Humans have big brains; those big brains reflect a stronger signal than reality; this makes humans unstable as we pursue symbols, emotions, fears, judgments, and pathologies instead of of observing the process of observing reality, testing those perceptions, and then forming a model of reality as a whole.
In other terms, our quest becomes an adventure of escaping solipsism, or the confusion of self with the world. Dumb people and young people tend to be the most solipsistic, since they know nothing other than their brain impulses, and have not yet learned to test them against reality.
During times when the lowest common denominator — the unifying factor in any group — favors narcissism, society as a whole becomes self-obsessed. People know nothing but their own experience unless encouraged to look beyond it, and such societies encourage looking only within it.
This creates a death spiral, or a cycle which can neither solve its own problems or change methods from those that are failing. The more society looks inward, the less it wants to do anything but, and soon you have a reign of illusion known as Crowdism.
This, to me, represents the challenge to humanity. All organisms need to adapt to their environments; for those dependent on groups, this includes managing the group so that it does not self-destruct. Humans have listened to our big brains too much, and ignored the latter.
Hilariously, almost everything written or spoken in public denies that this is the core issue. Instead, they focus on emotions or symbols, including the economy, as a means of manipulating the rest so that mass conformity enforces the human illusion on reality through sheer weight of numbers.
It is like collective reward as in unions where the worst worker gets a pay bump like the best, the outcome in democracy when the vote of a genius is equal to that of a moron, or kids screwing off in high school who figure that the teacher cannot bust them if everyone is misbehaving, not just a few.
Individualism (the core philosophy behind collective reward: “me first” whether I deserve it or not) produces a philosophy of conformity, or tying the hands of others so that the individualist is not penalized when his does something unrealistic, immoral, incompetent, or useless.
This creates a mentality whereby we use others instead of seeing them as part of a system (like an ecosystem more than a human System). To egalitarians, other people are only useful insofar as they can advance the individual.
Kali-Yuga blues arise from this. When parents demand that children behave and look at a certain way simply so that the parents look good, you know you are in the end times. This also shows us the pitfall of individualism: to make it work, one must manipulate the group, which makes one beholden to that group. This makes appearance, symbol, and social popularity more important than reality itself.
Using others as a means to a personal end can be called tyranny, control, or simply the Asiatic method of government. Instead of seeing people as parts of a system with a transcendental goal, the Asiatic tyrant sees them as cogs in a machine designed to implement his will, even if he is in turn held hostage by the group.
This shows us what a canny trap nature has set for species that are clever but not intelligent. They manipulate each other to death. In the process, they obliterate civilization and replace technological humanity with primitives living a subsistence existence.
Our current civilization has taken the Asiatic path because we demanded individualism, which had to become egalitarianism in order to be sold to the group, and from that, we got a society where all of us are being used by others for their interests, and there is no shared interest, transcendental goal, or culture. Just many “me first” monkeys manipulating each other as society grinds into exhaustion.
That in turn creates a rather nasty psychology of social control, like that of the image-obsessed parents discussed above. Excerpted from Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century, by Peter Graham, Skyhorse: New York (2011), pp. 309-314, the following explains the psychology of the modern person.
It is now well understood that a young child has a deep need to be lovingly attached to a reliable mother figure, whose unconditional adoration and physical warmth supplies emotional security. Children deprived of this are likely to become emotionally frozen or insecure, lack ego-control, and have a low sense of self-worth, even if this is well camouflaged. Natural feelings of affection for the mother are overwhelmed by rage, and this may be turned inward to become self-loathing; people who hate their mothers invariably hate themselves as well. the wounds of maternal abandonment remain for life. The unloved or under-loved child becomes ever more unlovable.
…Such an upbringing can be expected to produce an “avoidant attachment character style. “Avoidants,” as they are called, have shut down their emotions to defend themselves against further injury. They cannot be warmly affectionate, and come across as arrogantly self-sufficient, seeing themselves as perfect, and incapable of admitting faults of any kind. They can be shy loners who get sick a lot. For all their self-sufficiency in childhood, when they become adolescents avoidants often find themselves longing for a soulmate. In adulthood they may become workaholics, addicted to power or absorbed by other ambitions.
Avoidant attachment is known to be at the heart of narcissistic personality disorder, the diagnostic criteria for which are a grandiose sense of self-importance; preoccuption with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance and beauty; the belief the person is “special” and “unique”; excessive need for admiration; arrogance and haughtiness; sense of entitlement; lack of empathy for others; and exploitation of others for selfish needs… While beneath their grandiosity, narcissists have a fragile sense of self-esteem, it doesn’t show; they have succeeded in burying their insecurities.
Psychopathic traits are closely related to narcissism: doctors often refer to the “narcissist-psychopath type.” Psychopaths are often articulate and charming. They lie glibly and convincingly. In some types, violent behavior is likely to be premeditated rather than impulse. Fearlessness and lack of conscience and remorse are common.
Such an individual has an advantage over the majority of the population when it comes to not remembering an act that would leave most people guilt-ridden for the rest of their lives — namely dissociation, the ability of the mind to hide a memory, a feeling, or a bodily sensation for a short or a long time.
[Another type are “anxious ambivalents.”] Rather than being unwilling to become emotionally close to others, the ambivalent is desperate to have close relationships — although, for fear no one would want to get clsoe to them, they can act in a superior stand-offish way. Ambivalents’ inner feelings of self-worth are sometimes so lacking they seem themselves as loathsome, unclean, and even poisonous. While drawn to relationships with others, they handle them incompetently: friendships can be destroyed by eruptions of irrational rage. Jealousy and clinginess often drive away friends and potential partners.
It is believed that in avoidants the character-shaping trauma occurred later in life than it did for avoidants, and that their mothers were less rejecting. It has been said that ambivalents result from partial maternal deprivation rather than drastic separation.
Where avoidants learn to disguise their inner hurt and anger, ambivalents do not develop protective indifference and are obviously full of rage.
The mothers of ambivalents blow hot and cold. Emotional, or even physical, cruelty followed by kindness is a familiar picture. The child may become hooked on the mother’s unpredictability. Now and then the mother will deliver the emotional warmth desperately wanted and the child will become more addicted than ever. As one expert, Jude Cassidy, professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, explains, “Nothing makes a laboratory rat push the pedal more furiously than an inconsistent reward.”
[Some] behavior might be seen as satisfying the criteria for the disorder “borderline personality,” which, like all personality disorders, has a narcissistic component. “Borderlines” have much in common with the ambivalent character type and the two often coincide. Most borderlines have been at times physically or emotionally abused by a mothering figure who at other times was adequate and nurturing. Not surprisingly, the borderline child hates and loves her vacillating mother at the same time…
Borderlines grow up with an unstable self-image and acquire a history of stormy personal relationships. At the heart of the personality lies a profound feeling of emptiness and a weak sense of self. “Unable to figure out who or what they are… they glom onto others so as if to acquire an identity by osmosis,” was how Jerrold Maxmen and Nicholas Ward expressed it in their 1994 work Essential Psychopathology and Its Treatment. Their moods oscillate wildly: “inappropriate intense anger” is one of the defining symptoms. Relationships with friends and lovers are all-consuming, characterized by “overidealization” that usually ends in deep disappointment. As with other personality disorders, the borderline has low tolerance of frustration, grief and threats of abandonment: the first of the American Psychiatric Association’s criteria is “frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.” Borderlines are also known to have “transient delusions” — brief psychotic incidents…
A recent development in psychology has been the identification of the “symbiotic” character, or personality. Symbiotics are thought to have been excessively corrected by their parents at a young age, overdisciplined to conform to the parents’ expectations. They have a weak sense of self and often “borrow” an identity from someone else, conforming to this person’s tastes and interests and even being invaded by their moods. This is accompanied by a deep-rooted fear that the person will abandon them. The symbiotic personality experiences extremely hostile fantasies and dreams, and has difficulty modulating aggressive impulses. People who compulsively overeat are often found to have issues of symbiosis.
Bipolar disorder, or manic depressive illness, was recognized in 1954 but little understood until the 1970s. Today DSM-IV — the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition — defines manic episodes as periods of “abnormally and persistently elevated, irritable or expansive mood, accompanied by symptoms such as inflated self-esteem, non-delusional grandiosity, decreased need for sleep, flight of ideas, and excessive involvement in pleasurable activities. Sufferers overvalue their beauty, talents, achievements, brilliance, and other qualities.
During the manic phase the person will feel euphoric, see humor in everything, and have an increased interest in sex. Racing thoughts and rapid speech are characteristic. Abnormal beliefs, such as grandiose illusions, are found in nearly half of bipolar patients in manic phase. Manic depressives in general are narcissistic and temperamentally hyper-excitable. It has been observed that sleep deprivation triggers manic episodes, and in full flight sleep is impossible…
The “mother-figure” in this case is culture, where leadership is the father-figure. In a sane society, mother and father are united, meaning that the kings are from the specific ethno-culture and act toward its best interests, which are not just material but involve having a sane state of mind, positive goals, and a “good life” of everyday experience for its citizens who are constructive, productive, and moral people.
A good parent knows how to love children unequally. You recognize the differences between them instead of expecting them to all succeed equally at the same thing. For example, you might have one kid who is an artist, one who is an athlete, one who is a writer, or some combination of that.
You still love each one, not for how he or she makes you look, but for what he or she is. You accept them for what they are. You love them for being good, and for being good at whatever it is that they are born to do. You do not pick favorites.
This even extends to the “Old Yeller” rule. You will love your children no matter what, but if one turns out to be a rapist or murderer, that love includes killing them. You will still love them, but the greatest mercy involves destroying what is so disordered that it lives in misery and confusion. The rules still apply, but those are rules against doing bad, not forcing people to conform as a means of compelling them do to good.
If modern society has a core, it is individualism, and individualism requires ideology instead of common sense and observation of nature. With individualism, one is acting against observable reality, and therefore requires a Narrative, justification, and rationalization to explain why the not-sane is really a better form of sanity.
This produces a fantasy world where people compete for approval based on their expression of the not-sane. This “social mobility” creates a pathological fear of inferiority, which corresponds to a lack of nurturing by the mother figure, as expressed by Ted Kaczynski:
9. The two psychological tendencies that underlie modern leftism we call “feelings of inferiority” and “oversocialization.” Feelings of inferiority are characteristic of modern leftism as a whole, while oversocialization is characteristic only of a certain segment of modern leftism; but this segment is highly influential.
18. Modern leftish philosophers tend to dismiss reason, science, objective reality and to insist that everything is culturally relative. It is true that one can ask serious questions about the foundations of scientific knowledge and about how, if at all, the concept of objective reality can be defined. But it is obvious that modern leftish philosophers are not simply cool-headed logicians systematically analyzing the foundations of knowledge. They are deeply involved emotionally in their attack on truth and reality. They attack these concepts because of their own psychological needs. For one thing, their attack is an outlet for hostility, and, to the extent that it is successful, it satisfies the drive for power. More importantly, the leftist hates science and rationality because they classify certain beliefs as true (i.e., successful, superior) and other beliefs as false (i.e., failed, inferior). The leftist’s feelings of inferiority run so deep that he cannot tolerate any classification of some things as successful or superior and other things as failed or inferior. This also underlies the rejection by many leftists of the concept of mental illness and of the utility of IQ tests. Leftists are antagonistic to genetic explanations of human abilities or behavior because such explanations tend to make some persons appear superior or inferior to others. Leftists prefer to give society the credit or blame for an individual’s ability or lack of it. Thus if a person is “inferior” it is not his fault, but society’s, because he has not been brought up properly.
19. The leftist is not typically the kind of person whose feelings of inferiority make him a braggart, an egotist, a bully, a self-promoter, a ruthless competitor. This kind of person has not wholly lost faith in himself. He has a deficit in his sense of power and self-worth, but he can still conceive of himself as having the capacity to be strong, and his efforts to make himself strong produce his unpleasant behavior.  But the leftist is too far gone for that. His feelings of inferiority are so ingrained that he cannot conceive of himself as individually strong and valuable. Hence the collectivism of the leftist. He can feel strong only as a member of a large organization or a mass movement with which he identifies himself.
This shows us the effects of control itself.
When society moves from having a transcendental goal, or rewarding the good and punishing the bad in the context of trying to achieve something which can never fully be achieved, to holding itself together by using others as methods toward maintaining power — as Ahab says, others are his “arms and legs” — then it dedicates itself to manipulation through symbols.
That in turn leads to the abusive mother figure who selectively withholds love based on total obedience. Bad parenting is the archetype of control. As expressed by William S. Burroughs in Naked Lunch:
I have not seen Benway since his precipitate departure from Annexia,where his assignment had been T.D.– Total Demoralization. Benway’s first act was to abolish concentration camps, mass arrest and, except under certain limited and special circumstances, the use of torture.
“I deplore brutality,” he said. “It’s not efficient. On the other hand, prolonged mistreatment, short of physical violence, gives rise, when skillfully applied, to anxiety and a feeling of special guilt. A few rules or rather guiding principles are to be borne in mind. The subject must not realize that the mistreatment is a deliberate attack of an anti-human enemy on his personal identity. He must be made to feel that he deserves any treatment he receives because there is something (never specified)horribly wrong with him. The naked need of the control addicts must be decently covered by an arbitrary and intricate bureaucracy so that the subject cannot contact his enemy direct.”
Every citizen of Annexia was required to apply for and carry on his person at all times a whole portfolio of documents. Citizens were subject to be stopped in the street at any time; and the Examiner, who might be in plain clothes, in various uniforms, often in a bathing suit or pyjamas,sometimes stark naked except for a badge pinned to his left nipple, after checking each paper, would stamp it. On subsequent inspection the citizen was required to show the properly entered stamps of the last inspection. The Examiner, when he stopped a large group, would only examine and stamp the cards of a few. The others were then subject to arrest because their cards were not properly stamped. Arrest meant “provisional detention”; that is, the prisoner would be released if and when his Affidavit of Explanation, properly signed and stamped, was approved by the Assistant Arbiter of Explanations. Since this official hardly ever came to his office, and the Affidavit of Explanation had to be presented in person, the explainers spent weeks and months waiting around in unheated offices with no chairs and no toilet facilities.
Documents issued in vanishing ink faded into old pawn tickets. New documents were constantly required. The citizens rushed from one bureau to another in a frenzied attempt to meet impossible deadlines.
All benches were removed from the city, all fountains turned off, all flowers and trees destroyed.Huge electric buzzers on the top of every apartment house (everyone lived in apartments) rang the quarter hour. Often the vibrations would throw people out of bed. Searchlights played over the town all night (no one was permitted to use shades, curtains, shutters or blinds).
No one ever looked at anyone else because of the strict law against importuning, with or without verbal approach, anyone for any purpose, sexual or otherwise. All cafes and bars were closed.Liquor could only be obtained with a special permit, and the liquor so obtained could not be sold or given or in any way transferred to anyone else, and the presence of anyone else in the room was considered prima facie evidence of conspiracy to transfer liquor.
No one was permitted to bolt his door, and the police had pass keys to every room in the city.
Ideology camouflages the need to adapt to reality like every other species. Instead of making things work in the world, our goal becomes making other people approve of what we do, and this makes us hate them and want to destroy them.
They respond by becoming ever more manipulative, and through that, society enters the death spiral. Problems arise from the exercise of control, and society can only respond with a desire for more control.
As with all species, humans suffer from cleverness, which we might describe as the dangerous long ground between stupidity and actual intelligence. The clever achieve minimal domination of nature in the short term and consider themselves wise, only because they are unaware of what they have missed.
We need a goal other than ourselves or conquering nature. This is the threshold that societies reach once they have beat back the beasts, disease, lack of hygiene, disorganization, and technological problems of building stable agricultural society. Societies either “level up” and aim high, or they aim inward and consume themselves.
For my vote, I would rather that we aim to exceed ancient Greece, Rome, India, the Maya, Aksum, Cahokia, and all other great civilizations which have perished, and not look inward, become narcissistic, and self-destruct.