More thoughts on the cold war interpretation of the U.S. Constitution – the ‘frigid war’, ‘the re-enactment of the American Revolutionary War’, and the ‘historical shadow’

I had some more thoughts on the cold war interpretation of the U.S. Constitution (I’ve written similar things in previous articles such as “Thoughts on the cold war interpretation of the U.S. Constitution: distortion “in the name of the Constitution” and “More thoughts on the “cold war mentality” – its traits and its ongoing effects” and “Thoughts on cold war thinking and how it is out dated” and “Thoughts on my statement: “The cold war is over. We don’t have to see malicious intent in peoples actions anymore . . . ” – the cold war warpage of American ideals, law, and political views and other things” which this article reiterates, in a different way, as well as adding some other things):

I tend to believe that the cold war created a particular interpretation of the world, politics, associations between people, and life in general.  This is because the cold war was a unique time in history.  It created a condition that has never really existed in history.  As a result, it has created a unique reaction with unique viewpoints corresponding to its unique historical context.  Because of this, its points of views become out-of-place and “weird” when they are used in non-cold war conditions  (such as now!).  Much of these “unique” cold war point of views, though, are being persisted down to today.  What this does is leave a very strong ‘cold warishness’ attitude in the world today even though no cold war exists.  In many ways, it is a continuing of the cold war when there is no cold war.   I sometimes jokingly speak of this as the ‘frigid war’.  This is the continuing persistence of attitudes surrounding a war that “almost” took place (the cold war) when the original conditions no longer exist (in other words, it has gone from the cold to frigid).  In some respects, the ‘frigid war’ is causing even more distortion than the original cold war.  Some reasons for this include:

  • It is based on an already existing condition with its own existing impetus and justification.
  • It caters to nationalistic feelings and self-righteousness.
  • There is nothing to challenge it.
  • There is no alternative.

Because of this, the attitudes of the cold war are kept alive and kicking in the ‘frigid war’.  In this way we remain in the cold war without being in it.

THE ‘COLD WAR INTERPRETATION OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION’

One of the effects of the cold war is that it has caused a great distortion in American political and legal thinking that would probably be best described as a warpage.  Because of this, it has given a specific quality to the interpretation of American law and politics that is unique to the cold war era.  Most of this centers, somewhere along the line, with the U.S. Constitution as the cold war was viewed as a defending of the U.S. Constitution against a threat that entailed the idea of world annihilation and destruction.  In this way, it gave a particular quality to the importance and defense of the U.S. Constitution.  What we see, then, is that the cold war created a “cold war interpretation of the U.S. Constitution” to fit the conditions of the cold war.

I believe that this interpretation is NOT the “correct” interpretation of the U.S. Constitution nor do I believe that it is an accurate portrayal of what the founders had in mind.  The interpretation is only a reflection of the conditions of a specific era with unique conditions.  This is because, in reality, its not uncommon that each era creates its own style of interpretation of things, such as the U.S. Constitution.  In this way, each era gives a different interpretation and quality that can make it very unique and separate from other eras.  In many ways, we could compare the ‘cold war interpretation of the U.S. Constitution’ to the many interpretations of the Bible which varied with different eras.  The effect of the different eras and their different interpretations, of course, is to give a multitude of interpretations of the Bible.  Its really no different with the U.S. Constitution.

I should also point out that each era had the tendency to think that their interpretation is correct.  In addition, they tended to think that their interpretation is the “only” interpretation that is possible.  This is a common viewpoint with the ‘cold war interpretation of the U.S. Constitution’.  Because things are said in the name of the U.S. Constitution there is a tendency to think that this is the correct and the only interpretation.  In other words, people seem to think that this interpretation is the ultimate interpretation and that it reflects its “true spirit”.  But this interpretation is based on the cold war situation and is, therefore, specific to that situation.  Its just another era thinking that it has the correct interpretation.

Its very critical to emphasize, and remember, that the ‘cold war interpretation of the U.S. Constitution’ is based on unique and unnatural conditions that caused a paranoid delusional point of view.   This was aggravated by social hysteria and panic greatly influenced by the media.  This caused a particularly unique attitude and mentality that does not reflect any other era.  In this way, it is not founded in the best of mentalities, which makes it even more questionable.

“THE RE-ENACTMENT OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR”

The cold war caused an over-glorification of American beliefs (as we were fighting a rival political and economic theory).  As a result, American political and legal beliefs were almost turned into an act of god, as the “ultimate”.  This caused a tendency, which I often call the “the re-enactment of the American Revolutionary War”.  Basically, in order to “capture” the “rightness” of themselves as Americans they as if tried to turn everything into the event that they believe made them great:  the American Revolutionary War.  But, in order for this to work it must recreate the participants and conditions.  The problem is that this situation does not exist in all situations nor does it reflect a commonly occurring human situation.  As a result, by recreating these things, they had to twist and distort things to fit into their American Revolutionary War model.  I sometimes speak of this as “forcing the interpretation”.  Basically, it amounts to “making” things fit into a situation that it does not, in actuality, fit in.  In this way, “the re-enactment of the American Revolutionary War” created a distorted view of situations, society, and people.  It created abuse that didn’t happen, the villanizing of innocent people, and the seeing of social and political conditions that did not exist.  To me, this distorted point of view now permeates American society.

A good example of these claims are seen with feminists, who fabricated a whole false world based in cold war paranoia and “the re-enactment of the American Revolutionary War” (for some examples see my article “Thoughts on the absurd claims of feminists“).  One statement, in particular, is particularly revealing:

“Females are oppressed because we are forced to wear nylons.  This is meant to reinforce our inferiority.  Males get to wear pants, which are durable and strong, but we have to wear nylons, which are weak and frail, to remind us of our inferiority.”  

Anyone with any sense can see that this is utter nonsense (but it was said to me like it was a serious and legitimate claim!).  We see a number of themes:

  • The oppressor – males forcing them to wear nylons
  • The oppressed – females are “forced” to wear nylons
  • Ill intent – the males do it to make females inferior (apparently, for some “sinister” reason)
  • The use of the Constitution as a defense – they are “oppressed” and, therefore, fighting male oppression
  • Conspiracy theory – the idea that the males conspired to force this upon them

In general, its a statement of an oppression conspired by the males to harm the females by making them feel “inferior” by forcing them wear “weak” and “frail” nylons.

Does this condition exist?

Certainly not.  Its a reflection of the delusional paranoid thinking that was very prevalent during the cold war era.  Not only that, its a good example of ‘the reenactment of the American Revolutionary War’:  they are the “oppressed” fighting for their “freedom” against the “oppressor” with the use of the “Constitution”.  Its the same old story.  But, you can see that it is a fabrication they created to fit this viewpoint (they “forced the interpretation”).  This shows how this thinking fabricated situations and conditions that did not exist.  In addition, it also shows how innocent people were dragged into the delusion and villanized as the males became the innocent victims here.   I find it interesting that they (feminists, in this case) have created a whole philosophy that paints themselves as the victims but, in actuality, it is they that are the victimizers.

Common themes seen in ‘the re-enactment of the American Revolutionary War’, and the ‘cold war distortion of the American Constitution’, include:

  • The “oppressor”
  • The “oppressed”
  • The “oppressed fighting for their freedom”
  • The Constitution to protect them (which they often wield like a weapon)
  • Some form of “ill intent” on the part of the oppressor (almost always, there’s assumed a sinister or malicious or evil intent)

In order for this philosophy to work these conditions must be created, whether they exist or not.  If these conditions do not exist then they have to be “forced” and created. People will be turned into “oppressors”, whether its true or not.  A “fight for freedom” has to be made, whether there is a freedom to fight for or not.  There must be made an “ill intent” in peoples actions whether they are there or not.  In effect, a whole delusional and false image of the situation, and people, are created . . . all to fit the American Revolutionary War model and, in the end, to glorify America’s greatness.

UNIQUE QUALITIES CREATED BY THE COLD WAR

The conditions, created by the cold war, were quite unique and added unique themes that are unique to it, such as:

  • The idea of world annihilation – a tendency to exaggerated fear
  • The idea that everyone is against us – a tendency to paranoia
  • The idea that people have malicious intent – a tendency to villanize
  • The idea that evil is our fault – a tendency to self-blame
  • The idea of using the Constitution – a tendency to self-righteousness
  • The idea that we need to protect ourselves – a tendency for desperately defending themselves

These themes, coupled with ‘the  re-enactment of the American Revolutionary War’, have created a specific type of interpretation of the American Constitution as a result.  This is because these things changes the conditions, the attitude, and the context of how the U.S. Constitution is looked, as I said above.

These tendencies, above, created many new traits and qualities which include:

Fear and Paranoia

  • It assumes malicious intents in peoples action.  These intents tend to always have this sinister and horrible quality to it.
  • They see hatred in things.  There is a great over-over-sensitivity, in fact, to anything that can be construed as “hate”.  In this way, the cold war created an idea of “hate” that goes far beyond and is worse than actual hate.  This is because they often see it in the context of the “worst case scenarios”, such as the Nazi’s (see my article “Thoughts on ‘living under the shadow of Hitler’ – the horror of the modern world“).
  • A paranoid viewpoint of things.  There is a tendency to see things, people, institutions, the government, etc. as “plotting” against us or somehow trying to go against us.  There is often a lot of conspiracy theories about things.
  • Conspiracy theories.  There is a tendency to think that “something”, be it governments, groups, and even individual people, are “plotting” against them in some way.  Because of the cold wars association with the American idea of freedom its often perceived that they are “plotting” against their freedom.  In many cases, its viewed that they are seeking to “oppress” us, “enslave” us, or establish a “tyranny” over them . . . obviously coming from the American view of things.
  • A fear of any threat of violence.  Any form of hurting is viewed as violence, down to spanking your kids.  There becomes a fear of this and an over-exaggeration of it.  Often, the paranoia makes them interpret things far worse than it really is.
  • They act as if there is a continual threat that one must defend themselves against.  Threats are everywhere, even the smallest of things.  These must be defended against.
  • They see things as the worst they can be.  They see and interpret things in the worst possible light.

Political and legal thinking

  • A legal and political interpretation of everything.  In other words, everything, even down to trivial things in everyday life, takes on a legal and political context.  In this way, law and politics, as well as cold war paranoia, infiltrates into our everyday lives where it does not belong nor has a basis in truth.  The best example of this, I think, is how, in some places, its a crime to spank our own kids.
  • They see oppression in everything.  Being paranoid there is a tendency to interpret even everyday things as a form of oppression.

A sense that they are “right

  • A self-righteousness.  A tendency to think that all that they do is correct and right.  This is often taken to the point of view that everyone else in the world is wrong, particularly in relation to politics and economy.  This also tends to make other peoples intentions and acts look small and insignificant.
  • The U.S. Constitution, politics, and law are treated as if they are commandments of God.  They act like god, himself, had written it as a guide to all the world.
  • They think that their points of view will save the world.  Since they, and the U.S. Constitution, are “right” it is the savior of the world and will solve the worlds problems.
  • They view the U.S. Constitution as a great cause.  Its viewed as something that must be “forced” upon people much like a “forced conversion” often in order to “save” the world.
  • Their views are looked at as being the ‘all’, as if the world depends on their point of view.  They tend to trivialize other viewpoints making it so that there’s is all that matters and what the world should revolve around.

A denial of life’s facts and fantasized thinking

  • They deny reality and the ‘real-world’ condition for a more fantasized world view.  They tend to use the Constitution as a way to create a fantasized world and reality.  A common trait of this thinking is the idea that they will “change the world”.
  • They deny human nature.  Because many feelings scare them (hate, violence, etc.) they villanize it and thereby deny basic traits of human nature.
  • They create a pie-in-the-sky solutions.  Much of their solutions is not realistic (such as that everyone should love one another).
  • A tendency to interpret everything a single specific way.  Typically, everything is interpreted in the idea of an oppressor and the oppressed fighting for their freedom.  Basically, it is a reenactment of the American Revolutionary War.
  • Their solutions generally don’t work.  This is because it is often based in pie-in-the-sky thinking.  Interestingly, this is often overlooked because it is said in the name of the Constitution.

The creation of innocent victims

  • The villanizing of other people governments and cultures.  Many Americans, I found, were very easy and willing to do this and some seemed to take great pleasure in it.  All they need is a reason.
  • Using the political and legal system to condemn people.  They have developed all these names, for example, for this purpose, such as “racist”, “sexist”, and so on.
  • Seeing motives and intents that aren’t there.  Oftentimes, these motives and intents always match their viewpoints and perspectives.  They often painted people as horrible people or criminals when they are not.

The use of the U.S. Constitution as a weapon

  • Using political and legal ideas and names as it were a weapon.  Often, just quoting or referring to the U.S. Constitution is enough of a weapon to get things done.  I’ve seen many people wield it like a sword.  It reminds me of when people used to quote the Bible all the time as if the fact that you quoted it makes you automatically “right”.
  • The establishment of a pre-established assumed bias and interpretation of thing only revolving around certain themes.  Typically, these are cold war based themes and are often repetitive throughout the years and remain unchanged:  the government is plotting against the people, the whites hate the blacks, the males are trying to enslave the females, etc., etc.  These pre-established points of view tend to dictate how they interpret everything.
  • A lot of name-calling and accusation in the name of the Constitution.  They have all sorts of names, such as “racist”, to accuse people with.  They have even come up with a word recently, “politically correct”, to condemn people with who don’t follow their paranoid scared Constitution-justified ways.  If one isn’t “politically correct” then it is assumed that the person had these horrible malicious intents.  How cold-warish . . . yeah, everyone hates one another, that’s exactly what it is . . . to someone whose paranoid and see’s the worst in things (see my article “Thoughts on the ridiculousness of political correctness – another example of cold war paranoia“.)

A narrow mindedness

  • There is only one explanation for everything . . . theirs.  Typically, they tend to view that their view is the view of life and the way life should be led without consideration for other viewpoints.  This is a common American tendency.

Other attitudes

  • A desperation.  They act like they are in a mad scramble against a great fear.
  • They are over-sensitive and over-reactive.  Their fear and paranoia makes people turn simple things into something horrible.  Even a word or statement can become an “issue”.   People become, for example, “offended” by simple things.
  • They take things too literally.  They see a threat in everything which makes them see too much into things.
  • They do not forgive.  Once you are “villanized” your are villanized.  They typically do not give any leniency or forgiveness to anyone they see as bad.

THE NET RESULT:  A DISTORTED VIEW OF THE WORLD, PEOPLE, AND SOCIETY – THE ‘HISTORICAL SHADOW’

What all this has created is a distorted view of the world, people, and society.  They are using the attitudes, and mentalities, of a previous era and applying it to an era that does not have these conditions.  One could compare it to looking at the world through blue-colored sunglasses . . .  everything looks “bluish” . . . but its not.

What this shows is that we are really victims of recent history and that these recent events are casting a shadow upon us.  I sometimes speak of this as the ‘historical shadow’.  This consists of historical events that have caused a response that tends to persist generation after generation after the event has passed.  Because of this, they tend to cause a persisting of that reality and way of viewing things (such as the ‘cold war interpretation of the U.S. Constitution’).  In short, a ‘historical shadow’ tends to alter the interpretation of life and events that follow it.  In this way, it tends to give a ‘distorted’ view of life and events.  As a result, the interpretation of history and events is not an interpreting of things “as they are” but “in relation to something else”.  In short, the interpreting of things, nowadays, is not really as “genuine” as it may seem.

Some of the things that help the creation of the ‘historical shadow’ include:

  • The media.
  • Education (that is, the continuing teaching of these events).
  • Culture (that is, it becomes part of the mentality, lore, and legend of a culture).
  • Various means of remembering (such as memorials, holidays, etc.)

Since these things are so prevalent, nowadays, they tend to promote the ‘historical shadow’ in this society.  Normally, things tend to be forgotten over the years until there is no shadow at all.  But, if it becomes ingrained into one of the things, described above, it can help it persist almost indefinitely.  With the strong establishment, and proliferation, of things like media, education, and means of remembering it has only helps to strengthen the ‘historical shadow’.   This is particularly so with the coming of visual and sound media which makes these things remain somewhat “alive” decades after they have happened.  As a result, it has become a major element in the persisting of the ‘historical shadow’ of that era into the latter generations.  In fact, they keep it so “alive” that it may be hard for them to disappear at all.  Because of this, we’re seeing that the ‘historical shadow’ is something that is, nowadays, hard to get rid of.  In this way, we are now in an era where there is a tendency for an ‘altered’ interpretation of life caused by the ‘historical shadow’.  People, for example, are always saying that we should “remember” things (such as the holocaust, 9-11, etc.) but I have always thought ” . . . but maybe it would be best if we forgot it . . . “.   Keeping these things alive in our minds only keep its point of view in our minds, which seldom fits current conditions and tends to only persist the fact of the horror of the tragedy.

A good example of the adverse effects of a ‘historical shadow’ is seen in black people in the U.S.  As we all know, black people were brought to the U.S. as slaves.  Something like this, I would think, would be a dark period in any peoples history.  Because of this, its only natural that it would cast a great ‘historical shadow’ on their descendants.  The phenomena of the ‘historical shadow’ will keep this dark and terrible fact in the descendants mind even after the condition that caused it no longer exists.  It appears that this is exactly what is happening to many black people in the U.S.  Many black people cannot “let go” of the ‘historical shadow’ of slavery.  Because of this, they are forever seeing it in everything and interpret life according to its point of view.  As a result, many black people see discrimination coming out of the woodwork and in everything, even though its not, in actuality, there.  In this way, life becomes dark and sinister to them.  If many would “let go” of this ‘historical shadow’ they’d find that they would cease seeing dark and sinister things in things.  Not only have I noticed this but many other people I’ve talked to.  Even foreign people have mentioned it.  In many ways, the black people have become slaves yet again . . . of their past (I’ve written an article on similar things called “Some thoughts on the identity of black people: An example of identity misalignment???“).  In this case, it has become part of their identity, of how they view themselves and what they are.  In so doing they become trapped in that identity seeing no way out.  This shows how a ‘historical shadow’ can literally enslave a people and affect them in negative ways.

Common recent events that have caused a ‘historical shadow’ include:

  • Hitler and the Nazi’s (see my article on Hitler referenced above)
  • Modern warfare (which is horrifying)
  • The cold war
  • The damage that humanity is causing the world

These have all caused a shadow that hangs over us and colors the world we live in.  If these things had not appeared then we would no doubt view the world in a much more different way.

One interesting effect of the ‘historical shadow’ is that it has a quality, in a body of people, of creating a sense of unity as it helps everyone view things in the same way and feel a part of the same historical processes.  As a result, it can have great impact on identity and, in fact, is instrumental in the development of a national or cultural identity.  It can create the “common ground” between people and become and “identifying mark”.

Because of this, the ‘historical shadow’ is sometimes deliberately maintained:  the ‘deliberate historical shadow’.  This appears in ways such as legends, myths, remembering historical events, etc.  These can be verbally transmitted and even written in a book (such as the Bible).  Some of these have persisted for centuries and, in some cases, over a thousand years.

But this identity, caused by the ‘historical shadow’, can sometimes become constraining and restricting and prevent growth and development.  What this can provoke is something like a social rebellion where the ways created by the ‘historical shadow’ are done away with.  This can range from something almost imperceptible to something very dramatic and even involving violence.  Some societies, it seems, often seem to go through a ‘cycle of the historical shadow’:

  1. An defining happening or event
  2. It becomes impressed upon the peoples mind and is remembered
  3. The ‘historical shadow’ is created
  4. It unifies the people
  5. It becomes constraining
  6. A rebellion takes place
  7. Some new happening or event takes place and the cycle repeats (the rebellion may, in some cases, be the event that starts it off again)

This cycle can cause something like an ‘era’ in a body of people because, during this time, the ‘historical shadow’ defines the people and their interpretation of the life.  The eras before and after it are often remarkably different because they are based in a different ‘historical shadow’.

One thing this shows is the power of the ‘historical shadow’ and how it can create, in a sense, a whole new “reality”.   This is because it becomes the basis for interpreting and understanding life.  Another ‘historical shadow’ will cause another interpretation and understanding and, accordingly, create a whole other “reality”.

So, we see that the ‘historical shadow’ can have qualities ranging from good to bad and can help or harm people, depending on the circumstance.  The ‘historical shadow’ caused by the cold war, it seems to me, is something that will probably persist for some time primarily due to the power of things like the media and education.  Its effects seems to be the creating of an ‘altered’ or warped view of things which is, by their prevalence, becoming viewed as “right”.

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Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Government and politics, Historical stuff, Modern life and society, The Cold War, The U.S. and American society | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the myth of the power of the U.S. President – government stagnation, the “tyranny of blame”, and other things

In a recent conversation I made an interesting statement:

“I get a kick out of the power people think the President has.  They think the President can make all these changes, as if he can wave a wand and all the problems will be solved.  In actuality, the President doesn’t have that type of power.  This is because this government does not allow for one single person to be ‘in charge’.”

We must remember that the government of the U.S. is “designed”, so to speak, so that one person cannot be in control.  As a result, the President can’t have that much power.  Therefore, to think that the President can make wide-sweeping changes is unrealistic and impractical.  Not allowing one person to have control is, of course, to prevent the so-called “tyrant” from appearing.  The theory is that, by having assemblies and ‘voting’, we can prevent any single person from taking control.  This, really, is the whole idea of democracy.  The problem is that, in the real world, things don’t happen like this.  In actuality, it creates a system that has a tendency to stagnate.  That is to say, a situation is created where “a lot is said but nothing is done”.  This is primarily because this government theory creates situations such as:

  • It becomes an endless arguing  of people.  Of course, the theory is that this arguing will help make a decision but it often does not.  In fact, it often promotes stagnation and indecision (also see my article “Thoughts on King Charles I and his refusal to deal with Parliament – the problem with decision making assemblies“).
  • Its hard for decisions to be made.  The arguing tends to often make it difficult to make a final decision.
  • There’s no one in power to make the final decision.  Since no one is in power (and can’t be) there is often no one to make the final decision.  In fact, I tend to believe that many decisions never happen because of the absence of someone to make the final decision.
  • There is a tendency for factions to control and dictate things.  The absence of anyone in power creates something like a power vacuum which tends to promote, in an assembly, the creation of ‘factions’ (such as liberals, special interest groups, etc.).  These end up taking the place of a person in charge and, in some case, end up controlling the assembly.  In this way, these ‘factions’ can turn into a new form of tyranny.  Often, though, their decision only affects their specific group.  In other words, ‘factions’ seldom really benefit, or are directed, to the people as a whole.  In this way, they can be counter-productive as a whole helping to promote stagnation.

These conditions predispose a government to stagnation, despite what their “formal political theory” says its supposed to do.

Typically, a “formal political theory” is very idealistic and sounds great.  But very seldom do real world situation resemble it.  This is because they are generally created in the context of abstract thought, not in what actually happens in the real world.  Because of this, “formal political theory” tends to be a matter of “trying to fit things into a pre-established model”.  As a result, there is often a lot of effort trying to “force” things into this model.  In addition, when it doesn’t fit into the model its often ignored or noticed as the tendency is to see it only from the “formal political theory” point of view.   This makes it so that they often do not see the failings of their system.

Its because of things like this that the U.S. government is becoming a stagnating system:  its own government theory is of a nature that promotes and predisposes it to a stagnating situation.  I can see a number of effects of this stagnation:

  • The waste caused by the stagnation of the U.S. government is probably into the billions of dollars a year.  I sometimes think that if the prevalence of money in the U.S. contributes to this.  If the U.S. had to watch every cent then it would probably force this government to be more effective.
  • Many abuses continue to exist unchecked.  Being stagnate and remaining in indecision, nothing is done about things.
  • There’s an absence of improving things and systems.
  • Nothing is done about matters that need immediate attention.
  • The only thing that seems to “get done” is a result of the ‘factions’ (such as special interest groups).
  • The government seems to neglect its own people.  For example, they spend billions on other countries but very little to improve their own people.  This, often, is a result of ‘factions’, again showing their power in this government.
  • The overall welfare of the country is neglected.  This is because the political system, which is supposed to do this, is stagnating.

To me, the U.S. seems very ineffective as an active working government . . . but it seems to be saved by its money which gives the illusion that everything is OK.  In this way, there is, it seems to me, very little “drive” to make an effective government in the U.S.  Not only that, even if it wanted to, the fact that a person can’t be ‘in charge’ would prevent any organization to make that happen.  So we see that not only does the ‘no one in charge’ government theory lead to stagnation but it also leads to an inability to solve its own problems. 

Of course, this tendency to stagnation, and the inability to solve its own problems, was not intended.  People didn’t plan for this to happen.  It just is the ultimate result of taking this point of view.  As I said above, this point of view predisposes a country to these things as an ‘inherent evil’ in the theory.

In addition to these problems, there seems to be an illusion when ‘no one is in charge’.  Basically, there is no one to blame.  This makes it so that there is no one to get mad with.  I’ve often stated that part of the idea of the tyrant, and why its so appealing to people, is not necessarily because they are tyrants but, rather, it gives people someone to blame.  As a result, there’s a target to direct ones bad feelings toward.  In many cases, this can create a worse condition than the actual tyranny (look at many political events in English history).  This is because it brings up horrible and terrible feelings.  One could say that, in these cases, its the horrible and terrible feelings that are the “real tyranny”. 

So we see that the blaming of the person ‘in charge’ entails this process:

  1. A conflict.
  2. The bad feelings the conflict causes.
  3. A target.
  4. The blaming of the target.

When the target is missing, there’s nothing for the bad feelings to be manifested toward.  As a result, the bad feelings tend to not be that intense.  In other words, a target makes the bad feelings more intense.  To go even further, a human face makes it even more more intense.  The absence of a target to blame tends to make it seem “mild”.  I’ve often felt that this is part of the illusion of how assemblies, or democracies, seem to be ‘calm’ even though there are abuses and injustice going on . . . being an assembly, there’s no one to blame.  We could speak of this phenomena as the ‘tyranny of blame’.  In other words, the fact that there is someone to blame, and direct ones bad feelings toward, intensifies the bad feelings and creates the “tyranny”.  

Naturally, because the President is ‘in charge’ he often becomes a target for any bad feelings associated with government regardless of whether he is responsible or not . . . it doesn’t matter.  More than once have I said that the President is nothing but “someone to blame”.  Of course, this blame contributes to the illusion of the Presidents power:  because we can blame him he becomes the blame.  This is just another example of the close relationship between these things:

  • Bad feelings.
  • The person ‘in charge’.
  • Blame.

These create a very intense and delicate association.  It is nothing to look at lightly . . . many people have died as a result of this.  In many cultures, it hits very deep.  In some cases, it hits to the core of a person.  In general, it seems that the more stronger the sense of a culture, or a people, the more deeper the association is.  This is because the person ‘in charge’ represents that culture or people.  As a result, a conflict in this association creates deep inner conflict.  This creates the formation of particular feelings and attitudes toward the person ‘in charge’.  Generally, it is nothing but the villainizing of the person ‘in charge’ (who is often called a “tyrant”).  In other words, its more a reflection of intense and deep feelings more than any actual abuse that actually happens.

What all this suggests is that there may be more what is often called “tyranny” than is supposed.  Normally, its viewed as “the populace is oppressed by the tyrant”.  This other aspect seems to be saying that “the tyrant is created by the people because of deep inner feelings”.  In other words, the “tyrant” has two forms:

  1. A person who actually oppresses the populace.
  2. A person who is blamed by the populace (the “tyranny of blame”)

No doubt, there is an association between these two to the point that they may even blend together.  My observation is that both do, in fact, exist in a society.  The later, I think, is far more prevalent than it may, at first, seem.  In fact, I tend to feel that, in the U.S. and Britain, the “tyranny of blame” runs rampant and has become a major element in politics.  It seems to cast its shadow or it all.

The depth of these feelings, and why they can get so horrible and terrible, reveal many aspects to attitudes surrounding the person ‘in charge’:

  • The image of a “protecting parent”.
  • The bond of a people (much like a family).
  • The maintenance of what’s “right”.
  • The welfare of all of us.
  • A sense of security.

In other words, the person ‘in charge’ has, attached to him, many feelings unrelated to politics and the situation of life.  In fact, they may have more feelings attached to them than any other person in society, even ones parents or family.  Its not uncommon that the person ‘in charge’ can take on a quality of being Holy or Sacred, almost God-like.  That fact is nothing to look at lightly . . . it shows the depths of these feelings.  The image of the King is one such person who had such deep feelings, even down to today (see my article “Thoughts on the stages of kingship“).  What this means is that politics is actually more closely associated with these basic deep human feelings than politics and situation.  In this way, there is a blurring between politics and these deep human feelings to the point that you can’t tell the difference. 

Overall, then, we see a tendency to overvalue and overemphasis the importance, power, and influence of the person ‘in charge’ (such as the President) and are quick to blame them for problems.  This is because of the deep human feelings that are associated with them and which they, in a sense, represent.  In actuality, this is what concerns us, not politics. 

This is one of the reasons why I would never want to be in politics as I very well know that I will be associated with these deep human feelings and possibly become a victim of them (as I’m sure I would not do a good job in politics).  I’ve often felt that anyone going into politics should be aware of this fact and reflect on it.

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Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Britain and British things, Government and politics, Historical stuff, Philosophy, Psychology and psychoanalysis, The U.S. and American society | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on some of the effects of Christianity on the glorification of understanding, reading, learning, and intellectualism

Reflecting one day, I had some interesting thoughts about the effects Christianity had on the glorification of understanding, reading, learning, and intellectualism:

THE IMPORTANCE OF “NO GRAVEN IMAGES” IN INTELLECTUALISM

There seems to be a relationship between intellectualism and the 10 Commandments of Moses.  This has helped cause an almost religious devotion to reading and learning which is so prevalent in Western society.  I speak, more specifically, with the commandment that there shall be “no graven images”.  This commandment, by itself, did not actually start it though.  It is only the base of it.  It seems that the coming of Protestantism is what actually got it going.  This is because Protestantism tried to look at the Bible, including the 10 Commandments, more seriously as well as to follow the teachings of Christ more accurately and literally (at least, as they saw it).  In so doing, they took the Bible more seriously and emphasized more of what it said.  In fact, there was often an attempt to make religion revolve only around the Bible alone, and what it said, and removing everything else not associated with it.  In regard to “no graven images”, for example, they took it more seriously and would not allow statues, images, and such in their churches.  This basically turned the church into nothing but a meeting house . . . any “implements” or “images” being considered a form of “graven image” which, they felt, is prohibited in the commandments.  In addition, there could be no saints either (which is so prevalent in Catholicism) as they were “idols”.  In so doing the church became, in a sense, “imageless” as any image, in any form, was considered a “graven image”.  This put great emphasis, then, on the written Bible as the only thing that mattered.  We must also point out that the Protestant era happened to coincide with the coming of printing, which made the Bible more accessible to many people.  All this helped to create an emphasis on reading and knowing the Bible.

Now, since the Bible is sacred there developed this attitude that reading and knowing is sacred.  This attitude carried over into the learning centers, such as the Universities which treated knowledge as sacred-like.  This is nothing new as the Universities were generally associated with the church and were often largely used to train clerics and priests for the church.

With the coming of science and the breaking away from religion (in about the 1700’s) the emphasis on reading and knowing, as a sacred thing, continued but without the religion.  This made it so that education became viewed as something “high”.  This was further reinforced with the coming of industrialization in the 1800’s which made it so that a person who was educated could get a good job and have social prestige.  The “high” sacred quality would be reinforced by this fact and make it even “higher”.

With the coming of the emphasis on public school systems for the general population, particularly in the mid-1900’s, these same attitudes would be transferred to them as well.  As a result, any reading or knowing or education or learning would be glorified as some sort of great thing, almost superhuman, and that anyone that could do it was special, particularly if they went on to college or the University.

With the coming of the ease of gaining information (particularly by the internet), particularly in the late 1900’s and early 2000’s, these attitudes would be transferred to any knowledge or knowing or information whether learned at a school or not.

So we see this historical progression:

  1. Pre-history – The commandment “no graven images” in the 10 commandments.
  2. 1500’s – Protestantism breaks with the Catholic church which prohibits images, statues, saints . . . only the Bible is considered important and is viewed as “sacred”.
  3. 1500’s – Reading and knowing the Bible is associated with the “sacred”.
  4. 1500-1700’s – The importance of knowing things, in addition to the sense of its “sacredness”, is emphasized at the University as it is a place that glorifies and endorses reading and knowing.
  5. 1800-1900’s – Receiving a University education becomes viewed as “high”.
  6. Mid-1900’s – This attitude is transferred to the public school system for the general population.
  7. Late -1900-2000’s – Any knowledge or information is idealized.

So we see this weird glorification of learning and knowledge of today.  I was often stunned at this weird glorification.  To sit and watch people who acted as if a miracle had taken place if a kid knows that the American Civil War took place in the 1860’s or who knows the species name of a specific dinosaur is almost unreal.  I was often struck how this was treated like it was some sort of God-given revelation.  Most of this stuff is, frankly, just information they heard.  Not only that, it is information that they were told at school and generally just recently.  In effect, they are only repeating what they heard.  Is it really that miraculous?  What is the difference between a kid repeating what they heard in class last week and his repeating the dirty words he heard his dad say later the same day?  There is really no difference.  Its just “things heard” but yet repeating anything from the school is heavily glorified.  Its sort of funny in a way.

THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING IN THE CHRISTIAN CONVERSION

Another aspect is how the Christian conversion required a person to “learn” about Christianity.  They had to hear someone preach its principles and be convinced of it and understand it.  This made Christian conversion very much rooted in understanding.  In this way, the Christian conversion caused a necessary need and emphasis on intellectualism.

And, since it revolved around a sacred issue, it caused a tendency to see a sacredness in this understanding and intellectualism, as it became the means to “know the scripture” and such.  As a result, there became a glorification of learning and intellectualism as something almost holy that continues to this day.

THE IDEA OF “TRUTH”

The Christian conversion, of course, was based in the idea that it had the “truth”, the “saving truth” and, therefore, the “ultimate truth”.  In this way, understanding, reading, and learning Christian doctrine and the Bible was the means to know the “truth”.  After the fall of Christianity this same idea of “truth” would be transferred to science, intellectualism, places of learning (such as the University), and learning in general.  Its for this reason that science, in particular, professed that it was the “truth”.  Its also a reason why there is an assumption that any “educated” person automatically knows the “truth”.

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The net result of all this is that understanding, reading, learning, and intellectualism have been over-rated because of historical circumstance.  This means, more or less, that they are not as important as they may seem.  There is more to life than these . . .

Another ironic effect of this is that its the emphasis on understanding, reading, learning, and intellectualism ended up undermining and, in a way, destroying Christianity and religion in general.  In some respects, the Christian conversion sowed the seeds of its own failure.

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Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Christian conversion, Education and learning, Historical stuff, Modern life and society, Psychology and psychoanalysis | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the ‘sexual tension triangle’ and the importance of the ‘phases of attraction’

Recently, I recalled an incidence when I was in high school:

Basically, a friend of mine invited me to his friends house to play cards.  His friend was a female, but they were not dating or anything.  He just knew her from class.  Her mom and dad were gone for the night so we had the house to ourselves.

We sat and played cards and talked, of course.  As we played I noticed a weird “tension” starting to develop.  I can’t say how exactly.  I just seemed to feel it.  We continued to play and talk.  And then I made some remark and she got mad.  It seemed she yelled at me and called me some names.  If I recall right, my friend just said that we would go and we did.

I still can’t remember what I said.  I recall that my friend apologized for her behavior and said that I did not say anything bad or insulting.  If I recall right he said, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen her act like that”.

It happened that this was the period of time when I was deciding to become a Psychoanalyst.  As a result, I tended to interpret things in a sexual way (which, in this case, I still feel is correct).  I told my friend that I felt that it was a result of ‘sexual tension’.  This is not surprising as we were three teenagers – two males and one female – in a house by themselves.

Thinking about this years later, I feel I can add more to it.

Normally, the tendency would be to say that she was attracted to me as she yelled at me.  I don’t feel that this is the case though.  I felt it was more complicated.

I felt that she felt a sexual attraction to my friend which she had developed just by being around him at school and which has grown stronger and stronger through association.  I do not feel that it was a romantic feeling but a sexual attraction.  More than likely, he felt the same.

But she, of course, cannot act on it.  She had to develop restrictions and prohibitions in her mind to, in a way, hide it from everyone and even herself.  For example, she wouldn’t allow herself certain thoughts or feelings and she had to act in a “restrained” way.  As a result, the sexual attraction was coupled by strong restrictions and prohibitions.  Since she knew him for a while she had developed strong feelings which required strong restrictions and prohibitions.  Because of these strong restrictions and prohibitions, there developed a “wall” between her and him.  This ‘sexual tension wall’ seems to be a cause for a lot of problems between people, it seems to me.  It can become so strong that it can literally put an end to a relationship and make it go “sour” or become “passionless”.  It can also cause a frustration.

Now, because I was his friend I was viewed by her as “part of him”, or his “twin”, so to speak.  In other words, I represented him because I was his friend.  This created a unique situation . . .

Because I represented him, the sexual tension, that was associated with him, became associated with me.   But there was a big difference:  I did not have the restrictions and prohibitions of the ‘sexual tension wall’ that surrounded him.  As a result, she found herself sitting in front of two boys with a dilemma.   She had a strong attraction for my friend, based on a long association, but she had developed strong restrictions and prohibitions toward my friend as a result:  the ‘sexual tensions wall’.  The other boy (me) was a friend of his, and so was associated with him.  This made her identify me with my friend and, accordingly, all the strong sexual attractions and feelings she felt for him.  But there were no restrictions and prohibitions in my case . . . no ‘sexual tensions wall’.  This condition of tension without restriction and prohibitions, it seems to me, was “released” in the outburst and why it was directed toward me.  In reality, it was not because of a sexual attraction to me but to the long-standing sexual attraction she had to my friend.  I was his “stand-in”, so to speak, who had no restrictions or wall to hinder the tension she felt.

This condition, I feel, is very common.  I see it often when I am even around the wives of friends I know.  Because it involves three people, I speak of it as the ‘sexual tension triangle’.  This triangle may be why girlfriends will often end up going with the friend of their boyfriends, for example.  In addition, I think it also makes “other girls” or “other guys” more appealing when one is in a relationship.  In some respects, it may be a major impetus for infidelity and “stepping out” . . . there is simply no restriction with the “other person”.

This fact shows a number of things:

  • That sexual attraction is impersonal.  That is to say, sexual attraction is a “power” that “knows no face”.  It can be directed to anyone at any time, in the right conditions.  This is because, contrary to popular belief, sexual attraction is impersonal at its core.  Its almost like a knee-jerk reflex.
  • The power of attraction.  As I said above, sexual attraction is a “power” or a “force”.  It can be so strong that a person is basically controlled by it.
  • The power of restrictions and prohibitions and how inhibiting they can truly become.  Restrictions and prohibitions are a “power” in themselves and can impair and, in some cases, put an end to an association.  
  • The power of “tension”.  The “power” of sexual attraction and the “power” of restrictions and prohibitions can create an incredible tension within a person that can become overwhelming.  Because of the nature of restriction and prohibitions, sexual tension is generally kept “silent” to the point of being unconscious to the person.  In this way, many people are not overtly aware of this tension.
  • The power of a “release”.  The tension can get so bad that an incident, or situation, can provoke a reaction primarily as a “release” of this tension.  Typically, these reactions are a form of “release of tension” which is not the same as a manifestation of the sexual attraction.  In other words, the satisfaction is in the “release of tension”, not in fulfilling the sexual attraction.  This, again, shows the “power” of the “tension” and how it can override even the sexual attraction.

The impersonal quality of sexual attraction brings out some interesting points, namely the process from impersonal to personal attraction.

The making of “personal attraction”, it seems to me, doesn’t just happen.  For it to become personal requires something more.  To put it another way, “personal attraction” is a step in a process.  The ‘sexual tension triangle’ is, in actuality, a demonstration of an early impersonal step of personal attraction.  It is only reflects the beginning.  It must progress through other steps to become personal . . .

When sexual attraction becomes personal there has developed other things to make it this way.  Usually, it seems to me, that it requires some form of an “agreement”.  In other words, there is a mutual understanding between the two people.  This is often “unspoken”.  That is to say, they don’t talk about it.  One can speak of this as being “casually personal”.  In actuality, it is still not strong enough for it to become “deeply personal”.  In other words, just because people are “attracted” doesn’t mean they have a “deep personal love”.  This seems to require a form of a social “agreement”.  This can appear in many forms making up something like a spectrum.  It can be as minor as a “mutual understanding” to a “recognized association” to “formal marriage”.   In other words, on one extreme it can be nothing but an agreement between two people.  On the other extreme, it is a formal social agreement.

Interestingly, for most associations to truly become “deeply personal” the “agreement” needs to have support in a greater social context.  That is to say, it must be a social declaration.  In other words, for a “deeply personal” attraction to develop it needs to be put into a greater social context and get social approval.  This is not all that surprising as, remember, the association between two people is social to begin with.  In this way, also, it also takes the attraction out of the “sexual” context, making the attraction have a greater value and put it into a greater context of life.   As a result, when the attraction becomes “deeply personal” it requires both personal and social connectionsIn other words, personal attraction, and feelings, isn’t enough.

There, then, seems to be these phases from impersonal sexual attraction to “deeply personal” attraction:

  1. Impersonal sexual attraction.
  2. “Casually personal” sexual attraction.
  3. A placing of the association in a greater social context as well as social approval making it more than a sexual attraction.
  4. “Deeply personal” attraction.

I can see that, in the U.S. especially, there is a tendency to equate impersonal sexual attraction with “deeply personal” attraction.  In fact, I think many Americans no longer know what a “deeply personal” attraction is anymore.  This, no doubt, is one of the reasons why marriages are failing and are superficial and fall apart so easily.  The attraction is simply too impersonal-based in the U.S.

All this shows that there are phases, and stages, in the process of attraction between male and female.  In other words, it doesn’t just “happen”, as I was told.  People don’t just all-of-a-sudden like one another and want to spend the rest of their lives together and live “happily for ever”.  Instead, we need to go through the ‘phases of attraction’ as if to develop and secure a good healthy attraction which becomes the base of a healthy association between male and female.  Without the development of this base the association between the sexes seems becomes shallow and easy to collapse.  This is no doubt why all over the world, since the beginning of time, the development of the association between the sexes (often called “courting”) has a controlled ritual-like quality to it, as it allows the phases to develop and grow from impersonal to “deeply personal”.  This establishes a good base for the relationship.  In some cultures, this can be very controlled, monitored, and entail great restrictions and prohibitions.  In other cultures, it may be very lax and liberal.  Typically, though, there are things like:

  • Some form of organization in the process.
  • There are restrictions and prohibitions.
  • Its a process that is given time to grow and develop.

Living in the U.S., and watching people here, has convinced me of the wisdom of the past in many things . . . and this is one of them.  This process needs to take place.

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Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Psychology and psychoanalysis, The male and female | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on how imposed belief tends to cause a tendency to delusional thinking

In a conversation, recently, I made an interesting statement:

“When a belief system is imposed upon a people there is a tendency for some thinking to become delusional.”

I first became aware of this after looking at the “weird” claims coming from the U.S. and Britain.  In particular, I speak of the claims of oppression, tyranny, and rights violation in just about everything under the sun . . . you name it and it can be molded into a form of oppression!  The people who really brought this out, for me, are called feminists.  For some examples of some of the bizarre claims they said see my “Thoughts on the absurd claims of feminists“.  The effect of these “weird” claims is that they basically fashioned a world view where society is nothing but oppression, tyranny, and rights violation particularly by whoever is in power.  Living in the U.S., I saw this point of view everywhere, even to the point of paranoia.  In the U.S. the American Constitution became heavily used to “justify” these claims.  This became particularly strong during the cold war causing a particular ‘cold war interpretation of the Constitution’, which created a distorted and warped view of it and what it means.  The result is that the American law became warped to fit these warped ideas, such as the ridiculous lawsuits we’ve been seeing (see my article “Thoughts on the cold war interpretation of the U.S. Constitution: distortion “in the name of the Constitution”“).  Basically, these points of view have created a false and erroneous view of people, society, government, and the world.  Its also created false and erroneous interpretations of conditions and realities.  In addition, its caused a lot of blind and ridiculous accusation and blame which turned a lot of innocent people into “bad” people.  In short, I could see that it was delusional (that is, its not founded on the real world but something they created in their minds).  In short, this means that many political and social beliefs of Britain and the U.S. are really a form of delusion, something fabricated in their minds, creating conditions and enemies that don’t really exist.

But why?

Looking at it closer, I began to see that it seems to have a lot to do with an imposed belief system which started a process of thinking that slowly became delusional over time.  This imposed belief system happens to be Christianity.  Tracing it back I could see a progression much like this:

  1. Christianity – the idea that the people are the “body of Christ” by the imposed belief system of Christianity.
  2. Democracy – the “body of Christ” idea turned into a political system.
  3. The democratic idea of oppression, tyranny, and rights violation – the paranoid and delusional idea that everyone and everything is trying to take something from us, the people, and that we must protect ourselves from this ongoing and endless threat, usually by some political and legal means.

In other words, it shows how an imposed belief system slowly, over time, turned into paranoid and delusional beliefs that do not really reflect the real-world situation.  In effect, people become “victims of their own thinking”.

IMPOSING

“Imposing” means the putting of a foreign belief system upon a people that do not already have it.  In other words, its a belief system that does not reflect the peoples life, ways, conditions, and lifestyle.  Because of this, it becomes something more like an intrusion.  In this way, it can become very disruptive and damaging.  More often than not, the people have to try to “reconcile” their life to the new foreign belief system.  In many cases, this is never fully accomplished.  In this way, there often develops a “dual belief society” in these societies:  two separate belief systems running side-by-side.  One effect of this is that it can divide a society, even to the point of civil war.  Its not uncommon that tensions are created that exist, perhaps, for centuries.

The “dual belief society” can cause conditions such as:

  • They continue side-by-side indefinitely and don’t conflict.
  • They tend to blend together or are somehow merged.
  • They conflict with each other.
  • They can cause a slow deterioration of the society.  In effect, the two belief systems actually cause a deterioration of both belief systems (it appears that this is what happened in Western Europe as a result of the Christian conversion).

In short, an imposed belief, and the “dual belief society” it creates, tends to have a dramatic impact on the society, even to the point of undermining and destroying it.  Because of this, the effects of an imposed belief system cannot be underestimated.

DELUSIONAL THINKING

“Delusional thinking”, as I use it here, means the taking on of a conception of the world that does not fit into the actual conditions one is in.  Its like a tribe, living in the rainforest, trying to live the same way Eskimo’s live, or a poor person trying to live as if he were rich, and such.  In other words, there is little, or no, correlation between ones idea or conception of life and how one is really living.  The effects of this can range from just something out-of-place to insane claims. Its effects can also range from good to bad.

When a belief system is imposed it generally has little or nothing to do with the people and their lifestyle and may be so out-of-place that it doesn’t fit in at all.  In this way, an imposed belief tends to create a form of thinking that slowly becomes “delusional” because it does not fit in.  In addition, the imposed belief forces people to start to take views, attitudes, and interpretations that do not fit their situation and life.  As a result, what is created is something like a “misguided belief”, a belief that does not match their situation and life.  One could say that “delusional thinking is really a result of a misguided belief caused by the fact that the belief originated from somewhere else under different conditions”.  This causes something like a “belief mismatch”.  This fact shows that belief has certain qualities such as:

  1. The belief itself.  This refers to the belief and what it says.
  2. The conditions that inspire it.  This refers to the realities and situation that make the belief relevant.
  3. Being ‘conditions centered’.  This refers to a quality of belief where the belief “implants” a person into their life and makes them an active part of it.  In other words, its the quality that makes belief relevant, meaningful, and purposeful in their life.  ‘Conditions centered’ entails things like: an inner connection (something that hits deep within a person) and life connection (that refers to a connection with actual life and conditions).  In this way, ‘conditions centered’ is like a “bond” between ones condition, ones self, and ones belief.

When these do not “match” there develops a mismatch and an inconsistency.  In addition, it shows that there is a great interplay and association between these different qualities.  In many ways, much of life is trying to reconcile and balance all three qualities.  There seems to be this association:

belief<<<>>>’conditions centered'<<<>>>conditions

In an ideal situation the belief matches the conditions and, accordingly, it supports the ‘conditions centered’ thereby “implanting” the person in life.  This importance of belief and conditions shows that the ‘conditions centered’ is a reaction to belief and conditions.  That is to say, it is a reflection of their association.  Typically, if there is an inconsistency between belief and conditions we tend to “modify” our belief to match.  In this way, we are always modifying and adjusting our belief to the conditions of our life.  This process actually goes on throughout our daily lives and is a part of growing and living.

But if the inconsistency between conditions and belief are not dramatic enough there is a tendency for the ‘conditions centered’ attitude to remain making it seem as if the belief and conditions are consistent but in which they, in reality, are not.  This happens a lot with ‘formal belief’ or a belief that is socially based (such as religion, cultural, or political belief).  Since imposed belief is generally a belief of this nature (such as in the Christian conversion) it often takes this quality.  Because the ‘condition centered’ does not alter, as it normally does, we can call this the ‘conditions centered deception’.

When a mismatch happens it is a result of an inconsistency between belief and conditions.  The belief generally does not match the conditions.  But the ‘conditions centered deception’ makes it seem as if a consistency continues.  The net result of this is that there develops a detachment and alienation between belief and the conditions but with the illusion that their belief still “implants” them in life.  This is the tendency to delusion, of thinking that whatever you believe reflects that actual conditions when they actually don’t.  In this way, the imposed belief becomes like a false viewpoint taken as true.  In a way, its like a slight “tricking” of the mind.

Some of the bad things that “delusional thinking” create include:

  • It forces a specific form of interpretation of things.
  • It is out-of-context.
  • It causes a misinterpretation of things and life.
  • It creates a warped view of things.
  • It does not reflect ones self and society.
  • It does not reflect the actual conditions.
  • It creates a superficiality.
  • It creates alienation.
  • It creates fabricated conditions, abuses, conditions, etc. that actually do not exist.

As a result of all this, there develops a tendency to false and erroneous viewpoints and attitudes.  This can become so excessive, even, that it can create a whole false image of the world (as I’ve seen many Americans take).

THE POWER OF THOUGHT . . . BEING “THOUGHT FIRST”

Delusional thinking shows the power of thought.  It shows a tendency to think that if one thinks it then its automatically true.  This is what I call being “thought first”.  This means that thought dictates their world.  In other words, what they think determines how the world appears to them.  Because of this, what they think becomes what matters, not what really is.

Initially, though, societies take on a “world first” orientation.  This means that the world dictates their thought.  That is to say, their thought is in relation to what the world does.  To put it another way, their thought is a reaction to the conditions of the world and is, accordingly, in response to it.

Imposed belief tends to force the “thought first” orientation upon a people.  This is because the imposed belief is a thought.  As a result, it requires thought for it to be effective and work.  Generally, people tend to take a “world first” or “thought first” orientation.  In other words, people do not take both but one or the other.  Because of this, the “thought first” orientation, that is created by imposed belief, tends to displace and replace the “world first” orientation in people.  In this way, imposed belief tends to create a tendency of thought and thinking which turns into a more abstract viewpoint.  In this way, people move further from the world.  This causes a tendency to be removed from ones conditions, seeing the world in a more distant way.  As a result, the “thought first” orientation tends to place more emphasis on ones thought, or belief, than on ones conditions.  This tends to further help the ‘conditions centered deception’ even more causing a greater tendency to delusion.

With the prevalence of imposed belief in the world today, most everyone now takes a “thought first” orientation.  As a result, most people are no longer taking a “reacting to the world” orientation or “world first” orientation.  Because of this, its easier for people to go into the fantasyland world of thought.  People who are “world first”, on the other hand, tend to have the reality of the world to “temper” and “discipline” their thought and belief.  As a result, they tend to not go into a fantasyland world but remain more rooted in their world and conditions.  Being “thought first” does not have this “tempering” or “disciplining” quality.  It shows how powerful thought can be in ones view of the world and how it can actually “override” the world and its conditions.  A person can think something is going on when nothing is, in actuality, happening.

Interestingly, delusional thinking can create a sense of “utopia” with the new belief.  This is precisely because it is delusional, a fantasyland world of thought, something one see’s only in their mind.  As a result, you can create whatever world you want.  This effect can create quite a pull on a person, almost like a drug or intoxication, and can even suck people into the imposed belief system.  Once this happens, though, they are in a “world of thought”, not a “world of the world”.  After that, it easily becomes pie-in-the-sky after that.  In fact, I tend to believe that one of the things that helped the Christian conversion is this “utopia” tendency of pie-in-the-sky thinking.  It gives the imposed belief system a “good” and appealing quality.

FORMS OF BELIEF

Imposed belief also reveal some interesting things about belief.  It reveals two forms of belief:

  1. Naturally appearing belief.
  2. Imposed belief. 

Naturally appearing belief

This is a belief that has come about in a people after living in specific conditions for a period of time.  Typically, it is the product of generations and even hundreds of years.  It originates from things like living conditions, social relations, and experience.  In this way, it is a “natural reaction” and, accordingly, a “natural byproduct” of their way of living.  As a result, it is a belief that hits deep in a person and tends to be true to the person and their life.  Because of this, it tends to be spiritual or religious-like, as well as traditional.

But, because it is in reaction to the world, and so “world first”, it is actually rather weak.  In other words, there is an inherent weakness in the “world first” orientation.  This is because its “base”, so to speak, is in the world, not thought . . . the thought is secondary.  Because of this, thought becomes weak in nature as the thought responds to the world.  As a result, any change in the world or conditions changes the thought.  This makes it so that any imposed belief can cause great disruption and problems for naturally appearing belief.  With the weaker tendency of thought an imposed belief can easily topple it and destroy it (which it often does).  This ease of destruction has even been used as an argument that the imposed belief is “correct” and “better” than the naturally appearing belief.

Imposed belief

Because these belief systems are imposed upon a people they are not naturally appearing and, therefore, do not originate from things like conditions, social relations, and experience.  In short, it does not originate from THEIR way of life and experience.  In effect, it implants what can be described as artificial conditions, social relations, and experience.  In so doing, it tends to create an artificial way of life as well as an artificial conception of the world.  Its more superficial qualities tend to make it rely more on things like logic and intellect and abstract though.  It also tends to use mass mentality, as it is being imposed upon a people, which tends to create a shallower belief in things.

Its not uncommon that imposed belief tends to lead to idealism – the glorification of ideas – and the worship of intellectualism.  In other words, imposed belief tends to cause a glorification of what thought can do.  In this way, it actually leads away from any “real” belief.  Things tend to revolve around thought and ideas as well as the idea that these thoughts are “right” and not in any actual belief.  Because of this, the emphasis becomes centered around “proof” that makes sense intellectually or as a thought.  This just moves everything further from belief and reinforces the “thought first” orientation.  This over-emphasis on thought has plagued Christianity since its beginning.  Its also plagued democracy, one if its products, as well.

DELUSIONAL MENTALITIES . . .

A number of mentalities have created particular forms of delusional thinking:

  • Christianity
  • Democracy
  • Inventions, discoveries, etc. – the modern world
  • Learning and education
  • The mass media

Christianity

In the history of Europe (and its derivatives, such as the US) one could very well say that Christianity is the “mother of all imposed belief”.  It came in such force that it has had far and wide manifestations and, in a way, set the pattern for many other forms of imposed belief.  As a result, Christianity reflects the most “imposed belief”, probably, that there is.  This fact shows that Christianity is at the source for many forms of delusional thinking.  This isn’t because Christianity caused it or is delusional by nature, but because the Christian conversion created conditions that have led to it.  That is to say, Christianity is not inherently bad or wrong . . . its effects just happen to caused some problems associated with imposed belief.  Some examples of Christian thinking that have become a basis for delusional thinking include:

Many of this would carryover into the next form . . .

Democracy

Many traits of democracy have origins in Christianity such as:

  • The idea that we are all oppressed.
  • The idea that life is misery so we need to “vote” for good government.
  • That the people are everything (the body of Christ).
  • That democracy will save us (democracy replaces Christ as savior).
  • The importance of voting and the glorification of choice (free will).

These all have origin in Christianity.  In this way, one can see that democracy, really, is an offspring of Christianity.  In some respects, democracy is Christianity turned into a political system.  In this way, many traits of Christianity, and the imposed belief system it is, would carry over into democracy.

Inventions, discoveries, etc. –  the modern world

All the new inventions, gadgets, discoveries, etc. that have been created are another form of imposed belief.  After Christianity it is probably the most common imposed belief.  Its imposed things upon people in many different ways:

  • Materially (the use of machines, gadgets, etc.)
  • Knowledge (that is, in how you view the world)
  • In the doing of things (the way in which things are done, from travel to cooking)

In this way, the modern world has caused the most varied and extensive forms of imposed belief.  Many of its effects are not rooted in an actual belief but in changing the world and how we do things (such as materially and in doing things).  As a result, it has even gone further than an imposed belief system.  In this way, it shows that there are really two forms of imposed belief:

  1. The spoken belief.
  2. The non-spoken belief.

An imposed belief system (such as Christianity) is a form of the spoken belief, as it is rooted in words and, therefore, thought.  Non-spoken belief is a reflection of how one relates with the world without words.  In other words, the “non-spoken belief” appears as an attitude, perception, or doing.  This brings a whole new level to imposed belief, as well as a new power.  Being unspoken, it is often hard to “put into words” and define.  This is one reason why people have a hard time defining the problems caused by the modern world.  How do you describe the effects of an unspoken quality that changes ones attitudes, perceptions, and doing of things?  Its not as easy as it sounds.

Learning and education

In actuality, most learning is a form of imposed belief.  When we “learn” we have an imposed belief imposed upon us.  In some respects, one could compare learning and education to a form of “conversion” having qualities and similarities to the Christian conversion.  There is a lot of truth to this.

Interestingly, though, a lot of learning and education never really become a form of belief meaning that they never develop the ‘conditions centered’ or “implanting” of a person in life.  It remains an idea only.  This is because most learning and education remain an ‘abstract idea’ for many people.  This is also why a lot of people forget what they learn:  it is an idea only, it never develops a belief (a ‘conditions centered’), and it does not reflect their life conditions.  As a result, its forgotten.

But there is a point, with some people, where learning and education is more than that.  Its taken as a belief and, therefore, becomes, an imposed belief.  What’s often the case is that this is a voluntary imposed belief.  In other words, people voluntarily impose the belief upon themselves.  In some cases, this can cause problems for people.  For example, its not uncommon that learning and education tends to alienate many people from life . . . they live in an abstract world.

The mass media

The mass media has caused a whole new wave of imposed belief that is almost unreal.  Its effects are generally similar to learning and education:  a voluntary imposed belief.  It seems to be more wide-spread and extensive because its more accessible.  In addition, it tends to be more blind.  Many people tend to take the mass media as gospel and truth, too, making it more of a tendency to become an imposed belief.  Because of this, it is causing more of a tendency to delusional thinking.

Mass media, also, has developed a quality of a vacuum as it tends to suck people into it.  We could speak of this as the enticed imposed belief, as it entices us to look at it, whether we want to or not.  Once looking at it though, and being exposed to it, there is often a tendency to take it on as a belief, often unconsciously.  This shows a condition that when we are enticed into a belief we tend to be more inclined to believe it.  This is because the “enticing” makes it “personal” . . . its not just a thought.  Because of this, it affects a person more deeply.  Typically, though, it only affects certain qualities in a person.  In other words, the enticing pulls specific “strings” in a person making it more limited in its effects.  In some respects, this can cause a tendency to delusional thinking because it affects only that quality in a person and not the whole person.  As a result, it can cause a part of a person to believe one thing and another part believe in something else.

AFTERTHOUGHT

This all reveals that there is a lot more to belief than it at first seems.  It reveals things such as:

  • That there is a close relationship between belief and ones conditions.
  • That belief has great impact on how we are “implanted” in life.
  • That belief affects us deep down as a person.
  • That belief affects how we view the world.
  • That belief can become detached from our conditions.
  • That the “how we believe” can affect our interpretation of things (such as, it can become delusional).

These tell us to watch a number of things, such as:

  • Be careful of what you are exposed to, absorb, and learn.
  • Keep a watch on your belief.
  • Be aware of your conditions and live according to it.
  • Be careful not to be sucked into things.

I tend to feel that now, more than ever, we need to watch our learning, our thought, and how we live as well as what we believe.  Things, such as these, are now a cause for a lot of unhappiness, alienation, and despair in the world today.  This is because belief has such a great impact on life.

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Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Christian conversion, Government and politics, Historical stuff, Modern life and society, Philosophy, Psychology and psychoanalysis | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the ‘era of cheap scholarship’ and the problem of the ‘institutionalized knowledge system’

Recently, in a conversation, I said some interesting things:

I pointed out that, for some time, I have noticed that the scholarship in the last 15-20 years (since about 2000) seemed ‘cheap’, as I described it.  There seemed something ‘amiss’ with it and it seemed lacking in some way.  I was often stunned at the simple-minded thinking that was coming from places like the University and other ‘intellectual institutions’.  It just doesn’t seem to be the same as it used to be.  I felt that we are in a new era.  I said that we are in the ‘era of cheap scholarship’.  I said that it seems that this is becoming a defining trait of 21st century thinking

As I reflected on this some things came up:

THE ‘INSTITUTIONALIZED KNOWLEDGE SYSTEM’

Over the years something has been developed which can be described as an ‘institutionalized knowledge system’.  In other words, there has developed an ultra-organized system, surrounding knowledge, that now does things like:

  • It organizes knowledge into a specific format.
  • It determines “acceptable knowledge”.
  • It places knowledge into a social structure making it a social issue.  Things like degree’s, work, the gain of money, etc., make knowledge part of the social system.  This degrades knowledge making it nothing but a handmaiden of society.
  • It controls the use of knowledge, how it is taught, what is to be learned, what is to be considered important to know, etc.

In effect, knowledge has become integrated into a system whose only intent is to make it a part of a socially-based system.  In this way, it has actually become distorted and warped, to some extent.  To put it simple, knowledge now serves the social system . . . knowledge no longer serves knowledge (that is, its no longer “knowledge for knowledge sake”).  Because of this, knowledge is becoming more a reflection of the social system than anything else.  In this way, a person is only “right” if they have a degree, anything coming from the University is viewed as “correct”, and something that does not follow the social accepted “norms” of knowledge is ignored.  The era where “knowledge is right by itself” is over.  I can see this even in talking to people where what is considered “true” must have some stance in the social system.  This is a reflection of the ‘institutionalized knowledge system’.

The ‘institutionalized knowledge system’ has great impact on scholarship.  In fact, one could say that scholarship has practically been turned into an assembly line as a result.  Because of this systemization, scholarship has developed traits such as:

The fact is that scholarship and systemizing don’t go hand-in-hand.  It tends to undermine and degrade scholarship overall.

There is a point, though, where systemizing can be extremely beneficial (such as in determining standards, for example) and in some fields this can be very advantageous (such as, say, in chemistry).  But very easily systemizing tends to undermine scholarship even in those fields, at least in my opinion.  Its because of this that the systemizing of knowledge must be handled very carefully and cautiously.  Nowadays, its being done too easily, extensively, and haphazardly, it seems to me.

 THE COMING OF THE ‘CHEAP SCHOLAR’

Nowadays, there are too many people studying the same thing with the same point of view.  One could very well say that everything is done in ‘droves’ nowadays.  In this way, scholarship has become an act of the ‘masses’ and, accordingly, has developed an attitude of ‘mass mentality’ in it.  Maybe we could speak of this new scholarship style as a ‘mass scholarship’?  This creates an almost robot-like blind-following sheep mentality in people.  This has help to create what I often call the ‘cheap scholar’.  This is a person who “plays at being a scholar but really isn’t”.  It doesn’t take a genius to see that they are not there because they are scholars or have an ability at scholarship . . . they are there for other reasons.  The problem is that this is practically everyone who goes to College or the University or any other place of learning that I’ve seen recently.

There are a number of reasons that create the ‘cheap scholar’, such as:

  • Living in a society that worships learning.  This causes a tendency for people to just follow along with the idea of following the social ideal.
  • The fact that there are too many people.  Education is now inundated with people (see my article “Thoughts on the problem of the inundation of people into college or the University“).
  • The assembly line nature of education.  To be frank, education is nothing but a big assembly line.  The education system is now geared to “do the minimal amount of effort to give the pre-determined results with the most number of people as possible”.  People, who go through this system, I often call the ‘assembly line scholar’.
  • The influence of money.  Nowadays, scholarship has become too closely associated with making money.  This makes it so that people are motivated by the pursuit of money more than anything else.  In other words, scholarship has become a money-making venture.  Because of this, only scholarship that ends up making money is pursued.  This creates what can be described as a ‘money-biased scholarship’.
  • The influence of social status.  For some people, scholarship is associated with social status.  This has a similar effect as the problem of money and is associated with it.  We could call this the ‘social-biased scholarship’.
  • The fact that people go to the University because they’re told to go there.  It seems that most people go to learn because mom and dad or society expects them to go (also see my article “Thoughts on modern education – decreasing the value of ability“).
  • The lack of belief.  The modern and scientific thinking has no real belief system that it rests upon.  This makes thinking rather ‘weak’, in actuality, and lacking in substance.  In this way, everything becomes “just info” and nothing more.
  • The lack of genuine interest.   Many people, nowadays, really have no “genuine” interest in what they do.  That is to say, they are not there because they want to be.  I see this in most so-called scholars today.  In the past, it was primarily the people who had genuine interest who would learn things.  Its these people, and their attitude, that created a lot of things.  I consider genuine interest a defining trait of a scholar.  It is they that do the “real scholarship”.
  • The lack of ability.  To put it another way, a scholar is a specific character of person (see my article “Thoughts on what a Scholar is to me“).  The problems is that most people do not display this character.

So, we see that scholarship is now influenced by ulterior motives.  That is to say, other motives than scholarship.  In effect, what is happening is that people are really only riding along on a system that has proven success and doing what is required to stay on and live off of it.  Many times I have said, when someone gets a degree, thinking that they are scholars, that “. . . no, what you did is what the system requires so now the system gives you some formally acknowledged symbol (a degree, for example) that you think makes you a scholar.  In reality, all you’ve done is followed what the system wants you to do . . . that’s not a scholar.”  In some respects, the ‘cheap scholar’ has a quality of someone who is “living off the inheritance of ones parents”.  That is to say, they are living off the success the scholars before them created and which they do not emulate.  As usually happens in this situation, the inheritance is squandered.  In many ways, this is what is happening with scholarship . . . it is being squandered by people whose intent is only to live off of its success.  The people before us created scholarship but the heirs are squandering it.  This attitude degrades it all making it “cheap”.  As the system grows and develops, and people tag along, the cheaper it becomes.

EXHAUSTED VIEWPOINTS AND PERSPECTIVES

I seem to feel that the modern scientific and intellectual viewpoint, created in the last several centuries and which created the ‘modern world’, are basically being exhausted.  Many of these points of views have been wore out and have been looked at from so many angles that there isn’t anything more to add.  Or, to put it another way, “they’ve beat that dead horse enough”.  Its taken the same themes, orientations, perspectives, purpose, and way for a long time.  The fact is that any thinking can only go so far.  In my opinion, a lot of fields reached that point decades ago.

But, yet, in schooling and in the work field, they are “required” to create new things from a “dead horse”.  In school, you have to beat this “dead horse” to get a grade or a degree.  In the work field, you have to beat this “dead horse” to do their job.  This has created a condition where “new things must be created without being created”.  This is something I’m seeing a lot of nowadays.  I often call this ‘fabricated elaboration’.  This is a tendency when viewpoints and perspective have been established and defined to the point that there is not much more one can create from it.  But, because of the demands of the system, people have no choice but to elaborate on various details creating nothing more than an elaboration of what has already been established and defined.  I’ve also spoken of this as ‘fluff theory’ (see my article “Thoughts on the question of study and its relation to the person“). I’ve often joked that some of the new research, nowadays, often sound like this:

“A new discovery has been made at researchers at so-and-so University!  It has always been assumed that the sky is blue.  New ground breaking research has shown that the sky actually ranges from a light blue to a dark blue, almost purple, which gets darker as the sun sets.”

It sounds like a genuine discovery but is it?  More and more I’m seeing things such as this.  I recall one research where they gave birds beer to drink and found that when they pegged for seeds, they had a hard time picking them.  What, are you kidding???  Another research said that they have found that when people get tense their muscles tend to tighten up.  What???  You know, I’ve done my own ground breaking research and have found that when I push one of the keys on the keyboard a letter comes up on the screen!  Maybe I’ll do a doctoral dissertation on that.  And speaking of doctoral dissertations I have been stunned at some of them.  I can recall hearing of one that basically said that the clothing of Madonna (the singer) reflected the liberal attitudes of society.  This is a doctoral dissertation!???  Its because of stuff like this that I have often stated that just my work on this blog alone is as good as several doctoral dissertations in things like psychology, history, and philosophy.  I’ve probably done as much work as a person who did a doctoral dissertation has, and come up with original ideas, which many of them haven’t.  As a result, I jokingly say that I have awarded myself several doctorate degree’s . . .

One of the effects of ‘fabricated elaboration’ is that it creates artificial findings.  That is to say, it basically “says things without saying anything”.  I’ve looked at many books, even, and am finding a pattern.  Why some are published I don’t know.  Its like all it consists of is a bunch of words, statements, and facts that, in actuality, doesn’t say anything.  I first realized this when I considered buying a book which was actually a doctoral dissertation.  I skimmed through it and it seemed to mostly be case histories.  I looked at the conclusion and it basically said something like “yeah, when people are traumatized we find they become dissociated from reality”.  What???  After noting this I began to find this problem in many things:  a lot of words and facts but nothing is being said.  Oddly, this sort of stuff is being treated as a “discovery” or some great revelation.  I’m not the only one who has observed this.  After watching this for years I am under the impression that this is a result of over-education.  People spend too much time in school hearing this or that, day after day, year after year.  Remember that, in schooling, people are just told things, facts and figures.  Nothing is really being said.  The main purpose of schooling is to state and the students to absorb what is stated.  As a result, the ‘hearing of this and that’ is sort of glorified as an “end”.  This creates an attitude that ‘stating this and that’ is a great thing as well as the “end” of it all.   I sometimes joke of this as the ‘this and that scholarship’.  Its like saying, “I said this, I said that, and its all great”.  Maybe we could add “. . . and I’m a great scholar now”.  The system will give them a good grade, a pat on the back, and maybe even a degree for it.  How ridiculous . . .

THE INABILITY TO “THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX” AND THE CREATIVITY PROBLEM

Since knowledge is institutionized everything must follow the course and path set by the system.  Over the years the system has created a specific form of this.  People, now, have spent hours learning to ‘conform’ to this pattern of thinking.  In many ways, education is nothing but learning to conform to the pattern set by institutionalized knowledge.  In other words, education is not about learning knowledge but the systems version of knowledge, which one must conform to.  It does this by things like:

  • Having to think a certain way.
  • Having to look at things from a certain perspective.
  • Having to use their material and what it says is acceptable.
  • Having to follow their pattern or process of thinking.
  • Rewarding for doing what the system says.  In many ways, this is one of the most powerful elements.  It rewards by social status, money, degree’s, and such.  I’ve often felt that if this were taken away you’d see institutionalized knowledge die.

These all create a tendency to think “inside the box”.  In other words, it hinders the ability to “think outside the box”.  Because of this we could describe institutionalized knowledge as “box thinking”.   In this way, institutionalizing of knowledge, in a way, creates a bottle neck that slowly strangles things.  The more powerful the system grows, the more smaller the bottle neck.  This tendency is one thing that is causing ‘cheap scholarship’ today.

“Box thinking”, and the bottle neck it creates, also tends to hamper creativity.  Since the established knowledge is what it preaches everything must rest on that.  In this way, practically the only creativity it allows is what I call ‘taking the next step’.  What this means is that you see what’s there and take the next logical step.  For example, I am a draftsman. I draw layouts for bag packing assembly lines.  When I started the draftsmen before me had the technical specifications, bag information, and pallet information as part of the general notes.  I ‘took the next step’ and put the technical specifications, bag information, and pallet information in separate blocks that could be located anywhere on the sheet.  People seemed to like it better.  Did I do anything great?  No.  I just ‘took the next step’, improving on something that was already there, making it more acceptable.  Perhaps the draftsman after me will make another improvement on what I have been doing?  To me, it seems that a lot of ‘new discoveries’ and research consists of things just like that, improving on things already existing.  Creativity – that is, creativity of mind – seems to be going down in scholarship, as it appears to me.  Because of this, it seems that ‘taking the next step’ is becoming the “new creativity”, its now how to be creative, perhaps the only way.  With knowedge systemized, and the inabiity to think outside the box, how can any creativity develop?  I speak of this as the ‘taking the next step scholarship’.

We must remember that the people who made most of the discoveries thought outside the box.  In addition, they did NOT ‘take the next step’ as part of their thinking.  They were new and innovative, truly creative.

THE RISE AND FALL OF POST-CHRISTIAN SCHOLARSHIP

During the medieval times scholarship was dominated by Christianity and its belief.  After the Protestant Reformation, and the subsequent doubting of religion, there became a great void caused by the absence of religion.  This void seemed to create a condition of great inspiration and discovery.  In many ways, this void caused a scholarship that became very productive and helped create many new things.  Because of this, many things appeared that had no precedent.  In so doing, scholarship went into whole other areas (in fact, it created the modern world).  Eventually, this caused a ‘glory time’ for this ‘post-Christian scholarship’.  Unfortunately, this ‘glory time’ appears to be over.

It appears that post-Christian scholarship had a rise, a ‘glory time’, and a fall, much like:

  1. 1500-1600’s – The failing of Christianity and religion . . . the void is created.
  2. 1600-1700’s – Post-Christian scholarship appears and struggles to get established.
  3. 1700-1800’s – Post-Christian scholarship becomes established.
  4. 1800-early 1900’s – Gaining legitimacy.
  5. 1900’s – Systemizing and organizing, the ‘glory time’.
  6. Late 1900’s-2000’s – Strangulation, exhaustion of ideas, etc. (cheap scholarship).

We must remember that post-Christian scholarship filled a void.  The void is now filled!  What inspired this era of scholarship is now exhausted.  One of the mistakes, nowadays, is that people think that the success of post-Christian scholarship will continue indefinitely, as if it will last forever.  My opinion is that it is in a great decline.

SYSTEM KNOWLEDGE VERSUS “HUMAN KNOWLEDGE”

‘Institutionalized knowledge’ is knowledge that is done for the system and according to its dictates and demands.  Its good for things like chemistry, geology, physics, and such.  These tend to be abstract fields which have a system nature.  But its not good for more human things.  This is because ‘institutionalized knowledge’ is not for the human being.  It does not cater to the human needs, it does not create human answers, and such.  In other words, there is now a great difference between ‘institutionalized knowledge’ (or system knowledge) and “human knowledge”.  Its becoming more marked and different so that we have to make a definite distinction nowadays.   There is a tendency, though, to equate the two.  But, in doing this, it has degraded “human knowledge” into just another form of system knowledge.  This is one of the effects, and causes, of ‘cheap scholarship’, turning “human knowledge” into a dead abstract field.  What this means is that a person does not turn to ‘institutionalized knowledge’ for “human knowledge”.  In this way, a person must determine what it is that they are after.

THE QUESTION OF BELIEF

‘Human knowledge’ tends to entail a belief.  In this way, it hits deep within a person.  In my personal opinion, ‘human knowledge’ requires belief.  In fact, its the belief that makes it “human”.  ‘Cheap scholarship’, on the other hand, generally does not entail any real depth of belief.  In some ways, the lack of belief defines ‘cheap scholarship’ The scholarship is done for expediency and as necessary for practical purposes.  I call this ‘expedient scholarship’.  This makes scholarship no different than the knowledge of how to change the tire on a car.  In fact, from where I stand, modern scholarship is becoming nothing but a more elaborate form of the same sort of knowledge that is required to change the tire on a car.  This attitude may be good in some areas (like accounting) but, to be frank, any real scholarship requires more than that.  This is why I have always said that a “real scholar” is someone who loves the field and doesn’t care about ulterior motives like money, status, and such . . . they have a belief in it.  It is my opinion that it is people, who have belief like this, that do “real scholarship”.  Everything else is “expedient scholarship”, scholarship that is done because it has to be done, or something else.  That becomes nothing but ‘cheap scholarship’.

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Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Education and learning, Modern life and society, Psychology and psychoanalysis | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the different schools of thought in sports

Here’s a thought I had:

I have never really been one for sports.  This is not to say that I do not like sports.  I have found that I tend to like sports only under certain conditions.  A lot of sports, frankly, is sort of ridiculous to me.  This is primarily because of the attitudes that surround it. I used to really like to play kick soccer, volleyball, badminton, and such, when I was a kid but, beginning in late grade school, there became a change in the attitude in the kids that surrounded sports:  everyone had to win.  Sports became nothing but a mad scramble to make the most points, no matter what.  This, frankly, turned me off to sports and is still why I don’t like it nor cater to it in any way.  I have always felt that sports was more than about winning or getting the most points.  In fact, winning is of subsidiary importance in my opinion.  I’ve discussed this with many people, over the years, and was often criticized for this.  I’ve been told rather dramatic statements like “winning is what sports is all about”, that “I don’t know what sports is about”, or that I have a “loser mentality”, and such.  If winning is what its all about then its not worth doing as far as I’m concerned.

It became clear that sports changed with how one viewed it.  That is to say, that there are many “schools of thought” in sports that describe how and why it is played.  Naturally, what school of thought one takes greatly influences how one plays, and watches, sports.  In this way, I began to see that sports is not just a single “point of view” but is actually made up of many points of views.  A change in point of view can change the whole context of sports.  This view of multiple ways of viewing sports contradicts what I was always told, which treated all sports as “all the same” and from the same point of view.

I see several schools of thought in sports:

  1. The “its all about winning” school of thought. 
  2. The “me versus you” school of thought. 
  3. The “sports as success” school of thought.
  4. The “sports as personal growth” school of thought.
  5. The “its how you play the game” school of thought.
  6. The “playing the game” school of thought.
  7. The “playing it properly” school of thought.

“ITS ALL ABOUT WINNING”

This, to me, seems the most prevalent point of view that I see.  This tends to turn sports into a free-for-all and a mad scramble.  The general attitude is one of desperation, of the desperate fight to win.  In that way, it reminds me of some starved animals looking for food.  And, being desperate, people will do anything which is what many people do.

Because this is all about winning the people who lose are often devastated as everything revolves around one thing – winning – which they failed to achieve.  This makes this point of view very one-sided and shallow in orientation.  It tends to see little in the actual sport nor that it has any real ramifications and implications for the person.  Its treated as “something you do” and that’s all.

This attitude, though, receives a lot of support from the sports industry.  This is because winning, in the sport industry, means money.  This becomes the primary motive and drive for the people who play sports in the sports industry.  The people who watch the sports industry – the spectators – naturally end up developing the “its all about winning” attitude, as well, intensifying this school of thought even more.  In this way, the “its all about winning” school of thought is prevalent in the sports industry, both for the people who play it and watch it.

But, because this creates a condition of a mad scramble to win I consider this the lowest grade of sports and a very bad sports attitude.  To be frank, if I see this attitude in people I don’t want anything to do with the sport.

“ME VERSUS YOU”

This tends to be a more ‘personal’ orientation.  Sports is viewed as a confrontation of two people (or two teams) who generally must “prove their worth” to the other person (or team).  In this way, it often becomes an attitude of “proving a point” or “proving that I’m somebody” or “prove my worth”.

Because this point of view is personal in orientation it often gets into a tendency to belittle the loser as well as a glorification of the winner.  In this way, it often creates something like a little social hierarchy.  In this case, the winner is viewed as “one up” or somehow “better” than the loser.  This is seen a lot with statements such as “champs for 4 years running”, or “we’re number one”, and such, which can become almost like a status symbol. Its this “me versus you” spirit, which tends to create a social hierarchy, that probably led to the idea, such as seen in the Olympics, of having the different winners stand on different levels:  gold is highest, then silver, then bronze and everyone else is not acknowledged.  This demonstrates the social hierarchy.

In America, with its ideal of individualism, the “me versus you” point of view is often highly praised.  As a result, a lot of sports often becomes a personal issue between people, as I’ve seen many times.  In addition, because this point of view is so associated with American ideals it often becomes linked to nationalism and the “glory of America”.  As a result, winning “proves” the greatness of America.  This is seen in the statement I’ve heard many times:  “America loves a winner”.

In some societies that have a very nationalistic or tribal bent, such as Britain, they tend to take the point of view of “our team versus your team”.  It can even turn into a “our country versus your country”.  In this way, this mentality can sometimes turn sports into something like a ‘controlled war’ between two teams or countries.  We see this a lot in the Olympics and also with a lot of soccer.  In my opinion, its stuff like this that has made sports ridiculous.

“SPORTS AS SUCCESS”

In this school of thought the purpose of sports is as a means to demonstrate ones success.  Success usually means in relation to society and its ideals.  In this way, it often becomes nothing but a pursuit of societies ideals more than anything else and a demonstration that one can do it.  I generally tend to view this as really a remnant of upper class thinking (hence, the idea of success).  In other words, its the aristocratic idea of success that is sought here.  As a result, it is closely associated with idealism, of reaching some sort of social ideal.  Accordingly, if one gains it then one is “high up”, praised, or looked at highly.

“SPORTS AS PERSONAL GROWTH”

This places sports as a mechanism of growing as a person.  In other words, sports is used as a means or mechanism to develop as a person.  I’ve heard of statements that reflect this, such as “sports is having others push us to excel” or “in sports we are actually in competition with our self, to be better than we are”, and so on. I tend to see this as the more “personal” side of the “sports as success” school of thought, which means that it is associated with upper class thinking.  Accordingly, it also often becomes associated with the pursuit of social ideals.  Even though it professes to be for personal growth it is usually saying “personal growth as a means to social ideals”.  Sometimes, though, it can be a person doing sports “for themselves” but I don’t think that’s very prevalent.

“ITS HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME”

This school of thought tends to emphasize the importance of having the correct attitude in sports, as well as playing it in the correct way.  Often, it seems to be a reaction to the “its all about winning” school of thought, in particular.  Its more or less saying that “there’s more to the game than winning”.  It tends to emphasize the influence of other ideas, such as fairness, respect of opponents, and such.  In this way, sports is viewed as a demonstration of moral or ethical belief, often with the intent to develop them.  Accordingly, I tend to see this point of view with things like Boy Scouts, Little League, and such.

“PLAYING THE GAME”

This, of course, is nothing but playing sports as a game, as an activity.  This is seen a lot with kids and people who play sports as a diversion.  Typically, sports is not viewed seriously and winning isn’t necessarily important.  Its this attitude that makes sports fun and enjoyable.  Its not serious, though, and is treated like a diversion or entertainment.  Also, people generally do not practice to develop any skill at it.

“PLAYING IT PROPERLY”

I have always considered this the “true sports attitude”.  This school of thought tends to emphasize a number of things:

  • Of the importance of being a “team”.
  • Of playing the sport in a “proper” way. 

The greatest joy I found in sports, to be frank, is being part of a “team”.  This is what made sports great (in a team sport, of course).  But, in order for a team to work, everyone must have a part to play and play their part.  This means that there must be a “proper” way of doing what you’re supposed to do and everyone must do what they are required to do.  This gives everyone a place and purpose.  In this way, sports becomes like an ‘orchestrated event’, as everyone in the team is doing what they need to.  It can be compared to a dance.  In dance, though, it is a rehearsed pre-planned performance.  In sports it is not a pre-planned performance because the situation is very fluid, variable, and dynamic . . .  you don’t know exactly what is going to happen next.  The only thing that can be pre-planned is your reactions to specific situations.  These pre-planned reactions are developed in practice.  What you are practicing is the “proper” response to a situation when it appears.  As a result, sports becomes a continual responding to a fluid and variable situation using the “proper” response, which is developed by practice.  In this way, sports becomes much like a “choreographed performance of an ever-changing, fluid, and dynamic event”.  In this way, its like a dance that is ever changing with changing situations.  To me, this responding to an ever-changing fluid event in the “proper” way is what made sports fun and what made it beneficial.

I’ve also always maintained that, in sports with opposing teams, everyone is part of the “team”, even the opposing team.  In other words, both teams actually make up a “team”.  As with a dance, the opposing teams are not unlike two partners and partners must work together to do a dance.  This is basically what sports is, two teams working together in the “proper” way to play the game.  As a result, the opposing team is not, in actuality, opposing you but, rather, working with you.  This is one reason why winning has no ultimate value.  We all win if we do it “properly”.  It then becomes a “good game” and it is this that is sought in this school of thought.   A “good game” creates things such as:

  • A unison in ability.
  • A unison in team.
  • A unison in performance.

These qualities show that everyone worked together, played their part, played it properly, and worked with the opposing team.  The idea of “winning” or “trying to get a point” is only something that fuels the game and keeps it going.  In short, everyone is trying to get a point but that’s not what its about.

This point of view does not lend itself to “mass sports”, professional sports, the sports industry, and sports associated with individualism or emphasis on the person.  As a result, I find this condition very hard to achieve.  The best place to find it is in the casual sports of everyday people who play, say, badminton at a family reunion.  There, people are all working together to keep the game going.  As a result, there is great effort for teamwork and doing it properly.  All it takes, though, is one person who “has to win” to ruin it all.  I’ve actually quit playing the game because of this before.

This school of thought is also not for spectators.  It is really only felt by the participants who play the game.  This makes this a very participant school of thought.

ASPECTS OF SPORTS

These schools of thought shows that there are many ways to play sports.  This fact reveals that there are two aspects to sports:

  1. The actual playing.
  2. The attitude of playing.

In many respects, sports is developing both.  You must, of course, learn how to actually play it first.  With some sports this can take great effort.  But you must also develop the correct attitude.  Typically, only the first is emphasized in sports.  But, in my opinion, the first is only the means to the latter which, in actuality, is what sports is about and what one seeks.  As a result, one should develop a good healthy attitude about it and what it is. We must remember that sports is not a war.  Its outcome does not determine the fate of the world.  I’ve often been stunned how people look at sports in this light (which, to me, is utterly ridiculous).  This perspective is found a lot in the “its all about winning” and “me versus you” school of thought where winning can be viewed as some great achievement as well as a form of “power” over another person.  When things have reached this point it has become too serious in my opinion.

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Copyright by Mike Michelsen

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