The Care and Feeding of Media Monsters
Human beings obviously did not evolve in an environment of mass media. Indeed, there was no medium at all except for speech and sign language. Nor were there "masses," only bands numbering thirty to fifty closely related souls.
A critical point is that in human psychological development -- both as a species and person -- the group precedes the individual; indeed, the group is the matrix, or soil, which nourishes the individual, and out of which the latter will "grow."
Thus, we may have groups without genuine individuals, but it would be impossible to have individuals without the group. Humanness is simply impossible in the absence of the intimate, intersubjective group relationship (beginning with mother <--> infant), which is one of many reasons I do not believe intelligent (self-aware) life has evolved elsewhere. The requisite conditions are just too imponderably specific.
In order for a coherent group to emerge, its members must inhabit the same "reality." Now, it is obvious that all human beings, regardless of the group, live in the same physical reality. But we inhabit vastly different psychological and spiritual environments, to such an extent that mere geography becomes incidental to human differences. Look at North Korea and South Korea, or Israel and the Palestinian terrortories, or Harvard and Hillsdale. Same species, completely irreconcilable psychospiritual realities.
Whether fortunately or unfortunately, we could say the same of "red" and "blue" states, except that blue states contain big heap plenty redman such as myself, and vice versa.
But thanks to mass media, this is no longer an obstacle to group membership. In the millennia prior to mass media, I wouldn't even know about other groups, only my own and maybe that other group that I wanted to exterminate. I would grow and be shaped by those immediately around me, and even if I felt that somehow I didn't fit in, there would be no alternative.
One of the wonderful things about modernity is that we may choose our own group based upon who we actually are. Look at this blog. It doesn't have many readers, but it has readers from all over the world who may have more in common with each other than they do with their immediate group.
Now, even though modernity gives us this new access to diverse groups, we must bear in mind that the same primitive rules apply. It is analogous to, say, sex. Just because you can meet someone through the miracle of the internet, this does not mean that, should you get together, the relationship will somehow transcend the most primitive drives and impulses -- lust, jealousy, possessiveness, and all the rest. Indeed, the desire to meet someone over the internet is still motivated by the ancient human drive for intimate relationships.
So in one sense the psyche rides piggyback on the technology, but in another sense, it is the converse.
Now, as alluded to above, although Americans obviously inhabit one physical country, they do not live in the same worlds. Let's not even get into the question of which is the "real world," but just acknowledge the fact that they are irreconcilable.
For example, one side believes that human beings are created equal in the image of their Creator, that our rights flow from this reality, and that the purpose of government is to protect these rights. The other group believes this is a pernicious fairy tale that provokes its members to commit mass murder. I know that's how I feel when I read the Constitution.
If you stand back from the historical situation and take a martian's-eye view, the transmission of mind parasites might seem unfair to the individual, but it ultimately benefits the collective, since each individual is tasked with the mission of eradicating the parasites that he has inherited from his parents (and they from theirs, all the way back to the dawn of human time).
This is one way to conceptualize our "fallenness," in that each of us repeats the fall, but in our own way. As implied in yesterday's post, one cannot undo the fall by "normalizing" it, nor can one undo it by imposing a coercive collective solution, the two main prongs of the left. Undoing the Problem of Man does not involve merely fine-tuning the rewards and punishments meted out by the state. It has never worked and never will.
Since they are not fully formed individuals, children can hardly avoid sharing in the moral merits and demerits of their parents and of the society to which they belong. While this seems to render them "less than human," it actually means that they are more than animal right from the start, in that they are engaging in psychic transactions with those around them, probably even in the womb -- and it is through these psychic transactions that we become -- or fail to become -- who we are. Again, membership in the group must be prior to the emergence of the individual.
An important point is that these psychic transmissions are projected back and forth from parent to child, within the fluid and boundary-less transitional space between them. For example, a hungry or frightened infant cannot imagine the absence of anything (since that would require abstract, symbolic thought, i.e., "bupkis"), only the presence of something bad. This concrete "bad object" is projected into the good mother, who transforms it into the experience of a soothing good object, which the child internalizes.
Please don't to be too literal, but try to imagine it in a more poetic and less mechanistic way. In a sense, it's easier to think about what happens when something goes wrong in the relationship -- say, a depressed or otherwise emotionally unavailable mother -- which will result in the inability of the baby to metabolize and transform its bad objects, which is how they gradually "solidify" into enduring mind parasites. What to do with them?
Psychotherapy is one way to process them, but that's only been in existence for a hundred years or so, and even then it usually only proceeds on a pretty superficial basis. Most people end up dealing with them in a pathological way, either through the development of symptoms or through acting out.
To greatly simplify, you could say that a neurotic mostly keeps his mind parasites to himself, while the person with a Personality Disorder (e.g., Borderline, Narcissistic, Paranoid, etc.) inevitably involves others in his or her psychodrama. (And the psychotic is in a world all his own, so he is in a different category altogether.)
If the world were filled only with neurotically conflicted people, it would pretty much be paradise, or as close as you can get to it on earth. This is because neurotics mostly hurt themselves and maybe disappoint or frustrate others around them, but they aren't sadistic or murderous, and are mostly prone to distorting reality in less significant ways, like unconsciously confusing your wife with your mother. The mere neurotic does not confuse Jews with Satan, or President Bush with Hitler, or Sarah Palin with a mass murderer.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that if you even know you have mind parasites with their own agendas, you are more evolved than around 99% of the humans who have ever lived. Most of the real wholesale evil in the world is obviously caused by failure to recognize the existence of mind parasites and consequently projecting them into others for their elimination.
Imagine if Yasser Arafat could have paused for a moment and pondered the question, "gee, why do I hate Jews so much? Where did that come from? And why am I so attracted to little boys? Could it be because of the Islamic fear and degradation of women? Or was it because I was so indulged by my mother that I'm afraid of being devoured by her vagina? Yeah, that's probably it."
Liberals, of course, want us to understand the terrorists. But one of the first things I learned in my psychoanalytic training is that real empathy has nothing to do with reinforcing someone's delusions just to make them feel better. Rather, it must involve things like confrontation, interpretation, clarification, etc.
So the most empathic thing you could do for a bin Laden -- for the whole Islamic world, for that matter -- would be to confront them with the truth of which they are so desperately in need, for a mind deprived of truth still "needs to eat," but it will feed on lies, which in turn creates a monster. You do not flatter them with the monstrous lie -- as did Secretary of State Clinton the other day -- by implying that "you folks have your politically motivated extremists and so do we, with that tea partier who murdered all those people the other day."
Lies are monster food. All monsters feed on lies, and a monster is simply a living lie. They are the lie made flesh.
Hitler could not have been the monster he was without a steady diet of outrageous lies with no connection whatsoever to reality. Stalin, Mao, Castro, Arafat, Pol Pot, and all the rest of the 20th century Monster Club -- all were soulless zombies because of their fidelity to the Lie which created them.
In this regard, you can certainly see how ideology becomes a substitute religion rooted in the satanic eucharist (or "dyscharist") of ingesting the Lie. Once the liar is in place, he needs a steady diet of more lies in order to maintain himself. Conversely, he will respond to truth in the way a vampire reacts to garlic or Obama to media scrutiny.
So, just as grace enters the human plane "from above" and then recirculates in unpredictable ways, even causing it to operate in people who specifically reject the very possibility, the Lie works in the same way. The Lie is a kind of anti-grace, as it were, which also circulates in the psychic economy and which will be picked up by susceptible host-minds.
One of the primary tasks of the MSM -- as we have vividly seen this week -- is to propagate these parasites in a rapid and efficient manner to the most weak and unreflective minds. For such media enablers and their passive victims, the gift of shame is impossible. No, they have no decency.