Liberal, Conservative, and Mental Confusion

Liberal and conservative are not identities. They are functions, moods, or states of the psyche akin to the yin and yang forces and serve the same purpose — to maintain a certain equilibrium or balance in psyche and society. When they become confused with the identity, this is narcissistic mind. Times of extreme political polarisation are then often an indication that the psyche and the society have become divided against themselves and are now in a state we would call “schizoid”, and decaying into a war of all against all — a state of maximum disintegration.

We are in the habit of identifying conservative and liberal orientations by purely spatialised coordinates of “right” and “left” respectively. This is an error because they are temporally and not spatially accentuated functions. Rosenstock-Huessy’s “time-thinking” philosophy and method corrected for this when he introduced two new temporal terms to complement the space-biased subjective and objective poles and functions of consciousness. The new terms were “trajective” for the conservative or past-oriented pole and function and “prejective” for the liberal for the future-oriented or progressive pole and function of consciousness. Thus his new quadrilateral or fourfold model and method forms a mandala called “the cross of reality”.

Rosenstock-Huessy’s Basic Cross of Reality

Subjective and Objective are the poles or functions of the space axis as inner and outer, while prejective and trajective are poles or functions of the time axis as past and future. It is appropriate to call these functions or states or moods, and, as you can see, it is very similar to Jung’s own mandala depiction of the psychological functions to which is bears comparison. These are representations of integral self or integral consciousness.

The mandala is a universal teaching symbol for this very reason, that it represents the soul as much as the cosmos in harmonious balance we call “equanimity”, “composed” or “equipoise”. The become identified with only one dimension of the cross of reality, or only one function of the total Self is to become, in some sense, deformed being. This is what Gebser then calls the “deficient mode of functioning” of a consciousness structure, ie, the “one-sided” mode or what Blake also called “Single Vision”.

Polarisation in psyche and society, then, indicates that the cross of reality has become unstable and threatens to splinter and disintegrate. “Things fly apart, the centre cannot hold” as Yeats put it in his famous poem “The Second Coming”.

Our task is to learn to balance this mandala or cross of reality that we are implicitly in Self and Society. Rosenstock-Huessy understood, though, that sometimes a revolution is necessary to overcome the impasse and restore society’s cross of reality when it has broken down, befiting, it seems, Rumi’s own remark that “the cure for the disease is in the disease” and to identify with only one function or one aspect of our total reality is disease.

We are composite beings, then, as the mandala and cross of reality testify, and it is error to become identified with only one arm of the cross of reality or one cardinal point of the mandala from some misguided sense of “purity”, which is to succumb to Blake’s “Single Vision”. Put another way, it is the Tao that reveals itself through us in these pairings which we need to respect in our selves. None of us is totally conservative or totally progressive or liberal. We are a mixture, who are free to call upon these functions whenever we sense the need to rebalance the spaces and times of our lives.

Which today you may note, are totally of whack, indicating that the cross of reality and the mandala of being is splintering, fracturing, and disintegrating, inducing a “maelstrom of blind anxiety” and potentially leading to “global catastrophe” as Gebser warned as well.

I hope this might help you achieve some clarity about the current situation. It is best to think of the conservative and progressive stances as functions of the psyche for maintaining equilibrium of the cross of reality or as responses to its fragmentation, which may be appropriate or inappropriate to effect the desired outcome which is reharmonisation of the cross of reality/mandala.

But never treated as identities, which only results in mental confusion and even madness. We are multiform beings, and our awareness must remain fluid and flexible to manifest that.


19 responses to “Liberal, Conservative, and Mental Confusion”

  1. Scott Preston says :

    Should mention too that this model conforms beautifully to Gebser’s own notion of integral consciousness when he writes that an obsession with the past (the trajective or even reactionary mode) must be moderated by an acknowledgement of the latency of the future.

    So you must remain somewhat Janus like in your relation to time past and time future, and balancing the requirements of each. That’s the 7 generation rule of indigenous cultures too. Always to consider the seven generations past and the seven generations to come in your councils.

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      You “must”?

      Would care to qualify that atll?

      • Scott Preston says :

        Thought that would be clear — moderating factor is necessary to avoid extremism or lapsing into reactionary attitudes, and the same with any excessive obsession with futurity at the expense of history or the past (Ford’s “history is bunk” comes to mind).

        Yes, you must, if you don’t want to become fanatically unbalanced and a monomanic.

        • InfiniteWarrior says :

          Yeah? Tell that to the idiots who think “moderation in all things” means being a “moderate centrist”– politically and in no other way — having no sense of a true “Third Way” of Being.

  2. Scott Preston says :

    This is brilliant Remarkable. The child remembers. Something I caught on Twitter. A child talking to his or her mother apparently:

    My little: “oppa, I was not wis you when you was born”
    Me: oh ya? Where were you?
    My little: “I wasn’t ready yet, I was no where”

    If you recall the nursery rhyme I once cited here, you’ll see perhaps what the child is actually saying:

    “Where to you come from Baby dear?
    Out of Everywhere into here.”

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      Not going to fly today, though.

      I would agree we need new ways of expressing truths we’ve known for ages, but not expressly “new’ ways, e.g exclusively technooigical ways.

      Any thoughts on this?

  3. Scott Preston says :

    It is a crazy and bizarre thing when you think that what you call “God” is to be found at the beginning of time rather than in the heart and the present. That’s the old Deist notion of “God” as the remote old Clockmaker who winds everything up at the beginning of time and then retires to wherever old gods retire to. Nuts.

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      “Beginning.” “Ending.” Could be wrong, but I think we get our ancestral confusion over “beginnings” and “endings” in the so-called phenetic sense of the word from a variety of sources whereas “Alpha” and “Omega,” “the beginning” and “:the end” — so to speak — speak for themselves.

  4. Scott Preston says :

    I may have to move here shortly (still up in the air) so I may become incommunicado here again for a while.

  5. Scott Preston says :

    I was reflecting this morning on which dystopian fiction novels I’ve read or films I’ve seen more resembles the current scenario than others. Brunner’s environmental dystopias, Huxley, Wells or Orwell, “Idiocracy” or “Elysium” or “Equilibrium” or “Minority Report” and such. Actually, they all seem to have had a piece of the puzzle. The current scenario uncannily resembles all of them together.

  6. Scott Preston says :

    Offered without comment: “What ‘No Self’ Really Means”

    • Smitty's Gelato: A Film Blog says :

      I can foresee a tyrant abusing the idea of “no permanent self” to erase undesirable identities and replace those identities with identities more to the tyrant’s liking. After all, if you can convince someone they have no permanent identity they’re opened up to being programmed with whatever identity the tyrant would prefer them to have.

      • Scott Preston says :

        Actually, no. When the Buddha was asked whether he was a man or a god, he simply replied “I am awake”. This “I” refers to something that we may call “essential identity”, a subject A.H. Almaas discusses brilliantly in his book “The Point of Existence”. The essential identity is already implicit in the ego-identity, but is eclipsed by it. The essential identity or awareness is identical with Being — just Being. It has no attributes, really, until it enters into the the orders of finite time and finite space. This essential identity which is identical with Being is the meaning of the Zen koan “show me your face before you were born”.

        I was planning out a new post somewhat on that topic — the relationship between experience and experiment, as given in the words themselves.

        • Smitty's Gelato: A Film Blog says :

          I guess if someone is genuinely in touch with that awareness, they’ll recognize when a tyrant attempts to hand them a false identity.
          However, I can still see the tyrant passing off a fake version of awareness to people who aren’t truly in touch with awareness.

          • Scott Preston says :

            That’s what the Book of Revelation warns against as far as Christianity is concerned –the false prophets and the anti-Christ who is a mimic and thus misleads multitudes.

          • InfiniteWarrior says :

            The situtation is worse even than that today in that most everyone we meet (at least, in my experience) are often acting like “tyrants,” attempting to hand us a false identity — one they’ve chosen for us based on anything from where we happen to live to what they assume is our “political” (especially) or religious stripe or “leaning.” This is usually, I think, to try and make themselves feel superior to us in some way, whether it be intellectually or morally.

            It’s absolutely insane out there. I suspect that’s why most of us can count our true friends on one hand or, perhaps even, just a couple of fingers anymore. The “atomization of society” is not just a top-down affair and appears nearly complete, at least in the West.

            We just need to remember that none of us fit into the tiny boxes others’ devise for us and we’re good to go.

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