Sunday, April 03, 2011

Human delusional capacity

If there is anything I've figured out over a lifetime of being a human primate social groomer, and atheist, it's that the depth of human capacity for self-delusion seems to be bottomless.

So much food for thought today. Maybe I'm just trying to escape having to round up all those horrid bits of paper and organize them for the annual income tax gouge. So this may be just displacement behaviour.

Anyway... so, some nutbar burns a Koran in Florida and a bunch of people feel so personally offended they rampage and kill innocent people in the UN, who weren't even American, so what the...? Is revenge that sweet? Is biological human life so cheap to these rampagers that they get it confused with some book? I mean, is the book more important? Evidently. To them. Same deal with flag burning. Get over it - it's just a piece of cloth for petesake.

The endless ways the human brain can confuse itself and conflate itself with a social group around it, or a symbol that is perceived to be more "pure" or "holy" or "sacred" than human life is endlessly ponderable. I wrote a bit about it while trying (and I hope, succeeding to a limited extent) to understand it in HuManual Therapy. It seems to be about substituting an idea for a thing, then treating the idea as if it were as real as a thing that is already real. I think it all started when we learned how to talk, and we've been completely confused about what is real and what isn't ever since. It's called "objectification" or "reification" or "hypostatisation". If beliefs are left unexposed, confusion results. Occasionally "reification" is deliberate, e.g., in math and science. In order to create symbolic entities with which to measure and count, you understand. Not kill. See a Pharyngula blog post about this whole sorry piece of nutbardom.
On Facebook people are wondering what the deal is, why it is that people would ever feel that impassioned about some book. I wrote,
"Maybe human life (messy, biological, full of unquenchable needs and wants, and those awful evil beings, aka females) *is* considered less important than the reified and objectified notion of perfection, i.e. a book that represents the deity... so precisely imagined, but of whom no images are allowed. I mean, let's face it - such a way of life has remained unchanged/unchangeable since ..whenever... Dawn of civilization 10,000 years ago? Patriarchy baby. It's had a long time to harden into all this. Since when have individual humans *ever* mattered to a system like this? (..or any other long entrenched male-dom[inated] system?) Since when has someone's own life mattered as much as the "cause", which always seems to be about trying to perfect human society (through whatever distorted lens is being peered through)? And make it more like something they imagine some perfect male deity imagining?"

Anyway, I've always preferred real, concrete, biologic to abstract, symbolic, idealized. I've always preferred to work with whatever I can touch with my hands to working with things only my mind can touch. And I'm female. So shoot me, I guess.

Speaking of working with hands, came across this interesting book review, White Underclass Crushed By Economy - A review of Joe Bageant's Rainbow Pie: A redneck Memoir , by William Bowles. It seems the book is about the erosion of rural life and culture, something that hasn't quite yet destroyed the community I now live in (in Canada).... Excerpt from the review:  
"... every generation that comes along seems to be doomed to have to relearn the lessons of the past. Nothing gets handed down, passed on except the illusions. There is no continuity between the generations, something that also now afflicts the UK. The past that we "consume" is an artifice, a sleight-of-hand, a concoction dreamed up in universities and media conglomerates' 'creative' departments."
I can feel it coming though. Most of the little towns of 100 or fewer are ghost towns now. Including the one I grew up near. Where we used to get mail. And groceries. And gas. And see movies when I was really young. And go to dances when I was a bit older.

At least I didn't ever have to put up with any war going on around me, though, just battles inside my own head sometimes. (See "objectification" etc., again.) Which brings me to the last link I want to put up - Revolutionology, a very nice new blog that I plan to follow and read every day until this Gaddafi nonsense (and all his particular capacity for self-aggrandizing delusion) is over. The blogger has decided to watch from inside the rebel line, and comment on the people involved themselves, report their opinions on what they think about the world, their country, about the guy who has kept his heel on their throats for over 40 years. They call him "Uncle Curly" and tag burnt out tanks with his graffiti image. Imagine that.

Interesting times.

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