Moving Beyond the Stalemate of Being Enemy Combatants (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 211)

 

My study of moral psychology has made me somewhat more humble. It has made me realize that my mind will jump to conclusions and that many of those conclusions will be wrong. I can’t often perceive that reality at first. What I have found is that the best way to make an effective apology, which also happens to be a good way to initiate any kind of interaction and/or consideration for change with anyone, is to start by saying what you’re wrong about. So, in any sort of politically charged encounter, don’t start off by making your case about what you’re right about. Start off by saying what you know your side has been wrong about historically, and that you know the other side was right on those issues. Being humble, acknowledging fault, or praising something on the other side, has been proven to win hearts and minds, to create an atmosphere that supports consideration and empathy. Start off in that way, and then by the power of reciprocity, the other side is more inclined to match your effort. What you want to avoid at all costs is the normal human interaction of assuming that everyone who is not a blind unquestioning ally is an enemy combatant. Avoid throwing arguments at the other side for pure consumption and to create emotional outrage, not even by the other entity, but by the onlookers and bystanders of the matter. Avoid that dynamic at all costs. The power of apologies and acknowledgements, the expression of empathy and respect, is what is required to lay the groundwork for genuine conversation. That is what I want to leave with you.

Jonathan Haidt

(transcript from an On Being interview with significant editing/paraphrasing from me 2017)

Shattering Shackles and Straightening Spines (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 203)

Pretext Note: I own and operate a veterinary hospital.

My employees should be thankful that they have a job at my clinic, under my authoritarian rule. They should perpetually pledge and display their unquestioning allegiance and utmost loyalty to the protection, defense, and future thriving wellbeing of my business which they are only too fortunate to be employed by. To help them remember how fortunate they are under my leadership and in this relationship, I have them salute my company logo every morning when they get to work. My employees are not allowed to have their own opinions or beliefs about anything that could be even remotely associated with my business at any time during work hours or off hours. They are not allowed to contradict or question anything I say, because if I unintentionally or even intentionally mislead a client, I have a great reason to do so; to prioritize and protect the revenue of the company and that revenue is what puts the food on those employee’s tables. As an employee, their public behavior always reflects the spirit and image of the clinic and that is just simply much more important to their lives and salary than their individual concerns, beliefs, thoughts, or interests. The company truth is much more important than their individual truth if they want to continue benefitting from the worker’s paradise that I have created for them. They need to remember their place. They need to remember how much I have sacrificed and how hard I have worked to build this company that gives them the opportunity to work. They didn’t have to go to school as long as I did or even compete against others to earn my higher degree which allows this business to operate. They have not risked everything for the business like I have. They need to be appreciative, quiet, and compliant. They need to know where their bread is buttered. They need to know who is always in charge. They need to know the consequences of not obeying my policies and decrees. They need to know the fear of unemployment and starvation, so they appreciate all that they are lucky enough to benefit from as an employee of my business. The choice to work for my business in the free market conditions of our country is a blessing for them beyond reasonable expectation. They should never be unappreciative or disrespectful to me or my business.

That’s sadly how it works at most businesses and institutions in this day and age, including those of higher learning and from what I know, the military. That’s all bullshit. A bully authoritarian system of suppression implemented by fear and psychological manipulation. It is the exact opposite of respect and of freedom. The exact opposite of stabilization and co-existent harmony. I don’t care if it’s now the norm. I don’t care if it contains minute amounts of truth in its distorted and twisted philosophy. It’s wrong. It’s at the center of dead wrong and such an approach harms everyone in its dynamic.

Humanity must do better. We must learn to genuinely and profoundly respect one another again. We must stop celebrating the glutinous and destabilizing mad king mentality and our doublespeak doublethink marketing of such antics and behavior as that of the returning Savior. Marketed or propagandized truth cannot and will not set anyone free, but the true truth, the real reality, shatters shackles and straightens spines. That true truth, that real reality,  is the mandatory gatekeeper and ward necessary to set all of us free and in doing so, to lift everyone of us up in respectful nurturing mutual union.

Cribb          2017

The Poison and Wine of Laughter – Part 1 (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 199)

The difference between these two forms of laughter, better stated as amusement or willfully applied humor, might be the most tragically misunderstood and misinterpreted experience in the universe.

The Poison

Amusement has become the expected and the demanded law of the land by the herd. People declare their overt fondness and preference of friends and mates that keep them amused on a perpetual basis while they discount or minimize the need and importance of all of the person’s other qualities and character traits. Internet dating sites clearly display this knee jerk regurgitated “Isn’t it obvious, just like everyone else knows and says, duh?” proclamation; being amusing is the one trait cherished above all others and an absolute must have in any potential suitor interested in a possible relationship or even one simple encounter.

It is also a prime defining trait of psychopaths and the psychopathic manipulation of others. The uncanny ability of a psychopath to intoxicatingly bedazzle their “victims” into a giddy state of apathy and unconcern for reality, consequences, and ramifications, is well documented in the psychological and behavioral literature. Players seducing their prey for the night, slick willy businessmen sealing a deal, con-artists conning, heretical revival preachers enunciating and gesticulating their flock into hyper-emotional overload just prior to the passing of the collection plate, and corrupt politicians charming the masses into blind passionate obedience via the bombast and hyperbole of vitriol against a scapegoat, all exemplify amusement being implemented in its more malignant version.

A more benign form of amusement involves much less overt manipulation and a significantly lower conscious awareness of  intent by the implementer. This manifestation typically expresses itself via more basic, mundane, crude, unintelligent, and a lowest-common-denominator-bonding-experience that thrives and energizes itself on folly, ridicule, debasement, trash talking, or blubbering non-contemplative mesmerization. Fart jokes, burp songs, practical jokes emphasizing cruelty, engaging in trash talk with rival sports fans or about a previous romantic experience, and the subtle influence imposed on specific independent individuals by their larger group amusement state or more accurately, their larger group – pseudo, pretend, and feigned – amusement state, all exemplify this dynamic. Even the use of boring and uninteresting conversation, or numb and fake conversation, with only a subconscious intent to unconditionally ensnare another’s attention, is an example of this woeful benign amusement.

While the benign form of amusement may sometimes be harmless and/or a simple break from reality and contemplative awareness, typically both forms are dastardly and heinous. They both promote delusion via withdrawal and distraction from visceral perception and awareness; they negate reality, serving the same effect on people as that of an addict succumbing to a fix or a hit. But the drug of amusement is tragically and counterproductively swallowed under the satiating pretense of enlightenment and a desired interaction with the best aspects of life. Nothing could be further from the truth. Amusement is the doublespeak-doublethink bastardized child of, the Bizarro antivilian to, and the Dark Sided Sith, of aware and willfully applied  humor. Do not mistake this poison for wine, no matter the sparkle, spectacle, and charmful elegance of the decanter it resides within.

(continued and completed in Part 2)

Cribb          2017

You Have Awoken Them (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 195)

Pretext Note: For those interested in a more detailed understanding of some of the psychological or behavioral  terms I have used in this piece, I have included a few definitions as a postscript. The definitions are limited in greater scope, but suffice to give the reader a general understanding of these terms.

There are those who have always focused on trying to control others, who come up with every excuse in the book to justify their own personal superior authority or the superior authority of the “cause” they have chosen to champion so that they might impose their rule or ideals justifiably on others. The weaker people who are compelled to do this, but lack the drive and skill necessary, turn to association with a larger group, often lead by a powerful psychopath, which harbors the same demented over-dominating compulsion and intent. The “cause” may be the righteousness of the mighty dollar, patriotism, religion, family values, or company loyalty, to name a few. The demented group might be a business/corporation, a church/religion, a socio-economic association, the military, an aspect of the government, a bonded group of those who have attained a higher education, or even a street gang. The forms of the “cause” and the demented group may vary tremendously in appearance and proclaimed purpose, but the root intent is always the same for those, individually or collectively, who possess this pathologic desire within their psyche. The package matters little and is often only a disguise to their acknowledged consciousness, but the telltale sign is when they implement their agenda and it quickly becomes sacred doctrine which may not be questioned or opposed in any manner whatsoever. They judge and the only unforgivable sin is for others to not comply, to not obey, to not submit to their over-dominance. These “controllers” are apaths, destabilized empaths, and lesser psychopaths, who are damaged and broken in many ways, but especially by their insecurity and personal feelings of ineptitude and worthlessness. This is why they are so susceptible to the manipulative charisma of a psychopath and the thought of being warmly enabled and unquestioned in their delusion as a member of a delusional group. Those standing against all of this, against those who are trying to control others, dare I say everyone, through any of the various forms of infectious destabilization, are empaths. The empaths have finally had enough. They are tired of ignorance, apathy, unawareness, hatred, scapegoating, bullying, imperialism, war, the whip of the mighty dollar, and prejudice. The empaths are now rising up once more. You have awoken them with your insanity, and if you are lucky, they might just save the world again. If you are luckier, they might even save you from yourself and your beloved psychopath.

Cribb          2017

The sociopathic-empathic-apathic-triad (SEAT) is a real psychological dynamic of relevance. This isn’t some obscure mysticism or mumbo-jumbo of fiction. For clarity of those unaware, but interested, I provide the brief definitions below.

Apath – Constituting the largest percentage of humanity, probably somewhere around 60% of the total. Apaths tend to lack awareness and empathy. They may be intelligent or not, but regardless they are always highly prone to following the orders or succumbing to the orchestrations of a psychopath (aka sociopath).

Empath – Approximately 36% of the population are empaths. They tend to be independent and highly aware of others feelings and perceptions. They will most often disobey orders or collective behavior (peer pressure) if they feel such behavior is unjust. Empaths are often readily able to see a psychopath for who they truly are. Psychopaths most often target empaths because of this.

Psychopaths/Sociopaths – Perhaps somewhere around 4% of humanity classifies primarily as a psychopath. This does not mean these people are serial killers. A psychopath is defined primarily as lacking empathy, lacking fear, possessing excessive charisma, often being highly intelligent and manipulative, and focusing only on over-dominating the rest of the world. They love to pull puppet strings, turn others against one another, and display how much power they possess.

 

The White Nightgown Mindset (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 180)

William James warned his students that a certain kind of mindset was approaching the West—it could hardly be called a way of thought—in which no physical details are noticed. Fingernails are not noticed, trees in the plural are mentioned, but no particular tree is ever loved, nor where it stands; the hair of the ear is not noticed. We now see this mindset spread all over freshman English papers, which American students can now write quickly, on utterly generalized subjects; the nouns are usually plurals, and the feelings are all ones it would be nice to have. The same mindset turns up on the Watergate tapes, and working now with more elaborate generalizations, in graduate seminars in English, in which all the details in Yeats’s poems turn out to be archetypes or Irish Renaissance themes. It is the lingua franca, replacing Latin. The mindset could be described as the ability to talk of Africa without visualizing the hair in the baboon’s ear, or even a baboon. Instead the mindset reports “wild animals.” Since the immense range of color belongs to physical detail—the thatness—of the universe, it is the inability to see color. People with this mindset have minds that resemble white nightgowns. For people of this mindset, there’s not much difference between 3 and 742; the count of something is a detail. In fact the number they are most interested in, as James noted, is one. That’s a number without physical detail.

WIlliam James observed this approaching mindset and associated out from it sideways. He noticed the mindset resembled the upper class of Boston. They too disliked the sordid details—the hair in the ear of religion, the smells of the Irish entryway—and preferred the religion of the One. Naturally, they became Unitarians. If the “cultured people” move into this mindset, a curious thing happens; the upper (spiritual) half of life and the lower (sensual) half of life begin to part company. One part ascends; the other part, no longer connected to the high, sinks. The gaps between grom wider and wider. The educated class has the Pure One, the working class people are left with nothing but the crude physical details of their lives—the husband’s old pipe and the spit knocked out of it, the washing tub, the water and slush from the children’s boots on the entry floor, the corns on the feet, the mess of dishes in the sink, the secular love-making in the cold room. These physical details are now, in the twentieth century, not only unpenetrated by religion, but they somehow prove to the unconscious that “religion is a nullity.” James emphasized that perception, and Stevens grieved over the insight all his life. For the working class there’s nothing left but the Emperor of Ice Cream. The middle class is now the working class, and so the majority of people in the West are worse off than they were in the Middle Ages.

A Little Book on the Human Shadow

Robert Bly          1988

Millie and the Most Important Thing of All (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 177)

Millie (age 9) said “So, what is marking? How does someone mark a pet or a person?” and after a sparked involuntary chuckle, Jody’s body gradually recessed into the corner of the sofa and seemed to brace itself for whatever might come. As she did so, her expression whispered to me “well here we go you madman, this ought to be good. . . are you really going to have a college graduate level discussion with my baby girl on behavior and psychology?. . . I can’t even imagine how this is gonna go, but I guess I trust you, you crazed and certifiable lunatic.”

After a long and detailed conversation of what needed to be said and discussed to answer Millie’s question appropriately, she tilted her head to the side with playful comprehension and triumphantly inquired of me, if such a thing can be done, “So, you should never mark anything with fear, right?”

And my smile refused to be caged by any constraints as I replied “That’s right Millie. You got it, you got it! You never mark anyone or anything with fear. It is not easy and it can be very very hard not to accidentally do, but you should never ever mark anyone or anything with fear. That is the most important thing of all.”

Cribb          2017

The Pervasive Myth of Economic Gluttony vs. the Inescapable Context of Humanity (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 175)

The faulty assumption that scarcity-based economic thinking is somehow the de-facto human approach to questions of supply, demand, and distribution of wealth has mislead much anthropological, philosophical, and economic thought over the past few centuries. As economist John Gowdy explains, “‘Rational economic behavior’ is peculiar to market capitalism and is an embedded set of beliefs, not an objective universal law of nature. The myth of economic man explains the organizing principle of contemporary capitalism, nothing more or less.”

Many economists have forgotten (or never understood) that their central organizing principle, Homo economicus (a.k.a. economic man), is a myth rooted in assumptions about human nature, not a bedrock truth upon which to base a durable economic philosophy. When John Stuart Mill proposed what he admitted to be “an arbitrary definition of man, as a being who inevitably does that by which he may obtain the greatest amount of necessities, conveniences, and luxuries, with the smallest quantity of labour and physical self-denial,” it’s doubtful he expected his “arbitrary definition” to delimit economic thought for centuries. Recall Rousseau’s words: “If I had had to chose my place of birth, I would have chosen a state in which everyone knew everyone else, so that neither the obscure tactics of vice nor the modesty of virtue could have escaped public scrutiny and judgement.” Those who proclaim that greed is simply a part of human nature too often leave context unmentioned. Yes, greed is a part of human nature. But so is shame. And so is generosity (and not just toward genetic relatives). When economists base their models on their fantasies of an “economic man” motivated only by self-interest, they forget community—the all-important web of meaning we spin around each other—the inescapable context within which anything truly human has taken place.

Sex at Dawn

Ryan and Jethá          2010