Thoughts on the struggle with awareness and its effects

Here’s a thought I had:

I have always felt that there is a struggle with being aware when we are born.  For some, the residue of this continues for a big part of our life.  In fact, it seems to me that we are all continuously struggling to be aware to the point that we could say that life is nothing but a continuous struggle with awareness.

AWARENESS IN THE WOMB – “BASE AWARENESS”

It seems to me that awareness begins in the womb.  That is to say, we begin to be aware while we are resting in the womb, though it is very limited awareness.  Its effects, though, are felt throughout our life.  I seem to think that this awareness in the womb is felt by all people but to varying degree’s, such as:

  • For most people it gets lost in the depths of their mind.
  • For other people, its forgotten but surfaces in other ways, such as religious feelings.
  • For some people it is very strong and persists throughout life, often creating a spiritual outlook.

Much of where one is a result of a number of qualities.  Some of these qualities that may affect different people include:

  • A persons innate character
  • A tendency to under or over-sensitivity.
  • Unique events or happenings in the womb.
  • Health conditions.

The awareness in the womb seems to originate from a number of things, such as:

  • Breathing.  I often think this is the “first awareness” one has that is really fully defined and constant.
  • A sensation around the mouth.  This seems to be a result of breathing and may be a result of fluid passing through the mouth as one breaths in the womb.  This may cause a predisposition to a “focusing” on the mouth as a means to associate with the world.  It seems, to me, that this tendency eventually leads to the importance of speech.
  • Movement.  This primarily refers to the sensations of the muscles as the child moves about in the womb.  This is because there is no interplay with objects or space relations at this point in ones life.
  • Skin sensation.  Moving around, and perhaps variations in temperature, may lead to a sensation on ones skin that a child can sense.
  • A “floating awareness” or an “unattached awareness”.  This is an awareness that is not attached to any sensation.  In a sense, it is as if a “door of perception” is open which may or may not sense anything.  When its not sensing anything specific, I would refer to it as “floating awareness” or “unattached awareness”.
  • Desires and wants.  I seem to think that desires and wants can begin to be felt in the womb.

Some of the senses that awareness in the womb causes include:

  • A sense of “allness”, that everything is “one”.  In the darkness of the womb, everything is “one”.
  • There is no distinction between self and world.  This is because there is no self and no world is differentiated.
  • A sense of a “livingness”, or some “energy”, as part of the awareness.  What we are really feeling, in this case, is our own sense of being alive.  This may be involved with desires and wants.
  • A rhythmic or cyclic sense, of things happening on a somewhat regular basis.  This could originate from things like the cycle of breathing and the alternation of being aware and not aware.

I think that these senses are the base of a spirituality and religious feelings.  In other words, spirituality and religious feelings actually originate from the awareness in the womb.  For some people these senses can become profound and cause an intense and involved spirituality.  In fact, I tend to believe that spirituality is trying to regain this original awareness that originates in the womb. Because this awareness is the beginning of a “deep awareness” I often speak of the awareness in the womb as the “base awareness”

I sometimes think that some people become so aware in the womb that they have a hard time dealing with it.  In this way, it as if “drives them up the wall” while in the womb.  This, it seems, persists after they are born, often influencing their character.  I often wonder if this predisposes some people to a “nervous disposition”.  When one becomes over-aware in the womb there is nowhere for it to go and react.  As a result, this causes a tension that one holds “within”.   In this way, one as if is sitting there with all this tension and no outlet.

AWARENESS AFTER BIRTH – “FORCED AWARENESS”

The events following birth, it seems to me, can become quite a shock in regard to awareness.  All of a sudden, we are bombarded with things like:

  • Being awake and alert.
  • Sensations.
  • Feelings.
  • Desires.
  • Unpleasant feelings.
  • Reactions.

All of these, of course, we have never experienced before . . . they are totally new.  This is the case whether we want it or not, whether we are ready or not . . . we are forced to be aware.  Its because of this that I call this “forced awareness”.  In some respects, in the same way that a mother goes through labor to give birth the child goes through a labor of its own, of giving “birth to awareness”.  And just as the labor can be painful for the mother becoming aware can also be painful for the child.  I tend to believe that a lot of the crying, fidgetiness, etc. of newborns is often a result of this struggle with awareness, a lot more than we think.  For some people, I think, this “forced awareness”, with its “shock”, can be a traumatic experience or at least can affect them the rest of their lives.

Some of the struggles caused by “forced awareness” include:

  • The need to get used to awareness.  I think that there is a period of time for a child to be able to handle awareness.  I also think that different forms of awareness tend to require different periods of time.
  • The fact that “forced awareness” can bring out other qualities that can be more difficult than the awareness.  I often feel that the difficulties posed by “forced awareness” can bring out the beginnings of dark and sinister feelings and conflicts.  For some people this can be severe.
  • Being overwhelmed by awareness.  Sometimes, awareness is so overwhelming that some children struggle with it.  For example, it may cause some kids to sleep a lot or become restless or cry.

A significant point is that the reaction to “forced awareness” is often based on the inherent character of the child.  In fact, the reaction to “forced awareness” is often the first introduction of the inherent character of the child.   It can sometimes bring out the beginnings of difficult, problematic, and sinister character qualities in the child.

“Awareness shock”

“Forced awareness” tends to cause a generalized “shock” for most people.  We can call this “awareness shock”.   This can cause great strain on a newborn and infant.  This is not all that surprising for, in some respects, it is our first battle as a person.

This shock appears in different ways in different people.  It can appear in ways such as:

  • A “shock” that appears and is overcome or grown out of.
  • An intensified sense of shock that causes a prolonged struggle.
  • A more continuous, generally mild, struggle that may affect a persons life.
  • A traumatic shock that a person has difficulty dealing with.

The same qualities that affect awareness in the womb also seem to affect how one reacts to “forced awareness”.  These are:

  • A persons innate character
  • A tendency to over-sensitivity.
  • Unique events or happenings in the womb.
  • Health conditions.

Any of these can greatly intensify, or lesson, “awareness shock”.

“Awareness angst”

Because newborns are forced to be aware they have to get used to it.   This takes time, though, and can be difficult.  It seems to create an anxiety or anxious quality.

In my opinion, we are always trying to “get used” to being aware throughout our whole life and we never quite feel comfortable with it.  In fact, I think that it is the cause for much despair, anxiety, and unhappiness in people.  This ongoing struggle with awareness, that continues throughout ones life, we could call the “awareness angst”.

Some of the things that provoke this sense include:

  • An oversensitive nature makes it felt strongly.
  • A sense of self-protection can give it greater meaning and make it more intense.

The “awareness angst” is further complicated by the fact that there is an inability to fulfill desire, need, or want.  We are unable to fulfill any of these, though we are aware of it.  All we do is experience them and that’s it.  This inability to satisfy them, and bring them to fulfillment, plays a big part of the “awareness angst”.  It shows that “awareness angst” has much root on the process of desires and their satisfaction.  Since we are unable to satisfy them it as if disrupts a cycle of the phases of process of fulfillment.  The phases could go something like this:

  1. The impulse (the desire, need, or want).
  2. The awareness of the impulse.
  3. The action to satisfy the impulse
  4. The fulfillment of the impulse

Basically, we feel the impulse and the awareness but we are unable to complete the last two phases.  This causes an angst which tends to lead to a frustrated and anxious disposition.  Being unable to fulfill our impulses in the womb means that we are all born with a somewhat frustrated and anxious disposition.  And because this is one of the first introductions to awareness it also means that awareness becomes intimately associated with frustration and anxiety.  As a result, it as if hangs over our lives.  In fact, I would even venture to say that this is the source of much of our despair and unhappiness in life.

The importance of sleep and dreaming

It seems that sleep as if alleviates”awareness shock” by removing us from it.  This shows that sleep has great importance in regard to awareness.  Sleep as if “relaxes” us from the burden of awareness.   Because of this, sleeping becomes an avenue to alleviate the problems and burdens of awareness.

Now, sleep, by itself, just “relaxes” us from awareness.  Dreaming, it seems, brings on another aspect.  Basically, dreaming is a continuation of awareness but in a modified no-so-intense form.  In this way, dreaming creates what can be called a “relaxed awareness” . . . one can be aware but not burden by its shock.  In this way, dreaming becomes a “middle road”.  As a result, dreaming becomes an “escape” from “forced awareness” and all its various problems.  Because of this, as one develops and grows in awareness the importance of dreaming grows in importance.  It becomes more real and more significant.  This is so true that conflicts can come out dramatically as in a nightmare.

The act of dreaming reflects these qualities:

  • The self – this refers to the sense of “me” as opposed to the world . . . the self-as-independent
  • Projection – this refers to the projection of ones self onto the world so that the world as if becomes ones self . . . in this way, we become “placed” in the world . . . the self-in-the-world
  • Passion – this refers to the emotion, desire, etc. that motivates the dream
  • Awareness – this, of course, refers to being aware of things

The dream is really an absence of self and projection.  All that’s left is passion and awareness and it is these that become portrayed through the dream images.  This fact shows that the “shock” and burden of awareness is actually rooted in the self and projection.  It is these that we struggle with . . . it is not passion and awareness, as one would normally suspect.  This would make sense as the self and projection is a manifestation of the self-as-independent and self-in-the-world . . . it places us, as a reality, in the world.  Because of this, the pressure is on them.  This gives them great focus and importance.  This absence of the self-as-independent and self-in-the-world creates the “dreamlike”, “surreal”, or “otherworldly” quality that is found in dreams.

Because of the absence of the self and projection the dream tends to take on the quality of “base awareness” of our early years.  This gives dreaming a “deeper” quality to it.  Dreams are one of the ways we “reconnect” with the “base awareness”.  Since the absence of self and projection are associated with spirituality and a spiritual sense, its not all that surprising that dreams are often associated with spirituality or a spiritual sense.

We could say that there are two forms of dreams:

  • Pre-self dreaming.  This is a dreaming before the self has developed (the pre-self) or from that part of us that stems from the pre-self.  It is related to “base awareness”.  These, I think, tend to have that “surreal” quality.  They tend to be more generalized in orientation and not be related with events and happenings.  They can be almost to the point of being religious.
  • Self dreaming.  This is dreaming with the self.  This is the dreaming as we normally know it.  These dreams tend to revolve around specific issues and have a “worldliness” about them.  That is to say, they are more related to events and happenings.

I think that a lot of dreaming tend to be a mixture of these two.  It seems, though, that the “pre-self dreaming” is more prevalent when one is young (that is, when the self is not developed and the sense of the “base awareness” is stronger).  As we get older the self develops and, as a result, we start seeing more “self dreaming”.

FORCING THE SELF TO DEVELOP 

Awareness tends to force the self to develop.  This, of course, begins in the womb and goes at an accelerated rate after we are born.  The world puts great pressure on awareness and, through awareness, the self is developed.

This shows that the self is really something that is born by necessity . . . the reality of the world makes it necessary.  In other words, confrontation with the world, and being alive, forces awareness on us which, in turn, forces a self to develop to deal with the world.  In this way, one could say that the self is a “world dependent” entity.

Being “world dependent”, the self establishes one in the world in these ways:

  • A “grasping” – it allows us to “grasp” the world and the things in it.
  • A “reality” – it creates an image of reality that places one in the world as something real and tangible.

The self, then, creates an awareness that is world focused and dependent.  What this does is make it so that the nature of the self is opposed to the nature of “base awareness” . . . they are like opposite ends of a spectrum.  The self causes an emphasis on an external world awareness whereas the “base awareness” creates an awareness that is rooted interiorly.  As a result, there becomes a conflict between the interior side of us and the external side of us.   This is the base of the “spiritual versus world” conflict that is a common theme seen in religion and philosophy.

I should point out that its not uncommon that the forcing of the self to develop often brings in “bad” aspects of ones nature.  In fact, it often does.  For some people, this can bring on some of the most difficult of feelings as they often originate from deep within.  I often tend to think that forcing the self to develop brings on the first battles one has with ones self.  In some cases,  this can continue on into ones whole life.

THE ILLUSION OF THE SELF – “STABLE AWARENESS”

The existence of the self tends to cause various forms of illusions.  Being based in the world, and forced into existence, the self naturally tends to put great emphasis on the world, the things in the world, and ones association with it.  As one becomes confident in ones association with the world one develops a confidence with ones “standing” in the world.  This creates what can be described as a sense of “stable awareness” . . . that is, that ones awareness is “correct”.  But the self often tends to make us feel alienated from ourselves as it detaches us from the “base awareness”.  This can cause a dilemma that can upset “stable awareness” and put one self in great conflict.  A number of ways this conflict can appear include:

  • That the world is false.
  • That there is another world.
  • That one is being deceived.
  • That everything is a lie.
  • Despair.
  • Hopelessness.

All this creates a doubt that can appear many ways:  doubt with ourselves and doubt with the world.  This can be extended in other ways:  doubt about god, doubt about belief, doubt about any belief system, doubt about the government, doubt about society, etc.  In this way, the sense of “stable awareness” can become something of an illusion.

SPIRITUALITY – SEEKING “BASE AWARENESS”

As I said above, “base awareness” is the source of spirituality and a spiritual sense.  Because of this, spiritual-minded people are actually seeking “base awareness”, the awareness of our earliest years and even awareness in the womb.  In spirituality one is usually trying to regain the “sense” of “base awareness”.

Seeking base awareness” can create things such as:

  • A calmness – because our earliest awareness is without “clutter” and confusion
  • Insight and intuitions – this is because ones normal state of mind does not know them
  • A “connectedness” with things and feeling closer to life – this is the original sense of “allness”
  • A purpose and meaning – this refers to a more “uncluttered” and confused state of mind
  • It accentuates life and a more “rounded” life – it brings out more of ones being and mind
  • It encompasses ones whole being – this is because it entails deeper aspects of ones life
  • It gives a sense of “purity” – this is because it originates from the first “non-shocked” awareness

As a result, the effect of these can be very powerful and influential in life.  Its because of this that spirituality can become so important in life.  This seems to be the case, though, only for some people.  Sometimes, too, it is only effective for a period of times in ones life.  It seems to vary with personality and situation.  In other words, seeking “base awareness” isn’t for everyone. 

The illusion of spirituality

Its not uncommon that the seeking of “base awareness” – spirituality – becomes an illusion as well.  I have found that spirituality is not the “ultimate” and is only effective for some types of people.  Too much spirituality can become a problem for some people.

Some of the effects of the illusion of spirituality include:

  • The seeking of “base awareness” can turn into a seeking of a “non-awareness” or a “non-self” state.  This creates a great dilemma in spirituality as we cannot be non-aware or have no self once the self has developed.
  • Though we try to regain “base awareness” we will never really achieve it.  That self is basically gone.  We only grasp a remnant of it.  I tend to feel that trying to seek “base awareness” – spirituality – is something that should not be done too excessively.  One could say that it is something that should be done sparingly as it “adds spice to life”.  This is why I think the monastic lifestyle may be a bit “too much”.
  • Often, the meaning of spirituality wanes.  In some cases, people end up having to “fortify” a failing spirituality with abstract belief.  This often turns it into a mechanical act over time.

The result of these is that spirituality tends to fail or break down.  “Base awareness”, or spirituality, seems to be best as something like an attitude and not something prominent.  That is when it seems to have the most power.

CONTEMPLATION – “BASE AWARENESS” BECOMES REAL

I’ve often described contemplation (or mystical prayer), and whats often called “meditation” in Eastern religions, as a “waking sleep”.  In fact, one could probably describe it as a “forced waking sleep”.  In other words, contemplation is a retraction of self and projection, as in dreaming, but it is done in a waking state.  In addition, contemplation is something we generally have to force to happen.  That is to say, it doesn’t always “just happen”.  This is why it becomes something one “practices” and tends to entail a “procedure” or “technique”.

I could go on to say that contemplation is an attempt at “reviving” the womb-like awareness of “base awareness” and the pre-self dream-like condition as a reality, not as a sense (which is seen in spirituality).  In this way, its like “relearning” and “reviving” it.  Some of the common senses that are revived include:

  • A loss of self (this leads to a sense of detachment)
  • An awareness of an “allness” (this often becomes a sense of God)
  • A sense of the eternal (this is awareness without the self or projection and creates a sense that time is not “grasped”)

In this way, we see that contemplation is something like a regression to a state in the womb or as an infant.  This is not done for the sole reason of “regressing to a more pleasant period of time”.   There are deeper meanings and value in it.  Some of these include:

  • Contemplation hits to the “depths of ones being”.   Since contemplation hits to the depth of awareness and the self (for its going before the self has appeared), it has a quality of “hitting the center”, so to speak, to the “depths of ones soul”.  This does, in fact, happen and is part of the power of contemplation.
  • Contemplation opens up hidden parts of ones self.  Since contemplation entails the abandoning of ones self, as one seeks the pre-self and “base awareness”, it often uncovers hidden aspects of ones self.  One discovers aspects of ones self that one never thought existed, for example.
  • Contemplation makes a more unified self, the “greater self”.  Since contemplation goes to before the self (the pre-self) it as if unifies the different aspects of ones self, making a more unified holistic self.  In this way, the self is not fragmented and a person feels more whole.
  • Contemplation creates a sense of union with the “allness” of life.  The sense of “all” is part of the “base awareness”.  This “allness” is often described as the sense of god.  It also is a sense of “being one with the world”.  In this way, there develops a sense of being part of the world and in it.

So we see that contemplation – the “regression” to ones earliest awareness – has great impact on a person’s self and their sense of being in the world.

Contemplation, though, is not for everyone.  Like spirituality, it only has value for some people.  Most people, I think, who start contemplation cease doing it within a short period of time.  Personally, I think that true contemplatives are rare.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE

In general, the male has a strong self orientation which is absent in the female.  It appears, to me, that this difference in the self causes great difference in the male and female in regard to “base awareness”.

I tend to view the strong self in the male being a result of the fact that nature has given the male a quality of dealing with the world.  The self is that quality that gives the male the ability to deal with the world, to confront the difficulties, trauma, horror, and reality that the world dishes out.  It does this a number of ways, such as:

  • The ego.  I always call this “false confidence” which allows the male to do things that he otherwise would not do in the world (such as killing a walrus with a spear or traveling in inhospitable places).
  • A unity and collectiveness of self.  This is a sense that one must be “together” as a person.
  • A directedness in motive and direction.  This refers to the need to “have a plan” with meaning and purpose.

All these qualities allow the male to better deal with the conditions of the world.  As a result, the male has a stronger self to deal with than the female.  Because of this, the male tends to suffer from self problems that the female generally does not suffer.  It also means that the male suffers more from the illusion of awareness.  As a result, males often have to work harder.  This struggle often makes the male look more deeply as well.  But, at the same time, the struggle also makes them more easily disillusioned.

It seems, to me, that females tend to have a “base awareness” that is more easily accessible, due to the absence of a strong self, but it lacks depth.  In addition, they don’t seem to benefit from its awareness as much as males do.  They also don’t struggle as much.  Being less impacted by self problems, it seems that females get easily swayed by emotional aspects, particularly after menstruation begins (which makes females more susceptible to emotions).  It seems that many females who start off seeking “base awareness” quickly change to seeking emotional aspects and, as a result, tend to easily go off in other directions and lose sight of it.

In short, the males seem to struggle but find depth.  Females don’t struggle as much but don’t find the depth.  In other words, male spirituality tends to be self and awareness oriented, female spirituality tends to be more emotion oriented with the self and awareness lacking.

This seems to show some interesting aspects of the self and awareness.  It shows that the conflict with the self and awareness is very influential, at least for the male.  It reveals these qualities of the self:

  • The self is the source of depth
  • The self forces a greater expansion of the self
  • The self requires greater work and suffering
  • The self creates a greater unity of self

These are things that are primarily seen in males, as a result of the conflict with the self, but seem minimally with females who do not have the conflict as extensively.

For similar subjects see:

Thoughts on the pre-self, primal self, world self, post-self, and the greater self

Thoughts on the progression of projection

Thoughts on boredom and depression – the importance of the self’s need for projection

 


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Children and play, Contemplation, monastacism, shamanism, spirituality, prayer, and such, Dreams and their interpretation, Existence, Awareness, Beingness, Consciousness, Conceptionism, and such, Philosophy, Psychology and psychoanalysis, Religion and religious stuff, The male and female | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the “media situation” and its effects

Here’s a thought I had:

After looking at American history for many years I cannot help but think that one thing it reveals is how the media creates an inability to resolve issues.  To put it another way, the nature of media tends to actually hinder the resolution of conflicts and issues.  In this way, these issues and problems tend to persist and go on and on.  This, it seems to me, has greatly affected the U.S., particularly after the 1960’s, and defines many of its problems, characteristics, and behavior.  In some respects, I would even go on to say that it has impaired American society and keeps it “stuck” in certain conditions, realities, and problems.  The U.S., in particular, is very much “stuck” in the 1970’s (for example, see my article “Thoughts on some origins of many ridiculous attitudes of the American mentality – the ongoing effects of WWII, Cold War, and the Vietnam War era, fear, and on how the U.S. is living in the past“).  Its probably no surprise that this is the situation as the 1960′-70’s is when the media began to make its greatest impact in American society.  In this way, the U.S. is as if “stuck” in the era where media first made its appearance and unable to progress.  This, I think, reveals a lot about the nature of media.

As I looked on this situation further, I could see that, in actuality, the media causes a number of dilemma’s, such as:

  • Conditions, attitudes, points of views, etc. seem to continue on even though they are no longer legitimate, valid, or exist . . . there becomes a tendency to become “stuck”.
  • There is an inability to resolve problems and issues.
  • It seems to often create problems that don’t exist.
  • It often causes an inability to progress.
  • Things are blown out of proportion.

In this way, it suggest that the media tends to create an impairing quality, or so it seems to me.  This, of course, conflicts with much of its claims and what many people think.

This impairing quality makes me wonder of the value of news and media.  Is it really worth it?  I cannot fully answer that question.  I would say that it is one of those situations where it is a “double edged sword” . . . it both helps and harms, depending on the situation.  I do know that the media should be looked at with great suspicion and never automatically assumed to be true.

My own experience is that the only real value of media is in the conveying of practical information.  This includes things like the weather, accidents, robberies, etc.  It tends to fail the more we get into things involving opinion or speculation such as social issues, politics, religion, scandals, etc.  Once it gets into these things its actually best to turn the news off.  Nowadays, especially, there’s too much opinion and speculation in the news and media.  Its starting to take on the quality of a tabloid.  This is why I often speak of the media and news as a “sub-tabloid”.  That is to say, its only tabloidish some of the time (when it does not deal with practical information) and so its not quite a complete tabloid . .  its “under” it, so to speak.  This is true with almost all news media, it seems to me, and is perhaps worse with the big business news, such as CNN and NBC.

THE “MEDIA SITUATION”

A lot of the impairing effects of the media reflects qualities that are inherent in the media situation.  The “media situation” is the conditions that naturally appear when media is existing.  I’ve always felt that there are two specific qualities to this situation:

  1. The fact that we sit passively
  2. The fact that we are told things

I often compare the “media situation” with being an infant . . . we are sitting in a comfortable chair and being “spoon fed”.  Instead of being “spoon fed” food we are
“spoon fed” information.  In this way, we are really nothing but passive recipients.  This, in many ways, sets the tone of the “media situation” and leads to many of the basic problems seen as a result of the media (as shown in examples below).

Forms of media

There are many forms of “media” which include:

  • The news
  • Social media
  • Education and learning
  • Gossip
  • Chit-chat

What we seen, then, is that the media is more than listening or reading the news.  When I use “media” it really refers to any situation that entails the two qualities above, we are sitting there receiving information.  This would then entail even everyday events such as gossiping and even education.  To be more precise, “media”, as I’m using it, refers to the conveying of information to people.  In this way, we could say that a lot of communication is a form of media.

There is a spectrum of the conveying of this information with the extremes being:

  • The conveying of information to an individual person.
  • The conveying of information to the masses.

It seems, to me, that the more its directed toward the masses the more problems there are.  In fact, many of the effects described below are referring to the effect on the masses.

There are a number of means of communication:

  • Person-to-person (such as in chit-chat or gossip)
  • Person-to-group (such as in school)
  • To the masses (such as on TV or social media)

The way the communication happens also varies:

  • Word-of-mouth
  • Reading
  • Seeing
  • Some form of interaction (such texting)
  • Technology-based

With the arrival of technology, and its power and influence, we find that media-through-technology takes on a very potent and powerful form.  As a result, the problems the “media situation” create are intensified.  It is this aspect of things, really, is what I am discussing in this article.  In other words, I am speaking of the effects of the technology-based, mass-directed form of media below.  More specifically, I am speaking of the effects of the news, various forms of mass communication (such as the internet), and social media that is seen nowadays.  These have created conditions that are unique, more intense, and more extensive than any other form of media that has ever existed.  As a result, their negative effects are much more extensive than previously.

EFFECTS OF THE “MEDIA SITUATION”

The “media situation” has many ways it effects things, many of which have negative or impairing effects.  Some of these effects include the following:

Two natural qualities of the media

The nature of media has qualities in it that make in inherently misleading or controlling.  Two of these qualities entail aspects of the media are:

  1. The passive quality.   This refers to the natural tendency of the media to influence people.  That is to say, the media, being a medium of reporting and stating things, has an inherent tendency to affect people by that nature alone . . . it just happens.  When something is stated it tends to affect people.  A good example of this is the 1938 radio broadcast of H.G. Well’s book “War of the Worlds”.  The first part of the broadcast was portrayed as a reporter on-site reporting the news and sounded so convincing that people began to believe that aliens had actually invaded.  This shows that, by just stating things in a believable way it tends to influence people.  Since the media does this it has an inherent tendency to influence people, whether its intentional or not.
  2. The active quality.  This refers to the active effort by the media to alter things.  The media, for example, will interpret things the way they want, distort things, deliberately change things, add things, leave out things, etc.  In this active way, the media forces things into a certain direction.  This active quality can be done deliberately (that is, intentionally) or unconsciously (not intentionally done).  Either way, the media is directing things in a certain direction, a direction THEY dictate.  As a result of this, the active quality makes it so that we are not hearing “all the viewpoints”, as the media often suggests, but the viewpoints they dictate and show us.

In these ways, one could say that the media tends to naturally affect people and naturally leads things toward a specific direction.  These are conditions inherent in the “media situation”.  That is to say, the “media situation” is not a place where a person has control, or a place where a person has all the information, or a place where a person can choose things.  In actuality, the “media situation” is where a person sits “passively”, and is shown things that lead to a specific direction, and is affected by it.  As a result, a person naturally tends to go down the direction the media suggests, blindly and mindlessly.

The “blind following mentality” and the “media-influenced lifestyle”

For many people there is an assumption that everything the media says is “true”.  I seldom see people question what comes out of the media (the ones that do are usually older adult males).  Many people take the point of view of that “if the media says its true then it must be true”.  In this way, many people become nothing but blind followers, believing whatever they’re told however nonsensical or silly.

My observation is that the media tends to create a “blind following mentality” which makes people automatically believe what they are told without question.  This mentality often goes beyond the media and into everyday life and can even become a “world view” which dictates how they act in the world.  What this shows is that the influence of the media, and the mentality it causes, can affect peoples attitude and behavior in life.

I tend to believe that the rise of the media in mass communication has had tremendous impact on peoples behavior in life.  In this way, we could speak of a “media-influenced lifestyle”.  This would show that the media has greatly altered peoples lifestyle and how they live.  Some aspects of this include:

  • An attitude of blind following.
  • A blind reliance on things like opinion, society, and such.
  • An absence of self and in doing things for ones self.
  • The creation of a “mass mind”, where one views themselves as part of a mass of people and not an individual person.
  • A sense of being part of a society or situation.  This is a good effect of the media.
  • A tendency to be over-reactive or jump to conclusions.
  • A blind confidence that one knows what’s going on.
  • A sense of being helpless to everything.
  • A tendency where problems don’t get solved.

In these ways, the “media-influence lifestyle” turns people into something like ants, in a way.

Its appearance has come about, over the years, in a successive of different forms which have become more and more influential:

  1. The newspaper and magazines
  2. The radio
  3. TV
  4. The internet and digital forms

With the later forms it has infiltrated into everyday life making the “media-influenced lifestyle” more and more influential.  Even in my own life I can see a difference in people.  More recently, with the internet and digital forms, especially, I can see people are becoming more and more like ants and less and less like individual people in life.  I think the effect of the “media-influenced lifestyle” is far more tragic than it at first seems . . . at least in my opinion.

The media as “idealism”

Many people tend to view media in a very “high” way, almost like its some form of revelation.  For example, many people view the media as having qualities such as these:

  • It portrays “objective information” that is assumed to be unbiased.
  • It expresses different ideas or points of view to issues.
  • It is complete in its portrayal of the facts.
  • It gives a platform or means for resolution of conflicts by the people.

These assumptions have always mystified me.  I tend to believe that they are based on several ideals that are prevalent in Western society:

  1. The ideal of rationalism and logic.  For example, its assumed that the media is a platform for “rational” thought.
  2. The ideal of democracy.  For example, its often as if assumed that the “people” will logically know how to use the information.

These ideals originate with the enlightment in Western Europe, which is rooted in the revival of Greek philosophy.  In particular, they refer to Greek logic and Greek democracy.  As a result, the context of media is looked at from these values.

From the logic perspective, the media tends to be viewed as a platform for “objective analysis” and can even be viewed something akin to an “education”, as I’ve even heard people say.  In this way, people will view the media as something that is “teaching them what’s going on”, almost like a classroom.  In fact, for some people, the media is viewed as the ONLY thing explaining what’s going on and it is the source of information about everything.  Because of this they do not question it.

And since the media is broadcast to the general population it is viewed as being “democratic”, a means to convey the “facts” to the “people”.  As a result, it is viewed as benefitting the people, informing them, and helping them to make decisions.

These, in my opinion, are not a very good point of views besides being erroneous.  I don’t see much truth in these points of view.  It seems, to me, that people are making the media more than it is and giving it more influence than it really has.

A reason why these points of view are erroneous is that they are based on ideals.  We must remember that ideals are based in an image of “what would be good”.  Typically, though, ideals do not fit the “real world reality”, as I believe the case to be here.  The “real world reality” of the media situation does not fit these ideals.

The importance of the “hook” 

The “truth” of media is often based on what I call the “hook”.  This is that part of media that makes a person “pay attention” to it and, in so doing, it tends to make a person believe it.  In this way, the “hook” is very important for the media.  In fact, a lot of the behavior of the media is in trying to create this “hook”.

Forms of the “hook” include:

  • Stating facts.  The news and media is rooted on happenings and reporting them and this is often how it begins.  This is the best part of the media.
  • Emotionalism.  This refers to catering to subjects that affect peoples emotions.  It could include things like “pulling on peoples heart strings”, or preying on issues that get people upset, etc. 
  • It touches on “touchy subjects”.  This is often politics, religion, scandals, and such.  Often, these are controversial and encompass deep feelings to the point of causing arguments and fights.
  • Sensationalism.  This is making things out bigger than they are, often to the point of giving things qualities that they don’t have.  Basically, its like “dressing things up” to make them appealing.

In these ways, the news and media “gets peoples attentions” which tends to make them more believable.  This is because, typically, once peoples attentions are gained, they tend to believe very easily, and once they are believed they watch the news.  This, of course, is the purpose of the media and what keeps it in business.  As a result, we can see that the “hook” is really only the beginning of a process that the media needs to stay in business.

The reactionary nature of media situation and its effects

The nature of media situation is that it is reactionary.  There are a number of ways this happens:

  • The reactionary stance of the media.  This refers to the fact that the media, itself, is only reacting to an event or situation which it then reports it.  In other words, the media situation is based in reaction.
  • The reactionary stance of the people.  The refers to the fact that the people who cater to the media are only reacting to what the media states.  This shows that the purpose of the media situation is to cause a reaction.

So we see that the media situation is based in a reaction and whose intent is to cause another reaction . . . “reaction in, reaction out”.  In these ways, the nature of the media is that it creates a condition where “reaction is the only path”, you react and that’s it.  Aspects of this reactionary condition include:

  • A person is given something to react to.
  • A person does not initiate anything.
  • A person is not in control.
  • A persons response is dependent on the dictates of the information supplied by the media.
  • A persons reaction has no value and does nothing in the end.

In other words, a person is as if “confined” to the conditions of reaction whose end result, in actuality, is nothing.  The reactionary condition, then, tends to limit a persons ability to respond which, in a way, creates a sense of helplessness.  Some news is particularly like that.  You’re shown something, and may be appalled, but there’s absolutely nothing you can do . . . all you can do is react, and that’s it.  This helplessness is one of the problems of the reactionary condition.

The medias quality of “leading you on” and “distant observance”

We must remember that when one listens to the media it is the media who is controlling things . . . you are only listening (and reacting).  This creates a condition where the media is “leading you on”, they are directing where things go.  They do this a number of ways:

  • The media determines what to report.
  • The media determines what not to report.
  • The media determines how to interpret the facts.
  • The media adds any embellishments they want.

In these ways, the media has “complete control” over the news, how it appears, and even the reaction it may cause in people.  It creates an attitude of “distant observance” in people.  The media creates a condition where no one is in charge nor can anyone do anything.  Everything is seen as if at a distance.  A person is only reacting in a “mindless” and helpless state. In this way, the media situation actually relies on people to be “mindless”.  In fact, it depends on it.  I truly believe that if people were not so “mindless”, and thought about what the news and media reported, then it would be looked at with great skepticism.

The “mass mind” and its effects

The nature of the media causes what can be described as a “mass mind”.  This tends to undermine and even destroy what can be called the “individual mind” of the person.  The “mass mind” tends to make people ant-like, “mindless”, and believe everything, which is good for the media.

The media situation tends to cause the “mass mind” in a number of ways:

  • The catering to media tends to cause a loss of a sense of self as we are hearing its dictates and its telling us how to think.
  • Since the media reports things that are happening in the population it tends to cause a person to see themselves as part of a mass of people.
  • The reactionary condition makes people do whatever it says.

These cause a loss of the “individual mind” of the person and a growth in the “mass mind”.  In some ways, the effect of the media is not unlike the mentality seen in a mob or a riot.  But since people are usually at home, or with minimal people, it never turns into a mob or riot.  Despite this, the mentality is the same, in actuality.  Some situations, though, can bring this mob-like quality out later on.  It can even promote mobs or riots too, if the situation is right.

One effect of the “mass mind”, and the loss of the “individual mind”, is that things are not done on a human and personal level.  As a result, we are unable to deal with our problems.  In other words, the “mass mind” makes it difficult to resolve dilemma’s and conflicts.  A person as if becomes stuck in conditions that they cannot resolve.  In other words, the “mass mind” tends to cause a situation where dilemma’s and conflicts go on and on.  This effect can appear a number of ways:

  • As a personal issue.  It may cause something like a “perpetual neuroses” in the general population.  Personally, I think a lot of the issues and problems of liberalism is a form of this “perpetual neuroses”.
  • Socially.  Here, the society cannot resolve issues, as a whole, and so certain “social problems” never seem to end.  This, it seems to me, is a particular problem with the “media-influenced lifestyle” and may, in a way, be one of its main traits.  The U.S., I feel, reflects this trait.

In these ways, we see that the “mass mind” affects the person and society.  This makes the “mass mind” very influential and that its effects can be quite extensive.  In general, its effects tend to undermine the individual person.

The illusion of “thinking for ourselves” – the “media puppet”

As I said above, the media typically thinks for people.  It can do this to the point of even coming up with the “explanation”.  But the nature of media situation is that it often tends to give the illusion that people are thinking for themselves and are the ones who have come up with the “explanation”.  In some sense, the media “does their thinking for them” but they don’t know this.  When this happens I speak of “media puppets”.  These are people who are really only catering to what the media is saying but think they are the originators of it.  I’m often amazed out how prevalent this is.

This, it seems to me, tends to have the effect of an undermining of the person and individual.  It makes the person an “appendage” to the media and makes people live an illusionary life as it makes people think they are in control when they are not.  In this way, a “media puppet” is really something like a slave.

The “mass mind” and the problem of authority

The “mass mind”, which often creates a sense of “great social presence”, tends to create a quality of great authority.  This is particularly so in a society that has democracy as its  value, as democracy gives “power to the people”.  As a result, the “mass mind” is equated with the people . . . whatever the “mass mind” says assumed to be the”will of the people” and, therefore, correct.  It becomes authority, often almost “god-like” in quality, and many people treat it that way too.

The problem is that the “mass mind” is not authority.  The “mass mind” creates a blind and mindless mob-like mentality in people.  The effect of this is that it tends to undermine the person, in a similar way as the “media puppet”, and it tends to undermine authority in general.  In addition, it undermines the authority of common sense and wisdom for, with the “mass mind”, people follow whatever the mob wants.  The mob, though, is mindless, haphazard, reactive, hysterical.  In other words, it lacks qualities of common sense and wisdom . . . the mob is basically “stupid”.  Therefore, by following the “mass mind” one is really following an authority that is “stupid”.  In my opinion, this is a quality of American society . . . people following an authority without common sense and wisdom.

The contagious and infectious quality of the media

The media has a contagious quality to it.  Some things that spread easily include:

  • Specific points of view and opinions
  • Emotionalism
  • Fear and panic

Once these start they can spread like wildfire.  In addition, when something does spread it is hard to stop it.  In fact, even if it is wrong, or proven wrong, it still often runs rampant.  In some cases, its almost difficult to undo the damage done by this effect, even though it can be proven wrong.  Sometimes, it can get so out of control that it turns into a hysteria.

I should point out that the media has no way to control it, stop it, or even a way to remedy the problem.  In other words, the media often cannot even control what it starts.  This is why I often say:  “there are times when the media is nothing but playing with wildfire”.  With all the media-through-technology nowadays, this is far more prevalent, I think, than it may at first appear.

The media catering to fear, panic, and tragedy

The media tends to prey on fear and panic as it is a very effective “hook”.  With any tragedy, the media wants to “get in on it” as it gets peoples attention.  This is why, when there is a tragedy, I often say:  ” . . . this is a big money-making venture for the media” or “there’s a lot of money to be made in tragedy”.  But fear and panic is a very volatile and reactive situation.  Once fear and panic starts it tends to spread easily and can easily get out of control.  In this way, the media often tends to promote fear and panic by catering to it.  In some cases, it actually causes hysteria in the population falsely and needlessly.  Personally, I actually consider that a lot of social fear, panic, and hysteria is because of the media.

Sadly, the media tends to prey on peoples fear and panic like it is some sort of a plaything but it has no way to control or solve its effect.  In this way, the media is as if “playing with fire” by playing with these volatile and explosive emotions.  What’s worse, they are playing with something they have no way of controlling it if it happens to get out of control.  For much of the media, any hysteria it causes is just more to report.  As a result, they tend to be oblivious to the effect they have in it all and their influence in the cause.  Its always “someone else’s fault” which they, of course, report.

The creation of social frenzy

Since the media has such an exposure to people and plays with explosive feelings its not uncommon that this combination can create a social frenzy.  In this situation people are as if are “worked up” to a frenzy of emotion and passion which can often get out of control.

This frenzy can appear in a number of ways:

  • Good effects.  This could be something like Beatlemania or even charity in a tragedy, such as after a hurricane.
  • Bad effects.  This could be some scandal, controversy, etc., such as the Vietnam War or the Civil Rights Movement.

So we can see that social frenzy can go both ways.  Regardless of which way it goes, it can reach the point of hysteria, where people become “mindless” and act in ways they normally wouldn’t and doing things without thought.  What this means, more or less, is that there can be hysteria with good effects and hysteria with bad effects.

The creation of “false realities” by the media – the “media world”

Media often creates realities that don’t exist.  In many cases, they create news and happenings that aren’t happening.  They also create explanations that have no substantiation.

Media creates false realities for a number of ways such as:

  • They report only what satisfies their specific intentionsFor example, its anything that makes money.  In other words, they “report news that sells”.
  • They leave details out.
  • They focus on specific things.
  • The twist things to fit the interpretation they want.
  • They don’t give alternate viewpoints.
  • They cater to any quality that creates a “hook”.  This includes things like fear, panic, outrage, etc.
  • They exaggerate problems and issues.  This is often done to such an extent that it often exaggerates these problems to unbelievable proportions. Sometimes, they add more problems and issues as part of the “hook”.

In this way, the media creates a condition where it “calls the shots”.  As a result, it tends to fabricate the world it wants and leads everyone in that direction.  The world it creates tends to serve the media and its purpose, perhaps we could call this the “media world”?

But we must remember that this is an illusionary and false world.  It is a world that has been fabricated to suit specific ends.  The effect of this include:

  • It misguides people.  It makes people think black is white or that something is happening that isn’t, for example.
  • They offer conditions that aren’t real and can’t be solved.  In this way, its like saying “the aliens are going to attack . . . so now what?”

Sadly, many people accept the “media world” as real and go about living in a false world image as a result.  I think the media is responsible for a lot of weird and unrealistic world views.

How media makes the worlds problems everyone’s problem

The media, now, reports news from everywhere all over the world.  This gives the illusion that problems a thousand miles away are our problems when they really aren’t.  In this way, the media has made the worlds problems our problems.  This makes the world, and life, appear worse than it really is.  I tend to believe that if people only concerned themselves with what was going on in their area people would be more happy.  I don’t really believe that most people need to know what’s going on in Pakistan or Laos.  In other words, most news we don’t need to know.  In general, we don’t need to be concerned about what’s going on in other countries or other areas.  At any one time there is a tragedy or bad event going on in the world in some way or form:  people are being killed in a hurricane, people are dying of starvation, people are being murdered, the government is exploiting people, a horrible accident has happened, someone died tragically, etc., etc., etc.  I know people who cry over every tragedy in the world (liberals are the worst).  If you are going to do that then you are going to by crying for the rest of your life.  One thing the media has taught me is to try to focus on your area and what affects you . . . that’s all that matters.  

The problem of repetition

With big issues the media tends to repeat the issues over and over, often to the point of nausea.  They keep a continuous repetition of the same mentality, same issues, same problems, same solutions.  This repetition tends to make it appear bigger and bigger, often becoming bigger than it really is.  One effect of this is that it keeps the issues “in memory” and as a result, it makes the issues go on and on.  In this way, repetition makes issues never-ending and “alive”.  About the only way for some issues to be resolved is for them to be “forgotten” or cease in the memory of the people.  In many cases, the media continually reminding the people will make many “big” issues literally disappear over night.

The fact that the news is a business and acts as a business

The media is a business and much of what it does is motivated with the business perspective in mind.  In short, the media tends to report what makes money for them.  As a result, things like “big news”, disasters, scandals, etc. tend to be favored over mundane everyday news . . . they get the biggest attraction from the people and have the biggest “hook”.

The business of media is particularly associated with the “hook”.  This is because, by emphasizing the best “hook”, the news attracts the most people and makes money.  As a result, the “hook” often determines the path the media takes.  I would even venture to say that the “hook” determines the news.  It determines what’s reported and how its reported.

 The media’s influence in the view of the world

My feeling is that the media generally tends to cause a poor view of the world in the many peoples mind.  There are a number of reasons for this:

  • It primarily reports problems.
  • It tends to exaggerate these problems.
  • As a result, it keeps these problems in the peoples mind.
  • In addition, it gives the illusion that these problems are everywhere.
  • It makes people feel powerless against them.
  • It often gets wrapped up in trivialities that seem bigger than they are.

As a result of these, I consider the media as greatly responsible for making people feel ways such as:

  • That the world is “going to pots”
  • It makes people feel frightened
  • It causes anxiety
  • It causes contempt
  • It causes depression
  • It causes confusion

Because of these I tend to feel that the media actually causes a poor view of the world, in some people, and can even cause mental problems in other people.  

The media’s effect on people

The media has a great effect on people.  One interesting effect that I see is that it is more likely to take things “out of the individual persons reality” and, in so doing, it takes conditions out of the scope of the individuals control.  Many of the examples above reflect this quality.  In short, then, the media actually removes control from people . . . it doesn’t give control.  Its probably no surprise, then, that people who cater to media strongly often have these tendencies:

  • A tendency of hysteria
  • A tendency of being disgusted with things
  • A tendency of overreaction
  • A tendency to despair
  • A tendency to be very opinionated
  • A tendency of overvaluing their control and importance
  • A tendency to blindly believe things

In fact, I can often tell a person who caters to media by how strongly they show these tendencies.  It seems to create several character types of people:

  1. A person who “thinks they are in control but really aren’t”.
  2. A nervous over reactive person.
  3. A mindless person.

Keep in mind that these characters are found in people that are really “into” the media or are “affected” by it strongly.  Just because someone is involved with the media, from time to time, does not mean they are one of these characters.  They reflect a person who is, in a sense, “controlled” by the media and have no control.  In this way, they are “media-dependent” people.

AFTERTHOUGHT

What we see, then, is that the technology-based, mass-directed form of media isn’t the great “conveyor of truth and happenings” as it may seem and is often supposed.  In actuality, it is more likely to prey on deeper and more base aspects of human psychology.  In fact, one could say that the issue of media is primarily an issue of mass psychology and its effects.  It is not a question of “informing” or “conveying truth”.  In this way, the media is more a matter of psychology than news or information.  To put it another way, the ways, techniques, methods, and manners of media are dictated by psychology more than “informing” and “truth”. 

Media affects human psychology on many levels.  One one level it caters to a sincere and honest human psychology.  On another level it goes into other aspects of psychology, of manipulation, deception, and lying.  It can bounce from one to the other in a flash.  It makes it difficult to determine if media is good or not.

Overall, it seems to me, that media causes so many variables, illusions, and plays so much on psychology that it actually has an overall impairing quality in people.  In addition, it seems to cause a more negative view of the world.

My personal feelings it that we would be better off without technology-based, mass-directed forms of media.  I think this for a number of reasons:

  • We don’t need to know the majority of news.
  • It caters to mass psychology and depends on it.
  • It uses underhanded techniques and manipulations.
  • The negative aspects outweigh the good.

The only news that interests me, and which I actively seek, is practical information (weather, traffic, etc.) that is limited to the area I live in.  Most of the other forms of news I see I just “happen” to see (I hear about it, I see it on the a newspaper on a newsstand, etc.).  I don’t look for it.  I think that, for most people, that’s the best path.

That’s what it seems to me anyways.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Modern life and society, News media and the news, Psychology and psychoanalysis, Society, The U.S. and American society | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on social control during the time of Moses and the Exodus as well as its effects on Judaism

Here’s a thought I had:

I have always loved the story of Moses.  As I was brought up the attitude toward Moses and the Exodus has always been that its a story of the “power of God” and you should look at it no other way.  But I, being sort of a historian, kept seeing another side to it, a more human side.  This made me look at it differently.  I began to see the Exodus as a human issue or, to be more precise, a problem of controlling a population of a people.  In some respects, this is a major issue in the story of Moses and the Exodus.  As I looked at it closer this seemed to play a far bigger role than I thought.  In fact, it seems that it was a determining factor in the creation of Judaism.  You must keep in mind that I am looking at all this from the “human” perspective . . . I am not looking at it as representative of the “power of God” which is the perspective the story of Moses is usually looked a viewed from.

I should point out that I am no great scholar of Judaism or the Bible nor do I claim to be.  To me, it seems that the story of Moses, and the Bible in general, has been picked apart by scholars and people for centuries.  I’m sure that whatever I say can be picked apart and probably be disproven.  Regardless of this, here are some of my thoughts . . .

40 YEARS OF WANDERING AND REBELLIOUSNESS

It is said that Moses made the people wander 40 years to get rid of the original generation that left Egypt.  This, I think, is a hint of the rebellious nature of the people that Moses had to deal with.  It also shows that he saw this rebelliousness as reflecting a number of qualities:

  • That the rebelliousness is an inherent part of that generation.
  • That the rebelliousness was not going to leave themIn other words, they weren’t going to change.
  • That the laws, sacrifices, rules, etc. that Moses created was not as powerful as we think Because of its failure he had to wait for a generation to appear that was taught the new religion and would obey.  This fact must be remembered.

The wanderings are a hint of the difficulty he had to deal with.

THE RELIGION OF THE JEWS???

We will never know what the original Jewish religion was or what it consisted of.   But it no doubt changed to the different conditions they found themselves in.  In fact, we could probably say that there was three era’s of religion for the Jewish people:

  1. The original religion before the enslavement by the Egyptians.
  2. The religion during the enslavement by the Egyptians.
  3. The religion Moses created during the Exodus . . . what has become Judaism.

My guess, though, is that the original religion displayed these qualities:

  • It was tribal in orientation.
  • It entailed the worship of smaller nature deities as a prominent feature.
  • There was probably a lot of magic, spells, superstitious beliefs, sacrifice, and such associated with it.

Many of these traits seem to be displayed in early Jewish history.

As to whether the original Jewish religion contained a “supreme God” is difficult to say.  I’m inclined to say it didn’t and, if it did, it took a minor role.  Most of life probably revolved around the smaller deities.  One of the reasons why I tend to believe this is that the earlier Jewish people appear to of been a tribal people and, oftentimes, tribal people do not pay much emphasis on a “supreme God”.  This seems to become more prevalent with more established and larger societies, such as the Egyptians.

I should point out that I tend to believe that the pre-Exodus accounts in the Torah must be looked at with great caution as they written in the post-Exodus era and reflect a post-Exodus point of view.  Who knows how much of it actually relates with pre-Exodus Jewish tradition.  My guess is that some is and some isn’t . . . we’ll never know for sure.

THE “MOB” OF THE EXODUS

More than likely, the number of Jewish people (supposedly about 600,000) meant that it was not a unified homogenous mass, probably more like one big “mob”.  As a result, many people no doubt went in different directions.  There were probably something like “sects” or “groups” that held to different points of view.  Some examples of these could include:

  • A group that held to the original Jewish religion.
  • A group that abandoned the original Jewish religion and replaced it with Egyptian religions.
  • A group the mixed the original Jewish religion with the Egyptian religion.
  • A group, or groups, that created their own “religion” or point of view.
  • A group that followed whatever everyone else was doing.
  • A group that did not believe in anything.

These many groups, with their different points of view, would of caused great problems during the Exodus . . . each probably trying to enforce their point of view or having disputes or conflicts with each other.  I would think that these would of figured strongly in the difficulty Moses had in keeping people under control during the Exodus.

THE INFLUENCE OF SLAVERY

The condition of a slave would of dramatically altered the original Jewish society and belief system.  It could of done things like:

  • It could of undermined the society.
  • It could of undermined the social structure.
  • It could of destroyed the authority in the society.
  • It could of fragmented or even destroyed belief.
  • It could of undermined peoples sense of identity and unity.

My guess is that things, such as these, would of affected much of the population in varying degree’s and ways.  The net result of all this is really a broken down people with no unity or authority to look up to.  This fact would of figured prominently in the difficulty Moses had in keeping people under control during the Exodus.

More than likely there may of been a segment of the population in which slavery may of actually intensified their religion and sense of a people.  In fact, its possible that this could of been done to an exaggerated and, possibly, fanatical extent.  Its possible that it is these people who “organized” and “commanded” the Exodus.

If there was a group that held to the original Jewish religion very strongly, and which “commanded” the Exodus, it would not be all that surprising if it clashed with other groups.  This could of even been done to the point of violence.  This same scenario has been played out before in history.  Something similar may of taken place during the Exodus.

PROBLEMS IN THE WANDERINGS

And so we can see that Moses would of had a great difficulty dealing with this great “mob” of former slaves wandering in the desert.  Keeping an order was probably an achievement in itself.  It is one that, as far as I know, has never been acknowledged.

Some of the things we might of seen with this “mob” include:

  • A lack of unity.
  • A tendency to not believe in any authority, such as Moses’ or Gods.
  • People wanting to go their own way and live the way they want.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a small proportion of the people left the group and went elsewhere.
  • Different groups fighting with each other.
  • Different groups trying to be in charge and controlling things.
  • People becoming disillusioned and lost.

Moses would of had to deal with all these conditions.  In other words, Moses wasn’t dealing with one situation but many and on many different levels.  In fact, my guess is that there was more to the control of the people than what is written in the Torah.  They may of had something like, say, a police force, for example.

THE BASIC PROBLEMS

Overall, the basic problems Moses had to deal with include:

  • He had to keep the population under control.
  • He had to impose a new belief system onto them.

We must remember that the belief system Moses developed was new and untried.  It had to be created, implanted, and used on a probably unwilling population.  He had to impose it upon the people and make them believe and follow it.  More than likely, many of these people would of probably resisted or been reluctant.

No doubt, when Moses started the Exodus he had at least some “idea” of the religion he was to implement.  This would had to of been modified to fit the situation.  In other words, much of the laws of Moses was created out of necessity.  Without the need for control its possible that they would of never of been created at all.  In addition, had there not of been so much rebellion the whole Exodus, laws of Moses, and Judaism would of been greatly different than it is now.  This shows, in my opinion, that the rebelliousness of the people during the Exodus was a major influence in what has become Judaism.

KEEPING CONTROL

Practically all of the means of keeping control of the population is religious in orientation.  Real world reality tends to suggest that there is usually other means required to keep a social control . . . it can’t all be religious.  The exclusively religious orientation may be for a number of reasons:

  • The people who “organized” the Exodus reflected the group of people who were most religious and who are the ones who recorded and had put things in writing.
  • That the non-religious aspects of control, such as a police force, were not recorded.

If this is the case, then it means that a large part of the Exodus is unknown to us.  There is no doubt a lot of drama and events that took place that have been lost.  If we had these accounts we would probably be surprised who the people of the Exodus actually were.  Who knows, a large part of the population could of been thieving, manipulative, and murderous people???

Wrath of God . . . fear

As we know, religion was used extensively to keep control.  It was used a number of ways:

  • The wrath of God, or fear, was used rather prominently as a motive in the control of the population.
  • The idea that we are all sinners and deserving of God’s wrath.
  • The need for sacrifice.
  • The need to follow the law.

Sacrifice seems to of been a major element in the association with God.  But, during the Exodus, most people couldn’t of had many animals to sacrifice, particularly later on.  This could of meant that a sacrifice was something that entailed a great loss giving it great power and influence and, subsequently, a means of great social control.

Reasons for unity

There were also many ways he helped to create unity, such as:

  • The law as a unifying element of the people.
  • The idea of redemption or forgiveness of sins.
  • The idea of a “promised land”.
  • The idea of Moses as the savior.  This would appear, in a later version, as the Messiah . . . a new Moses.
  • The idea of a “chosen people”.

With these the people would feel a unified whole, unified in a single cause and purpose.

The power of religion

Moses then seemed to of used both fear and unity, based in religion, to establish a social control in the population.  Religion gave the authority, the justification, and the power of social control that he implemented.  Without it, he may of had a difficult time keeping any sort of a control.  We must remember that Moses had no tribal authority, no social authority, and did not fit into any social structure.  His main reason for power was based in being chosen by God.  Because of this, religion played a major role in the story of Moses and he definitely had to play the “religious card” to get anything done.

I am not the only one to notice that much of the religion Moses seemed to use was somewhat similar to the Egyptians.  Even the Temple was similar to some of the Egyptian Temples.  This shows, it would seem, that there was a breakdown in the Jewish religion during the enslavement period and that they probably adopted many beliefs and customs from the Egyptian religion.  In fact, the issue of a “one god versus many gods” may of reflected a conflict going on in the Egyptian religion.  Perhaps Moses took sides in an Egyptian religious dispute of the time???

SOCIAL CONTROL AS A FOUNDATION OF JUDAISM . . . UNITY AND ITS EFFECTS

In these ways, Moses established a social control on the population and, in a small way, turned them into a somewhat of a unified mass as they wandered about.  This means, more or less, that the laws and traditions of Moses – what would become Judaism – is based in the need of social control.

This social control would be very influential and affect Judaism.  The technique of Moses, developed during the Exodus, would eventually do as he had planned.  It did cause a great unity in the Jewish people.  In fact, it would make them so unified that they became a very particular, unique, strict people who became removed from everyone else.  This unity would be so powerful that it would affect the Jewish people in incredibly good and bad ways:

  • They would be envied and their belief system would be used as a model.  In the Middle East the Jews were about the only people who were able to maintain themselves through the many conflicts going on.  The power of their unity became something people wanted to emulate.  This would be instrumental in the creation of Christianity and Islam which based them on the traditions established by Moses.  In this way, the unity created by Moses during the Exodus would have great impact on the world and history.
  • They would be condemned.  Their unity would make them removed from other people and separate.  This would cause great resentment and hatred through the years.  This would be so strong that it would even get a name . . . anti-Semitism.  Some particularly bad examples include the Inquisition and the Holocaust.

So we see that the unity created by Moses, though it appeared that it did not work well with the original population of the Exodus, ended up working very well later on.  It kept the Jewish people unified, whole, and distinct to the extent that they were able to uphold themselves when other people fell.  This made them the envy of other people.  It also made them the model which helped create two religions which would subsequently have great impact on the world.

I should also add that, if the above is true, it means that basic nature of Judaism is based on:

  • The rebelliousness of the people during the Exodus.
  • The laws, customs, and religion Moses created to deal with that rebelliousness.

And we must remember that what was created during the Exodus has not changed that much over the years.  Because of this, we could say that Judaism is:

  • “Stuck” in the Exodus.
  • Assumes rebelliousness in the people.

In this way, Judaism is forever reenacting the Exodus and is assuming people are of the same nature of the Exodus generation.  One of the effects of this is that it tends to make Judaism somewhat “alienated” or “removed” from everyone else.  This, it seems, to me, has caused great problems for the Jewish people.

In addition, it has left much of this mentality on the philosophies who took Judaism as its model, primarily Christianity and Islam.  These include:

  • The idea of a “supreme God”.
  • The idea of the “wrath of God”.
  • The idea of a “savior”.
  • The idea of the “evil of humanity”.
  • The idea of sin and punishment.
  • The idea of a “perpetual repetition” of many of these ideas.

As a result, the Exodus and Moses has left much of its mentality even beyond Judaism.  This means that as an event, Moses and the Exodus is a very significant in history, as the mentality of that event continues on even though the conditions that caused it no longer exist.  No other event, as far as I know, can claim such distinction.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Christianity, Christian conversion, Post-Christianity, and Christian influence, Historical stuff, Judaism, Moses, and the Exodus, Religion and religious stuff | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on one of the effects of Judaism and Christianity: the endless reenactment of the Exodus – the “Exodus-based world view”

Here’s a thought I had:

As we all know, western society was Christian.  We also know that Christianity comes from Judaism.  In this way, Christianity had many attitudes coming from Judaism.  And, because of this, western society developed many attitudes of Judaism which was passed onto many of its philosophies and points of view.  One of these attitudes I call the “endless reenactment of the Exodus”.

Judaism is really the religion established by Moses during the Exodus.  Its for this reason that I often jokingly refer to Judaism as “Mosesism”.  Much of Judaism is nothing but a continuous reenactment of the Exodus, in festivals, memories, reciting’s, and study of the laws of Moses and Talmud.  In fact, the basic stance of many Jews is basically that they still perceive themselves as “wandering through the desert” waiting for the “promised land” and “messiah”.  In this way, the endless reenactment of the Exodus defines much of the Judaism and its points of view.

Some of the themes the Exodus created include:

1- That they are freeing themselves from an oppression or enslavement.

2- Of the need of having to keep everyone under control.  I tend to think that Moses had a hard time keeping all the Jewish people under control in the desert.  Think of it . . . all those slaves (supposedly there was about 600,000), who have no unity, no authority structure, etc. all of a sudden thrown out into the desert together!  That would of been quite a feat to control that population.  Looking at Moses and the Exodus it suggests that it was.  Because of this, Moses had to create means to keep the population under control.  I always felt that the social control side of the Exodus, and how Moses did it, has been largely neglected.  This means that, in a way, Judaism is really rooted in the means Moses had to do in order to keep the people under control during the Exodus .  Some of these means include:

  • Of the use of sin as a “power leverage” to make people obey.  By making them sinners of God they had to submit to the laws of God.
  • Of the use of law and sacrifice as a form of retribution and forgiveness.  These kept a control and submission in the people.
  • Of a reestablishment of previous conditions – the “promised land”.  This gave people something to look forward to.
  • Of a belief in being looked after by a God.  This gave people hope and a desire to submit.
  • Of a sense of a special people – the “chosen people”.  This gave them a unity and a motive for submitting.

In some respects, Judaism is a “religiously justified means of controlling a population”.  That is to say, Judaism is really based in a social control problem that used religion as a means.  In this way, should we call Judaism a social system or a religion?  In my opinion, its both.  Judaism (or “Mosesism”) as a social system has been neglected as everyone has only focused on its religious aspects.

Some of the effects of these themes that appeared in later years include:

  • It made the Jews very unified.  In fact, in the Middle East the growing population growth caused a dissolution of people, religions, beliefs, and such which caused many problems.  The Jews tended to be immune to this as they had a stable unified people as a result of the Laws of Moses.  This was looked at highly and admired by other people.  This Jewish integrity and unity set the foundations for Christianity and Islam.  This would more or less mean that Christianity and Islam are actually founded on the dissolution of people, religion, and belief and the confusion it created.  Using the Jewish model gave a “solidity” in times when there was nothing solid.
  • It made the Jews not want to be subject to anyone which, accordingly, made them “split apart” from everyone else and different.  Unfortunately, this caused resentment and hatred by many people.  It is greatly involved with many “anti-Semitic” points of view and acts.  The most dramatic, of course, are the Nazi’s.

So we see that these themes both helped and hindered the Jewish people.

Many of these attitudes would be carried over into Christianity and into Western Europe and its later colonies.  It would, of course, have different qualities than was seen in the Jewish people but many of the original traits are still seen.  Some of the reenactment of Exodus themes coming from Judaism, and seen in western society, include:

  • The idea of escaping from an oppression, enslavement, or some evil created by some other person.
  • The idea of being free.
  • Of the importance of law or that there is a “right way” of doing things.
  • The idea that that we are all sinners and that humanity is inherently evil.
  • The hope in something new (the “promised land”).

Christianty restated many of these themes in a new way.  In addition, the times were looked at in a similar way.  For example, Pharaoh was replaced by the Romans, the new “law of love” replaced the laws of Moses, and Jesus replaced Moses as the savior.  In ways, such as these, Christianity brought on some new themes:

  • The idea of love.
  • Peace.
  • The idea that we will be “saved” by something. 
  • Authority issues, which tended to be variations of the oppression theme.  This has more to do with the problems caused by the Protestant Rebellion than by Christian belief itself.

The Crusades also brought on some new themes:

  • The idea of individual achievement.  This primarily comes from the knights and acts of war.
  • The idea of a “great cause”.
  • The idea of a world crusade and changing the world.

The Enlightment (about 1600-1900’s) instilled many of these themes into science and politics.  Some examples include:

  • The idea that science will save us . . . bring on a “promised land”.
  • The idea that since there is no one in charge in a democracy – a government by the people – we will be free.  This is a reference to the fact that because there is no authority there is no “Pharaoh” to enslave us.

In England many of these attitudes were instilled in the government particularly early.  This is primarily as a result of the Norman Conquest which took place in 1066.  This was looked on as a “new Exodus” by the Christian Anglo-Saxons and they used Christian (that is, Jewish) example to interpret and deal with the situation.  As a result, England has had many of these attitudes in its government for 1000 years.  For example, have you ever noticed how everything political in England seems to revolve around oppression and freedom (which are themes from the Exodus)?  This shows the Christian influence and, through it, the effects of Judaism and the Exodus are seen.

So we can see that in England the political viewpoint is one of an endless reenactment of the Exodus that never ends.  This same tendency in politics would carry over into one of England’s colonies, the U.S.  In fact, the whole political theory of the U.S., with its Constitution, Declaration of Independence, etc., is nothing but a “new Exodus” founded on Christian viewpoints and, subsequently, reflecting the themes of the Exodus.  For example, the British became the new Pharaoh and the Declaration of Independence instigates the new Exodus.  What this means is that the political theory in England and the U.S. is based in principles coming from the continual reenactment of the Exodus.  One could even go so far as to say that a lot of politics in these two countries is nothing but a continual reenactment of the Exodus.

So we see that the endless reenactment of the Exodus has continued on down to today and is as strong as ever.  Because of this, at least in western society, the themes of the Exodus has become the basis and model of a whole world view.  Perhaps we could call it the “Exodus-based world view”?   It has become the basis of things like:

  • How to interpret events and situations.
  • How to define a problem.
  • Of what the solution is.
  • Of the proper way to live.

These viewpoints typically have little to do with religion but they generally have a lot to do with social situations.  Interestingly, the original themes of the Exodus and laws of Moses are primarily based in social control, as I’ve explained above, and not religion.  Its almost as if the “Exodus-based world view” has returned to its original viewpoint, perhaps revealing its true nature???

The “Exodus-based world view” has, in my opinion, created a distorted view of history, society, social relations, and authority.  This is primarily because it is a “one view” perspective, interpreting things from a single point of view.  And we must keep in mind that this “one view” perspective has existed for thousands of years.  As a result, it has been applied to many different situations.  The problem is that very few of these situations fit the model created by the “Exodus-based world view”.  In this way, many interpretations were “forced” to fit the model.  What this has done is basically to create distorted viewpoints.  How many distorted views have been created by the “Exodus-based world view”?  My feelings is that there is a lot of distorted viewpoints, particularly in England and the U.S., which has used this point of view quite extensively.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Christianity, Christian conversion, Post-Christianity, and Christian influence, Government and politics, Historical stuff, Judaism, Moses, and the Exodus, Religion and religious stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on some origins of many ridiculous attitudes of the American mentality – the ongoing effects of WWII, Cold War, and the Vietnam War era, fear, and on how the U.S. is living in the past

Here’s a thought I had:

Over the years, the American mentality has become increasingly ridiculous to me (some of these attitudes are listed at the end of this article) .  To be frank, its actually embarrassing.  More than once have I said, “America has become a pathetic joke”.  What’s even more sad is that other people have basically said the same thing.  This got me to thinking about this nonsense and I began to speak about certain things that, I felt, were great truths about the American mentality that, I think, needs to be said and so I will vent them here.  I know that I have already stated similar ideas in other articles but I’ll restate them here as they are on my mind.  Not only that, I have some things to add.

I should point out that these ridiculous attitudes are not seen in everyone.  I would say that these are attitudes seen in what I’d call the “mainstream American”, people who cater to popular American ideals rather strongly.  Interestingly, I’ve talked about these attitudes with many people and most of them have had similar feelings that I have.  In other words, there are many people who notice these ridiculous attitudes and, like myself, have become sickened by them.  In fact, I think this is a growing number of the population that has largely not been noticed at this time.  It seems that this growing group of the population is becoming disillusioned by America, its ideals, and its principles and, accordingly, is losing faith in America because of these attitudes.  Its because of this that I tend to think that the persistence of these attitudes are destructive to America.

I cannot say how much of the population is sickened by these attitudes or can be called a “mainstream American”.  I think it varies with where you’re at in the country.  I’m getting the impression that the “mainstream American” is more prevalent in larger cities, in the north east, and on the western coast.  I actually think the people who reflect this attitude are a minority but, because of their complaining and claims, they appear to be a large part of the population (as the saying goes, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”).

Many of these attitudes seem to based in the fact that, overall, many Americans seem to be insecure, paranoid, frightened, deluded, and unhappy people deep down.  This insecure nature can be so bad that, sometimes, I feel like I have to walk on tip-toes around some of them (God help us all, you might offend someone!).  More than once have I compared some particularly bad Americans as “paranoid schizophrenics”.  Because of stuff like this, I would not say that Americans, as a whole, are a “great people” as many profess.  Instead, they strike me as a people with many unresolved issues and problems which they are struggling with.  Many of these problems are hidden behind “high cause” and “high ideals”, making it appear, at least to them, that there are no problems.  This makes it so that many Americans seem to think that the country has no problems.  In this way, the American sense of “security” is actually based in a self-deception.  This is one of the reasons for my saying, “Americans like to think they are”, which means they like to think they are without problems or think they’re happy, and so on, but they really aren’t.

Much of this ridiculousness, it seems to me, originates from its past and the effects past events have had on the U.S. . . .

THE VIETNAM WAR ERA CONNECTION

Many of the ridiculous attitudes I associate with the Vietnam War era protests, and hippi movement, of about 1970.  To me, the attitudes primarily seem to come from that era.  This is not surprising as, in my opinion, the Vietnam War era hysteria is the most significant event in U.S. history since WWII.  We truly live in a post Vietnam War era and its effects hang over us like a dark cloud.  Much of our attitudes, points of views, and such actually have origin there.  In this way, the hysteria surrounding the Vietnam War era has not ended and is still continuing on.

The Vietnam War era was so instrumental in U.S. history for a number of reasons:

  • A “release”.  The hysteria surrounding the Vietnam War had a quality of a “release”.   What it released were the tensions caused by WWII and social problems caused by the change in society after WWII.  In short, it was a “release” from WWII and its effects (see below).
  • A “unification”.  Various forms of media, such as music, movies, and the news, caused a prevalence of opinions and feelings that “appeared” to create a unifying effect in the U.S.  But what it created was actually an “apparent unification” of the country. What I mean by this is that it only “united” everyone in a specific media-based point of view and condition, which was primarily hysterical and sensational in context.  The country was not united under an authority, culture, or belief system.  In this way, the U.S. was “unified” by the fact that they watch the same TV programs, listen to the same music, and so on and are ongoing the same sort of problems.  This “apparent unification” of the country seemed to unify the country but it really didn’t.  This is one of the illusions of this era.
  • A “rallying call”.  The Vietnam War hysteria brought up a “rallying call” of worry, concern, panic, or anxiety.  This primarily seems to be a result of the fear caused by the threat of nuclear annihilation during the cold war.  In this way, the fear and panic as if “woke everyone up” to a worry which gave an illusion of a “cause”.  Really, people just become more aware of a condition.

As a result of these the Vietnam War era created something like a “boiling pot” for all the problems, tensions, and feelings that the U.S. had after WWII. Because of this, it as if “harnessed” the whole country into one mass with a unified awareness of itself and its problems.

But the issues brought up during the Vietnam War era are still largely unresolved.  In my opinion, the Vietnam War era did not solve anything but, rather, only brought out problems and issues that are still outstanding.  In a way, all it did is unify the country in an awareness of a condition of issues and problems.  This unification and awareness did nothing to solve anything, as many people seem to think.

It seems, to me, that some of the reasons for these problems being unresolved include:

  • The absence of authority.  Without an authority there’s nothing to solve anything.  There’s no authority as the ideals of the U.S. tend to undermine authority and prevent any from developing . . . its a democracy remember!
  • The “apparent unity”.  The absence of a “real unity” prevents any sort of a unity in a solution or resolution.  As a result, the U.S. is plagued with too many points of views.
  • Too broad of ideals.  American ideals are so broad (that is, it thinks it has the solution to the worlds problems and all the problems between people) that it is unable to focus enough on something in order to solve it.  For example, according to the American ideology everyone must be treated the same and so any solution must be a solution for everyone.  Since this cannot happen nothing gets solved.

Most of the supposed solutions to the issues brought out by the Vietnam War era tend to be based in these things:

  1. Nationalistic ideals – freedom and democracy
  2. Christian-based beliefs and principles peace and love

None of these worked.  One reason why is that, in both cases, they are principle-based. That is to say, they are based in abstract and idealistic thought and not real world reality. Though the abstract idealistic thought sounds good to the masses, it does not work well in actual real world functioning, particularly in a non-unified mass of people with no authority.  It tends to develop a marked gap between “idea” and “what actually happens” which causes a problem in trying to solve things.

The Vietnam War and liberalism

Much of the attitudes of the Vietnam War era have carried over into liberalism.  It seems to me that it is primarily through liberalism, and its attitudes, that the issues of the Vietnam War era have been kept alive and kicking.  In fact, the ridiculous attitudes of America are primarily a result of liberalism.  In this way, this article is really speaking about liberalism and its ongoing effects.

Because modern liberalism has taken so much from the Vietnam War era it has, in a way, kept us in that era . . . it has kept us in the 1970’s as if we are stuck in that time with the same issues, themes, and solutions.  The problem is that it is now almost a half a century later.  The Vietnam War era, and the liberalism it effected, are now out of date.  Its prevalence keeps us stuck in the 1970’s and keeps us out of date.  In this way, the U.S. is hampered, in my opinion, and having difficulty growing and “moving on” because of it.  I view this as impairing to this country.

Some of the themes that liberalism uses to keep us stuck in the 1970’s include:

  • Various social and political issues.  These are issues coming from that era, or descending from it, such as race, government power, freedom, environmental damage, animal rights, etc.
  • An unrealistic and often unjustified or unrealized fear.  This fear often promotes paranoia, conspiracy theories, assumption of hatred, and such that do not exist.
  • The supposed “solution” to the problem.  This is, as I said above, usually nationalistic or Christian-based, and which don’t work.
  • A self-righteous cause.  Liberalism tends to think it is the answer to the countries, and often the worlds, problems.  My observation is that the liberals tend to think that they are the representative of America, freedom, democracy, and peace.  Anyone who opposes them is against these principals.  In this way, they tend to be “pig headed”, “high and mighty”, and unwilling to change . . . they are “right”.  As a result, they press their point, good or bad, but its always good in their eyes.  In so doing, they persist these attitudes and keep them going.  In many ways, its the self-righteous attitudes of modern liberalism that is the problem.  In addition, it appears to me that the nonsense surrounding the 2016 Presidential election is primarily a result of this self-righteous liberal attitude.  In this way, this past election has embodied much of these ridiculous attitudes and brought many of them out.  Not only that, it has shown how out-of-date these attitudes are.  And we must remember that these attitudes originate from within the people, and not Trump, which is what they claim.  This point needs to be understood . . . Trump is just the “scapegoat” for a greater social problem (see my article “Thoughts on a media-induced mass hysteria . . . the “Trump panic””). 

Its no surprise that many of these themes can be seen, or are associated with, the the ridiculous American attitudes.

THE WWII CONNECTION

I tend to see the Vietnam War era mentality as the result of WWII and its effects.  In other words, the Vietnam War era attitudes actually originate from WWII, the horrors it created, its victory, and its subsequent effects on the U.S. There are many things that WWII has created that have contributed to this effect.  These include:

  • The knowledge of Hitler, the Nazi’s, the Holocaust, and the Jews.  This brought on the theme of race and hatred that figures so prominently in the Vietnam War era and which still persist in the U.S.  These themes were particularly seen in the “great cause” of the Civil Rights Movement.   In a way, the U.S. turned the Civil Rights Movement into a small “American Holocaust” in imitation of the Nazi’s. 
  • The horrifying weapons of war.  This includes tanks, airplanes, bombers, etc. but most especially the nuclear bomb.  This brought on the theme of fear.
  • The Cold War panic and fear of a nuclear war.  This refers primarily to the threat of nuclear annihilation in a WWIII and war with the Soviet Union.  Because we were fighting a political/economic theory opposed to ours it caused the theme of self-righteous cause.   Being related with destruction it also contributed to the theme of fear.
  • The growing prevalence and growth of the media with its tendency to mass hysteria.  This brought on the theme of being quick to panic and quick to judgement as well as a tendency to being gullible.
  • The post WWII economic boom which upset the whole social structure.  After WWII the U.S. went into something of an economic and innovation boom.  This ended up causing great stresses and conflicts in American society, many of which are still existing and unresolved.  Things that were upset include social structure, the traditional ways of doing things, belief, and so on.  This caused the theme of doubt about society and doubt about authority.  These eventually figured prominently in the Vietnam War hysteria and are still issues today.

In many ways, the effects of these implanted something like a virus in the U.S. that is as if eating away the inside of the U.S.  Its because of this that I have always stated, and still maintain, that “the greatest threat to the U.S is from the inside”.  In other words, the attitudes and mentalities, that the U.S. has within it, are its greatest threat.   It seems, to me, that many of these attitudes and mentalities originate from WWII.    In some respects, this means that the U.S. only appears to of won WWII . . . its actually still fighting its effects!  

THE ISSUE OF FEAR

If one looks closely one can see that one theme that is prevalent, as a result of WWII, is a fear and its a fear in many forms.  This fear was not an overt fear but a deep lying fear.  You don’t see people running around screaming, for example.  It is an unconscious quiet fear that many people are not even aware of.  One could, perhaps, call it the “quiet fear” as a result.  Despite it being “quiet” it had great effect and motivated many things, even though people may not of been conscious of it.  Much of the effect of this “quiet fear” would lead to the issues and hysteria surrounding the Vietnam War.

It seems, to me, that Americans had a many predispositions to fear that existed before WWII and which have contributed to why the U.S. is struggling with its effects.  Some of the causes seem to be:

  • Christianity.  This taught us that we are all sinners and, accordingly, are “bad”, as well as the fact that there is an “evil” streak in humanity.  It also tended to create a naive and innocent nature in people making them prone to being easily frightened.
  • The absence of authority.  This is because, in a democracy, the power is in the “people”.  This absence of authority tends to cause a sense of instability and insecurity which predisposes one to fear.
  • The emphasis on individualism.  This tends to put enormous pressure on the individual causing a tendency to stress and despair which causes a tendency to being easily frightened.
  • The reliance on machines and technology.  This tends to make people less a part of things and, in a way, made us more distant from the world.  Because of this, it makes us us feel removed from the world and causes a sense of having no control.  The effect of this is ,that there is a predisposition to fear.
  • The mass hysteria nature of the media.  The growing media, and its effects, would have great impact on the culture and people of the U.S.  Its prevalence made it so that people easily believe what comes out of the media and easily succumb to any fear that it may state.  In short, then, the media created a gullible people that are easily frightened.

In addition to being frightened, the post WWII years also entailed attempts at defending themselves against the fear.  Some examples of the ways they defended themselves include:

  • Christian-based principles.  This includes things like love, peace, understanding, the condemning of hatred and war, and the moaning of the evil of humanity.  It also tended to create a self-righteous attitude and an idea of a “high cause”, which figures so prominently with liberalism. It also created a the creation of Christian-based communes and societies such as the Diggers, the Beats (beatnicks), and the Hippi’s which would figure so prominently during the Vietnam War.
  • The American Constitution and political/legal theory.  These were literally thrown at any problems that appeared almost as if it was a cure all.  As a result of this, everything was turned into a political and rights issue.
  • NationalismSince much of the fear became associated with the Cold War and Soviet Union there became a glorification of American political and economic theory and ideals.  In this way, America became the “answer”.

The Vietnam War era, in particular, created a generalized attitude of fear, as well as its defense, that became something like a culture that still exists.  Perhaps we could call it the “Vietnam War era culture of fear”.   This became a way of life for some people, particularly as a result of the hippi movement who, in a way, are the inventors of the culture.  This seems to be a result of the fact that the hippi movement is based in living a certain way of life.  Its general attitude would be transferred to many of the people, particularly the younger people, in the late 1960’s.  Over time, this “culture of fear” then spread to liberalism, politics, and even the general social opinion.  In these ways, the “culture of fear” maintains, and keeps alive, a fear caused by a war that’s already over.  Because of this, the attitudes above reveal that many Americans are still frightened, and defending themselves, against a fear caused by a war that ended decades ago!  

Talk about living in the past!!!

THE FEMALE INFLUENCE

My observation seems to show that female is instrumental in a lot of these ridiculous attitudes.  In fact, it seems that they are greatly involved in keeping them going.  They tend to maintain the attitudes of liberalism which figure so strongly in its continuing.  This, of course, does not mean that all American females are this way but a great many are, at least to some extent.  I can’t say how much of the population but my impression is its something like 2/3 of the female population.

They seem to particularly emphasize a number of things, such as:

  • Being too easily frightened, offended, or upset.
  • A prevalence of the “victim mentality”.
  • Conspiracy theories and paranoia.
  • The abuse of political/legal theory and the Constitution.
  • A tendency to hysteria and blowing things out of proportion.

After being around many females it doesn’t take a genius to see that the world image that many Americans females have created is one with the qualities described above, a world that can be described as one based in “blind fear, a preoccupation with being victimized, conspiracy theories, hysteria, and the use of political theory and self-righteous cause as a defense”.  That, from my experience, is the general stance of many American females.  To me, it gives many American females a “pathetic” quality.

My observation suggests that if the females would cease expressing these things then most of the panic, hysteria, and fear, that we see in this society, would probably fade away.  I’m under the impression, though, that the female is just going to continue these attitudes.  I see no evidence that they are going to change their attitude or point of view.  In this way, the female is actually contributing in keeping the U.S. in a frightened paranoid state, stuck in the past, and unable to progress.

Females seem particularly prone to these points of view, it seems to me, as a result of a basic problem of the female identity that is going on in the U.S.  Its for this reason that I often speak of mainstream American female as the ‘failed sex’ meaning that the female identity has failed (see my article “Thoughts on the ‘failed sex’ – how many female traits have failed – a hidden crisis of the American female“).  Much of the behavior of American females are attempts at trying to solve this problem, none of which seems to work.  At this time, I see three common attempts at dealing with their identity problems:

  1. They see themselves as victims and develop a victim mentality.
  2. They try to be like men and avoid female things.  They often have poor views of what a female is as well as female qualities.  In some cases, they portray female things almost as if it is something “horrible”.  This often leads to the assumption that being a man will solve their own bad feelings about being female.
  3. They become mindless slavish puppets to social trend, fad, and ideals.  Some females become almost like “robots” to social trend and as if lose themselves in society.

All these hide an identity problem based in the failure of the female identity.  Accordingly, they tend to hide the associated insecurity that this identity problem has created.  This insecurity often leads to the qualities described above.

That’s how it looks to me anyways.

THE U.S. AS OUT-OF-DATE

With all the above it makes it appear that the U.S. is truly living in the past and is acting as if its in conditions that no longer exist.  This is why I often speak of the U.S. as being “out of date”.  More and more I keep saying things like “uh, the 70’s are over” or “we’re not in the Vietnam War era anymore”, and such, as I continually see mentalities originating from that era.

Some of the things that keep the U.S. out-of-date include:

  • The conflicts, issues, and problems after WWII which are unresolved.
  • How many mentalities, such as liberalism, keeps the U.S. stuck in the past. 
  • The “apparent unity” that was created after WWII.  This gives an illusion of a unified people and country but is actually an absence of unity.
  • “Cold war glory”.  The fact is that WWII, and the Cold War, was a period of time of great pride for the U.S.  Because of this, many Americans are not all that willing to let that sense go.  In this way, they keep the U.S. stuck in the past and out-of-date by national pride.
  • The lack of authority Without authority there is no leadership to move the country out of the past.

EXAMPLES OF RIDICULOUS ATTITUDES

Here are some of the ridiculous attitudes of the American mentality that are caused by the issues above:

  • The prevalence of conspiracy theories.  The “mainstream American” is becoming a person of conspiracy theories who seems to think that everyone is conspiring against everyone else.  They see conspiracies in every problem or issue out there.  For example, if something does not go the way they want, or they don’t like something, they assume conspiracy, that someone else is deliberately going against them.  In many cases, the government, any form of authority, and the male (especially the white male) is often viewed as the originator of the conspiracy.  As a white male I have been utterly appalled at all the supposed conspiracies we have been supposed to of done.  Apparently, we are all against females and/or minorities and have created all these institutions to degrade and enslave them in some way.  From what I’ve heard, we must be pretty bad people. But I will say that I have never, in all my life, seen any evidence of any conspiracy against another group of people nor do I see any plotting.
  • A paranoid attitude.  Many Americans have a paranoid viewpoint of things.  It can reach the point of being delusional in some people.  I’ve even heard Americans say that the whole world is plotting against them.  In many cases, if there is some problem, such as they didn’t get a job, they assume its because people are “against them”.  This attitude is often hidden behind claims of “oppression” or “rights violation” and similar political/legal themes which makes it appear to be legitimate (and which fools most people).  In fact, my observation is that when political/legal themes are brought up its usually hides paranoid delusions.
  • They have a “victim mentality”.  Many see victimizing coming out of the woodwork.  Some people have even developed a “victim worldview” where their whole view of the world is in the context of them being a victim.  This viewpoint is particularly bad with females, some of who has made a life out of it.  This worldview also figures prominently in liberalism who have made a whole cause out of this imagined “victimizing”.
  • Fabricated threats.  Because of the conspiracy theories and paranoid attitudes, many American create threats that don’t exist. As I always say, “They see threats where there are no threats.  They see enemies where there are no enemies.  They see hatred where there is no hatred.  They see plots where there are no plots.”  This seems particularly prevalent with females and black people.
  • The assumption that everyone hates everyone else.  Every time I turn around Americans are assuming that people are doing things out of hatred.  I’ve seen cases where an everyday event, like a traffic accident or being pushed to the side in a crowd, is interpreted as being caused by hatred.  And if someone does something that is hate-related they blow it out of proportion, almost like the world is going to come to an end. My observation is that many Americans are too quick to jump in assuming hatred in things and quick to blow it out of proportion.  In this way, many things are made out worse than they really are and a simple minor thing can be turned into a horrible event.  This mentality also gives the illusion of conflict between people that, in actuality, does not exist.  In this way, the supposed condemning of hatred actually ends up promoting hatred.  In other words, the people who state they are against hatred are actually the cause of it.  This tends to exaggerate problems and keeps them going.
  • They are too easily offended.  Many Americans get too easily offended.  In fact, they get so easily offended that you have to be careful what you do, what you say, how you behave, and even what you think around some of them.  Once offended, they tend to blow it out of proportion, often using conspiracy theories, paranoia, and such to explain it off.  They are usually easily offended because they assume “sinister” motives behind it . . . a reflection of paranoia.    
  • They blame and villainize innocent people.  All these conspiracy theories, paranoia, and assumption of hatreds, make many Americans blame and villainize innocent people.  I’ve often said that “Americans have become a people of blame and accusation”.   They are quick to find someone to blame.  They also tend to put words in peoples mouths and intentions in their actions.  I’ve been utterly appalled by this behavior.  Its like watching people twist things around so that people appear “bad” when they’re not.
  • They look at things in the worst possible light.  For some people, no matter what happens, its assumed to be the worst.  Not only does this involve problems but it even goes down to simple things such as what you eat (causes cancer or make you fat), a stomach ache (obviously cancer), and even getting mad (obviously hatred).  
  • They use political/legal theory, the Constitution, rights, etc. as a cheap justification and defense against everything.  A common saying I hear people say is “everything’s a rights violation”.  If it isn’t then they can make it so.  They quote the Constitution, and such, like its the Bible and ultimate authority.  Some people use it like a weapon.  Sadly, this is often done to get their own way.  This is because people seem to think that if you quote the Constitution it automatically makes them right. What this has done, for many of us, is undermine and destroy the believability of the American Constitution, law, political theory, and such.  In my opinion, the excessive use of the Constitution and America’s political ideals has become an abuse and has damaged the principles and ideals of the U.S.  I would almost venture to say that it has damaged it beyond repair.
  • They are self-righteous and always assume that America is the answer.  They tend to over value themselves and view themselves too highly.  I’ve heard many Americans talk as if the world “wants to be American” and that the U.S. has a monopoly of all that is good in the world.
  • They are moaning and groaning about everything.  Everything seems to bother and offend them . . . you name it, they moan and groan about it.  Its always amazed me how the people who are claiming they are the wealthiest and most advanced country in the world complain so much about everything.  In actuality, Americans are an unhappy people.  I’ve learned that you don’t come to America to be happy.
  • They seem to believe whatever they are told.  As a result of this, they believe things like the news media, social media, gossip, and such dishes out.  I know people who accept these as a “source of whats true in the world”.   This type of attitude makes it so that many Americans have a quality like “the blind leading the blind”.  In addition, it makes them prone to a hysteria and a tendency to blow things out of proportion.  This is further complicated by the fact that most Americans have no “authority” to look up to as a source of “truth”, such as a religion.  This makes them impulsive to believe whatever is “convenient” and “popular”.  In fact, I would even say that, for many Americans, “truth” is primarily based on “popular opinion”.
  • The lack of appreciation of peoples roles and social hierarchy.  I have been stunned how little respect many Americans have for any form of a “role”, such as a mother, father, etc.  May act like any role is an “oppression” or something and sometimes treat it with contempt.  With so little respect for human institutions I often wonder how the American society continues to exist.  To me, this attitude is like spitting on human nature and human society.  It also is like a denial of nature and the way things are.

AFTERTHOUGHT

What all this really reveals is the incredible impact WWII had on the U.S.  It had such an impact that the U.S. is still gripping with the effects of WWII over 70 years later.  In this way, the U.S. is as if “stuck” in the post WWII world, especially the Vietnam War era.  Because of this, the U.S. doesn’t seem to of progressed along all that much since then and remains out-of-date and stuck in the past.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Current affairs and events, News media and the news, Personal gripes, The effects of WWII, the Nazi's, the Holocaust, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War era protests, The military and war, The U.S. and American society | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the “hate myth” and the forgotten importance of threat

Here’s a thought I had:

THE “HATE MYTH”

I have always felt that hatred is used as an explanation for far too many things. Its almost like hatred has become an overly simple “blame-all” of problems between people.  To me, it always seemed that there were more to things than hatred in problems and people.  There are many more important issues and themes that are left out and not even mentioned.  In many cases, hatred may not even be involved.  But, to them, its all caused by hatred!  Its because of stuff like this that I speak of the “hate myth”.

Because of this, I believe many situations are misunderstood by the “hate myth”.  In fact, I think it has even given a misunderstanding about human nature in general and peoples association with each other.  In this way, I tend to feel that the “hate myth”, overall, is more destructive and deceiving than anything else.

Some examples of the things I consider reflecting the “hate myth”, and are misunderstood as a result, include:

  • That wars are caused by hatred
  • That the Holocaust is caused by hatred
  • That the “race problem”, in the South of the U.S., is caused by hatred.
  • That Middle Eastern problems are caused by hatred.

I think that there are a little bit more to these problems than “hatred”. . . and these are only the tip of the iceberg.

Origins of the “hate myth”

I tend to believe the “hate myth” originates from a number of sources, such as:

  • Christianity.  This, of course, preaches love and peace.  The opposite of these, its generally assumed, is hatred.  Therefore, in this point of view, problems between people obviously do not entail love and peace.  Its often assumed, then, that these problems are caused by hatred (or some other malicious intent).  In this point of view, the solution to these problems is not “hate” but “love”.  Since this “message” is perceived as god-ordained, Christianity gave the condemning of hatred a self-righteous and Divine cause.  The religious aspect of this also gave it a “moral condemnation” quality.  These attitudes dominate the “hate myth”.
  • The horror of war as a result of the World Wars and Cold War.  The horror of war, that WWI and WWII displayed, as well the threat of nuclear annihilation of the Cold War, have all contributed to a need to “explain away” these horrors.  Since war is a conflict between people it made it so that hatred became an easy explanation of why they happen and to condemn its horrors.  In this way, war is often automatically assumed to be a result of hatred.
  • The Nazi’s and Holocaust.  The attempted extermination of a mass of people have horrified many people.  As a result, hatred became an easy way to explain why people would do this to another group of people.  It seems to me, that the Nazi’s and the Holocaust have made the greatest contribution to the “hate myth” as it has caused the greatest horror in people, reflecting the extreme of what problems between people can do to each other.  In some, the Nazi’s and Holocaust has caused a need to easily “explain” these horrors, regardless of its truth, simplicity, or narrow-mindedness.  In the U.S. the horror of the Holocaust would be as if turned into the Civil Rights Movement, and its association with slavery.  I jokingly call this “America’s holocaust” as the U.S. basically turned it into essentially the same thing.  As a result, the Civil Rights Movement – “America’s Holocaust” – would bring the horror of the Holocaust home and make it more personal.
  • The Vietnam War era protests.  I tend to believe that the Vietnam War era protests united all the above qualities into one “philosophy” or point of view.  In this way, one could say that the Vietnam War era protests created the “hate myth”. 

Because of these, hate became an all too easy explain-away that “seems” to explain the problems even though hate, in reality, reveals nothing about why they happened.  Its association with Christianity also gave it a “righteous” quality and, therefore, the explanation of hatred gave a “high and mighty” explanation.  Because of this, there becomes no need to go further than to say “its caused by hatred”.  In effect, this “righteous” quality tends to cause a “dead end” to any real inquiry into these matters.  The net result is the creation of the “hate myth” that seems to explain it but really reveals nothing.

Because of the “hate myths” association with the world wars and Holocaust, it became particularly necessary when there is any form of violence involved.  This reveals that the “hate myth” is really rooted in a horror of the effects of war and a need to explain this horror away.  In this way, the “hate myth” is associated with an emotional reactionary tendency that has a tendency to distort things, which is exactly what it has done.  

What all this means is that specific events of past history are being used as a basis to judge, condemn, and explain away problems between people.  The problem with this, of course, is that current conditions do not match the past conditions.  Because of this, the “hate myth” tends to be “disconnected” with current history as it is based in specific events in past history.  Its because of this, in particular, that hatred-as-an-explanation tends to be “disconnected” with current conditions and, accordingly, it tends to distort things.

Forms of the “hate myth”

The “hate myth” tends to appear in different forms:

  • As an explanation.  Here, it is primarily used as if was a legitimate explanation of why things happen but usually reveals nothing.
  • As condemnation.  Here, it is used to condemn people, usually with a “self-righteous” or “moral” right.
  • As villainizing.  Here, it is used to make people look bad.  In many cases, this is done as a form of “moral outrage” more than anything else.

These forms are primarily reactions to dealing with something that is feared.  This is because, as I said above, the “hate myth” is rooted in the horror of war and the Holocaust. What this reveals is that the “hate myth” is used more as a means to deal with fear than as a real explanation of whats happening.  This gives the “hate myth” more of a quality an “explain away” than anything else.  In this way, we can see that the “hate myth” really reveals nothing about hatred itself.

THE “THREAT REACTION” – THE POWER OF THREAT

If we cease to look at hatred in the context above (as condemnation, villainization, etc.) and look at the behavior spoken of it seems that most of what people call hatred is a form of “threat reaction”.  This is basically a reaction to a “perceived” threat.  In other words, they are reacting to something which is viewed, by them, as a threat.  In other words, people aren’t just reacting this way for “malicious” and “sinister” reasons, which is what the “hate myth” usually implies or states.

This “perceived” threat can appear a number of ways:

  • A real and actual threat
  • An imagined threat
  • A combination of the above

One must keep in mind that a “perceived” threat is viewed as an actual reality and, as a result, instigates a “threat response” . . . whether it is real or imaginary does not matter.  It just has to be “perceived”.  The important point about this is that noting that the threat is imagined or false does not mean that the response is “bad”, “malicious”, “sinister”, etc.  Regardless of this, any “perceived” threat, regardless if it is real or imagined, still receives a genuine response from the person.  This point must be understood.

A “perceived” threat, by nature, instigates a “threat response” which is a reaction to the threat.  This response often has these qualities:

  • A sense of uneasiness or insecurity.  This can range from a mild uncomfortable feeling to a feeling that ones life is in jeopardy.
  • A need to rid oneself of the “perceived” threat.  This could range anywhere from getting away from it to attacking it.
  • In some cases, a violent reaction to the threatening element takes place.  This often creates a predisposition to violence toward the threatening element whether provoked or not.
  • A need to respond.  As a general rule, the “threat response” can be described as a reaction to a condition of potential harm in which one MUST RESPOND.
  • It tends to be impersonal.  The “threat response” often has the quality of a reflex action.  Because of this, it often appears “inhuman” and can behave in an inhuman way.  In this way, the response tends to be impersonal and cold.

This potential harm can appear a number of ways:

  • A harm to ones physical body.  This is like being shot at with a pistol.
  • A harm to ones ability to live or condition of livelihood.  This can be compared to an economic depression which upsets the economy and ones ability to make a living.
  • A harm to ones sense of security and safety.  This is like a war that makes one feel insecure and unsafe.
  • A harm to ones social reality.  An example of this is like having a new culture or belief system come in and upset ones whole social structure, lifestyle, and belief system.  This could happen when another culture, country, or religion invades your country.  It can also be caused by an event that upsets society such as some forms of change.
  • A harm to ones personal  inner calm.  It can also be perceived as something very personal, that hits ones self deep down, and which does not bother anyone else.

Its not uncommon that these forms of potential harm often instigates a response from people, sometimes very severely.    Often, the reactions to the threat follow a pattern similar to this:

  1. Avoidance or ignoring.  This is one of the earliest and most common reactions.  In many cases, just ignoring a situation can diffuse a situation or let the threat diffuse.  Its because of this tendency, I feel, that more things do not get out of control.  In other words, if everyone reacted to every threat we’d be in perpetual conflict.  This is why, in any conflict, the first thing to do is “calm down”!
  2. An uneasiness or nervousness.  This is the beginning of a sense that “something is wrong”.
  3. Stress.  This is when the threat is realized which causes a sense of something “weighing upon us”.  This is often what forces a person to try to react.
  4. Acts to try to remedy the situation.  These often start as “honest” and “good-natured” attempts.  When it doesn’t work it tends to lead to the next phase.
  5. Acts of desperation.  Here, people can do all sorts of weird responses, even to the point of that it appears hard to understand or bizarre.  They may do things such as develop conspiracy theories, plot against things, and so onIn some cases, an act of desperation is nothing more than an intense form of one of the earlier forms, such as ignoring or stress.
  6. A violence of some form.  In many cases, violence is the result of desperation that failedOften, the first act of violence is toward ones own self, such as when one “eats ones heart out”.  In many ways, suicide is this form of violence toward ones self as a reaction to a feeling of some threat.  If the threat comes from without then the violence tends to end up being outward though.

Keep in mind that not all threats go through phases such as these.  Some threats are so intense that the immediate response is violence, such as being attacked by someone.  This shows that there are a number of forms of reactions, depending on the nature of the threat:

  •   An immediate threat.  This is when the threat is about to happen, such as being attacked.
  • An immanent threat.  This is a threat that is not about to happen but could be a threat at any time.  This is like the possibility of losing ones job.
  • A long-standing threat.  This is usually an immanent threat that has not been realized over a long period of time.
  • A historical-based threat.  This is a threat that has caused a reaction in the society past but has become so long-standing that it has become part of the culture.  In many cases, people are reacting to a threat from the past but that does not exist at the moment.

Each one of these has variations in the reactions phases of reactions described above, such as:

  • An immediate threat.  This often causes a tendency to violence.
  • An immanent threat.  This often causes stress, acts to try to remedy the situation, and desperation but could become violent in some situations.
  • A long-standing threat.   This often causes an uneasiness, nervousness or stress
  • A historical-based threat.  This often causes an uneasiness and nervousness.

What is particularly interesting is that the long-standing and historical-based threat tends to show that the sense of a threat can lie passive and dormant not only within a person but in a society.  Perhaps we could call this a “dormant threat”?  This form of threat can appear a number of ways, such as:

  • It is unconscious and unknown.
  • It appears in patterns of interpretation of events and life.
  • It appears as attitudes. 

In these ways, a “dormant threat” often creates a “threat-based worldview” in a person or society.  In other words, a “dormant threat” tends to mold a person or societies perceptions of things and the world and in how the world is interpreted.  As a result of this, the “dormant threat” can have great impact on things and is not something to look at lightly.

In addition, it seems that a “dormant threat” often tends to predispose a person or society to an over-reaction to a threat, even a mild one.  Often, this entails an easy, and often over-willing, tendency to violence.  As a result, a tendency to easily become violent is often a sign of a hidden “dormant threat”.  Depending on the situation this “dormant threat” can range from a personal threat (such as the result of being abused as a child) to a historical or culturally based threat (such as the threats caused by a war).   What all this shows is that many people are living with a “silent threat” within them. 

HATRED AND ITS ASSOCIATION WITH THREAT

As I said above, hatred is a form of a “threat reaction” and, as a result, has many qualities described above.  Its seems, to me, that hatred is a unique form of “threat reaction”.  In particular, hatred is when there is a “threat response” but no threatening element.  To be more precise, the threatening element is lacking.  The “threatening element” is the thing that provokes the threat . . . it causes the “threat response”.  In other words, without the “threatening element” there is no threat to respond to.  It can be a number of things:

  • Some thing, living or inanimate.  This could be an animal, person, or a building falling on you.
  • A condition.  This could be something like poverty.
  • A situation.  This could be like an accident or a war.
  • A mental idea.  In many cases, our greatest threat is the ideas we have about things.  In fact, many threats are mental non-existent fabrications we’ve created in our own minds.

The “threatening element” often seems lacking in a number of ways, such as:

  • It is not seen – the threat is not overly demonstrable or observable.
  • It is not perceived – the person senses no conscious threat.

In other words, they are acting to a threat when none is seen and/or perceived.  In this way, its not really a reaction to something.  Instead, it seems more of a self-instigated impulse.  Because of this, hatred is more of a psychological matter of the person feeling the hatred. Since the threatening element is lacking the “threat” comes from somewhere within.

Being based in the psychological makeup of the person reveals that hatred is often really an expression of an unconscious threat and fear.  Hatred, then, tends to be based in more personal and deeper issues that has origins in things like:

  • A belief system.  Some belief systems can promote or cause a fear (such as Christianity’s fear of satan).
  • An experience.  A bad experience can make a person hate to be in that situation again. A traumatic experience even makes it more so.
  • A condition.  Being poor or the “bottom man on the totem pole” are good examples of what can make a person feel threatened.
  • A thought pattern.  Some patterns of thinking can make a person feel threatened.  In some people this thought pattern can become like a habit, influencing their thoughts and behavior.
  • A psychological issue or problem.  Various psychological problems can, of course, cause feelings of being threatened.
  • A long-standing condition.  Having feelings of  threat for a long-standing duration can cause an unconscious fear.
  • A culture-based fear.  As described above, some cultures a threat-based mentality that affects some people more than others.
  • A mixture of the above. 

One can see that these are really aspects of a “dormant threat”.  In this way, one could very well say that hatred is a manifestation of a “dormant threat” within.  We could then speak of hatred as an “internal threat” whereas the normal “threat reaction” is an “external threat” as the threat is seen externally.

Being that hatred is internal-based it tends to be detached from the outer world.  This is what gives hatred some of its unique qualities, such as:

  • It often does not seem to be connected with the situation and is often out-of-place.
  • It tends to be over-reacted and over-played.
  • It tends to get out of control.
  • It tends to be very directed to specific things.
  • It is felt deeply and personally.
  • It overwhelms the person and can dominate a person to the point that it can “eat you up”.

My own experience with hatred is that it has these qualities  I would describe hatred in this way:  “Hatred is a strong overpowering and fierce reaction to some ‘thing’.  This reaction seems out-of-place and disconnected with thingsWhat’s even more interesting is that its so disconnected that I do not consciously or overtly feel a cause, or threat, for this feeling.  The hatred just exists.  I only began to see the cause, or threat, only on reflection.”

THE ASSOCIATION BETWEEN THE “THREAT REACTION” AND HATRED

The “threat reaction” and hatred are closely related in nature.  Because of this, they are often blurred together and can easily change from one to the other.  My observation is that most hatreds originate from a legitimate threat, and “threat reaction”, that has been turned into an “internal threat”.  It does this because the “threat reaction” tends to “simmer” slowly turning it into hatred.  Some of the ways this happens include:

  • A prolonged conflict.
  • An unresolved reaction.
  • A reaction that does not take place.
  • A philosophy that intensifies or prolongs the threat.
  • Psychological problems.

There are many conflicts, such as wars, which are caused by a “threat reaction” initially.  If it remains unresolved it will often slowly turn into hatred.  In other words, a threat that becomes apathetic tends to turn into hatred.  As time goes on, and the threat simmers even more, hatred often turns to something like a “dislike”.  This is like hatred but without the “oomph”.

Interestingly, its not uncommon that hatred is confused with contempt.  They are totally unrelated though.  Contempt is more like an “outrage”, so to speak, and is not threat-related.

THE THREAT TO CULTURAL IDENTITY

The condemnation of hatred has only misled us about what causes it.  Most “hatred” is caused by some form of a threat, not by some “malicious” or “sinister” or “evil” cause.  Some examples include:

  • Most wars are caused by some form of threat, usually a threat to ones way of life and a fear of being taken over.
  • That Holocaust is caused by the Nazi’s feeling threatened by the Jews (as a result of a philosophy they developed) when their way of life and identity were threatened after WWI.
  • The “race problem”, in the South of the U.S., is actually caused by a threat to the identity of the South, and way of life, by the North.  The so-called “hatred” toward blacks was just a contempt . . . the real threat was the threat to the identity and way of life of the South.  This means, more or less, that the real issue of the American Civil War was not slavery, as is often supposed.
  • Middle Eastern problems are caused by long-standing conflicts between people which threaten their way of life, culture, belief, identity, etc.

We see one interesting theme here:  cultural identity.  What we find is that some of the greatest “perceived” threats, and which causes some of the deepest responses, is the threat to cultural identity.  There are a number of reasons for this:

  1. It hits a person on a social level
  2. It hits a person on a personal level

As a result of these two reasons, the threat to cultural identity tends to particularly hit deep within a person.  This is one reason why the threat to cultural identity is so impactful and causes such a reaction.  In fact, it seems that the greatest reactions to threat, that we have seen in history, tend to involve threats to cultural identity.  As a result, threats to cultural identity are nothing to look at lightly.

Oftentimes, though, the threat to cultural identity tends to sit and simmer for a number of reasons:

  • The threat never happens.  The threat never materializes but its threat hangs over them.
  • The threat happens but is not resolved.  A country, for example, is invaded and taken over but nothing happens to them so the threat simmers.

When things, such as these, happens the threat simmers and eventually turns to hatred.  This, and its deep-rooted  nature, means that threats to cultural identity tend to turns into hatred very easily.  This is seen in a lot of the world.

THE IMPORTANCE OF THREAT

Overall, it seems that we have forgotten the importance of threat in our lives and have forgotten to appreciate its power.  All we do is condemn its effects.  Its far more prevalent than people realize and has tremendous impact.  It is so prevalent, in fact, that I’d say that many forms of behavior in life are threat-related.  Certain facts are clear:

  • There are many threats in life.
  • There are many forms of threats.
  • We all react to threats.
  • Sometimes, the reaction to threat is not good.

These are things, it seems to me, that need to be acknowledged, accepted, and appreciated and not continually condemned.  They are natural human reactions and must be looked at from that angle.

Interestingly, the “hate myth”, as well as the condemnation of hatred, is based in the same threat-based mentality that causes the “threat reaction” and hatred . . . people feel threatened.  In this way, the people who condemn hatred, and endorse the “hate myth”, are really not all that different from the people they are condemning.  Its just appearing differently.

LOOKING AT THREAT IN LIFE

I often think its good to think about what we feel threatens us in life.  My experience is that most of what we think is a threat is not a threat after all.  In this way, we are reacting to a threat that doesn’t exist.  There are a number of reasons for this, such as:

  • We assume its a threat.
  • We reacted to a previous threat but the reaction went was unrealized . . . it lies dormant.
  • Psychological problems.
  • Social problems.
  • We convinced ourselves its a threat in our mind.
  • The threat is based on a philosophy, belief, or point of view.

One thing that I found is that we tend to “hold onto threats” and don’t let them go.  It seems to me that we tend to “hold onto threats” because it gives the illusion of control.  Why is this?  A threat means that there is potential harm to oneself.  This causes a response to end the situation.  In order to end the threat we must “control” the situation.  As a result, a threat tends to make us want to have some form of control.  Since a threat is often dormant, unrealized, simmers, as described above, one has nothing to “control”.  Despite this, there is still a tendency to want to control the situation.  By “holding on” we get the illusion of control.

I have found that I recognize things as a threat only on reflection.  In other words, I do not recognize threats as a threat as they happen.  I tend to feel that there are a number of reasons for this, such as:

  • The response to threat is instinct-based.  As a result, it tends to be unconscious and is not part of our abstract conceptions of things.
  • Civilization has suppressed the instinct-based response. 
  • Society gives the illusion of safety which we use as a basis for a life.
  • Many threats are not that dramatic to be noticed.

In these ways, the threat reaction tends to be “silent” and unconscious.  As a result, we are not all that overtly aware of threats.  Its because of this that I often discover a threat on reflection.

Some of the ways to find a threat include:

  • A tendency to avoid something.
  • A tendency to ignore something or pretend its not there or happening.
  • Something that makes one nervous or stressed.
  • A dislike for something.
  • Something you hate.

Like I said, many of these are not recognized as a threat when experienced but often have the quality of an “irritation” or something “bothersome”.  They are usually discovered as a threat on reflection.  Because of this, they are really describing what can be called a “subtle threat”.  That is to say, they are not all that dramatic (like being attacked by a bear).  Despite this, they are reactions to a threat and entail the same themes.

When one looks more closely one finds that each one of us is filled with many forms of “subtle threats”.  In fact, they are everywhere and in everything and in varying degree’s.  Some are particularly strong and some are so subtle to barely be noticed . . . but they are there.  What this all reveals is that threats, and the reactions to threats, are a big part of life, whether we are aware of it or not.

Just as we look at what threatens us, and how we react, its good to also look at how other people feel threatened as well as their reactions.  What I’ve found is that people are also feeling threatened by many different things and, accordingly, are reacting to threats.  This is happening all around us and in many different ways.  Common reactions include:

  • They ignore things and are indifferent.
  • Nervousness and stress.
  • Anger.
  • Violence.

Many people react to threats we all feel and understand.  But there are people who are feeling threatened by threats most of us don’t feel and, accordingly, are reacting to it.  This can cause some weird or dramatic reactions.  Some of these reactions can be so severe such as war, extermination of people, violence, and so on, that they are horrifying.

THE CONTINUATION OF THREAT

It seems, to me, that many things in life are caused by feeling threatened.  Many people react to a threat in normal ways that are not threatening to others.  But, sometimes, these reactions can be extreme, such as entailing various forms of violence, which threatens other people.  This causes them to find a way to defend themselves from it.  One form of defence is the “hate myth” where people are condemned and villainized as being motivated by hate.  This point of view appears particularly justified with the righteous cause coming from Christianity and its view that hatred is “bad”.  But all it does is foster more sense of a threat but nothing is solved.  Its just an easy explain away.  In this way, a supposed solution to the reaction to threat – the “hate myth” – actually keeps the feeling of threat alive but, in actuality, solves nothing.  This is the irony of the “hate myth” . . . they think it answers the problem but they are actually continuing a sense of threat. 


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Historical stuff, Modern life and society, Psychology and psychoanalysis, The effects of WWII, the Nazi's, the Holocaust, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War era protests | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on blog writing after 800 articles . . . questioning the value and meaning of ideas

This is my 800th article in this blog (and there over 600 drafts yet to be finished at the time I’m writing this).  Its also my 7th anniversary of writing blogs on this site.  Since I have written so much it has made me think a lot about writing, what its all about, and why I do it.

QUESTIONING THE VALUE AND MEANING OF IDEAS

Oddly enough, one of the greatest impacts blog writing has has had on me is that it has shown me how little value ideas really have.  This is the opposite of what you’d expect. You’d think that writing ideas would make ideas important and give them value.  But, to me, its done the opposite.  Because of this, it has made me question the value of ideas and the purpose of writing them.

Social aspects and the “ideas matter” belief

On a social level, I have always questioned if ideas are really that beneficial or if they really mean anything (by “social” I mean that ideas influence other people).  To be frank, I have little proof that ideas have that type of power.  In fact, in my whole adult life I have never really seen much proof that ideas have much influence on a social level.  Very seldom does an idea, by itself, influence people or make things happen or determine things from my experience.  What seems to “makes things happen” are not the ideas themselves but other things, such as:

  • Various conditions that exist at the time.  This refers to realities that dictate the times.
  • Various powers that exist at the time.  This refers to the different forces that influences and often dictate things.

It is things, such as these, that as if causes an “appeal” to certain ideas as well as give certain ideas a power and meaning.  In this way, ideas tend to “follow along” these conditions and powers and follow their lead.  As a result, many ideas are basically a reaction to, and correspond to, the current conditions and powers.  Ideas, then, are not the great power they often seem to be, nor are they as “new” or “novel” as it may seem, as they are only reacting to existing conditions and powers.  This means that most ideas area actually secondary in nature and gain power, not in and from themselves, but from existing conditions and powers.  In other words, ideas don’t seem to be the great power, instigator, creator, or originator of things as much as it may seem but, in actuality, are a reaction to existing conditions and powers which it relies on to make the idea important.  This makes me tend to feel that ideas, by themselves, mean very little . . . and this is what my observation shows.

Ideas need some form of power behind them to have any real value.  What this means is that ideas are only a means for some forms of power, a medium for this power to function.  It does this a number of different ways:

  • They are a statement of the power.  Here, the idea is as if noting the power and no more.  In other words, the power does not rely on the idea.  Good examples of this include many beliefs, opinions, and points of views.
  • They accentuate the power.  Here, the idea makes the power even stronger.  In other words, the power is supported by the idea.  A good example of this is the ideas required to know how to change a tire or make spaghetti.
  • They are the means of the power.  This means that the power needs ideas to give it the means to demonstrate its power.  In other words, the power relies on the idea. A good example of this is the ideas used in making a decision (this form seems to only be influential in certain situations and quickly lose power once the situation changes).

Most ideas, it seems to me, are of the former “statement” form, which is also more constant in life.  The later “means” form seems more rare and also tends to be transitory. The middle “accentuate” form is somewhere in the middle of the other two.  In this way, it makes something like a spectrum, from common and constant to uncommon and transitory.

I should also point out that ideas are only a means of power for some forms of power, not all forms. Power is manifested through many means and ways . . . ideas are only one form.  Because of this, ideas have a limited influence and importance, in actuality, which is quite surprising.

Much of the belief that “ideas matter” seems to be largely a result of the enlightment (primarily the 1700-1900’s in Europe and the U.S.) which placed a lot of emphasis on “ideas”, theories, and such, particularly if they are “new” or “novel”.  This point of view gets its justification from the achievements of the scientific movement, industrialization, and invention to make it valid for, probably without these, the “ideas matter” belief probably wouldn’t of gained much hold.

Much of the importance of “new ideas” seems to have origin in the reaction to the dilemma of Christianity, whose belief and power was waning during the enlightment.  The “new ideas” as if gave an alternate to the failing Christian dogma and belief system and, accordingly, gave something new to believe in.  Its no doubt this association with Christianity that has given the “ideas matter” an almost religious attitude with it.  Because of this, many people staunchly believe that “ideas matter”, and hold to it strongly, with almost religious conviction.

During the enlightment a “new idea” did mean something (as they were the source of science, industrialization, invention, etc.) but they don’t mean much anymore.  We are no longer in the enlightment . . . science, innovation, and invention have done their thing and had their day.  As a result of this, the era of the “ideas matter” seems to be waning.  This, to me, seems quite evident.  Its become particularly apparent after writing in this blog, which made me look at things from a different angle.  This includes things such as:

  • I took conversations with people, as well as the expression of ideas, more seriously (as many articles in this blog have origin from conversations).
  • I looked around and watched how various ideas affected people.
  • I looked out how ideas affected me (see below).

The end observation of all this was the discovery that ideas did not matter all that much.

My observation and experience is that, at least here in the U.S., no one really cares that much.  I see very little evidence of that.  They may say they care and even be “interested” but its short lived.  In the U.S., interest in things tend to be measured in days, hours, and sometimes minutes . . . then its forgotten.  In other words, Americans seem to “think” ideas are neat only temporarily and then forget it in a flash.  As a result, the belief that “ideas matter” is really an illusion.

I can see that a lot of this not caring has a lot to do with the problem of power in American society.  To put it simply, much of American ideals tend to undermine power.  In so doing, they undermine any form of power, including the power of ideas.  This is why, it seems to me, that there is a tendency to not care about anything here.  The ideas that do matter, in this country, tend to require certain types of power to be often be considered.  Often, this power is more like a “base power”, such as money or social fad, which usually has no real depth.  Without this “base power” there is no hope of any idea coming to anything much, I’ve found.  What this means is that the “inherent truth” of an idea generally is not the power behind ideas.  As I said above, the idea follows some existing condition or power and it is this that gives the idea power.  In the U.S. the conditions and power tends to favor any idea that is involved with things like money and social fad or trend.  As a result, any idea involving these tend to have power and “truth” and gains a foothold.   Any that don’t have these have no power or “truth”.  After watching this over the years its quite clear that ideas are the handmaiden of existing conditions and powers.

All this is complicated by the fact is that there are so many points of view and opinions out there that any new idea or opinion is doing nothing but add to the great static of statements, opinions, points of view, etc.  My writing this blog only adds to that endless static.  I’ve thought a lot on that:  should I continue?  I don’t know.

Not only that, it seems to me that ideas and opinions have become “overdone” and “overplayed”, as a whole.  The last several centuries has seen an explosion of ideas.  Its like ideas are wore out, used up, and have become like a worn out record.  And everyone has an idea . . . they are a dime a dozen.  In a way, ideas have become so “commonplace” that they are boring.

Its because of things like these that, many times, I have thought about ending any new entries.  What, really, is the point?  But there is a power in these ideas I write but it is not social in origin but because of the personal power they give to me and that, I guess, is the secret that keeps me going . . .

Writing for myself, seeking whats behind the idea

After writing 800 articles I can see that I am really writing for myself, for my own inquiry, for my own purpose,and for personal reasons.  In this way, it is really a personal record of thought, something like a journal.

But it makes me wonder:  is that even worth a blog?  I can’t say.

But I often like to write and its not uncommon for me to get into “writing moods”.  When I sit and write it helps me to think and organize my thoughts.  It also sets my thoughts down in a way that I can see it and often formulate it into a more defined form.  Its probably because of this single reason, more than anything else, that I continue to write.  I do it for myself, to organize my thoughts, and to turn it into a form.  After all, I am the only one who really cares about it.  Not only that, I’m probably the only person who really understands it.

After I finish writing an article I find that I can’t help but press the “Publish” button.  God only knows if it any of it has any value.  I simply don’t know.  Perhaps that’s the appeal . . . not knowing?  But I also think that publishing it somehow “completes” the thought and, in that way, gives it a “substantiation” or value or meaning.

Being that these articles are written for myself its not all that surprising that I have a unique personal style in writing.  I often thought that many people may find it silly, awkward, stupid, or whatnot.  That wouldn’t surprise me.  But it works for me and helps me think . . . that’s what matters first and foremost.  I also feel this awkward style deters many people from reading it, people I don’t want reading it, such as people who are wanting “easy answers”, wanting to find something to complain about, people that are bored, or that blindly surf the web.  To be frank, the people I would want reading this blog are people who look at things more seriously.

As I said above, one of the great dilemma’s that has come about from writing this blog is the meaning of ideas to me.  Its become clear, to me, that ideas are not the “end” nor are they what I seek.  In other words, I do not seek the idea but what is behind the idea or, rather, what motivates the idea, the “passion”, as I call it.  Its for this reason that I often call the ideas in this blog the “footprints of my thought”, they only reveal where my thoughts “have been”, so to speak.  They do not state where I’m going or how I’m getting there nor the destination.  In this way, the ideas in this blog are more like a record of a journey, so to speak, much like travel photography.

Because I seek what is beyond the ideas I’ve found that the ideas in this blog are increasingly taking on a “back burner” quality.   That is to say, they are not at the for-front of my life and intentions.  As I look more and more for what is beyond the ideas I find that I find less and less a desire to write . . . its like its becoming a hindrance.  I’ve noticed that the desire to write is starting to wane.  Perhaps my “writing phase” is ending?


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

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