Wednesday, June 24, 2009

You Shall Know Them by Their Ideals

An old post with a few contemporary rifferences tossed in....

An analysis of the ego cannot occur without simultaneously discussing the Ideal Man (at least implicitly). Because if the ego is what is wrong, we must have some idea or model of what is right.

This is only true of human beings, by the way. There are no good or bad animals. You can’t tell a pig to stop acting like one, which is why all those visits to the Clinton White House had no effect on Arafat, and Obama's craven appeasement of the Iranian thugs will only encourage them.

Human beings come into the world seeking role models to emulate. Oddly enough, we don’t “know” how to be human, so we imitate and internalize the behavior of those who are immediately at hand. But clearly, not everyone we internalize is noble or praiseworthy, to say the least.

In his formulation of the superego, Freud outlined two distinctly different aspects, the conscience and the ego ideal. Most of us have at least a rudimentary familiarity with the conscience, Arafat or Ahmadinejad to the contrary notwithstanding. It the “internal sentry” that rewards or punishes us for our thoughts and behaviors.

But the superego must not be confused with morality per se. It is extremely common to internalize a superego that punishes good behavior and rewards bad behavior, as we see throughout the Muslim world. (I addressed this problem in a previous post entitled Conscience, Superego, and Huk al Berri.)

It is also common to have a “corrupt superego,” which, as you might imagine, is similar to having a corrupt police force or military. It may technically believe the right thing, but will be unable to enforce it in a consistent manner. It is often at the basis of what we call hypocrisy, although it is completely unconscious.

As I wrote in the post linked above, “The problem with Freud's conception is that the superego will reflect the particular family in which one grew up and the particular culture in which one lives. As such, the superego is not necessarily moral at all. It is essentially amoral, in that it may well punish the individual for morally good behavior and reward him for morally bad behavior, depending upon the culture.

“Here we can understand why the emphasis on truth is so vital. For in the Arab Muslim world, they are so inundated with vicious lies about America and Israel that it would be immoral for them not to hate us. In a racist or anti-Semitic society, the superego will actually demand that its members be racist and anti-Semitic. For example, the nazi movement in Germany was animated by perversely 'high ideals,' without which they couldn't have engaged in their project to exterminate the Jews. Once the lie is established as truth, then the superego takes over, impelling the individual to act in a ‘moral’ way, consistent with the implications of the lie.”

The other dimension of the superego is called the “ego ideal.” Whereas the conscience punishes or restrains, the ego ideal “spurs” or encourages. You might call it our “destiny drive,” as the trajectory of our life can be measured in terms of how effectively we close the distance between ourselves and our ideal.

A person’s ego ideal speaks volumes about who they are “deep down.” However, it also reveals a great deal about a culture or nation, because all groups have collective ego ideals who act as a telos or “north star” to guide them. There are political ego ideals, religious ones, and other kinds.

One of the problems we face in our war against leftist fundamentalism and radical Islam is that we have entirely different and irreconcilable ego ideals. In the case of Islam, their political and religious ego ideal is the same man. But by the standards of the West, Mohammed was not a model worthy of emulation, what with his warlike behavior, his pedophilia, and genocidal attitude toward "infidels."

One of the baleful effects of the secular left has been to “deconstruct” and undermine the heroic and virtuous ego ideals who have always guided the United States. You know the tedious drill -- the founding fathers were just slave holders or self-interested businessmen, capitalism is exploitation, America is hotbed of racistsexisthomophobia . Instead of celebrating Lincoln’s or Washington’s birthdays, we merely have “President’s Day,” which is to conflate a quasi-divine being like Abraham Lincoln with a creepy, sanctimonious, petty, egomaniacal, Jew-hating, and all-around morally reprehensible weasel such as Jimmy Carter.

But this type of moral leveling is always at the heart of the leftist project, because it goes hand in hand with the assault on standards of any kind. For the left, all hierarchies are bad, because some people will fail to meet the ideal and therefore feel bad. But their entire philosophy is a fine example of a collectively corrupt superego, because there is no one so secretly elitist and superior as Leftist Man.

One of the purposes of leftism is to fool the conscience into thinking one is a good person just because one supposedly cares about “the little guy,” or about global warming, or about the evils of Walmart, or about being nice to terrorists. This is why studies always show that conservatives are personally much more charitable and giving (not forgetting happy) than liberals.

Imagine the immense appeal of this corrupt philosophy to the typically narcissistic Hollywood celebrity who has never even attempted to master himself, much less succeeded. But all is forgiven so long as he believes in high taxes and a massive state.

I don’t know about you, but I can look back at my own life and see a series of used and discarded ego ideals who have formed the “stepping stones” to my own true self. Some of them might appear trivial, but in each instance, I can see how they represented an external model for a part of myself that endures to this day.

For example, I remember when the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest came out, it had a profound effect on me. I totally related to R.P. McMurphy, in that he represented sanity or the “life instinct” amidst the dreary world of totalitarian, life-denying conformity. I didn't see it at the time, but the messianic parallels with Christianity are obvious: McMurphy is actually the sane one in an insane system, so he must be crucified, i.e., lobotomized. Today we call it “political correctness,” which represents a collective mechanism for lobotomizing the sane and killing the truth. The New York Times, the MSM, and academia all represent the oppressive and tedious Nurse Ratched.

Now, just as the Islamist hates America or Israel because he believes lies about them, the pernicious idea that “all you need is love” inevitably leads to an assault on truth and the death of the mind. Thus, Obama's rush to non-judgment about how much he respects the sovereignty of the Iranian government is rooted either in self-deception or outright lying. The most he could say about the evil murder of Neda Agha-Soltani was that it was "unjust." I know how he feels. The other day I unjustly received a parking ticket from the state.

We must only love and respect what is good or what is true, not what is false and indecent. To say “all you need is love” is to say that love is worthless, because it is incapable of discerning what is worthy of being loved. Yes, God is love. But love is not God, for God is also Truth, Judgment, Justice, and even Divine Wrath, and each of these is an important dimension of love.

Yes, there are saints and mystics who ascend so high that these distinctions disappear. But that path specifically involves an upward journey through the God-willed hierarchy, not an iconoclastic downward escape into egalitarian mush. (Speaking of multi-dimensional love, I like the way Mysteress Joan put it the other day, regarding our thankless attempt to lead a hapless young troll to the Light: "You can't really rip his throat out because he's too young to appreciate the gesture.")

We have both a celestial archetype and a worldly one, and it is critical to bear this difference in mind. When Adam fell, he fell from the celestial archetype of “man as such” and became “such and such a man,” as I have heard Schuon express it in a different context. He became a hardened “ego” as it were, closed off from the higher world. Now, an ego can be a prison or it can serve as a means of escape, largely depending upon the ego ideal.

Or perhaps we should draw a distinction between an “ego ideal” and a “celestial ideal.” An ego ideal helps us to discover our own relatively unique way of being who we are, our “soul fingerprint,” as it were. But the celestial ideal leads us back to our pre-fallen state. You might say that the ego ideal is the particular in the universal, while the celestial idea is the universal in the particular.

At some point -- if we are lucky -- we will graduate from being a mere individual (which is itself an accomplishment, since it is freedom lived) to being a “mode of the infinite.” And once that we have attained our precious individuality, we will have something of value to offer up to the divine. For a sacrifice is only worthy to the extent that it is of something valuable.

And here we return to the hierarchy of being and the importance of “being somebody before you can be nobody.” It matters not for an ant to sacrifice himself to the collective, because one ant is just like any other. For the same reason, I suppose it is easy to be a suicide bomber, because there is so little opportunity in the Islamic world to actually become who one is -- to achieve one's potential and be “somebody." So these worthless nobodies escape history “from below,” by blowing up the train and the tracks, and hope for the most worldly forms of egoic gratification in the afterlife. As our own left has everything backwards, the Islamists have it upside down.

Related @ American Thinker: "[T]he most moralistic president since Jimmy [Carter] is also a moral coward. Not surprising, is it? Moralizing is just another way of propping up one's ego. Morality is making the tough choices when life presents us with a clear choice between good and evil."


Warren said...

>> the pernicious idea that “all you need is love”

I have no problem with this statement as long as we assign a non-trivial definition to the word "love" (as in "caritas").

All modern definitions of "love" are, unfortunately, trivial. One of the big reasons why Christianity is utterly misunderstood today - even by many Christians.

Anonymous said...

It is odd to read your lies about Mohammed while in the same post quote from a man, Schuon, who was deeply devoted to him. You hate deconstruction, unless it serves your myopic purposes.

Gagdad Bob said...

If Mohammed was not warlike, did not marry a child, and is misquoted in the Koran regarding the Jews, then I apologize.

As for Schuon, I take truth where I find it.

sehoy said...

Sorry this is a bit OT, but something you wrote in this post triggered this thought:

Mr. Obama does not like women. They are non-entities, at best, to him.

(Not sure where his daughters fit into this, but I grew up with a father who didn't women, and I was given a "pass" as long as I didn't remind him I was female. And not eveyone is like my dad, I have to keep reminding myself.)

I can't remember now what incident tipped me off, but his reaction to the murder of Neda is just more confirmation of my first shocked impression.

He gives off the same vibes as the islamofascists when it comes to women. Leftists give off those same vibes. Mr. Letterman is just one of the more visible manifestations.

I think it also explains some of Michelle's anger and contempt.

Gagdad Bob said...

Also, there is a reason why Schuon's books are banned in the Islamic world. It's called Islam.

Gagdad Bob said...


Agree about Obama's attitude toward women. Fatherless men often harbor this antipathy toward women because the father was not there to rescue them from the maternal sphere and help them become men. Perhaps this explains why he married such a masculine looking woman -- he's looking for father love in the wrong place -- almost like inverted homosexuality.

Anonymous said...

You might attempt to actually understand Schuon's perspective.

Marrying a young woman is not the same thing as pedophilia. Engaging in warfare is not the same as being "warlike". God speaks in the Koran.

goddinpotty said...

I like the theory that President's Day is part of the generalized leftist conspiracy. I always thought it was an effort of car dealers and other retailers to ensure more three-day weekends, but turns out it was actually orchestrated from Moscow and/or the Yale faculty club.

An extremely minor point, but indicative of the slovenly style of thinking that permeates the air over here.

Susannah said...

I don't know if this is related to his attitude toward women, but his shrugging at infanticide truly shocked me, especially when I saw him with his daughters. He is without excuse. Most men nowadays are present at their children's birth and many even at their children's ultrasounds. That he had no empathy at all for an infant left to die alone in a dirty linens closet indicated a complete moral indifference in him. Every time somebody tries to gussy him up in the media and paint him as someone who "cares about the little guy," I think about that baby dying abandoned in the dirty linens. I think about how he considers humanity at its most innocent unworthy of legal protection. And I know from this fact alone he is not a God-lover. I don't really care about his psychological profile; he had a chance to right a terrible injustice and took a pass. Why should we expect him to care about Neda?

Anonymous said...

Why do leftists hate hunting so much? I wish someone would answer that one.

I've hunted over the years and the sight of my take sometimes has people wagging the fingers at me shame shame.

Excuse me what?

On the other hand, it seems kind of idiotic to spend 3 hours for three squirrels, when the 10 bucks in my wallet gets me a T-bone at Safeway.

And, those three squirrels are cute little fellers and would be scampering about in the leaves the same afternoon I left the woods, if I had gone for a walk and not hunt.

What does God think, I wonder? The man blasts the squirrel. The urge to kill was given to the man by God, so it must be OK, yeh?

Or, the man could hold off on blasting the squirrel, and dine better on the T-bone. Squirrel an man both win.

Cow loses.

So where does God weigh in on this web of circumstances? What is the real morality of hunting, once human morality is factored out?

What does God want?

Anonymous said...

"Marrying a young woman is not the same as pedophilia."

Agreed. If by "young woman" you mean a 6 year old, then I concede your point.

--Bob @ "work"

Susannah said...

Two words for anon...Brunswick Stew. Okay, two more: Noahic Covenant. Hint: Gen. 9.

Susannah said...

I can also recommend a couple of spots for squirrel hunting that will net you 3 squirrels in as many minutes. That's a pretty decent return for a couple of bucks' ammo. (That's assuming you're a decent shot, of course.)

bob f. said...

" the standards of the West, Mohammed was not a model worthy of emulation, what with his warlike behavior, his pedophilia, and genocidal attitude toward 'infidels.'"

Been reading Jamie Glazov's "United in Hate" about the strange alliance between the Left and Mohammedans. I am amazed that, as low as my opinion of Islam was before reading this work, it has plummeted all the way to hell, which is the most likely source of the archangel that whispered all those sweet nothings into Mohammed's ear. Just their treatment of women and children makes Islam a hellish religion, with a few noble exceptions.

Anonymous said...

Women were treated similarly in the west until it embraced a secular/scientific worldview. It all hangs together.

ximeze said...

bob f.
Take a gander at this report from the UK Guardian (scroll to 3:32pm):

Newspaper Roozonline has an interview (in Persian) with one of the young plainclothes militiamen who have been beating protesters.

UPDATE: Robert says the man is paid 2m rial per day, which would be about £1220 for ten days of work. A hefty fee, even by UK standards. A reader writes: "You can imagine what that kind of money means to a villager from Khorasan".

The Guardian's Robert Tait sends this synopsis:

The man, who has come from a small town in the eastern province of Khorasan and has never been in Tehran before, says he is being paid 2m rial (£122) to assault protestors with a heavy wooden stave. He says the money is the main incentive as it will enable him to get married and may even enable him to afford more than one wife. Leadership of the volunteers has been provided by a man known only as "Hajji", who has instructed his men to "beat the counter-revolutionaries so hard that they won't be able to stand up". The volunteers, most of them from far-flung provinces such as Khuzestan, Arak and Mazandaran, are being kept in hostel accommodation, reportedly in east Tehran. Other volunteers, he says, have been brought from Lebanon, where the Iranian regime has strong allies in the Hezbollah movement. They are said to be more highly-paid than their Iranian counterparts and are put up in hotels. The last piece of information seems to confirm the suspicion of many Iranians that foreign security personnel are being used to suppress the demonstrators. For all his talk of the legal process, this interview provides a key insight into where Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, believes the true source of his legitimacy rests.

ximeze said...

anon 1:26 -

Not even wrong

ximeze said...

Weinie Prez now says 4th of July weinies for Iran Diplos are off.

Can't wait for Obot spin on this one.

goddinpotty said...

It is interesting the amount of breastbeating produced in the US over the death of one Iranian woman, when our flying death robots have just killed scores of people in Pakistan. This is the 22nd such strike this year. I'm guessing that of the hundreds killed, at least a couple are just as innocent as Neta and bled to death just as heartrenderingly, even if it didn't go viral on Youtube. Unlike the casualties in Iran, those deaths were paid for by me and you.

Susannah said...

Pretty bad when the trolls are resorting to "Obama lied and people died." It's the least a people can ask of their govt. not to hire foreign thugs to kill them on their own streets.

Gagdad Bob said...

Truly, what can you say to someone who doesn't understand the infinite distinction between a person murdered by fascists vs. someone accidentally killed in the effort to liberate people from fascism? There is nothing you can say. You are dealing with a deeply sick soul who cannot be helped.

Van said...

"It is also common to have a “corrupt superego,” which, as you might imagine, is similar to having a corrupt police force or military. It may technically believe the right thing, but will be unable to enforce it in a consistent manner. It is often at the basis of what we call hypocrisy, although it is completely unconscious."

As is the situation of a nation which has accepted a false philosophy such as any or all shades of leftist-proregressivism. The normal person who hasn't given much more thought to what is right and what is wrong, other than what they were indoctrinated with, does what they think is right, unaware (though not without a little bit of "how is that right... if this... oh nevermind") that their every action to make things right, only makes things worse and worse.

Van said...

"It is interesting the amount of breastbeating produced in the US over the death of one Iranian woman, when our flying death robots have just killed scores of people in Pakistan. This is the 22nd such strike this year."

I think it's interesting how consistently, and predictably, stupid the leftist can be. Still shocking... but not surprising. Same unprincipled idiocy that made the CNN (?) newsbabe at the tea party piously spouting "Don't you realize that President Obabma is giving you a tax cut this year?!"

All is quantity, any inklings of quality, principle, higher values, are unknown or be damned.

Yeah... but imagine the pimp.

goddinpotty said...

I realize that when we murder people, it's always in their best interests, and they would probably be grateful if they still had the capacity. Perhaps their relatives should be writing us thank-you notes.

Isn't the title of this post in direct contradiction to Christ's teachings? Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves... Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Ideals are cheap. People and countries get judged by their deeds, not their ideological justifications.

The over-use of the f-word was one of the more annoying tropes of the Left, Old and New. Why lunkhead wingnuts have chosen to take up the slack in that department is a mystery to me. Islamic theocracy is pretty horrible, but it bears almost no relationship to anything that is properly called fascism.

Mr. Webster said...

a. A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

b. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a system of government.

c. Oppressive, dictatorial control.

Van said...

garglingpottywater said "Perhaps their relatives should be writing us thank-you notes."

Do you really 'live' is such a panicked shell that you aren't aware of just such letters, and even monuments, from survivors who lost loved ones and/or were themselves wounded, from bombing and shelling in occupied France, even Dresden and more, who gave just such thanks for being delivered from the Nazi's? Many as well from (gasp!) Iraq, such as the man who was thankful for being delivered from several years of living within the walls of his home, because of the terror of Saddam and his sons?

"Ideals are cheap. People and countries get judged by their deeds, not their ideological justifications."

Got that right. It'd go better for you though if you knew which was which.

"...What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! "

From Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death
Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775.

The sickening truth is that, yes, modern leftists do hold their miserable little lives and peace so saccharine sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery.

sehoy said...

Truly, what can you say to someone who doesn't understand the infinite distinction between a person murdered by fascists vs. someone accidentally killed in the effort to liberate people from fascism? There is nothing you can say. You are dealing with a deeply sick soul who cannot be helped.

Thank you, again, for saying such things as this. (I remember what you said about the pope and torture).

I wish it mattered to the person you addressed it to, but it matters to me.

My husband was one of the many soldiers who entered Baghdad, and he says that the targets were very precise and that the damage was as limited as possible. As VDH says, Isreal and America are the only countries that HOLD THEMSELVES to the HIGH STANDARD of MINIMIZING CASUALTIES IN A WARZONE.

I am certain godinpotty has only fought on the virtual battlefield, and for that, I despise anything he has to say about the reality of battle and I despise his standing on the moral highground.

hoarhey said...

Hey jackass, godinpotty, yeah you.
Wasn't it your boy Obama who was complaining during the campaign about how the U.S. was bombing innocent civilians and how he was going to stop it? So what's he done? How about going to him or at least over to the daily kos with your personal problems instead of bitching about it here, like you're proving something.
Your leftist assholes have the power and the numbers now dumbass, all of it, and they can do whatever they want. Go complain to those hypocrites. Moron.

w.v cooti

Time for a shower.