Sunday, November 28, 2010

Deconstructing Deconstructionism in Addiction

Deconstructionism is to some extents an aberrant development out of the more robust philosophy of Kierkegaard's Existentialism. Derrida the primary proponent of deconstructionism was a student of the existentialist Heidigger. A primary concern of existentialism was the subjective experience of the individual. Taken to it's logical conclusion there is no room for communication between your subjective truth and my subjective truth if perchance they don't agree.
In contrast Existentialism coupled it's individuality and subjectivity in face of the apparent irrationality of the world with the responsibility that comes with freedom. Too often deconstructionists appear as if the last thing they want is 'freedom' which necessarily comes with responsibility but rather they want 'license' which comes without accountability. Consequently atheist existentialist Sartre was held accountable when he signed the Algerian Manifesto.
The deconstructionists tendency was to say that they could 'deconstruct' others view points showing how they were predicated on 'oppressive' ideologies however when the same was shown regarding 'deconstructionism' the response was primal political bullying. Deconstructionists were seen in the adolescent sense as good at dishing it out but not so good at taking their own medicine.
The significance of this ideology is in the area of addiction where mental processes are damaged by the chemical addiction with the result that the central computer (or mind) recycles through a litany of jail house lawyer arguments for it's own enslavement but mostly wishes to 'deconstruct" (criticize) healthy, fulfilling, creative life. Deconstructivism for the addict has commonly been called 'addictive thinking' or 'stinking thinking'.
Just as pedophiles sought out jobs as camp counsellors and priests to get close to boys and girls to act our their sexual fantasies so addicts are attracted to deconstructionism.
Not surprisingly the first successful philosophy for counteracting the abuse often experienced talking with an addict and not uncommonly with a deconstructionist, is the pragmatism of Dewey and James. Pragmatists insisted that an idea be judged against what ideas did. In the instrumentalism of Dewey apparent truth is judged by its capacity to solve problems. The meaning of an idea lay in its results.
The philosophy of William James was the basis of the original 12 step program. The teachings of Jesus not surprisingly predated this. Jesus said, if you think about adultery it's as if you have committed adultery. This was certainly true in the subjective sense. Emmett Fox took this teaching to mean that we are eventually what we think. In the 12 step program this was simplified to "if you talk the talk, walk the walk." Alcoholics and especially addicts were great couch philosophers, monday morning quarterbacks and critics. Their weakness lay when asked 'what would you do?"
When and if they ever answered, "what they would do?" and had this subjected to 'deconstructionist' thinking their invariable response was anger expressed by any number of fallacies, though mostly 'ad hominem' or as commonly rejection by turning the back and walking away. Slave to their ideas they invariably wanted 'agreement' rather than 'discussion' and more commonly than not saw their 'proselitizing' and 'evangelizing', not as marketing, but oddly as 'dialogue' and a 'true desire for communion'. Motivation theorists developed a stages of change assessment to focus resources on those who were active in their own development rather than those in the pre contemplative phase ie expecting all others to change rather than they themselves.
In marital therapy rabid feminists raised on deconstructionism would seek out like minded counsellors to bludgeon men who would say "they don't want to talk, they just want to sell". Women today recognize these bitter critics as men have seen this tendency arise among themselves so that together people are asking "what is the solution, we know what the problem is."
Dr. Paul O described his days of addiction philosophically as saying that he could find a problem in a blank wall and if you didn't see the problem that was even more of a problem. Hence the never ending crisis and drama of the person whose 'locus of control' is outside themselves with 'the other' being the problem and this isolation of the individual which analytic philosophy would recognize as a product of language. Individualism is only and idea as pragmatically we are all truly interconnected.
Today, deconstructionism is dying a slow death on campuses which are commonly a hot bed for intellectual absurdities. The death of deconstructionism follows its inability to 'create' something new other than 'negativism'. Ironically this negativism was ultimately the logical conclusion of subjectivism. Faced with the pragmatist who said, "Show me, don't tell me," they had nothing more to say. That said, their initial but brief contribution to the world of ideas served as a tool for understanding the limits of thinking and systems of thought.
Theologians presuming the limits of human mind were not unamused by the implosion of philosophy. Peacefully looking on from the safety of revealed truth theologians watched the barrack room brawls of philosophy. Philosophy much to the chagrin of some theologians emerged safe and sound from the silliness and waste of its most recent passionate navel gazing.

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1 comment:

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