Symbiophrenic Incursion: Cultural psychosis?    
 Cultural psychosis?11 comments
pictureSaturday, August 21st 2004, by Brenden Macdonald

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What is the world and its life to be for? What is it that we seek by name of freedom? What are we to make as our social objective, and what form of balance do we value as the basis for peaceful relation? A prevalently lived out response to these questions is known to be destroying diversity in our ecosystem and society.

More than that, the majority of these (roughly called) murderers lack awareness as to resist behaving inappropriately, indeed they lack awareness of behaving with deadly results. They do not understand they are hurting themselves and others. This last statement indicates mental illness is present clouding their minds. Just as schizophrenics can be swayed by deluded confusion and inadvertently strike out at their environment, so can “normal people.” My position in this essay is that something inadvertent has occurred in the general thinking of humanity, and that this is what has led us to striking out at a delicate web that simply will not withstand the activity considered as desirable in our general thinking.

The primary difference between schizophrenia and what I coin here as cultural psychosis is that I believe symptoms in the former mainly comprise an internal syndrome, and thus schizophrenia is related to our bodies and can be helped thru medicine. Cultural psychosis on the other hand comprises symptoms mainly acted out interpresonally. The context for this psychosis is not the context of biochemistry, but language itself, our bridge between persons and foundation for culture. To describe a whole society as culturally psychotic then means to say that society at large identifies with the world thru language that is disconnected from appropriate interpretations of reality.

“To dissolve in the primordial matrix of life – this is sanity.” Fitting words for our traditional and current social context from Henryk Skolimowski in an essay entitled Forests as Sanctuaries. Such a social context exists in our world that we regularly condone such practices as depriving opportunity and health to our children and their children by means of environmental and social destruction for profit, if not indeed rape and pillage for profit.

I refer to our desperate condition of peaceful relation. Even tho this idea is not defined by any widely accepted psychological, anthropological, or sociological theory, I think our society has become culturally psychotic. I have no widely accepted theory to mention, but I for one have come to believe Riane Eisler that our “dominator style” of interaction is the primary source of warfare and oppression.

I also believe Terrence McKenna in what he said in Food of the Gods of conscious purpose in this unfolding life, that there will be more beauty and ecstasy possible when we embrace an “archaic revival” in relation to what Riane Eisler described as a “partnership” society, one which embraces compassion and sustainability in peaceful relations, those between environment and humanity and between every human.

Ecologists, artists, scientists, and activists have by my standards adequately sought by various approaches to demonstrate this, so I need not do so here by specifying evidence such as centuries of peace and vast artistic, spiritual, and technological evolution in partnership societies. Riane Eisler did this brilliantly in The Chalice and the Blade.. A position in this essay is that our current dominator system of thinking concerning peaceful relation is flawed in its fundament, for otherwise our world would not be seen to have so many urgent crises and disparities, and let’s proceed to assess how this dominator social value is now expressed to see if we can’t find hint of a way to ‘dissolve in life’ and overcome our insanity. I’m talking about realizing what we need to change in order to survive on Earth or with each other.

Personally, I am more philosophically scared of never overcoming differences than I would be of all out nuclear and bio-chemical/logical warfare (during which I’d be more mortally scared for my life.) At least after that, we wouldn’t in heart, I believe, have a choice except to cooperate, if any tattered beings survived at all. Never overcoming differences would make conscious experience depressed and suicidal, and indeed conflict between our thinking systems and our world’s health probably led to the initial delusions surrounding the holocausts and near-fallouts of past and present societies. What is it about our thinking systems that builds flaw into how our social systems interact with themselves and world?

Now, if at the widest and most horrendous levels of human interaction our thinking systems allow entire organized nations, transnational corporations, and religions to condone war, ecological death, and oppression in the name of ‘freedom, growth, and truth’ - if these descriptions are accurate about the results of our thinking systems - we ought to expect aberration and pathology in the narrower levels of human interaction. We ought to expect to see the large scale decay of whole social institutions as contextually defined by the small scale creators and maintainers of those institutions.

We ought to expect that things are really farg’d up in all sorts of human relationships at the level of interpersonal contexts. If I have said this having begun by accepting that our society at large behaves by accepted convention in a culturally psychotic manner, I have now suggested that many ‘normal’ individuals behave pathologically due to dogmatically learned and excessively expressed dominator values. The primary symptom of cultural psychosis is the expression of systemic disorganization in thinking that entails a drastic misinterpretation of the needs of the world, as illustrated in behaviours exemplified by our ecological and social tyrannies. I’m guessing a large majority of individuals reading this now were born in such a context that they were routinely taught to communicate and understand in culturally psychotic ways or other-worded in excessively dominator-style ways.

Let’s test that premise in the last statement above: you likely agree with me that freedom, growth, and truth are amiable. Well, let’s work with that: the truth is, growth on Earth occurs to life in a state of freedom with willing options for either competition or symbiosis! Here I conveniently ignore a few philosophic injunctions from materialistic naysayers, but let’s proceed anyway with the way I’ve defined these terms within an abstract context involving Earth and life. I wonder how this “truth” about Earth-life’s natural growth, by means of freedom to live, equates to commonly held aphorisms, such as “there is no free lunch,” “no pain, no gain,” and “another day, another dollar, another death” if you let me add “the inevitable” to the familiar phrase. The relationship between these aphorisms and the words as defined isn’t beautiful enough to even be deemed paradoxical; they’re simply expressive of an unreasonable and delusional interpretation occurring in an individual’s linguistic relationship with the world and others. Do you agree with the terms used about life, if you don’t quite follow my argument yet?

You see, the sunlight hits Earth and then the plant needs to give us food or it won’t survive in many cases and we won’t survive having not eaten. Symbiosis seems to be a predominant order of Earth’s healthy life. The idea of ‘to work for the result of pay as a means of living’ instead of the idea ‘to cooperate for life as a means to experience’ – the former is an example of culturally psychotic thought at the interpersonal level, and the latter of these is what I think is meant “to dissolve in the primordial matrix of life.”

Interpersonally, our social value as beings has become a crude matter of economic worth, a matter of hours we cannot without fear of starvation give to others, and things in nature we find and withhold from others who need them, until a time being when (essentially) imaginary numbers have rolled our way. In the convention of ‘money for life,’ I’m reminded of psychological ideas about communication recognizing that language as naturally expressed often denotes a perception of context and denotes perception of dynamic processes of communication. An example to make this familiar with you is a person who says ‘they make me angry and sad.’

In this language the person denotes his or her perception of the process of emotion and action generation, namely that others are to be held accountable for one’s internally generated responses to the world. This is in effect a proposal of a very specific Newton-like cause-effect psychological mechanism of an instinctual kind. Avoiding the severe philosophic argument of mind-body duality and nurture-nature duality for a paper concerning social values, I will here proceed from my belief in this living universe as a free will zone, so the claim disconnected from relevant reality ending the preceding paragraph does not convince me.

Rather, ‘I respond to them with anger and sadness’ when for example confronted by communication that denies my freedom such as the ‘money for life’ agenda. Those responses are warranted by the communicative purpose of sending a message to others so they can know, understand, and help me with carrying actions forth. We have not so benign and fatal a situation as “they simply control the responsibility for my actions and feelings.”

We can draw formal analogy to the ideas surrounding money as we have indication of interpersonal communications disconnected from the relevant reality. Just as we do not literally have mechanical “buttons to push” that let other people control our every emotion and response, the results of life do not rely upon a cosmically-ordained-as-necessary financial transaction, as I alluded to discussing life from sunlight, blooming naturally. In other words, life isn’t ‘paid for’ by anything to grow; this is like a malapropism.

Likewise it is ludicrous to say there are ‘no funds’ for a given human endeavour. This claim of ‘no funds’ is a linguistic run-around, a psychological self-brainwashing that really implies there is not enough willingness and desire for an endeavour in upper levels of conscious networks holding ability to make action-executive decisions. I’m talking for example about political leaders and chief executive officers not caring enough about investing energy and resources into the environmentally sustainable technologies. ‘No funds’ like ‘they’ can make you feel and do anything because ‘they’ have the power; like God foregoes salvation until the final payment for your soul has transacted. Whoops, that was supposed to be the devil, not the good guy charging you your life! Sure…. Yechhh! Only an economic system based from a pervasive ethical egoism symbolized externally as money would have this world where children are not simply fed.

Maybe, if you don’t agree and instead think it is a priori necessary that you must pay for lunch and you think our form of economy is legitimate, and if you disagree it is stipulated by conscious convention with terrifying consequences, you are likely also to be in steadfast denial of your possible cultural psychosis. I know I’m yet recovering, and I even have a job to pay for university education! Talk about cognitive dissonance! (I urge you; talk about it! Communication about understanding helps us respond to the needs of our world!) I want to work for free at being a good human. Will I starve? If you don’t understand this wording and argument to begin at all to agree or disagree, then we’re in a scarier predicament than I thought!

That was a test; remember? I was attempting to test a premise that you may have been born into cultural psychosis, and I illustrated this using a comparison between two situations where we are flawed in thinking, the situation where one thinks others are responsible for their feelings and the situation where one thinks money is more than a stipulation. The second situation is one symptom of cultural psychosis, a disconnection from relevant reality concerning peaceful relation, how we abstractly “deal” with each other. You may be inclined to describe myself that way for seeming so pretentious, but remember the ecologists, activists, scientists, and artists who have sought to demonstrate the flaw in thinking I am alluding to. We embody or engender direction to a trend growing with very little substantial resistance, except for the philosophic/ideological variety, and we are consistently gaining support from more of Earth’s citizens.

Today, a very limited few openly resist the idea that a continually healthy ecosystem would be good for human life, even if we do not yet see the answer to the problems posed by environmentally deregulating governments and greedy individuals. We support the environment even if we do not agree there indeed is an inappropriate conscious purpose expressed by human choice that underlies the problems. I have argued these choices arise due to what I’ve called cultural psychosis, that we were born into misinterpretation about living reality, because I do not want to think of my social brethren just as cruel and intentionally hostile to others in their world. As our mentally ill were once considered just flawed or willingly insane, we now recognize such illness as representing unavoidable forces than simply character defects.

We all know the environment is important although many do not understand or accept the problem and I think it’s only a matter of inevitable and already initiated change until more endorse the idea that a peaceful relations based in healthy concepts of freedom, growth, and truth will be good for us, ie. emerging is a system of thinking about others based in the ecological concepts and this is good for human life. I allude that ideas of greed for power are quite responsible for environmental and social disregard, and that this is changing. This is not a new idea, yet nonetheless urgently required in our world.

It might sound strange to refer to greed as part of a cultural psychosis instead of as character defect, but I don’t think greed is necessarily a product of a bad heart. Because we are so encultured and enlanguaged as we are as children, culturally psychotic individuals might not have a situation of aware command in their lives. (I know myself to have endured much confusion in ‘remembering myself.’) Greed may be engrained in the latent precepts of our symbolized thought (as illustrated by those language situations.)

Because cultural psychosis is actually inconsistent with the natural aims of symbiotic life yet those afflicted often retain exuberance and love for experience, they become overwhelmed and obsessed with thought patterns that are acted out as to appease immediate desires for sensory experience and this psychosis entails a misperception and dysfunction in our relationship with Earth. Such individuals see the world in a narrow light of “resources for making stuff we want,” and they are limited by their refusal to acknowledge the urgency of achieving sustainable living and refusal to acknowledge the nature and needs of intricate biological networks.

One narrow light of many that the culturally psychotic use is insistence, realistically merely in language and of no effective substance, that money holds the world together and makes things happen. Belief in money’s necessity is like belief in other’s supreme power over your actions because you might tend to respond in certain ways to specific messages.

This is confusing social value whose language actually implies a tacit agreement to put in place of simply living being confined without resistance to tenets of symbolic stipulation. We have habits of language battened to biological needs. The biological needs are accurately substantial whereas our stipulation of “you won’t eat until you pay me” – or even worse put, “you will die unless you meet my expectations of you to use my symbols” as in cultural genocide and oppression – this should be recognized as sick, culturally psychotic, disconnected from realities of ideal peaceful relation. It shouldn’t be considered criminal, yet often in our history, drastic acts of destruction and harm have occurred. I hope we can change thru recognizing it’s sick.

I leave it to you to go to the start of this document to go deep into those questions I began with, for that will be how we'll create stable and beneficial purposes.



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11 comments

22 Aug 2004 @ 03:33 by nednednerb : on licences
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Please, if you find value in this writing, share it freely. If you share it, please also give people who read it a way to find this news log at http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v373.

For more sharing and knowledge resounding!
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22 Aug 2004 @ 03:55 by vibrani : I think...
that if people were taught from day one that what one puts out they will get back, some how, in some way, and that we are all part of each other (to different degrees) so what we do to ourselves we do to others and vice-versa, it will bring great change to our societies. If you ask, why not get people to think this way now, I agree However, the problems we now face have to do with people who have been so hurt and are dysfunctional that even though we might tell them these things right now, they are coming from a damaged perspective. BUT, we have to start somewhere and some time. Why not now.  


22 Aug 2004 @ 06:25 by nednednerb : yes...
I feel hurt in a dysfunctional happening. Communication and subsistence have been reduced conceptually into a realm of "affordable luxuries." I feel hurt when I see people feeling trapped by bills and dead lines for light and knowledge. I get dysfunctional in trying to hide all my feelings for freedom so I can make thru each day of normal, damaged perspective that considers my ways of respecting the world an unreasonable idealism. It is an unreasonable idealism that believes our current way cannot be forced to change quickly enough because people are excessively set up in their ways. Especially when the Earth herself in her environmental extremity contains a force vast enough to extinguish our vessels... At least I hope this Earth-force will irrevocably communicate with all of us the love and joy possible. I think honesty to our children will be foremost integral for this endeavour. That means telling the truth, which will first involve accepting something about ourselves: the inheritance of conscious patterns that are unhealthy. That almost means bringing kindergarteners into class, showing them simple and sincere cartoons about suffering that exists and telling them when they ask why it is happening to tell them we don't completely know, because our thinking is the problem. We might tell them their job at school and home is to decide the course of the future of the planet, instead of springing the vote on them starting around 18 when it is likely they won't be informed enough to feel worthy of voting! I want children to have an idea in their head that their actions are vitally significant to perceived outcomes of peace or suffering. LIKE we have to start some-who in the minds of tomorrow. Just a thought.  


22 Aug 2004 @ 07:11 by vibrani : That's hitting the nail on the head
telling the truth is where each person must begin, I am in complete agreement with you about this, Brenden. I think it depends where and how one grows up, too. For example, my kids attended private school where each year part of the cirriculum is community service (without it they can't pass the grade). If they don't get the awareness at home (which is uncommon in these schools because the majority of people there are very active in helping others) they sure get it through school. I think community service must be part of education starting early. My kids greatly benefitted from this experience, and learned a lot about illness, dying, suffering, the joy of helping and gratitude, appreciation, and so on. In school and at home the world isn't shielded from these kids. They know what's going on in other nations, but in public schools I don't think the same thing is happening at all.

One of my sons is going to be 15 next month. He already has his own business online and he has always been aware of the horrors in the world because we show him, we talk about it, we talk about how to resolve them, how to help others. He is one of the most compassionate people I have ever known, Brenden. And it is in him to do his part for this others, for the planet, from disease to poverty, to war and the environment. It must begin at home. It must begin not with fear, but with compassion, truth, and a plan. I find that people his age have wonderful ideas and they are and will put them into action. Because of this I have faith in a better future.  



23 Aug 2004 @ 06:12 by shawa : Homeschool
I homeschooled my two daughters (who are now 21 and 25) from kindergarten to high school graduation. That´s where it begins, I feel. :-)  


23 Aug 2004 @ 06:15 by nednednerb : good for you and him and us!! :)
I saw that one of your sons, enamrani, had a web-designing business online! I may hire him at some point! I'd love to have a dedicated and simple address and server and my own designed forums and everything. I'd like that eventually to do my part in this emerging interlocking web of human meaning internetted...

All can do their part, and I find the key to the success of the Earth has been our simple and humble achievements of right orientation to a common ground of peace.... Yay!!  



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Other entries in
Wednesday, July 1st 2009: Freedom, Fancy, and Life’s Mystery from Spinoza to Romanticism
Wednesday, September 22nd 2004: On use of experience and reason
Tuesday, August 24th 2004: bioimperative



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