Tuesday, October 02, 2012


Wretchard has a great post talking about "The Fifth Kind of Man":
The problem with an administration that relies upon spin is that it forgets how vindictive the truth can be. The truth bites back — and hard. But in an environment where politicized media and bureaucracy will tell its masters only what they want to hear the truth is concealed beneath the talking points until it is too late. In that regard, perhaps the Iranians should have the last word. A thirteenth-century Persian-Tajik poet, Ibn Yamin wrote that there were four types of men.
One who knows and knows that he knows… His horse of wisdom will reach the skies.
One who knows, but doesn’t know that he knows… He is fast asleep, so you should wake him up!
One who doesn’t know, but knows that he doesn’t know… His limping mule will eventually get him home.
One who doesn’t know and doesn’t know that he doesn’t know… He will be eternally lost in his hopeless oblivion!

And then there’s the fifth type of man. The man who doesn’t want to know because he thinks it doesn’t matter.

I differ a little from Wretchard on the last: it's not that he thinks it doesn't matter as much as it actually matters so much--and that is precisely why why he doesn't want to know about it.

The truth is indeed vindictive--but in a horribly passionless way. Likewise, reality, the space where truth resides, has a calm persistence and patience that is unmatched by even the most desperate attempts by the human species to avoid it.

Nevertheless, human ingenuity has discovered many ways of temporarily hiding from the truth; obscuring the truth; and when necessary, lying about the truth in order to avoid reality and its consequences.

I have written extensively on the pervasive psychological denial of the political left (see here, here , here, and here, for example). And, I frequently point out that denial is an "equal opportunity" defense mechanism engaged in by all human beings; it is an involuntary, built-in psychic response designed to protect an individual from precipitously having to face unwanted, unacceptable or threatening feelings, thoughts or behavior. The mind simply blocks out reality and truth--and sees what it wants to see or becomes blind to reality.

The consequences of denial can vary from extremely mild to extremely extreme. It depends entirely on what aspect of truth or reality is being denied.

Let's consider some of the more negative consequences of psychological denial:

• In the longer-term, denial requires a continued compromises with reality to maintain the pretense that "Everything is fine!" or "Nothing to see here, move along!" Eventually, delusional thinking, along with paranoia and its inevitable conspiracy theories begin to take the place of rational thought in those who deny reality for long periods of time. (see all the 9/11 conspiracy theorists for examples in our own country; or the more recent comments of former President Clinton--once considered a "moderate" democrat, who now fully adheres to the model that the Republicans have manufactured a culture of fear in order to fool the American public into thinking we are at war (read the transcript linked below). See here and here for some examples in the Muslim world, which is rife with conspiracies and which could not exist as a cohesive society without them).

• The denier must then place the blame for the unacceptable reality on someone else and that leads to increased conflict between those who are in denial and those who aren't. Efforts to maintain their denial consumes them and will lead them to escalate their anger, rage and attempts at external blame the denial becomes untenable and ever more obvious.

• The denier will begin distort language and logic to rationalize and justify their behavior(examples of this are too numerous to mention, but I have discussed it here , here and here) . Eventually, cognitive strategies and rational argument will be abandoned altogether by the denier, because those strategies are not sustainable and are unable to convince others; at which point the person in denial will simply refer to his feelings or emotions as the sole justification.

• The denier will feel justified in acting out against those who threaten the peacefulness of their fantasy (just ask Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the filmmaker behind "Innocence of Muslims"). Remember, for example, the attacks and attempts to silence authors like Mark Steyn because his book , America Alone, discusses the genocidal demographic trajectory of Europe as they refuse to acknowledge or deal with the reality of Islamic immigration.

Nevertheless, the degree of denial engaged in by the the Obama Administration and their supporters on the political left has been boundless and very creative.

Usually, I give the political left and its more clueless adherents the benefit of the doubt, and assumed that their unwillingness to face reality was unconscious; and was so pronounced and pervasive because they could not accept the truth that history and the real world had revealed about their beloved and bankrupt ideology. That ideology, whether it is called Marxism, communism or socialism is fundamentally anti-human .

What happens when psychological denial ceases to be unconscious and becomes a deliberate, willful, and consciously evil behavior-- in spite of all the accumulated evidence of its malignant impact on real people in the real world?

At that point we can safely assume that we are no longer dealing with a purely defensive structure in the psyche; we are dealing with aggressive, unadulterated sociopathy.

I believe that last statement accurately describes the Obama Administration.

The traditional definition of sociopathy is a personality disorder characterized by a lack of social responsibility and failure to adapt to ethical and social standards of the community.

If we think about that definition for a moment, we can perhaps begin to understand what is going on in our world today; and the reason that a huge number of people have embraced a sociopathic lifestyle.

Under the pervasive influence of postmodern philosophy and rhetoric, the ethical and social standards of the community have, unfortunately, been slowly evolving and eroding.

In western culture, ethical and moral standards used to be anchored to the real world (i.e., to reality); but in the postmodern wilderness in which the political left and most of its most visible spokespeople--i.e., leaders in the Democratic Party-- wander aimlessly, ethics and morality are relative and "anchored" to feelings and whim; which inevitably unleashes the baser and more vile aspects of human nature.

The 20th century became the playground (and litter box) for the narcissist; and by the time the 21st century rolled around, malignant narcissism was not even considered deviant, it had gone mainstream. Since psychopathology continually evolves and worsens if it is not confronted and dealt with, what we have now in our culture, particularly the political system, is the endstage of psychological evolution under postmodernism: the sociopath who disguises his or her sociopathy by selflessness (it used to be marketed as "Hope and Change", now even that has been changed to "[Ignore the truth and reality of what my policies have brought about in the economy and the world, and let's just move] FOWARD!"

These selfless sociopaths are people who couldn't care less about the individual human being. Individual human beings are expendable; even vast numbers of them--as long as they stand in the way of the implementation of the sociopath's great ideas and compassionate execution of those ideas. They are the fodder that can be used to build "great" societies, utopian fantasies and collectivist wet-dreams.

It used to be that with the rise of civilization, political sociopaths--both selfiash and selfless-- were (thankfully) few and far between. Even so, when they appeared in history, they wreaked havoc and destroyed lives with great abandon for "the greater good". Needless to say, a central aspect of the 'greater good' was always the advancement of their own glorious self and their ideas.

We can thank primarily the political left and its useful idiots for the persistent, unyielding, and willful celebration of--and ultimately mainstreaming of--malignant narcissism. We have entered the age of postmodern sociopathy and nihilism.

What does it matter if the lives and freedoms of so many individuals are sacrificed to the murderous oppressors of the world? If you "kick out the wealthy" then you have the wonderful socialist paradise of Cuba; or the magnificent utopia of North Korea with all their misery, poverty, oppression and leftist enlightenment! We will all watch with wonder and awe as France implements the ultimate redistributionist fantasy of a 75% tax on the "wealthy". Is there anyone who can possibly believe that this will solve France's financial problems? Believe me, the next phase will be the demands for a 100% tax on those evil rich people who cause all the worlds problems with their wealth.

Under the "enlightened" and "progressive" left, wealth will be redistributed until there is nothing left to redistribute; at which point the human mind will be completely enslaved and even more scapegoats will be deivered to the altars of progressivism--but so what? As the eminent leftist and quintessential nihilist Joseph Stalin once remarked, "Death solves all problems - no man, no problem."

In the long run we are all dead anyway, right? Now there's a vindictive truth for you....


Library-Gryffon said...

I had learned that poem slightly differently:

He who knows not and knows not he knows not is a fool. Shun him.

He who knows not and knows he knows not is a child. Teach him.

He who knows and knows not that he knows is asleep. Wake him.

He who knows and knows that he knows is wise. Follow him.

The ending of the persian version as well as the rest of your post makes me think of my favorite opening quote from Gene Rodenberry's Andromeda:
"Those who fail to learn history
are doomed to repeat it;
those who fail to learn history correctly--
why they are simply doomed."

I just wish we knew a way to keep them from dooming us along with them.

RJ said...

"ethics and morality are relative and "anchored" to feelings and whim"

Time now for some classic authors to come forward and tell us some wisdoms, only our schools refuse to teach such thinking to our children.

The key word, the complete meaning as the Greeks understood it to be is:


However, time may not wait, for the cliffs are looming and we are being herded in that direction.

We won't be the first civilization to go over the cliff.

The mob...the mob...the mob beckons!

lgude said...

I see myself as a recovering liberal, so the idea of malignant narcissism resonates. I recognize it in myself, but notice that even when I was much younger something stopped me from fully partaking of it. I got a Great Society grant to try to rehabilitate young prisoners. I actually managed to turn a few of them around, but was honest enough to write in my report to Washington that even with heroic efforts I couldn't claim the process was cost effective. I should have lied so i could have gotten the next grant...and the one after that. Then I would have succeeded in becoming a malignant narcissist. Now I'm 70 and although I still have defense mechanisms I can't take them very seriously anymore. It is plain enough that death will do quite nicely for all of them. I find their value depreciates exponentially with time.