Archive | February 2016

The Fear Factor

As I suspected might happen, everybody has taken away the wrong lesson — and I daresay “perverse” lesson — from the recently published West Coast research on the role of fear in maintaining equilibrium in ecosystems, as reported in Nature Communications, (“Fear of large carnivores causes trophic cascade“). What they should have taken away is the insight that subjective states — moods, emotions, feelings — are an integral part of the environment, and not that “fear is good” or that we’ve discovered a “surprising new weapon in the war against raccoons“.

Wrong lesson.

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Whenever I think about the issue of Angst, or anxiety, I always recall a scene from an Australian movie I once saw called Walkabout. Walkabout is about two Australian children lost in the Outback who are found, befriended, and cared for by a young Aboriginal boy who is on walkabout. In one hunting scene, the Aboriginal boy tracks down and corners a kangaroo which, having been backed into a corner, begins whimpering, knowing it is about to die. It is a very piteous scene. It is a very important scene in the film, though, because in time the hunter becomes the hunted, and at the film’s end it’s the young Aboriginal boy who becomes cornered by death. His response to his own end, in contrast to the kangaroo’s, is very different. He performs his death dance.

The kangaroo’s anxiety at being cornered is heart-wrenching. It’s one of the most poignant portrayals of anxiety that I’ve seen in art. But we all end up like that kangaroo — cornered. Death is the hunter, and we can go out whimpering like the poor kangaroo, or singing like William Blake or dancing like Castaneda’s don Juan.

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Candidate Trump and the New Normal

As y0u know, I’m a collector of references to “the new normal”. Some people collect butterflies, some people collect stamps, some people collect coins, I collect references to the “new normal”. Whenever I read a reference to “the new normal”, I get as giddy as an entomologist who has discovered a new species of insect.

If you followed my earlier postings on the new normal, you will also know that I consider it a clear indicator to Gebser’s anticipated disintegration of the mental-rational consciousness and personality structure of Late Modern Man — the normalisation of what is, actually, a very abnormal and aberrant situation. I won’t review the developmental history of the new normal again, but only point out that one of its characteristics is the normalisation of duplicity in all its forms — what I’ve called our “four riders of the apocalypse” as Double-Think, Double-Talk, Double-Standard, and Double-Bind. These are the symptoms of that disintegration. And another way of talking about the “new normal” is in terms of the eruption of chaotic emotion.

Candidate Trump is the candidate of the new normal, and as such the candidate of chaotic emotion.

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