Here Thar Be Monsters!

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23.5.12

Running Out Of (E)Steam

One of my favorite Indonesian sayings is, "Sayap-sayap patah terbang kembali."  It simply says, "Broken wings return to flight."  I am proof of that. 

While hiking in the jungle over the weekend, it rained and turned the ubiquitous Java clay into glass.  I slipped and landed square on my elbow, jamming my shoulder right good.  As I lay in the mud staring up at the three monkeys staring down at me, they looked at one another as if to say, "And they call themselves primates?"

After a thorough massage, visit to the doctor, three X-rays and a compress of the nastiest, smelliest arak I've yet come across, I can sit here and assault the world with more of my ramblings.  And so, with a cup of fine java (pun intended) in hand, let us launch into another round, since I've had several days to muse over a dozen topics.

In the past couple of days, I've listened to some fine interviews with Gerald Celente on Coast-to-Coast, and Ian R. Crane on Red Ice Radio.  Two very well-spoken gentlemen expounding on all matters economic, which naturally led me to think about psychology.  Makes sense, right?

At any rate, what I've decided is that psychology is the root of all problems in our current mess we call society.  In fact, you can trace the roots directly to Freud and Maslow from the middle of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th. 

Freud, of course, turned all of humanity into perverted mother lovers whose most noble deeds were nothing more than attempts to breed.  Maslow went further with his Hierarchy of Needs to ascribe all motivations to basic animal desires, with self-awareness a distant bastard child of sex, housing and food.

Psychology was a natural marriage with advertising, and advertising is just a mild form of propaganda.  With psychology defining the human mind and basic motivations, the Madison Ave. types jumped on it to twist us into consuming robots.  Hitler and his gang further perfected the techniques to chain the individual's perception of self-worth to the glory of the State.

Psychology has spent the last century and a half figuring out ways to break the Mind down into constituent parts and rebuild it in the image of Corporatism, and it has worked brilliantly, if not seditiously.  A great number of people any more are little more than empty shells with magical paper in their pockets running wildly around buying up any old gee-gaw thrust in their faces.

Psychology starts on the false assumption that any human being can honestly understand the mind of any other human being.  That wasn't enough, though.  It went on to propose that it could train certain high priests to be able to diagnose and cure 'abnormalities' in thinking.  I mean, honestly, they believe that.

Going back to Hitler, he was a vegetarian, artist, writer, and rabid anti-smoker: all qualities that goofy 'liberals' drool over.  He rebuilt a destroyed nation and within five years, turned it from abject poverty to an industrial giant that took the combined efforts of a major part of the world's nations to stop.  How does psychology explain that this man was also one of the cruelest, most heartless mass murders in history?

Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane" is a brilliant exploration of the psychology behind a character who seemingly had it all: wealth, power, possessions.  Yet, we are led to conclude that at his core, he was driven by the lack of love from a cold, heartless mother.  But that hardly seems to add up to a highly complex mind with diverse interests and a desire to influence millions.

In the end, psychology can not answer the one question it purports to, and that is to find a formula for human activity and motivation.  What it has found, though, is multiple ways to manipulate emotions and especially guilt in order to force people into desired behavior patterns.

Take, for instance, ads that promote soaps that whiten and brighten.  The commercials usually have two women, both married judging by the rings on their fingers, eyeing each other's whites.  The woman with the dingiest whites is made to feel guilt and envy at the brightness of the other woman's laundry.  No one mentions that fact that no one other than the wife should be looking at her husband's underwear, so what difference does it make?  But the seed is planted.

Another fine example is ads for luxury sports sedans.  We are shown a well-dressed man sitting at the wheel blazing down a mountainous road.  We are led to conclude that we have not 'made it' until we can plant ourselves in that driver's seat.  We clamor to finance our way into that seat, regardless of whether we can afford it, because we want to possess that image.  In other words, we are encouraged to chase ghosts in order to achieve self-esteem.

And that brings us to the crux of the issue: self-esteem.  It seems like so much is made of self-esteem.  In schools all over the world, children are given prizes just for waking up in the morning.  There is no achievement or actual victory.  There is only the shell of it.

Through the process of mental manipulation, we have been led to think that self-esteem is the Holy Grail of psychological health.  No one seems to question the fact that self-esteem is just an empty pride that is easily destroyed.  In fact, little Johnny, who has been pumped full of self-esteem all through school, can be destroyed in minutes in the real world.  Once his self-esteem is destroyed by reality, he will do anything for anyone in order to feel fulfilled again.  He can be made to buy anything, do anything, that will puff up his self-esteem.

The real counterpart to self-esteem is self-respect.  Self-respect, unlike its hollow cousin, is very hard to destroy.  Self-respect is generated from within, not from outside.  It is not bestowed through image or objects.  It is the feeling of worth and dignity.  It is the unshakable belief that one has value by virtue of one's humanity.  It is inherent in existence and needs no reinforcement from outside sources.

Self-esteem requires constant feedback from others.  It is based solely on external factors to exist.  It must be fed constantly by variables that are almost completely outside the control of the individual.  It forces the individual to constantly buy the latest gee-gaw or fashion in order to receive adulation from those who would not otherwise care a whit.

Self-respect, on the other hand, is fed from within.  It exists regardless of external circumstances.  It allows one to feel a sense of value, whether dressed in rags or the latest Prada designs.  Self-respect is the bane of Madison Ave., because that person can not be shamed into spending money they don't have to buy things they don't need in order to receive empty praise.

It is the difference between 'poor' and 'broke'.  Poor is a state of mind brought on by self-esteem.  One is poor if one succumbs to hopelessness brought about by the inability to receive praise.  Broke is a temporary state of being that can be cured with a little hard work and ingenuity, and success reinforces the sense of one's value as a human being, regardless of whether anyone else notices.

Self-respect is not a commodity that can be bought, sold and manipulated.  Self-esteem is.  This is the Great Lie perpetrated by Madison Ave., aided and abetted by psychology.  It is the one achievement of psychology that can be directly traced to the core of society's ills at this point in time.  By reducing us to self-esteem junkies, we can be made to follow any trend, buy any object, believe any lie, as long as it continues to re-inflate the leaky balloon we call Self.

In Bernard Shaw's great play, "Caesar and Cleopatra," there is a subtle juxtaposition between self-esteem and self-respect.  The aging caesar requires the love and attention of the young Cleopatra to puff up his flagging self-esteem.  He sees himself as losing his manhood due to age.  Caesar's scribe Britannus, however, requires only the knowledge that he has done the best he can at a task, regardless to what ignominy he must stoop to achieve it.

In other words, all of Caesar's achievements in conquering the known world can not fill his need for outside confirmation, while Britannus only needs the knowledge that he achieved his goal to feel worth.  Self-esteem and self-respect.

The New Renaissance of our society and culture will be based on this simple reversal of view.  If we generate our feelings of worth from within, rather than needing talismans of value, then we will quite easily conquer what ails us.

Think of the "Wizard of Oz".  The scarecrow performed feats of intelligence without a degree.  The tin man showed profound emotion and caring without a heart.  And the lion displayed extreme courage despite his fear.  They did all this from inner strength, not from accolades and accoutrement.

As long as we allow society's institutions to control us through fear, guilt and self-loathing, then we will continue to be slaves to them.  In restoring our innate self-worth, we will conquer the evil that is destroying our world without a single act of violence.  It starts by tuning out the psychological warfare being perpetrated on us through the media.  It finishes by realizing that we are all God's Creatures with value beyond calculation by virtue of our existance.

As Britannus said, "In war, we paint ourselves blue, so that though our enemies may strip us of our clothes and our lives, they can not strip us of our responsibility."

You figure it out.