Thursday, March 20, 2014

Shhh! The Liberals are Sleeping!

Must every post be important?

You know, in the old days, I had the occasional post consisting of unalloyed frivolousness and bleating heart gliberalism. Like this one.

Because. What a loaded word! X happened because Y. Very few events are that simple, and yet, our implicit collective metaphysic is founded on the idea that they are.

In other words, we pretend that everything has an unambiguous, linear explanation, when in reality few things do. Again, that kind of simple cause-and-effect is the exception, not the rule.

Okay. What is the rule, then? Anyone can say what it isn't.

I think it was Aristotle who defined philosophy as the search for ultimate causes. How do we know when we've reached an adequate, let alone ultimate, explanation? I suppose adequate explanations are sufficient to get us through the day, but if you're at all introspective, you'll very quickly see through the absurdity and even insanity of most of these.

The other evening I jotted down a murmurandom to myself. Let me go fetch it.

Don't get excited. It's no major epiphany or theophany or hahafunny. Says, and I quote, 'never had existential dream v. ontic dreams.' I can tell by the dashed off quality that it made sense at the time. I think I heard some sort of TV commercial in the background, talking about achieving your dreams.

It occurred to me that I never really had the dreams that seem to motivate so many people. And if you don't participate in the collective dream, then you are going to be marked out as an oddball. It only takes one person outside the dream to make all the dreamers feel awkward, uncomfortable, and self-conscious.

I wish I could remember the book -- I think it was the Coon Classic Violence Unveiled -- in which the author writes of how the presence of a neutral observer made savages feel very uncomfortable when they were about to enact one of their collective dreams, such as human sacrifice. "Must you stare at me like that when I'm about to plunge the blade into his throat? It's creepy."

It's as if the presence of the outsider makes the group aware of their dream-trance, when the whole point of the dream is to not realize it is one.

I remember a similar feeling on one of my first internships, which must have been in around 1987 or so. I didn't know much of anything, and being that I was still a liberal, I actually knew less than that. I was still naive about the ways of the world. Anyway, this internship was at an AIDS hospice in West Hollywood. I guess I was supposed to help people with their feelings or something, but the whole thing was rather ill-defined. I could only handle two afternoons.

Anyway, when I got there, I felt like an orthodox Jew at communion. You know how it is. Everyone stops talking. Sort of like Blazing Saddles: No, I said the shrink isn't a qu... GONG!

This is ridiculous. I'm just trying to entertain you, aren't I, to conceal the fact that this post isn't going anywhere?

Let's start over.

Everyone's got one. A BECAUSE, I mean. It seems to me that a group, in order to be one, must share the same Because, or inhabit the same social trance.

A trivial example, but my son's Little League team is the Cardinals. One of the dads is a lifetime Cubs fan who grew up in Chicago, so he absolutely cannot bring himself to wear a Cards hat. I told him I empathized, because if my son were unfortunate enough to be on the Giants, under no circumstances would I soil my dome with their skeevy merchandise.

Weird? Yes. But only because you don't dream Dodger blue. Any longtime Dodger fan shares the dream, and would know exactly how I feel. I mean, c'mon. This was during my first year as a fan, and I don't forget that easy:

Liberals and conservatives don't just differ on this or that policy, but inhabit different dreamworlds. Likewise Islamists. Or Paul Krugman, as discussed in yesterday's post, recklessly swinging those racist bats in his belfry. That he feels so free to spew such craziness means not only that there are plenty of people who share his dream, but that he seems to have never met anyone who doesn't. He's like the medieval peasant who has never actually seen a Jew, but only knows they have horns and cloven feet, as do Giants fans.

David Mamet uses the term "recognition symbols." You might think of these as outward cues about the dream a person inhabits: they are "the slang terms, jokes, and archetypes that minority groups employ to signal their understanding of and belonging with each other."

A contemporary liberal education -- especially at our finest universities -- consists essentially of "Nothing. Students learn five recognition symbols that make them comfortable in conversation with other people who know nothing."

Or in other words, they internalize the rudiments of the dream, so as to function without friction in the totalitarian dreamworld of the left.

There is friction of course, but only when they hear rumors of one of those conservatives with the horns and cloven feet. I mean, have you taken a good look at Megyn Kelly? I hear she's a monster!

16 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

It's as if the presence of the outsider makes the group aware of their dream-trance, when the whole point of the dream is to not realize it is one.

The trick is to sit very quietly, and try not to make eye contact. Eventually, while they probably won't accept you as part of the in group, you'll become invisible to their eyes. Kind of like furniture.

3/20/2014 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Shhhh! The King is sleeping.

3/20/2014 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

When you affix all 5 bumper stickers, you will achieve total consciousness.
So you got that goin for ya.
Which is nice.

3/20/2014 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

I believe the Coon Classic is correct, wherein Capt Cook says to Chief Savage, "you know, in my tribe, they'd hang you for murder."
As Bailie wrote it, the Chief said "'Vile! Vile!' for he could not bear to hear another word."

3/20/2014 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I remember something about human sacrifice being "unanimity minus one."

3/20/2014 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

...and if one = you + run!

3/20/2014 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

Mamet:



“I remember as a young man looking at my father, a successful businessman, and thinking, ‘I don’t know anything. How am I going to matriculate into society and become self-reliant?’” Mamet said. “A healthy society helps a young man or woman matriculate. It says, ‘Off you go into something in which you’ll be judged.’ Then, the fear of matriculation is gradually replaced by the physical memory of accomplishment. So, little by little, it gets easier.”

It is the well-intentioned, but destructive attempt to assuage the fear of matriculation, and the lack of incentive to prove one’s worth, competence, and skill, that have created a culture of conformity, weakness, and banality. “If one tries to save the young from the rigors and traumas of life, you’re saving them from life,” Mamet said.


This describes the production of young well-off liberal men perfectly.

3/20/2014 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Magister said...

link:

http://thefederalist.com/2014/03/13/war-stories-an-interview-with-david-mamet/

3/20/2014 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"I remember a similar feeling on one of my first internships, which must have been in around 1987 or so. I didn't know much of anything, and being that I was still a liberal, I actually knew less than that."

That's so funny...because! :)

3/20/2014 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"The shrink doesn't have any beer?"

3/20/2014 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Speaking of Blazing Saddles, it would be even more uncomfortable if everyone at an AIDS hospice was named Johnson.

3/20/2014 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Sorry about that "up yours..."

3/20/2014 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Now you know why they don't allow me in them places.

3/20/2014 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"I think it was Aristotle who defined philosophy as the search for ultimate causes. How do we know when we've reached an adequate, let alone ultimate, explanation? I suppose adequate explanations are sufficient to get us through the day, but if you're at all introspective, you'll very quickly see through the absurdity and even insanity of most of these."

There's a key question, 'What is adequate?' For most modernists, and particularly for ProRegressives, and even more particularly for leftists, 'adequate' means 'agrees with me', and that agreement need not extend one whit further than than that. Further integration need not apply. Which is a very handy result of discarding principles and logic and reality... when all can be doubted, preference is the only thing that gives anything any more standing than anything else.

And speaking of dream trances, outsiders and Capt Cook - here's one person who was shocked to find that their sense of destiny and wealth bought them nothing more than the privilege of becoming a meal: "Cannibals gave new meaning to Oysters Rockefeller"

And finally, Aristotle has a quote in his Nichomachean Ethics, from Anaxagorous, that I'm sure every Coon resonates with, that to common folk:
"... Anaxagoras also seems to have supposed the happy man not to be rich nor a despot, when he said that he would not be surprised if the happy man were to seem to most people a strange person; for they judge by externals, since these are all they perceive..."

3/20/2014 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Relevant to this week's posts in general, The Battle Over the American Narrative:

"The ever more common use of 'narrative' signifies the widespread and growing skepticism about any and all of the general accounts of events that have been, and are being, provided to us. We are living in an era of pervasive genteel disbelief—nothing so robust as relativism, but instead something more like a sustained 'whatever'—and the word 'narrative' provides a way of talking neutrally about such accounts while distancing ourselves from a consideration of their truth. Narratives are understood to be 'constructed,' and it is assumed that their construction involves conscious or unconscious elements of selectivity—acts of suppression, inflation, and substitution, all meant to fashion the sequencing and coloration of events into an instrument that conveys what the narrator wants us to see and believe."

3/21/2014 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Someone defined postmodernism as incredulity toward all metanarratives.

3/21/2014 09:53:00 AM  

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