Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Blest Things in Life are Invisible

So, I caught Nurse Ratched's press conference yesterday, and was struck by how much she really does remind me of Nurse Ratched. It's spooky. Between her and Obama, it's difficult to say who's the more irritating.

And yet, there are obviously people -- millions of them -- who not only don't find her irritating, but want her to be their Big Nurse.

Speaking of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, this reminds me of when McMurphy discovers that most of the other patients are there voluntarily. In other words, they choose to live under the tyrannical compassion of Nurse Hillary.

--Now, look... I'm voluntary here, see? I'm not committed. I don't have to stay here. I mean, I can go home anytime I want.

--You can go home anytime you want?

--That's it.

--You're bullshitting me! He's bullshitting me, right?

--No, Randall, he's telling you the truth. As a matter of fact, there are very few men here who are committed...

--Jesus, I mean, you guys do nothing but complain about how you can't stand it in this place, and then you haven't got the guts to walk out? What do you think you are, for Christ's sake? Crazy or something? Well, you're not. You're not! You're no crazier than the average asshole walking around on the streets.

--Those are very challenging observations you made, Randall. I'm sure some of the men would like to comment.

The subsequent scene is very much like yesterday's press conference except that instead of cigarets, Cheswick wants his emails (for they belong to us):

First of all, You sit down, Mr. Cheswick, and wait your turn. Go ahead, sit down! I want to first respond to this planted question about whether this phony scandal is really because Vagina.

--I would like to know about your emails. May we have your emails, please, Mrs. Clinton?

Eventually Cheswick decompensates in frustration, and all hell breaks loose: "Look, I don't want Jeb Bush's emails. And I don't want Bill Clinton's, or Colin Powell's, or John Kerry's, or Brian Williams'... Do you understand that? I want your emails, Mrs. Clinton!

Here's what I don't quite understand. Everyone who sees One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest presumably identifies with McMurphy. Can you imagine seeing the movie and rooting for Nurse Ratched to break his spirit?

Yet, in real life, the same people are liable to be rigid and tyrannical little Nurse Ratcheds. They're in charge of the asylum, but are crazier than the inmates. Does anyone out there think that Bill and Hillary are models of mental health? Or that they don't have a rather odd arrangement to go under the heading of "marriage"?

Speaking of films, I would bet there is a 100% correlation between people who support Hillary and people who identify with the snipees instead of The Sniper. Look at Michael Moore: his uncle was supposedly killed by a Nazi sniper, so snipers are immoral cowards!

Which is like saying my uncle was killed in a knife fight, so surgeons are sadistic butchers!

(Just to be clear, obviously not all Hillary supporters despise The Sniper, but all who despise him support Big Nurse Clinton -- or someone worse, e.g., Big Chief Warren.)

In any event, the above actually goes to what we've been discussing about idiom, because people support politicians who speak their interior language. George Washington resonates with my idiom. Likewise Abraham Lincoln or Ronald Reagan. Conversely, Obama speaks a foreign idiom, as does Hillary. There is no interior resonance whatsoever. They are irritating and unappealing in every way. They grate.

I suppose that's a good word for an environment in which you cannot discover your idiom: it grates. It goes against the psychic grain. It's intrinsically frustrating. If you're anything like me, it makes you wanna throttle somebody.

But we have to use our words. Which isn't exactly a fair fight, because they get to back up their unctuous words with the violence of the state. We can't tell the IRS: "I've gone through my records and provided you with the amount I owe. No, you cannot see my records because they belong to me."

Which we should be allowed to say, by the way. Among other things, a flat tax would restore our fourth amendment protection against involuntary colonoscopies.

Let me change the focus before she makes a maniac out of me.

Bollas writes of how "We each live amidst thousands of [idiomatic] objects that enlighten our world -- things that are not hallucinations," but whose "meaning resides in [an] 'intermediate space' or 'third area': the place where subject meets thing, to confer significance in the very moment that being is transformed by the object."

Therefore, the world -- a particular world, i.e., yours or mine -- exists in this intermediate space "between the subject's state of mind and the thing's character."

This goes very much to what we were saying a few weeks back about Interpersonal Neurobiology: that there is always the irreducible trinity of mind, brain, and relationships. The latter can never be "seen," but nor are they only in the brain or mind.

Rather, they are always in-between. In fact, I would say that they constitute in-betweenness as such. Because human beings are intrinsically relational, we live in this resonant intermediate space.

Interestingly, this whole way of thinking occupies a kind of third area between a completely uncritical realism and Kant's transcendental idealism. The former holds that we experience the world as it is, while the latter maintains that experience is essentially constrained by our innate categories of knowing.

However this Third Way combines both: that we do have access to the real world, but that we personalize the world via our own idiom. Think of two people watching the same baseball game, one who has a passion for the sport, the other knowing nothing about it. Obviously they will perceive very different things. And most of what the enthusiast perceives will be invisible, existing only in that third space.

Now, this is quintessentially true of religion. While we can all see, for example, a Catholic service, the real action is taking place in the intermediate space. More generally, the invisible action between God and man is relational and intersubjective. Revelation is revealed in this nonlocal third world, or not at all. You can ask for visible signs and wonders, but you still have to perceive their invisible significance.

To be continued...

20 Comments:

Blogger Rick said...

"Think of two people watching the same baseball game, one who has a passion for the sport, the other knowing nothing about it."

This likewise recalls the invisible baseball game in One Flew Over the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

3/11/2015 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I was thinking of that, but was too tired to work it in!

(I woke up too early this morning...)

3/11/2015 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Before I finish reading, there are people in both parties that want a Nurse Ratched. They just want their Big Nurse. The last time I logged onto Free Republic -- it's been a while -- I got into an exchange with a guy who insisted that I could not be Christian and libertarian. You can't just let people do what they want. That would be like chaos.

Like the free market. If you quit trying to grab the pennies out of the air, probability would be your friend.

3/11/2015 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes. Most people get into politics because they want power, but very few are like Reagan, who wanted the power to return it to the citizens.

3/11/2015 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

You can ask for visible signs and wonders, but you still have to perceive their invisible significance.

Woo-hoo!

Also, thinking about the baseball game, would there be a dark version of third space? A demonic version where you have the guy who loves baseball, the neutral observer of only the visible, and the person who hates baseball and sees it as racist/sexist/homophobic or whatever?

3/11/2015 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That's a very good point. Liberals see all sorts of things that aren't there, because they have an idiomatic need to see them.

3/11/2015 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Paranoia is like that. It's the difference between a forced projection of psychic material into the environment, as opposed to a more passive resonance with what simply is.

3/11/2015 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I think one of the big reasons FNC stomps MSNBC in the ratings is that MSNBC is so forced. They are always forcing bizarre connections that don't exist -- or alternatively, dismantling ones that do.

3/11/2015 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Sometimes I switch back and forth between Ms. Kelly and Mr. Maddow, and the bizarreness of leftworld never ceases to astonish.

3/11/2015 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Interestingly, this whole way of thinking occupies a kind of third area between a completely uncritical realism and Kant's transcendental idealism. The former holds that we experience the world as it is, while the latter maintains that experience is essentially constrained by our innate categories of knowing.

However this Third Way combines both: that we do have access to the real world, but that we personalize the world via our own idiom..."

Yes, we always have access to reality, and whether or not we've consciously included items in our preferred attention list ("bears, check ; babe's, check, soccer, nyet;" and so on) we are always able to turn our awareness to attend to them, or not, as needed.

Kant Could have easily said the same, but then the whole corrupting Reason and destroying the world thing would've been off the table, so, there ya go.

3/11/2015 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

That's a very good point. Liberals see all sorts of things that aren't there, because they have an idiomatic need to see them.

Likewise, there are certain things which they refuse to see, because seeing would require them to either change their minds or admit an intolerable truth about themselves.

3/11/2015 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

For instance, I'd bet that Hillary would not see any resemblance between herself and Nurse Ratched.

3/11/2015 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Hard to understand someone who wants to be the leader of the free world in order to make it less free. But that is the misfortune of someone with a need for power and control being born into the wrong system. Just as there are Chinese who yearn for freedom, there are Americans who yearn for us to be China.

3/11/2015 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Kind of funny that the control freak Hillary should hook up with the undisciplined, id-driven Bubba. Maybe in the end he'll strangle her or she'll lobotomize him.

3/11/2015 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Gagdad said "...But that is the misfortune of someone with a need for power and control being born into the wrong system..."

Funny how times change, isn't it? Just think, if Hitler had been born here in our Founders time, he would have been thoroughly frustrated as every word and deed would have grated upon him deeply. Whereas today... he'd not only feel right at home, but he'd be able to deeply identify with at least two of our leaders with an added bonus option of spicing things up with some gender bending... or he might just stick with Nurse Ratched, no need to go overboard.

3/11/2015 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I know what you're thinking...

3/11/2015 06:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Joe Guelph said...

To me, Hillary doesn't resemble Nurse Ratched nearly as much as Senator Elizabeth Warren does. Maybe it's because I see Ms. Clinton as essentially a cynical operator like her husband, whereas the Massachusetts Senator has that cold, humorless, true-believer look in her eyes in every pic I see of her.

3/11/2015 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Shrillary is the evil side of Nurse Ratched.

3/11/2015 11:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Don'tcha mean the evil evil side?

3/11/2015 11:45:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Well, yeah. That goes without sayin'. Take Hillary's voice, for example.
Seriously. Please take her voice. It's actually painful to listen to her speak. Very irritating.

3/11/2015 11:48:00 PM  

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