Goodness Perverted

George Lakoff was on Book TV last night, talking about the difference between the cognitive function of conservatives and progressives. What he said is something I've said for awhile because it seems so obvious, but I guess it really isn't. The difference is in the patriarchal structure one experiences as reality. If the father has to be right, and in control of the family, because he is the protector from other patriarchs who want to kill him, rape mama and sell the children into white slavery, then there is a natural tendency to have a top down, authoritarian government.

In this kind of structure sex is strictly controlled by the men because they own the women and children. Women who go against this structure are branded whores and when a body shows up in a trash bag it's unfortunate, but she was, after all, a whore. Female status is derived from conforming to the ownership of a male, and male status diminishes if he doesn't know which kids are his.

Progressives are different. They tend to be more interested in empowering the women and children of other people as well as their own, and tend to see aggression as a product of right wing patriarchy. Empathy is the key ingredient in progressivism. The power of an insider group of males is the key ingredient in contemporary conservatism. All of the disagreements on issues stem from that, and become obvious if you look at them in that frame of reference. For example, it has long been observed that progressives have sex scandals while conservatives have power scandals.

The question of the accumulation of power in the executive becomes obvious as well. If the model of the family is the father has all the power, and nobody else has any rights except what the father allows them, then the Unitary Executive is for you. It's certainly for Sam Alito and John Roberts, and it's certainly for George Bush, Dick Cheney, and John McCain. It follows the ancient Jewish tribal model, in which the family is literally the property of the father, just like the livestock. These are Old Testament patriarchs.

The progressives stand against this concentration of power because their model of the family is different. The Power Father has evolved into the Christ figure, who is not a war god but a wise god, with developed frontal lobes. In their model the mother is equally powerful and the father doesn't own anybody else. He is part of a unit, just as the ego is part of a family of characters in the psyche, which correct each other's blind spots. This requires a movement from pure instinctual reactions to abstract thinking.

In old style or conservative patriarchies the oldest son is typically the head of the family. He gets the father's power. The rest of the children take the leftovers, just like when a band of chimps come across a fruit tree, and they eat according to rank. Bonobos don't stand on formalities. They are matriarchal.

I think progressives want to find the sweet spot in the middle, where power is not the determining factor, because they aren't unconscious anymore. An unconscious leader brings unconsciousness, and loss of energy, in the society.

One way to determine what has gone unconscious is to find what carries a strong charge, positive or negative. The same thing can carry either charge, depending on the situation. For example, a man might have a strong negative charge if his wife has sex with another man, but a strong positive charge if he is with a whore who has sex with lots of other men. The issue is his fear of loss of status or ownership in the first instance, and the unconscious erotic charge in his own feminine unconscious in the second instance. He forces suppression of natural sexuality in what he owns, but not in what he rents.

This will key the sexual fantasies, which will obviously be designed, unconsciously, to tap into the energy which is shut out of the ego. From the center all the characters are visible as elements of energy fields. But it's very hard to be in the center when you live in a culture which has polarized. As Jesse Goodboy says, "I'd just as soon kill you as look at you." It's easier to be in the center when you live in a culture where the father has his area of power, the mother her area of power, and in the middle the relating energy of Eros.

When all of the power goes to spirit, and it is shut off from matter as superior to it, then there is little regard for respect toward the human body. There is rape, including rape of children, murder, torture, humiliation, and all the manifestations of this we have seen during the past few years. The body doesn't simply give up, though, it responds with the only weapon it has to wield, which is poison. Sometimes god has stomach problems. This shows up as a fear of chemical weapons in response to an attack with bombs. At an unconscious level this is simply the same fear a man has when he beats his wife and then sits down to a meal.

To men for whom patriarchy has degenerated into a poisonous pedagogy evil is obvious and must be confronted and destroyed. They will begin destroying it where it is most obvious: in the shadow and the whore. Unfortunately the ego continues to be only a portion of the psyche, so that they will eventually turn on each other. Aggression toward one's shadow can be tragic, like Tim McVeigh blowing up all those people in Oklahoma City, or Mr. Cheney chasing his dark side into private clubs the likes of which were previously unknown outside of a small circle of discreet services for a specialized clientele.

The reason for private, very expensive dungeons is the same reason for Guantanamo. The repressed material can only be brought up by connecting it to the instinctual level of the body, which is the sexual urge and the power drive. When the sexuality is secretly hated because it cannot be controlled in other people, there is a need to set up situations in which it is controlled. Sadists can only function when they have control, and their shadow is the masochist, who controls through submission. Each is the shadow of the other, though the masochist is actually more in control, not needing the control. The sexual perversion is all there in the photographs and in the descriptions of enhanced interrogation.

Unfortunately, closing Guantanamo won't get rid of the problem in the American psyche. It has been acting out in our prisons for years, now. We have the good guys and bad guys. It could always get worse, like it did in Germany.

When righteousness goes out to confront evil, and defeat it, as John McCain advocates, it will not begin with the evil inside, as Obama advocates. Obama is talking about the vantage point of the center, which sees one's own evil as well as that out in the world. I recall the essence of a quote from Lawrence Durrell's novel, Justine, but am not sure of the exact quote. It is something to the effect that evil is good perverted. But I think that is also in Paracelcus, and probably Longfellow as well.

You can't confront and defeat evil any more than you can confront and defeat goodness. They are perceptions based primarily on behaviors toward children. For example, anthropologists observe that in cannibal tribes the babies are toted about on hard wooden carriers and often left to cry without attention. In very loving societies such as the Polynesians, the babies are carried facing the mother's breast, in a soft carrier. So evil can't really be gone to war with and defeated. It is simply an absence of love. Love has to do with kindness toward the body, as aggressive warfare has to do with violence toward the body. Love can be learned and cultivated.

Posted: Tue - August 26, 2008 at 05:45 PM