who justifies all of their intrusive and oppressive policies. In the liberal world, you are not innocent until proven guilty, you are guilty unless granted victim status, and then you are never guilty.
The victim is the "cause" of the victimizing state that will pretend to rescue him. Thus, in its own self-interest, the state must produce more victims to prop it up. In terms of the present debate, if we are all victims of evil insurance companies, then we need to be rescued by the state. But once the rubicon of socialized medicine is crossed, then we will have fundamentally altered our relation to the state. We will have become a nation of dependent serfs, not free citizens. We really will have become victims.
Things can get a bit more complicated in a three-term proposition. Bomford uses the example of a social worker intervening in a case of domestic violence. Outwardly, it looks straightforward enough: the social worker is rescuing a victim (usually a woman) from a persecutor (usually a man).
However, as Bomford writes, each of the parties may unconsciously experience the intervention as a persecution of the actual persecutor, a bullying of the bully, or "a new persecution from which the apparent persecutor has to be rescued by the victim." In other words, the rescuer (the social worker) becomes the persecutor of the persecutor (the man, who is now her victim), and the victim (the woman) mobilizes her unconscious defenses to become the rescuer of her own persecutor. Both she and her abuser will now see the social worker as the persecutory threat to their dysfunctional relationship.
This pattern is so commonplace, and yet, seems to defy logic. However, it makes perfect sense if you understand that people commonly marry disowned and projected parts of their own psyche. Therefore, in this case, the masochistic woman is married to her inner sadist. If she leaves him, or if he is punished by the law, then her own internal sadist will attack her, resulting in unbearably profound guilt and depression.
But it gets even more complicated. For example, many people are drawn to social work (and to the helping professions in general) because of an unconscious sense of victimization that they try to spuriously heal by projecting into others. This is why these fields (including my own field of psychology) are so overrun by leftist do-gooders with rescue fantasies. The leftist feels victimized by anyone or anything that arouses their tendency to feel victimized. Thus, in the above scenario, on a deep unconscious level the real abuser -- the persecutor -- becomes a sort of rescuer who rescues the social worker from her feelings of victimization, allowing a temporary discharge of victim feelings.
Again, think of the typical leftist activist who is "rescued" from an otherwise meaningless life by entertaining persecutory fantasies of global warming, or "income disparity," or "male oppression," or "racial profiling," or what have you. This explains why the leftist clings to his persecutor long after the persecution has stopped. The left cannot "let go" of George Bush, any more than the radical feminist can let go of her symbolic "rapist" or the Islamist can let go of his Jew hatred, for these are the organizing principles of their own rage and hostility. Six months ago I predicted that the left would be unable to let go of George Bush. I was right. They cannot let go because "he" (their fantasy) is a vital part of them.
Later in the book, Bomford considers the three term proposition of God, Jesus, and man from this angle. Consciously, it is said that Jesus died to atone for man's sins against God. Good enough.
But since Jesus is all man and all God, one possible unconscious conclusion (among many) would be that Jesus (God) died for God's sins against man. This thought is "not permitted" consciously, but it would certainly make sense to the unconscious -- i.e., that the "reconciliation" between God and man works both ways. I am quite sure that this is an example of how the richness of religious symbolism reaches way down into regions of the mind which bypass the conscious awareness of the ego.
Remember, in the deep unconscious, there is no rigid distinction between fantasy and reality. Let's say human beings have an issue with their creator. Let's say they are angry at the existential mess they're in, and that they secretly do blame God for this unfair and unjust world. But you can't express this anger directly, any more than the child can express his homicidal rage toward the parent without fear of retaliation.
In the Christianized unconscious, there may well be the perception that God has "atoned" for this mess by suffering and dying for man, thus balancing the scales, so that we may relate to God in an unambivalent manner. We are purged of our anger toward God. He's paid the debt in full.
I'm not saying that this is the case, mind you. This has to do with man's unconscious perception, not with God per se. Imagine someone from another planet, trying to understand people who wear a little tortured man around their neck. What, are these people sadists?
As a matter of fact, yes. But some of us are forgiven.