Many of the greatest horrors of the history of humanity owe their occurrence solely to the establishment and social enforcement of a false reality. With gratitude to the Catholic philosopher Josef Pieper and his important 1970 essay “Abuse of Language, Abuse of Power” for the term and idea, we can refer to these alternative realities as ideological pseudo-realities.
Pseudo-realities, being false and unreal, will always generate tragedy and evil on a scale that is at least proportional to the reach of their grip on power—which is their chief interest—whether social, cultural, economic, political, or (particularly) a combination of several or all of these. So important to the development and tragedies of societies are these pseudo-realities when they arise and take root that it is worth outlining their basic properties and structure so that they can be identified and properly resisted before they result in sociopolitical calamities—up to and including war, genocide, and even civilizational collapse, all of which can take many millions of lives and can ruin many millions more in the vain pursuit of a fiction whose believers are, or are made, sufficiently intolerant.
The Nature of Pseudo-realities
Pseudo-realities are, simply put, false constructions of reality. It is hopefully obvious that among the features of pseudo-realities is that they must present a plausible but deliberately wrong understanding of reality. They are cult “realities” in the sense that they are the way that members of cults experience and interpret the world—both social and material—around them. We should immediately recognize that these deliberately incorrect interpretations of reality serve two related functions. First, they are meant to mold the world to accommodate small proportions of people who suffer pathological limitations on their abilities to cope with reality as it is. Second, they are designed to replace all other analyses and motivations with power, which these essentially or functionally psychopathic individuals will contort and deform to their permanent advantage so long as their pseudo-real regime can last.
Pseudo-realities are always social fictions, which, in light of the above, means political fictions. That is, they are maintained not because they are true, in the sense that they correspond to reality, either material or human, but because a sufficient quantity of people in the society they attack either believe them or refuse to challenge them. This implies that pseudo-realities are linguistic phenomena above all else, and where power-granting linguistic distortions are present, it is likely that they are there to create and prop up some pseudo-reality. This also means that they require power, coercion, manipulation, and eventually force to keep them in place. Thus, they are the natural playground of psychopaths, and they are enabled by cowards and rationalizers. Most importantly, pseudo-realities do not attempt to describe reality as it is but rather as it “should be,” as determined by the relatively small fraction of the population who cannot bear living in reality unless it is bent to enable their own psychopathologies, which will be projected upon their enemies, which means all normal people.
Normal people do not accept pseudo-reality and interpret reality more or less accurately, granting the usual biases and limitations of human perspective. Their common heuristic is called common sense, though much more refined forms exist in the uncorrupted sciences. In reality, both of these are handmaidens of power, but in pseudo-realities, this is inverted. In pseudo-reality, common sense is denigrated as bias or some kind of false consciousness, and science is replaced by a scientism that is a tool of power itself. For all his faults and the faults of his philosophy (which enable much ideological pseudo-reality), Michel Foucault warned us about this abuse quite cogently, especially under the labels “biopower” and “biopolitics.” These accusations of bias and false consciousness are, of course, projections of the ideological pseudo-realist, who, by sheer force of rhetoric, transforms limitations on power into applications of power and thus his own applications of power into liberation from it. Foucault, for any insight he provided, is also guilty of this charge.
It must be observed that people who accept pseudo-realities as though they are “real” are no longer normal people. They perceive pseudo-reality in place of reality, and the more thoroughly they take on this delusional position, the more functional psychopathy they necessarily exhibit and thus the less normal they become. Importantly, normal people consistently and consequentially fail to realize this about their reprogrammed neighbors. Perceiving them as normal people when they are not, normal people will reliably misunderstand the motivations of ideological pseudo-realists—power and the universal installation of their own ideology so that everyone lives in a pseudo-reality that enables their pathologies—usually until it is far too late.
As a result of this failure of perspective, many particularly epistemically and morally open normal people will reinterpret the claims of pseudo-reality into something that is plausible in reality under the usual logic and morals that guide our thinking, and this reinterpretation will work to the benefit of the pseudo-realists who have ensnared them. This sort of person, who stands between the real world and the pseudo-real are useful idiots to the ideology, and their role is to generate copious amounts of epistemic and ethical camouflage for the pseudo-realists. This phenomenon is key to the success, spread, and acceptance of pseudo-realities because without it very few people outside of small psychologically, emotionally, or spiritually unwell people would accept a pseudo-reality as if it is a superior characterization of the genuine article. Clearly, the more plausible the account of pseudo-reality on offer, the stronger this effect will be, and the more power the ideologues who believe in it will be able to accrue.
Pseudo-realities may have any degree of plausibility in their distorted descriptions of reality, and thus may recruit different numbers of adherents. They are often said to be accessible only by applying a “theoretical lens,” awakening a specialized “consciousness,” or by means of some pathological form of faith. Whether by “lens,” “consciousness,” or “faith,” these intellectual constructs exist to make the pseudo-reality seem more plausible, to drag people into participating in it against their will, and to distinguish those who “can see,” “are awake,” or “believe” from those who cannot or, as it always eventually goes, will not. That is, they are the pretext to tell people who inhabit reality instead of pseudo-reality that they’re not looking at “reality” correctly, which means as pseudo-reality. This will typically be characterized as a kind of willful ignorance of the pseudo-reality, which will subsequently be described paradoxically as unconsciously maintained. Notice that this puts the burden of epistemic and moral responsibility on the person inhabiting reality, not the person positing its replacement with an absurd pseudo-reality. This is a key functional manipulation of pseudo-realists that must be understood. The ability to recognize this phenomenon when it occurs and to resist it is, at scale, the life and death of civilizations.
Adoption of a pseudo-reality tends to hinge upon a lack of ability or will to question, doubt, and reject them and their fundamental presuppositions and premises of the pseudo-reality. Therefore, the “logical” and “moral” systems that operate within the pseudo-reality will always seek to manufacture this failure wherever they can, and successful pseudo-realist attacks will evolve these features like a social virus until their effectiveness is very high. This deficiency is often the direct result of mental illness, usually paranoia, schizoidia, anxiety, or psychopathy, however, so maintaining and manufacturing these states in themselves and normal people is strongly incentivized by the false “logic” and false “morality” of the ideological pseudo-reality. That is, the methods and means applied in service to a pseudo-reality will create and manipulate psychological weaknesses in people to get them to carry water for a destructive lie. The nicer, more tolerant, and more charitable a community is, supposing it lacks the capacity to spot these counterfeits early on, the more susceptible its members will tend to be to these manipulations.
Pseudo-realities and Power
The ultimate purpose of creating a pseudo-reality is power, which the constructed pseudo-reality grants in many ways. Though these means are many, we should name a few. First, the pseudo-reality is always constructed such that it structurally advantages those who accept it over those who do not, frequently by overt double standards and through moral-linguistic traps. Double standards in this regard will always favor those who accept pseudo-reality as reality and will always disfavor those who seek the truth. An ideological pseudo-reality must displace reality in a sufficient population to grant itself power to succeed in its goals. Linguistic traps will often employ strategic double meanings of words, often by strategic redefinition (creating a motte and bailey), will beg the question in ways that forces people to participate in the pseudo-reality to respond (often by Aufhebung-style, i.e., Hegelian, dialectical traps), or will begin with an assumption of guilt and demand proof of innocence such that denial or resistance is taken as proof of guilt of some moral crime against the moral system that serves the pseudo-reality (a kafkatrap). Demands will be made with sufficient vagueness such that they can never be said to have been met and such that responsibility for failure will always be the fault of the enemies of the ideology who “misunderstood” them and thus implemented them incorrectly.
Second, the very assertion of pseudo-reality demoralizes all who are pressed into engaging with it by the mere fact of being something false that must be treated as true. We should never underestimate how psychologically weakening and damaging it is to be forced to treat as true something that is not true, with the effect strengthening the more obviously false it is. Despite the fact that obviousness of the pseudo-real distortion concentrates its demoralizing power, pseudo-reality is only pseudo-real when the distortion is not immediately and wholly transparent and also when it is sufficiently widely socially accepted to become a socially constructed pseudo-truth. Whether or not the distortion is apparent, however, the situation it creates is most demoralizing for those who see through it because making the distortions of a pseudo-reality apparent to those who do not already see them is always exceptionally tedious and will be vigorously resisted not only by adherents but by useful idiots.
Thus, third, by trading off normal people’s assumptions that seemingly serious people care about what is true, they successfully force normal people to verify aspects of the pseudo-reality even in the act of denying it by getting the normal person to meet the ideologue part way. This is the relevance of pseudo-reality being pseudo-real, with greater plausibility strengthening the effect. That is, many normal people will fail to realize the pseudo-reality is false because they cannot see outside of the frame of normality that they charitably extend to all people, whether normal or not.
This dynamic bears a brief elaboration. Normal people do not tend to recognize that a broken logic and twisted morality is being used to prop up an ideological vision—a pseudo-reality—and that the mental states of the people within it (or held hostage by it) are not normal. Some among them, particularly the very but not exceptionally smart, thus skillfully reinterpret the absurd and dangerous claims of the pseudo-realist ideologues into something reasonable and sensible when, in fact, they are not reasonable or sensible. This, in turn, renders the pseudo-reality more palatable than it actually is and further disguises the distortions and underlying will to power presented by the ideological pseudo-realists. All of these features, and others, advantage the ideologue who, like some modern-day Zarathustra, speaks a pseudo-reality into existence, and all of these confer power upon that ideologue while stealing it from every participant in their social fiction, willing or not.
A Note on Ideology
As we are now speaking in terms of ideologues, we need to be clear before continuing that by “ideology” is meant here something closer to “cult ideology” than a more general meaning of the term. It is crucial to distinguish between these so that we do not confuse those sweeping approaches to contextualizing and understanding reality that are generative of comprehension of the real with those that exist in relationship with the pseudo-real.
Liberalism may, for example, be construed as an ideology, but it would not qualify as a cult ideology because, for any shortcomings it may have, it makes itself subordinate to the truth. (Indeed, this together with its incorrect general assumption of the normality of all people is why liberal systems are so susceptible to ideological pseudo-reality and thus so desperately need a vaccine against them.) That liberalism subordinates itself to an external, or objective, truth is obvious from the first principles of liberalism, which arises in the context of favoring rationalism and deferral to the greatest degree of objectivity in any circumstance it seeks to understand or dispute it aims to solve. It also explicitly sides with due processes in service to these objectives and explicitly denies any “ends justify the means” rationales. Accordingly, it exhibits none of the psychopathic tendencies that arise quite regularly in the context of ideologies that depend upon the production and maintenance of some useful but bogus pseudo-reality.
Cult Pseudo-realism and Utopianism
Though we are primarily interested in ideological pseudo-realities, perhaps the most atomic example of a pseudo-reality is not ideological in nature. It is the tragic world of the clinically deluded person, which only he accepts as the “true” state of affairs. “His reality,” “his truth,” is no one else’s because he is not a normal person, and no one is confused by this. The psychopathology involved is readily apparent to all normal people, and, if all goes well, he receives treatment, not enablement. Extending this example up by one rung on the social ladder, we can imagine that our delusional person is sufficiently charismatic and linguistically savvy to establish a cult following of fellow believers in his pseudo-reality. While a cult may not itself be ideological, it requires no effort to climb the ladder from a cult (say of personality, even) all the way up to global pseudo-real sociopolitical movements that endure over decades or even centuries (Hegel, for example, wrote The Phenomenology of Spirit in 1807).
Only two propositions are needed to understand this ladder exists from a single deluded person with a small cult around him to a massive and devastating political movement. The first is simpler: it is that otherwise psychically, emotionally, and intellectually healthy people can be manipulated into pathologies in these domains. That is, such a ladder exists because pseudo-realists are sometimes able to persuade people that the presumptions underlying their pseudo-real construction provide a better read on reality than others, which obviously happens all the time. Cults arise and can grow quite large.
The second is that cults can become ideological, and, more specifically, Utopian. This also happens with some documented frequency, especially in situations where some oversimplification of how to arrange the entire social order in which we all live takes on a glorious vision with a Utopian endpoint—literally, nowhere, in the original Greek (there are no Utopias, only dystopias). A reliable symptom that this is occurring is a vision over a very long time period (often a millennium), after which time all social ills will be cured, that nevertheless requires a revolution in the here and now to begin. These cults of pseudo-reality are very dangerous and threaten us and our civilizations even today.
The Utopian vision hiding at the heart of all (cult) ideologies provides the rationale beneath and means by which an ideological pseudo-reality is created. The pseudo-reality is a construction that misunderstands actual reality as compared against the imagined Utopia that resides at the end of the ideological rainbow. It is constructed to force as many people as possible to live within the Utopian daydream of the people who find reality less tolerable than a fictional alternative that cannot be believed without nearly universal compliance. That is, the pseudo-reality that is constructed in service to an ideology is a fantastic vision of society made perfect for certain intolerant misfits that is then turned backwards upon itself. In other words, as we shall see, Utopian ideologies are psychopathic and arise from an inability to inhabit reality (at least without treatment).
So the construction of an ideological pseudo-reality tends to be done in reverse by starting with an impossibly perfect society (in the view of particular psychopathological people) and then inventing an alternative vision of the world we actually inhabit as a kind of mythology that contains a pseudo-real explanation for why we have not yet arrived at Utopia and how we might get there yet. Details are light—specifically because no plan can replace reality with pseudo-reality—and it will be insinuated by the ideologues that they will be provided as we go. The pseudo-real Utopia will thereby be produced from reality through a process that’s rightly described as alchemical in nature—seeking to make something out of that which cannot produce it—which nearly always involves creating fundamental changes to society and the people who inhabit it. Here it bears mentioning that any injustice in the present and near future can be justified against a vision of perfection for fictitious people a thousand years hence.
Pseudo-realities as Language Games
As implied by Pieper, as can be seen even in the title of his essay from which we’re taking the term “pseudo-reality” (“Abuse of Language, Abuse of Power”) these constructions tend to arise out of abuses of language that enable abuses of power. These manipulations are therefore attractive to people with strong inclinations to control other people or to take power, particularly when they are of moderately high intelligence, relatively well-off, and linguistically savvy (while, perhaps, lacking in other more concretely valuable skills). That is, pseudo-realities are constructed by linguistically capable manipulators who wish to control other people, and it’s reasonable to assume that a sufficiently convincing (and convicting) pseudo-reality will then draw in more such people who are able to develop the pseudo-world and its fictions and then convince people it maps meaningfully onto reality in a way that it does not. The process by which they do this might most accurately be called discourse engineering, with the exact same connotation that we usually attach to the bigger project it facilitates, social engineering. Some specific types of these language games, to borrow a phrase from Wittgenstein, were mentioned briefly above.
These behaviors, even when done by the sincere person who has confused reality for a pseudo-reality, should all be seen as manipulations and abuses, though it’s always important to recognize that intention of each participating individual matters in the moral ramifications that follow from this fact. Pseudo-real world-builders tend to manipulate people upon their vulnerabilities, which is a well-known fact of cult recruitment. Thus, they are most effective on people who have an underlying baseline of psychological, emotional, or spiritual illness, particularly of the kinds that relate poorly to the real world and the rough-and-tumble social realities within it. As noted, these are also often manufactured to purpose and target the psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually susceptible, along with the naive, the angry, and the aggrieved. It is in such minds where pseudo-realist manipulations are most effective and can generate a sizable sympathizer base among otherwise normal people, some of whom will be induced into the psychopathologies that underlie the whole project. This is the real alchemy of the pseudo-realist ideological project: turning normal, mostly healthy people into psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually broken water-carriers who can no longer cope adequately with the features of reality and thus must prefer the pseudo-reality that was built to receive them—and, more importantly, to make strategic use of them.
Given the fact that they are the tool of manipulative people who exhibit high thirst for power and linguistic savvy, pseudo-realists tend to target the (bourgeois) upper-middle class whose livelihoods depend most upon their credentialing and acceptance by a group of peers, particularly the highly educated, though not most brilliant, among them. An abnormally high proportion of such individuals are employed in education, media, politics, and especially academia. (The most potent and dangerous ideological pseudo-realities are the kinds of absurdities only academics could truly believe.) Among its features, pseudo-reality, being a linguistic and social construction, enables a path to careerism and credentialing in these sorts of professions far more than in most others, which generates an incentive structure that favors the pseudo-realists’ ambitions.
Aside from base careerism among the otherwise underaccomplishing, these people are also particularly susceptible to rhetorical devices that arouse the possibility that they are insufficiently intelligent, sensitive, or spiritually enriched, and the pseudo-reality will then be presented as the proper “interpretive frame” that resolves these defects. Maybe it will be suggested, for example, that the pseudo-realist has a more complete or sophisticated understanding of reality that the intended target doesn’t or can’t understand (often by appealing to the infinitely complicated “systemic nature” of problems that are otherwise quite straightforward). Maybe a moral or spiritual attack will be made that renders them feeling unlikable by others or self (often through accusations of moral complicity and crimethink). The fact that the pseudo-reality does not conform correctly to actual reality will generate cognitive dissonance that, in the circumstances, will be usefully generative of more indoctrination into the basic premises of the pseudo-reality. This is, of course, a specific manifestation of the process of cult indoctrination and reprogramming.
This feature of pseudo-realist cultism strengthens as the mark accepts more of the premises of the pseudo-reality and thus divorces himself further and further from reality and normal people who live within it. This slowly traps adherents, who have almost no escape mechanism, even when ideological off-ramps are made plainly available. Without even mentioning that they know how their daily bread is buttered—and by, and in relation to, whom—because those who accepted pseudo-reality have distorted their understanding of the world (their epistemology) to the internal (bogus) “logic” of the pseudo-reality and have subverted their ethics (their morality) to the (evil) “moral” system employed by it, they are well and truly trapped by the ideology the pseudo-reality serves. With a distorted logic that can no longer perceive reality except as a counterfeit, they lack the necessary epistemic resources to challenge the ideology, even within themselves. With a subverted morality that perceives evil as good and good as evil in accordance with the slave morality of the pseudo-reality, their entire social environment is conditioned to keep them in a Hell whose gates are locked from the inside. Thus, to understand ideological pseudo-realities and to try to discover something we can do about them, it is necessary to examine their internal logic and moral systems in more detail.
Because the pseudo-reality is not real and does not correspond in any faithful way to objective reality, it cannot be described in terms that are logical. In the realm of how it thinks about the world, a pseudo-reality will employ an alternative logic—a paralogic, an illogical fake logic that operates beside logic—that has internally comprehensible rules and structure but that does not produce logical results. Indeed, it necessarily must correspond not to reality but to pseudo-reality, and it must also therefore violate the law of non-contradiction. That is, a pseudo-real paralogic will always be internally (and often unrepentantly) inconsistent and self-contradictory. This can be taken as a symptom that a paralogic is being presented in support of a pseudo-reality, as can be any sustained attack on principles of objectivity and reason.
In successful ideological pseudo-realities, the paralogic in play necessarily manipulates normal people outside of its purview into trusting their own (incorrect) assumption that the paralogic must somehow be logical (why wouldn’t it be?). Thus, normal people will (wrongly) assume that the given descriptions of the pseudo-reality must have some reasonable (real) interpretation that is intelligible by applying real logic (incorrectly) to the claims of the pseudo-realist. (Very) smart people will look for this “logical” reinpretpretation of nonsense by reflex and will thus render themselves (very smart) useful idiots.
The role paralogic plays in being parallel to logic but for a false reality is crucial to understand. It reliably leads (very) smart, thoughtful people who utterly reject the pseudo-reality—and yet who remain mostly ignorant of its paralogical structure—to carry water for the ideologues inhabiting it by normalizing it while portraying accurate critics as kooks and bad actors. In fact, these (very smart) people are generating the smokescreen to the broader normal public that makes the pseudo-reality look far more reasonable and tethered to reality than it actually is. This intellectual manipulation of (very smart) people is a crucial factor in the establishment of any successful large-scale pseudo-reality, which will only be able to maintain a relatively small proportion of true believers. Of note, nobody is better at this than an educated or credentialed liberal who stands to lose a lot by being branded a kook or bad actor by other useful idiots.
It must be recognized that the paralogical structure that serves the ideological pseudo-reality is ultimately alchemical—not chemical, not scientific, i.e., not logical—in nature. That is, it wants to make something out of nothing (and thus makes nothing out of something). More specifically, it seeks to change the substance of one “reality” into another effectively by means of a magic that does not exist. Indeed, its objective is to transmute the substance of reality as it is into what is envisioned in the pseudo-reality and the Utopia it is ultimately based upon. This means that there can be no legitimate form of disagreement with a pseudo-real paralogic, and there can be no disproof of the pseudo-reality it claims to make sense of. The paralogic, falsely appearing logical, dismisses all such contradictions. Real communism, as we have heard, for example, has apparently never been tried, and the problem was that the people who implemented it, say through the Leninist Soviet model in one design or another, didn’t properly understand it or its crucial elements. Thus, the paralogic of the ideology cannot produce philosophy but only sophistry. It cannot produce gold from lead, but it can get its sorcerers to drink mercury and drive themselves mad.
Alongside the paralogical structure used to trick useful idiots into defending the ideological pseudo-reality project is a powerful tool of social enforcement using an ostensibly moral dimension. A relativist might refer to this as a “moral framework” that is ethical “within the ideology,” but as it is a morality contingent not upon the facts of human existence as those exist in reality but instead as they are distorted in the constructed pseudo-reality, it would be more appropriate to refer to it as a paramorality, an immoral false morality which lies beside (and apart from) anything that deserves to be called “moral.” The goal of the paramorality is to socially enforce the belief that good people accept the paramorality and attendant pseudo-reality while everyone else is morally deficient and evil. That is, it is an inversion of morality, the slave morality as described by Nietzsche in his Genealogy of Morals.
Because the paramorality is, in fact, immoral, participants in the pseudo-reality will experience vigorous, usually totalitarian, enforcement of the ideological paramorality. It is in this way that the requisite social pressure is created to maintain the lie and its immoral system. In turn, following the cycle of abuse, they will then use the same tenets and tactics to (para)-moralize normal people outside of it, eventually far more vigorously. The trend toward puritan-style pietism, authoritarianism, and eventually totalitarianism in application of this paramorality is a virtual certainty of acceptance of an ideological pseudo-reality, and these abuses will be visited not only on every participant in the constructed fictional reality but also to everyone who can be found or placed within its shadow (which can come to include entire nations or peoples or, in fact, everyone, even those who reject it). Again, this is the true alchemy of the pseudo-realist program; it transforms normal, moral people into immoral agents who must perpetrate evil to feel good and perceive as evil those who do good.
An ideological paramorality is even less accessible to disagreement than the paralogic of an ideological pseudo-reality because it bets everything—including reality itself and the well-being of every individual who inhabits it—against Utopia, a daydream of absolute perfection. Thus, the paramorality sees only two types of people: those who accept the pseudo-reality and replace actual morality with its paramorality positioned as champions against those who must not want Utopia (and who therefore must want a world of suffering of the kind its architects are least capable of bearing). In this regard, there is no neutrality in a paramoral system, and all shades of gray are alchemically transformed into real black and pseudo-real white. Thus, in a pseudo-realist’s paramorality, there is either fully convicted support or incomprehensible (in the paralogical system) and depraved (in the paramorality) desire to see the indefinite continuation of the evils that will no longer exist when the Utopia is (technically never) realized. Vicious moralizing that will eventually justify violence, including on wide scales, is an eventual guarantee of such demands, if they are enabled sufficiently to shift that power to the ideologues.
This guarantees the paramorality of an ideological pseudo-reality will always be repressive and totalitarian. Dissent and doubt cannot be tolerated, and disagreement must be cordoned off into a moral pit that adherents dare not approach. Further, the paramorality will mandate deceptively bifurcated concepts of concepts like tolerance (which must be repressive), acceptance, compassion, empathy, fairness (all of which must be conditional and selective), merit (in regurgitating the doctrines of the pseudo-reality), and compromise (to always favor pseudo-real claims) that preposterously support the pseudo-reality, all propped up by the linguistic games at the heart of the pseudo-real ideological project. That is, specifically, the bifurcation makes these concepts completely relevant in ways that bias for its ideas, but strictly prohibited for any others. These bogus constructions are meant to unilaterally shift power to the ideologues so that their pseudo-reality can remain propped up.
It must be stressed that the paramorality in play is always an inversion of the prevailing morality that is also parasitic upon it—namely, Nietzsche’s slave morality. In other words, it is a particular type of perversion of morality that can feel more moral than moral but is, in fact, evil. This is because the paramorality acts in service to a pseudo-reality, not reality, and is thus the domain of psychopathy, which, when inflicted on the normal masses, is evil. The goal of the paramorality will always arise from and exist to favor people with particular psychopathologies who cannot otherwise cope with the discomforts of reality. This implies that an ideological pseudo-reality’s most successful means of gaining strength is through appealing to the perceived victimhood of those people and whipping up the grievances of those who have suffered similar injustices with more dignity. When widely empowered, this should be treated as another symptom of impending civilizational calamity and a need to identify and reject the pseudo-reality manipulating these feelings.
The Threads Upholding Pseudo-realities
It cannot be overstated that the pseudo-reality cannot be maintained without strenuous application and enforcement of the relevant paralogic and paramorality that have just been described. Put classically, paralogic is pathos subverting logos, and paramorality is pathos dominating ethos. No society can be healthy—or long survive—in such a state. The threads of paralogic and paramorality have to be identified and severed if we are to escape the calamities of ideological pseudo-realities. Non-contradiction and genuine moral authority are therefore fatal to ideological pseudo-realities.
These two elements—a false paralogic and an evil paramorality—are crucial to the creation, maintenance, and spread of all pseudo-realities that go beyond an unfortunate delusional individual. They are the threads holding up the entire distortion and its increasingly criminal enterprise. If these are cut in any meaningful way, so falls the entire pseudo-reality, which cannot support itself (being unreal) and will necessarily collapse under its own weight. This maneuver will have consequences, of course. It will take with it much of the society it has infected, but it will also liberate those people it has ensnared or holds hostage, both paralogically and paramorally. Learning and teaching others to identify these two threads, the paralogic and paramorality that uphold the pseudo-reality—and thus to see them as fundamentally illogical and immoral—is the key and only possible way to resist and eventually destroy a movement predicated on the social construction and enforcement of an ideological pseudo-reality.
The Caprice of the Party
Because pseudo-reality is not real, it is not possible for people it has ensnared to check any claim within it for themselves, even if they have the courage to feel inclined to do so (as it will induce a paramoralizing beating commensurate with the quantity of power that the pseudo-realists have managed to obtain). This necessitates the elevation and appointment of specialists in one or both of the paralogic and paramorality of the ideological pseudo-reality to make these determinations for everybody (in the aforementioned bifurcated way). The traditional modern name given to this cabal of corrupt “experts” is “the Party” (“Pharisees” is, probably, one more historical name). These are the people who the pseudo-reality is designed to benefit through grift and extortion, and so the paralogic twists to support their views, even when these change, and the paramorality bends to ensure they are always righteous. Professed acceptance of the pseudo-reality, skill in its paralogic, and application of its paramorality to self and others become the political test of Party commitment and access to Party spoils, and in all but the highest echelons of Party activity, these will all be routinely and viciously tested.
Again, it cannot be lost in this analysis just how crucial is the basic fact that pseudo-realities do not describe reality. This carries a number of consequences. For one thing, it commits the Party to being illogical and immoral, as it commits itself to relying upon paralogic and paramorality in place of logic and morality. As should be clear, it is to the greatest advantage of the pseudo-realists (the Party) for their paralogic to be the most illogical that it can while still passing a generic sympathizer’s sniff-test as “logical,” and it is likewise most advantageous for their paramorality to be maximally immoral in the same way.
This state of affairs is a potent weapon of demoralization in and of itself, and it lends itself to a particular caprice quite naturally—even necessarily. The Utopia will not realize (this being another thing), being that it is an object of pseudo-reality and thus not real, and in its place, there will be only the Party’s iron grip on power, maintained at any cost and by any means (and the more desperately and brutally in failure). Lacking an objective standard of reference and being without a universally accessible (in principle) appeal to reason, the discourse of the powerful (and of power itself) becomes ever more determinative. A capricious paralogic that defines as correct today but not necessarily tomorrow that which the Party says is right today but not necessarily tomorrow and a parallel paramorality that does the same trick upon what is right are superior as paralogic and paramorality, and thus they will be favored by the Party. The unfailing result is caprice from the Party, ever the favored tool of dominance and totalitarianism.
Of note, while the Party will always identify and punish scapegoats to enable its abuses and cover up its mounting failures—which are assured due to the break from reality at the heart of its project—the Party itself is the ultimate scapegoat of the pseudo-realist project. This seemingly unlikely fact is comprehensible in the paralogic (notice how it seems illogical) and demanded by the alchemical heart of the paramorality it employs. In the end, and the end will always arrive for every specific pseudo-real project, the pseudo-reality will collapse and the Party will be blamed. Just as when alchemical experiments failed, the alchemist’s spiritual purity is always called (unfalsifiably) into question, so too will the corruption of the Party by paramoral “evils” be blamed (like, having a bourgeois mentality). The “real” pseudo-real ideology will remain “unattempted” (in a sufficiently uncorrupted form), and more importantly, the general thrust of the paralogic and paramorality will therefore survive their own death (again, it can’t be logical). Christian readers will immediately recognize this as an inversion of Christianity (the inverted Cross), for God puts no one but Himself on the Cross and willingly bears in innocence the responsibility of sin for all others, thus to enable Grace, whereas this approach eschews in guilt all responsibility entirely so as to continue in the world unhindered by its own deviance.
Later, upon finding the right societal alchemical ingredients for the time, the surviving paralogical and paramoral modes will generate a new, generally identical pseudo-reality that threatens (liberal) civilization yet again. This is why it is the twin threads of the paralogic and the paramorality have to be severed to defeat pseudo-realist ideologies and vaccinate otherwise healthy societies (especially liberal ones) from their abuses. If this is done in specific to a particular pseudo-reality, then that manifestation will collapse, hopefully before it can do much damage. If this can be done in general by learning to identify and reject ideological paralogics and paramoralities as a genus of bogus intellectual and ethical activity, that is much better. This happens more or less solely through recognition: learning to spot pseudo-realities, paralogic, and paramorality, and subsequently recognizing that they are the province of psychopathies that should never be given unchecked power over normal people.
Psychopathy and Pseudo-reality
Now that we have established that an ideological pseudo-reality is all but destined, once it starts gaining sway and power, to head toward caprice, abuse, and totalitarianism of the most pernicious, dangerous, and evil forms—and to the death of civilizations and massive numbers of their inhabitants if unchecked early enough in their progression—we need to pause to understand another fine point that bears on the entire analysis. If we take a step back to consider our delusional cultist upon which the entire analysis began, we can glean another important point about the nature of ideological pseudo-realities that has been repeatedly intimated so far. That is this: it is easy to perceive that this hypothetical person not only might be but probably is psychopathic to a certain degree if he is creating a cult ideology and attendant pseudo-reality. Pseudo-reality is not the domain of the sane, by definition, and wishing to enforce one’s pathologies upon others for one’s own benefit, especially through manipulation of their vulnerabilities, is as near to a simple, general definition of psychopathy as one could hope to read.
Psychopathic ideologies will engender a number of predictable self-concentrating consequences. For one thing, they will by their nature attract and channel the vision of like-minded psychopathic opportunists (“grifters”), who will form the core of the developing Party. They will also degrade the psychological capacity of anyone who comes in contact with the ideology—for or against it. This is done through demoralization of a variety of forms, including (para)-moralizing, ostracization, dialectical trapping, and the highly useful tactic of employing “reversive blockades,” which obliterate anyone’s ability to know the truth about reality by forcing distortions from pseudo-reality upon them (which prevents their reversion toward sanity and out of the clutches of the pseudo-reality and its paralogic and paramorality). These tend to result in people not being able to discern what is true any longer and to assume the truth—whether material or moral—must be somewhere in between where they were before and the pseudo-real assertion being forced upon them. One will immediately notice that this necessarily moves the target further away from reality, as the new position will be some blend of the person’s former belief and an assertion out of pseudo-reality. One will also notice that it is a manipulation, and when paramoralizing is involved, a coercive one (to the benefit of the psychopathic ideology).
Most concerningly, psychopathic ideologies reliably generate (temporary but) functional psychopathy in otherwise normal people who, by means of these manipulations, become sufficiently convicted fellow travelers with and sympathizers to the ideology. Quite literally, aside from the direct effects of demoralization and the destabilization caused by the growing drift of their beliefs away from reality and toward unreality (pseudo-reality), a psychopathic ideology makes its sympathizers believe and act in psychopathic ways themselves, at least in a functional sense. These are the demands and costs of upholding the paralogic (so as not to be a “fool” in pseudo-reality) and paramorality (so as not to be the wrong kind of person in pseudo-reality), and slowly these victims of the ideology become the monsters they were too weak to fight. As noted previously, virtues like tolerance and empathy are intentionally perverted until they begin to bifurcate so that they carry a political valence (paramorality good, morality bad) that increasingly favors the pseudo-real ideology and becomes legitimately psychopathic as the effect strengthens.
Eventually, a normal person subjected to these circumstances ceases to be normal. This occurs when they “awaken” to a “full consciousness” in the pseudo-reality. At that point, they will have reached a place where, from their perspective, pseudo-reality is reality and reality is the pseudo-reality. That is, they will be psychopathic themselves, in thrall to the paralogic of the pseudo-real delusion and with bifurcated and narrowed ethics and moral virtues under its paramoral system. Presumably, in the majority of such previously normal people, this effect is temporary and contingent upon participation in the cult, though it is likely that some of the relevant psychological damage will be long-lasting, if not permanent. Nevertheless, in the short term, the result of this dynamic is a growing body of functionally and legitimately psychopathic people accruing more and more power for themselves, which they use (in psychopathic ways) to enforce their ideological pseudo-reality on everyone, most notably everyone else.
This process is quite exquisite. The deficiencies of the paralogic, caprice of the paramorality, and dissonance around the pseudo-reality itself will all tend to engender in the susceptible normal person a similar sense of distress about inhabiting reality as the pseudo-reality exists to enable. Obviously, this is convenient for recruitment, indoctrination, and eventual (psychopathic) reprogramming because the pseudo-reality is constructed in such a way as to enable those specific psychopathologies to flourish and avoid detection and treatment. In this regard, one might refer to the spread of a psychopathic ideology and its pseudo-reality by now-familiar phrases like “the madness of crowds,” which is more apt than one might realize at first blush, and even sociopolitical “zombification.”
Importantly, this circumstance implies that the average “fellow traveler” in a cult ideology not only does not realize they’re a cultist who is using tools and tactics of manipulation (paralogic and paramorality) on people in their lives, both normal and ideologically “awakened” fellow cultists; they cannot realize this without first abandoning the paralogic and paramorality that has captured them and rejecting the ideological pseudo-reality in a fundamental way. They find themselves in the broken position not only of being functionally psychopathic but also of being reality-inverted such that they believe all normal people who are not (yet) cultists are the cultists while they, themselves, are not. This represents a complete reversal of sanity, and the conversion of normal to ideologically psychopathic is, by that point, complete. These people, as many have learned the hard way throughout history, are the otherwise good people who are capable of perpetrating genocides.
Cutting the Threads
What, then, could possibly be the answer to this perilous and perennial tangle? Fortunately, the first step, at the least, is very simple. It’s mere awareness. It is learning to recognize the constructed pseudo-reality for what it is—a fabricated simulation of reality that is unfit for human societies—and beginning to reject unapologetically any demand to participate in it. This means refusing the analysis of the paralogic (by seeing its contradictions) and being held to account by the paramorality (by recognizing its caprice, malice, and evil) that sustain the lie. (An old word for this is “secularism,” in the non-specific sense.) In the exact instant one becomes competent at spotting the lie—or, the network of lies—held in service of a constructed pseudo-reality and its social enforcement, one already possesses the necessary perspective to break the spell of the pseudo-reality in its entirety. This, knowing the cheat for what it is, more than any other thing, is how the strings of paralogic and paramorality are cut, and with them cut pseudo-reality will come crashing down.
This can only be done by learning enough to see the games, telling the truth, and refusing to be coerced or forced to participate in the increasingly hegemonic pseudo-reality before it claims totalitarian power. Speaking practically, there are two straightforward ways this can be done. One is to refute the pseudo-reality, and the other is to reject it.
For most people, the latter of these is easier than the former, and it requires less of someone. Strength of will and character will suffice. Simply refusing to participate in the pseudo-reality, utilize its paralogic, or bow to its paramorality—and to live one’s life as though it is utterly irrelevant to yours—is a powerful act of defiance against an ideological pseudo-reality. It requires nothing more of a person than a convicted statement that says, “This does not apply to me because it is not me” (or, “not even real”), a refusal to make decisions based in socially constructed fear and intimidation, and a willingness to live one’s life on the most normal terms possible. This is a powerful and peaceful act of defiance that many other normal people (those outside the pseudo-reality) will recognize for strength, and while it may cost you in the short term and in some ways, it will reap rewards in the long term and in others, at least up until the point that the paramoral totalitarian trap is fully sprung on a sufficiently broken and demoralized society. Just keep your head up and refuse to live your life on someone else’s (psychopathic) terms, and you will do much against such budding regimes.
Refuting pseudo-reality is harder, as it requires much more specific knowledge along with skill, strength of character, and courage. It also must be done, at least by someone, if an ideological pseudo-reality has already taken root. Such a pseudo-reality has to be shown to be a false reality, which is to say a pernicious fiction, to as many people as possible. To do it, its distortions of reality, the contradictions of its paralogic, and the evils and harms of its paramorality must all be exposed and explained as a first step. These objectives require devoting, which is in some sense wasting, a great deal of time and expending a great deal of effort intentionally learning something one knows is false and therefore (if one is successful) useless. It is also demoralizing to learn, given the psychopathic nature of the material. It’s not for the faint of heart, even if all goes well.
Commonly, also, this process will not be comfortable and requires tremendous courage of precisely the kind that ideological demoralization is very effective at eroding and containing. The paralogic will interpret direct dissent as stupid or crazy, and the paramorality will characterize it as evil (or motivated by evil intentions, even if unconscious ones outside of the dissenter’s awareness). The courage to bear these outrageous insults and slander, and to bear its unjust social consequences, is therefore a necessary precondition to putting a halt to totalitarianism. It is understandable why most will not choose this path, but be warned: the longer one waits, the worse this gets.
For those who will take up the task, the approach is a combination of being informed, being courageous, being forthright, and being subversively funny. Being informed is necessary to identify, expose, and explain the distortions of the pseudo-reality and juxtapose them with reality. It is also necessary to make use of the most decisive tool that exists against ideological pseudo-realities, which is the law of non-contradiction. Pseudo-realities and their paralogical structures always contradict reality and themselves, and exposing these contradictions exposes their lies. Being courageous and forthright is necessary to believe in oneself and one’s (real) values and thus to withstand the paramoralizing attacks and social pressure they will generate, but they inspire more of the same and restore moral authority to those who are drained of it by these distortions. Being subversive and funny undermines the psychopathy and will to power that characterize the entire ideological pseudo-realist enterprise.
Resisting effectively and with sufficient knowledge (refuting) is, of course, best, but resisting at all, even by mere refusal to participate in any obvious lie (rejecting), is also effective. This is because revealing the ideological pseudo-reality for what it is—false and irrelevant to actual reality—undermines the pseudo-reality and encourages more people to refute and reject it. Even more powerful, however, is that revealing the underlying nature of the ideological pseudo-reality—that it is psychopathic—to normal people (including those partially ensnared) ranks highly among the ways the paralogical and paramoral threads can be severed. And, a psychopathic reaction is precisely what will result from effectively resisting a psychopathic ideology. The challenging part is that you, who dares resist their games and who eludes their trap, becomes the target of their psychopathic ire, and many sympathizers who you would usually count as friends will take sides against you (there is no neutral in the paramorality). The earlier one enters this fight, the more courage it takes and yet the more valuable it is.
Some of the requisite courage to resist can be found by remembering that the pseudo-reality is not real, its paralogic is not logical, and its paramorality is not moral. That is, it’s not you; it’s them. Some more backbone can be dredged up by realizing that once the pseudo-real begins displacing the real for even a few percent of the population, the question is no longer whether things will go bad but how bad they will go before the bubble bursts. Reality will always win, and calamity comes in proportion to the size of the lie between us and it, so it is better to act sooner than later. Still more heart resides in grasping that it gets worse right up until a real resistance mounts, and then, after a rocky transition, it starts getting better. The time to act is therefore now.
The way resistance—just plain resistance—works is by restoring to the normal person the epistemic and moral authority necessary to resist the ideologue’s illegitimate demands to participate in a pseudo-real fraud. That is, it restores confidence in normality to the normal. No one feels ashamed of resisting a con, whatever form it takes, and this is the real phenomenon we face with any growing ideological pseudo-reality. Its paralogic and paramorality work to drain us of our sense of authority to know what is and is not true and what is and is not right. One’s authority only lacks under the assumptions of the paralogical and paramoral systems, however—that is, inside pseudo-reality—and it can be reclaimed by anyone who simply refuses to participate in the lie. Step outside of the pseudo-reality (take the “red pill,” as depicted in The Matrix), and you’ll see.
“Liberalism may, for example, be construed as an ideology, but it would not qualify as a cult ideology because, for any shortcomings it may have, it makes itself subordinate to the truth. (Indeed, this together with its incorrect general assumption of the normality of all people is why liberal systems are so susceptible to ideological pseudo-reality and thus so desperately need a vaccine against them.) That liberalism subordinates itself to an external, or objective, truth is obvious from the first principles of liberalism, which arises in the context of favoring rationalism and deferral to the greatest degree of objectivity in any circumstance it seeks to understand or dispute it aims to solve. It also explicitly sides with due processes in service to these objectives and explicitly denies any “ends justify the means” rationales. Accordingly, it exhibits none of the psychopathic tendencies that arise quite regularly in the context of ideologies that depend upon the production and maintenance of some useful but bogus pseudo-reality.”
This may be true of classical liberalism but it is certainly not true of the twisted postmodern secular utopian variety. Not remotely.
As for: “incorrect general assumption of the normality of all people”, that’s a fancy-schmancy way of saying that liberalism is hippie humanism which assumes and asserts, as the Port Huron Statement so memorably put it, that “all human beings are infinitely good and infinitely perfectible”. It ought to go without saying that if people are infinitely good they certainly don’t need to be “perfected”, but that’s alright. Bolsheviks and US “democrats” will have a go at it, anyway, whether you like it or not.
Re: “(This) is why liberal systems are so susceptible to ideological pseudo-reality and thus so desperately need a vaccine against them”, uhh, yeah. That would be Christianity or at least a very conservative and thoroughgoing form of deism – natural law philosophy, as the founders of the United States understood very well.
This essay, i’m new to this site and thankful for all the NORMAL SANE PEOPLE, aligns with a book i’m trying to formulate about high functioning sociopaths — the primary actors in the method described in the essay. I’ve been observing high functioning sociopaths now for nearly 20 years.
The premise of the tome is very much inline with this essay (which means i may not need to write it now) however there are several attendant aspects of sociopaths that add to the concern we should all feel
1. high functioning sociopaths number about 1-1.5% of a population — that means that in the US alone there are between 3-4 million high functioning sociopaths that would adhere to the principles explained in this article;
2. high functioning sociopaths cooperate/compete in their psychosis to inflict damage on people — that is their primary driving force — they cooperate, good and regrettably overused and tainted example that has been trivialized, like nazis or mafioso, but also compete to reach the top of the abuse mountain;
3. it cannot be overstated that sociopaths do not have human emotions — one of the greatest self delusions that civilized men and women deluded themselves with is the notion that “there is good in everyone” — that is a total fallacy — sociopaths have not one iota of human emotion or compassion .. they are eternal actors in the play of their minds;
4. i firmly believe that social psychologists, political “scientists” (attaching that term to politics turns my stomach), sociologists, etc … attempt to explain “evil” deeds through boxed or defined ideologies or what i call “cute pseudo intellectual categorizations”, whether its communism, socialism, capitalism, neo-conservatism, neo-liberalism, catholocism, etc … the evil of mankind has nothing to do with these … they are all infected ideologies and institutions by sociopaths … sociopaths care not one wit about societal constructs .. only raw power and its ability to abuse people .. once an institution or organization has been sufficiently infected by enough sociopaths to demonstrate evil behaviors other sociopaths will flock to that element and complete the infection;
5. what’s most fearsome to the above (and see para below) is that, if we are to trust the DSM, anywhere from 10-20% of the general population can/do suffer from “personality disorders (these are considered extreme and often permanent psychological disturbances), which means 30 to 60 MILLION people in the US alone, and these folks are most susceptible to the manipulations discussed in the essay — the case in point of the insanity of the gender BS put out is a perfect example — so we have 3-4 million sociopaths who essentially can feed into the mental illness of 30-60 million FOLLOWERS;
6. the greatest threat to humanity is not nuclear war, not some lethal virus (or a fake scamdemic), not some natural disaster (or fake climate catastrophe) it is, as Carl Jung put it, the diseased minds that lies in the insane, psychotic, and demented HUMANS … none of the described external events have killed nearly 1 billion humans BUT the psychotic sociopathic infected ideologies of (remember these are simply cute labels) communism, socialism, maoism, etc have nearly genocided that many under the guise of “creating a better society”
Today i believe we are seeing the rise of the greatest cabal of cooperating sociopaths ever witnessed (by the stats above the planet is infected with over 80 million HFS) along with the planetary wide technologies of control ever handed to such a cabal … we are in for a rough ride ..
“The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth—it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true. — Ecclesiastes”
I was reminded, while reading this article of this opening pseudo-real quote from Jean Beaudrillard’s book Simulacra and Simulation. Beaudrillard would probably go even further than Lindsay by saying that all of human existence is now living inside of a pseudo-reality of some sort, and that none of us is capable any longer of knowing what is true.
Personally, I like Lindsay’s more hopeful and spirited resistance!
An absolutely brilliant article. I did find myself at one point wondering if I was the “cult” as I do think we could have had, and maybe still could have, Heaven on Earth, but as I have morals, empathy, and something in me that makes me stand up against abuse in any form, and by any body, no matter how big and powerful they may think they are….we are all equal, we are all free men and women and children, we all have the rights to make our own decisions based on being given the truth of course and brains that actually work…sadly humans seem to have lost their ability to question, discuss, debate, listen, consider and stand up to these people who are in positions of authority. Most seem to have overlooked that these people do and should be working for the good of the people, us, but it would seem they are not…everyone should be questioning, but they are not…this coercion has been going on a very long time…
You make some excellent points.
What Postmodernists were allowed to do to Science (and philosophy) is unforgivable. But I don’t blame the PMs, their assault on reason and the Enlightenment was baked in by the founders of that pseudo-philosophy .
And related critical theory, that Orwellian doublethink substitute for critical thinking is not designed to learn & improve knowledge but to invalidate and destroy it
Why were either of these allowed anywhere near Science or any rigorous discipline at the academy?
When I went down this rabbit hole a few years ago, my first thought: “Why wasn’t anyone guarding the gates of Western Civilization?”
So I blame the Scientists and administrators that allowed this medieval irrationality the first step through those gates
Today Scientism pseudo Realities shape Political policy and allocation of billions, the worst is the climate change crisis, a story unsupported by
Science, even IPCC Science
Scientists are now afraid to challenge this false narrative, pseudo Reality for the reasons described in the article, that’s how bad it is
Btw just FTR I received my university degrees in physics long before this intellectual betrayal happened, then spent my career as an exec, so when I discovered it a few years ago I was shocked! This was deliberate
What can I say? So, so true. It’s a brilliantly lucid and elegant analysis of their ugly, debilitating dung-heap mentality.
Lindsay is a courageous and gutsy guy by willfully going so deeply into his convictions that he’s unconcerned about everyone understanding him. As many commented on the content and length and depth of study taking long but vital paths outside of pure psychopathy – this read took me 3 times to put into context my own world where critical race theory is invading. I’ve been following James for about 18 months. Or, I could alllow news sites to inform my understanding of CRT and the paralogics sweeping away millions of normal thinkers. I’m in deep, that is, in my job, facing new and developing training on diversity, inclusion and equity – I only hope my knowledge works for me to deal with consequences. Thank you Mr. Lindsay
This essay is on par with work done by Coughlin and Higgins under the umbrella, “Unconstrained Analytics.”
When someone might accuse me of being a racist simply because I am conservative, my reply is “You are a racist and here is why.” The same applies if they call me a bigot, sexist, or homophobe. I reverse the accusation.
“People of color cannot be racist” is a lie and I will accuse them of being racist when they exhibit and parrot racism.
Should Antifa ever stop me in my automobile I will roll down my window and tell them that they are not anti-fascist, but I am anti-fascist. I will explain to them the derivation of the word fascist and how they are in league with the global fascists. They really have a lot to learn about reality.
I am considered to be a slow learner by some, but I understand reality and truth and I never deviate from it. I try to learn about men like Hegel, and I can only shake my head and wonder why certain people can sit around and think about ideas all day long and purposely distort the truth in order to make a name for themselves, to blaze a new path. In academia, that is the nature of the game: blaze a new trail, but you had better be right.
Is there anyway to turn the background white with black text on this site? My lame brain cannot read more than the first few paras I have to copy it all into a document and manually edit. Makes it impossible to read on the fly. Really unfortunate as this is where I come to top up my common sense
You can set your website color preference on desktop by clicking the light bulb icon in the top right corner of the site. Your theme choice may be toggled anytime, and will be preserved when you return to the website in the future. This also works on mobile.
Thank you! I was having the same issue.
Excellent essay. I have long noted the similarity to various mental illnesses and ideologies.
This essay covers similar ground to James Burnham’s great book Suicide of the West of ~60 years ago. [Not Jonah Goldberg’s not-great and typically superficial book of the same name of just a few years ago]
He, Burnham, makes a distinction I prefer to the ideology/cult ideology terms used here.
He denotes any irrational, power hungry political cause as a political ideology.
And any rational, non utopian political movement as a political philosophy.
Although the original concept of the word ideology was somewhat the opposite of metaphysics it has now taken on the very worst aspects of metaphysics and is often used a s a simple pejorative meaning a systematic set of ideas and doctrines used to interpret the world and that not usually through rational means. Using that fairly widespread definition, all ideologies are cults.
Secondly, utopians and ideologues, but I repeat myself, display a set of behaviors and traits much wider than just psychopathy. Psychopathy has a fairly narrow and precise definition. Personality disorders in general, of which psychopathy might be considered one, or a kissing cousin anyway, are home to many more of the wide range of misperceptions of self and others, maladaptations, infantile defense mechanisms and general social and psychopathologies displayed by ideologues. Psychopaths and extreme narcissists who tend to be the most manipulative, empathy free, dishonest, grandiose and destructive of the disordered will often rise to the top of any given ideological movement, but the foot soldiers are made up of every kind of basket case and disordered messes imaginable, although there are a large number of garden variety fools and idiots involved as well as the author points out. So it’s no surprise when we read that the ranks of the woke are made up of people disproportionately already diagnosed as nutbars.
Good point, and I do think that James uses “psychopathy” in the broadest sense possible. I think the solution is to use one’s search engine of preference and type “Cluster A B C personality disorders”. Cluster B and C definitely has some recognizable symptoms when you look at the various Woke cults out there.
Each of us sees reality differently as we interpret it through our filters, our inner landscape. People are social beings so they tend to look for others to bond with, who echo their filters back to them, with good or bad intent. In times of crisis when all belief systems collapse (because a new way of seeing is arising) people are most disoriented and latch onto messiahs. We went through the 60s and 70s and by the 80s the constant conditioning to discredit banding together in communes or search of self was done and the new seduction of materialism and hedonism was in place. Now in the 2020s we are extremely unsettled and begin to literally feel like laboratory rats trying to plumb the depths of the manipulation we have been subjected to in different ways, it seems for centuries or more. Someone has been playing us, and against each other, finally against ourselves.
Fascinating essay. It could almost have been subtitled “Treatise on Gaslighting.”
This piece makes good points, but is completely ineffective, except to comfort those who are already in agreement. Some detailed examples would help, as would more extensive citation of previous writings. The author appears to be trying to add to his collection of Great Essays, which will be read and admired a century in the future. Typical problem with conservative writers who hold their own intellectual powers in high regard. No one not already in the small ideological tent occupied by the author will take note or be convinced.
Part of being in the pseudo reality includes the blinders that will prevent you from looking at scholarship objectively. If the author wanted to be in a collection of great essays they would of towed the party line. This writing is ahead of its time which you interpret as an attempt to be read and admired in the future. When this is read in the future it will not be met with admiration but with extreme sorrow. The author in’t a conservative which can be determined easily. There are citations if you look such as in the following sentence.
“That is, it is an inversion of morality, the slave morality as described by Nietzsche in his Genealogy of Morals.”
I will leave you with a quote without a citation.
“The rules are simple: they lie to us, we know they’re lying, they know we know they’re lying, but they keep lying to us, and we keep pretending to believe them”.
I’d tend to agree, sadly.
James has written some excellent essays but this isn’t one. I mean this in the most constructive way but this essay feels like the kind of verbose stream-of-consciousness produced by someone in a state of euphoria; it’s repetitive, too long, meandering and needs a heavy edit as a consequence. At core, James has built his entire argument on the certitude that classical liberalism both alone and unproblematically knows what is real both positively and normatively. Why would anyone just accept this claim on assertion alone unless a fellow traveller? Is James just handling doubt in the same way as the Woke, i.e, by denying it?
As I read through this I was struck by how close it was to Ayn Rand’s extended critique of American culture in the 60’s, albeit in a psychological rather than a moralistic motif that dominated her writing. Her critique had the same basic foundation, denial of reality and all the consequences on both practicing those ideas and those who need to resist them.
Thanks for some thought provoking material here. I’m a psychiatrist and observer of human nature. I have a friend who is involved in a cult. She doesn’t realize she is giving her money to a cult to train her to become a sociopath and take other people’s money for ‘life coaching’. She believes some bizarre things that are too complicated and fantastical to explain here. Not until reading this did I see the similarity between her situation and the cultural norms now being foisted on everyone. My basic understanding of psychopathology is that it stems from a person’s misguided conflation of emotions with truth and reality. If I feel it, it must be real, type of thinking. Distortions of thoughts and beliefs leading to distorted behavior and feelings are the definition of mental disorders as I understand it. Panic disorder for example, goes something like this: I feel chest pain that means I might be having a heart attack therefore I feel even more anxious that leads to a positive feedback loop where as I become more concerned I feel more physical symptoms and the subsequently feel more anxiety and what is a normal stress response in which under threat I can protect myself or flee becomes a pathological response. The ultimate cure comes in practicing the ways in which one can determine whether one’s feelings are consistent with reality i.e. what is the truth of the situation and how do I examine evidence that supports or denies the truth. It is inestimably important to understand and promote the truth that feelings do not equal reality. I cannot understand the incoherence of the position that is now being supported by institutions that certain people’s feelings trumps everything. It makes no sense. I’ve basically just been ignoring the lunacy. When I started my residency in 2004 I remember a patient who wanted to cut off his penis and it was at that time unthinkable that we should do anything except prevent him from doing this. It was weird that suddenly in 2012 we started seeing kids that were being given drugs to block puberty. I basically avoid discussing my views about this controversial topic. I have supported parents in questioning their child’s feelings. I’m not prescribing sex altering treatments. I have never encouraged or challenged these feelings in my patients, but what I do teach is that feelings don’t equal reality. I have yet to see a transgender person who asked me about or seemed open to any discussion of their transgenderism. That fact alone is telling to me. I don’t see my role as pushing any ideology or my own views, but I do think every person needs to learn how to decide what is true by evidence. It’s not appropriate to outsource one’s thinking capacity to institutions who sanction what’s true and false. I agree with your assessment that this is psychopathy at work here and well meaning people are sucked in. I think it’s going to get worse. It’s extremely hard to get someone out of a cult even when that cult is draining all their resources. The prognosis is not good. Do you think I am complicit? I’m even a little concerned about posting this because it might be that I could lose my medical license for this view. I know that this thought is itself evidence of a problem.
Dear Ms. Gottfried,
Thank you for your thoughtful concerns raised here. I agree that feelings alone do not determine reality, but feelings can provide insight into reality for they have been created at moments of experience within reality and therefore inform our current or past perception of reality.
Psyschology has struggled since it orgins,and still, to define itself as a legitimate and objective science for the very reason of its relience on interpretations of and messurements for a determinent reality without denying, outright, subjective feeling-based perceptions that are fluid, evolving and experienced in verious states of consciousness, such as dream states, peak experiences, or drug induced states where awareness is present of perception.
You said, “the ultimate cure comes in practicing the ways in which one can determine whether one’s feelings are consistent with reality i.e. what is the truth of the situation and how do I examine evidence that supports or denies the truth. It is inestimably important to understand and promote the truth that feelings do not equal reality.”
So my question is what are the ways of practicing whether one’s feelings are consitent with reality actually? And, how shall that be taught to a child undergoing puberty?
“So my question is what are the ways of practicing whether one’s feelings are consistent with reality actually? And, how shall that be taught to a child undergoing puberty?”
My method would be to go back to epistemology and ask “how do we know things to be true”.
It’s real when one’s feelings seem to be in some sort of alignment with reality, and the ideas that align with reality must necessarily have some bearing on the results they produce.
Kids version: when you felt that and did it … did it work, were you right?
It’s about observing the results. If the results are good, the likelihood of your feelings being right is higher. Plan Do Check Adjust, right? Much like Thomas Sowell was asked by Milton Friedman to always observe the empirical evidence.
Personally I believe that there is information in feelings, they just shouldn’t stand alone. Some feelings are misfires and out of touch with reality in certain contexts, in other contexts that queasy feeling might actually be an emotional signal telling you that you’re being deceived.
There are unfortunately people that think psychiatry isn’t a legitimate science and that all pharmaceuticals are poison. Scientology has an entire pseudo reality built around this which replaces mental health care with a constant measurement of the patient using a balanced wheatstone bridge. Imagine the horror if we confirmed anorexic people. Gender theory currently appears be the most successful pseudo reality that I’m aware of. Some people also believe the earth is flat and that the royal family are lizard people, but we don’t enforce those pseudo realities with law. Canada’s C-16 law enforces compelled speech so that it is illegal to deny the pseudo reality of gender theory.
No, I don’t think you’re complicit. Thank you for a great post, and thank you for your courage in not prescribing sex altering treatments. Saying that feelings do not equal reality is so important to remind everyone right now, including me. I hope you don’t lose your medical license; we need more medical professionals like yourself.
Some well-meant advice to the author. As others have commented, the content is important, so it is a pity this is not much better written, recognising the importance of making it easy to read and understand. I’m a doctoral level mathematician myself, and it took me years to recognise that understandability means you can’t include all the interesting side issues and picky level detail you would like to. Decide what your core message is and stick to that, and present it in an easy to read style – the best way to do that is to write as if you were speaking, rather than as if you were writing a mathematical paper. If you don’t know how, enroll on a writing course.
haha, writing courses! That is the last any writer should aspire to. I can understand your mathematical perpsective, for that logic is logical. However lingual description are multi layered – multi dimensional so that by straying off on tangents one keeps the direction going. Vectors out of tensor-scalars which orient the field event horizon, though not a too finite mass. I sometimes do a philosophical thought experiment and try to describe why a = a . It is hard not to bring in Heraclitus so that a = a[+ b] in that the +b is the dynamic of a in the s/t continuum. So that a = a in one instance only. People add meaning to meaning and subtract other meaning out of it and so scientifically one could say a is an aggregate of a + n variants. But within defined limites of a expanded A. Formal logical [not mathematical logic] which I had the pleasure to run smack bang into my head in philos 101 – where we were not allowed to philosophise about logic. And this before I discovered Gödel! though I did figure his a-logical logic + Hilbert [more recent] which is refreshing compared to Witt[less]genstein. Anything to do with sentient intelligent intent is never straight forward. Inprecision defines orientation and explication because what pre-empts the solution of the product is the Neo Cortex. Which as an aside is why AI will never happen.
It’s a blog post, not a speech for the ages or a doctoral dissertation. Calibrate your expectations to the context and you’ll find yourself focusing on what matters more in all contexts: the meaning.
Problem is that the meaning is not very clear. Clarity of expression and clarity of thought (meaning) are closely related. I would have commended others to read it had it been better written
I asked the author to make a cliff notes version of this, but it already exists. The author should create a link to the more digestible version. I will post it here. https://newdiscourses.com/2021/01/nature-pseudo-reality/
When critiquing someone else’s writing, always be sure to check for your own grammatical errors. One enrolls IN a writing course, not ON.
I personally find James Lindsay’s writing to be on average, above average.
Many academics (and students) in science faculties, sadly, and in my experience, really struggle with writing well. The humanities, on the other hand, seem to attract individuals much better versed in literature and this shows in their writing. Much of the Woke academic literature is beautifully written, for example, employing rich metaphor and virtuosic turns of phrase.
A commenter wrote: “Much of the Woke academic literature is beautifully written, for example, employing rich metaphor and virtuosic turns of phrase.”
You claim this but provide no examples. Prove what you say. Quote some Wokista’s “rich metaphor and virtuosic turns of phrase”. I’ve never encountered a single such word from any Wokafarian from Mikey Foucault through Kendi O’Ghandi.
Science writers may lack in Haute Couture wordsmithing but their points are almost always plain and clear. High-Teacup Wokerati write like they think: too much Hissy and not enough Fit. For example, “Queer Theory” is the verbal diarrhea of Totalitarianism. Prove me wrong.
btw, I am not a science person though I wish I had been. I’m a cultural refugee from the leftist PC ’90s (Woke’s grandparents) and a published poet. And I ain’t never smelled nothin’ but supercilious effluvium from every mirror-mirror-on-the-wall Ego-Wokanian/Tic-Tokian/Froufrou Cringe-critter I’ve ever sniffed.
So walk your talk and play me some Woke Wow.
I respectfully disagree to these criticisms of length and detail.
I appreciate James specifically for his level of detail and fullness of ideas. I come here for such detail.
He is a true thinker and grasps the subject matter so comprehensively that he likely just intends to deliver all of his points fully to the reader.
Just my humble opinion.
This is a long essay. It is philosophical and dense. However, I found myself engaged throughout. The concepts Lindsay presents provides a framework for understanding my lived experience with cancel culture over the last two years. The research my students and I conducted at Berea College illustrates the “refutation” Lindsay calls for and the dire consequences it is likely to evoke.
Our 15-minute flash presentation, recently submitted to a national conference, reflects our effort to “identify, expose and explain the distortions” we observed within our campus community. Our talk is entitled “Flies in the Ointment; How distortions, discontinuities & dissonance thwart cancel culture’s promises.” https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BNGJujXzTLpuz3VWmSjRYfrG_4GlkU1h/view?usp=sharing
The talk provides examples of how identity and beliefs influenced (and distorted) perceptions and judgments concerning hostile environments and academic freedom at our college. Briefly, we found that although many individuals assert the compatibility of hostile environment protection and academic freedom, in practice, academic freedom is only afforded to those cases perceived as being inoffensive (i.e., when it is not needed). Identity (e.g., identifying as lesbian, liberal, & activist) predicts the perception of hypothetic environments as being “hostile.” Those who perceive environments as hostile are loathe to recognize academic freedom despite their willingness to endorse the concept explicitly. We also found that both “academic freedom” and “environmental hostility” are “fuzzy sets” with unclear boundaries & widely divergent opinions about their applicability to hypothetical scenarios.
Lindsay’s caveat, “who dares resist their games and who eludes their trap, becomes the target of their psychopathic ire, and many sympathizers who you would usually count as friends will take sides against you (there is no neutral in the paramorality)” came true with a vengeance. Citing the turmoil on campus attributed to the survey itself the administration embargoed the data from the survey, reassigned my courses to other faculty members, banished me from campus, and forbade me from communicating in any way with students. Ten weeks later, after exaggerated, false, and defamatory messages had pervade the campus, the dean persuaded a small board of faculty members that developing the survey warranted termination of tenure and dismissal from the college. You can read more about this here: https://www.nas.org/blogs/article/an-open-letter-to-lyle-d-roelofs-president-of-berea-college and here: https://davesfsc.com . My case against the college is now in federal court with a trial projected to begin in mid October, 2022.
Nonetheless, I was heartened by Lindsay’s reassuring conclusion that “Reality will always win, and calamity comes in proportion to the size of the lie between us and it, so it is better to act sooner than later.” … from James’ lips to God’s ear …
Very well put. The cancel culture hit my husband and I viciously and by a family member. This article explained the “backside” of this thinking and how these people got there. It also reinforced why the reaction was so over the top when we presented the reality. Thank you. It is deep but well worth the time and focus required to read. I’ve shared this.
We can trace the root to these false realities possibly to 100,000 years ago when herd mentality actually meant survival. In a post-modern civilization these evolutionary traits work against us. Following the herd now means suicide.
According to Terence McKenna we broke out of herd mentality by suppression of the ego through psilocybin.
I guess there’ll be a massive dispute here regarding intensions of false reality makers. James is clear – he calls them psychopaths. Many people will say false reality creators first con themselves, then con their followers. That they’re dreamers first: Utopians. I’ll raise one point in favor of James’ interpretation here. Were one really interested in changing the system for the better, one has to admit most changes don’t work and can’t (history shows; and also: it’s the way it is now because it works!). Pretty much universally, the architects of revolutions don’t care about what works right now. They care to destroy what is. They basically believe a better replacement is only possible after the thing which works is destroyed. I definitely see this aspect in Marxism, and Climate activists; in how they respond to criticisms. Ask a communist – after we destroy capitalism – exactly what will we replace it with?, please tell us of your working version of socialism. They can’t. They believe, or claim to believe, that only after the conditions for socialism have been achieved (capitalism over with), can the replacement be done. Something similar for climate activists. Point out the massive failure of renewable energy in Germany, Denmark, South Australia, California, Texas. The impossibility of cheap energy storage. They’ll claim that all the technologies they want will be invented after the reliable energy economy has been destroyed.
I remember reading accounts of how savvy journalists questioned Pathet Lao (Laotian Communists) spokespeople in the sixties.After listening to the usual diatribe, someone would ask for a description of the Party’s sewage policy and wait for the inevitable confusion to overwhelm the Party Ideolog.
“establishment and social enforcement of a false reality”
1. The left already have their terms for this (as they see the world). In Marxism, The ‘false reality’ is called ‘false consciousness’ and ‘capitalist ideology’. Given the left already think all reality is false or deeply compromised by accommodation with TPtB (e.g. The Patriarchy, institutional racism, transphobia, ‘false consciousness’, ‘capitalist ideology’, the Family, Nationalism, History, … ), they spend their time creating other realities which they think they can make true, or which expose TPtB. Sometimes they do it accidentally, sometimes consciously. Accidental false realities are more compelling because the authors think they’re uncovering The Truth, previously hidden by TPtB!
2. Where the left fail. There are good reasons why the world is like it is. Actual material constraints made it this way. Can we just do an abracadabra and ‘smash the history of the world in two’ (I think I’m quoting Mao here / if not him then French 1960s Maoists). No we can’t. There’s an overwhelming chance our radical changes will make things worse. To avoid disaster: when we introduce radical changes they should tested and validated. Like a trials in medical science. ( I think TPtB look on the Plandemic this way – a test )
3. I have issues with James’ essay. I accept his basic premise: there are false realities which functionally serve particular political groups who want to radically change how the world is. That the changes will be far worse for most people. I reject the notion that all false realities are like that. I believe there are also other false realities. To an extent they are accidental, but some of them are put there by TPtB. Do you see the conflict? The Left are against TPtB, and manufacture almost countless false realities to expose or change TPtB. At the same time TPtB are also out there manufacturing false realities – not so much to keep things as they are – but, perhaps, to change things too!
4. Is it worth our time to rail against every false reality? This is a question all skeptics, like me, must ask ourselves. What false realities do most harm here and now? Given skeptics already face this issue. “So much B-S, not enough time”, we should concentrate our fire against recently made false realities designed to harm society. I apply the principle of cost-benefit analysis to identify the most evil ideas. Most people aren’t so cold and calculating as me. Other people apply the Precautionary Principle, groupthink, or defensiveness (defending the good we can clearly identify). I ask you: please bring reason to the discussion. Let’s all see the cost-benefit analyses. Which false realities are worst? Which are clearly weakest? Which are obviously unsustainable (will eat their kids) so don’t need to be toppled by us, …
Mark – you make some good points.
From a practical perspective science could and should do more to expose myths and false realities. We should also recognise that this is not a clear cut dichotomy between science and the humanities. Arguably, science is doing its own share of myth making. This has come about from the distortion of scientific normative values and decline in the amount of independent review and self correction i.e. the ‘reproducibility crisis’ and alignment of scientific cultures with institutional agendas. The funding carrot is now well regulated and has taken away the discretionary capacity to debunk. Although the scientific method and toolbox is well equiped to squash post-modern myths, these days no scientist can decide to spend years dissecting them and setting up the type of experiments and logical discourse to do so. This does not mean that they would not want to.
What has happened is that science has been so captured by “productive” tasks to serve pre-determined economic and public interest areas that funding policy has curtailed the capacity to pursue the idea that the public is well served when science protects its own intellectual turf.
The barbarians are at the gate because the bean-counters decided that the barbarians would never dare storm the citadel of science. So, they sacked the guards, put up cardboard signs instead of walls and scavenged the stone to build a temple to the administrators in the square.
If you remove the capacity of the scientific community to decide what issues are important you get what has happened at universities all over the West – the field has been abandoned and the post-modern zombie apocalypse has begun. Because any claim can now be made without a robust response – because our society decided (> 30 years back, given the great neoliberal wisdom of the age) that it would not pay for such triviality and academic navel gazing.
Much rhetoric is spoken about the need to ‘fight for freedom’, but almost none speaks about the need to defend ideas and scientific principles that are core to free minds. Crickets predominate in this space. The reason? That sort of thing went in the first round of cutbacks.
Hence, we are reaping what we have sown and most ironically those who are most disgusted were often the greatest proponents of the cutbacks and refocusing of science away from “wanky” and “unproductive'”tasks!
If funding decisions allowed scientists to critically review the post-modern myths of the age we could turn this around very quickly. But that would mean that our politicians and administrators would have to see the error of past policy and accept responsibility for what has emerged to fill the vacuum they created.
I’m in a fairly good position to know the great cost of debunking myths. A group of us had to fund our own work debunking a myth that cost the Australian taxpayer > $50 million. It will cost a bomb to debunk the postmodern mythologies – it now needs a NASA-like effort – but what is the cost of doing nothing?
Brandolini’s law perfectly answers why refuting woke academic ideas is such hard work.
Not many have the time or energy to enter the Labyrinth.
We should politely ignore the key roles that psychiatrists played in the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century, from the Soviet mental prisons to the planning of the Holocaust. The most harmful pseudo-reality was the manufacture of mental illnesses. As Szasz identified it: the therapeutic state.
This is a great article. Thank you.
I live in the country. My neighbors and I have no trouble distinguishing between reality and what the author has described as pseudo-reality. We call it bullshit out here. Makes it a lot easier to differentiate. We don’t have any problem rejecting the bullshit, either. I suggest a month in the country for all those unfortunates out there who are unable to do the necessary distinguishing.
I 100% agree; however, the ones doing all the damage (and who control law/policy through, ultimately, massive armed force), are in the Cities. They are not lining up for the necessary common-sense reeducation.
The is a very good analysis of what has happened in history and what is developing. I think a lot of us already see this although have not broken it down this finely. Pseudo-reality and discourse engineering are excellent terms to remember and call out as new examples appear almost daily.
My interpretive summary and observation
“The woke” Small group of far left progressives who use pseudo -reality to create (unachievable) Utopia where all are equal in all things. ( Except for the woksters, who somehow always become an elite upper class.) What wokesters know and accept that the path to Utopia will be covered in blood but will be worth it. This is truly an evil lot.
Typical lib. Considers himself better and smarter than his fellows. He is neither but his vanity makes him susceptible to pseudo -reality pushed by wokesters as the new, better, smarter way. Senses continually eroded, they will first become the wokesters idiot accomplices to enforce compliance and eventually it’s army, eliminating counter-revolutionaries, aka ‘realists’.
Always know Stalin, Mao, Hitler and others did not kill millions of their own citizens. This was carried out by their own neighbors and the first steps was implementing whatever version of cancel culture they had at the time. The analysis is excellent in understanding how such things could have happened and are in the works now
“Always know Stalin, Mao, Hitler and others did not kill millions of their own citizens. ”
They wouldn’t have been able to without an obedient hierarchy acting as the extensions of their own bodies
Here’s a little poem inspired by the essay:
Lies crash into reality
Point out where contradictions reign
To pay attention is to know
To be woke is to be insane
What my 13 year old daughter said after I explained gender identity ideology: ‘Well, that’s just stupid’.
She’s not ‘very smart’, she’s smart.
Thing is, you can see with great accuracy the structures producing a sense of gender for most people on a sufficiently detailed scan of the brain. So what did you claim “gender identity ideology” is?
I posit that psychopaths live in an inner world of fear. They are driven to find safety in the iron-handed control of their immediate environment, and are very inherently facile with the levers of fear. Any position of power will strongly attract this personality type. A shortcut to attaining an already established position of power is to create and control an angry mob, a mob whose very nature further attracts more hitherto powerless but angry people, a dynamic pattern of accretion which in turn encourages the existing members of the mob to be further energized by the results of their “business plan”. The words of their philosophy have NO meaning beyond excusing the destructive expression of angry psyches outward, instead of confronting the fear within, instead of embracing the karmic challenge that is the true, though hidden, meaning of their lives. They will go to extremes to avoid facing whatever fear relentlessly lies un-faced within.
Brilliant essay that explains everything threatening civilization now. My only minor disagreement is over the idea that those who buy into follies like wokeness, radical environmentalism, and covid-cultism are “very smart”. Regardless of their academic credentials, anybody who fails to recognize the science-denial, departure from reality, hypocracy, and general absolute BS of these ideologies cannot legitimately claim high intelligence.
@Cary D Cotterman
Midwits are smart enough to understand and absorb the pseudo-reality but not smart enough to escape the pseudo-reality. More dimwitted people wouldn’t understand and hence they couldn’t be infected as easily.
The dimwits would rather trust their instincts. Hence why even not so smart people can seem more successful than the smarter ones.
From the article: “They find themselves in the broken position not only of being functionally psychopathic but also of being reality-inverted such that they believe all normal people who are not (yet) cultists are the cultists while they, themselves, are not.”
That might describe me. How would I know? How would you know?
To elaborate slightly further, I’ve never met or seen the writings of a single person who didn’t rely on some mixture of faith and contradictions to describe and live their reality. From conservative to progressive, from religious to atheist, from libertarian to totalitarian, from communist to free-market …, they all are full of contradictions and giant leaps of faith.
Yeah, and me too! I’m not about to try and eliminate all of my leaps of faith and internal contradictions – that would drive me absolutely insane! And it wouldn’t make my life the least bit better to me.
It seems to me that these ideological cults are more a matter of degree than anything else. Perhaps some are truly dangerous to civilization, but my guess is those that are the most certain, those that are the “true believers,” those that are the least tolerant of opposing viewpoints, while happening to be the “wrong approach” are the dangerous ones, but it’s pretty tough to tell and it’s waaaaaaay beyond me to be able to tell.
Im afraid you have articulated precisely why liberal societies, and the good, decent, ‘normal’ people who make them up, are themselves the most susceptible to the rise of totalitarianism if they cannot solve Popper’s paradox of tolerance.
Or to put it another way, remember what I think is Lindsay’s crucial distinction in his definition of ‘pseudo-reality’:
“Pseudo-realities are, simply put, false constructions of reality [that] present a plausible but deliberately wrong understanding of reality. Pseudo-realities do not attempt to describe reality as it is but rather as it ‘should be'”.
Pseudo-realities do not subject themselves to the litmus tests of reason or observation, and in the end prohibit the appeal to any objective truth whatsoever. In fact, Truth with a capital T is derided as a fiction at best or the oppressive narrative of Power at worst. (Side note: Is this thanks to Post-modernism per se or simply the pop-intellectual shallow (mis)understanding of Foucault?)
While Mankind has made many attempts to see the nature of Reality with a capital R and understand Truth with a capital T, those worthy of consideration are only those which hold themselves accountable to a higher power (be it Reason, God, Objective Reality, the Nature of the Universe, etc), and submit themselves to the rigors of rational thought and/or empirical observation. I will admit that some of these may be better than others, or that some may function better in particular areas than others, but they are all open to anyone willing to apply their mental faculties to them.
In contrast, Lindsay’s ‘Pseudo-realities’ are not open to all. Instead, it is simply ‘Us’ versus ‘Them’: Us, with our correct understanding because it is Us who have thought it and whose agenda it serves, and Them who do not have our agenda and who therefore cannot be correct because their reasoning is nothing but their own will to power. This is most visible today in the “My Truth” game of Identity Politics ie: because you are not of my race/sexuality/gender you do not have access to the same knowledge I have access to .
In short, it is not merely a difference in degree. It is a difference in kind. Liberalism, for all its merits, does open the way for someone to stumble into a quagmire of relativism. Instead of looking down at all the muddy footprints of those who have also wandered into this murky cess pool, look up to the heavens above, and guide yourself by the stars.
Thank you Dr. Lindsay for your work and thank you Bret for helping me hash out my ideas. Please reply if you think I have misunderstood anything.
The article is right on, One thing I would like to add regarding interview on Lenin 4. Merkel was not shocked at all over US censorship she was just shocked over fact that it was not done by the state. see hereto analyis in foreign policy twitters merkel problem author forsythe? not sure anymore. The paradoxical thing is that she does not want responsibility for censorship of the state hence she outsourced it in the first place. So here we go, another contradiction. My thesis is that global dissent strive and disunity began with the Fall of the Iron Curtain you can very nicely follow it up. The communist elites went westward with their former victims and re-established themselves. They hold powerful positions in Germany. Just lately one former GDR judge became a a judge in a German supreme coutt I think four the state of mecklenburg Vorpommern pls verify.
Merkel has been an AGITPROP specialist, and they were trained in manipulation. With the fall of the Iron curtain Germany was up front in the UN without interruption first there was Töpfer than came Achim Steiner a Brasilian German (dual nationality) Check his bio for his length of office at the UN . If I got it right, pls check he is responsible for migration pact it was under his helm at UN as well as Paris Agreement. Before he embarked on his 2nd UN career at UN DP he was personally nominated by Merkel in her RNE cabinett whether he is still there I do not know . What I do know is that he is 2nd Chair at the CCICED the environmental section of the communist party in China. I find this very disturbint. does he has 3 passports perhaps`? A German a Brasilian and a Chinese one? How can a German having worked for the German Government end up with a position in the Chinese Communist Party? Now, pls check his project the 17SDGs His utopia. which Biden repeats word by word. Just check the UN Sites. Also check his visions on digital money and taskforces he is also heading with others next to him . Just google under digital money taskforces UN and you get the site with A. Steiner up front. He is quite open about his agenda. Also google his presentation toward a green economy at martin school of oxford where he had a leadership role for about 1 year before he took his second turn at the UN again. He is described as rank 3 in UN Hirarchy and I gain the impression that what ever Merkel seeks to accomplish takes a detour via the UN so her name is out.. The reason why I right all this is to point out its not just a bunch of deluded academics. No. it seems very orchestrated from above (China /Germany working in tandem using the UN as a hub to sow dissent. Just study sites of UN carefully and you see they are very unabashed about it. Steiners role as 2nd chair in CCICED I gleaned from the latter’s website,
Could he be related to Rudolf Steiner? German philosopher. Influential somehow. He is behind Waldorf schools and studied with Nietzche.
have not read article yet but this website is very hard to read . Article should be for sale on kindle I would prefer paying for it and have a different format. Just saw the interview on Leninism 4 and I strongly recommend reading R.D. Laing in this context if you have this kind of a situation in a closed setting its a sure pathway to madness. What now goes on at societal level is exactly what R.D. Laing calls mystification, that is to say presenting s.o. with a false reality. Laing writes that not only do you encounter this in families but also in totalitarian systems where this is deliberately used to drive people insane.by destroying their selves which is inextricably linked with processes of perception.
To understand this R.D. Huxleys doors of perception is of great help too although R,D. Laing is right on target regarding the stuff J. Lindsey writes about
Hi Gabriele, You can set your color preference by clicking the light bulb icon in the top right corner of the site. Your theme choice may be toggled anytime, and will be preserved when you return to the website in the future. Hope this helps!
Damn. Wish I had seen this comment before I struggled with reading the whole article in the white on black format! 🙁
Me too. I wish even more strongly that ‘preferences’ allowed for the article being written by a more competent writer. This is twice too long and miserably complex for these important and novel but simple thoughts.
Too much reading! Hard words!
you can also copy the article into Word and format it as you wish.
Pair this with C.J. Hopkin’s “The Covidian Cult” for a better understanding of what we saw unfold in 2020 and what we continue to see unfold into 2021.
This author at consent factory shames readers who are apparently blaming different groups including “Jews”. I would argue that (Jews aside) familiarity with Babylonian Talmud, Zohar, Sephira Yetzirah is fundamental to understanding totalitarian systems, especially the first resource (Michael Hoffman’s work is excellent here) although Hegel can substitute for the kabbalistic works for all but the most avid researchers. The other crucial puzzle piece for secular scholars is Rene Girard’s body of work on scapegoating and mimetic desire.
Let’s not throw swine among the pearls here.
Concepts are dual to percepts — the mind duality of Immanuel Kant.
Thesis is dual to anti-thesis creates converging thesis or synthesis — the time independent Hegelian dialectic.
The intellectual mind/soul (concepts) is dual to the sensory mind/soul (percepts) — the mind duality of Thomas Aquinas.
Pseudo realities = dualities (antinomy)!
Ethico theology is dual to physico theology (science) synthesizes teleology — Immnauel Kant.
It should be clear to everyone that this article is just as true about the left as it is about the right, just as true about Maga as it is about Woke.
If anyone disagrees with this statement, try to justify yourself in your reply, and we will see that you are merely validating James’s thesis.
MAGA, even with its imperfections, is an attempt by normal people to re-establish a society based on reality, while wokeness is based on pseudo-reality and pseudo-morality defined and pushed by psychopaths. The article clearly applies to the latter, not the former.
There are massive differences between the left and the right. Eliding those differences by claiming MAGA = woke is just dumb. Almost pathologically dumb.
Cogito, ergo sum- no…I’ll wait for the ‘fact checkers.’
Thanks a lot man.
You are making a difference and empowering others to do the same.
Do not stop the writing.
Hi, James. I came to your article because it was shared by many people who, for many reasons, oppose what some would call transgenderism/”gender identity” politics/queer politics/gender ideology. After reading this great article, the perfect word might be… transreality.
I know you didnt write it thinking of transreality (at least, not only transreality). But I assure many think that your piece describes it on a superb way.
I am the spokesperson of a Brazilian campaign against “transing” kids. It´´s so sad. I wonder for how long people will carry on water to castrate kids. This is one of the most horrifying chapters of Humanitity.
Thanks a lot,
“Transreality” is utterly brilliant. Thank you.
Outstanding article that really helps elucidate what we are up against. I wish more people would read and understand this.
I’m a bit late to the game, but thank you for including this take.
I’ve been saying here for awhile that a psychological approach is what’s needed to counter the illiberality of CSJ. They have abandoned traditional Western discourse, so those means and methods are useless, even when they still employ its trappings.
This problem is now psychological and must employ psychological means to counter it. This essay should be considered foundational. I look forward to seeing the beginnings of an edifice soon.
Hey James — Serious question for the troll king (we’re not worthy!)
In your view, what is the main difference(s) between popular religions and pseudo reality?
Pseudo-reality seems like an accurate term for what you’re describing.
I stand with you, Candy, and try to do the same with my own friends.
James Lindsay, I want to thank you for the crucial work you’re doing. This is such a valuable essay.
Another way for a person to fight for the real world and the sanity of real minds, short of going through the torture of immersion in the literature of wokeness, is to read articles such as yours and to recommend them to as many people as one can. There’s a lot more one can do than simple refusal to participate in the lie.
I found out about this essay of yours through a vlogger named Deb Fillman, whose video mission as a former schoolteacher and a lover of individual liberty is to inform people of how woke indoctrination is happening in our schools.
So my present contribution to the fight is to share a link to that video (and hence access to her channel).
I hope that in 2021 New Discourses and Debs’s channel will get a huge audience and influence.
Certainly, anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities, has the power to make you commit injustices.
And so went the famous author as a useful idiot for the French Revolution butchers
As many here observed, thi is an interesting article on a topic that should concern all of us. I do see a bit of a trap here though, as it is not enough to resist the forces that are promoting false constructions of reality; we need to know how to be aligned with reality ourselves, and it helps to to appreciate the philosophical principles that underlying subjectivism vs those that support realism.
This traces all the way back to the differences between Plato snd his New Republic concept and the “it takes a village to raise a child” (as per HRClinton) and the belief in the role of the elite in defining reality vs Aristotle and his focus on the potential of the individual to differentiate between what is real and what is subjective. Because Aristotle’s principles are generally accepted truth in our approach to scientific study also underpins our legal system we have a basis for reasoned discourse.
It helps if we understand that we are being subjected to a form of gaslighting through the media and various other institutions. What we see with our eyes – we didn’t see that. The words we have heard a politician say – we didn’t hear that, etc. If we go back to first principles we get to questions that expose the lies snd fabrications. This takes time, as the Trump legal team is finding out. However, as The article points out, there are many people out there who recognize the misalignment between what they have been told by the media is true and what their own logic and observations tell them is true.
Respectfully, no, you’re wrong. The problems posited here are much more specific than simply being wrong about things. The author is not simply saying “being wrong is bad”, and frankly it wouldn’t even be possible to make that study because no one has ever been completely right, so we can’t even say for sure that the world would be better if everyone was right because no one has tried it, for all we know being perfectly right would lead to a perfectly rational AI deciding to kill us all off with atomic bombs, he’s studying a particular kind of person who CREATES A FALSE NARRATIVE FOR SELFISH REASONS and then proceeds to slowly build what effectively amounts to a massively manipulative political cult which not only doesn’t know truth, but actually HATES it.
Illusions flickering in the shadows of the cave wall indeed. And not to be trite. You raise interesting points I don’t claim to understand. I have a friend who says, Roman law is not all that great, and I deduce the pseudo reality runs deeper than we know. I like to keep my powder dry. Who knows what horrors await.
Very profound analysis. Applies to both postmodernists and it’s many flavors as well as “they stole the election” types. Very satisfying read.
I don’t think the “They stole the election types” are completely wrong. It’s true that the courts have turned down the suits, but the key is looking at WHY. I’ll be honest with you, the outcome of that process should send shivers down all our spines, because what the courts REALLY said is “there’s nothing we can do about it”. No effective legal mechanism exists to fight election rigging in modern America.
The problem with election security in America is that our approach has basically been unchanged since Tammany Hall: we look for a single old lady with 30 ballots in her purse, and then throw said old lady in jail and throw away the key. The ubercriminalization of election fraud ignores the simple fact that this is not merely some outrage that needs to be punished, but a genuine threat to the continuity and stability of our Republic. What happens when you can’t find the old lady? In this day and age, why should we ever be expecting to find the old lady?
The problem with attempting to address the seemingly obvious problems of the 2020 election in the courts is that the courts will not entertain the idea that the election was fraudulent UNLESS AND UNTIL you find a specific culprit. If you can’t find a single individual who you can prove rigged the election, the courts offer NO REDRESS WHATSOEVER to election fraud. There’s literally no possible standing aside from a specific criminal charge against a specific person. The fact that said person is most likely to be a foreign agent further complicates this mission, as foreign agents are likely not to be within any reasonable policing or surveillance jurisdiction of the United States. Furthermore, many of the likely sources of elective distortion have enough plausible deniability to not be worthy of any kind of court action.
Rather than ““there’s nothing we can do about it” what I heard the courts saying was “we’d rather not get involved.”
For example in Texas v. Pennsylvania et al, the Supreme Court manifestly could have looked at the evidence in the various swing states, concluded that there was a serious question, and told the various lower courts to order forensic audits of very limited numbers of ballots. Where to go after that (if the audits clearly supported fraud sufficient to alter the outcome of the election) would have been a question and any answer would have been controversial but the question would not have been impossible and the controversy would not have been larger than what will now occur.
Hard cases make bad law. Refusing to deal with them is not always better.
However: The controversy (which will perhaps be styled ‘civil war’) will not now be directly placed on the steps of the Supreme Court. If you’re one of seven justices there, that’s the better outcome.
I don’t think that “It’s only fraud if you can give us the name of the old lady” is a defense. Courts — especially the Supreme Court — have crafted sweeping, novel, and controversial remedies to far less concrete evils than reversing a national election in the past. Roe v. Wade, Obergefell v. Hodges are just the first two examples to come to mind.
The court — especially, it seems, Chief Justice Roberts — did not want to be involved in this.
Somebody must be delighted when a new pseudo-reality comes together so smoothly. Now we wait to see just how it unravels and learn the consequences for 350 million Americans and their descendants unto we know not when.
I didn’t grasp what Hegel had to do with this: did he manufacture a pseudo-reality too? are modern Hegelians basically cultists? is this true of all who follow a philosophy (thomists seem like a cult sometimes)
In general, no one who studies philosophy, and learns its most important lessons “follows a philosophy”. The history of philosophy is generally a history of the demystification of the world. Along the way, some philosophers are side-tracked into more mystification. Philosophers who produce philosophical systems (like Hegel did) seem particularly prone to this folly.
Hope you’ve come up with a new vessel. This will be meaningless without the first ramblings; if they don’t pass “moderation” (censorship). I am giving the author major credit for his insight. Do you have any idea how short a list it is of those who have seen what he is telling you about? G.K. Chesterton wrote about it in his book: THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY. Chesterton, a Catholic, thought he was writing about the advent of fascism into his otherwise orderly worldview. Chesterton embodied his insight into the character of SUNDAY. But what we can now discover? SUNDAY was embodying that special place within any collectivist model; i.e., that of the Voice of the Circle. Every collective narrative must have one central Voice to define for its members the “margin” of the Circle. That “margin”? Who’s in and who’s out. That can be composed of one individual or many. In either case it constitutes an Inner Circle to the greater Circle collective. Eric Fromm wrote about it in his book: ESCAPE FROM FREEDOM; in which Fromm laid out the absolute terror some feel being individuals; of how they wish to assuage their fear by belonging to something larger than their own perceived frailty. One way of slicing this “apple” is by delineating the fundamental tension as being Individual versus Collective. Today we sling the term collective around this way and that way as if it means either nothing or a sum of a known quantity. Not so with the Founders of this country in the person of Patrick Henry. In the midst of the Ratification Hearings, Patrick Henry is having huge, massive problems with Jefferson’s phrase in the Declaration, announcing “We the people”. He is questioning how one can formulate that this “aggregate” can have personhood of the sort that could possibly maintain ownership of liberty. Patrick Henry would not rest until a Bill of Rights of the “individual” had been proposed and adopted to deal with this perceived lack. Have you done your meditation yet on the Staff and Circle? What is the nature of the Staff? If it is bent to any degree, over time-distance it will conceptually extend and complete into a circle (2 Dimensional). Can a Circle be a circle if it is not complete? Can it truly have an Inside and an Outside without completing itself into a circle? So how do we confirm the linearity of the Staff? Would the right angle square do that? How the Circle? Would the old compass with a stylus perform that function? What are the Outward symbols of Masonry? What do Masons show to the world? The right angle square and the compass, correct? Is this all mumbo jumbo? Playing games? One of the commenters mentioned political ponerology as perhaps an adjunct to the author’s work above. No. I’m going to tell you that will not work. You are simply creating another label to affix. And who gets to decide who the psychopaths are? Can you escape abuse of that system? Maybe somebody thinks I’m a psychopath with all this talk about acid washing away the normal boundaries to fit this information in. I’m not a Mason. So don’t give me the Third Degree, eh? Nothing hidden. I’m giving it to you straight. I’m a stand-up guy; pillar of my community type; someone with standards. The English language is filled full of Staff references. You don’t need to meditate. You could just do a word study to make these trees visible from the forest. Everything to do with logic, reason, assessment, measurement. These are Staff tools. Tools for what? ??? Tools for interfacing with an Objective Reality. It’s getting so thick . . . you could cut it with a knife. Exactly my point; if you want to extend that point to infinity. But won’t we arrive at a collective vision? Oh, no, no. Patrick Henry would be flipping. What do you get with two Staffs of equal length, proportion, material? Strike one; the other resonates = tuning fork. We can share “resonance” of ideas; of perspective, without ever having to take Fromm’s counsel of fear and sacrifice our individuality into a cult-like consolidating narrative. Humans are not a school of fish; nor a hive of bees; that we should all entrain to a singular narrative. Then why do we allow our media of today to code us with their 4a.m. talking points they all receive. You can flip the channel a half dozen times and they’re all delivering the same message: narrative. Enterprising YouTube activists make fun of it by editing strings of these examples together. What is being attempted . . . in plain sight?
I’m sorry but this response is nonsense. Most social circles have no Sunday character defining who’s in and who’s out. Most of them evolve, and arise from forces that are vastly more natural than the machinations you intimate. That doesn’t mean people don’t get excluded, but the exclusion is usually NOT carried out with the kind of meticulous and methodical malice that you imply here. IN FACT, the real story of life is a profound mysterious chaos that leads to all great drama and the tragic nature of life. Your view of mankind is laughingly two-dimensional, silly and blasphemously oversimplified, and it is with tearful sincerity and pity that I say I really hope you are not foolish enough to actually think the world is like what you are saying here.
Spoken like a devout Circle affiant. Let’s muddy the water and declare it clear. Alexander, there is nothing more filled with malice than creating new labels to categorize people as psychopaths; when there is a simpler explanation staring us in the face. I’ve given you clues, not a complete recipe. What’s the issue du jour? Guns. What did Biden just say? We can take them now. What’s the justification? A sex addict going off the handle in Atlanta and a Muslim in Boulder. What’s the main fundamental? Collective guilt. Law-abiding citizens across this nation are presumed to be outlaws, if this rigged Congress can get a bill on the President’s desk. What’s the problem with that? Amendment 2 of the Bill of Rights. Are Biden and this corrupt Leftist Congress all psychopaths? This action, if pursued, is going to cause the deaths of millions of Americans. Yes, I can predict that. It’s called history. Does that mean they are Hitlerian tyrants? Well, they believe in something that is a false reality. It is a part of their Leftist paradigm that they can mold and transform human nature. You’re ignoring the obvious.
While I could praise the article for its insight, I’m not going to go that route. Rather, I’d like to inject enough acid or alkaline; don’t care which; to completely dissolve the paradigm it’s trying to operate from. No, I don’t have “standing” here. Actually, I converted the article above into a PFD to play it, laid down, fell asleep and only WOKE during the comments, imagining I was listening to somebody’s screenplay or something. No, I am not that person you are trying to pigeon hole. Few years ago I was playing blues fiddle at a bar, when a beautiful South Korean gal came up from the audience and asked to use my instrument. Without warming up, she whipped off Dvorak’s HUMORESQUE near flawlessly, showing off to her Date and the audience; before holding up her left hand and disclosing she was deformed; was born without the last knuckle on each fingers. She explained her adoption parents forced her to study violin to overcome her “short”coming. Her Date looked amazingly like Kobe Bryant, may he rest in peace. I felt a great sense of resonance with her; the tragedy of life; my own plight of picking up the violin after 43 years of not playing; the impossible hill to climb to reach back up toward the symphony orchestra level in my . . . retire years. But with the loss of a fiancee near marriage, the meaning draining out of life. What’s it all about if you can’t have a little music, after all! Dealing with irony: an American Indian friend calling me a Nigah for playing every Tuesday with a Black Gospel group! Being a frustrated Permaculturalist: the City told me to take down my greenhouse. I didn’t qualify to have 50 tomato plants? And I’m a Trump supporter. Enough disclosure? Mebbe. Because now I’m going to take you to where the music is playing (Jerry: CONSPIRACY THEORY). Or channel George Carlin, if you’d prefer. Point is, we need new wineskins here. Trying to jump a few hedgerows to engage the NME. Philosophy? Psychology? Completely inadequate to explain the phenomenon dear Mr. Author has so eloquently wordsmith-ed for us. Impressive; and I grew up as a brat on a University campus. Used to get free joints helping confused college kids feed their professors what they wanted to hear for top grades. I know how to be a supercilious asshol*e. No, this author deserves a lot of respect; seminal work for real. But I was first by half a decade or more. In short, this is a GENDER WAR. Not . . . in any regular sense you can find in Freud or Jung. If I owe creds anywhere it is to Riane Eisler, the commie feminist atheist. Only after I had already formulated my findings did I realize there was a really brilliant feminist lesbian who had the music down pat, riding the tempo beat. That was/is Camille Paglia, in her brilliant tome: THE SEXUAL PERSONAE. There are so many things “right” about the first 40 or so pages. Unfortunately, after super nailing it, Paglia has subsequently walked it back a bit, rather than expounding in more detail. If you want to completely ignore me, and my pitiful George Carlin channeling, go to Paglia’s exposition of Apollonian Projectionism; and its counterpart: Dionysian Cthonic Urgings. You will gain a vision of Goddess Kali, in her rage, destroying the three worlds, only going to freeze frame before destroying her unconscious consort, the supine Shiva. Shiva got the bad rap. It’s his female counterpart who is the great destroyer. And you’re contemporary worshipping her as Mother Earth, ahem. You see, you got lied to out the Yin-Yang. The gender forces are not coequal. The are of a fundamentally divergent nature. The music was playing in the Garden of Eden. Problem is? We don’t know whether the Serpent was Satan, or just Eve’s internal Zeitgeist. No matter. She heard what she wanted; and that was to ignore Adam’s God. Nature plays to her own tune. If you are mesmerized by her brilliant colors and patterns, you’re missing her face as Kali; missing Paglia’s Dionysian Chthonic Urgings. And Paglia got something so, so right. Dionysus was male! This is not about p h y s i c a l gender. This is mental gender. But that’s only a guidepost. Because it bleeds out into the realm of action; what we do to make things happen. Paglia is correct that virtually everything you see around you partakes of her Apollonian Projectionism. Every object other than a tree or a plant was acted upon by the application of reason, logic, measure; in its production. I think I was on the same flight going through Karachi Airport. Bill Dana had a comedy routine. He could get away with it then. Let’s try it now. The pilot of a commercial flight is radioing the tower, asking for permission to land, and which runway. The Tower answer, “Any one you like.” You supply the accent. The pilot is on Final; notices there is another flight taking off right into him. Dana supplies ample expletives as the pilot confronts the Tower with this fact. The Tower replies, “Oh, my goodness. That’s the third time today!” I swear I was there. Just don’t know which of the three times . . . that day. IF you’ve ever flown commercial and felt you were seated in a fighter jet; that would be India’s internal airlines. Crash reports sometimes include the phrase “exceeded design parameters”. Yup. They’re right up there at that envelope. The point I’m making? Not all areas of the world operate in abeyance to a Cartesian model of reality. I’m in a taxi, somewhere in the wilds of India where Bengal Tigers roam and people don’t. The engine overheated. The taxi driver shows up with buckets of water and begins pouring them over the heated engine. “Aren’t you worried about cracking the engine block?,” I ask. “Oh, no. Mother Ganga (the river nearby) would not harm the engine.” Enough examples? I’ve got more for another day. So what I’m going to lay on you, Man (or woman), is a symbol set. Two symbols. Everything I could tell you from this point is contained in those two symbols, and their relationship to each other. If your I.Q. is above . . . let’s not play that game. Because this is more about that rarest of commodities: Common Sense. The symbols: The Staff and The Circle.
Meditate, visualize, study how they interact. If you belong to an EO, you may be familiar how this works. It’s not about me, or what I say. This is going to tell you about yourself. Or it may be someone considering you a neophyte; someone assessing your qualification for initiation into the next level. But this is the mystery our author here wrote so eloquently about. Me? I’m giving you the core. You’re looking now into the blue glare of the nuclear pile. And then we can consider whether we have a new vessel to put this in, right?
I really enjoyed this. It’s almost *exactly* the breakdown I’ve arrived at myself over the past few years. It’s like reading the post I’d been planning to write for some friends. Guess I’ll send them here.
Although it was written at a very abstract level, it was an easy read. For every concept touched on, several real world examples sprang immediately to mind.
Not so much a means to redpill as it is an explanation and guide for those who have noticed that something is extremely f*cked up in recent times. And this is the perfect time to write it – 5 years ago it would have been dismissed as alarmism. But no one can ignore the insane sh*t thats being pushed in schools, entertainment, the WEF, our cities burning etc.
Excellent article. Very well written. I sincerely hope that more people become aware of this pseudo-reality type of thinking that you describe. Thank you for writing this.
Thank you James for such a well thought out and detailed explanation of these cults / mind viruses. It is no wonder depending on who is reading it, finds similarities to so many different pathologies across time. I have lived under communism and can relate to the tendency of these cults to subvert language, spread fear, crush dissent, invent external enemies, live a life of lies and fraud, but of course the same cult tendency is just as present in fascism and today’s woke cult. Whatever the cost we pay now in defending ourselves will pale in comparison to the cost we will have to pay later if we do not engage. All the best to you and your family.
The more comments I read, the more I think some commenters here have only become aware of CT and its spawn within the last few years
Its been operating since the late 1990s. I saw it in my own profession. Like many other things, it spread slowly. I suppose no one really paid attention to it.
The writing has been on the wall for anyone willing to read it.
The -isms and the -phobias have been around since the late 80s. I remember thinking in high school that there was something wrong with making people out to be mentally ill over what amounted to disagreements. This was, of course, before “ablism” was a thing, and even now that it *is* a thing, no one ever really changed the words. I expect because the intent was, all along, to make it out as though those who thought differently were mentally ill.
The rot has been growing for a very long time, and I found it essentially impossible to resist entirely for all that time. Not for nothing I say I have marinated in this nonsense and have to cut people off who discuss it with me when I am unprepared for it, for mental health reasons.
A couple of thoughts:
Agree. Accusing people of having some type of mental health dysfunction is a tactic commonly used to control others and force them to do/believe something. History is replete with examples.
By the way Thomas Szasz’ book, The Myth of Mental Illness, makes for interesting reading.
So, a diagnosis (Dx) of some type of mental health disorder is a subjective finding. What one clinician sees, the other may not. That’s why people get differing Dxs. Same thing in medicine.
In 2013 when DSM was revised to be DSM-5, new diagnoses were added and diagnostic criteria expanded. Per DSM, 50% of Americans can be diagnosed with a mental health disorder. I don’t think that’s realistic. It serves a purpose, but not for the client.
Not all people are alike. (It would be boring if they were)
What I may see as “quirky” behavior, another clinician may think is Autism.
I object to behavior that coerces people into doing/thinking a certain way. That’s aggression.
I also object to the ideas from CT that are ruing the basis for efficacious mental health counseling-trust, responsibility, and free will.
Without coercion, there is no psychiatry. It’s almost impossible to find a psychiatrist who has not, or doesn’t currently, engage in coercive treatments.
I think what really caused CT to explode was the loss of faith in suburban conservatism during the Bush administration. Prior to 2006, the suburbs and their professional class were mostly highly skeptical “South Park Republicans” who tended to be moderate or libertarian on social issues and hawks on national security and defense. The failures of the Bush administration, especially with respect to foreign policy, civil liberties, education and the stability of the economy, caused a profound loss of faith that caused that large and influential group to seek a new philosophy. Obama helped this transition to Critical Theory, but it was really the failures of Bush and the ideological and even spiritual vacuum it left behind that made it possible and Obama just made the process progress more quickly than it otherwise would have.
This is probably one of the more interesting, and possibly accurate political analyses I’ve read in the last I don’t know how many books and hundreds of articles. Very tight.
The damage the neocons wrought upon the world cannot be overestimated.
What I think James is explicitly describing is “Woke” is just another belief system that requires faith. It is no different than any religious belief system, whether it be Christianity, Buddhism, Hindi or Islam, you just gotta believe!
While I think the threat is real, I think the way we ultimately deal with the threat is expose it as just another belief system. Woke gives people purpose and a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves, which makes them feel good. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that, we all want that in our lives.
Where is comes off the rails is when people start taking it too literally and really think the Earth was created 6,000 years ago, or that if you strap explosives to yourself, you get 40 virgins in heaven. You are never going to persuade that crew with reasoned arguments, but I think it is helpful to educate others that when they subscribe to Woke, they are supporting that kind of belief system.
I see that you have read but did not cite Andrew Lobaczewski’s Political Ponerology. This work is very important and needs to be highlighted by a prominent academician as yourself. Thank you for your all important work.
Thank you for a very interesting and insightful article. It explains useful idiots in a way I have never seen before. It seems spot on to me. These times of great stress have tested many of what I thought were “friendships”. I am hurt and angered to find that most of my “friends” are weak sheep who would rather “conform” or “rationalize” than live as a free people who think and act for themselves. Rather than be horrified by the totalitarian dictates not based in science or allowed by the Constitution, they repeatedly point out how uninformed and immoral I am in objecting to them. I appreciate your writing and will look for more of it. I think it is too late for America, but maybe there is a way to simply disengage from what it has become. I pray for my children that there is some escape from this.
Brilliant piece, the best ever. You were not kidding that this was a big one. A unifying theory. You are the man and we love and need you. No one else is doing it at this level. I am in awe.
Take a look at how your words scream dependency. “…we love and need you…”. There are other sources of information. You may want to be proactive and do some investigation on your own.
Stanford has a site devoted just to learn about philosophy. The site is: plato.stanford.edu. Be an autodidact.
I AM an autodidact sir. I have read nearly 3K books, that is 1.5 tons, and yes I did the math.
I am currently reading the entirety of La Comedie Humaine as well as studying the French Revolution. I have also done a deep dive and developed a reading list for the study of Wrongology, which is all the ways humans can be in error. I have read all 60+ books on the list. We can be wrong in so many ways, and we never know it, do we?
The intellectual isolation I have faced is deep and very lonely. We need people like James to DOTHEWORK and make me not feel so alone and disoriented. I am happy to verbally express my appreciation to James for all of his hardcore labor and innovation in the area of Woke scholarship. I have found he echoes many of my feelings and experiences which is gratifying to see someone else get it. These are all very good things!
Your comments come off as really condescending, why did you feel the need to speak to me this way? You made hella lot of assumptions. Why?
Candy- You sound like a very impressive person who is genuinely dedicated to understanding the world in a deep way. That is noble and commendable.
I, and no doubt many others, share your sentiment towards James. This piece IS brilliant! And important. Thank you for saying so and sharing your enthusiasm.
(This Cal guy has issues and should be ignored.) Cal- piss off.
My gaming motto is “Underestimate me at your peril.”
Like Brian said, you’ve demonstrated – in action – your commitment to the pursuit of truth. And you’ve acted bravely and persistently on behalf of human welfare and dignity. Thank you for the robust appreciation for James Lindsay and his invaluable writing. It discomfits and embarrasses some people but many of James’ readers recognize the sentiment.
Thank you. I feel we are the cool kids table man. I am proud of being cancelled. Being true to myself is a top value, rebellion is baked in. OG punk rock. I will not be told what I can and cannot think or write, especially by people who are not as smart or educated as me.
That may sound arrogant, but I have 98% IQ and then add the 1.5 tons of book learnin’ I am pretty damn formidable. I know psychology and human behavior.
My project for 2021 is to flip the Woke Olympia council. I am going to be an offensive coordinator. My secret weapon is that having been in the cult, I know how to subvert the cult and speak to it in terms like want to hear, but contextually IDW.
I also used decency FTW. And being a middle aged woman, I already live in stealth world, but I have a pretty shabby appearance I can use to my advantage as they do tend to underestimate people who look like me.
My blend of decency, staying calm, walking into the fire has won me a fair amount of support already. I just wrote a cold call letter to a potential candidate and had a bit of a thrill that he told me, due to my writing, he was already well aware of me.
I have lived in Olympia for 25 years now, I know the playing field. Last year I moved the ball for a couple downs, this year I plan to help lead a team into the endzone.
I have also been a boardgamer for a decade. I play what is called heavy cardboard. I have internalized strategy and tactics. I am a superb tactician because I have had to have been, due to my truly marginalized status as low income and disabled. I will be using all these skills to burn it down.
If we can do this, and my gut tells me it is possible due to the mainstream support my vision has, it will make national news. I have a brilliant hook that will get media attention. I want to get national money and be the first Woke town to fall. I am working with a wonderful slate of candidates.
We plan to play offense and use shock and awe tactics, hit them from every direction and hold them accountable. I am practiced at the art of deception LOL. In a good way. Keep an eye on Olympia man, we are gonna make the news!
James is a tool in my box and you can quote me on that 😉 I will be using so many of his concepts esp not racist. I have written an ad already around that theme. “I am not a racist and neither are you. But our Olympia City Council are avowed racists. They believe that the color of your skin determines what help you should get. They are prejudiced against certain races while saying people of color are not strong enough to stand on their own two feet….” My real script is much more elegant and eloquent, but this is a taste of how I plan to hold them accountable to their own values. Olympia is majority white, but it is a pure delusion that black/trans people are in mortal danger here. They are in fact treated better due to white guilt/savior complex. People are sick of having their reality denied. Pseudo reality, paramorality and paralogic are all things people get because they feel it, but lack the education/life experience to articulate what is wrong exactly. That is where I come in.
I plan to be the wild card they did not see coming and do not know how to react to. I plan to set up dilemma traps and the like. This is my hill to die on. I am going to leave it all on the table. We have 5 seats open! This is the time to act decisively and without apology.
My other gaming motto, which is my dealing w chronic pain for 25 years motto is NEVER GIVE UP. I studied Trump sans TDS this election and I learned some things. I am not Trump, nor do I want to be, but he also never gives up. He has carried the hate of the world and it has not crushed him. That is the good part of Trump I want to channel. And his wild card aspect, being unpredictable in a planned way.
Shh…don’t tell my opponents LOL. Or do…I want them to be nervous LOL.
Anyone interested in learning more about cults is encouraged to read Margaret Singer’s Cults in Our Midst, ESPECIALLY if you know any teenagers or young adults. Give them copies, too.
For bone-shilling reading about the sorry state of education and how it came to be:
Lyell Asher, “How Ed Schools Became a Menace to Higher Education”
John M. Ellis, The Breakdown of Higher Education: How It Happened, the Damage It Does & What Can Be Done
John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
Stephen Hicks, Explaining Postmodernism
Albert Jay Nock, The Theory of Education in the United States
Ayn Rand, “The Comprachicos”
Colin Wright, “Think Cancel Culture Doesn’t Exist? My Own ‘Lived Experience’ Says Otherwise”
Thanks for the leads! I’ll give a lead back atcha, my twitter account.
I haven’t read much of Bloom’s ‘Closing of the American Mind’ but the situation he describes in the ’80s seems downright tame and sane compared to the madness right now. It is one generation on of ideological inbreeding among leftist academics who lost the case for socialism and had to glom onto something else (and ‘Wokism’ with its accompanying cancel-cult seems to be it).
Bloom’s book is widely understood to be a classic, partly for the cogency of his explanation of the Enlightenment’s central role in the Framers thinking (and in the Western academies’ intellectual tradition), and much for the extent to which he anticipated the consequences of (the 1980’s) neglect, of the duty to explain to kids the bases of this thinking.
Sargon of Akkad made a couple of videos about cults that I found very well done, which I think would be helpful in opening the eyes of young people as to what to look out for. The cult pattern he describes is so clearly the same as the “woke” pattern.
Cult Behaviour: An Analysis
Cult Case Studies
You left out the third way of response. 1) Refute 2) Reject 3) Eliminate psychopaths
This is very good. I see my own tendencies to try to make sense of the nonsense in this. Resisting that urge is difficult! But if it ends up providing cover for the nonsense, then I better stop, huh?
Thank you for writing this.
I like this & generally agree. But I can’t send it to anyone due to his Twitter rages.
Here’s my theory:
James writes sober.
But tweets drunk.
There’s atheist AA meetings out there bubba. Hope you can work it out.
I like the thorough explanation of what it looks like, practically, to refute and/or reject. Effective refutation relies on all parties to be at least somewhat faithful and honest debaters, whereas outright rejection can be employed in any scenario and any group. Rejection can also be mounted more successfully under duress, where most people rapidly lose the ability for more sophisticated speaking and even cognition.
In my own life I have found it eternally and unmeasurably useful to employ plain, cold truth in simple statements of fact and judgement. For example, it can often be enough for the target of bullying – at any age – to demand the bullying to cease with a simple claim about its ethical failing, i.e., “You’re being abusive. That is wrong. Stop doing it.”
Truth is frequently depicted as sword of fire for good reason. It can be employed simply and cleanly and effectively by even the stupidest among us (read: me), or at least those that have a difficult time mounting a defense under pressure that doesn’t involve physical altercation.
The straighter and sharper the sword, the deeper it plunges, and the easier it is to wield under pressure. I cannot advise as to its usage strongly enough. It has quite literally saved my life more than once.
One of the tools I am exploring is similar. When I get attacked, I unpack the abusive techniques being used in a clear and decent manner. I spell out the manipulation, the hows and whys of the dirty rhetorical tricks and how limited their toolbox/argument is that they have to resort to personal attacks and emotional terrorism including withholding affection. I speak to how their words echo those of my abusers…”you are on a dark path…” etc. And I do it with complete decency, I do not dehumanize them but I sincerely ask why do you feel the need to dominate me in this manner? They hate it. They are not used to push back at all, it infuriates them and they double down on the hate. In comparison I stay calm and am not provoked with also just drives them crazy that their methods are not working on me. It shows a contrast between their bullying and me taking it with my head held high. It gets me a lot of fans. I call this technique “Let the crazy do the heavy lifting.” I call my overall use of decency, integrity, intellectual honesty, leading with love etc. to be “Candystyle.” Decency infuriates your enemies and draws your allied closer.
PS It took a couple years of walking into the fire to achieve this emotional detachment. It also will cause these people to cancel you. But I say good riddance. If you pick your ideology over your relationship, you were never a true friend and better to have you out of my life. I am done. My boundary, which I established too late, is I will debate ideas all day, I am not at all threatened by debate and in fact enjoy it as it helps me develop my ideas and test them out in a focus group manner. BUT I am not going to allow my character or morality to be put on trial in struggle sessions. If you do not believe or trust I am acting in good faith and with deep thought, you do not deserve to be in my circle. I have been told I defend NAZIS and want to lynch people, by FRIENDS! Nobody does either of those things, I would never accuse people of that w/o hard evidence, but people who have known me for years make those accusations w remarkable casualness. So F them. Those accusations only have power if you let them. I now collect the slurs on the back of my reporting notebooks. I wish I could get badges made like a Girl Scout sash. I might just do a punk version, sharpie on white Tshirt. Getting my noose badge was really hard as I have no inclinations toward lynching, I am firmly nonviolent. I earned that badge for criticizing the council member who supports the Red House in Portland. By a (former) friend. On Christmas LOL. What is wrong w these people? It is a mind virus!!!
“I speak to how their words echo those of my abusers…”you are on a dark path…” etc. And I do it with complete decency, I do not dehumanize them but I sincerely ask why do you feel the need to dominate me in this manner? They hate it. They are not used to push back at all, it infuriates them and they double down on the hate….
If you do not believe or trust I am acting in good faith and with deep thought, you do not deserve to be in my circle.”
If this works for you, great, but I never ask “why do you feel the need to dominate me?”
If they don’t know what ad hominem (or straw-manning) is, or why it’s out of the question, they’re not worth my time.
Once I see that this is their game, I end the encounter, unless they more-or-less beg me to stay, at which point I spell out (“take it or leave it”) the conditions under which I might stay.
My general policy is, to have political etc. interactions only with those friends who I trust not to turn me into the Thought Police.
I’ll politely decline to talk politics to anyone, until they prove to you, that they won’t turn you into the Thought Police.
In particular, my policy is to rarely engage today’s “educated” types in person, since the upside of so doing is usually trivial, and the downside is (for starters) the spiking of my disgust at the depravity of most of the “educated”.
I only consider engaging these folks, when I’m confident that they’re actually capable of a *conversation*, instead of a (stealth) lecture.
I assume “educated” folks to be Awoken ones, until they give evidence to a different effect.
As I never bring up politics to *strangers*, I can easily “justify” refraining from talking politics (until they show ability to engage in an adult manner).
I’d politely decline to talk politics to anyone, until they prove to you…
(Many, maybe most of these folks seem to believe that their social *superiority* entitles them to the attn. of others.
I’m not nearly impressed with them, as they are with themselves, and I’ve no *need* for their attn. or approval.
If you can present yourself as having that attitude, they may shun you, but if so, you’ve lost nothing of real value.)
So many of these types just aren’t remotely worth engaging, as they’re so often manipulative/ explosive, in virtually any situation where their asses aren’t being kissed.
Particularly those from “Professional” families.
(Working-class folks tend to be rather better.)
Those are some very good rules. I am drawing a hard protective line around my personal life and my public life, esp as I am becoming more outspoken and more of a public figure.
I have such deep dismay over the “educated” people and how they are so easily falling to this mind virus. How they are good, really decent people but I am watching them turn racist in front of my eyes. I not understand in a visceral way how things like the Holocaust/Cultural Revolution/Reign of Terror happened.
We also need to explore what this is doing the to the Woke themselves, how their humanity is being eroded, how they are engaging in unhealthy thought patterns, how they are are psychologically self harming.
Another angle that needs more exploration is the addiction aspect, how they need outrage to get high. Antifa in Portland joke about how depressed they are when they take a night off. They speak of trauma, of jumping when they hear a leaf blower. But there is yet another dynamic in that the more injured you are the larger the GFM and social cred.
There is that element of masochism, but also combined with sadism in dehumanizing and deliberately hurting others. Activism to me has always been about helping, I thing what they are doing is a perversion of activism in that they are actively trying to and furthermore taking joy in harming other humans.
I have seen this low level sadism from (former) friends, intentionally trying to inflict emotional wounds on me. It is becoming normalized and I find that deeply troubling. The people who shame those who can’t wear masks also fall into this group.
The zealotry is off the charts in the PNW. It is turning into a dystopia.
Say what you will about nazis, at least it’s an ethos!
Stand up straight. Look them straight in the eye. Speak your mind. Stand your ground.
I’ve long appreciated the example of Hercules’ solution to the Gordian knot.
btw– “Stand your ground.” — first words of the American Revolution, Cpt. John Parker, Lexington.
The pseudo-reality of the woke is based on widespread Systemic racism. The “evidence” is the widespread differential racial group outcomes in cognitively demanding areas. The useful idiots are either ignorant of, or too polite to mention the robust evidence for dirrerential facial group means in various cognitive repertoires (eg IQ). Instead the suggest “solutions” like hiring more diversity, equity and inclusion officers. These roles are taken up by true believers (and maybe some psychos) who then look for things they can do to earn their substantial saleries. This is the engine that you are describing here, the pseudo reality is fundamental that there are no racial group mean differences in cognitive repertoires.
So, it’s time we all started admitting to the science, yes we should all be given equal opportunities, but no we won’t all be able to take equal advantage of such opportunities.
James, you are a star, thank you. MERRY CHRISTMAS
Rrading this article is like eating a 10 course meal – i have not eaten a 10 course meal but I imagine it takes a long time and is very filling. So I will re-read it a few more times. The 3 ply themes of reality, morality and logic were quite incredible IMHO. My thoughts went to each of fascism, communism, antifa, fanatical environmentalism, islamism (e.g. Salafi) and anti-racism as seen through the framework of a cult and the penny kept on dropping.
As someone who was immersed in pseudo-reality for two decades, and bought it hook, line, and sinker, but managed to escape, I found myself banging on my desk and yelling “HEAR HEAR” as I was reading this essay.
VERY well done. This is exactly what my life was for twenty years.
And this part:
“Fortunately, the first step, at the least, is very simple. It’s mere awareness.”
…almost made me weep with joy. This IS what it takes, but it can be so difficult to do when you’ve been in it for a long time. And when you do finally have your moment of clarity (because I liken this to intoxication), resisting the urge to drink from that bottle again and again and again is also very challenging, because what they do is stroke your ego and tell you that reality is unsafe, you are disempowered there, normal people hate you and are out to “get” you, etc. They tell you that pseudo-reality is the safe place for you, that in pseudo-reality, you are more empowered and valued and all that. You are discouraged from leaving.
But eventually, the circular firing squad forms and turns on you. That’s what they did to me. It always happens. They always fire upon their own in self-directed Inquisitions, so on some levels, there’s that to look to as a light of hope. They will eventually, if left to their own devices, destroy themselves. It may take a lot longer if we just leave them to it, as opposed to actively resisting them now – but it would happen in time. It really would.
I would love to make a video reading this article and as I go, making comments about my own experiences of 20 years among the woke and what that world is like. If James is ok with it, let me know, ok? Thanks
“resisting the urge to drink from that bottle again and again and again is also very challenging, because what they do is *stroke* your ego and tell you that reality is unsafe, you are disempowered there, normal people hate you and are out to “get” you, etc…..”
In cult-recovery circles, it’s called Love-Bombing, but this contemporary cult relies much on “higher ed”, social media, and the MSM.
Alas, today’s “educated” tend to particularly difficult, esp. in recent years.
See my comments below, to Candy Mercer.
I would really appreciate such a video as I am alone in being the sole “rejector” in the school I teach in, and could use some tangible resources. They have hit the hyper speed button into a Woke pseudo-reality, and as James described, most well-intentioned people have drunk the kool-aid while the few who see through it, have mostly opted to lay low and ignore it to the best they can.
What actions do you suggest taking? Saying we should “do something about it” is not enough.
Did you read the article?
Check out understandingthethreat.com.
They have a host of programs focused on steps to take against communists and Jihadis. Their methodology applies equally well to “Wokeness.”
I don’t have an answer for myself, but I have an answer for you: “To surrender”
I think the actions suggested at the end of the article are pretty close to perfect, and serve this precise moment in time quite well. I would add one more: consider starting your own business. Most of the population, even in very liberal places and among demographics that BLM supposedly benefits, are really getting quite sick of these tyrants in my experience, I even saw this in Downtown Seattle last evening, but there is one very unfortunate exception: BIG BUSINESS. Big business has always loved woke, in fact to some extent they invented it. Really even BLM was not nearly as “woke” as it is now until big business got involved – as recently as 2018 BLM was mostly actual black people who were actually concerned about police brutality, and most generally did not make a profession out of telling lies. The more we can divorce ourselves from the megacorporations, the easier it will be to end this grave threat to the continuity of our Republic.
«Reality will always win, and calamity comes in proportion to the size of the lie between us and it, so it is better to act sooner than later. Still more heart resides in grasping that it gets worse right up until a real resistance mounts, and then, after a rocky transition, it starts getting better. The time to act is therefore now»
He who hesitates is lost
…” It’s not for the faint of heart”… Pedant Alert: it’s feint, not faint.
faint of heart
: lacking the courage to face something difficult or dangerous —usually used in the phrase “not for the faint of heart”
“This is a difficult climb that is not for the faint of heart.”
Cal, you’re the one who is wrong here, not James. It’s “faint of heart.”
A “feint” is something you do in fencing.
James has it right.
Nope. It’s “faint,” not “feint.”
“A feint—whether in chess, boxing, fencing, or on the battlefield—is a maneuver designed to divert the opponent’s attention from the real center of attack. A feint is a daring move. Do not use this very specialized word in the expression “faint of heart” (or “faint at heart”), which implies timidity.”
This is easily checked through logic — a heart, endangered, would neither parry nor feint, but flee, or faint. If you listen carefully, you can also hear the difference in pronunciation.
No, it is not. The fainthearted are faint of heart. To feint is to sell someone a dummy, to divert attention by a deceptive move (or it can be the lines on a pad of paper).
You’re right and I’m wrong. Thanks noting my mistake. I don’t like to make them.
He feinted with a faint left, and caught him squarely with the right.
As James seems to touch on without elaborating, don’t be played by the “whataboutists”. Whataboutism is rhetorical rope-a-dope. It cloaks itself as serious debate, but what it really aims at is hiding a void of serious, coherent, rational argument by sucking you in, letting you chase your tail while they smirk and pretend superior grasp, and always putting you on the back foot even as you do all the carrying of the burden of the argument. “But what about” is a question without an idea. Want a quick repartee? “But what about it? Did you have a point, or just another dodge?”
I am former fan (and I still want to be a fan actually). This article feels like the old “pre Trump” you. I still agree with your take on wokeness broadly & CRT specifically. But while I kind of understand that your Twitter persona is some sort meta-ironic Venus flytrap, I can’t help but think that it’s not working. (The fact that I’m only the second comment here, on a day where people would do anything to avoid dreadful family zooms is evidence.)
Look, if the WOKE worldview is a “pseudo reality” that needs to be “resisted”, then what does that make the MAGA worldview?
I’ll tell you what it makes it. It makes MAGA a mentally retarded version of the WOKE version.
I got kicked off of Twitter for calling Trump a retard. I stand by that criticism. I don’t mean it pejoratively. I think Donald is a high functioning version of what we use to call “mental retards”. He’s just smart enough to con other retards.
And I say all this knowing that the reason I’m banned from Twitter for life (thanks Jack) is because of LEFT “offense” ideology. Not because I was calling our clearly retarded President retarded.
My point is that I know you are not retarded. I still read your tweets. Unlike Trump you are playing some form of personal 4D chess. But you’re losing.
If I’m wrong and you really think Trump is great then might have to revisit wokeness and give the snowflakes another chance. Either way you’re losing converts. So your “reality” will be void of people to help you resist the “pseudo reality” of the woke folk. In which case we all lose.
Level with us. Stop treating US like retards. What’s your endgame? Or are you just a Dave Rubin?
I still wish you the best.
Jack did not kick you off Twitter. You were probably kicked off of Twitter for using the word “retard” as a pejorative. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Clearly you’re more obsessed about Twitter and Trump and the fact that James might hold a different opinion than you about something than you are anything in this article. If your support or opposition to an ideology depends on the opinion of one person regarding Trump, then it’s time for self reflection.
Enjoy your time away from Twitter. You obviously need the break. It is obviously a toxic hellhole that warps people’s thinking.
I agree with a lot of your criticism of my comment.
Yes, I WAS obsessed with Twitter. Yes it IS hellhole that warps thinking. (James meltdown is further evidence of this.)
And yes I AM obsessed with Trump. As most of the world is. This obsession is a “syndrome” that, like Twitter itself, has truly “deranged” many us.
But this obsession is merited in my opinion. Because, almost half our country doesn’t realize that Trump is…..wait for it…….a fucking retard.
Or at the very least, as Sam Harris says, Trump doesn’t realize how the world works.
Now people like James seem to be having the same cognitive delusion. James is clearly smarter than Trump or most of his followers. But he doesn’t seem to realize that the way to fight the evils (yes evils) of wokeness simply must include the rejection of all fals worldview. MAGA as well as WOKE.
I also agree that Twitter kicked me off for using “retard” pejoratively. But while that doesn’t come come from Jack directly, it DOES come from his censorious instincts. Which you & I might agree on.
But I really DO think Trump is retarded. The most I’ll give you is that I was knowingly walking the hornets nest by using that word. But as you say. I needed the break.
James could do well with a Twitter break too. IMO.
Yes, when you paint broad swaths of the electorate as mentally challenged by way of not sharing what you readily admit is your opinion, the problem is not with them, but you.
These comments are not representing your intellect well.
‘But I really DO think Trump is retarded.’
OMB (Orange Man Bad) asks a question of an adviser (call him Bolton) why a particular policy is a good idea. Bolton as a result considers him a retard for asking the question instead of just trusting the expert (Bolton) the way OMB’s predecessors always did, and then leaks to the press giving his one-sided interpretation of the interaction. Times this by a thousand.
Considering the track record of the ‘experts’ like Bolton that for a quarter-century hollowed out our economy and our industrial base, got us mired into endless wars, pushed us towards a ‘green’ (i.e. totally crashed) economy, etc. etc., all while lining their pockets, OMB would have been a f**king retard for NOT asking the question. We had three straight Presidents (Clinton, Bush II, Obama) who continually deferred to the experts because they were credentialed or self-proclaimed experts, including the likes of that guru of foreign policy Ben Rhodes. Now thanks to massive voter fraud we’re going to get an endless procession of more ‘experts’ like him whose every inane pronouncement will be praised endlessly by the barking propaganda seals of our Fourth Estate while being excoriated by the Tech crowd for not going further and faster in implementing PC and Social Justice.
OMB asked a lot of questions not because he was retarded but because he was ignorant, and not in the pejorative sense. Too many people just assume ignorance=stupidity. Wrong wrong wrong. Ignorance=lack of knowledge. When I ran a sales business and someone asked my approval to make a big speculative purchase the first question I would ask would ‘will it sell at a profit and why?’ If I had not asked that question and just said , OK, go ahead, to my ‘expert’ buyer sooner or later I would have been out of business because the buy went sour and a bunch of people along with me would have been out of a job. Too many people are too afraid of looking stupid by asking questions. Too many people are afraid of telling the Emperor he’s f**king naked. OMB wasn’t afraid to do either. That’s why they had to get rid of him. He was threatening the gravy train.
I see this article as an indictment of all psuedo realities not just leftist. I read it in segments, and I remember thinking he is being broad enough to include Trump cultists as well, though it is totally about woke, it also very much applies to MAGA folks. I just scanned it again, and I am not sure I saw a sentence describing this as limited to woke. I think you are putting your baggage on it.
PS I love troll James Lindsay, fighting back with humor is part of the resistance. When you bear as much hate as he does I feel it is a fair reaction. I have been cancelled and one way I deal w the haters is with bemused detachment, much as I see Lindsay doing. I just outlined an essay on why I am proud to be cancelled.
This piece is stellar and provides a unifying framework for much of the analysis I have been working on and intuiting, especially about the false reality not being a foundation worthy of the name and that it will all crash down because it is all based on sand and imaginary dragons.
I had TDS, I was a member of the cult and I voted Trump due to his stance on CRT. My story is in an essay on Medium called Why I Voted Trump, A Coming Out Story. I was a threat to people’s false reality and I had to be shunned to preserve their cognitive dissonance. My rookie error was to think my social capital would carry some weight in getting people to listen to me. I was wrong, it made me more of an infidel, suppressive person, apostate.
I wear that badge of honor. I earned it. I resisted. I said no. I am running for Council this year, and the gist of my campaign will be based on my resistance. It is a risky move for Olympia WA but my read is, based on the fan mail I get, Olympia is ready for someone to stand up and say no, this is not right. People see the homeless problem for instance, and this very glaring reality is gaslit by the local providers who are more interested in coddling the addicted than getting them well. Their trauma informed care is killing people with kindness, sometimes compassion is boundaries.
In another article on Medium, The Real Crisis in Olympia, is where I lay out an argument as to when the left goes too far, and that is tolerance for harm. In the guise of compassion and with a heavy assist from guilt and emotional manipulation people are shamed for having housing w the slur “housies” and told they are privileged for being safe and warm. People see how wrong this is, but lack the articulation to their feelings. So many of my fan letters revolve around that theme…thanking me for speaking their reality that they could not put into words but felt deeply.
People are fed the F up and ready for some middle aged women rage. The hate I have gotten has been exceeded by the love and respect people have for me for standing up because they are too afraid to. When they see someone really doing the work to counter this they are grateful in a deep way.
But I am doing this for me, for my own self respect to remain intact. I was in the cult and it was eroding my sense of self. A real wake up moment was when I made a list of all the topics I could not speak freely on, and it shocked me how much I was censoring my views which come from a place of love and deep thought. Antifa has put out a hit list of Olympians to be monitored and “creatively silenced” their words, per an article on Puget Sound Anarchists around tactics for fighting smarter and harder in Olympia.
I have had to file a safety plan with OPD, set up hidden cameras they cant block with their stupid umbrellas and have a phone list of videographers and 2A people to come to my defense at a moments notice. Oh and I bought a giant fire extinguisher in case they try to light my house on fire like they tried w the Mayor. In 25 years of high level activism, including a decade in Palestinian Solidarity with the family of Rachel Corrie, I wrote for electronic intifada FFS, I never had to fear for my safety from the right. I never was threatened or cancelled. I was never intimidated.
So yeah, the silent majority is rising up in Olympia and we are plotting a common sense coup of our city council in 2021. We plan to make it a national race and engage in innovative politics with a hyper local flavor. We plan to use shock and awe tactics to keep them off guard and divided. I have been working on my evil plan for 2 years, focus testing ideas, building a base and preparing emotionally for war. This will be the hill I die on. I am playing for keeps and win or lose I WILL affect the race and I will leave it all on the table.
This article blew me away and I will be sharing it widely. Part of my job is to help others feel ok being called RACIST and the like. To not fear it, but to embrace it as a sign you are actually not the RACISTS, they are.
@Candy: Except that the Trump cult doesn’t actually hate truth or have any need to advance a false understanding of the world, as Trump is Trump. MAGA is less an example of a pseudoreality and more an example of the great Western Hemisphere tradition of the Strongman, basically the replacement for monarchy that the Americas (North & South, plus the Carribbean) came up with. They don’t actually advance a false reality, they’re just really excited about one guy they see as a strong leader, nor do they have any need for enforcers or newspeak to keep up their false reality because Trump is actually a real person in the real world who doesn’t need the kind of artifice described in this article to continue to exist.
I agree that pseudorealities CAN theoretically include non-leftist beliefs, I would group the old KKK in with pseudorealities and while the environmentalists have become a left-wing movement over the decades, they weren’t originally, but in practice, in 2021, they tend to be leftist, probably because nationalism and conservatism now largely dominate right-wings worldwide and both are strongly rooted in Tradition.
Trump is not retarded – he is unconventional. And many people have a psyche unable to handle such an unconventional leader as president. This type of person might say something like “If I have asurgeon wrking on me they damn well better be a professional surgeon – and so I’d alaso prefer a professional – or career politician”. It’s a really silly argument.. but I think it’s what most of “orange man bad” is actually based on at the root. I guess we’ve had career politicians in power for so long that people are taking almost a womb-like comfort in the fact of being taaken care of my someone who does things and “works well with others” and “maintians respect from Europe” the waay things have always been done. The reality is that Trump pulled back the curtain on the years and years long buildup of corruption on this particular interworking of favor sharing, influence selling, plebe herding that had been going on for so long. He did it just by his refusal to participate in their world and play by their rules. His Bull in a china shop attitude and his almost unbelievable amount of political naiveté combined to create a strange force of nature. It’s a force of nature that lead people like you to misunderstand it and refer to him as “retarded.” It’s a force of nature that – because it seemed to be working – got under the skin of the old stalwarts of our political class to the point of pushing them to the literal edge of sanity and morality in their desperate grasp to control and subdue this new political force that was effectively waking up the masses to how they have been treated. Put simply – he had some common sense policies that were working, – which is very dangerous to those in power right now. He had the audacity to stand up to China, Big Pharma etc – for which he was promptly punished – and not allowed to win 2020. You call Trump a liar and a retard – but just take one little glance at the projection involved in accusing him of Russian collusion when in fact the entire political class has been actively colluding with China. They had to choose Russia as scapegoat because too much investigation would have led to uncovering real crimes happening with politicians and China. Donald Trump Jr – a political noob, taking a meeting with a Russian agent offering “dirt on Hillary” as opposition research – was a set up, a sting operation and it absolutely Pales in comparison to Hunter Biden receiving millions to live on, and in fact a Billion to manage in a hedge fund from China. It’s all projection. But anyway – it’s very important that people on the left who think they are good people be willing to see that it is in fact the Democrats (which really have nothing to do w leftist ideals but just use these ideals as fodder to manipulate voters) who are by far and away the most corrupt force in politics right now. They, and some Republicans (as a uni-party who operate by many of the same rules) are the power vacuum in our culture right now. They are the Power we all must be fighting. If you remain distracted and inured to this important reality.. bc you think “orange man bad”.. then good people on both sides will never be able to unite against the real threats facing our society. Please wake up!!
One of THE best decisions I’ve made in 2020 was to get off twitter. I called it quits back in March and have never looked back. I can honestly say I’ve never been back to the site. I miss some of the content, I followed Lindsay and others, but the net gains have been overwhelmingly positive for my well-being.
Oh and I eliminated political opinion pieces from my consumption. It was glorious. Divesting myself from an entire election cycle never felt better. I tuned in on the Tuesday night and took in the drama as merely that: a drama.
All this was a massive change for me since I’ve spent most my adult life very emotionally invested in politics. I poured over everything politic, got mad when my team lost, excited when we won. Spent countless hours reading and consuming everyone’s opinions that were being peddled as news. Got mad at the droves of idiots who were a thousand miles away and lamented a nation that would mindlessly vote them in.
Until one day I asked to what end I was doing all this? I’m not an activist. I don’t make a living pushing a political agenda. I literally make no measurable impact on the political nature of the nation so everything I was consuming was give with no take. I was giving up my finite amount of time, emotion, headspace, etc for something that returned only worry, anxiety, lost opportunity.
I took to heart the serenity prayer “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Impacting national politics requires a sort of activist commitment that I wasn’t/won’t give so I’m not going to change anything. Only thing left for me to do was accept it and move on. Doing that has been a major relief.
If any of that rings true, consider you have options.
PS buying the dip was also a good 2020 decision
PPS I still visit this site because it is still primarily a-political. That’s reasonably evidenced by the fact that right and left commenters alike have bones to pick with James et al.
Caperton’s comment is a good illustration of pseudo realities.
Seriously, what was the attraction to using Twitter? (I don’t use twitter, facebook, instagram, tik tok etc).
Also, please don’t forget private companies can make and play by their own rules. If you don’t like what they offer, find another seller. That is a concept right out of free market econ.
Would you continue to go to a restaurant with bad service and bad food?
Sorry. My comment was directed to Yenrap.
“Look, if the WOKE worldview is a “pseudo reality” that needs to be “resisted”, then what does that make the MAGA worldview?”
Classic One-Nationist Conservatism, about as far removed from the “pseudo realities” described here as is possible.
“I got kicked off of Twitter for calling Trump a retard. I stand by that criticism. I don’t mean it pejoratively. I think Donald is a high functioning version of what we use to call “mental retards””
In the classic case law of Slander and Libel, it is enough to not have any legitimate or reasonable cause to believe something to be true to be considered to have committed the slander. Therefore, you sir, are a slanderer.
“He’s just smart enough to con other retards.”
More slander. This “retard” has personally benefited from the reforms Trump has made to the H1-B visa approval system, reforms that probably prevented a Student Loan Crisis that otherwise seemed nearly inevitable.
“Unlike Trump you are playing some form of personal 4D chess.”
Actually Trump was. He was winning through 2018, although unfortunately, he got old.
“So your “reality” will be void of people to help you resist the “pseudo reality” of the woke folk”
Oh there will be plenty of people to help, the only question is whether they’ll be Americans or foreigners dividing up this country after your lot has ruined it, not too different from 19th century China.
I find it fascinating that you have personally confirmed with your example everything the author has said in this article.
Eric Hoffer said much the same thing in ‘The True Believer’, 1951.
‘No one feels ashamed of resisting a con, whatever form it takes’
Oh yes you better feel ashamed of resisting a con, when the alternative is to be demonized, cancelled, rendered unemployed and unemployable, and worse. You will go along with the lie and smile at the sky if that’s what it takes to keep your family and prospects alive. You detailed this phenomenon in an earlier essay on this site.
The Jim Wokes push delusions to gain power and fortune and try to cow anyone who disputes what they’re peddling by using every dirty oratorical, rhetorical, and emotional trick in the book. The end justifies the means is their only hard and fast rule; situational ethics, morality, and expediency is their norm. With the vast majority of the social, cultural, and political power apparatus in their hands, I’m afraid we’re going to have to wait for one of their own like Bezos or Zuckerberg to decide these a**holes are an existential threat to themselves before we will have any significant pushback within the system against their lies and gross excesses. I doubt even a total economic collapse putting them out on the street would do it, they would continue to justify their attitudes and policies by claiming it’s is just an attempt by the straight white male patriarchy to retain power and deny social justice.
Too many of the followers are cowards at heart, too fearful of admitting error lest it destroy their egos or political or social positions. I have found the phrase ‘I was wrong’ to be an increasingly rare thing to hear except as part of an abject apology when the mob comes howling, and then it is so obviously false and contrived it makes me want to puke. Yet at the same time I can’t blame the mobbing victims for their cravenness, when the people who ought to have their backs cheer the mob on for their own utility or safety.
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
== Voltaire, observing the Terror after the French Revolution.
This article was the best Christmas present my wife and I have ever received. We have an ongoing dialogue about our friends and acquaintances who have succumbed to the Woke virus, several of whom have peremptorily “canceled” us. We read and discussed this article over Christmas breakfast, which for us always involves a taking stock of the past year. We will take heart from this: “It’s not us, it’s them” and will seek and nurture more mature friendships, while speaking truth to power, whatever it costs.
Love the Voltaire quote! It’s so true! To unadulterated truth, freedom from the Woke virus, and friendship…we MUST break the spell! Thanks for your insight, I’m with you there!
Plenty more worth weighing where that came from, Diane….
Be careful. The essay is a classic example of carefully crafted deception. The author seduces you with tons of tasty confection (seemingly accurate observations), but has buried poison seeds (ideological dogma) within.
@Hominid – Sir. For which you have provided zero evidence or analysis. Your dogma again? – See my reply at 6:07 am.
There is most certainly a distinction between ideology and “cult ideology” as James attempts to make clearer. If he does not, please explain why? If you read more widely on NewDiscourses you will realize that the cultish forms are counter to the proper application of evidence gathering and analysis, whether social observation (testable) or experimental, empirically derived observations of objective reality. They are intended to carry a payload for the distortion of reality – and gain power. Their means is deceptive dogmatic assertion without either rational, social, economic, or emotional truth being demonstrable.
Voltaire died in 1778, 15 years before the Terror.
Have you read Hannah Arendt’s (she was a philosopher/historian) work on the Nazis, conformity, and conscience?
I think most people agree humans are fundamentally conformist and can be e.a.s.i.l.y influenced to behave in ways that make no sense.
Think about this: Do you know many claim to follow Objectivism (Ayn Rand) ?
As people increasingly use emotions to problem-solve, conformity increases. If you want citations, let me know.
While your observations are clear, these two thoughts don’t track logically: “‘No one feels ashamed of resisting a con, whatever form it takes’
Oh yes you better feel ashamed of resisting a con, when the alternative is to be demonized, cancelled, rendered unemployed and unemployable, and worse. ”
If, on the other hand, you meant “It’s true that no one feels ashamed of resisting a con, many are *afraid* to resist it, when the alternative is to be demonized … ” etc.
I point this out because James is right: we *do* take pride when we stand up to immorality and criminality. This truth is important to note, as remembering it encourages resistance, especially when the going gets tough.
I haven’t finished reading your piece yet. However since you are discussing the relationship between psychopathologies and totalitarianism, you may have been better served by not using the word “normal” or operationally defining its meaning.
Normality is basically the same thing as conformity and encompasses a range of behavior. Intrapersonal normality is yet another way to measure normal. This is a measure of what is normal/typical for the individual.
Also, in psychology a pseudo-reality is a “delusion”. Someone who has delusions is no longer in touch with reality. It is called being “actively psychotic”. Nobody else thinks the ideas psychotic people do. Psychotics individuals are 100% convinced their thoughts are real.
Hallucinations (sensory experiences) can occur as part of a psychosis. Anyway we treat individuals (schizophrenics) through a multimodal approach-individual, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and family Tx. Meds are the other part.
If you’re going to use the ideas and words of psych, please also use the proper ones.
Natural could replace normal here. But I like the use of normal as a means to place the pseudo-reality into the “abnormal” frame which it squarely belongs.
Thank you for promoting the common usage of abnormal vs normal. This is a welcome take on what is widely adopted as ‘mainstream’.
Jim tends to be very deliberate in these things. He likely chose the word normal specifically because it has the negative associations tied to it by the pseudo reality that you are bringing up. Yes, you are being a (very smart) person as described in the article.
Did you read the other word set, “…operationally define…”? My insistence on operationally defining a key word comes right out of research methodology standards. Operational definition assures all readers have the same understanding of a word.
Relatedly, communication issues arise when people have a different understanding of a word/concept. Have you ever heard people say, “oh, that’s what you mean”? Your understanding of a word/concept is not necessarily the same as others.
Value laden words/phrases (like normal or big, small, a lot of money) are subjective, not objective.
Surely, your preference is not for the subjective.
You sound like one of those “(very) smart” people.
What exactly did I write, that leads you to your conclusion than I “sound like…very smart”? Seriously, I’m not behaving in a snarky way.
Cal, I get what you’re saying, and there’s something beautifully ironic about your mincing of words to alter the perception of an article about the mincing of words to alter perceptions. I concur with your point, but find that it is both highly pertinent to use the word normal as we are on the precipice of a “New Normal” hallmarked by full blown psychopathy on display, and functional in that it is ironic and therefore subversively comical in the way Jim instructed towards the end of the article.
We’re debating the verbiage in an article that attempts to explain how severely programmed society is. Is it normal by any stretch of the word for people to adopt mantras such as “trust the science” when our scientific class is packed to the brim with grifters, and it’s well known and commonly understood, yet people still see science as gospel truth? Is it normal to “trust science” but only science you trust? Let’s be honest, please. This article amounts to stimulating prose for those among us who have come to the brutal realization that global totalitarianism is very much a possibility and reality. Go mince words with the people who believe in lockdowns and worship our blatantly corrupt and psychopathic governments, institutions, corporations, etc. The most cursory of glances from an OBJECTIVE perspective into world history and current events reveals little else.
I’m not sure how you reached some of the conclusions you did; however, I would be the first person to state humans are profoundly illogical creatures. Rationalizing is not the same as rationality.
As to trust in science:
Science merely supports or rejects a hypothesis. It never proves anything. The blind sort of “trust” you seem to be describing merely highlights human irrationality and an inadequate comprehension of science.
By the way, are you aware last year 8.3 billion dollars was awarded to the National Science Foundation by the federal government. The government shouldn’t be funding science or arts.
They should be funding illegal wars and despotic regimes like they normally do, whats the matter with you plebs eh!
The National Science Foundation is a Federal agency, and was “awarded” funds in the same way as the Department of Defense was “awarded” funds – through appropriation.
On whether the Federal government should be funding science, that’s a separate topic than this article. I think that GPS and SDN, just to name two innovations that are the result of Federal funding, have both repaid the Federal government in terms of their investments and have benefitted both the private sector and individuals.
The Federal Reserve controls the Nationals Science Foundation.
Bet anyone in academia going against their Talmudic Crypto fascist culture of NeoPaganism and nihilism would be passed over for grants.
One of the definitions of normal: free from any mental disorder; sane.
Another: of natural occurrence.
Lindsay is not using normal to convey conformity, but rather a natural state that exists prior to corruption by psuedo-realities. I would say the operational definition is clearly implied here (and he has likely described it on past occasions in any case). A natural state human, or “normal” is allowed to use logic and ethics to find truth and help groups thrive, and is not beholden to working backwards for the purpose of serving a cult ideology.
Here comes the gatekeeper to gatekeep and attempt to minimize points and shift the argument! You have not read the entire piece, yet jump to critique this does not fit your narrow definitions, whilst the author made his definitions and usage crystal clear.
You’re the problem, Cal.
That’s actually incorrect, at best a colloquial misuse of the word to refer to a different concept that already existed, namely the much older English idea of being ordinary and “fitting in”, an idea that owes no intellectual debt or origin to normality. By contrast, normality refers to the normal distribution, the distribution of abilities in a basically healthy population of fully operational individuals. Normality actually includes the extremes of the normal distribution: MENSA-grade high IQ’s for physics and innovation, and nearly unemployable idiots. It is NOT about conformity, in fact conformity or social amicability could be thought of as an attempt by society to actually undo normality in creating a uniform average, as opposed to the natural bell-shaped curve. It IS about avoiding unhealthy distortions, disease and incompleteness, as opposed to the natural diversity of whole forms.
Exactly – this essay is largely an exercise in pseudo-reality.
The author says, “Normal people do not accept pseudo-reality and interpret reality more or less accurately.” This is utterly false. Normal people are believers and rationalizers of low-intelligence who are guided by their emotions (especially fear) and selfishness.
He also attempts slight-of-hand when he posits a false distinction between ideology and “cult ideology.” ALL ideology is rooted baseless assumption, unwarranted speculation, delusional faith, fallible argument, and untested conclusions.
Rigorous science is the attempt to OBJECTIVELY understand reality – reality that exists independent of the illusions and delusions that are the mind. No other human endeavor makes that attempt – philosophy, religion, literature, politics, etc are all ultimately directed at describing and coping with the so-called “human condition” or “nature of man.” Societies teach their children to be BELIEVERS rather than FINDERS-OUT and KNOWERS of realty (scientists). The children are taught that believing and the opinions it spawns are valid bases for decision-making and behavior. Very few people are conversant with scientifically revealed reality. As a result, they are absurd.
I don’t think you really understand the concept of intelligence. You don’t need a high IQ to accurately perceive reality, in fact basically all sane people from IQ 70 to all extrapalatable limits perceive reality accurately, whereas “mad geniuses” really do not. In Chinese calligraphy, there’s an archaic word for smart that features the ear and eye symbols, the idea being that the highly intelligent see more and hear more. In general, high IQ’s mean that you have more thoughts and can see subtle connections between things, the g-factor is actually a very counterintuitive and hard to understand idea and there’s even some argument about it’s exact precise meaning, but it is not accurate to say that you need a high g to accurately perceive reality, only that perhaps you perceive less reality at a time. Insanity deprives you of accuracy, whereas a low IQ only deprives you of volume.
Spoken like a true believer in science. What’s the proper term for such? “Scientist”? Or is it “scientismist”? ??
In any case, James, sign me up. I’ve been in the scrap since the late 70’s (that is, all through the “phony war” days of the 80’s and 90’s, when we could say as BHL did of my (’60’s) generation, “The students played the revolution.” He was right– and I was one of them then.) First as a rejector, then, over the last 2 decades and more, as a serial refutationist.
And you are right here about ever so many things (though not, I think– judging by your side-swipes in passing– about Hegel…but perhaps I misread you there,– and perhaps you read him better than I). You are right about the psycho- and social-psychological currents dragging us: their insidiousness; their incipient and progressive madnesses; their magnitude; and directional tendencies; the cataclysmic dimensions of the threat they pose. They are real. They are growing. Your working vocabulary for diagnosing and describing this derangement of reality is not mine, but it works well enough to communicate it to the patient and thoughtful.
And most importantly you are right about the efforts and the attitudes it will take to counteract, contain, and ultimately to defeat this virus. A stubborn willingness to butt heads and break china, openly, publicly, whenever, wherever– but most especially in the classrooms and the gathering spaces.
let’s call it “true grit.” And a very readiness of wit and will to use it– humor with a deadly serious edge and a rapier-quick thrust home– wit “a la pointe” et “a la outrance.” Smile, and screw your courage to the sticking point. Stand up. Speak up. If you don’t, we may be screwed. We may be anyway.
Socrates relished the wrestling match of ideas as he grappled with the sophists in his polity. He threw down– with anyone, anywhere, any time.
Nor should we be unmindful he was murdered.
Pardon my French– “a l’outrance”
James’ argument is “Normal people do not accept pseudo-reality and interpret reality more or less accurately, granting the usual biases and limitations of human perspective. Their common heuristic is called common sense, though much more refined forms exist in the uncorrupted sciences.” This is clearly a generalization which follows from the concept of what is ‘normal’ in many societies, but it is more than opinion, as at least a great deal of perception and acceptance of reality can be objectively tested for. James’ assertion here (in effect that the ‘normal’ level and application of common sense is universal – and hence normal, rejecting fake, pseudo-reality) you try to counter, but this is both internally inconsistent, and smacks of extreme scientism (scientific rationalism, which is a form of dogmatism that by itself most reject as useless to mankind).
You say, without qualification at all “This is utterly false. Normal people are believers and rationalizers of low-intelligence who are guided by their emotions (especially fear) and selfishness.” Wow. Well, clearly you have a rather dim view of the average intelligence of ‘street-man’ / ‘street-woman’ which most of us will not agree with at all (being confessed average achievers), and by direct experience – Let me explain: During my lifetime, I have always been amazed at how wise people are, often, when confronted by extreme difficulty or trauma, yet at the same time extending love and compassion to others as integral to their thinking and behaviour. It is certainly NOT strong evidence of the fear and selfishness you suggest is general and dominant in normal healthy people (agreed it is shown by some – for example in the 2005 New Orleans floods when a very few took advantage but the vast majority helped each other as best they could). I use “wise” here in the traditional sense which encompasses the emotional and logical, and is not merely an extension of the powerful survival instinct built into each of us. Wisdom has children, both material and spiritual, and each is integral to successful peaceful societies.
But it gets worse: Those of us who read your reply here will also not be impressed by your further dogmatic position: “ALL ideology is rooted [in] baseless assumption, unwarranted speculation, delusional faith, fallible argument, and untested conclusions.”
This of course is self-referentially false. What if, separate to the holding of one’s “ideology”, what you only see as ideology has eternal truth, consistent reality – spiritual, material – at it’s core? You should know that there is truth that is not testable by scientific method, but no less true. Most of our lives are based on two of them, and these are faith, and love, from which springs hope, without which none of us can survive. Your statement “ALL ideology..” is therefore self-evidently false: It is disappointingly blind to it’s failure to observe there are greater truths not subject to science, and which actually this world cannot run without. If faith in universal love fails, and hope fails, what will be the result? Of course, love must be based on what is true, so objective factual information is needed, as well as the the trust which comes from faith in others’ integrity and the hope it releases in us. Your baseless assumption that all ideology is rooted in (effective) superstition and untested conclusions is therefore false. I believe this fairly typical viewpoint lacks maturity of social and spiritual perspective and comes from your scientism – the idea that, ultimately, only rationalism has truth to offer. That is false. Please think again?
Where you seem to be missing the point is that these “ideologies” are enforcing their falsehoods through enforcers, retaliation, et cetera. They are not merely people who are mistaken about something.
Normality, which is NOT the same thing as being like everybody else (that’s a different idea from British culture that is sometimes mistakenly described as normalcy but is not normalcy), is a statistical description of the complete and basically healthy human being. It includes both the vastly below and vastly above average in ability, but in every case, they are complete. Because they are complete and healthy, they perceive reality in as good of a way as any human being could reasonably be expected to and definitely well enough to function and live in general society, and while IQ and education may allow some to perceive MORE, even those without these things are still perceiving right what they are perceiving.
But it is not so with the insane. Indeed, some insane people are rich in IQ and education, and this makes their castles in the sky fascinatingly complex and even in a sense beautiful. Indeed, some of the terra cognitias of the mad genius have even become great works of art, as in the case of Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest” or the many great psychedelic songs of the 20th century, but they are not reality as it really is.
Thanks. I shall consider.
Wow! Love your conclusions! (I understood a good portion of them!)
In all totalitarian/authoritarian societies, most people go along in order to get along. Only a small percentage of the people are brave enough to call out the abuse.