Thoughts on ‘secular oppression’

Here’s a thought I had (it seems that I may of spoken of similar themes, or maybe even repeated this theme, in other blogs though I cannot remember which ones):

Recently, I have been speaking of something which I keep calling ‘secular oppression’.   This is a point of view that originates from the “basic idea” of the French Revolution.  It is used as a basis to interpret every social problem that comes along (which is why I speak of it as ‘secular’, as its used in ALL social conflicts for everyone).  It is often used as a basis for social relations in general.

The ‘secular oppression’ point of view would became very popular right after the French Revolution in the early 1800’s and would establish itself in Western societies thinking and mentality down to today.  As a result of this, it would greatly influence political and social thought in the Victorian era and later.  Because of this we could perhaps say it is a defining trait of the Victorian era and later.  It affected things in may ways.  During the 1800’s it would be the basis of many interpretations of social problems.  When the population of England increased in the early-mid 1800’s, for example, it would be used to explain the problems.  Not only that, it would be used to villainize people turning people into tyrants and ‘bad people’ that often were not (such as the aristocracy).  In addition, it would be the basis for an attempted solution to the problems.  In these ways, this point of view would have far-reaching effects and consequences.  Subsequently, it would have deep influence on everyday life.  In the end, though, it would have an undermining effect.

As a general rule, it primarily consists of an attitude.  It is not, really, a formal philosophy or belief system but generally appears as a general stance reflecting a particular point of view.  This can, and did, affect or instigate certain philosophies that used it as a basis of its thinking.  In this way, many different philosophies, opinions, and points of view actually originate, and reflect, the attitude of ‘secular oppression’ even though they may not, at first glance, appear to be that way (such as communism and feminism . . . see below).  One could even say that it has created a particular mood to this era as well.

THE “BASIC IDEA” OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION AND ITS TOO EASY TENDENCY TO EXPLAIN-AWAY SOCIAL PROBLEMS

The “basic idea” of the French Revolution is that the there is the “oppressor” and the “oppressed” and that the oppressed must “free” themselves from the oppressors (portrayed, during the French Revolution, as the supposed conflict between the nobility and peasant class).  This “basic idea” became viewed as the cause of all forms of human social conflict regardless of what form it took and who it involved.  As a result, it was used to explain conflicts involving things such as the class-struggle, political issues, legal explanations, business theory, family association, marriage, the minor problems between people, and so on.  You name it and it was used as an explanation!  In this way, someone is always being oppressed.

The problem is that the “basic idea” was almost “too easy” to use for social problems.  This is because in every situation of social conflict there is always someone who is in power and someone who it not (who is associated with the oppressor and the oppressed).  This condition is almost always existing in any social conflict making this line of thought an easy association and easy explanation.  The problem is that the oppressor/oppressed line of thinking does not explain or address most social problems in its entiretyIt is much too narrow and limited in its thinking and often misses whole points about a situation.  In fact, its narrow thinking tends to make misconceptions a common occurance with this point of view Common misconceptions are often a result of particular assumptions that are inherent in this philosophy, such as:

  • The idea that the oppressor (the person in power) deliberately takes advantage of the oppressed (the person not in power).
  • The idea that the oppressor conspired to have power.
  • The idea that the oppressor is motivated by malicious reasons.
  • The idea that the oppressed are always innocent victims.
  • The idea that the oppressed are “always correct” or “pure” in some way.  That is to say, they can do no wrong.
  • The idea that the oppressed are always fighting for their freedom against the oppressors.

These tend to lead to a lot of misconceptions, myths, and misunderstandings, which have, in some respects, begun to define this point of view.  In fact, over the years, ‘secular oppression’ has begun to be identified with misunderstanding to me . . . because it is so associated with it.   In my opinion, ‘secular oppression’ has created a multitude of erroneous interpretations of social problems and their attempted solutions as well as a misaligned viewpoint of society in general I would even go on to say that it has created a warped view of society in western society.  Examples include:

  • It has created many misunderstandings about society and social relations.  For example, its created this idea that all society consists of is one group of people trying to take advantage of the other group.
  • It has created false threats and enemies.  In order for this philosophy to work a threat must be found and an enemy created.  As a result, it tends to promote false threats and the creation of enemies that don’t exist.
  • It has villainized innocent people.  This philosophy, because it needs the idea of oppressors, has turned many innocent people into threats and turned them into bad people.
  • It has created false solutions (such as communism, feminism, etc.).  Many of these have created more problems than it has solved.  Because it is such a narrow viewpoint it generally does not, in actuality, address the problems nor create an adequate solution.
  • It has also created a mania that its right and the only explanation and answer.  In other words, there tends to be a tendency of self-righteousness with ‘secular oppression’.  If you cite it as authority then its automatically right.  This mentality has turned this philosophy, oftentimes, into a social mania that has, at times, gotten out of control.  In some respects, this self-righteousness is one of the most damaging aspects of ‘secular oppression’.

COMMON “SOLUTIONS” TO SOCIAL PROBLEMS BY ‘SECULAR OPPRESSION’

The “basic idea”, which is the basis of ‘secular oppression’, is not only used to explain-away social problems but also became the basis of points of view of their solutions.

An often used “solution” to the oppressor/oppressed condition is to get rid of the oppressor, who is generally viewed as a force or power over the oppressed and, thereby, is the cause of the problem.  This is often spoken of as a “liberation” or “freedom”.  Once this happens its generally viewed that the “oppressed” will no longer have any problems.  This is often not the case, though.  This is because many problems are not, in actuality, caused by “oppression”.  But the people who believe in ‘secular oppression’ interpret everything from its point of view and, because of this, it appears to be that way to them.  When the “solution” doesn’t work they generally blame it on something else, even by creating a new ‘oppressor’.  Interestingly, even in the French Revolution the people in the French government blamed this person then that for years.  It really only ended after Napoleon took control.  As a result, we see a tendency of the “blame game” with ‘secular oppression’. 

Often, though, once the “oppressor” is done away with the “oppressed” end up becoming their own “oppressor” and the cycle repeats itself with another new “oppression” that must be done away with.  Who was once the “liberator” becomes the “oppressor”.  This, of course, goes on and on to eternity with this philosophy.

Interestingly, its never considered that getting rid of an “oppressor” (who is the power) tends to create a power vacuum and when there is a power vacuum who knows what can appear?  The power vacuum caused by the French Revolution deposing the King of France caused endless squabbles in the government that could never be rectified which allowed Napoleon to take power.  In other words, getting rid of the so-called “oppressor” (the King of France) only led to a power vacuum allowing the takeover by another new “oppressor”.  As a result of this, this “solution” tends to cause things such as:

  • A squabbling between the people in charge that can be endless.
  • A take over by someone or something (such as Napoleon, the Communist Party, etc.).

The condition of a power vacuum can be just as damaging as any “oppression”.  The fact is that both “oppression” and a power vacuum creates problems.

Another common solution to the oppressor/oppressed condition is to give power to the “oppressed”.  Generally, this is called democracy or “people rule”.  This “solution” tends to cause things such as:

  • An absence of anyone “in charge”.  Much of the idea of democracy is rooted in the idea that, by making “people rule”, it will prevent an oppressor from gaining power.  In other words, it assumes a person in power (oppressor) is automatically bad.  But, in so doing, no one has any power.  As a result, democracy tends to create a bunch of powerless people. 
  • An indecision or inability to solve problems.  There’s no one “in charge” to make a final decision.  As a result, there is much arguing that gets nowhere and things often never get done.
  • A lack of unity which causes a continual dissatisfaction.  Because all the people are supposed to rule no one wants to follow.  As a result, no matter what is done someone is always upset about it.  It also makes one group pitted against another group.  This makes it so that there tends to be continual divisions and dissatisfaction in a democracy. 
  • A tendency to have to force policy, laws, or ways.  This is often a result of an inability to make a decision, arguing, and indecision.  Because of this, for anything to happen it often must be forced which can upset a lot of people.  This, though, often requires someone to be “in charge” who, if there are any problems, becomes an easy scapegoat and, as a result, can easily be turned into a new “oppressor”.
  • If there are any problems they try to find someone to blame for it.
  • An illusion of having no problems.  The absence of anyone one in charge makes it so that there is no one (no oppressor, that is) to blame the problems on.  I’ve always felt that this is one of the illusions of democracy . . . the absence of a leader leads to an absence of blame which leads to an absence of complaining which leads to an appearance of having no problems!  But, we must remember, that just because you have no one to blame doesn’t mean the problems are solved.  In fact, I tend to feel that because there is no one to blame many problems remain unsolved in democracy.  In fact, I’d even venture to say that many problems aren’t even noticed!  All this gives an illusion that democracy has minimal problems. 

In short, then, democracy or “people rule” is not the great “solution” it pretends to be.  In many ways, it is no different than any other government or social system, having both good and bad qualities.

Overall, though, we tend to see that the “solutions” based on ‘secular oppression’ are often no better, nor effective, than any other “solution”.   In other words, I see no great miracle that they perform.  They are, in actuality, over-rated.

I tend to believe that the benefit of any of these “solutions” is generally not in the actual benefit or strength of the political theory they profess but, rather, more in the fact that something changed . . . and in the spirit of trying to make things better.  In other words, I’ve always felt that the spirit of trying to make things better has done more than any political theory.  In fact, it seems to me that the more this spirit is associated with political theory the less effective it is.  Politics has this quality that it as if distorts and corrupts the spirit of trying to make things better.  No doubt, this is rooted in the power that politics wields.  Its ironic:  to make things better we need the power found in politics but that very power corrupts and destroys the spirit to make things better.  In other words, the thing we need to help us often goes against us.  This, in many ways, is the “enigma of politics”.

THE EFFECTS OF ‘SECULAR OPPRESSION’

The nature of ‘secular oppression’ tends to create certain traits to appear in a society such as:

  • A paranoia.  This can sometimes become delusional.  They will often either see oppressors where there are none or oppression where there is none.
  • A blind hatred.  They will automatically, and often unjustifiably, hate specific things, such as any image of authority.
  • A tendency to accusation and blame.  They are often overeager to find an “oppressor” to blame their problems on.
  • A tendency to destroy existing social institutions such as traditions, conditions, and ways.  In short, this tendency to see oppression everywhere in society often creates an “anti-society” point of view.  Social things like morality, belief, traditions, and ways become viewed as a form of “oppression” and can be viewed as a threat.  In this way, society becomes a threat.  The effect of this is a deterioration in the good feelings about society and a lack of trust in them.  This causes a tendency to destroy social institutions which undermines society as a whole.
  • A tendency to nihilism.  With everything being a potential oppressor (even ones society) it tends to cause a lifestyle where there is no belief in anything.  Since any social institution can be viewed as a form of “oppression” they will no longer believe in it or anything else.  The net result is that they believe in nothing.

In effect, ‘secular oppression’ tends to actually undermine the society in the long run.  In a way, society is slowly eaten away.  Personally, I think its damaging and destructive.

The undermining effect of ‘secular oppression’ can affect a society in two ways depending on how this point of view appears in the society:

  1. A formalized system or belief.  The undermining will eventually become particularly pronounced if the philosophy becomes formalized into a system or belief (such as communism).  Once this happens conditions are now “locked”, so to speak, into a philosophy that will, by its nature, inevitably spiral downward and eventually fail.
  2. As an attitude.  If the ‘secular oppression’ is only taken as a generalized attitude with no formalized philosophy (such as is common in the U.S.) then it tends to cause an undermining but not to the point that it spirals downward and fails.  This is because the society has not been “locked” into this philosophy.  In a way, it as if waivers in and out of being undermined.

Much of the reason for this tendency to undermining, I feel, is because it is an attack on authority and power.  The fact is that authority and power are needed in society and are part of the human condition.  To condemn these is like condemning the sun for being too bright or hot.  This philosophy basically condemns a necessary part of life that is needed.  In this way, it becomes, really, a form of condemning life. In many ways, one could say that the big failure of ‘secular oppression’ is its lack of respect for social power and social structure.  To this day, western society does not respect these things.  Is it all that surprising that it tends to undermine society?

But its effects even go deeper.  Because we are “social animals” this deterioration in society causes a deterioration in the individual.  This has gone on, in my opinion, to cause a dehumanization in people.  This dehumanization is caused by things like this:

  • The fact that there is no “real society”.
  • The tendency of nihilism or not believing in anything.
  • The reliance on other things as a “social substitute”.  More specifically, this means things like technology, trends, organization, etc.

I tend to feel that these tendencies has helped cause what I call “systemism” which is an ultra-organized almost inhuman society (see my article “Thoughts on the ‘System’ and ‘Systemism’“).  Basically, “systemism” is slowly replacing human society.   In this way, ‘secular oppression’ is not only undermining society its helping to create an “inhuman” society.

EXAMPLES OF ‘SECULAR OPPRESSION’

Two good examples of the philosophy of ‘secular oppression’ are communism and feminism.  Both of these are direct descendants from the “basic idea” of the French Revolution.  As is common, they sound good at first (particularly if you take the ‘secular oppression’ point of view) but they ended up becoming undermining and failed as a result.

Communism

The whole idea of communism, really, is rooted in the “basic idea” of the French Revolution:  the people in charge are taking advantage of the common people.  It became a somewhat formalized philosophy that “locked” itself into a specific orientation and direction.

It promotes the two “solutions”:  getting rid of the “oppressor” and giving power to the “oppressed”.  It tended to try to create a condition where this “solution” would prevail, there being no more “oppressors” and the people ruled indefinitely.  What it did, though, is create a new form of “oppressors” in the ruling Communist class.  In addition, the common people suffered worse than before.  This are some of the failures of this philosophy I described above.

Like a lot of ‘secular oppression’ it sounds good but was doomed to fail primarily because it denied the basic human social need of power in a society.  Not only that, it was a philosophy that “locked” itself into that condition.

Feminism

Like communism, this philosophy is rooted in the “basic idea” of the French Revolution.  Unlike communism, it never became “locked” into a particular philosophy though.  It became, then, something more like an attitude or a stance that was taken.  Because of its attitude based orientation it does not really become a philosophy that is “locked” which tends to make it so it does not necessarily fail as did communism.

It seems to primary be a statement and did not, as a whole, state any “solutions”.  Its main emphasis was that the female was “oppressed”.  Later, other aspects of it would attempt at a “solution”, primarily with the idea of giving the females power, but it tended to be mild and sporadic.

Many aspects of feminism would be greatly influenced by female psychology than politics (such as the solution of “trying to be like a man”).  Because of this, it tended to make all these weird claims that have nothing whatsoever to do with politics (see my article “Thoughts on the absurd claims of feminists“).  Despite this, they use politics (that is, ‘secular oppression’ and the “basic idea”) as authority.  Because of this, it has developed that self-righteous attitude often seen with ‘secular oppression’.

AFTERTHOUGHT

The prevalence, and popularity, of ‘secular oppression’ shows, at least in my opinion, that there was a desperate need for an explanation of social problems after the French Revolution.  This is because this period of time (the 1800’s) was a time of great growth of society.  The population grew, politics became more involved, the industrial revolution appeared, many countries developed world empires, etc., etc.  This, naturally, led to great conflict and problems which were of a new form and which the society was unprepared for . . . they simply did not know how to explain it.  This fact, even more, made a desperate need for an explanation to the problems as well as a solution.  Since the French Revolution had just recently appeared, and was centered around social problems, it appeared to offer the “easiest” and best explanation.  After all, in the 1800’s, the French Revolution was a recent event and was on everyone’s mind.  Its “basic idea”, as a result, set the stage for the explanations as well as a solution.

The problem, though, is that the “basic idea” was too narrow and limited in its scope, nor did it take into account many aspects of society or the new conditions the 1800’s created.  In effect, it only seemed to work on the surface.  It seemed to explain the problems.  It seemed to solve them.  In actuality, it was ineffective.  But the Victorians persisted and the explanation seemed to make sense to them.  This persistence in trying to make it work only led to many misunderstandings and myths as well as solutions that were doomed to fail (such as communism).  This condition has continued down to today.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

 

Posted in Dehumanization and alienation, Feminism: a destructive philosophy, Government and politics, Historical stuff, Modern life and society, The 'system' and 'systemism' | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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. 

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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