Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dec.4, 2008

"Be Yourself - everyone else is taken."

"What's the opposite of being paranoid? Thinking you're following someone?"

"When they outsourced the suicide lines overseas, an american called and upon saying "I'm suicidal," was asked, "Can you drive a truck?"

Anthropologists asking new tribes what they call themselves usually hear the same thing in whatever language, "The People". So their next question is what do you call "others." In this regard Inuit means the people whereas the Cree word, for their northern neighbours, Eskimo, means 'fish eater'. In Borneo asking the latest tribe what they called themselves, they were told, "The People" so they asked what do you call others, and were told others were called "The Edible Ones".
Given this understanding of tribalism, sociopaths can be considered those who belonging to some tribal grouping do not consider 'outsiders' , for whatever reason, 'kind'. A new useful term for this tendency is to call this 'othering'. The psychopath in contrast is solely a loner without any real identification with humanity and therefore metaphorically considers all 'others' as 'edible'. Jay Lifton, author of Nazi Doctors, in his discussion of the psychology of war states that alienation is a central tenet of the propaganda campaign. Each sides engages in dehumanizing the other for the justification of their own ends.
Looking for similiarities as opposed to differences is the methodology of compromise and peace. The mind subtracts and divides whereas the heart adds and multiplies.

"It's a good day when you're on this side of the grass."


detourcy said...

Just now, I'm interested more in the glorification of 'our" soldier. And mechanisms for intra-tribal communication, related to that. Why is the sacrifice of the soldier "Glorious"? Why can we never say a single bad thing about the glorious soldier, given that, back home, he may have been a very decent postman, or an alcoholic abusive incestuous father, or a second Mozart? There is unspoken agreement that he has become a heroic soldier. All individual characteristics dismissed. He's relgated to the herd of glorious soldiers. That is surely a relegation to "otherness" as well?

detourcy said...

Your last sentences are brilliant.

haykind said...

Our Canadian Dr. Patterson who editted "Outside the Wire", a terrific series of account from Afghanistan soldiers, aid workers and such was ruthlessly attacked when a story of his appeared in Mother Jones. The story was about a soldier who'd been shot by another bloke, rather accidentally, truly unheroically, but thoroughly fatally. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia, the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Military and oodles of others immediately announced that Dr. Patterson would be thoroughly investigated and no one was taking this lightly. It was uncertain when I heard it if all these 'beaurocrats' wanted their Andy Warhol moments of fame riding on the coattails of the brilliant writing of Dr. Patterson. He and the magazine had indeed approached the family who were more in favour, it was eminently clear, than any 'official' Canadian body that the truth be told. The sad truth about war, and especially offensive war as opposed to clearly defensive wars, is that leaders feel quite certain that the truth will only serve the enemy. Truth is indeed the first casualty of war. Isn't it marvellous that schizophrenics are said to improve in war. Something about the climate?