Respect and Humiliation

There was an article by Chris Arnade published in The Guardian a few weeks ago (July 30 to be exact) entitled “What do Donald Trump voters really crave? Respect.” I have permitted it to sort of percolate in my mind since then without comment as I allowed it to suggest its own place in the whole schema of “chaotic transition”. It is not just “Trump voters” who Arnade has described here. It could just as well be the profile of the average member of the conservative “Base” here in Canada or elsewhere.

What Arnade speaks to is the two solitudes of a segregated community in Cleveland and their different responses to the sense of humiliation, of real or imagined victimage. This question of humiliation, of resentment born of humiliation, and the compensating demand for “respect” is going to be a very problematic one, and perhaps an intractable one.

The sense of humiliation, and the bitterness and resentment born of that sense of humiliation, is the prime driver of fascist movements. It’s that very sense of humiliation that results in the reaction formation of racism and “master race theory”. The Axis powers of the last century — Germany, Japan, Italy — were born out of the sense of national humiliation following defeat in the World Wars (in the case of European fascism) or, in the case of Japan, the humiliation of Western imperialism and colonialism. There is here, also to mention, the different response of North American indigenous peoples to humiliation and how they handled that.

The psychology of humiliation, resentment, and revenge, which is characteristic of reactionary politics, is going to be very much involved in the “chaotic transition” described by Jean Gebser, and perhaps the key driver in the disaster he sees unfolding. This is probably unavoidable, in Gebser’s own terms, and so we should understand why it is so.

One thing to note about Arnade’s characterisation of the two solitudes is the apparent absence of all self-pity in the face of the daily humiliations of the black community (he calls it “resignation” where I would call it “resilience”) while the white community (at least, those who identify as Trump supporters) ooze self-pity. As far as the latter are concerned, they are the real victims — victims if immigration, victims of globalisation, victims of feminism, victims of reverse racism, in fact victims of everything and anything that they altogether identify with the meaning of “liberal” or “liberalism”, including liberal democracy in general. The proud union man interviewed by Arnade is, of course, an interesting contrast to the others, for reasons having to do with the fellowship and dignity of work provided by the union. Self-pity as a response to the sense of adversity is only possible where there also exists as sense of self-importance.

And here we come to the nitty-gritty of it all — the sense of self-importance, or exceptionalism, that is the thing that is really offended, in the absence of which nothing would be experienced as “humiliated” at all. Trump’s appeal is to those whose own sense of self-importance (which he embodies himself) has been insulted or offended, which produces the sense of “humiliation” and breeds resentment. Ironically, this is a flaw in liberalism itself, especially in its economic implementation as permissive individualism or acquisitive individualism. You simply cannot be humiliated where you don’t have an extravagant sense of your own self-importance (which we call “culture of narcissism”) and where self-importance is offended, self-pity is implicated as well.  In fact, losing self-importance is the whole meaning of the Christian practice of “long-suffering” or of dying to oneself daily.

Now, I don’t have any experience with things like Projects or Ghettos or ‘Hoods or what not. But I do have lots of experience with aboriginal communities who have had to suffer much the same assaults of imperialism, racism, and colonialism, if not genocide, and yet have endured. “Resignation” isn’t the right word for this. Resilience is the right word for this. And those indigenous communities which remain authentic “communities” and not just a “mass” or an aggregate, are remarkably notable for any sense of self-pity. Those communities that remain anchored in their roots (and that means largely the Sacred Hoop) are resilient, and self-importance is definitely not considered a virtue, and in that sense self-pity is considered a weakness of the character of the whole man or woman.

It’s actually surprising how often I hear Nietzsche cited amongst some of the First Nations people, especially his aphorism “what does not kill me makes me stronger”. But it may also be said that “if a man has a why he can put up with any how.” This is very much the implicit outlook, and is connected with the strong conviction that the healing or mending of the Sacred Hoop, once broken, is a great task, responsibility and purpose. And it’s here that I think “integral consciousness” may well gain its first concrete foothold.

(In fact, for some reason I’ve never been able to determine, one of the derogatory slang words for Indians is “Neechees”, which ironically sounds very much like “Nietzsches”, although it means “friend” in Ojibway. I was actually taken aback by that when I first heard it until I learned it was Ojibway. But how many dumb racists even know the irony that it means “friend”?).

Of course, this is not true of the indigenous population more generally, because I have encountered individual First Nations people who are uprooted, unanchored and emotional wrecks and just as consumed by the sense of victimage, humiliation and self-pity as others who have become uprooted. But the ones who recover, I’ve found, are those who return to the collective task and purpose of mending the Sacred Hoop. It’s the old adage that, once you hit rock bottom, the only path left open to you is up. This is not what I would call either “resignation” nor “resistance”, but the secret of resilience. I’m also quite convinced that it’s the indigenous that are going to lead and conduct the world into the Third Millennium, for if anyone has earned the honour of the pole position, in that respect, its them.

But… I want to talk further about the psychology of humiliation (and the demand for “respect”) in the context of the “mutation” addressed by Gebser. The “defeat” of an old and deficient structure of consciousness that has exceeded its shelf-life and sell-by date is obviously going to imply a humiliation of that consciousness structure. This is so regardless of the intent of the bearers of the new consciousness structure. Perhaps Gebser uses the word “defeat” ill-advisedly, but its import is much the same. As Nietzsche knew also, regardless of one’s intent, the mere presence of a new consciousness was enough to arouse indignation and sense of offense, if not humiliation, in those loyal to the older structure — the perception of its “criminality”. One is under no obligation whatsoever to honour or respect the old consciousness structure in its deficient mode. Respect isn’t an entitlement, and it’s very odd — in fact, self contradictory — that those who so loudly denounce “entitlements” think they are automatically entitled to “respect” (even as they denounce it as “political correctness” in others).

Alas, this is the kind of incoherence and self-contradiction you can expect during “choatic transition”. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be chaotic. And nobody owes that kind of incoherence any respect whatsoever. It only prolongs its death agony. In fact, what they mean by “respect” is not respect, but loyalty. And this is impossible. We can’t be loyal to a state of affairs, and a mode of consciousness, we know to be deficient and destructive.

We can’t take responsibility for someone’s sense of humiliation when we aren’t responsible for their sense of self-importance in the first place. Getting rid or “letting go” of self-importance is the first step on The Way. It’s a critical maneouvre in the way to integral consciousness, in fact. A “plus mutation” as Gebser calls it, is the ethic of inclusiveness, while a “minus mutation” is the ethic of exclusion. An ethic of inclusiveness is an affirmation of life. If anything, we owe our loyalty to that.

We are called upon, these days, to become global souls — the fullest meaning of that being Nietzsche’s “be true to the Earth!” That’s a big task because the global soul is, in effect, the return of the Anima Mundi. That’s what the “return of the repressed” means in its fullest and collective sense. This is what we are implicitly anyway.

We aren’t under any obligation to grant respect to the unrespectable or the disrespectful. Neither Jesus nor Buddha did. Jesus humiliated the Pharisees and Scribes in public. The Buddha humiliated the Brahmans. Jesus was condemned and executed because his mere presence was a humiliation of the old order. God, after all, “is no respecter of persons.”  And, as Blake pointed out, its this sense of self-importance that is the real Anti-Christ — the “I am conceit“, as the Buddha called it. Those who would find their life must first lose it.

“The eagle never lost so much time, as when he submitted to learn of the crow.” That’s one of Blake’s Proverbs of Hell, and it would be a fine and fitting motto for the new consciousness structure — the eagle being the bird that flies highest and sees farthest. Moreover, the crow is traditionally the trickster, and we have enough of trickery today, don’t we?

Be the eagle, and you owe no one an apology for being so.

 

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21 responses to “Respect and Humiliation”

  1. donsalmon says :

    This is the first explanation of the Trump followers that has really made sense to me. Very very well done. “if a man has a why he can put up with any how” – just perfect.

    • Scott Preston says :

      I think that once one distills all that detailed information in gebser’s analysis of the mental-rational — of perspectivism and the point-of-view — it boils down to the problem of self-importance that attends “point-of-view” consciousness. One can’t understand “The Righteous Mind” (as Haidt calls it) also without interpreting this as self-importance. It’s quite remarkable to think that, through hundreds of pages of analysis of the perspective structure of consciousness, it just boils down to: “self-importance is a delusion”.

      This is, after all, the problem of McGilchrist’s “Emissary”. It’s “usurpation” is the form of its self-importance. So much of McGilchrist is also a meditation on the problems of self-importance.

      • donsalmon says :

        How lovely and simple. In our Buddhist group, we just started studying a form of mind training (actually, in most Buddhist traditions it’s always “Mind-heart training,” never just “mind” alone), known as Lojong.

        For some reason – perhaps as a slowly emerging reaction to that delusion of self-importance – this is becoming quite popular, not just in the states but around the world. Though brought to Tibet from India by Atisha over 1000 yeas ago, it was codified by a Tibetan monk named Geshe Chekawa a few centuries later.

        I studied it first in the mid 90s, and it was extremely important to me in a very difficult graduate internship, where I had mostly wonderful supervisors, but my main supervisor insisted on blaming me for everything that went wrong for her.

        There was one phrase that stuck out – there are various translations but the one that hit me was “Blame all things on one.” “Blame” isn’t really the right word; it means, recognize that all suffering, all problems in life stem from self-cherishing.” Alan Wallace encapsulates it nicely by saying that the reification of the separate self is responsible for all human problems.

        Though it underlies all human problems in all ages, I think you’ve hit it that in ages of transition like this, it takes a particular form. In a way, the neo liberal hawkish socially awkward paranoia of Hillary Clinton may be just another form of it, but I don’t believe in false equivalence. I daily have many friends trying to convince me that she is at least as evil if not more so than what Trump represents. I don’t see it.

        It’s not Clinton or Trump themselves, but the forces that Trump activates are, in their resentment and sense of false self importance are potentially far more dangerous, I think, than Clinton. The most hopeful thing, if Clinton gets elected, is that vast numbers of millennials (and really, baby boomers too) don’t trust her and won’t fall for the old ways that she represents.

        And perhaps still more important, I actually believe underneath all that ambition and standard politician lying and extra baggage of paranoia she has, there is actually an idealist hidden underneath. But she really doesn’t matter. The movement toward the new consciousness is growing and I don’t think she is powerful enough to stand in the way. Trump isn’t either but the forces he could unleash as “leader” of the US would be a profound impediment to the manifestation of the emerging consciousness.

        • InfiniteWarrior says :

          How do men deal with fear? They seek reassurance…and scapegoats. The Church of the Eternal Fire understands this perfectly. And so it promises to improve the lives of its flock by pointing out the guilty. Who started the war? Who profits from it? Why, it’s obvious. Mages, elves, dwarves. In a word, any and all deviants. ~ Ambassador Var Attre, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

          The most readily apparent difference between Trump and Clinton (as well as their contemporaries elsewhere) lies in their definitions of “deviants”. Unfortunately for Clinton, hers is just as “grossly generalistic” as Trump’s.

          We are living in a volatile political environment. You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up…. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.

          Unless a person identifies as one or another or all-of-the-above of the “deplorables”, he or she shouldn’t be offended by such hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Right? Clinton regrets having said it, of course. (And I can’t help but wonder if that’s only because they shortly sent Trump’s poll numbers into the stratosphere.)

          So many people rely on sound bites to arrive at conclusions about what “public figures” stand for rather than actually listening to what they say that most probably have never even heard just who she considers the “deplorables” to be. All they’ve heard is “[Trump’s supporters belong] in a basket of deplorables…. They are irredeemable, but thankfully not America.”

          Editors of the NY Times believe that putting her remarks in context will erase any damage done to her campaign. What they don’t seem to realize is that what people are responding (when not reacting) to is not even Clinton’s definition of “deplorables”. It’s that Clinton considers a group of American consituents “irredeemable” and “not America”. “The Deplorables” — sounds like a new troupe of superheroes, doesn’t it? — beg to differ. But, then…so do many of Clinton’s supporters.

          Now, “The Avengers” tell us we’re at a tipping point and have an obligation to register and vote…for somebody.

          Unbelievable, I know, but the US presidential race is now firmly established in the American psyche as “‘The Avengers’ vs ‘The Deplorables'”. If I hadn’t already cast my vote, I might be worried. As it is, I’m sure Snoopy will “save the day”.

          The movement toward the new consciousness is growing and I don’t think [Clinton] is powerful enough to stand in the way.

          Just how “new” is this “new” consciousness? Is anything really powerful enough to obstruct it? That last question has been nagging at me for a while. What keeps coming back is that the human “ego-consciousness” we’ve plastered over the face of creation is neither thick nor solid. It’s obviously not being obstructed completely, and we can all sense something ineffable “hover[ing] over the face of the waters”, so to speak.

          Scott wrote recently, “[E]very day now I note some event or another, often not very widely noted in the mainstream media, that has all the markers of the ominous about it, but whose significance (sic) seems to go largely unnoticed.” (Could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure he meant both auspicious and inauspicious markers.)

          We can all sense them whether or not they are noted in any form of media. I used to be quite the optimist about that. Never imagined the maturation of the human race might be an “abortive” process within a process. And even if it were, the visions of Oren Lyons, et. al., have been crystal clear on what would follow:

          It’s not the end of the world you’re talking about, it’s the end of us. And the world — no matter what damage you think you’ve done to it — will regenerate; will regreen; will redo everything that was here at one time. Except there won’t be any people.

          Right. “People”…along with a variety of other species, but — hey — if you’re going to get anyone’s attention these days, you have to “frame” what you’re saying in such a way that it affects people foremost. Thus, one non sequitur after another, e.g. we should “label” GMOs…as if that would stop the genetic modification of other life on this planet from affecting people in the least.

          Okay. I’m done. On with the Apocalypse…in the truest sense of the word.

          • donsalmon says :

            small correction – T’s numbers moved slightly upward and appear to have gone right back (several polls have C as much as 7 points ahead; most have her at least 3 or 4 points ahead).

            As far as something to be deplored, “half” of T’s supporters equals about 15-20% of the American public. I can’t imagine that the number of alt-right authoritarian paranoid neo-fascist Americans is as small as 20%. That’s about the level of Cheney’s support in 2008. Assuming most of his supporters held truly deplorable views, I imagine the number must be at least 25%.

            I know growing up in republican northern new jersey in the 50s and 60s, I would say a minimum of 50% of my peers simply assumed that “n***rs were inferior, as were sp*cs, K*kes, wetba*ks, and just about every other minority. Assuming 25% of them outgrew this, that leaves about 25%, which sounds about right to me.

            Down here in the Southern United States, I think that a phlebotomist who feels absolutely no compunction about informing you (while drawing blood!) that, “yes dear, obama is certainly the anti-christ”) or a checkout woman at the local market who shows absolutely no self awareness in telling a Jewish woman that “we’re studying your people in our class at Bob Jones University, and we think you’re wonderful” because when all the jews return to jerusalem all non-saved, non Baptists will die a long, slow, hideously painful death and then descend into hell after which the Baptists will take over the earth – I’m afraid I find that all quite legitimately describable as “deplorable.”

            As far as the new consciousness – it was something I was quite viscerally aware of in my early teens, around the mid 1960s, and everything I’ve seen since then as far exceeded what I imagined would be possible in my life time.

            Since about 2010, some of the most dogmatic, fundamentally materialistic psi debunkers have changed course. The inner worlds are coming close to being scientifically respectable. Some of the leading scientists are genuinely proposing the consciousness is at least a fundamental component of the universe, perhaps one of the most fundamental (coming close to Sri Aurobindo’s statement that “Consciousness [Chit] is the fundamental thing in the universe, it is the movement and energy of Consciousness that manifests as everything.” “Beyond Physicalism” – perhaps the best single book on the new consciousness in science ever published, came out to much acclaim in February 2015, and just last month Imants Baruss’s new book on “Transcendent Mind” http://www.apa.org/pubs/books/4316171.aspx was published by the main organization in my progression, the American Psychological Association, which during my years in grad school (in the 90s) could always be counted on to support the most conservative, neoliberal interpretation of just about any psychological issue (how long did they take to come out against psychologists being used as advisors to torture!!!???).

            I remain stubbornly, absurdly, Pollyanishly optimistic. In fact, the new Consciousness has long been here (Jean Gebser himself recalled in the early 1930s that he had been touched by the “Force Field” of Sri Aurobindo’s consciousness, which he said was largely responsible for his vision of the integral consciousness.

            Let me pause for a moment and see if I can find the exact quote.

            • donsalmon says :

              Ah, found it (this is Gebser speaking)

              Be it noted that my concept of the formation of a new consciousness, of which I became aware by a flash-like intuition in the winter of 1932/33, and which I began to put forward in 1939, largely resembles the world-scheme of Sri Aurobindo, who was then unknown to me. My own, however, differs from Sri Aurobindo’s in that it appeals to the Western world only and does not have the profundity and the pregnant origin of his ingeniously presented conception. I see an explanation for this phenomenon in the fact that I was in some way brought into the extremely powerful spiritual field of force radiating through Sri Aurobindo.[1]

            • InfiniteWarrior says :

              I’m afraid I find that all quite legitimately describable as “deplorable.”

              I’d describe it as egregiously misled.

              Like most, politicians and the media couldn’t care less about these people in any other capacity than to further their own agendas. This “demographic” is nonetheless comprised primarily of dirt-poor, hard-working, good-hearted and generous people who simply have never taken it upon themselves to question anything they’ve been (or are being) taught. Why? Who knows? Maybe they’ve been too busy just trying to survive. Maybe it’s because they’re been told their whole lives that they’re stupid and will never amount to anything. (The staple parenting technique of the “redneck and proud of it” set.) Maybe — in the dirty, gritty daily grind of their existence, aka “work, eat, sleep” — no one (a teacher, a parent, a family member, a friend) has ever bothered to to fire their imaginations; inspired confidence in themselves and their own potential; encouraged them to explore other cultures; and – yes – lead and think for themselves.

              But, guess what? Regardless who’s running for President, every one of the “deplorable” people I personally know “stand with [their] Native American brothers and sisters in North Dakota”. Every one of them is posting or tweeting or reacting ( 😡 ) to posts about idiotic decisions born of panic, like this one. Every one of them is availing themselves of online petitions like this and this to try and make a difference in their own way.

              Contradictory? Not really. They have huge hearts and the same capacity as everyone else to learn and grow.

              Politicians seem to have forgotten that.

          • Scott Preston says :

            Don’t worry. We’re all in the weirdness together (and it will get weirder yet).

            And I say that with “unpolished sincerity”. I’m not Polish.

          • donsalmon says :

            And another comment related to my optimism regarding the new consciousness. This is Dr. Larry Dossey’s review of Imants Baruss’ “Transcendent Mind” (Baruss teaches up there in Canada, by the way:>)))))

            5.0 out of 5 stars“We are in the midst of a sea change.”
            By Larry Dossey on September 23, 2016

            Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a kingdom called Science whose citizens were guided by a uniform belief — that their consciousness is produced by the chemistry, physiology, and anatomy of the physical brain. Forfeited in this belief was the capacity for free will, as well as any higher meaning and purpose to existence. The possibility that consciousness might survive the physical death of the brain and body was considered heretical and blasphemous. Enormous pressure was exerted on the guardians of science to conform to the concept of materialism undergirding this precious belief system. In support of these beliefs, the centurions of science marshaled enormous bodies of data that, they were convinced, confirmed their views. They were so emphatic in their position that data to the contrary were largely dismissed as irrelevant, and those who dared to challenge the materialistic perspective were often denigrated as traitors to the scientific tradition. But just when the materialistic perspective was considered beyond reproach and safe from significant challenge, there came this shocking announcement from two prominent consciousness researchers: “We are in the midst of a sea change. Receding from view is materialism, whereby physical phenomena are assumed to be primary and consciousness is regarded as secondary. Approaching our sights is a complete reversal of perspective.

            According to this alternative view, consciousness is primary and the physical is secondary. In other words, materialism is receding and giving way to ideas about reality in which consciousness plays a key role.” This is the opening salvo of Transcendent Mind: Rethinking the Science of Consciousness (page 3).

            I have introduced my comments about Transcendent Mind as a kind of fairy tale, a product of the imagination, because that is how this book may be regarded by those who have not followed the revelations of consciousness research for the past few decades. Across this period, a formidable body of data has accumulated that the materialistic credo is not merely off base in a few minor details, but is fundamentally flawed beyond repair. The trend toward this view is “quietly occurring within a swiftly evolving and increasingly postmaterialist paradigm,” the authors contend. The explanation of how this “sea change” has come about is the theme of Transcendent Mind.

            In their challenge to materialism, authors Barušs and Mossbridge contend that “the deep structures underlying our waking consciousness are fundamentally spatially and temporally nonlocal in nature (page 81).” The implications for our understanding of our own minds, and the practical ways in which we lead our lives, are enormous.

            The authors explore empirical data, too long ignored, indicating that “consciousness is capable of existing in an extended or transcendent state in which it is not completely bound to the brain (page 171).” This data supports the concept of “shared mind,” minds linked across space and time to form a collective, unitary human consciousness. This view of nonlocal, shared, transcendent mind is supported by abundant empirical evidence, as the authors show, such as near-death experiences, telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition. These phenomena might be predicted from an “unconstrained mind that is directly connected to other minds, probably outside the usual confines of space and apparent time (page 177).”

            Do not suppose that the idea that consciousness is fundamental and irreducible to anything more basic is some hare-brained notion conjured in the fever dreams of wayward new agers, as is often charged. In fact, consciousness as fundamental has an impressive pedigree. It has been endorsed by some of the greatest figures of twentieth-century science such as Max Planck, the founder of quantum physics: “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” Erwin Schrödinger, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, agreed: “Although I think that life may be the result of an accident, I do not think that of consciousness. Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.” As to the contention of Barušs and Mossbridge of shared, unitary minds, we find Schrödinger in agreement: “The overall number of minds is just one…. In truth there is only one mind.” And as the eminent physicist David Bohm observed, “Deep down the consciousness of mankind is one. This is a virtual certainty … and if we don’t see this it’s because we are blinding ourselves to it.” (Citations for these quotations are available in my book One Mind, mentioned below.)

            If you are not intrigued by the evidence in Transcendent Mind, well, bear in mind the adage, “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”
            But if you are among those who are hesitant to adopt materialism as part of your personal credo, this erudite, reader-friendly book will perhaps fill in some of the blanks on your map of reality. You may discover not only empirical evidence for transcendent, shared mind, but for a transcendent reality as well.

            ~ Larry Dossey, MD
            Author: One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters

        • InfiniteWarrior says :

          This is interesting. On June 30, YES! Magazine ran a piece titled The Working-Class Wounds Behind Trump Voters Racisim.

          It might have received more attention had it been titled “The Hidden Wounds Behind Support for Trump”. Of course, not all Trump supporters are racist and the wounds the author speaks of have been inflicted on all of us regardless of religion, gender, ethnicity, political affiliation, etc. Those wounds are the direct result of neoliberalism.

          • Scott Preston says :

            Yes, but given these “hidden injuries of class” (http://books.wwnorton.com/books/978-0-393-31085-6/ ) Sanders’ “political revolution” should have been their logical first choice rather than their second. So, there are other factors in play.

            One of the interesting things in reading such “boots on the ground” reporting is a consistent pattern I’ve found. It’s anomie, and this is pretty characteristic of that social class called “petite bourgeois” (or “the petty bourgeoisie” as the English put it). Those with strong collegial, communitarian, or convivial memberships (such as unions) are much less susceptible to Trump’s demagoguery. But it seems that the decline of such associational ways of life, such as unions, has made people vulnerable. I suggest there is a strong correlation between the decline of unions, especially, and the appeal of Trumpism.

            It’s not just “uneducated”. It’s dissociation more generally (which is usually the case with the petite bourgeoisie), and “dissociation” in all its various meanings (new normal, post truth, etc). The logical corrective for too much dissociation is a good dose of socialism.

            Trump is the candidate of dissociation (anomie, new normal, post-truth etc). And the wrong choice in that sense. Trump is not capable of forming a coherent sense of “We the people”.

            • InfiniteWarrior says :

              given these “hidden injuries of class”

              Except that they’re not “injuries of class”. Regardless what social or economic “class” any of us purportedly can be categorized into, every last one of us is feeling the fallout of neoliberalism and globalization — some more than others. That is why “progressive class-based politics” is no better an answer than regressive class-based politics. “Class” is hardly the “ground” from which to start mending the Sacred Hoop.

              It’s not just “uneducated”.

              I don’t think the author intended to imply that it is. He was pointing out misperceptions about the “class” that supposedly comprises Trump’s “base” of supporters. As you’ve stressed — repeatedly — perception is key and misperceptions abound in this “brave new world”.

              The logical corrective for too much dissociation is a good dose of socialism.

              It certainly doesn’t hurt to place more emphasis where emphasis is overdue. But with the never-ending tug of war between “liberals” and “conservatives” over social and economic issues, other forces and voices have been all but completely shut out historically. They’re being heard now, of course, but look at what it took to get us there.

              Trump is not capable of forming a coherent sense…

              And, so, Trump is not capable of forming a coherent sentence. I’d like to think his chances are not just “narrow”, but slim to none. But that’s probably wishful thinking considering the popular vote doesn’t determine who the US President will be. The electoral vote does.

              there are other factors in play

              A wise man once said that there will be no political solution to the intractable issues presented by the breakdown of mental-rational consciousness; that it will take a Metanoia. I think he was right.

            • Scott Preston says :

              No point denying class. It’s just well-hidden. But it’s already implied in Hochschild’s “Deep Story”, to which I referred earlier. Everybody thinks class doesn’t matter, but everybody wants to be thought of as “high class” or “middle class” or even “billionaire class” or whatever.

              https://longsworde.wordpress.com/2016/09/07/arlie-hochschilds-deep-story/

              Certainly, there are other factors in play besides class. But the persistence of a class system can’t be dismissed, even if it is obscured by the myth of progress. This is also a matter of perception.

              Fortunately, “uneducated” isn’t a terminal illness, nor a ruthless fate. Unfortunately if “new normal = post-truth society” then it is a terminal illness. It is certainly ironic that in an “Age of Information”, “uneducated” has become something of a terminal illness, and what it really means in this context is not “uneducated” but the closing of the mind and society (the “Wall” being the image of that), as opposed to the open mind and the open society, and so issues of exclusion or inclusion. In some ways, “walls” of all kinds (or “domed cities” for that matter) are a return to the fortress city-states of antiquity and the middle ages — only today on a grander scale. Another way in which Modernity is undermining itself – the return of fear.

              But that’s probably wishful thinking considering the popular vote doesn’t determine who the US President will be. The electoral vote does.

              I’ve never been able to figure out how the US electoral system works. Nor, as it turns out, have some political scientists I’ve talked to, who find it a head-scratcher.

              A wise man once said that there will be no political solution to the intractable issues presented by the breakdown of mental-rational consciousness;

              Not in its present form, which is of course dualistic. Canada, England, and the US are the last bastions of “first-past-the-post”. Right now, the political battle in Canada is to switch to some form of proportional representation because, in some ways, the political chaos of the present is the attempt to make a multi-party and pluralistic system work within duopolistic institutions which can’t accommodate such diversity or pluralism or multiformity. This is a big part of the crisis of post-modernity. Proportional representation will go a long way in softening the blow.

              No, politics can’t solve the problems of dualistic rationality, because presently it reflects that dualism. But an enlightened politics will follow from a metanoia. Then, again, the metanoia will itself be formed in the crucible, to put it in alchemical terms. The crucible is the process of revolution itself. Revolution is just another word for transmutation.

              As it stands, the dualistic system (some say monopolistic or unipolar) denies the emergence of the fourfold or quadrilateral. This can’t continue without chaos being the result. Dualism must change to accommodate the fourfold or it will be annihilated by the return of the repressed.

              The crucible is the Sacred Hoop. The same symbol. It’s implied in the very word “crucible” which means “crux” or “cross”.

            • InfiniteWarrior says :

              never been able to figure out how the US electoral system works

              Well, that’s because it’s borked. Yeah…. Good luck with that, political scientists.

  2. Steve Lavendusky says :

    Climate change, fracking, GMOs, mass extinction of species, Fukushima, the death of our forest. Scott do you ever despair?

    • Scott Preston says :

      Despair is a temptation, yes, but it ends in paralysis. That’s why I had to give up the old Dark Age Blog and rebirth it as The Chrysalis. It’s in the nature of the “double-movement” that the higher you ascend, the lower the world looks. The lowest lows thus emerge simultaneously with the highest highs. Chaotic Transition is precisely the state where zenith and nadir cooexist, befitting the insight (Blake) that “without contraries there is no progression”. This is especially the case of the double-movement.

      I know it’s difficult to ignore the negative or “death pole” aspects of the double-movement. Gebser certainly didn’t. But then, we were encouraged not to focus too much attention on the nadir and rather focus on the zenith. That alone takes a change in consciousness.

      At the same time, though, I do worry that “Peak Chaos” might very well take the form of Walter Benjamin’s aesthetic of self-annihilation. That is only a recognition of what Nietzsche described as “nihilism”, ie, “man would rather will nothing, than have nothing to will”. That’s the “revolution of nihilism” which corresponds to what Gebser would describe as a “minus mutation”.

      I am, of course, just as much caught up in the stress of the double-movement between nadir and zenith — the extreme self-contradictions of Late Modernity that become self-devouring process. We are all caught up in these contradictions, or what we call “predicament”. It is advisable not to identify with them, though. This is where the practice of mindfulness or non-attachment/non-identification is very advisable.

      Gebser didn’t see the emergence of integraiism as a gradualism, or a smooth linear process, as if following a gradient. What we’re seeing today, globally, is probably what was to be expected. “The road up and the road down are the same”, as Heraclitus put it.

      The Chrysalis stage isn’t a very pleasant one for the potential butterfly either.

  3. Scott Preston says :

    “Mending the Sacred Hoop” and Thomas Berry’s “Great Work” are the same task. The performance of the task is called “service”, and it is through the “mindful” performance of the task that we become transformed by it. It is our “alchemy” as it were. But there’s not anything much to distinguish “The Great Work” from healing the Sacred Hoop.

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      This is just one example of what’s happening on the ground…in my hometown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_59kJXOLbKg

      • Scott Preston says :

        Takes some guts to insert yourself between Scylla and Charybdis like that — real test of your convictions.

        Don’t know much about the particular police shooting that sparked that, although I’ve read about it. A man named Keith Scott. I did see film of the shooting of that black nurse in Florida by the police. That was shocking, since he wasn’t doing anything, was lying on the ground with his hands in the air shouting “don’t shoot!” He got shot anyway. When he asked the cop who shot him “why did you shoot me?” the cop apparently answered “I don’t know”.

        “I don’t know”!? That’s chaos.answering, not a man. “I don’t know” is going to be the answer to a lot of strange behaviours. “I don’t know why I did that” is going to be pretty common answer.

        • InfiniteWarrior says :

          Takes some guts to insert yourself between Scylla and Charybdis like that — real test of your convictions.

          Agreed. Doubt this guy will ever be up for the Pulitzer Prize, but I’d vote for him…as if I could,

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