Damn: this is one of the best essays I can remember reading in a long time, Psychopathy and the Origins of Totalitarianism, by James Lindsay:
The only drawback is that it's way too long -- at 8,538 words, to be exact. I extracted a number of passages for use in today's offering, but they came out to over 1,500 words, which is probably longer than one of our typical posts. Is it possible to boil it down further, to bite-sized aphorisms?
There's nothing in the post that we haven't touched on over the past 15 years, and I suppose that if we were to lay those posts end to end they'd fill a book or two, so who are we to diagnose logorrhea in someone else?
Despite the wordiness, one of the guiding principles of this blog is to reduce the verbiage -- in other words to say as much as possible with as few words as necessary This requires a relentless vertical integration and synthesis that harmonizes the realms below without distorting, much less denying, them. This is more challenging than any reductive, one-dimensional religion such as atheism, but also much more fun.
On the one hand, we want to know Everything there is to Know about Everything there Is. On the other hand, we want to say it as economically as possible, because knowledge is infinite while time is short and getting shorter all the time. In an analogy we've used before, our life is like the opening and closing of the aperture of a camera.
The length of one's life is the shutter speed, but under the best of circumstances we have only so much light with which to work and use to develop our pneumagraph of the whole. That this is even possible is about the most unlikely thing we could imagine (a fact that must, of course, be incorporated into our picture!)
Yes, people have developed some pretty awful photographs over the years, from Marxism to National Socialism to Islamism and all the rest, but it's a wonder they can do it at all. What is reality that man art mindful of it? It must include man's ability to know reality, which presumes reality's ability to speak to man.
On to the essay. Of note, it is partly inspired by Pieper's (speaking of writers who say the maximum with the minimum) Abuse of Language, Abuse of Power, of which we have often written. Really, the title says it all: logocide is always a prelude to homicide.
Not only is language "special," it is a divine gift and therefore sacred. If one is aware of the sanctity of speech, one trembles at the thought of committing the type of intellectual sin discussed in yesterday's post. Which is why intellectual dishonesty is among the most spiritually depraved conditions to which a man may sink, for it not only enables everything else, but justifies it.
While Lindsay doesn't mention him, his ideas are also exhaustively described by Voegelin, with concepts such as doxic thinking (confusion of the model with reality), eclipse (closure of consciousness against reality), open existence (consciousness oriented toward truth and transcendence), amathia (willfully ignorant flight from the transcendent), and second reality (the fictitious world that masks or eclipses the real one).
Lindsay's essay is all about second realties and how they get that way. And what we can do about the people inhabiting them. Of course, if there is only one person inhabiting a secondary reality, we direct him to his local psychiatrist or psychologist. But what if there are millions? And what if these millions form a political movement that exerts pressure on the restavus to take up residence in their pseudo-reality?
I know what you're thinking: if you don't like California, move to Texas. Believe me, it's tempting.
Anyway, every normal person feels this pressure to conform. Its essence is totalitarian; or rather, while the totalitarian temptation is fundamental to leftism, it is nevertheless a symptom of something deeper. What could it be?
Lindsay's analysis comes as close as secular thinking will allow:
Pseudo-realities are, simply put, false constructions of reality. It is hopefully obvious that among the features of pseudo-realities is that they must present a plausible but deliberately wrong understanding of reality.
Therefore, because the construction is false, it must be defended. But it can never be defended with logic consistently applied. As we know, there are two things the woke progressive can never do, on pain of waking up from xyr wokeness: 1) be consistent in xyr principles, and 2) stop projecting.
pseudo-realities do not attempt to describe reality as it is but rather as it “should be,” as determined by the relatively small fraction of the population who cannot bear living in reality unless it is bent to enable their own psychopathologies, which will be projected upon their enemies, which means all normal people.
But the projection too is a symptom, although it later becomes a cause. For example, supposing a woke person projects racism into me, this might cause xym to key my car or turn me in to the authorities for wrongthink.
The basic and ineradicable issue for the woke person is that reality can never mirror their psychic distortion. But instead of changing thoughts, like the restavus do, the woke bloke doubles down and tries to cut reality down to the size of his dreamworld.
It also must be noted that the mismatch between fantasy and reality will feel like an act of aggression to the offended snowflake. Which is why, for example, we are seeing the corporate crackdown on conservative thought by our technofascist underlords, who are determined to force everyone to sing from the same hymnal and hernal.
We are literally witnessing them turn our public square into one big college campus; while college used to be an island of repression in a sea of freedom, they want the sea to be as repressive as any looniversity bin.
Pseudo-realities are always social fictions, which, in light of the above, means political fictions. That is, they are maintained not because they are true, in the sense that they correspond to reality, either material or human, but because a sufficient quantity of people in the society they attack either believe them or refuse to challenge them.
The credo of the postmodern progressive is Truth doesn't exist, and we are its prophets; or There are no metanarratives outside our twisted paralogic; and finally the outright threat of Be tolerant of our intolerance, or else!
We'll end this already too long post on that note:
Because the pseudo-reality is not real and does not correspond in any faithful way to objective reality, it cannot be described in terms that are logical. In the realm of how it thinks about the world, a pseudo-reality will employ an alternative logic -- a paralogic, an illogical fake logic that operates beside logic.... a pseudo-real paralogic will always be internally (and often unrepentantly) inconsistent and self-contradictory (Lindsay).
Which we've been saying for years.