Cognition & Reality

Friday, 5 November 2010

Ignorance Is Strength

Filed under: Propaganda,Wilhelm Reich — drtone @ 10:42 am

I usually don’t comment here on politics. My other blog, long neglected, is for that. As I have said here and elsewhere, I have been abstaining  for the past year or more from the habit, begun when I first learned to read, of following politics closely. Nevertheless, one cannot help noticing what has been going on in our country of late, nor can one help noticing the parallels to the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1920s. At that time, Wilhelm Reich saw a direct connection between political repression and psychoemotional repression. I write now in that spirit.

We are seeing the perfection of the science of propaganda, as originally devised during World War I and carried to great heights by the Nazis, by the Italian Fascists, and of course, on the other end of the political spectrum, by the Stalinists. In the last couple of decades, the Right wing in this country has achieved a new level of competence in the realm of propaganda, as we saw dramatically demonstrated in the 2004 election and again in the election season just past.

The Right has consistently been on the wrong side throughout history, as measured against current values, having opposed desegregation, child labor laws, Social Security, and equal rights for women. They’re still hopping mad about the income tax. It never seems to occur to them that, in spite of these many “handicaps,” the United States became and remains the most powerful political, social and economic entity in the world today and possibly in all history.

The people we’re dealing with now, who have established a place on the national stage unimaginable 30 or 40 years ago, when they occupied the far right fringe, are not interested in government or governing. They win whether they get anything done or not, because it’s in their interest to make it appear that government does not work. For example, they won the Monica Lewinsky thing, even though they ostensibly lost, because they win any time people in Washington look like a bunch of clowns. It’s their MO. They just won the House on the weakness of a national economy that they more or less deliberately drove to its knees when they were last in power a few years ago. They know that self-fulfilling prophecies are the best prophecies of all.

The new leaders in the House, John Boehner and the rest,  have already proven that they don’t mind looking foolish. They don’t have a program, not only because their whole show is based on racism and other forms of hatred that don’t need a program, but also because they don’t believe in government. They believe in the Bible or they believe that people who do believe in the Bible will support them in dismantling government, a dismantling that serves the few who are willing to use the many to achieve their aims.

Orwell said it all when he attacked the purveyors of propaganda in 1984: “War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery” and “Ignorance is Strength.” It’s the last that has our country by the balls. One can hardly help sneering at Sarah Palin’s uninformed approach to the world. There is a strong–and quite dangerous–tendency to dismiss her as an ignorant rube who can’t act because she doesn’t understand how things work. As I’ve said before, however, the people who like Sarah Palin do so precisely because she is ignorant, just like them. They are threatened by education, expertise and the other products of a progressive, centralized society, those things that Palin explicitly rejects and implicitly does not grasp. And the people behind Palin like her because they believe they can control an ignorant cunt of her ilk, and they are probably correct in so thinking, although whether they are is anybody’s guess. They might be making the same error liberals do, taking her ignorance for a weakness. Ignorance is, after all, strength.

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Saturday, 25 September 2010

Coughing Up Conflict

Filed under: Relational Somatic Psychotherapy,Wilhelm Reich — drtone @ 1:30 pm

Saw again today the coughing that happens when a person tries to expel a deep conflict. It is as if the emotional content has formed a congested knot, and the reaction necessary to break it up is a hacking dry cough. I saw this in myself first, but have observed it in others and have heard accounts, as well. Interesting that this is not something that is widely recognized.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

“Living Together” And “Ms.”

Filed under: Sex & Love,Wilhelm Reich — drtone @ 8:00 am
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Among the most remarkable changes in society to occur during my life is that it is now routine for a couple to live together without being married. When I was a teenager in the sixties, such an arrangement was borderline illegal and potentially scandalous. It was confined to the very richest and very poorest segments of society, but within a decade it became an acceptable alternative across a broad spectrum of society. Now, we look askance at a young couple who jump into marriage without first living together for at least a year or two. A young woman who called me this morning about becoming a client mentioned, among the pertinent facts about her, that she lives with her boyfriend, something that, once upon a time, a “nice girl” would have been ashamed to admit. Now it’s nothing.

This is a manifestation of the fluidity marriage foreseen by Wilhelm Reich in the early thirties as women became economically emancipated from men. It’s no coincidence, I suppose, that the change in the status of “living together” corresponds almost exactly with the entrance of the birth control pill Because of the many more spectacular manifestations of “The Sixties,” we don’t appreciate some of the most revolutionary changes that remain from that era, changes that extend to important aspects of nomenclature. Perhaps the brouhaha over the use of “Ms.” as a term of address for any woman married or single, stood for the effort of society at large to accept the end of marriage as it has existed for hundreds of years. That “Ms.” now seems a bit out of style may reflect the end of that struggle.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Fury On Earth: Bad Biography

Filed under: Wilhelm Reich — drtone @ 12:49 pm

I’m reading Fury on Earth, by Myron Sharaf, which seems to be the principal biography of Wilhelm Reich. It is less a biography than notes for a memoir, including continuous editorial comment, by someone with strong feelings for and against his subject. In the introduction, Sharaf describes the period when Reich was fucking Sharaf’s wife, which seems like a bad beginning for a biography and a bad credential for a biographer. To be fair, Sharaf had his own long, complicated relationship with Reich, as student, friend,  patient, and employee. The point is that the man was too close to his subject to write a reliable biography that emphasizes events and persons, rather than the author’s ideas about the significance of those events and persons.

Going over the references in the Wikipedia entry on Reich, it would appear that there is no other actual biography of Reich, except for memoirs by Reich himself and by other associates of his. If anyone out there knows of a serious Reich biography, please let me know. Now that Reich’s files are available for examination in depth, it’s time for a new biography. Because it would involve reading Reich’s work, it would require a biographer fluent in German.

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