The Liberal Subspecies: Homo Controlus
The secular left, as always, is of two mindlessnesses about this: on the one hand, man is nothing but an animal, ergo, a species. On the other hand, he is a product of culture, and therefore not a species at all, since cultures are so beautifully diverse, with no common core, so to speak. In the latter view, putting a man on the moon is no better than putting a bone in one's nose. There's just no universal, objective way to distinguish these activities, much less say that one is more evolved than the other.
But if moon-manners and nose-boners aren't just horizontally diverse but vertically distinct, then they are more like different species. True, they can still interbreed and produce fertile offspring, but that alone doesn't resolve the species problem:
"It is surprisingly difficult to define the word 'species' in a way that applies to all naturally occurring organisms, and the debate among biologists about how to define 'species' and how to identify actual species is called the species problem. Over two dozen distinct definitions of 'species' are in use amongst biologists."
Even though the academically correct insist that man is nothing but an animal species, I have a feeling that they would object to the idea that this species naturally divides into subspecies, but why? I suppose Because Hitler and other progressive thinkers who leapt to the wholly unwarranted conclusion that this was a zero-sum game, and that other subspecies needed to be exterminated. But only a barbarous and undeveloped subspecies would arrive at such an evil conclusion.
Another example of secular muddleheadedness: virtually all psychological theorists posit a developmental model in which man transitions through various stages on the way to maturity. At the same time, they tell us that a fetus is not a human being. In short, they affirm that man is always in transition, pointing beyond himself to a higher organization, except during the first nine months of his existence. We've actually had commenters insist that this entity is not a human being. What is it, then? Oh, just a meaningless aggregate of cells.
That kind of thinking, by the way, is prima facie evidence of a certain subspecies of human being. We've discussed it in the past, but its main psycho-cognitive characteristics revolve around what Melanie Klein called the "paranoid-schizoid position" (heretofore PS) and what Bion called "attacks on linking." Briefly, starting with the latter, an attack on linking has the purpose of eliminating an unwanted meaning by attacking the cognitive links that lead to it.
Let's say, for example, I refuse to believe that congress shall make no law prohibiting the free expression of religion. It takes a lot of cognitive work to make that one go away, but liberals are always up to the task. This is what makes them such an intriguing subspecies to study! Think of the tortured mental process that can result in the belief that religious expression is not a constitutional right, but killing your baby is.
Same with Citizens United. How to get around the fact that congress can make no law abridging the freedom of speech? It takes a constitutional scholar to argue that the amendment applies to all "speech" -- including pornography, flag-burning, and dung-flinging -- except political speech.
Back in the day, I remember that this particular book, The Matrix of the Mind, did a superb job of explaining what paranoid-schizoid thinking is all about. Let's pull it down from the shelf and see if it still holds up.
Here it is, chapter 3, The Paranoid-Schizoid Position: Self as Object. I realize this may or may not be of interest to you, but it is to me, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. So come along. You might even learn something. One thing you might learn about -- not that you care -- is the deeper roots of my whole worldview, roots so deep that they have been forgotten and now operate unconsciously. In other words, this may lay bare some of my cosmic deep structure, for better or worse.
"Melanie Klein's view of psychological development can be viewed as a biphasic progression from the biological to the impersonal-psychological, and from the impersonal-psychological to the subjective." Well, first of all, that's three phases (biological / impersonal-psychological / subjective), to which I would add a fourth, the transcendent-universal, but this is a good start, for it highlights the fact that man is gradually teased out of this biological matrix, both individually and collectively. That is, as I described in the book, just as humanness was teased out of the biosphere, the mature human being is potentiated from the infantile matrix. Indeed,
"The first of these developmental advances involves a transformation of the infant as a purely biological entity into the infant as a psychological entity." The only thing I would add is that when he says "biological," a better term might be "psychobiological," because he's referring to a biological mode of human cognition, not to biology per se. It is a mode of thinking with distinctly human characteristics, not equivalent to something like "cellular thinking."
The shift from biological to psychological marks the entry into the PS position, "a developmental phase of 'itness,' wherein the infant is lived by his experience. Thoughts and feeling happen to the infant rather than being thought or felt by the infant."
I can confirm that Theodore Dalrymple is absolutely correct in his view that the permanent underclass is completely dominated by this arrested form of cognition -- which is why the War On Poverty is utterly beside the point, since we're not just talking about material poverty or even intellectual and spiritual poverty, but an impoverished mode of thinking as such. (See, for example, The Knife Went In. I didn't put it there. It just, you know, happened.)
PS thinking is dominated by certain processes known as "defense mechanisms," but they are really only defense mechanisms for a person in a higher developmental stage. In other words, for PS thinking, they are normative, and especially include splitting and projection, which naturally lead to a failure of integration at various levels of being.
The roots of splitting go back to "the most basic mode of management of danger," that is, "separating the endangering from the endangered." You might say that this is a psychological analogue of, say, a turtle withdrawing into its shell, or a possum playing dead, or a liberal placing his head up his ass. "Logic and volition are no more involved in this pattern of defense than they are in the neurological reflexes of the newborn infant."
Thus, what we call "splitting" is simply a mode of managing psychological danger. But how does a human being separate the endangering from the endangered if they're both in his own head? Easy: by splitting his head in two, and projecting the bad part out (or sometimes by projecting out the good, in order to keep it "safe"). Projection "can be understood as an effort in phantasy to remove an internal danger by locating the danger outside oneself, i.e., separating oneself from it as if it were located in another."
For example, why is it that the only females who believe there is a war on women are those at war with their own femininity? Or, why are men in the Islamic world so obsessed with the dangers of female sexuality? In order to control their own sexual thoughts and impulses, they exert extraordinary control over the object that provokes them. Or, why is it that only covetous liberals obsess over the "greedy one percent"?
In each case, the "bad" is placed outside the individual's mind, but only in phantasy, not of course in reality ("ph" phantasy is a psychoanalytic term of art essentially meaning a fantasy that is operating unconsciously). In reality it is an intrapsychic process between parts of one's own mind. Which is why, as Bion put it, such a person cannot "learn from experience." Why not? Because they are not actually experiencing something outside their own head, for starters. Because of this, the process will simply be repeated ad nauseam, which is one reason why liberals never learn, and why the same mistakes must be made again and again.
In short, with these kinds of primitive processes, "biological automaticity has been transformed into psychological automaticity." Such processes cannot be examined in a detached and critical manner, because they are not quite at the level of "experience." They are more basically "a mode of organizing experience," a mental operation "used in the beginning to create order out of the chaos of the infant's earliest experience on the basis of categories inherent in his instinctual deep structure."
You will have noticed that liberals are all about order. For them, the unjust order imposed by the state is infinitely preferable to the spontaneous order of free human interaction. So, for example, out of the 2.9 million inconsistencies produced by ObamaCare, only 15% can be fixed. Doesn't matter. Anything is preferable to the chaos of freedom. Make it go away!
So yeah, liberals are pretty much a different species: Homo controlus.