Maybe it’s the exodus to Voidpress (thanks, JxSolberg, for that term!) that’s done it, but then again, maybe it’s something in the air. There seems to be an angsty current flowing. Underneath it all seems to be the question “Why doesn’t the world make sense to me?”.
It’s because the world doesn’t make sense to anyone who isn’t delusional. Trust me. I wouldn’t lie to you. Not intentionally, anyway. It is though entirely possible that I am earnestly and with only good intention putting forth falsehoods whose falseness is invisible to me.
Bazillions of people have spent some goodly quantity of their lives trying to come up with a coherent theory of why humans and human cultures behave as they do. That Frood Dood thought he had it figured and for some decades it was accepted that he had it right, but he’s since been discredited because he fucked up so many people by psychoanalyzing them right into unnecessary misery. He assumed that his own mental malfunctions were shared by everyone. Though discredited, his legacy lives on in the form of the propaganda techniques (“public relations”) based upon his work that his nephew Eddie Bernays perfected.
Later, John Nash (John Forbes Nash, Jr.), that guy whose life was brought to the big screen by the movie A Beautiful Mind, came up with what is known as game theory. Game theory still informs the economics, domestic policies, and foreign relations of the Untidy States (and others) despite the fact that Nash himself has said of his recovery to a state of something approximating rationality,
Then gradually I began to intellectually reject some of the delusionally influenced lines of thinking which had been characteristic of my orientation. This began, most recognizably, with the rejection of politically oriented thinking as essentially a hopeless waste of intellectual effort.
Hmm. It has since been shown by several studies that those most likely to operate in the manners described by Nash’s game theories are psychopaths. Nash himself is a schizophrenic, as everyone who’s seen the movie, read the book of the same name, or studied game theory seriously knows already. So a schizo describes the behaviors of psychos, and the psychos who run the country just fucking love those theories to death and a whole big bunch of us who think ourselves sane go along with them because, logical fallacy alert, they are recognized as authorities. Wonderful.
The principal architect of The Great Recession was former Chairman of The Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan. A bright guy, but he had a hard on for Ayn Rand and it’s rumored that Greenspan’s hard on was known in the biblical sense by Rand. You gotta be one sick puppy to want to bone that. Rand’s “Objectivism” is just psychopathy rationalized and reduced to a set of rules, e.g. “Altruism is evil”. Her bullshit appeals most to adolescents who are themselves in a particularly self centered phase of personal development, and to those adults whose development was arrested at that point. Not everyone attains full maturity, Kegan’s Fourth Order of Consciousness if you want to use that convenient model.
Holy shit. I just called Alan fucking Greenspan immature. But how can one not? The man did a lot of thinking but he based it all upon his faith in the correctness of the thinking of others, primarily Rand and the economist Adam Smith. He lacked the intellectual maturity necessary to look at the facts first and formulate hypotheses afterward, went at it instead as devoting himself to the hypotheses and then finding facts to substantiate them. I’m reminded of something John Locke wrote in his “An Essay on Human Understanding”:
For the understanding, like the eye, judging of objects only by its own sight, cannot but be pleased with what it discovers, having less regret for what has escaped it, because it is unknown. Thus he who has raised himself above the alms-basket, and, not content to live lazily on scraps of begged opinions, sets his own thoughts on work, to find and follow truth, will (whatever he lights on) not miss the hunter’s satisfaction; every moment of his pursuit will reward his pains with some delight; and he will have reason to think his time not ill spent, even when he cannot much boast of any great acquisition. This, Reader, is the entertainment of those who let loose their own thoughts, and follow them in writing; which thou oughtest not to envy them, since they afford thee an opportunity of the like diversion, if thou wilt make use of thy own thoughts in reading. It is to them, if they are thy own, that I refer myself: but if they are taken upon trust from others, it is no great matter what they are; they are not following truth, but some meaner consideration; and it is not worth while to be concerned what he says or thinks, who says or thinks only as he is directed by another.
I love quoting Locke because doing so makes you right by default even if the quote has nothing at all to do with the topic at hand. People will agree just to avoid the brain ache that comes from trying to follow Locke’s words. The whole point being that while it’s good to know the thoughts of those who’ve addressed the topics of interest from different perspectives, you’ve got to do your own thinking along the way. That other, those others, might just be full of shit.
Greenspan’s greatest achievement throughout his celebrated career was proving both Rand and Smith wrong. The schmuck. Lots of Rand’s ardent followers are doing their level best these days to rationalize how the bitch was right but the execution of the psychopathic notions wanting… Rand Paul (named for Ayn by his father, Ron), Paul Ryan, that lot.
Other bat shit crazy motherfuckers have had ideas that serve as the bases of the theories that are used to govern the daily life of our society. But it’s not my goal to write a treatise here, so that’s all I’m going to say about it. The more important point:
Most of us, individually, make the assumption that “As I am at my core, all other humans are, too”. And, further, that if another conducts himself in a manner contradictory to this bullshit assumption, he is misguided and can be coerced through love, education, reward, and/or punishment to get on the good foot and be true to the nature that we just know is at his core as it is at ours.
I’m guilty of it, too, though to a much lesser extent than before. I tend to believe that others by default are very compassionate, of above average intelligence, and more likely than not to act in their own best interests. I expect strangers to be friendly because I’m friendly when I’m the stranger. I have to be mindful, in order to avoid rude awakenings, of the fact that this tendency is a foible rather than a valid view of humanity.
It could be argued that what I’m expressing here is that others have at their cores, as I do, a tendency to view other as very much like self. In my defense, I have had this discussion with many others over the years and everyone with whom I’ve had it has agreed that yes, indeed, I do this thing too despite having copious evidence that it’s not true.
It seems logical that if an individual starts with that delusion that others are much like self the human world will be incredibly difficult to fathom. And so it is.
It’s naturally difficult to fathom because the lunatics are running the asylum, the foxes are guarding the henhouse, there are gypsies in the palace, and the rapists are running the preschool. Er, uh, ‘scuse me, that’s therapists.
But you and I, we’re okay. It’s the rest of the world that’s gone ape shit, indeed has always been ape shit. They are not like us.