The unconscious doesn't relate to individuals, but to classes. To put it another way, to the extent that the unconscious perceives the individual, it does so in terms of the class (in the mathematical sense of a set) of which it is a member.
Right away you see a potentially vast difference between leftists, who tend to see only groups, and classical liberals, who value the individual. But because the leftist sees only groups and classes, he doesn't realize the extent to which his thinking is susceptible to, and determined by, unconscious influences. This is why it is such truism that virtually all of the wholesale racism in America comes from the left, since they openly admit to their prejudice, i.e., that they can't help categorizing people by race, gender, or sexual orientation. They then want to paradoxically enact discriminatory laws to keep them from discriminating.
But as Chief Justice Roberts recently taught all of us in a tautologous decision, the best way to end discrimination is to end discrimination.
Actually the best way is to end descrimination is to begin discriminating, since discrimination is the opposite of indiscriminately lumping individuals into groups. For a person with discrimination, Thomas Sowell and Cornell West belong to wildly divergent groups with virtually nothing in common. There is nothing similar about them -- that is, unless you are a leftist racist who notices only their skin color.
[W]henever my two and a-half year old son gets into a tight spot, he immediately begins chanting like Dustin Hoffman in Rainman, "up on mommy... up on mommy... up on mommy." I am quite certain that in these moments of unbound anxiety or pain or fear, "mommy" doesn't just refer to Mrs. G. Rather, "mommy" is simply a signifier for the the Great Comforter in the Sky, the class of all objects that can transform pain into security or pleasure.
In other words, the actual mommy -- Mrs. G. -- is a member of a much more expansive class of the Magically Infinite Comforter, or Good Breast. No human could ever live up to those expectations, which the baby, to his dismay, eventually discovers. Or not. And if not, he may spend the rest of his life in search of the lost entitlement, that Great Breast in the Sky.
Again, liberals are tranceParently prone to this, what with their wild, utopian schemes to end all pain and want -- free housing, free college education, free healthcare. Once you are in the unconscious, its needs are naturally infinite.
You might say that Dennis Kucinich is the most capable articulator of the infinite needs of the infantile unconscious, but all leftist politicians are in the same mold. But they have to speak more in code, so as to not alienate the parents who will have to take care of all the hungry and whining infants. After all, someone has to do it. Babies can't take care of themselves. Free healthcare is obviously not free. To the contrary, it's actually more expensive than the kind you pay for, since it removes any disincentive to use it. And when you put a baby with infinite needs in a context in which he is infinitely ministered to, guess what happens?
That's right. Old Europe.
Young people are naturally drawn to leftism, since they are at a developmental stage in which their task is to go from being a member of a primitive group -- the family of origin -- to a mature individual. This provokes a tremendous amount of anxiety (remember?), anxiety which -- because of the structure of the unconscious mind -- resonates with every past maturational stage, in which one had to pull away from "fusion" with the group (which ultimately goes all the way back to the Omnipotent Cosmic Comforter alluded to above) and become an individual.
Wahhhh, Don't tase me, Dad!!!
Looking back on your own life, you can no doubt reconstruct when you were in these transitional phases between fusion and individuation. Robin spoke of one the other day, in his real-life sandbox allegory. There he was, caught between two worlds, the one of blissful primary fusion with the enveloping cosmos, vs. breaking out and becoming an individual in the decaying world of time and form. Growth can only take place by leaving the world of fusion, but it is fraught with anxiety and depression. In fact, the great psychoanalyst Melanie Klein called it the depressive position, not just because it is inherently depressing, but because one must master and assimilate the depressing loss of unity. One must contain it or be contained by it.
But many people obviously do stay behind. However, it is no picnic. It is what Klein called the paranoid-schizoid position, which has a whole array of specific (and more primitive) defense mechanisms to keep the reality of time, growth, and separateness -- and depression -- at bay. For example, one way to deny depression is through the "manic defenses," and again, we can see how leftism fits the bill, what with its manic utopian promises to end all pain and want.
The Buddha realized that attachment to our desires is the source of suffering. The left has a better idea: just make unfullfilled desire against the law.
A young adult will often embrace leftism as a form of pseudo-maturity. In other words, it gives one the appearance of strength, maturity, and adulthood, since you can be so freely aggressive, hostile, and belligerent. But this is entirely counterfeit, merely the weak man's impersonation of a strong man -- you know, "General Betray Us," and all that. Imagine General Petraeus -- who, among other inconveniences, took a bullet in the chest while training for the defense of his country -- being aggressively called a traitor by these infantile chicken doves!
Only in the unconscious, where heroes can be cowards and cowards can be heroes, where dissent is the highest form of patriotism and patriotism is the lowest form of treason.
Monday, September 24, 2007
On The Couch