Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Psychic Vomitoreum of Politics

Continuing with our Dual Track Theory of Mind and Everything Else, the next place I stumbled upon the concept was in the works of psychoanalyst James Grotstein, who writes that "Only through integration of various experiential perspectives is the illusion of unitary experience created, much as an integrated visual depth is achieved through an integration of slightly different visual images perceived by each eye."

In his case, he's talking about the complementary relationship between the conscious and unconscious minds. In the older conception, it was as if the conscious mind were built on the ruins of an older and more primitive unconscious, and understanding the latter was something like an archaeological dig.

But in the newer conception, we see that it is more of a dialectic, such that there is "unconsciousness" in all consciousness, and vice versa.

Indeed, this is what lends reality its richness, depth, and mystery; it is what makes us poets and visionaries instead of atheists or computers. Thank God, we always see (implicitly) more than we can possibly say (explicitly), which is one of the main points of Polanyi's epistemology.

Furthermore, we can never rid the world of this mystery on pain of being slapped upside the head by the ghost of Gödel. You might say that, try as we might to encircle the world with our left brain, our right brain always escapes confinement. Unless we somehow disable the latter.

Which does happen. Again, consider an extreme case such as Marxism, which fully explains man and history. But then Gödel slaps Marx upside the head, and reminds him that a theory can be complete or consistent, but not both. Which is it then Karl?

And now you know why every form of leftism since then is laughably inconsistent.


Okay, here's one chosen at random from this morning on liberals and their bogus charges of racism. Like Marxism, the liberal theory of white racism and white privilege is a complete explanation. But it cannot be consistent on pain of attributing an even worse form of racist oppression and privilege to Asians, Ashkenazi Jews, and Persian Americans.

Do not expect liberals to be troubled by their inconsistency any time soon. This would require a tolerance of cognitive dissonance to which liberals are notoriously intolerant.

The same applies to all forms of feminism, a doctrine so liberating that it can only exist at the end of a gunpoint, i.e., via state coercion.

In California schools, for example, no one is "free" to accept or reject feminism on the merits. Rather, it is legislated into textbooks, as it is into sports, into the university system, and on into statistical disparities in employment. But only for pleasant jobs. It doesn't matter if men have all the physically demanding but low paying ones.

Once you start looking for them, Dual Tracks are everywhere -- for example, in men and women. Feminists ardently desire to wish that one away, but from where does this perverse ardency emanate? For example, within my lifetime men were once ardent for women, and vice versa. But a feminist is ardent to be a man. "They are, in the end, asking women to make themselves unattractive to men and forego love and children" (Levin).

Anyway, with no less than two tracks operating at all times, one would think that the attainment of unitary experience would be difficult -- that we would constantly be aware of a kind of "split personality" within. Well, to a certain extent we are. One thing I like about Bion is that he reduces it all down to its most abstract terms, in this case Container (which he symbolizes ♀) and Contained (symbolized ♂). You could even say psychic womb and explosive seed.

Looked at in this way, you might say that Life is an unceasing attempt at containment. We are constantly being bombarded by thoughts, impulses, and emotions. From where do they come? Who knows? And as we mentioned yesterday, sometimes the process can go entirely off the rails, such that containment becomes impossible. The person-container becomes swamped by the contained, with no unity or coherence.

It just occurred to me how this is happening to the Clinton campaign. Think of the "narrative" as the container. Since Sunday, all sorts of things have broken through the container, and liberals are feverishly attempting to repair it. But as usual, they can never be consistent, only complete, however implausibly.

Another interesting dual track is nature vs. nurture. We are never one or the other, but an unsettled dialectic of both/and. Now feminism in particular, but liberalism more generally, defaults to the environmental side, with consequences ranging from ridiculous to malignant.

In fact, the consequences would be only ridiculous if not for the fact that liberals enlist the state to enforce the ridiculousness, as per the above. Similarly, I have nothing against homosexuals per se, but when the state insists that two members of the same sex can exist in a state of marriage, it is mandating compulsory absurdity.

We are all called upon to metabolize disparate experience into a unitary self -- just as when we digest food, it somehow turns into the body. But there are alternatives to digestion. For example, we can vomit, as in bulimia; we can starve ourselves, as in anorexia; we can eat indiscriminately and become fat; we can have metabolic disorders such as diabetes; etc.

Shifting to the psychic plane, one extremely common form of indigestion is projection. I'll provide a typical clinical example. A woman is at work, and sees a male coworker playfully reach up the skirt of a female coworker. The female withdraws but doesn't seem to mind. Rather, she is more flirtatious than bothered by it. In fact, she herself dresses inappropriately at work, with excessively short skirts.

Yes, the behavior is no doubt inappropriate for a workplace. But the woman who witnessed it becomes overwhelmed with anger and anxiety. The anxiety is so intense that it manifests in sweating, headache, and the impulse to vomit. And once it breaks through, it doesn't go away. It morphs into insomnia, phobic avoidance of work, and other symptoms. As in a nuclear reactor, the core has been breeched and is uncontained.

What is going on? We hear so much ridiculous blather about "triggers," that we may fail to appreciate that they do exist. For this person, the experience resonated with previously quiescent memories of having been sexually abused as a child. The memories have become "uncontained" and are spilling over into the exterior world. It is analogous to a kind of psychic vomiting of indigestible experience.

Much of politics is just management of the uncontained, especially of more primitive emotions of fear, anger, and envy. Without feminist and black rage, there is hardly a Democratic party. Likewise apocalyptic environmental fears. And then there is class envy. If liberals could merely contain these primitive emotions, then they wouldn't be liberals. Or in other words, they would no longer need liberalism to contain their primitive emotions.

Of note, they also project primitive "loving" emotions, such as the need to feel nurtured and protected by the state.

All of this presumes a developmental telos in man. In short, we all start out as helpless and dependent infants. With "good enough parenting" we will go through various developmental stages, ending with what is called "mature dependency."

This is an I-AMbiguous station, because it must avoid immature dependency on one side, and a pseudo-mature independence on the other. Indeed, it is a middle ground between the dual tracks of dependence/independence, or social-ism/narciss-ism.

This is all by way of a preluminary to the granddaddy of all Dual Tracks, man and God -- or, you might say our divine and human natures. It seems to me that all other tracks must be fractals of that one.


Blogger julie said...

Thank God, we always see (implicitly) more than we can possibly say (explicitly), which is one of the main points of Polanyi's epistemology.

Yes - just because the ineffable can't be effed, that doesn't mean it isn't real.

9/15/2016 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

What is going on? We hear so much ridiculous blather about "triggers," that we may fail to appreciate that they do exist. For this person, the experience resonated with previously quiescent memories of having been sexually abused as a child. The memories have become "uncontained" and are spilling over into the exterior world. It is analogous to a kind of psychic vomiting of indigestible experience.

There was a video going around a few months ago when the bathroom debates were raging: a group of women from various walks of life in Washington were giving a talk about why bathroom use should be determined by biological sex. Past abuse was a big part of the issue; not that the trans-women in the audience cared in the slightest. One of the women related her experience as a child, where her abuser used to walk in on her in the bathroom and the shower, constantly, and then complained that if she did not allow him to do so, she didn't love him; a heaping helping of crybullying along with the physical abuse.

Can't find the video now (surprise, surprise), but at their presentation they were screamed at and shouted down by transactivists almost the entire time. Really appalling behavior by people demanding compassion for themselves, while refusing to allow any to anyone else.

9/15/2016 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of psychic vomiting:

"The Republican Party has actually nominated for president an irresponsible, unrealistic, naive, petulant, childish, vindictive, prejudiced, bigoted, racist, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, fascistic, authoritarian, insensitive, erratic, disturbed, irrational, inhuman individual named Donald John Trump,” Mr. Olbermann said as he concluded his 17-minute monologue.

9/15/2016 01:02:00 PM  

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