Friday, October 04, 2013

The Transformative Fantasy of Leftism

In his analysis of the Devil Card, our Unknown Friend (UF) writes that the excesses of the left are always "owing to an intoxication of the will and imagination which engenders demons." So, Will + Perverse Imagination = Demon.

For example, if Marx and Engels had simply behaved as good Jews or Christians and "defended the interests of the industrial workers without having let themselves be carried away by their intoxicated imagination" (ibid.), then their ideas wouldn't have been so apocalyptically destructive. After all, every normal person wants to help the poor and needy, but it is axiomatic that helping the human animal while killing the human soul is not the best way to go about it.

Further, as Schuon commented, "Progressivism is the wish to eliminate effects without wishing to eliminate their causes..." To paraphrase him, the leftist wishes to make himself as useful as possible to a collectivity which renders the individual as useless as possible. Thus, measured in terms of the number of useless people he has enabled (i.e., wards of the state), Obama has been our most indispensable president ever.

What is worse, the left always couches its so-called empathy for the downtrodden in fantastically broad and sweeping generalizations of historical "and even cosmic significance, such as the statement that God does not exist, that all religion is only the 'opium of the people,' [and] that all ideology is only a superstructure on the basis of material interests" (MOTT). UF wrote that in the early '60s, but it is no different today, with the intoxication that fuels and pervades the Obama campaign:

"What we hear from Obama is the eternal mantra of the socialists; America is broken, millions have no health care, families cannot afford necessities, the rich are evil, we are selfish, we are unhappy, unfulfilled, without hope, desperate, poverty stricken, morally desolate, corrupt and racist. This nihilism is the lifeblood of all the democrat candidates.... When Michelle Obama claims she is only newly proud of her country, she does not exaggerate. In her world as in Obama's, they believe we are a mess, a land filled with the ignorant and unenlightened, filled with despair" (Fairchok).

As UF writes, it is always a "matter of excess -- a going beyond the limits of competence and sober and honest knowledge" -- and no leftist doubts his superior competence, knowledge, and intentions -- "having been carried away by the intoxicating impulse of radicalism, i.e. by a fever of the will and imagination to change everything utterly at a single stroke."

It is this fever dream of sweeping existential change that animates the left no less than the Islamists. As Lee Harris has written, a fantasy ideology such as Islamism is obviously not a rational response to the world, arrived at in a logical, sober manner. Rather, it is a transformative belief, meaning that its primary purpose is to psychologically transform the person who believes the fantasy.

In other words, belief in the fantasy is an end in itself -- it has no purpose other than to make the fantasy seem like reality, as if it might actually be true. Looked at this way, the real reason for 9-11 wasn't actually to bring down western civilization, which is not going to happen (unless we do it to ourselves as a result of our own fantasy ideology). Rather, it was for the Islamists to deepen their trance and make the fantasy seem more real.

It's the same with leftist economic policies, which don't just fail, but backfire. They cause all sorts of unintended consequences that the leftist never connects to the original policy -- e.g., how the welfare state eroded the structure of the black family, how racial quotas inevitably harm blacks, how rent control causes housing shortages, how subsidizing higher education simply drives up the cost, how nationalized health reduces quality and leads to rationing, how forcing banks to make bad loans to unqualified people was at the epicenter of the meltdown of 2008, etc.

The irony is that socialists aren't even good socialists. In this piece at American Spectator, Kaminsky notes that if Obama is really interested in helping the poor and disadvantaged, he's going about it in an entirely counter-productive manner. But if socialism is just a transformative belief for leftist, then actual success is entirely irrelevant. Rather, the only relevant factor is whether the leftist feels more secure in his delusions of magnanimity, compassion, and generosity.

As Kaminsky suggests, let's give Obama the benefit of the doubt and not go all conspiratorial, imagining that his destructiveness is intentional. It's tempting to think it is, but "sometimes incompetence is just incompetence." However, I would add that incompetence is not just incompetence if it is impervious to feedback from reality:

"After all," writes Kamnisky, "the people Obama most claimed to want to help, namely the lower rungs of the American income ladder, are stuck in a swamp of the president’s creation with only more punishment in sight. Median household income has plunged under this president, with a devastating 11 percent drop among black Americans. Obama has indeed redistributed our money: to unions, bankers, and political donors. He’s not even a good socialist."

Except that he's a great socialist, if we regard socialism as a transformative fantasy, not an actual theory of reality. Looked at this way, success for socialism is measured by the intensity of belief in it, and Obama's faith shows no signs of wavering. Rather, he is more pompous, smug, and condescending than ever.

Now, UF explains that the virtue of temperance protects us from the intoxicating counter-inspiration of radical fantasies -- including religious fantasies, which are not actually religious but manmade. As such, it is foolish to blame God or religion for things that emanate from the lower vertical in man.

UF makes the subtle point that one cannot engender a positive collective mind parasite. This is related to the principle that the mind parasite is an effect of "congealed" or "coagulated" psychic energy. As a result, it always "enfolds," whereas the good radiates. The former is an inward, contracting movement, whereas the latter is an expansive, radiant movement.

This may sound overly abstract, but we are all familiar with the intellectually and spiritually closed world of the left, whether it is their elite university campuses or the op-ed page of the New York Times. If you pay close attention, you may be aware of this "inverse radiation," which feels like an attack on the intellect. There is no resonance at all, only a kind of psychic vampirism.

Now, why did people respond to, say, Ronald Reagan? For the opposite reason -- the radiant positive energy which citizens were able to perceive directly. This only became more apparent when placed side by side with Jimmy Carter's withered and constipated presence.

I suppose the only novel thing about Obama is that he is selling the same constipation, but with a shallow "celebrity radiation" that one must be intoxicated (or just stupid) to appreciate. Indeed, as Fairchok writes,

"That is his appeal; he is [ironically] an actor, a performer, a cinematic presence that stirs simple emotions, emotions that have little grounding in truth. His speeches are the inane lyrics to a popular song that endures only because it has a great beat. One must not think too deeply on what Obama says, for it turns to smoke and disappears in the light of day. Ezra Klein is correct [see the bottom of yesterday's post], Obama's speeches do not inform, they pander, they propagandize, they harmonize with the mythology of despair and the chimera of entitlement. As his hagiographies proclaim, he represents a new Camelot, but one that does not hold America quite so precious, a Camelot of globalists, moral relativists and communitarians."

Now, how to drive out a demon? Easy. But hard. The easy part is that "Light drives out darkness. This simple truth is the practical key to the problem of how to combat demons. A demon perceived, i.e. on whom the light of consciousness is thrown, is already a demon rendered impotent.... A demon rendered impotent is a deflated balloon" (UF).

The hard part is that the institutions that are supposed to throw a little light -- i.e., the media-academic complex -- instead cast an intense beam of darkness. I suppose our best hope is that the left will be so successful in implementing their fantasies, that their destructiveness will finally be undeniable to a critical mass before it's too late.

Wherever politics tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes, not divine, but demonic. --Pope Benedict XVI

13 Comments:

Blogger ge said...

Well my study of psych[oanalysis] came to mind when seeing A demon perceived, i.e. on whom the light of consciousness is thrown, is already a demon rendered impotent.

-Doesnt that sound like the lay explanation of treating neuroses, by exposing them to la luz de conscious awareness?

10/04/2013 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, theoretically. But as in faith, I think it requires a kind of conversion, a turning toward the light, so it is shining continuously. And even then, there will always be shadowy areas.

10/04/2013 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger John Lien said...

It is this fever dream of sweeping existential change that animates the left no less than the Islamists...
...belief in the fantasy is an end in itself -- it has no purpose other than to make the fantasy seem like reality


Interesting insight. Whereas, for "our" side we are looking for real change at an individual level. Small, imperceptible increments when viewed at the societal level.

10/04/2013 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Open Trench said...

I am a Democrat, an Obama supporter, and a believer in climate change.

However, I am open to changing all of that if Bob's posts can somehow just hit the right notes.

Bob's posts are compelling but smack of heresay and second-hand sourcing. There is very little first person or anecdotal stories of the type I crave.

But still I love the posts. They are my best hope of conversion.

I identified mind parasites infesting my being. I expected them to fade once exposed, but instead they began negotiations.

"Leave ussss play, and we won't harm you" they hissed.

when didn't get what they wanted, they made trouble.

Now we have a deal where they get limited play and in return they won't ruin me utterly.

I would like to break the stalemate and send them packing.

Just writing this comment is risky. They might not like it.

Help.....

10/04/2013 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

As Yeshua told his disciples when they asked him why they hadn't been able to exorcise a particular demon -- and He told them that these difficult cases required prayer and fasting.

10/04/2013 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

...a land filled with the ignorant and unenlightened...

Poor bitter clingers we are.

So much here, it's hard to process it all -- though I was reading about egregores in MOTT earlier today.

The hard part is that the institutions that are supposed to throw a little light -- i.e., the media-academic complex -- instead cast an intense beam of darkness.

Something can hide behind light shining in the wrong direction as well.

10/04/2013 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Magister said...

I am a Democrat, an Obama supporter, and a believer in climate change.

I'm a democrat (little d), a supporter of the Constitution, and a believer in something called "the weather."

That is, I've worked for a government, saw Plantation types running the show, hung out with actual workers and achievers, and know from science that the sun is exponentially more powerful a factor in earth's climate than man-made CO2 is, was, or ever will be.

OT, give up the ridiculous party badge, acknowledge that you've been sold a bill of goods, and stop obsessing. Tell your friends you're "independent" if it makes you feel better.

10/04/2013 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Pour le Tranchée Ouverte

10/04/2013 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger Magister said...

As Lee Harris has written, a fantasy ideology such as Islamism is obviously not a rational response to the world, arrived at in a logical, sober manner. Rather, it is a transformative belief, meaning that its primary purpose is to psychologically transform the person who believes the fantasy.

Harris's point was that Islamists blow things up because the blowing-up would be evidence that Allah is on their side and wills it. They blow things up to "know" that Allah is on their side. They're doing this to reassure themselves existentially.

Leftists do something similar: they create fat behemoth government to regulate unfettered hedonism so they can feel themselves to be "on the vanguard of History." Establishing something as ludicrously crappy as Obamacare affirms their sense that they are Men and Women of the Progressive Future, acting in the present. They worry about how future Progressives will write about them -- because, after all, they spent their graduate careers looking for their precursors in history and castigating anyone else in history who wasn't bringing Socialist Utopia into being. So this is a deep motive for them -- they hate hate hate the thought of being considered conservative by their future progressive overlords.

So they do insane things to reassure themselves that they are among the Elect. It's starting to sound like a particularly anxious form of Calvinism, shorn of anything valuable about Calvinism, of course.

10/04/2013 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Magister said...

mush

noted, but it only costs a few lines

10/04/2013 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Open Trench said...

Mushroom:

I enjoyed the troll candy, but the saucy woman pictured on the box was unbearably hot and now I'm flustered a bit.

Thanks, though.

I believe I am ALMOST ready to embrace the transformative fantasy of RIGHTISM...it will make a refreshing change.

I just have a few odds and ends of business to clear up and then I can proceed. I will have to groom someone else to take over my post at the institute, because when the board gets wind of my conversion I'll be ousted.

I'll just start a NEW consulting/investing group and get some conservative clients, and I'll be in the green.




10/04/2013 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

You know where to find me.

10/04/2013 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Bob, could you check my math:

Christianity is to revealed religion
as
Psychotherapy is to revealed medicine

10/06/2013 11:10:00 AM  

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