Thursday, February 01, 2018

What You See is What You Grok. Or Hallucinate.

A note to myself in the margin says "What you see is what you grok." I've never actually read Stranger in a Strange Land, so I only know the word on a second hand basis. According to Prof. Wiki it has to do with deep understanding -- so deep "that you merge with [the knowledge] and it merges with you":

It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science and it means as little to us as color does to a blind man.

From context, I always thought of it as analogous to Polanyi's tacit knowledge:

All knowing, no matter how formalised, relies upon commitments.... A knower does not stand apart from the universe, but participates personally within it. Our intellectual skills are driven by passionate commitments that motivate discovery and validation.... Tacit awareness connects us, albeit fallibly, with reality. It supplies us with the context within which our articulations have meaning.

So literally, what we see is what we grok, the purpose of this blog being to grok the entire cosmos from top to bottom, inside and out. Some people (and philosophies) grok very little, while others grok in a completely insane way that has no basis in reality. Regarding the latter, I'm thinking of Joe Kennedy's response to the the President's SOTU. Here is what "we see," according to Joe:

"Russia knee-deep in our democracy. An all-out war on environmental protection. A Justice Department rolling back civil rights by the day. Hatred and supremacy proudly marching in our streets."

In reality, only the last is more than a hallucination, but I don't think he's referring to Antifa or bitter witches marching on Washington. More:

"This administration isn’t just targeting the laws that protect us -- they are targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection. For them, dignity isn’t something you’re born with but something you measure."

True, dignity is not something conferred by the state if we manage to escape the abortionist. Rather, we're created with it. Big difference.

Other targets of this administration include "the gender of your spouse. The country of your birth. The color of your skin. The God of your prayers." Kennedy is a Catholic. Neither the God of his prayers nor conservatism attacks the gender of anyone's spouse, so long as it is a spouse and not some novel, logophobic redefinition imposed by the state.

In any event, either leftists actually believe these things -- i.e., they are hallucinating -- or they are just cynical lies for the purpose of manipulating their low watt base. I have always suspected a combination, with cynical manipulators at the top -- the One Percent -- and the mob simply taking directions from above. However, due to the nature of the conscience, which has a way of persecuting us for lying, many people at the top convince themselves that the lies are true.

For example, if you take a speech by Bill Clinton from 20 years ago, or Hillary Clinton from 10 years ago, they are among those who target the gender of your spouse and country of your birth. In other words, like most people, they defended traditional marriage and understood that it is bad for the country to import millions of uneducated and unskilled people from shithole countries. Were they lying then, or are they hallucinating now?

Wow. I hadn't actually heard Kennedy's talk and am reading the transcript for the first time. It's even worse than I thought. Let's stipulate that someone is hallucinating, either them or us. But as Scott Adams helpfully explains,

if you are not experiencing mass hysteria, you might be totally confused by the actions of the people who are. They appear to be irrational, but in ways that are hard to define. You can’t tell if they are stupid, unscrupulous, ignorant, mentally ill, emotionally unstable or what. It just looks frickin’ crazy.

The question is, how do we know we aren't the ones who are hallucinating? Like so:

One sign of a good mass hysteria is that it sounds bonkers to anyone who is not experiencing it. Imagine your neighbor telling you he thinks the other neighbor is a witch. Or imagine someone saying the local daycare provider is a satanic temple in disguise. Or imagine someone telling you tulip bulbs are more valuable than gold. Crazy stuff.

Being that I am -- back off, man -- a clinical psychologist, this is my stock in trade. In other words, either the patient is somehow out of touch with reality, or I am. But I'm not the one paying the patient to talk to me, so there's that. However, how does that explain all these left wing psychologists? Easy. Change is hard. People would prefer to have their hallucinations confirmed and not confronted.

Ever noticed that Fridays tend to be rambly posts? It must be because I have more time to get lost in my thoughts. But Bob, it's Thursday. True, but until you just said that, I thought it was Friday. In any event, I have no pressing work to do, so I'm in the slack zone.

I want to try to wedge another point into this jumble, a brief aside in the biography of John Paul II that arrested my attention, that "the Holy Spirit can work his will by darkening as well as enlightening people's minds."

I'd never heard this before, but I grokked it right away. It makes total sense. However, it raises a new problem, which is to say, how to distinguish between a lie or hallucination on the one hand, and a Spirit-sponsored, providential endarkening of the mind on the other? I don't know that there is any surefire way, and perhaps we don't need to know, since we still need to confront the lie either way.

But now that I'm thinking about it, there is a kind of intoxicated lying that goes too far, and is too stupid to blame Satan. Satan is subtle. Sophisticated. For this reason, it is impossible for me to believe that he is the author of, for example, Joe Kennedy's fatuous hallucinatory blather.

Another point: hallucination is a term of art, and it is not necessarily helpful to conflate schizophrenic hallucination with whatever it is that leftists such as Kennedy engage in. Leftists may be out of touch with reality, but it doesn't mean they are hallucinating per se. What then?

Bion referred to the process as hallucinosis, or "transformations in hallucinosis," in contrast to "transformations in thought." The former occurs when emotionally-tinged mental content cannot be contained, which is to say, transformed into thought. Instead, it is projected (in what is called unconscious phantasy) into an external container. It creates a "domain of nonexistence," or a "mental world where what is nonexistent 'exists.'"

Moreover, it brings about a kind of "'freedom' that is really an enclosure and a restriction." It feels free, because, via this process, the person has indeed "freed" himself of the painful content. But the person is now persecuted by his own projected mental content.

Along these lines, another thought has been rattling around in my head for the last few days. That is, we all know about the left's incessant virtue signaling, which is done to conceal the signaler's lack thereof (for example, Hollywood predators who are the loudest feminists, or leftist professors who see everything in terms of race while accusing others of racism).

Perhaps even more problematic than virtue signaling is "intelligence signaling" (for lack of a better term). But now that you have the term, you will notice that so much of leftist hivethought is no more than a vacuous exercise in intelligence signaling. And like virtue signaling, it is motivated by its unconscious opposite, which is to say, intellectual insecurity, stupidity, and imitation.

Put conversely, intelligence signaling is a way for these vapid morons to fool themselves into thinking they are among the cognitive elite.

To be continued...


julie said...

Perhaps even more problematic than virtue signaling is "intelligence signaling" (for lack of a better term).

A fair number on the right are guilty of this one, as well, and it's always cringeworthy. Intelligent is as intelligent does; you don't have to be a genius to say something that is wise or true.

re. Joe Quim, er, Kennedy, it was hard to follow what he said while he was speaking, the gleam from the corners of his mouth was incredibly distracting. He sure did emote a lot, though, like a passionate Howdy Doody.

Re. mass hysteria, these days it gets more and more difficult to know just what really is true. As VDH noted this week, "Not all conspiracy theorists are unhinged paranoids."

Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of HS endarkening, how about Michael Wolf:

"This was too much for Mika, who told him, 'This is awkward,' Brzezinski shot back, 'you’re on the set with us. I'm sorry, but you're done.'

"I guess there are some liberal lies that are too embarrassing even for Chirping Parrot."


In other words, Joe and Mika may be diabolical, but they're not crazy!

ted said...

This Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson discussion is well worth viewing.

Gagdad Bob said...

Very good! (I'm only ten minutes in.)

Gagdad Bob said...

Watched the whole thing -- really great. Although there's always something about Ben Shapiro that irritates me. Not sure what it is, because I agree with almost everything he says. It's more the way he comes across -- like a precocious know it all, or something. The opposite of Prager, whose voice is deep and slow, whereas Shapiro's is high and fast, which detracts from any gravitas... Or maybe it's just me.

ted said...

No, I see it too. Shapiro is a tad young, and probably a bit full of hubris in regards to his skills and success. Prager brings in more life experience. Or as Flannery O'Connor said: "Conviction without experience makes for harshness."

But the discussion was very rich! Glad you like it!

Gagdad Bob said...

No wit, either. And of course, it's hard to trust a man who doesn't drink.

Anonymous said...

I don't know as the left is as deluded as you make them out to be. I think you're down into some hallucinosis too, as you describe. Or at the very least, hyperbolic writing.

Sure, Kennedy's screed is exaggerated moonbattery. But do you need to counter his madness with your own, knee-jerk and commensurate irrational response?

You throw terms like witches and Satan around like these might be actual things. Are they, or aren't they? I'd like to know which answer you stand firm on without obfuscation or qualifying. Then your readers can have a benchmark as to how much they can believe what you write.

Trump is a good President, but has also had verifiable instances of being a vulgar, lecherous cad. A balanced person can see the whole picture without having to make the President all good, or all bad. And that goes for anything.

Celebrate clear thinking, shades of gray, and things being pretty much down the middle most of the time. This allows reasonable right wingers and left wingers to balance the nation somewhere in the middle of that sweet, sweet Bell Curve. Get your Bell curve on and snap out of your snit.

julie said...

Ye gods, a cad in the White House! Let me get my smelling salts! It would have been so much better to have a corrupt and evil woman whose husband is an actual rapist leading our country than a man who *gasp* is not a paragon of chastity. Oh, the shame!!

How can I possibly think in shades of gray when my President isn't stark, gleaming white?!

I think I shall go find a fainting couch and read something to ease my mind. Perhaps a nice, brief memo.

Gagdad Bob said...

"Witch" has two meanings, including "an ugly or unpleasant woman," so it is intended in that sense. As for Satan, he is the personification of human evil, or evil upon contact with the human psyche.

Also, I wouldn't call Kennedy's screed "exaggerated moonbattery," since exaggeration presumes an underlying reality that is exaggerated.

Anonymous said...

Robert, Julie:

Your reply comments are well taken. However, I did not imply being a cad disqualified someone from being a decent president. Being vulgar and lecherous does not either. Robert might not wish Leslie stuck on an elevator alone with the President for 12 hours, but he'll do I suppose.

The point I was trying to make, when dealing with opposition persons, most try to find the common ground, for the good of all. We as a nation do this year in and year out, and that's why we have a great centrist nation. This blog don't seem interested in solutions, only defining problems and declaring them intractable, due to the opposition being evil. Like bitter spouses locked in combat, the negative is the only vibe emanating from here. And you used to love the left, didn't you? What was the initial attraction? Start from there.

Even the good in your own conservative culture bloc gets short shrift from you, as you seem to have already declared defeat in the culture wars. Keep fighting, but why not try fighting in a way that might accomplish something? You drift off into historical, philosophical, and literary byways which only seems to reinforce a gloomy belief that all is lost.

Why not say: "All is not lost; the centrist path is a path to stupendous achievements and glorious gains for all through this century and beyond." Right?

Gagdad Bob said...

My attraction to the left was based on the fact that I was an idiot.

Gagdad Bob said...

Also, we do not propose solutions because that's the left's business. In other words, they specialize in presenting attractive but bogus solutions to ontological, existential, psychological, and other types of problems outside the sphere of politics.

Gagdad Bob said...

Anyone see Scorsese's Silence from a couple years ago? I recorded and watched it last night. Very powerful, with incredible acting and cinematography (now I wish I'd seen it in a theatre). However, I don't really know what to make of it. It raises many questions, with no easy answers...

ted said...

I really loved Silence. Even blogged about it at the time. Definitely a labor of love on Scorsese's part.

Gagdad Bob said...

I started watching it again tonight, looking for clues...