For the hysteric emotions are primary and are not subject to an objective reality. Historically, this psychological phenomenon has been associated with women (hence the uses of the word "hysteria", indicating an association with the womb), but although the clinical syndromes are more commen in women, men are hardly immune from behaving hysterically (watch any sports event for confirmation of this). The newer term that is often used to get away from female/womb association is "histrionic".
When we speak of someone becoming "hysterical" or "histrionic", we are talking about behavior that exhibits overwhelming or unmanageable emotional excess.
Welcome to the wonderful world of feelings, nothing more than feelings (cue the music), where there really is nothing more than feelings at play.
This is a world where there is no objective reality or truth; a world where, if you believe something is true, then it is. In other words, it is a world where something can be considered "fake but accurate" or where captured enemy combatants in the middle of a war are considered in a "gulag"; or, where a "religion of peace" beheads people; is so terrified of women's sexuality they must "liberate" them by forcing them to wear sacks over their bodies; and which promotes blowing yourself up in a crowd as a devout religious act.
A variety of altered states of consciousness may result from the dissociative process. In one dissociated or hysterical state, sleep-walking (sonambulism), the person appears to be out of contact with his environment, is seemingly unresponsive to external stimuli, and in many cases appears to be living out a vivid, hallucinated drama.
That particular emotional state essentially describes the political left and the marxist/ socialist/communist/pick your utopian fantasy/ dead-enders.
Mass hysteria occurs when large groups of people engage in psychological dissociation; and political mass hysteria is the appropriate name when all the emotional excitability and excess happen to serve a political function or ideological agenda. Most of political theater is histrionic--appealing to the emotions (usually the baser ones -- like envy, greed etc.)
Drama of any sort suits the hysteric's modus operandi extremely well.
One of the most persistent dramatic productions of the last century, which unfortunately is still playing to certain easily amused crowds in this one, is the same old- same old Marxist passion play titled "Oppressor vs. Oppressed" which remains on the billet in spite of the catastrophic reviews it continues to receive.
When Act I of this sad little drama began, the world was about to be saved from the horrible evils of the American Capitalist Oppression of the masses by the brave Soviet Socialist Republic.
Unfortunately for the heroic workers of the Socialist Republic, reality reared its ugly head, and by the time the curtain was about to go up on Act II, the deaths and thorough subjugation of millions under the boot of the heroic utopian Socialist Republic resulted in most of the intelligent members of the audience quickly departing the theater. The incredible economic successes of capitalism and the freedom that fires it, compared to the pathetic lives of most under the yoke of communism, made most people who were not in the grip of some intense emotion realize that Marxism in all it's iterations was a complete dead end--a really bad one act play that deserved a final curtain.
"That's why it's interesting that the neo-Marxists have carefully rewritten the play and are presenting the revival all dressed up in a new postmodern wardrobe. The play's the thing after all--reality be damned! [I described the rewriting and editing process in this post on the four pillars of the socialist revival].
Armed with postmodern philosophy and rhetoric, the neo-Marxists of the left continue to churn out the same message in their revised play. The role of "evil" has been reprised by American Capitalist/Imperialist Oppression. The only differences in the rewrite from the original are the identities of some of the poor, helpless victims of these evil oppressors. The original victims--the "workers of the world" had cleverly invested in the capitalist systen and made managed to make their way out of victimhood status (much to the dismay of their leftist overlords), and pretty much loss interest in revolting against their "evil oppressors" who were making it possible for them to prosper.
Let us consider a recent comment by someone who is routinely annoyed at this blog for suggesting that the left has betrayed any claim it might have once had that it champions the poor and oppressed. He writes with a pathos that comes from his soul:
Why are little ones born only to suffer for the want of immunity or a bowl ofrice?
Well, that is a very good question. Why are they? What are the political forces that keep this little one down? If this commenter really wanted to alleviate the little ones' suffering, you might think he would look at what policies have had the most effect in bringing people out of poverty. You might think he would support such policies. That would be rational. But the sad truth is that he doesn't seem to care about what actually works in the real world. He cares mostly about what make him feel good. He also undoubtedly supports the same vapid policies that assuage his guilt and make him feel righteous and a champion of the poor; but that also guarantee that these little ones--and all the little ones after-- remain in poverty and victimhood their entire life (and, of course, remain dedicated Democrats or leftists).
I'm very sure it makes him feel really good to demonstrate how much he cares. I'm even sure he considers himself a caring and compassionate person -- especially compared to those evil- Republican-neocon-warmongering-hate-filled-bastards-whose-only-goal-is-to-oppress everyone-under-the-yolk-of- the-evil-capitalist-imperialist-United-States.
Gagdad Bob in his post "The Triumph of the Will and the Reign of Nothing" has this to say:
...concrete reality has a way of clearing aside so much abstract intellectual theory. There is a reason why Marxism only exists in universities, and that you will never find a businessman who operates his business along the lines of Marxist doctrine.As I suggested in mulitple previous posts, the political left acutally believes in nothing. In fact, they have almost reached the natural endpoint of their postmodern intellectual journey and arrived at the core nihilism that animates their belief system. Once reason and reality are finally jettisoned as a basis for human action, one is left only with our passionate feelings and the wonderful postmodern emotional universe.
It is one thing for an adult to believe such leftist claptrap. If they want to ruin their lives in their adolescent rebellion against God, that’s fine by me. But to ruin a child’s life by inculcating him with these dysfunctional values is an unforgivable sin. For example, to raise a black child in contemporary America by telling him that this is a racist country, that white people hate him, that he is a victim from the start, and that his efforts will be for naught, is soul murder pure and simple.
Likewise, to brainwash an Arab child into believing that 15 million Jews in the entire world are the cause of a single problem among the world's billion Muslims--let alone all their problems--is a heinous form of abuse, because when you create a victim, you create a nihilist. Why? Because once victim status is secured, then you are no longer burdened by a conscience. You may destroy and kill plentifully, because the order of the cosmos is unfair and illegitimate, and anything you do to set things right is inherently moral, no matter how immoral. One is sanctioned to abandon oneself to one’s most primitive instincts. And the violence will not end until the Old Order is overthrown and the New Man is created, free of the existential categories that define man to begin with.
Meaning has been vanquished. Man is liberated from himself. The Triumph of the Will and the Reign of Nothingness are complete. God and man are dead. Long live the Beast!
Let us take a peek at just a small part of the political mass hysteria of today's left as it is applies the plotline of the neo-marxist drama to all events.
Remember the mass hysteria that ensued when Bush described Iraq, North Korea, and Iran as the "Axis of Evil"? Well, with the recent activities of two of the countries in that Axis , many pundits and intellectuals bemoan the fact that by attacking Iraq, the third member of the Axis, we essentially "attacked the wrong country." The context of such remarks is that the U.S. should have gone after North Korea and Kim Jong Il; or after the mullahs of Iran--all people who really really meant us harm-- and not poor, innocent, misunderstood Saddam.
Now they say, we are in deep trouble because we didn't--and it is all Bush's fault, of course.
But you see, if we had say, gone for regime change in North Korea --what they now insist we should have done--then only the names of the dramatis personae (especially the character of "The Oppressed") would have changed in this leftist drama.
Instead of the poor helpless victims of American oppression in Iraq that we hear so much about; we instead would be hearing about the poor, helpless, starving North Koreans -- victims of... American Imperialism/Capitalism! (Good guess)
Even now, we get some glimpses of this meme, which the MSM--the opiate of the leftist masses-- is ready to insert into the psychodrama at a moment's notice. If only the U.S. would negotiate in good faith with Kim Jong Il! The deadlock with North Korea could all have been prevented! All the dear leader wants is to talk directly with the U.S.! Is that too much to ask for? And so on, ad nauseum.
Replay and insert same tragic plot line for Iran, Syria, or any other country that is a potential "victim" of the U.S. Replay and insert any other recognized and established victim group and the storyline is fundamentally unchanged. The sole source of the power of the left comes from convincing anyone who disagrees with them and their agenda must be: a) Islamophobic; b) homophobic; c) sexist; d) racist etc. etc.
That's the beauty of the eternal neo-marxist drama. It does not depend on reality. It does not require truth. It does not even require thought! All it requires is a surplus of emotion spread around to the masses, a few slogans liberally splattered on posterboard, and heaps of self-indulgent and self-righteous nincompoops to buy tickets for the next performance.
Oh, and take a look at what the histrionic Democrats have planned for this country if they win the House in November. This fine example of hysterical political theater is merely the next act in the left's little power play waiting in the wings for the right moment.
I'm sure we can all rest comfortably in our beds knowing that the neo-marxist left (who have become mainstream in the Democratic party) has such a wonderful and coprehensive plan to deal with the imminent threats facing civilization in these troubled times.
The Triumph of the Will and the Reign of Nothingness will be then be complete. Long live the Beast!
UPDATE: Victor Davis Hanson has more to say on the pathological hysteria of the liberal establishment.