Disturbia

I suppose that, given all I’ve written here and in the earlier Dark Age Blog. or have voiced aloud about the appalling condition and stature of the human soul at the end of history, I shouldn’t be at all startled or disturbed to discover that a great many people — the many-too-many people — don’t necessarily believe the implicit truth of what they otherwise publicly say or do.

Or so it is stated in an article published today by Harry J Enten in The Guardian (“Why Obama is a ‘Muslim’: Republicans and Symbolic Belief“). “It’s fascinating from an ideological standpoint (that is, people are willing to say stuff they probably don’t believe, deep down),”  Mr. Enten writes, “but nothing more”.

It’s perhaps not so simple as being this “nothing more”. And it is this dismal “nothing more” judgement issuing only from the mere line-of-though-and-point-of-view perspectivism of a narrow “ideological standpoint” that has perturbed me the most, I think.

The fact that many people (and not just our “new right” post-modern conservatives) don’t necessarily believe the truth of what they otherwise say or do with much publicly feigned conviction or passion, highlights that duality and duplicity of a disintegrate being that has been the major themes of The Dark Age Blog and The Chrysalis, as well as the observations of the late cultural historian Jean Gebser about our spiritual and historical predicament. There is a demonstrable lack of integrity of the whole man or woman which affirms the dissolute Jekyll-and-Hyde condition of the soul of Late Modern Man.

What really shook me, though, about this condition described (far too lightly) by Mr. Enten is how it equally resembled the conscious attitude of the German or Italian publics under fascism, or Stalinism. They, too, did not necessarily believe the truth of the propaganda aimed at them day-in and day-out. Yet, despite that, they spoke it and enacted it as if it were true despite its patent irrationality, lunacy, and absurdity, and even despite its evident nihilistic violence and incitement to destruction.

Orcs and orcery! Recollect that Mr. Tolkein’s orcs were once also elves who had been seduced by, perverted by, and finally totally compromised by their own lusts for power which Sauron’s ring represented for them. The orcs had once been elves who had negated themselves and become their own contraries.

So what makes Mr. Enten dismiss that deep duplicitous and disintegrate condition of the Late Modern soul as being “nothing more” than a curiosity only from “an ideological standpoint”? I think I can tell you why from past posts critiquing the pernicious influence of Cartesian rationalism and metaphysical dualism. Like many others, Mr. Enten seems to believe, too, that ideology is consciousness, whereas ideology is only the mass programming of automatons. Is this situation, then, the same intuition of mass degeneracy that underlies the symbolism of the zombie which has become such a broad theme of much contemporary cinema?

A hunch tells me it is (and I suggested as much in an earlier post). There is here a mass dissociation and collective cognitive dissonance, evidently near-psychotic, between the mental attitude (the self-image or system of “symbolic belief”) become de-mented for becoming divorced and dismembered from the honest “unconscious” and real attitude which apparently knows better than this new “virtual” self than to espouse lies and propagate disinformation and deception, and yet which this mental attitude nevertheless continues to do from an apparent psychic compulsion.

And how in God’s name can Mr. Enten so lightly dismiss this as being “nothing more” than a curiosity of conservative (or liberal) ideology when it is manifestly the mass breakdown of reason and the disintegration of the entire modern self and the post-modern personality? Anti-Christ is to know the truth, but then neither to speak it nor to do it. Is it not evidently the case that all this is implicated in both “the culture of lying” as well as “the culture of narcissism”, too?

And perhaps, a reversion once again in the near term of our “end of history” to another Dark Age?

Evidently the soul of Late Modern Man is at war with itself — ultimately self-destructively so — and this is misconstrued as being “human nature”. Is this condition not the realisation, firstly, of that nihilism that Nietzsche described: “all higher values devalue themselves” carried out within one and the same personality? Secondly, to what he called our decay into “herd animalization”, also (or what Jean Gebser equivalently called our lapse into “the inhuman”)?

Despite the fact that I do indeed see this exact same disconsonant and dissolute behaviour every day among many of my contemporaries, and can corroborate much of Mr. Enten’s thesis from personal experience, it still throws me for a loop when I do see it corroborated in this way. It signals exactly that condition that Jean Gebser described in The Ever-Present Originthe loss of the vital centre, which is the truth of our being which the decaying mental attitude, apparently, now deliberately ignores and repudiates despite knowing otherwise than it pretends publicly. That’s why Mr. Enten’s “nothing more” strikes such a discordant note.

“And they shall deceive many.”

In other words, this duplicity is hypocrisy — ultimately cowardice — of the most degenerate and decadent nature. For here, the-man-in-the-mass implicitly knows the truth in his heart of hearts, but then denies it, negates it, refuses to recognise it, declines to act on it, and even publicly misrepresents or denounces it while enticing others to enter the circle of falsehood and delusion.

How has this situation come about? These “birthers” are not the only instance of this by far, I assure you. If it looks crazy, it is because it is crazy in the very worst sense, and for all the reasons given.

I suspect that much of the truth of how this situation has developed is to be found in the great BBC series, The Century of the Self (and I highly recommend you all view this online). “Sow the wind. Reap the whirlwind.” I suspect that the self-serving fools and meddlers in the mass unconscious (today called “perception managers”) incited powers and aroused forces they did not ultimately truly comprehend. And by seeking to undermine and short-circuit consciousness and reason for the sake of political power and public domination (the common motif of movies like The Matrix, Dark City, V for Vendetta, or Inception), have instead opened the gates of Hell within every soul touched by their necromancy, much as Rumi described it also — and most precisely — in his poem The Snake-Catcher’s Tale.

No good can come of this. And against the evolved technical sophistication of the powers of contemporary propaganda and perception management, the individual soul, now uprooted and become spiritually and existentially homeless, is virtually defenseless, disenfranchised, and dispossessed of its own truth and its own powers of truth-speaking having become appropriated by cliche, formula, slogan, jingle, commonplace, sound-bite, talking-point, and social propaganda become the new “common sense” and “the new normal”.

Which was (and is), of course, the entire objective of propaganda from the beginning. It seems to have succeeded spectacularly in dividing the unconscious from the conscious mind, estranging truth from fiction, and correspondingly the authentic self from the mere self-image.

Behind Mr. Enten’s “nothing more” is the disturbing question of how a self can become dispossessed of itself, so that this “self”, become self-image or mere virtual self, now becomes the possession and slave of another social power altogether — the “foreign installation”, as Castaneda’s don Juan called it. That’s the real question of how one and the same individual can simultaneously know the truth, but then speak and act contrary to that truth in such a way as to annul and negate that truth — the truth which is their own authentic self which is what they really deny, negate, and repudiate. And then stupidly call this schizophrenia “self-sacrifice”.

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5 responses to “Disturbia”

  1. LittleBigMan says :

    “Dark Age Blog” = just like this one, an outstanding blog, too. I remember it won an award.

  2. Sedicious says :

    Good point. But I think there is a real difference from the totalitarianism of last century. The Nazis and Fascists and Communists perceived themselves as the vanguard of civilization (some of the fascists even called themselves “futurists”). The birthers/freepers are reactionaries, “standing athwart history, yelling Stop”. And I don’t think they’re being seduced by propagandists so much as they are fabricating this “ideology” themselves, through the web, as fortification against voices they *don’t* want to hear. We can see this in the difficulty the GOP candidates are all having in trying to “get in front of” their party–these masses are not being organized by the deliberate campaign of a charismatic leader. And while they are clearly frightened to a certain extent, they’re anything but meek conformists afraid to speak out against what they disagree with.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Had to follow this post up with the next on Dualism. There is certainly something of that to fascism, at least in its rhetoric and propaganda. But its deeds were something else — an attempt to roll back everything in society they deemed a deviation from a classical ideal represented, especially, by the Roman Empire or the Age of the Tribes. Therefore Judeo-Christianity had to go, and violently so, as well as everything which had branched from it. More recently, the same sentiment expressed by Robert D. Kaplan in his “Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos”, and which extolls the model of Tiberius as appropriate for our time. It was an appalling piece of work.

      There is this Jekyll and Hyde character to it, especially when one recalls what former Nazi Gauleiter Hermann Rauschning called it — “the revolution of nihilism”, or revolutionary reaction (against liberalism, against the Enlightenment, against the French Revolution, against democracy). As noted earlier, the collaborationist Vichy regime in France pointedly emphasised “work, family, and nation” against the principles of the French Revolution: “liberty, equality, fraternity”, and therefore against any such notion of le peuple having political rights, inherent human rights, or notions of citizen sovereignty. These sentiments were diverted into master race theory, rather, or the master-slave relationship. The “future” looked remarkably like the ancient or pagan past.

  3. Scott Preston says :

    A few years ago (1974) the noted scholar George Steiner, who wrote quite extensively on the meaning of the fascist period in Europe, delivered a series of lectures — the CBC Massey Lectures — entitled “Nostalgia for the Absolute”. That pretty much captures the mood of the reactionary — ressentiment against the present; nostalgia for an idealised past frozen somewhere in time (like Merlin in his mysterious cave somewhere in Britain or Barbarossa in Germany). Nostalgia and resentment are the two most potent moods of reactionary nihilism, against which Nietzsche extolled gratitude as the counter-reactionary attitude, or at least as a corrective and immunity against nihilism.

    Steiner’s lectures are still posted on the CBC website, and can be accessed at
    http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/massey-archives/1974/11/07/massey-lectures-1974-nostalgia-for-the-absolute/

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