The angry teenager who just hates it when she doesn't get her way, is particularly enraged when Mommy (usually on her side) goes along with Daddy; and we see that same dynamic rather frequently these days, as the narcissistic left raises the decibel level of their pouts and whines whenever their will is thwarted.
None of the rhetoric has anything remotely to do with reality; but all that is necessary for the left is to feel intensely that something is so, and for them it is.
We are living in a police state! Bush is Hitler! Christians are trying to impose a theocracy on America. We are being persecuted! Blah blah victims blah oppression blah fascist blah blah blah! And so on and so forth.
Which brings me to hysteria.
Hysteria is a concept characterized by a wide variety of physical and mental symptoms that result from dissociating one's cognitive functioning from one's emotion and/or behavior. The psychological defense that makes this happen is known as dissociation.
For the hysteric emotions are primary and are not subject to an objective reality.
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 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 today's political left as they sonambulate through the events taking place in the world.
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, fear etc.)
Drama of any sort suits the hysteric's modus operandi extremely well. The drama is designed to mask the fact that the individual is in psychological denial; and, as I have written before:
At the center of all psychological denial is a hidden agenda. That agenda is usually not completely conscious--meaning that the denier has not thought through the issues surrounding his denial; and may not even be aware of what his motivation is in asserting something is true when it isn't; or false when it isn't.
Take for example, the ongoing horror imagined by the left (since 2000) that America is imminently going to be turned into a Christian theocracy! Think about that. Here we are in a war with Islamic fundamentalism; where Islam on a daily basis tells the rest of the world that they intend to make everyone convert to their religion or die; and that an Islamic theocracy is their goal-- and many on the left seem to think that the U.S. is at risk in having a Christian theocracy imposed on them any day now. For them, Bushitler is more dangerous than Bin Laden and that the former represents the REAL terrorism in the world. (see here and here for more explanation of this phenomenon).
Aaaaaaaany minute now.....wait for it......just wait....Are we a Christian theocracy yet? Oh wait, I forgot, we're a police state now. Because Congress passed FISA.
Engaging in "self-delusion" is the act of deceiving one's self about some aspect of reality. Self-delusion is probably the most critical cognitive skill a skilled hysteric must cultivate.
We humans have quite a number of psychological strategies with which we are able to deceive ourselves about the external world. This has been recently taken to new heights by a certain segment of the population since 9/11; who, rather than face the reality that we are at war, instead continue to pretend that there is no danger from radical Islam--except, of course, for the danger that Bush has placed us in by confronting it. These are the same people who shrieked that the "dots were not connected" prior to 9/11 (when they aren't insisting that it wasn't all a plot to take power implemented by the Bush/Cheney fascists). It's very hard to keep up with all the conspiracy theories and convoluted and twisted logic that is used to hide reality from their consciousness.
To face the truth of what is happening in the world would require some very precious assumptions in their ideology to be questioned. So they dance around it. Denial takes many forms:
- by using psychological projection some very violent and angry people are able to convince themselves that they are paragons of peace and harmony. This is not much different from the delusional projection used by certain religious fanatics who behead innocent people are able to convince themselves that by doing so, they are pure and holy, while" infidels" like Jews are monsters who "eat babies" and decend from "pigs and monkeys".
- by using displacement, some people are able to convince themselves that there is a devious plan to imminently replace our secular government with a Christian theocracy; while they are singularly unconcerned about religious fanatics actively waging war on the U.S. and the rest of the world trying to institute an Islamic theoracy.
- by using fantasy some people are able to convince themselves that these particular religious fanatics are reasonable and sensible people, amenable to negotiation.
- by using denial some people are able to convince themselves that there is no such thing as Islamofascism and that the war on terror is just a political ploy by an administration they don't like to accumulate power.
- by using repression some people would like to eliminate all personal thoughts about 9/11 and wipe it from our collective consciousness.
When dealing with well-defended people like this, one of the refrains commonly heard when you point out their defense to them, is that it is not they who are in denial about reality--it is you! It is not they who are projecting, it is you! It is not they who fail to see the danger, it is you!
You think you are living in a democracy but you are wrong, the members of this "reality-based" community say, we are really living in a police state!
You just haven't noticed it yet.
For them, such assertions are simply a matter of opinion--infused with strong feelings, of course--and their opinion is just as good as yours, thank you very much.
But let's examine that interesting perspective (usually conveyed with a sneer, as in: "That's just your opinion.")
Probably the first prerequisite for accusing someone of engaging in self-delusion is that one must accept that there is an objective reality, external and independent to one's self; one's beliefs or one's emotions or feelings. Without such a fundamental epistomological foundation, it is completely meaningless to accuse anyone of self-delusion, althought postmodern intellectuals do it all the time.
As they wallow in their preferred form of social subjectivism, it is perfectly "reasonable" (if that is the word) from their perspective to impute delusion to others--even if every time they do so, they effectively demonstrate the invalidity of their own philosophy. That is why it is so amusing to observe their appropriation of the term "reality-based community" -- when they don't believe in any reality except for their own emotions!
It gets excessively wearisome to constantly point out to them that there is a world that exists outside their heads and outside their emotions; and that the entire purpose of reason --which they reject in favor of feelings --is about understanding that world. And that just because they feel a certain way doesn't mean that it has anything to do with reality.
Their social subjectivism posits that our minds are disconnected from reality to begin with. How then is it possible for them to accuse anyone of "self-delusion"? One simply has a differing POV that is by their definition as real and true as anyone else's.
Thus our adolescent drama queen linked to above can say with absolute sincerity and passion, "It's official, we are a police state..." and not have to produce one iota of evidence to prove that statement.
But she just feels it in her bones. She and her friends must be trembling in fear behind locked doors, waiting for the Bush/Cheny Gestapo to drag them away for imminent torture (remember Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo!) for daring to speak their infidel thoughts. Individual freedom has been crushed with the passage of FISA ! And this horrific event, in which they were betrayed by Mommy, is symbolic of their ongoing and ceaseless struggle against the fascist dictatorship of the BushHitler.
Yeah, right. Symbolic of the left's struggle against reality is more like it.
But they'll keep holding on...to their self-delusions anyway.
Holding back the years,
Thinking of the fear I've had for so long.
When somebody hears,
Listen to the fear that's gone.
Strangled by the wishes of pater,
Hoping for the arm of mater,
Get to me sooner or later,
I'll keep holding on...