Thoughts on how the ‘spirit of Christmas’ may originate from Viking and Norse tradition with remarks about Christianity, Norse Kings, Thor, and the influence of climate and migration

It seems, to me, that the ‘spirit of Christmas’ has an origin in Norse and Viking customs and attitudes that took place during the winter.

By ‘spirit of Christmas’ I mean a generalized hopefulness and optimism which appeared during the winter season.  This would later be Christianized which would add many Christian qualities, virtues, and traits, such as the idea of love and charity.  But, underneath all this is the original sense of hopefulness and optimism which predates Christianity.

THE “DEATH OF WINTER” AND THE ANTICIPATION OF SUMMER

Winter is a time of death.  Crops can’t grow.  There’s no leaves on the trees.  Many animals hibernate or migrate somewhere else.  Snow covers the ground.  Ice covers the lakes.  One lived on what one collected, and grew, during the summer months.  The cattle were kept indoors as they would die if left out side.  Everyone had to live in a robust insulated home.  Ones time was primarily spent indoors.  In many ways, life came to a halt in the “death of winter”.  In many Viking sagas, and accounts, there is usually a gap during the winter.  In many accounts it says things such as ” . . . and he stayed for the winter” and nothing else is said about what he did during the winter.  This is probably because there was nothing to write during winter as nothing happened.  War stopped.  Politics stopped.  Socializing stopped.  Trade stopped.  There’s no cultivating crops.  There’s no grazing of animals.   Because of this, many Viking accounts are only describing what took place during the summer months of the year and, as a result, are only giving us a small account of actual life.  In many ways, the people, and culture, went into hibernation during the “death of winter”.

This hibernation, probably, would instill a great sense of winter as the season of death for the Norse and Viking culture.  Accordingly, there would become a great concern for the “death of winter” to end as well as the coming of summer.  This fact is even seen in Norse mythology.  It is stated that the gods will die when there are three winters in a row (that is, the crops of summer never return).  This shows a number of interesting associations:

  • That winter is a death (three winters is a perpetual death).
  • That summer not returning is a death (hence, the importance of the return of summer with its crops).
  • That the seasons are associated with the gods (the continuing of the “death of winter”, and the absence of summer, means the gods will die).

In this way, we see that winter is associated with death which is associated with the gods.  Because of this, winter would greatly be associated with the Divine and the “mystery of life”.  Because of this, it has become a great symbolic time of the year.  In a sense, this association made the winter season a very symbolic time of the year for the Vikings and Norse as well as the most mysterious aspect of life.  This attitude, it seems to me, would be passed down to the ‘spirit of Christmas’.  It would greatly affect the celebration of the birth of Christ making it associated with the birth of life, so to speak, which is the a mystery, and of hope.

The worry over the returning crop – “guaranteeing the return”

When one lives in nature there often becomes a fear or worry if something disappears, such as the seasons or crops, and that it will not return again.  As a result, there became many means of “guaranteeing the return” of these things.  We often do not realize the significance of this fact as we have a whole system, nowadays, to comfort us:  a government, insurance, reliable ways to store food, etc.  As a result, nothing really ever disappears or goes away.  This creates, in a sense, a great “blanket” to ease our worries that the people centuries ago did not have.  People living in nature simply do not have this comfort and did not know, for certain, if these things would return.  As a result, they often developed beliefs and acts created to “guarantee the return” of such important things such as summer with its growing crops.

Some of the ways they attempt to “guarantee the return” appears in ways such as:

  • As a general attitude.  A sense of hope, optimism, and anticipation.
  • As a festive event.  Often, this was as if to recreate the bounty that summer creates.  It appeared, with the Norse and Vikings, primarily as eating (feasts) and giving presents.  In some respects, this is nothing but replicating summer which gives us “food as presents”, so to speak.  By “mimicking” these things we anticipated the coming summer.
  • As a magical event.  This created things like yule tide logs.  These are primarily doing some thing that as if helps or guarantees that summer will appear again in a magical way.  In some cases, they do something, such as burn the yule tide log, and then keep a portion of it to reignite next years yule tide log.  In this way, they have a “thing” (a portion of the yule tide log) which they keep throughout the year to reignite the next log.  In this way, it as if “guarantees the return” by replication.  These types of magical events are very prevalent in the Halloween seasons in particular.  In these cases, it is primarily to replicate the coming of next years crops.  The yule tide log, by the way, is associated with the yule tide ham or boar.  This has become the “Christmas ham”.  It just so happens that the boar is associated with the Norse god Freyr who is associated with things such as fertility, sunshine, and prosperity . . . things associated with summer.
  • As a religious event.  This is like celebrating the birth of Jesus who is the savior.  In some ways, summer and its crops becomes the savior as well.  This fact may of made the association of crops and Jesus very easy.  The ‘Christmas spirit’ is, after all, nothing but the hope for something to sustain us.  We know very little of any religious celebration that took place during this time by the Norse and Vikings.  There does appear to of been things like feasting and gift giving but any great religious celebration is unclear.

All of these have contributed to the traditional Christmas season and the ‘spirit of Christmas’.  In particular, the ‘spirit of Christmas’ has great influence from the general attitude that surrounded this season and time of year:  hope.  In short, in the midst of the “death of winter”there became a great anticipation, optimism, and hope for summer and its crops.  In other words, even though summer is gone there is hope it will return.  In many ways, there was more hope during winter than during summer simply because it was in this season when hope was most needed.  In this way, the “death of winter” actually brought out some of the greatest hope in the society.  This, it seems to me, is the basis of the ‘spirit of Christmas’.

THE NORSE KING AS SANTA CLAUS

I have often felt that Santa Claus, in actuality, has origin from the Norse Kings.  I first spoke of this in my article “Thoughts on how Santa Claus may of derived from the Norse Kings“.  The Norse King created an image of an important “gift giving man” in the culture.  This image would, as a result of the Christian conversion, be the basis for the glorification of “gift giving saints” which would lay the groundwork for Santa Claus.

The Norse Kings as the “gift giving man”, during the winter season, does not appear to be much like Santa Claus at first but one can see many foundations for it, such as:

  • The Norse Kings often would travel around the country and would give gifts and feasts during winter.  This, in a sense, is like a “reminder” of the coming crops of summer.  This may be one of the origins of giving gifts during winter.  In this way, “gift giving” is really a reference to anticipating the summers crops (that is, the gifts representing the crops).
  • The Norse Kings association with the Divine.  Many Norse Kings were viewed as descended from Odin who is a god.  In this way, he was the source of the sacred in society, and is what is important in life, and is associated with the giving of life-sustaining things (see my article “Thoughts on the Monarchial Way Of Life“).
  • Norse Kings were associated with the land and the crops.  Hakon the Black, after his death, was cut up in pieces and planted in many parts of his land to guarantee the crops would grow.  The King was only King of the land, not the sea, showing the close relationship between the King and land.  Many accounts of the Norse Kings (from the Ynglinga saga) describe statements such as this:  ” . . . and the crops were plentiful in his reign”.  In ways, such as these, the Norse King was associated with crops.

We see the association:

Divine—King—land—summer—crops—gifts

In this way, the Norse King was greatly associated with the “death of winter” in Norse culture.  This may of made the image of Santa Claus so easy to appear during the Christian era.

REACTING TO HARSHER WINTER CONDITIONS:  THE “DEATH OF WINTER” AS A LATER CREATION

Despite these things, the winter season does not necessarily seem to hold great religious significance to the Vikings and Norse beyond something like a feast.  The great religious celebrations seem to primarily be in spring and especially fall (such as Halloween) which, by the way, are associated with crops (the planting and reaping of crops, respectively).  This makes me think that the customs surrounding the “death of winter” actually appeared at a later date, after the other religious times were already established.

It seems, to me, that the Norse, probably, migrated to the north from the south.  In other words, they went from temperate climate zones, with mild winters, to the harsher winter conditions of the north.  In this way, their culture was based in temperate climate conditions.  In other words, they were not originally a “winter-based” culture.  Moving up north they confronted harsher winter conditions and so had to react to these conditions.  Several ways they reacted to this include:

  • A prevalence of hot/cold and summer/winter in the myths.  The seasons figure rather prominently in Norse myths.  Creation began with a mixing of hot and cold.  Frost Giants figure prominently.  The death of the gods are associated with three winters in a row.  It seems, to me, that the seasons play a greater role in the Norse myths than in other European myths.
  • The danger of cold, frost, and winter are emphasized in the myths.  Many elements of the Norse myths emphasize the deadly qualities of cold.  The most important aspect is portrayed in the Frost Giants as a great threat in the Norse myths.
  • The importance of Thor.  The harsher winter conditions may be why Thor became popular as he fought the “Frost Giants”.  Interestingly, Thor is prevalent in Norway, which would have the harshest of the winters in Scandinavia.  Could this be why Thor became so popular there?
  • The traditions of the “death of winter” which would become the ‘spirit of Christmas’.  The “death of winter”, and the hopefulness of this time, may be nothing but a reaction to the new harsher winter conditions.  In this way, the customs surrounding it seem almost an act of necessity more than anything else.  Its for this reason that it may of never really had a strong religious overtone in Norse and Viking culture.  Christianity, it seems, would take this “act of necessity” and embellish it with Christian belief and values making it an all-important season over the centuries surpassing the original pagan festivities.
  • The Norse King as a “gift giving man” during winter.  The harsher winter conditions may of necessitated this custom as a symbolic and religious representation of the King’s power and in the return of summer.  Of course, the Norse King would be turned into Santa Claus over the centuries.

All these may be reactions to the harsher winter conditions of the north which the Norse and Vikings were unprepared for.  If this is the case then one could very well say that the ‘spirit of Christmas’ actually has origin in a reaction to climate conditions that the original Norse culture was not prepared for as a result of their migration from the south to the north. 

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Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Christianity, Christian conversion, Post-Christianity, and Christian influence, Historical stuff, Mythology, Religion and religious stuff, Vikings - Odin, Thor, the Norse, and such | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on my statement “We are no longer in the era where ideas matter” with remarks about Christianity, creativity, originality, and systemism

Recently, I said something interesting.  I said:

“We are no longer in the era where ideas matter.”

In Western history there was a period of time when ideas mattered:  the Protestant Reformation (1500’s) to the end of the cold war (about 1990).  During this time a person could say something, or develop an idea, and it would have an effect in several different ways:

  • Personally.  The social breakdown that the Protestant Reformation created caused a condition where one no longer looked at society as the source of everything.  One effect of this is a greater emphasis on one as a person. Because of this, ones views had more of an impact on ones self.  More than likely, this effect help cause the great emphasis on individualism.  In fact, there’s probably no coincidence that the era where ideas mattered (1500’s to about 1990) was also the era of individualism.  After about 1990 individualism fell.
  • Socially.  The social breakdown, caused by the Protestant Reformation, also caused something like a ‘social vacuum’.  The belief and authority that was originally there was no longer there.  As a result, people were more receptive and open during the time where ideas mattered.  People were more willing to listen and more willing to understand.  They were also more willing to follow.  Because of this, a thought could make a difference and could have wide-sweeping social effects.  An idea that had great impact during this time (such as from Darwin or Freud) would hardly make an effect nowadays, if its noticed at all.

Ideas had power, during the time where ideas mattered, because of things like this:

  • The ideas were new, novel, and original.
  • People were more receptive.
  • People would willing to follow.
  • The lack of the systems control.

In many ways, these show that there was a breakdown in the systems control during this time.  This appears to of been created largely as a result of the Protestant Reformation.  This caused a failure in the existing Catholic system which had dominated Europe previously.  In many ways, the Protestant Reformation caused a “break” in the systems control, allowing for this great era of creativity and originality.  In many ways, the above conditions allowed people, during this time, to have more “opportunity” to be creative and original than people do today.  Some of the qualities that promoted creativity and originality, during this time, are these qualities:

  • A cultural base.  Christian belief and European society gave a good foundation to work on and build upon.
  • A lack of restriction.  The absence of the system allowed for freedom to do things.

These contributed to an era of great creativity and originality.  These two qualities, really, are a big part of creativity and originality.  To be lacking in one or both curtails any creativity and originality and hinders its development.  The 1500’s to about 1990 was a time where both were quite strong.

This isn’t to say they had complete freedom to be creative and original during this time.  There were things that could prevent creativity and originality from developing or even starting.  This includes things such as:

  • Peoples opposition and inability to accept new things.
  • A lack of base or establishment (such as not having an “Academy of natural science”, for example, to organize things).
  • A lack of money or institutions that help promote things.

Nowadays, the “freedom of opportunity” has been greatly curtailed.  Since about 1990, the control of system have begun to strangle things.  A person can’t do things as easily anymore.  If you don’t have the right GPA you don’t graduate, if you don’t have the money you can’t do anything, there are so many regulations and laws which prevent a person from doing this or that, people aren’t as receptive anymore, etc.  Because of this, we are no longer in the era of creativity or originality anymore.  In effect, we are, in many ways, in the same condition that existed before the Protestant Reformation – living within the control of a system.   This prevalence of the controlling quality of the system has helped to destroy the era where ideas matter.  The system is not conducive to ideas or making them matter.

One thing this reveals is that conditions are what makes ideas “great”.  In other words, ideas are not inherently “great”, on their own, nor are they necessarily meaningful or useful.  This is the source of my saying:

“Ideas are only as great as the conditions they reside in.”

The ‘myth of the inherent greatness of ideas’ seems to be a product of Christianity which glorified ideas or, rather, belief.  Christianity had great cause to glorify belief as it is a religion that was trying to convert everyone.  This made it so that Christianity put special emphasis on belief, making it all important and critical.  This tendency of glorifying Christian belief would later transfer to the glorification of ideas, giving them an almost god-like quality.  In many ways, the power of the idea, which was so prevalent during the era where ideas mattered, is really a remnant of the emphasis on belief in Christian society.  In a sense, its a carry over, a remnant of the attitude that Christian belief is all important.

Another element of Christianity is the emphasis on the person, which would lead to individualism.  This is a prevalent trait during the era where ideas mattered (as I stated above).  Why is the person so important?  Because Christianity was trying to convert everyone.  This put great emphasis on the “person” having to believe and be converted.  Christian belief also emphasized the “saving” of a persons soul.  This caused a great emphasis on the person.  In this way, Christianity laid the foundation for individualism.

When the Protestant Reformation appeared it would cause a “break” in the power of Christianity.  This would cause two changes during the era where ideas mattered:

  1. Christian belief turns to worship of ideas.
  2. Christian conversion becomes emphasis on the person (individualism).

In this way, the “idea of the person” would matter during the time where ideas mattered and be greatly emphasized.  It would gain great power and influence as a result.

Because these are effects caused after the fall of Christian influence I speak of this as reflecting what I call post-Christianity (see my article “Thoughts on Blind Christianity – some effects of the post-Christian era“).  Post-Christianity is when Christian belief fails but many Christian attitudes, values, and ideals continue (because they have existed so long and become “implanted” in the society).  Oftentimes, they transform into another form that may not, at first glance, be associated with Christianity (such as belief to ideas, conversion to the emphasis on the person, etc.).  In other words, the era where ideas matter is a manifestation of post-Christianity. 

Post-Christianity shows that there are phases in  “life” of Christianity:

  1.  A small group of people believe in it
  2. They convert many people
  3. Christian power grows
  4. Christian power is at its height
  5. Christian power has problems
  6. Christian power breaks down
  7. Christian belief fails to work
  8. Post-Christianity – Christian attitudes, values, and beliefs continue in a non-Christian way
  9. “Post-post-Christianity” – Christianity and post-Christianity no longer have power

This shows that there is a phase that follows post-Christianity, where the values of post-Christianity no longer have power:  “post-post-Christianity”.  The era beginning after 1990 seems to be a “post-post-Christian” era”.   As a result of this, many Christian-based beliefs, values, attitudes, and ideals no longer have meaning.  Since the idea and person are part of post-Christianity they, too, have lost their value.  In short, the values that made the era where ideas mattered important are no longer there after about 1990

We can also view it another way, as a historical progression:

  • Christianity (pre-1500’s) – Belief is all important.  There is great control of a system based in Christianity.  “Christian power at its height”.
  • The Protestant Reformation –  A “break” in belief.  The control of the system, based in Christianity falls.  A social breakdown begins.  There is a social vacuum.  There becomes more emphasis on the person (individualism) as a result.  “Christian power has problems” and “Christian power breaks down”.
  • The era where ideas matter (1500’s to about 1990) – The worship of belief turns into worship of ideas.  There is emphasis on the person.  There is minimal control of system.  This causes an increase in creativity and originality.  “Christian belief fails to work” and “Post-Christianity”.
  • About 1990 – The system regains strength.  The person ceases to be important.  Ideas cease to be important.  Creativity and originality falls.  “Post-post-Christianity”.

Since we are no longer in the era where ideas matter we find that there is an absence of “great” ideas.  They say that there has been an unprecedented discovery and increase of knowledge recently but, with all this, can you say that there has been any “great” ideas recently?  How can we have all this discovery and increase in knowledge and not have any “great” ideas?  Its because, in actuality, ideas aren’t as important anymore . . . but people still try to make them seem important.  I have always felt that people, nowadays especially, tend to think as if we were 50 or more years ago.  In actuality, though, we live in the shadow of the era where ideas mattered . . . we are not in it.  But many people still have a tendency to assume that we are still in those conditions nowadays.  My own personal experience shows things such as:

  • People aren’t really needed any more.  The individual isn’t that important anymore.
  • Ideas aren’t needed.  Nowadays, ideas are a dime a dozen.  If anything, there are too many thoughts and ideas.  There’s so many, in fact, that it has become a blur.  Perhaps we could say that we are in the “the era of the idea-blur”?
  • Nobody really cares all that much.

Some people will try to replicate the “successes” that took place during the era where ideas matter (such as glorifying education and knowing things).  Most find, of course, that nothing happens and abandon the attempt after a while.  There are some people, though, who stubbornly maintain that ideas still mean something.

“Ideas”, it seems to me, are becoming more of a personal private affair.  That is to say, it only matters to the person individually.  They have no all-pervasive “great” quality or power (such as the glorifying of the individual in individualism).  They are just views an individual person takes privately for private reasons.  They also have no social power and influence.  In other words, an idea seldom, if ever, has a great impact.  The “idea of the person” has little power, as a general rule.  What has power, nowadays, is the system.  What the system does is what matters, not the person or their ideas.  The only ideas that matter are when they support the system.  This condition is part of what I call ‘systemism’, which is the prevalence of some form of an ultra-organized system upon the population (see my article “Thoughts on the ‘System’ and ‘Systemism’“).  This system may or may not entail things like religion or government.  It refers to ANY form of ultra-organized system and is often made up of many different elements (government, law, technology, morality, religion, ideals, accepted knowledge, etc).  This means that what the system does and produces is what will matter.  This is the era we are now in.

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Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Christianity, Christian conversion, Post-Christianity, and Christian influence, Historical stuff, Modern life and society, Philosophy, Religion and religious stuff, The 'system' and 'systemism' | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More thoughts on the problems of imitation: the ‘imitation suffocation’, ‘out-imitation’, and being genuine

Here’s a thought I had:

Recently, I have spoken a lot about what I call ‘imitation suffocation’.  This comes as a result of observing the prevalence of imitation, nowadays, and its effects.  I often speak of these times as the ‘era of imitation’ as a result.

Imitation has become so prevalent that it is causing, in my opinion, some problems for people.  I often speak of these problems as the ‘imitation sickness’.  Primarily, this is a condition where a person imitates so well that they are literally deceived in who they are and what they can do.  In this way, it creates a great deception or illusion about themselves and the world.  In some cases, this can be so severe that they lose sense of who they are.  I’ve written of similar things in articles such asThoughts on the ‘era of imitation’ – the ‘learning deception’ and the ‘imitative culture’” and “Interpreting the ‘blind spot’: death, the self, the problem of imitation, and other things associated with it“.

‘Imitation suffocation’ is a condition where there is so much imitation that it literally suffocates or strangles anything “genuine” from appearing.  The main emphasis is on imitation and any “success” is determined by how well you can imitate.   Usually, for this to happen, the thing that is imitated must have some special “power” or “influence” which is why it is imitated.  As a result, in ‘imitation suffocation’ the thing that is imitated is actually sought for this “power” and “influence” not what is actually done.  Because of this, the thing imitated is degraded or devalued as it only becomes a means for “power” and “influence”, a stepping stone.  This degradation and devaluation tends to destroy the thing imitated . . . it becomes “suffocated”.  In this way, one can see that that the ‘imitation suffocation’ is primarily a manifestation of “power” and “influence”, the actual motive.  Despite this, a great show is often made about what is imitated and how well they can imitate.  This type of orientation creates a condition where imitation becomes a desirable trait.  In fact, it is often developed and practiced much like an art.  This society, in particular, is doing such a thing.  I often speak of a culture like this as the ‘imitative culture’.

ART AND IMITATION

Though I have recently defined ‘imitation suffocation’, closer reflection shows that I actually spoke of this in the late 1980’s, though I did not have a name for it.  Back then, it was only an observation.  If I recall right, it came about as a result of my observation of people in art.  While at Technical College I had a friend and relative taking art classes.  I, also, have been involved in art and, as a result, took a particularly strong interest in it.  Because of this, I noticed what was going on and watched people.

I’d often meet my friend in his art classes and saw a lot of what was going on with the other students.  It was while watching this that I noticed something interesting.  I often saw people who did art very well.  They could draw things but, I noticed, only in a certain way.  Typically, it reflected a certain specific style.  When they had to do an original work, though, they failed miserably.  Often, they’d resort to doing the style they are good at.  In other words, they learned how to draw in a certain style or way and that would be the basis of everything they did.  This style or way always had this uncanny “knack” at being the “accepted” way (which, of course, made everyone like it, especially the teacher).  Because it was “accepted” everyone tended to view it as “right” and thought they were great artists.  In short, their “imitation” of the “acceptable” way gave the illusion of ability.  They, as individual artists, weren’t very good.

As I watched this it became clear that much of art consisted of this form of “imitation”.  In other words, they weren’t really “genuine”.  The art looked “good” because it “imitated” the “accepted” style.  This tendency to imitation in art may be why art tends to be so much alike in certain areas and eras . . . a style is “accepted” and everyone imitates it making it all look alike. 

What this shows is that people have a knack at imitation and are skillful at it.  Some people, in fact, are exceptional at this ability.  But, as I said above, people who are skilled at imitation often fail miserably at doing anything “genuine”.  This tends to be overlooked as, being that they stayed within the “accepted” style, no one can see their inability to create a “genuine” work.  People only rave when things are done in the “accepted” way.

Many people, I noticed, seemed to have a drive to do the “accepted” styles, as if this was their only motive in art.  In fact, some people seem to think that this very drive is what made people “artists”, of doing things in the “accepted” way.  I disagreed with that.  I would be inclined to say that people who do that are “artists of style” where the style imitated is what’s important (which, really, is most of art).  But there’s another art form in which it is a genuine work of the artist not based in style or imitation.  We could call these people “artists of genuine form”.  Interestingly, “artists of genuine form” tend to not be viewed highly.  This is because their art is of a form that is not necessarily “accepted”.  In fact, it may be shunned, criticized, and condemned.  As a result of this condition, it causes a general tendency to discourage being genuine and to promote imitation in art.  In this way, it destroys a tendency in artists to seek being genuine.  In some respects, this is one of the great difficulties in art . . . of being genuine and, at the same time, being “accepted” for it.

‘OUT-IMITATION’

Because some people are so good at imitation I began to speak of what I called ‘out-imitation‘.   Basically, in ‘out imitation’ a person learns to imitate so well that it appears “better” than the original.  That is, they “out-imitated” the original oftentimes making it seem to be even better.  Regardless of this, they often can not do anything that is really “genuine”.

Typically, people who do ‘out-imitation’ are seeking what is “accepted”.  In short, their intent is to be accepted, not to do things.  Because their intent is to do what is “accepted” they tend to focus on accepted qualities.  This usually becomes their mind-set.  This quality is as if added onto the original technique.  That is to say, ‘out imitation’ tends to take an original technique and add the addition of “more accepted” qualities.  This ends up making it more appealing which gives it the illusion of being “better”.  It also gives it a social power of acceptance.  Because of this, the “accepted” qualities make it a social matter and the gaining of social acceptance.  In this way, its like they “dress up” something that’s already there to make it look better in order to receive a social power.

Because its “more accepted”, and has social power, it tends to displace “genuineness”.  In so doing, social acceptance becomes more important than genuine technique, which it can displace, sometimes to the point of making it non-existent.  In this way, people who do genuine technique tend to be pushed aside, ignored, and even ridiculed.  This is one of the problems of ‘out imitation’, that it undermines genuine technique even to the point of destroying it . . . ‘imitation suffocation’.

So we see this pattern in ‘out imitation’:

  • A person see’s a technique they like.
  • They learn to imitate this technique.
  • They add “more accepted” qualities to it, which often makes it look better (but, hidden being “more accepted” is an inability to do anything “genuine”).
  • Because its “more accepted” there is a tendency for “genuine technique”, and the people who practice it, to become ‘pushed out’ and undermined.  The genuine has been suffocated.

In this way, ‘out imitation’ tends to destroy the thing that created it.

‘Out imitation’ is really an illusion.  In fact, it may very well be one of the great illusions of humanity, as its seen throughout human society.  Things are made out differently than they really are and do not appear as they really are.

THE IMPACT OF TECHNIQUE

These things reveal that there are actually many different ways of doing things, that is to say, there are different techniques in doing things.  A person doesn’t just “do things”.  How and why they do things is very critical.  We can say that there are actually three “techniques” in doing things:

  1. The “genuine technique”.  This is the technique a person develops on their own.  Because of this, it is usually unique and original.
  2. The “imitated technique”.  This is the imitation of “genuine technique” that, typically, another person has developed.
  3. The “more accepted technique”.  This is the addition of adding things that are “more accepted” to make it appear more appealing.  These additional qualities gives it greater “acceptance” and, accordingly, more social power and, oftentimes, it is this power that is sought.  This becomes ‘out imitation’.

The technique used, and the motive for using it, can have a great impact on its effect and its usefulness, such as:

  1. The “genuine technique” – This tends to reflect the person, deep down, but tends to have little impact socially and little social power.
  2. The “imitated technique” – This tends to make one conform and fit in to an already existing system, which can benefit a person.  It tends to not reflect the person deep down.
  3.  The “more accepted technique” – This tends to give a person more power in a system.  Typically, this dominates the motive for this technique.  As a result, it generally has no meaning, for the person, deep down.

What we see above is the importance of social influence and power.  It shows that a lot of how we do things has a basis in social influence and power.  Typically, if it does not give us some standing in society it is not done.  In other words, we tend to only use the technique that gives us some form of social standing.  This is not true with everyone.  A small proportion of the people will seek things that have meaning deep down . . . the genuine.  These people, though, are not that prevalent.  Because the genuine does not tend to give any social standing, people who seek the genuine tend to be “off to the side” of society and, sometimes, are shunned or do not fit into society.  This only shows the power of social standing in all this.

IMITATION VERSUS GENUINE

The question of imitation and ‘out-imitation’ bring up the question:

What is ‘genuine’?

I can imagine this can be debated until the end of time.  But, what it does, is bring up the issue of imitation versus genuine.

Several things, it seems to me, make something “genuine”:

  • Origin.  To me, “genuine” would be something “truly from ones deeper self”.  The more superficial it originates (such as in imitation, which does not come from deep within) the less “genuine” it is.  The deeper the more “genuine”.
  • Expression.  I would also think “genuine” means an “expression of ones self”.  The less it expresses the self the less “genuine” it is.
  • Unique.  Something “genuine” reflects “forms unique to ones self”.  Being unique, it cannot be imitation.  It also means that each person is different and that there really cannot be two exact forms, though there can certainly be similarities.

Imitation, of course, does not display these characteristics.  As a result, imitation creates a narrow, restricted, and limited situation.  Imitation, though, can give the illusion of these qualities, though, even to the point that the person believes that it reflects them and who they are.  My own personal observation has shown that many people think that they are “genuine” but are really only imitating.  Typically, they are imitating something that has social standing (which is why its viewed so importantly).  This fact reveals that there is a tendency to confuse social standing with the “genuine”. 

Imitation is a part of everyday life.  It gives qualities such as:

  • A direction, a beginning.  It gives a person a place to start.
  • A base, a framework, a support.  It gives example.
  • A consistency, a unity.  It makes things similar and manageable.

One could say that these are passive in orientation.  As a result, imitation is ‘limited’ because it is a “staying within bounds” and is based in established “accepted” forms.  Its like a “staying within the lines”.

The genuine, on the other hand, is active.  The genuine is a “doing”, which often entails “going beyond” established forms and “accepted” ways.  It entails experimenting with occasional failure.  Oftentimes, its not “accepted” at all.  Its like a “meandering around” which can be aimless at times.

In this way, we can see that imitation and the genuine are actually not diametrically opposed to each other, they are really opposites Typically, when things are opposites they compliment each other.  It is no different here . . . imitation and the genuine compliment each other.  Its because of this that there, really, needs to be a balancing of imitation and the genuine (see my article “Thoughts on my saying: “everything is a balancing act”“).  We need both imitation and the genuine in the right places and in the right way.  Too much of one or the other is not good.

IMITATION, THE GENUINE, AND THE SELF

Being genuine is very critical in the development of the self as only in being genuine do we find out who we are and become what we are.  In fact, one could say that the genuine is a discovery of who we are.  In this way, the genuine is critical for the development of our self.

Imitation hinders the development of the self if it is too excessive.  This is because it is opposite to the genuine and is its contrary.  Too much imitation destroys the genuine and, accordingly, undermines the self.

Imitation, though, is almost too easy.  Its much easier than the genuine.  Because of this, it tends to be preferred and focused upon, the path of least resistance.  In doing this, though, we tend to forget the genuine and do not develop it.  Its because of this that imitation so easily strangles the genuine.

IMITATION AS A SKILL

Its becomes clear that imitation can became a skill.  Learning how to do things is really nothing but imitation (or, at least, it begins there).  Typically, learning is imitating the “genuine technique” someone else created.  In this way, we can gain the benefit of that technique.  But, in so doing, we are standing on their shoulders . . . it is not genuine.  Despite this, we often tend to take the “genuine technique” as “ours” and basically take the credit for what another person did.  In this way, a lot of skill is not, in actuality, “our” skill but another persons skill that we perform by imitation.

Because imitation can become a skill it often becomes a desirable ability.  It creates qualities such as:

  • A consistency, without variation
  • A successful technique that has been “tested” and “proven”

These traits are particularly desirable in the working world, hence showing that work promotes imitation as a desirable ability. 

Often, imitation becomes a base for one to develop a “genuine technique”.  It can put a person on the right path and direction.  It establishes a beginning for a person to add their genuine qualities.  My observation is that this is not as prevalent as it may seem.

PROBLEMS CAUSED BY ‘IMITATION SUFFOCATION’ – THE ‘IMITATION SICKNESS’

The ‘imitation suffocation’ can cause a variety of problems which I call the ‘imitation sickness’.  These are things caused by too much imitation.  These problems include:

  • A lack of growth of self
  • A loss of a sense of self
  • An illusionary image of ones self
  • A confusion of self with others

In short, it tends to cause what can be called an alienation.

These problems, though, are often difficult to see.  This is because, as described above, most imitation is imitation of “accepted” things.  As a result, people are doing something that is “accepted” and, because of this, it is viewed as desirable.  This tends to give no hint of a problem.  In fact, in many cases, they are praised or looked at highly for doing it.  This condition creates something like a “mask” that covers these problems making them, oftentimes, appear nonexistent.  In this way, “the self disappears behind the accepted” . . . no problem is seen This is one reason why people who are doing the “right” or “accepted” things often have hidden conflicts and dilemma’s.

SEVERAL SITUATIONS OF ‘IMITATION SUFFOCATION’

There are a number of situations where ‘imitation suffocation’ is prevalent, such as:

  1. A strong cultural tradition and ways.
  2. Schooling and education.
  3. Female life.

1. A strong cultural tradition and ways

A culture that is too strong, with defined tradition, ways, and beliefs can cause ‘imitation suffocation’.  This is because the lifestyle demands excessive imitation just to be a part of it.  They must think, act, do, feel, etc. a specific way in order to be a part of the culture.  In this way, the culture forces imitation to happen.

Imitation, of course, gives a unity in society.  In fact, it can define, delineate, and make a culture as an entity.  In this way, it can give security, identity, and purpose.  But, if this imitation is excessive, it can become strangulating and suffocating and undermining to people, even causing mental problems.  This is one of the reasons why some cultures can become “repressive” to people (such as we saw in Victorianism).

Imitation is what makes a specific people unique, a distinct people.  This, though, can even alienate them from other people.  Imitation can become so strong that it can become a wall between you and others.  This wall can become a means for many bad feelings too.  This, it seems to me, is what happened to many Jewish people (see my article “Some thoughts on the possible nature and origin of anti-Semitism???“).

Sometimes, imitation also makes people become “rigid” or “solidified” in their identity and unable to change.  In this way, they are unable to escape or get out of their cultural pattern, identity, and ways.  This, to me, seems to be one of the dilemmas we see with black people in the U.S.  They have so solidified themselves in the identity of being slaves that they see no other way of being (see my article “Some thoughts on the identity of black people: An example of identity misalignment???“).

2. Schooling and  education

Nowadays, schooling and education have become nothing but a form of imitation.  In fact, as a general rule, ones success in school is based in how well one can imitate whatever is needed in the class.  The better one imitates the better one will do.  As a result, schooling and education actually promote imitation as a necessity.

Nowadays, kids spends hundreds of hours in the attitude of imitation as a result of school.  An effect of this is that it creates imitation as an attitude of life.  This attitude can become so rooted in a person that they will not overcome it.  Their life will be an endless act of imitation.  Because of this, they never become genuine and, accordingly, never know who they are.  In this way, one can see that schooling can be damaging to a person (see my article “Thoughts on the ‘squashed mind’ – the impairing effects of formal education“).

3. Female life

Imitation is a part of the female character and is a naturally appearing phenomena.  In fact, one could say that a lot of female life is nothing but imitation in one form or another.  Its so prevalent that I often speak of the female as the “great imitator”.  In fact, I’ve often said that “females imitate so much that I cannot tell if they are being genuine or not”.

Typically, the female imitates other people in some way or another.  This includes things like trends, clothes, attitudes, mannerisms, beliefs, etc.  Some females are so imitative that they will change whenever the person they are imitating does . . . and without knowing it.  This impulse is so strong that they will literally lose their self in the other person.  This excessive tendency to imitation of other people I often describe it as the ‘blurring tendency’.  When it creates problems I speak of it as the ‘blurring sickness’.  I’ve written of things related to this my article “Thoughts on the ‘failed sex’ – how many female traits have failed – a hidden crisis of the American female“.  In actuality, the ‘blurring sickness’ is a form of ‘imitation suffocation’.

Many females will have problems with their self because of excessive imitation.  For some females, this will be a lifelong battle that never ends.  Because imitation is part of the female character females tend to be prone to this dilemma.  This is what I call the ‘self dilemma’.

AFTERTHOUGHT

Imitation is a part of life but too much imitation can be harmful and work against us.  In fact, if it is excessive it can undermine our self.  Its for this reason that we should avoid too much imitation and seek to be genuine. 

—————

Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Education and learning, Imitation and the problems it creates, Modern life and society, Psychology and psychoanalysis, The male and female | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some thoughts after watching the show “Car wash” – the 70’s from a kids point of view, with remarks about the cold war, American fear, and other stuff

Some time ago I watched the 1976 show called “Car wash”.  I recall seeing it when it came out.  For some reason I’ve always like this show.  As I sat and reflected on it some interesting things came out:

A KIDS VIEW OF THE 70’S

The show made me think of the 70’s and what it was like.  It brought up aspects of the 70’s that I have never heard of before:  what it was like to be a grade school kid during that time.  This is a point of view that is always overshadowed by “grown-ups” points of view and the social/political issues going on at that time.  Because of this, life as a grade school kid at this time means practically nothing.  I sometimes wonder if this is why, in the 80’s, when we grew to teenage years, we found shows about teenagers so neat.  We loved shows like “Breakfast club” and “Fast times at Ridgemont High”.  In some respects, this may show how the events of the 70’s completely overshadowed our childhood.

The perspective of a small grade school kid, being somewhat indifferent to it all and distant, can give a whole other perspective than is normally seen.    This is why I think its so important for me to look at it.

I’ve always said that “the 70’s was a fun time”.  There was a unique quality during that time.  I would say that there was an attitude of non-restriction, that a person could do what they wanted.  As I thought of it more, though, it became clear that the “fun time” of the 70’s was actually only the later part of the 70’s.  The early 70’s was a whole other matter.

Interestingly, I had to look deeper to recall the early 70’s.  This is a time that, in a way, I blotted out of my memory.

Why is this?

Because my recollection of the early 70’s had qualities such as these:

  • A sense of doom and darkness as if the world was going to end.
  • Social mania and fanaticism.
  • Self-righteousness and high cause.

Overall, it seemed a dark time.  Interestingly, when I think of the early 70’s I keep seeing the color black.  In addition, there was a quality, even as a kid, of a “madness”  or “maniacal” quality that was going on in society.  Its probably because of this that I began to avoid “greater society” (where the “madness” was happening).  That is to say, I just kept to “kid stuff” and to myself.  Its interesting that I still avoid “greater society” today, and prefer solitude.  In a way, it has left me with a great skepticism of society that continues to this day.

I can even remember being scared of some people in the early 70’s . . . there was something frightening about them.  They were generally adults who had this strange quality about them.  I never felt threatened by them, but something unnerved me about them.  I believe it was all the doom and darkness of that era.

I recall one memory that’s interesting.  I often laugh when I think of it.  I’d be watching TV and the next program would come on. It would be a room full of people and you’d hear the sound of typewriters.  Then it’d say something like “The Watergate Hearings”.  As a kid I certainly didn’t want to watch this boring thing and I’d yell “Oh no, not Watergate!” and turn the channel to “Mr. Rogers”.  I had heard about Watergate here and there but I didn’t know, or care, what it was about.  I recall thinking once, “how can they make a gate out of water?” and thought the whole thing was ridiculous.

Watergate was one of those things that had a quality of doom and darkness about it.  Being a kid I saw this as “adult stuff” and avoided it.  It also created in me a sense that “adult stuff” was of doom and darkness that has lasted, really, even down to today.  When we’d watch weekly TV series, for example, I’d avoid certain shows because it was “adult stuff” and I didn’t want the doom and darkness.  These were shows like “All in the family”, “The Jefferson’s”, and even “Dallas” later on, that had this quality.  Basically, the doom and darkness of the early 70’s made me want to avoid “adult” things as well as any doom and darkness in things which have persisted ever since.  I don’t want to get into politics, social problems, disputes, arguments, and so on because of it.  I can even see a tendency where I don’t want to “be an adult” or do “adult things” (such as having responsibility) because of this doom and darkness associated with it.

I’m not sure but I may of seen news images of Woodstock.  Me and my brother used to sit in the TV room with my mom and dad even when the news was on.  I assume we played.  But I do seem to remember several news images.  In one I recall an image of a mass of people on the screen.  To me, they looked like animals.  I have this vague recollection (though I can’t say if it is true) that I said to my dad, “what is that?” and my dad saying, in an excited tone, that “it was a rock concert . . . the largest in the whole world . . . and its in some farmers field”.  Of course, I had no idea what that meant (what’s a “rock concert” to a kid?).

We also had some hippies who lived down the street from us.  I recall looking at them.  They seemed like animals to me.  They were filthy and had this “wild” quality about them.  I recall they used to park their car on the lawn, which I thought was terrible.  It also seems that they may of played their radio out loud which I thought was indecent and rude (and still do).  Whenever I saw hippies they struck me that way, as dirty and animal-like.  This gave me the image of a hippie as “animals” to me, as a kid.  To be frank, its an image I still have.

As a kid I saw various “hippie stuff” here and there, on the news, about the place, talked about in conversation, etc.  A lot of what they said I had no idea what it meant.  I know, though, that there seemed something odd about it.  In fact, it seemed weird to me.  “Hippie stuff”, in particular, had this doom, darkness, and end of the world quality to it.  Its for this reason that I never like to be around people like that, even to this day.  As I grew older, and understood more of what they were saying, there seemed to be an inconsistency.  What I “felt” as a kid did not match what they said.  This proved to be very revealing and has left quite a stamp on “hippie stuff”.

To put it simply, “hippie stuff” is, in a way, hypocritical or two-faced.  What I mean by this is that they emphasized all this “peace and love” but, behind this, was a great terror.  It was the dark and doom.  They never talked about this though, only “peace and love”, which gave them this superficial, phony, and hypocritical aspect about it. I now know that this dark and doom was nothing but an aspect of the cold war and the threat of nuclear annihilation (what I often call the “cold war panic”).  Not very often was “it” referred to but it motivated everything they did.  In other words, they were a people motivated by panic but acted like they were “saints” bringing peace and love.

This panic was aggravated by the media, which made it spread like a disease in the population (what I often call the “cold war hysteria”).  This gave it a quality of a “social mania”.  In this way, it made them look like “people who are controlled by the mania of the situation”.  In other words, they were not in control of themselves but was following the general mania blindly, much like blind sheep.  This, no doubt, was part of the “madness” of society I felt.

It also had this self-righteous quality about it.  In some respects, “hippie stuff” was much akin to Christianity preaching peace and love.  In many ways, they were all “playing the part of Jesus”.  In this way a lot of “hippie stuff” was not a whole lot of different than saying “repent, for the end is at hand”.  In a sense, the threat of nuclear annihilation and war was identified with the “end of the world” as well as the representation of the “evil” and sinful nature of humanity which they often emphasized.  No doubt there is great Christian themes here.

In short, “hippie stuff” had a quality of a social mania turning people into blind sheep.  Behind this mania is an uncontrollable terror of doom and darkness.  Stuff like this dominated the mood of the early 70’s it seems to me.

The early 70’s have created a number of dislikes for me, such as:

  • A dislike toward liberalism, which seems an outspringing of “hippie stuff” with its high-minded hyprocrisy – an inner terror hidden behind self-righteousness.
  • A distrust of media and mass mentality.
  • A dislike of “seeing the worst in things” and accusations.
  • A dislike of being “too serious” about things.
  • A dislike for “greater society”.
  • A dislike toward “adult things”.

After the end of the Vietnam War, Watergate, “hippie stuff”, and all that (about the mid-70’s) there was a change in the mood which I felt as a kid.  Interestingly, I originally described it as a “freedom” no doubt reflecting the attitudes of the early 70’s.  On reflection I felt that this was not correct.  What the late 70’s felt like was more like a “release” as if a great weight had been taken off of us.  This gave a sense as if we could “stretch our arms” and relax.  All the dark, doom, and imminent world destruction was gone.  There was a sense that we could “do what we wanted”.  This doesn’t mean in the sense that one could misbehave.  It was more in the sense that we were no longer restricted by something (the dark and doom) or that a great pressure has been removed that was previously restricting us.  This sense is what made the late 70’s so fun . . . there was an absence of dark, doom, and the restrictions it imposed upon us.  This same sense was seen in the movie “Car wash” I think.

The whole show is about what happens to a bunch of people at a car wash, of all places.  It was just a place nobody thinks that much about with everyday people in an everyday place.  It reflected this sense that only the simple everyday things in life matter.  It was like saying “who cares about all that other crap”, meaning the politics, issues, and such of the early 70’s.  There’s no dark and doom, no imminent end of the world, no high cause, no self-righteousness.  Its just people living their everyday lives.

So we see that the “freedom” I felt in the late 70’s was not freedom in the political sense but the absence of the dark, doom, and the threat of world destruction of the early 70’s.  In addition, it seems that the late 70’s was a sense that things weren’t as bad as it seems.

This “release”, in a way, created a form of rebellion or, rather, what appeared as rebellion.  I would say that it was more like an “eagerness to get away from all that”.  In short, I think we were tired of living under the dark cloud of the early 70’s.  The rebelliousness was just the desire to be away from it.  This rebellious, though, did seem to inspire a rebellious quality in some kids.

PERCEPTION OF LATER YEARS

This late 70’s attitude continued on into the very early 80’s but I’d say about 82 or so a change began to appear.  The sense of “release” turned into a sense that “everything is a crime”.  In some sense, the attitude of the early 70’s appeared again, though in a different way.  The fear resurfaced.  People, especially, began to see malicious intent in the most simple of things.  I recall people always saying, “you look at someone the wrong way and its a crime”.  This carried over into law where we began to have horrible and ridiculous lawsuits over the most stupid and trivial of things.  Certain people (such as black people and some females) got so paranoid that they saw the worst in what anyone else was doing, to the point that they were fabricating malicious intent in peoples actions or statements.  It was almost unreal.

What was the solution to all this?

Regulation, control, and criminalizing.

By the late 80’s it seems that regulation, control, and criminalizing had become a common thing and attitude.  You had to be careful of what you said, did, or behaved around other people (some people in particular).  If you didn’t hire, for example, a black person, then you would be villainized and viewed as a “racist” and even criminalized even to the point of being charged with a crime.  This absurdity went so far as the creation, later on, of the idea of “PC” (political correctness).

While living in the 80’s I often spoke of it as the “sterile 80’s”, no doubt as a result of this sense.  It was sterile because the fear was constraining and as if suffocating us again.  Because of this, the “release” attitude of the late 70’s slowly waned and disappeared and was gone by the late 80’s.

By the 90’s these “sterile attitudes” were prevalent with regulation, control, and criminalizing a common trait.  It seems like this has been the norm since then.  There only seems to be minor changes from the early 90’s to today.  In other words, there’s not that much of a difference in the past quarter of a century or so it seems to me.

In the past quarter of a century the mania for regulation and control became particularly directed toward the youth.  Every kid, and their dog, now HAS TO GO to college and LEARN EVERYTHING under the sun and then MAKE A LIFE OUT OF THEIR JOB.  They have made unreal and unbelievable demands on the kids to the point that kids can’t be kids anymore, having to go to school and do homework instead.  Its sort of interesting how, in my generation, the ‘cold war hysteria’, and all it created, overshadowed our childhood and now, with this new generation, the latter effects of this same historical situation are doing basically the same thing.  It seems worse with the kids nowadays, though.  Of course, its OK if they do what the system wants, but if you don’t . . .

In ways, such as this, they turned young people into something like a show pony whose intent is to display the ideals of the parents under the hand of regulation and control.  I’ve talked to many people who feel sorry for kids, nowadays, because of this.  I’m glad I’m not part of this younger generation.

To me, it seems that the younger generation (since the early 90’s on) are really living under the shadow of the cold war.  Their parents, and older people, are basically imposing upon them attitudes, ideals, and perspectives from their generation who lived during the cold war (such as fear and the mania for regulation, control, and criminalizing).  In this way, the cold war has been passed on to the younger generations and hangs over them.  I’ve even remarked that the younger generations are probably more “cold warish” than we were, who were living in it.  With us the cold war was a situation that happened to be there.  With the younger generation it is something that is imposed upon them.  I don’t think the younger generation really realize how much they are “cold warish”.

AN OVERALL VIEW

When I look at it I see a pattern revealing an interesting aspect of the American character.  There are basically two aspects to this:

  1. A fear.  This is something that scares people.  In the 70’s it was the threat of nuclear annihilation, the effect of the cold war.
  2. The “cover”.  This is really a “defense” against the fear.  That is to say, it “covers” or hides the fear, it is something to hide behind.  It often appears as a high cause, self-righteousness, or a preaching (such as of “freedom” and “peace”) which would instigate regulation, control, and criminalizing later on.

These two create something like a hypocrisy or an illusion quality in the American attitude.  In general, the fear is as if repressed as if it doesn’t even exist.  Because of this it is seldom mentioned directly.  Despite this, one see’s continual indirect references to it.  Generally, the “cover” is what is emphasized and focused upon . . . the high cause, “peace”, “love” and all that.  It diverts things from the fear and, in a sense, counter-reacts it.  In this way, the “avoidance of fear” is a significant part of the American attitude, particularly since the 70’s.

Being that the fear has persisted so strongly shows that America has a basic deep-rooted somewhat hidden fear within it that is so strong that it influences a lot of what it does and how it views things.  I tend to view that the fear is rooted in centuries of Christian teaching about the doom of life, of hell, sinning, damnation, etc.  The ‘cold war hysteria’, civil rights, war, etc., of the post WWII world, seemed to of brought that fear out or, rather, gave it a new face.   This association with doom, fear, and Christianity would also be seen with the attitudes of “hippie stuff”, such as “peace”, “love”, and such.  These are all Christian-originated ideals.  In other words, I tend to view this fear as “taught” and not necessarily based in a real situation of fear.  In that way, it is really being “frightened for no reason”.  I believe this to be the case.

During the 60’s and early 70’s the Vietnam War, Watergate, civil rights riots, assassinations, etc. gave this fear a real face.  Because of this, fear was a very prevalent theme.  Later, during the 80’s, the lack of substantiation or demonstration of the fear tended to cause a prevalence of various forms of the “cover” which really ended up causing regulation, control, and criminalizing .  This would only grow in the 90’s and since.

We could see a historical progression of fear and “cover”:

  • 60’s – problems give a real face to fear
  • Early 70’s – fear turns to hysteria and forms of “cover” appear (such as “peace” and “love”)
  • Late 70’s into the 80’s – the “release” . . . hysteria disappears as well as the “cover”
  • 80’s to the 90’s – a slow resurfacing of fear with the appearance of control and regulation
  • 90’s to today – control and regulation is predominate

And so, in about 50 years, we went from fear as predominate to “cover” (in the form of regulation, control, and criminalizing) as predominate.  This shows the power of fear in the U.S.  Fear plays a far greater role in U.S. history, attitudes, and behavior than people admit.  I know that many Americans would deny it (national pride remember!).  I’d say that much of my life has been living in a society with a “hidden secret fear that it won’t admit to”.  Its because of observations of things like that inspired this saying:

“The U.S. is nothing but a frightened country that pretends that they are not.”

———————-

Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Christianity, Christian conversion, Post-Christianity, and Christian influence, Historical stuff, Stuff involving me, The Cold War, The U.S. and American society | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on ‘democratically justified bias’

Here’s a thought I had:

To me, the U.S. is very biased.  This bias, though, is of a particular and unique form which, I don’t think, exists anywhere else (though western Europe has similar qualities).  As far as I’m concerned it is rather bazaar and weird.  This is because it is a bias based in political and legal theory and principles.  Normally, any bias has a basis in aspects of human nature and society and the conflicts between the association between people.  This bias, on the other hand, is based in abstract intellectual principles.  In this way, it gives it a unique form and quality often seeming cold, distant, and detached.  It primarily uses democratic principles as its basis which is why I call this bias ‘democratically justified bias’.  Its main manifestation is to favor certain people in the name of democratic principles, such as minorities and females, and still calling it “equality”.  It is really a “politically justified inequality that pretends to be equality”.  What has always bothered me about it is that it professes to be democratic and “equal” when its not.  In this way, its a hyprocrisy and a lie.  In this way, “equality is not equality” and is, in actuality, a from of inequality.  Its for this reason that I have always emphasized a need for “fairness”, not “equality” (see my article “Thoughts on the ‘myth of equality’ – the need for “fairness”“).   Not only that, I think “fairness” is more reflective of what is meant by “equality” as well as the basic spirit of democracy and many other social governments and institutions.

A good example of ‘democratically justified bias’ are remarks some black people said at the Academy Awards.  Apparently, there were no black people nominated.  This, of course, must be “racist” or something like that (remember, we’re in the U.S. so everything has malicious intent).  They complained about it and said that black people “should” of been nominated.  So are they saying that we are supposed to nominate people because of who they are (in this case, black people) whether they deserve it or not?  I remarked that what we ought to do is to determine the percentage of the people in the society (so much for white people, so much for oriental people, so much for black people, etc.) and the number of awards given out should be according to their percentage in the population.  Of course, this is a joke but this thinking is very descriptive of how ‘democratically justified bias’ works . . . that people should be favored for who they are whether its deserved or not.

This bias is primarily a result of conditions created during the cold war, particularly in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  The social, and political, problems of the cold war era caused the use (or, rather, abuse) of the idea of democracy in the U.S.  Democracy began to be cited much like the Bible was quoted in the past, for just about every cause and situation.  A person could mold it anyway they wanted.  As a result of this tendency, the principles of democracy were distorted and warped to fit a persons situation and “cause”.  In this way, democracy, much like the Bible, was undermined . . . a person could interpret it and twist it anyway they wanted.  In this way, ‘democratically justified bias’ actually began an undermining and slow destroying of democracy.

The conditions of its creation – the cold war – also gave this point of view a very sinister, dark, malicious, and serious character.  To put it simply, the environment which caused the ‘democratically justified bias’ is one of “the world is about to end” (namely, the panic of WWIII).  Because of this, the ‘democratically justified bias’ has attitudes closely associated with this.  One could say that, because of this, the ‘democratically justified bias’ tends to be dark and can become paranoid at times.  This has caused things such as:

  • Things are made out worse than they are.
  • Things are exaggerated.
  • Abuses are invented.
  • People are needlessly and innocently accused and villanized.
  • An assumption that things are done for malicious, dark, and terrible motives.

In this way, ‘democratically justified bias’ tends to cause social tension and problems between people.  In fact, I’m inclined to think it has actually caused a lot of problems between people these past 40 years.  This is rather ironic as it professes to prevent it.

The victim of this bias is actually made up of different groups of people, not just a single group.  This seems to depend on the situation.  Common groups of people include:

  • The white American male.
  • White people (or, rather, people of European descent).
  • The male.
  • Anyone in authority.

We see a pattern here as it all refers to the traditional or established power structure of the society.  In fact, the ‘democratically justified bias’ amounts to an attempt at excluding the traditional or established power structure in society.  This exclusion is done in ways such as:

  • By decreasing the power and influence of these groups of people.
  • By criminalizing, villainizing, and accusing of these groups of people.
  • By favoring people that are not in this group.

In these ways, it causes the exclusion of the founders, creators, and maintainers of the society in favor of people who do not do these functions.  In this way, it favors people who, in a sense, “haven’t done anything”.  One could compare it to a company that gets rid of its management system and puts the assembly line worker in their place.  Doing things, such as these, tends to cause things like:

  • An upsetting of conditions.
  • A confusion.
  • An ineffectiveness.

In short, things don’t work as well.  In this way, ‘democratically justified bias’ has caused a impairment of society.  I’ve often felt that what kept the U.S. going is that it has become an inhuman system of machines, policies, laws, etc.  If this were a purely human society the ‘democratically justified bias’ may of had drastic consequences for this society, in my opinion (more than likely, though, if this had happened something would of happened to reverse its effects).  I have repetitively watched this society put the “wrong” people in positions of influence just because of “who they are” (usually, minority and females).  I watched many white American males, especially, who were more than competent pushed to the side and given various false “reasons” why they weren’t qualified.  Watching this year after year has devastated my belief in this country and what it “professes”.

In some respects, ‘democratically justified bias’ is something like an “attack” on the traditional or established power structure as it tends to undermine and devalue it.  Some of the effects it has caused include:

  • A fall of the power of authority.
  • A fall of the image and faith in authority.
  • A fall of morality, right and wrong, etc.
  • A fall of social structure.

In this way, ‘democratically justified bias’ has, in effect, caused an undermining and deterioration of society as a whole.  In its wake has appeared a society that is fragmented, disconnected and, on the human level, broken down.  One could almost say it has caused a “lost society”.  Look at American society since its appearance!

Another reason why it has caused an undermining of society is that it tries to make a political system a way of life, as a guide to how life should be lived and practiced.  Political theory, though, is wholly insufficient for this (see my article “Thoughts on how political theories do NOT reflect human life – the insufficiency of political theory as a model for human life“).  This attempt at making a “political-based lifestyle” has only undermined this society (or any society for that matter).

I once said that living in America is like watching things like these:

  • We must give everything we have away to people who don’t have it.
  • We must let other people (foreigners, minorities, etc.) have their way.
  • We cannot say anything bad about the problems other people (foreigners, minorities, etc.) cause, or anyone else for that matter.  They, though, can say bad things about us.
  • We are blamed accused, villanized, etc. for problems these other people may cause.  They, on the other hand, get no blame.
  • We end up paying the bill for other people.

These all amount to “I must suffer for other people”.  This attitude is Christian in origin.  This is not surprising as much of the basis of the ‘democratically justified bias’ actually has origins in Christianity, showing the hidden influences of Christianity in this society.  Some Christian qualities it embodies, which are seen above, include:

  • The idea of self denial (such as that we must pay for everything and be villanized for saying anything bad).
  • The idea of “the last shall be first” (such as how foreignors, minorities, etc. are favored).
  • The idea of “people first” (this becomes the basis for democratic thought).

Many of these ideas are prevalent in the idea of democracy.  This is not surprising as democracy is really “Christianity turned into a political system”.  Because of this, Christian belief and attitude permeates democratic thought.

Personally, I consider these points of views an abuse of the general population of America.  This is primarily because Christian attitudes have become political and legal policies.  Its like making “I must suffer for other people” a law that everyone must practice.  The U.S. government, for example, spends billions of the taxpayers money on other countries without asking the people, often justified by the Christian idea of charity . . . billions of the peoples money have been squandered.  The legal system, for example, can allow me to be sued just for saying something bad about someone else (such as a minority) though if they say the same thing about me no one cares.  Where’s the “equality” there?  In much of the mentality of the ‘democratically justified bias’ the theme of “I must suffer for other people” is there.  Anyone who knows anything about older Christian dogma, though, knows that the “I must suffer for other people” must be a voluntary act to be useful.  I must choose to do it.  This is “free choice”.  Making it a political and legal policy takes that away and, in so doing, makes it invalid and worthless.  Now its just something forced upon us.

I, being a white American male, has seen much of this bias.  I’ve talked to many other white American males who mentioned it.  In fact, its widely known.  Its something, though, that is “known but not mentioned”.   Contrary to the tenants of ‘democratically justified bias’, which seems to say that white American males have all this favoritism, I have seen little, if any, favoritism to me as a white American male.  To me, its been the other way around.  Any favoritism that there is seems to be is a result of the fact that I’m part of the group that created most everything.  In this way, I “fit in” easier.  This is because I was brought up with the attitudes, knowledge, and such that tends to “favor” me (interestingly, most of these seem based in attitudes of western intellectual tradition).  I see little evidence of me being favored purely “because I’m white American male”.  In reality, it seems, to me, that I have had to fight for many things in life, as much as anyone else.

I’m particularly offended by these things:

  • How we are villanized and blamed.
  • How we are excluded, restricted, or prevented from doing things.

To me, these are wholly unjustified.  I’m not the only one who has said that “we have become the scapegoats for this societies problems”.  This seems a result of ‘democratically justified bias’.  In some respects, ‘democratically justified bias’ is rooted in the villanizing, blaming, and accusation of the white American male.  Its this that gives it its power in this country.  One reason for this is that the white male (or the male who is descended from Europeans) is what built this country and, accordingly, is in the position of influence.  When the problems appeared, in the 1960’s and 1970’s, guess who was in the position of influence to be blamed . . . the white American male.  Because of this, the image of the white American male becomes the person to blame, the scapegoat.  In this way, ‘democratically justified bias’ is rooted in making the white American male a scapegoat.

Here are several articles I wrote that describe some observations I’ve made:

Thoughts on my statement: “My whole life in America is learning that I’m never good enough” – the addiction to charisma – this describes how I never seem to be good enough or “qualified” to do anything.

Some thoughts on why I consider the U.S. a fallen country – denying its own people – this shows how I was denied entry into the U.S. Army because I was a white American male.

My introduction to the working world . . . – this describes how a teacher told us guys that we were worthless and “out dated” because he favored females.

What’s particularly unnerving about the observations described in the articles above is that they are from my own people!  In this way, we can see that ‘democratically justified bias’ is self-destructive, that the people who practice it use it against their own people and society.  In so doing, they destroy themselves with it.  In some respects, I have become a victim of my own people.

Because of the orientation of ‘democratically oriented bias’ is between different groups of people (male/female, white/black, etc., as established in the 1960’s and 1970’s) we do not see that it is actually a problem within a people.  More specifically, it is a problem of white people (that is, European descended) whose society and culture is based in Christianity.  Because of this, there is a tendency for them to use Christian based attitudes and to identify their own people with these attitudes.  As a result, we all get dragged into it . . . “I must suffer for other people” whether I want to or not.  The threat, then, is not with other people but my own people . . . “we are our own worst enemies”. 

As to whether ‘democratically justified bias’ has helped things I can’t say.  I’m sure it has done some good things.  To me, though, it seems to of caused more problems than it solved.  The people who tend to favor this point of view tend to justify it more based on ideological reasons than actual facts.  What I mean by this is that people are mesmorized by its ideal and idealism than by what it actually does.  As a result, that is what they focus on, its image.  Many of these people don’t see what its actually doing, or not doing.

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Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Christianity, Christian conversion, Post-Christianity, and Christian influence, Government and politics, The Cold War, The U.S. and American society | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on learning: the bringing out of natural inclinations and aspects about it

Recently, I said something interesting:

“It seems to me that real learning is more about bringing out natural inclinations than anything else.”

This got onto some interesting things . . .

TRAITS OF NATURAL INCLINATIONS

By “natural inclinations” I mean the naturally appearing traits and qualities in a person.   Natural inclinations go to the depths of who one is and, in a sense, are what a person is.  It does this because natural inclinations make up what a person is, what they are, and what they are capable of.  Each person is different.  In a sense, natural inclinations consist of what “nature” has bestowed on a person.  Only by following these qualities does a person become who they really are.  In some respects, the discovery and use of natural inclinations constitute “learning”.

All other learning consists of what can be described as a “know-how”.  This includes things like learning the “know-how” to do math, make spaghetti, drive a car, do surgery, understand a theory, etc.  It often has an almost mechanical robot-like quality that is often nothing but repetition.  Oftentimes, just about anyone can do it, if they put forth the effort.  Because of things like this, it tends to be impersonal and, as a result, it does not hit a person to the core and, accordingly, it has minimal impact on a person.

Some of the traits of natural inclinations include:

  • Natural inclinations cannot be learned.  You cannot take a class on it, read about it, or find it at a school.  In fact, my observation is that learning and education actually impair the discovery of natural inclinations, primarily because it offers up a “pseudo-self” based on mental conceptions and the doing of things.  In short, natural inclinations are not a form of “know-how”.
  • Natural inclinations are not imagined or what a person “thinks they are”.  Typically, these only reflect what a person would like to think they are.  That is to say, they are idealistic and tend to reveal what a person is actually not.
  • They are not found in imitation of another person or way.  Just because you can imitate something or someone does not mean that this is who you are.  Imitation not only includes what other people do but their ideas, theories, philosophies, points of views, etc.

Truly, natural inclinations come from within.  Because of this, they reflect the most of “who we are”.  This is one reason why the “learning” of natural inclinations is so important.  In many ways, it is the base of everything.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL INCLINATIONS TO ‘PRE-FAB LEARNING’

Centuries ago, people survived by developing natural human traits.  It was the human traits that made them survive and develop as people.   In other words, survival made the discovery of natural inclinations necessary.  This is because natural inclinations are what nature give us to survive.  In that way, natural inclinations are “natures gift”.  As a result of this, life was not based in learning how to do things but, rather, in the discovery and developing of ones natural inclinations (that is, “natures gift”) and putting them to use.

The “putting to use” of natural inclinations, though, naturally developed specific ways of doing things that would slowly turn into a form of “learning how” (such as how to build a house or skin a deer).  These, of course, would be taught and passed down to the younger generations.  Perhaps we could call these ‘pre-fab learning’?  That is to say, it is the learning of things already existing and created by someone else . . . “pre-fab”, so to speak.  This really makes up the beginning of “learning how”.  As time progresses, this “learning how” becomes systemized and organized.  Soon institutions are created to “teach” the “learning how” of ‘pre-fab learning’.  Nowadays, the “system” of the modern world has created a ‘pre-fab learning’ that is so massive, extensive, and powerful that it has literally drowned out and smothered any discovery of natural inclinations.  Its become so extensive and powerful, in fact, that the ‘pre-fab learning’ of the modern world now requires that a person must conform to the “system” in order to survive.  In other words, survival is no longer based in natural inclinations (“natures gift”) but on how well you conform to the established ‘pre-fab learning’ . . . a new condition of survival has been created.  This has made it so that “learning” has become nothing but a conforming to the system which is why I use this statement to describe education in the modern world:

“Education is conformism.”

In this way, “learning” no longer caters to natural inclinations.  As a result of this it robs the younger generations of the discovery of natural inclinations which, we must remember, started it all off.  In addition, it does not cater to the person deep down (which is the source of natural inclinations).  It has become superficial even to the point of becoming alien to us.  Because of this one can see that ‘pre-fab learning’ deprives a person of the discovery of natural inclinations which is the “real” learning.  And so we see this progression:

  1. The need to survive.
  2. This causes the need to discover ones natural inclinations.
  3. The “putting to use” of the natural inclinations that one has discovered.
  4. The development of a way of doing things as a result of the “putting to use” of natural inclinations . . . the “learning how” to do things.
  5. The development of ‘pre-fab learning’.
  6. The teaching of ‘pre-fab’ learning to younger generations.
  7. The development of “learning how” to do things from ‘pre-fab’ learning.
  8. The “learning how” becomes so organized that, over time, it turns into a systemized educational system (such as the public education system or the University).
  9. The organized “system” of ‘pre-fab learning’ begins to require a person to conform to it to survive . . . “education is conformism”.
  10. The ‘pre-fab learning’ begins to alienate the people from natural inclinations.

Originally, then, the need to survive led to the discovery of natural inclinations which led to ‘pre-fab learning’.  With its organization it is reversed.  This shows that the original progression entailed discovery and utilization.  The progression of the “system” only requires conformism.  In this way, the “person” is missing.

So we can see that, though natural inclinations and “learning how” to do things seem similar, they are actually two totally different things that can, under the correct conditions, contradict each other.  Not only that we can see that how and what one “learns” can have a great and dramatic impact on a person.

THE “LEARNING” OF NATURAL INCLINATIONS

As I said above, natural inclinations are already there in a person.  One does not “learn” them in the sense of “adopting” them.  A person needs to let them come out and developed.  This is the process of “learning” natural inclinations.  This consists of a process like this:

  1. The bringing out of natural inclinations.  Some natural inclinations come out on their own.  Others have to be brought out.  And others, still, require a discovery.
  2. The developing of natural inclinations.  For natural inclinations to be used they must be more than brought out.  They must be applied in some way.
  3. The putting to use of natural inclinations.  Natural inclinations are basically useless until they are put to use.

Notice some qualities with this process:

  • The lack of information or knowledge.
  • The lack of imitation or repetition.
  • The emphasis on personal discovery and doing.
  • The emphasis on personal application of ones natural inclinations.

This is not what one finds in “formal education”.  It places a lot of importance and pressure on the person.  It takes a lot of courage to bring natural inclinations out and discover them.  It also places a lot of commitment and effort to develop natural inclinations.

This process seldom happens on its own, at least not to any great extent.  Looking at the past, it appears that the “learning” of natural inclinations required the correct conditions.   In other words, the reality and pressures of life “pushed” a person to develop natural inclinations.  This reveals another interesting fact:  the “learning” of natural inclinations is not a manifestation of a life of sedentary “luxury” . . . its a manifestation of a life requiring work and effort on the part of a person.  Since life, nowadays, is primarily sedentary, passive, and “easy” the conditions that best promote the “learning” of natural inclinations are not there. 

This shows that there is a close association between the “learning” of natural inclinations and what I call “pressure”.  Its because of this that a person cannot “learn” natural inclinations in the comfort of a classroom.

I should point out that “pressure” is not the same as “stress”.  This means that you cannot say that the “stress” of schooling, or even some lifestyles, is equivalent to “pressure” (though I suppose it can for some people).  It also shows why schooling can not replicate its effects.

  • “Pressure” is rooted in non-social conditions and realities that press upon a person.  Because of this, it affects the deepest of feelings, down to an instinctual sense (in fact, one could say that natural inclinations are a manifestation of instinct).  Being non-social and deep it tends to hit to ones “animal core” bringing out natural inclinations.  Its these qualities that help us deal with the world most effectively.  One could say that “pressure” has the quality of “a situation where one is temporarily out of control but will be soon be in control”.  In other words, is has a quality of a sense of “temporary crisis” but with the innate “hope” and “drive” to solve it.  In addition, it is an issue of the individual person, of what the person does.  Again, this shows that “pressure” is not social in orientation.
  • “Stress” is rooted in social themes.  Because of this, it does not hit that deep in a person.  Being social it lacks the “deep connection”.  This is because the social orientation makes a person dependent on other people.  The “pressure is on them”, so to speak, and not on ones self.  This makes it so that a person is removed from the situation . . . ones natural inclinations are not important.  As a result, “stress” has the quality of “a situation where a person is not in control and probably won’t be in control”.  This is because it is society that is “in control” so that one never is.  In other words, one is depending on “society” and not on ones “animal core” (natural inclinations).  Because of this, it is not an issue of the individual person.  This makes it so that “stress” has a particularly difficult quality of which there never seems to be a solution . . . one is never “in control” and, accordingly, is continually “left hanging” with no answer.  “Stress”, then, has the quality of “a crisis that is never resolved”.  Because of this, it “eats” at a person and can become unhealthy.

In the modern world we are dealing with a way of life that is very socially oriented.  That is to say, we are not “face-to-face with nature”.  Because of this, “pressure” is lacking and “stress” is prevalent nowadays. 

An interesting aspect of this is that the close association between social orientation and “stress” show that they are related and, therefore, have similar effects.  In other words, just as “stress” does not hit the depths of a person, so does social orientation.  What this more or less means is that a condition that is predominately socially oriented tends to hinder the “learning” of natural inclinations.  In short:

“Too much society harms the person.”

In this way, society can alienate and dehumanize the person.  This, generally, is a result of their being “too much” society.  What this means is that there becomes something like a balance between the person and society.  That is to say, there must be a proper proportion of “person” and “society” in ones life.  There is a time for ones self and a time for society and one must balance them in a healthy way.

Oftentimes, there is a close association between “person” and “society” and they can become mutually beneficial.  In some societies, they use “pressure” in a way that becomes a part of the “learning” of natural inclinations.  This is often done as an event or ritual.  One form of this is called an “initiation”.  In these initiations we see qualities such as:

  • Some form of “pressure” (such as scaring little boys or carving designs in their skin, etc.)
  • The “learning of natural inclinations” (often using symbols and mythology as representations of innate tendencies and abilities).
  • The transformation self (a person is often considered “changed” after initiation).

This process, or something similar, is seen all over the world since the beginning of time.  Oftentimes, though, these turn into something like a death ritual, reflecting a “dying of the self” which is really nothing but a “birth of a new self”.  This reveals the power and influence of “pressure” and natural inclinations and how it can affect, change, and develop of the self.  It also shows that there is a close relationship between natural inclinations and the self.  This is not surprising as natural inclinations hit to the depths of who one is, as I’ve described above. 

EFFECTS OF “LEARNING” NATURAL INCLINATIONS

It seems, to me, that the “learning” of natural inclinations causes things such as:

  • An innate strength.  Any natural inclination is a form of inner strength.  As a result, any development of natural inclination develops that strength.
  • An identity.  It gives a person a place in the world.
  • A growth.  It creates confidence and the development of the person.
  • A sense of self.  Because it hits to the depths of who one is, the sense of self is developed.
  • An active participation in life.  Since natural inclinations come from within, their use and development makes a person “be” in life.

In this way, natural inclinations develop the person-as-a-person and the person-in-the-world.  This, of course, has great impact on a person, who they are, and how they perceive themselves.

“ILLUSIONARY NATURAL INCLINATIONS”

Anything that strays a person from natural inclinations strays them from who they are.  But, because of our versatile nature, we can “imitate” natures we don’t have and that do not reflect our natural inclinations.  This creates a tendency for an illusionary nature of who we are, primarily by some form of imitation.  This creates the “Illusionary natural inclinations” which are traits primarily achieved by imitation and do not reflect who one is.  Despite this, we confuse them with our natural inclinations and who we are.  In short:

“Imitation deceives.”

Our own imitation ends up deceiving who we are.  Nowadays, with all the means of imitation available, the tendency for an “illusionary natural inclinations” are stronger than ever.  Because of this, the “illusionary natural inclinations” are very prevalent along with the problems they create.

A lot of “learning”, nowadays, help promote this condition.  It includes things like:

  • Imitation or “programming”.  This refers to being told how to do something and then imitating or replicating it in some way.  This could be something as simple as using a computer to something as complex as surgery.
  • Mind stuffing.   This refers to cramming your head with information, facts, knowledge, techniques, and such.
  • A creativity.  A lot of things like research, development, and application is usually nothing but a form of creativity.  This is often a mixture of the above qualities with aspects of ones personal qualities (which may entail natural inclinations).  In this way, creativity seems the best thing in “modern education”.  This is because personal qualities (and, possibly, natural inclinations) are at least seen somewhere, however small.  Despite this, the above qualities usually predominate.  Because of this, the ‘illusionary natural inclinations’ condition often still exists.

None of these, though, cater to natural inclinations (though creativity may involve it to some extent).  Because of this, they tend to not affect the person deep down.  In this way, the ‘illusionary natural inclinations’ tends to create something more like a “robot” than a human being.

“LIFE IS LEARNING”???

I often hear the idea that “life is learning”.  That is to say, that one learns by living.  Usually, this means in a day-to-day sense.  I have found, though, that this is and isn’t true, depending on the situation and context.  Life does not necessarily bring out ones natural inclinations nor hit to ones deepest aspect of self.  In addition, it also may not develop who one is or develop ones self.  This is because of things like this:

  • In many cases, “learning to live” really only refers to the fact that one “adapts” to ones situation.  By “adapting” one “fits in” and everything seems rosy.  This generally does not develop the person though.
  • It often only describes a “pride in living”.  In other words, its a sense that one has succeeded in life.
  • Because one does an “acceptable living”, according to the culture, one thinks they have “learned” to live.  All they did, really, is conform to what the culture said.

What all this means is that living, by itself, does not necessarily promote “learning” and the development of the self.  It takes more than “living” to do this.

THE PROBLEM OF IMPULSES

I should point out that catering to impulses is not the same as following natural inclinations.  Catering to impulses is primarily catering to whims and wants.  These are not the same as natural inclinations.  Sometimes, though, impulses can originate from natural inclinations.  Usually, they are just the by products of natural inclinations or its residues.  In this way, they have a quality of “referring to it but never being it”.  In this way, impulses have a deceptive nature.

Impulses often entail qualities such as:

  • They achieve a superficial satisfaction.
  • Their effects are not long-lasting.
  • They do not develop the person or cause growth.
  • They do not create an active participation in life.

In some respects, impulses are much akin to emotions, they come and go, often having little effect though seeming to have an effect.

NATURAL INCLINATIONS AND BEING HUMAN

It seems, to me, that natural inclinations are critical in the development of the “human”.  In fact, I tend to believe that only by following natural inclinations can a person become “human”.

The absence of the “learning” of natural inclinations, nowadays, is one of the reasons why I often say that we are no longer in the “era of the human”.  As described above, some of the causes of the lack of “learning” natural inclinations include:

  • The prevalence of imitation.
  • The style of modern education.
  • The lack of “pressure”.
  • The social emphasis.
  • The need to conform to the “system”.

These all contribute to the lack of “learning” natural inclinations and, subsequently, the absence of being human.

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Copyright by Mike Michelsen

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

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