The Niqab, II
The public response to Zunera Ishaq’s winning the right in the Supreme Court to wear the niqab (which response she says has been “hurtful”) is, if nothing else, instructive of Gebser’s observations about the disintegration of perspective consciousness — the mental-rational structure. Try to make an issue of climate change, civilisational nihilism, socioeconomic inequality, the democratic deficit, or the slow suicide of the Modern Era — the “big picture” issues — and it is met with a yawn or a dull stare. But people will get their knickers in a knot over such a relatively trivial issue as the niqab.
The problem is perspective, and the deficiency of perspectivising consciousness.
More to the point, and as I mentioned in my comments to the last post, I detect in all this xenophobia and the absurd and irrational politics of paranoia the dead hand of the Australian “ratfucker” Lynton Crosby. Crosby has been retained by Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada as a “fixer” to stem the previously falling fortunes of the Conservatives, and he seems to have been somewhat successful in doing that by playing the public like a bunch of puppets. Canadians should be ashamed of themselves for being so gullible as to fall for these wiles and ploys.
But the fact that he has a reputation as a puppet master (or “magician”) is because he is simply exploiting that very deficit of perspectivisation that marks the breakdown of the Modern Era’s mode of consciousness and perception, the problem of the “point-of-view-line-of-thought” consciousness structure in which what is real has narrowed so dramatically, and tragically, that what is deemed “real” has also narrowed to being just a point before the eyes.
Does no one see a serious problem here? It’s because of this contraction of consciousness to the narrow “point before the eyes” — the ego consciousness — that postmodernists raise the issue of “contextuality” or “intertextuality” — that is, an attempt to overcome the deficiencies and limitations of the perspectivising consciousness structure and mode of perception that has become little more than myopia and tunnel-vision and the blinkered awareness of the real — the problem of the contraction of the life horizons of the modern mind to a mere “point of view”.
And that “point of view” — the logical endgame of “self-interest” and egoism carried to the point of absurdity — is disintegrating.
This new interest in “contextuality” or “intertextuality” (and those terms reveal the bias towards the “Gutenberg Galaxy” of the Literati) is, nonetheless, an incipient effort to reach that “aperspectivist” consciousness that Gebser anticipates is the antidote to deficiency of the mental-rational — an attempt to reach a new “universal way of looking at things”. It just has to free itself from the bias of communication and perception which is the linear script of textuality itself and the enchantment of the text. In other words, postmodernism must now “deconstruct” itself too, and the fascinum for the literal.
The consciousness of late modernity is vulnerable to manipulation and “perception management” precisely because it has become a chaos of affects and a breakdown of discerning reason. Discernment is, in perspective terms, differentiation of foreground and background effects, or text and context to use the postmodern equivalents. The problem with the “point-of-view” consciousness is that, when reality contracts to just a point before the eyes, the background becomes “the unconscious” itself, or even “the collective unconscious”, both being the necessary counterparts to both the ego and, correspondingly, what Buddhist sociologist David Loy calls “the Wego”, which is called, by Nietzsche, “herd mentality”.
I provided an example of that after scanning the web for commentary on the niqab issue and responses to Ishaq’s victory in the Supreme Court. Here’s the demented logic that today passes for “the common sense”:
Canada has become (for men) an oppressive state, where freedom of opinion is protected if you happen to be feminist.
This kind of logic makes sense to people who have come to possess zero powers of discernment, where Ishaq’s Charter of Rights victory as a victory for anti-male feminism, and is twisted to mean oppression of the male ego! It’s an absolutely stunning bit of pretzel logic. But it’s an example of reality having contracted completely to just being a point before the eyes. One might even call it an implosion of consciousness itself.
The man himself feels hemmed in and frustrated by the woman’s niqab. Isn’t that bizarre? What’s behind that?
As I mentioned, the blunting of the male ego’s sexually aggressive and sexually greedy gaze by the niqab is experienced by the male as “oppression of the male” and the niqab itself as a symbol of aggressive “feminism”.
Holy Cow. And the Conservative’s new political fixer, Lynton Crosby, is making hay exploiting that kind of twisted logic.
Reason, as you might conclude, is impotent against this kind of dementia. It’s actually narcissism in its most extreme form.
Perhaps, someday, there may be no reason for the niqab. But before that happens, the male brain has to evolve out of its groin.