Wednesday, June 20, 2012

THE RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF THE TRIVIAL

From Richard Fernandez at Belmont Club, we get this insight:
There is in that obsession with the trivial — pursued relentlessly in the midst of the collapse of demographic, economic and military strength — something of the moral of the age. A civilization completely consumed by political correctness, which required counseling for the merest shock, which believed it would preside over the End of History, is now bankrupt, unable to defend itself and without a single darned light bulb in the hardware store. What lesson was it? Perhaps it is this: never mind if you lose your pants as long as you can save your face. Or as someone else put it, those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.

This is, of course, not the kind of 'madness' that really debilitated psychiatric patients exhibit; it is the 'madness' that comes with persistent psychological denial of reality; the insanity that derives from frantic attempts to avoid dealing with a real, imminent threat to one's health, or safety, or life; and displacing one's attention to somthing unimportant, non-threatening, and trivial.

You can think of psychological displacement as a special form of denial. It allows the individual to feel as if they are in control by focusing on a less-threatening problem so as not to have to deal with the real threat.

What do you do when faced with the 'collapse of demographic, economic and military strength?' Ban lightbulbs because lightbulbs are the imminent threat you can deal with.

What do you do when faced with the threat of a nuclear Iran? Why, legalize illegal immigrants; or improve your golf skills; or, even work on your re-election campaign. In the end, you can always blame Bush or the Republicans or Congress.

The entire purpose of displacement is to gain control over the conflict you won't acknowledge. By focusing on something you have some control over, the psyche is much less threatened. You can even pretend, that if it weren't for X,Y, or Z, everything would be perfect hunky dory.

Anything is preferable to focus on instead of the real danger.

Displacement can be thought of as an slightly more mature type of projection. In projection, the individual remains oblivious to the fact that he owns and is responsible for the emotions that he imagines are in the person or group into which he is projecting. In other words, ownership of the idea and/or the emotional affect is banished from the self.

In displacement, the idea or emotion is deflected from one object to another, less threatening one, but the ownership of the negative emotion or idea (e.g. animosity, anger) is retained--and is often raised to a virtue. A common example is the person who is angry at a loved one, but settles for kicking the dog. The anger is evident in the action and is still owned by the person experiencing it, but the object of the anger has been displaced by the dog.

The relentless pursuit of the trivial is a way of avoiding the essential. It allows you to lie to yourself and maintain that oh so important self-esteem (i.e., "saving face") that is also relentlessly pursued in today's world..

If the world comes crashing down around you, well that happens in the future. And, in the long run we're all dead anyway.


8 comments:

Lionell Griffith said...

Then there is the ultimate cop out: "I didn't mean for THIS to happen. I had the best of intentions."

I would say this so called "best" is not a very high standard. It is not clear that it is good enough to be a part of the pavement to hell let alone worthy of absolving them from the harm they have done.

RJ said...

The "genesis" of political correctness belongs to that time period known as the Vietnam conflict where our dear enlightened college/university professors realized that with their students not wanting to serve in the American military and be sent to an active combat zone, along with the energies expressed via the public demonstrations, radical groups, etc. they could "harness" a great political power from which--as lowly teachers, they could change the dynamic beginning with the administration which had heretofore been the lord and master over them.

They just might--if they harnessed this raw power, come to dominate the administration and the public narrative, discourse...

As quasi intellectuals they always dreamed of being in power.

It's as simple as that!

Obama is the "bastard baby" they created, nothing more nothing less.

Lord and Master...old game, really old...but powerful nonetheless!

RJ said...

We can expect and accept our "president" lying to those outside the borders of the United States: It's a foreign policy reality that works to keep at bay those who would do harm to our national self interests.

What happens when our president lies to American citizens on a daily basis on every imaginable issue that is considered important to us? Why would such a person behave this way?

What kind of "secret" agenda would such a person have, harbor, or intend to put into place?

Watch and you will discover, if those events and obvious "clues' he has produced don't as of yet do the trick for you.

Stupid bastards!

Rick Bradford said...

Paraphrasing a thinker of the past: "When a society treats the trivial as important, and the important as trivial, it is doomed."

Supertradmum said...

One is trivial when one has forgotten who one is in the world. To create a bubble world of "yes we can" was to create a mythical utopia, much like Marx, Lenin, Mao and Gramsci. Only the narcissistic person believes in his own world which he has created and manages to surround himself with like kinds of self-centered, power-hungry and ultimately, vision-less men and women.

We have a leadership crisis in the West. I hope it is not too late...Proverbs 29:18.."The people without a vision perish."

Anonymous said...

This is a brilliant point... and of course it is also a recurring theme and vital arrow in the enemies of freedom't arsenal. Distraction. Don't focus on the bad we're creating, look over here! American Idol's Got Talent with Voice and Kardashian Oscars Emmy's Ipads Rock and Roll So You Think You Want a Tatoo! Distraction from our real enemies -- inside the gates and out. - GG

RJ said...

How far does the apple fall from the tree?

Obama's daddy, the Kenyan, went out in a flame of booze and disillusionment, discarded by those he thought to impress and rule over.

Little Barry seems to be taking the same path, only he just may have a stronger family unit, making him available for all those "true" stories of who he really was for years to come after he gets booted out of office.

I wonder if the Democrats will go down with his Communist...whoops, err Progressive ship?

Evil is as evil does...George Clooney is so stupid!

T. AKA Ricky Raw said...

I think this is a problem bigger than political correctness and incorrectness, because as much as I hate political correctness, I find that the politically incorrect are increasingly engaging in the same type of displacement dynamics.

For example I see more people than ever, instead of making meaningful attacks on political correctness to achieve some greater good, just use the backlash against political correctness as an excuse to be insensitive, rabble-rousing, attention-generating jerks. There's this whole conceit of "If what I'm saying is politically incorrect and offensive, it must automatically be provocative and deep.

But it's a type of displacement as well. These guys feel "If I can control something trivial, in this case the moods or some PC prigs, and make the battle all about offending people for its own sake, I can avoid deeper issues that I can't control." The politically incorrect person who is knee-jerk, obsessively insensitive at all times is as big a cultural villain as the politically correct, hypersensitive twit, and I fear among conservatives we've begun overcompensating in the opposite direction.

An example of "good" political incorrectness are your articles about Shame and the Arab Psyche. It's not being politically incorrect for its own sake, it's doing it with a greater goal, and exposing a situation where adherence to being PC does more harm than good. However there are times when being PC can be good as well. I'd hate to think of a world where we feel justified in using any slur we can think of against any person of any age group just because we're in a bad mood.

I think we should avoid any blanket statement for or against political incorrectness or political correctness and realize that such things should be judged on a case by case basis on the context of the scenario. This whole "PC is always bad" vs "non-PC is always bad" are two scenarios that both play into the same faulty, divisive thinking.