The Willed Stupidity of the Left
But also, one must sometimes intentionally render oneself stupid (so to speak) in one area, in order to prevent its dominance over other aspects, dimensions, and modes of the self. Human beings are so good at things, that a small segment of the personality can become hypertrophied and cause a major imbalance. For example, the rational side can dominate the supra-logical side, and vice versa; or reason can extinguish intuition; letter can dominate spirit; collectivism can overwhelm individualism; etc.
A classic case in my profession is the dominance of the conscious over the unconscious mind -- not just for the patient, but for the doctor. When Freud developed the psychoanalytic technique, he said that the analyst needed to essentially disable his own linear, conscious mind in order to attend to the patient's associations with intuitive, even-hovering attention.
In fact, Freud expressed it well when he said that "When conducting an analysis, one must cast a beam of intense darkness so that something which has hitherto been obscured by the glare of the [conscious] illumination can glitter all the more in darkness." And as irrationally hostile as Freud was to religion, this is ironically the approach one must take in illuminating the subtle realm that lies beyond the ego. In other words, the same general principle equally applies to realms above as below the ego: only when the sun is down do the stars come out.
Bion formulated the same idea in affirming that the analyst's task was to "abandon memory, desire, and understanding," so as to clear a space for the spontaneous emergence of novel meanings -- similar, say, to the receptive mode with which one approaches a poem or musical performance. It's quite simple, really: in order to know what you don't know, you must begin by unKnowing what you think you know.
And for readers who might be a little slower on the uptake, e.g., anonymous, the same applies to the attitude required to profit from my posts -- which mirrors the passively active and actively passive state of mind from which they were produced; to read them with the ego is, as the Zen master said, like chasing a criminal while banging a drum. Your pursuit will be fruitless, but at least it will be loud. Or, put it this way: if you don't profit from them, that's a subtle hint that you do not understand them, mindless attacks on the messenger notwithstanding. What can I say? I can't help you. But I can give you a referral.
Now, a few years ago, charter Raccoon Dilys made a piquant observation regarding the suspension of one faculty in order to activate another and bring it to the fore: "Have you heard of the 'learned incapacity' idea, that proper execution of every calling requires the disabling of certain kinds of intelligence? For instance, I know a lot of people who are just too intelligent to be [certain professions], because there are some things one needs not to know in these roles, some mental and emotional strategies that must be disconnected" (emphasis mine).
I had never thought of it in exactly this way before, but this is truly a key idea, for it explains how any discipline or philosophy can take on a cult-like quality, elevating a relative incapacity to the only capacity. For example, in order to be a materialist, one must disable virtually everything that makes one human. This is fine as a temporary strategy, but if the incapacity takes root and dominates the personality, then you have become a kind philosophical and spiritual retard, like our own anonymous. But so long as you associate with fellow cult members, you won't even know that anything is amiss. Like the rest of them, you will take the shadows on the cave walls as reality, and nurture a childishly superior attitude toward those who notice that big light entering the mouth of the cave.
For to submit to a discipline is to learn to interpret the world in terms of that operating system, which only reinforces and reifies the system. For example, it's fine to attend law school, but if secular law displaces the law that is written on the heart, then one is lost. Or, if one begins taking scientific abstractions for the concrete reality, that is another form of spiritual suicide. They disable certain kinds of intelligence, and then confuse their little operating system with intelligence as such.
As I have mentioned before, one of the great shocks of my life has been the unending discovery of how fruitful the traditionally religious operating systems are for novelgazing around O. Some 1,500 posts later, it continues to be an endlessly generative surprise for me. I don't know where it comes from -- well, I suppose I do, in the sense that it comes from O -- but I do know that it would be inaccessible without the proper operating system. It would be like trying to play blues without the pentatonic scale. I suppose you could try, but you'd just sound silly.
Now, there is a huge difference between fruitful willed stupidity vs. a kind of pathological and permanent disconnection of cognitive links in order to understand the world in terms of this or that specialty. One of Bion's most important ideas was "attacks on linking," a primitive mental process that dismantles the scaffolding of the mind so as to prevent certain unwanted meanings from emerging. This intrapsychic violence is always associated with exteriorized violence, for if you do violence to the truth, it is only a matter of time before you do violence to human beings.
Take the example of the willfully stupid leftist who knows the truth and believes that it sanctions him to impose it upon others, e.g., Obamacare. In such a case, truth is naturally transformed into a lie. But just as importantly, truth draws one to it, while the lie agitates. You might say that the meaning goes from being a centripetal thing, so to speak, to becoming a centrifugal event.
So too does the personality under the influence of the lie -- their personalities become disturbing "events." I'm not talking about charisma or about benevolent love, which also radiate from certain people. Rather, this is a person whose energy "agitates" those around them, and inducts them into their particular psychodrama. In short, it is "acting out" as a replacement for "thinking."
Karl Marx is the quintessential example of idea-turned-event, for his fraudulent system of thought continues to agitate minds and spur action in the present. He cannot stay buried in his dustbin, because his ideas are just too tempting to certain sick minds in need of intellectual sanction for their acting out. It is as if he were the prophet of an anti-religion that substitutes action for thought. Pass the bill first, then find out what's in it!
This in itself is a fascinating idea, for we must always ask ourselves, "when is action action, and when is it a substitute for thought in order to unburden a disturbed mind?" At the same time, we must ask "when is thought thought?," because for many on the left, a thought is not an idea but an object to be used for some primitive purpose such as releasing aggression or blocking certain unwanted meanings (as we see here every day with anonymous's aggressively clueless comments).
Political correctness -- the cognitive Swiss Army knife of the left -- is another example of a collective attack on linking. It also deceives the person who engages in it, because PC is always able to operate freely under the pretext of "compassion," when it is actually quite aggressive and even violent. The leftist cannot be consciously aware of this violence, because one of the purposes of political correctness is to allow the leftist to behave violently while denying it -- and even tell themselves that they merely have "compassion," or "inclusiveness," or "tolerance," or some other benign motivation.
However, the person on the business end of political correctness is well aware of the primitive and bullying violence, which is one of the reasons he is not a leftist. A sane person recognizes that Truth is without question the highest societal value, higher than love, higher than compassion, and certainly higher than democracy, i.e., the collective will -- which will simply devolve to the will to power in the absence of integral Truth.