"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Jul 4, 2010

Looking back down the stack, a spell...

To understand, then, what I snarkingly called the Totempwog (et al) below, perhaps we best see the entire process as a method of stabilizing adherence in a system which encodes routine periods of managed chaos (elections, bubbles, economic contractions, mediated crises), as a means of releasing the built up of social pressures and social toxins, and breaking social resistance to authority.

As Al Schumann wrote (and far, far better than I),

"Every relatively healthy adult experiences cognitive dissonance as a severely distressing condition. In the face of overwhelming refutation, supplied by people and world around them, they sooner or later back away from the insupportable belief. It's not easy, sometimes, and it can take ages to make headway. But it does happen. The defensive constructs of wilder and wilder dissonance pall and finally gall so much that it's a relief to give up on them. What comes after, of course, varies. 

[snipped reference back to this blog, which seems gauche and unseemly to duplicate, on my part]...takes a hard look at the serial imputation of idealized qualities to public figures who invariably fail to live up to them. The qualities, if they existed, would be sufficient to impart vast integrity in the face of totalizing systemic obstacles to their exercise. As the systemic obstacles are indeed totalizing, effectively so at that, the vast integrity remains forever out of reach. But there's no shortage of new faces to which it can be assigned. And that's a lot easier than taking a step into what looks like chaos. The dissonance, then, is a comfort. Not distressing except in the moments between new faces."


Al Schumann said...

Your summary of the stack/series is pellucid. It's been a good read and a very good interaction. The company you keep (if I do say so myself) is a credit to your hosting skills. Thanks for the praise.

Andromeda said...

Three cheers for cognitive dissonance---which I also find to be a comfort---and the willful abandonment of insupportable beliefs.

Anonymous said...

The tribal identity is now the most aggressively sold notion in politics, and it's done broad-spectrum of course, with entertainment, infotainment, and "news" and "opinion" resources and avenues being used. From TV prime time drama programs hero-making with cops, lawyers, soldiers and Jack Bauer-like spies... to the raging ideological wars of Glenn Beck vs Randi Rhodes... to the slick Mad Avenue feel of Obama/Biden vs McCain/Palin.

The end result is that, for example, Obama was sold with enough of a content-neutral image that he became an existential blank screen onto which people project their wishes for their ideal ____________ (in this case, America's First Black President) and thereby imbue Obama with every idealized quality they'd want in Their Ideal Actor to fill that role.

This partisan image-selling always has been a part of politics, but technological advances and the webbedness of humans connected via internet and mobile phone has made the hucksterism take on sleek, complicated new dimensions.

Very profitable, if you ask Jim Carville.

Anonymous said...

From a friend who dislikes The Obamessiah almost as much as I do:


Jack Crow said...

I'm neutral on tribes. I think it depends on the manifestations. I used to hand with some White Clouds, back in the late eights, and they were fairly anarchic and still relatively tribal.

Of course, their thing was the use and evangelism of better living through chemicals, so they were constantly scrubbing their norms.

But, their tribal aspect didn't lead to tribalism.



Andromeda said...

Gonna agree with you, JC, and the tribe depends on the manifestations.

There is a difference between tribal aspects and tribalism, and I think the difference lies in whether or not the so-called "tribe" is ruled by the "reptilian brain" emotions of fear and lust (at any cost).

Or the idea that "I can't have mine" without violently stealing it from someone else.