Sunday, November 09, 2008

Anarcho-tyranny, part one.

A young software engineer was being considered for a job, and he wasn't able to set up an interview during working hours so he agreed to meet his prospective new employer at the Space Needle. He ordered an ice water for himself, and then he looked over at the next booth and saw none other than Bill Gates. He was so excited, and even moreso when he realized what a decent and approachable guy Mr. Gates was. They talked for a few minutes, and finally he worked up the nerve to ask Bill Gates for a favor. "I have a job interview here in a few minutes," he said. "I'm terribly worried about how to make a good impression, and I was wondering if you could pop by a few minutes into it, and act as if you know me." Bill Gates thought for a minute and said, "Why, sure. I'm sure I could handle that."

The interview proceeded as planned. About ten minutes in, Bill Gates was getting ready to go. But he made good on his promise, politely broke in and said to the young man, "Hey Jack, didn't want to interrupt. Wonderful seeing you again."

The young man said, "Gates! Piss off. I'm in a meeting."

Thanks to Rightwing News.

Many in the West are so caught up in this personality disorder as weltanschauung, this slagging of the superiour, that we got Obama as president. This affectation shows up in multiculturalism, in philobarbarism, in pacifism, in ordinary social relations nearly everywhere. Unless it's an idealisation of "Other" it must be bad. And to prove ones good, all the better to dump on all that most take as the good in the first place. Ugly and evil behaviour? Well, to be sophisticated, to show how that is really, for the benefit of the stupid who need to be put in their proper places, those who are sophisticated and smart, unlike stupid people who just don't like disgusting and evil, then refer to cultural relativism. Or dump on Sarah Palin and vote, be known to vote, for Obama. Trash all the good to show how one is cool and smart.

I don't know the psychological term for this. Please help me out.


truepeers said...

It's not really a psychological term you are looking for, just as what you are looking for I doubt you will find by doubling down on the listing of the isms.

Yours is a problem of understanding a shared relationship to the sacred. Playing devil's advocate for a moment, how do you know Obama is someone to flip off, and you are not yourself engaging in the behaviour you so brusquely denounce?

Only a certain kind of engagement with reality can answer that. You need a way of both showing and explaining the process by which something is made sacred (all the victims of George Bush and then the solution thereto - Obama).

What you are talking about - resentment of the humbly real, the successful, the first, the courageous, the wise - is nothing new. What is resentment's fundamental human role, as one of our two basic relationships to the sacred?

Dag said...

I'm looking for a combination, perhaps, of "passive/aggressive" personality disorder and "authoritarian" personality disorder.

The example above shows the type of behaviour I refer to. It is more than a shifting loyalty to ones associates, though, being a behaviour that arises at any time one person seeks status in another by condemning the "friend" to curry favor with the "authority." It's a matter of defining for oneself the "pecking order" and ones place in it, thinking that one is low, therefore ones mates must be low too if one i in the presence of another who seems to have a higher place in that pecking order. It's a display of ingratiation in front of authority by condemning oneself and ones mates.

My focus in up-coming entries here is to look at this behaviour in light of Left dhimmi fascism: why the philobarbarism, the idealising of the primitive over the high and sophisticated. Yes, there must be numerous valid explanations, but my focus will be here to look at Samuel Francis' thesis of "anarcho-tyranny, an interesting thesis well beyond my narrow take.

truepeers said...

So, the ingratiating one wants to acknowledge the transcendence of the great one, but also I think to share in it. To this end he will scapegoat his friend and himself...

It seems to me, this is a way of saying, look, I may be low, but I share in the power to signify; i too can (help) render transcendence from out of our mundane existence even if i have to display my relative lack of enfranchisement in the priestly systems by crudely taking on the role of both sacrificer and sacrifice.

The desire to understand this in terms of psychology or "personality disorder" seems to me to be the desire to find a rational explanation for the irrational or absurd. But can you find such an explanation if the existence of the rational is itself dependent on the priority of the absurd, on the religious gesture? What if the absurd is the precondition for human thought, a precondition that, consequently, cannot be entirely thought? And to the degree it can be thought, it requires a certain kind of anthropology or religion concerned with the origin of signs?

I would suggest that there is a paradoxical movement at the foundation of your reason, a movement that mediates the emergence of transcendence (with the sign) from immanence, a paradox that you should accept and work with - in the manner of religious thinking - and not wish to expel from thought by hiding from it through invocations of personality disorder which do not really explain anything in depth but largely lay blame.

By "killing" myself and my mate, in order to ingratiate myself with greatness, I attempt to claim for myself some of the qualities of the sign that replaces or transcends the killed thing: e.g. I claim a significance that can endure and prove memorable even when the worldly referent of the sign (i.e. my physical self) is consumed by worldly desire. It might be better if I could be a priest in a democratic priesthood that did not require such debasing self-sacrifice (a debasement for some small transcendental gains), but if the democratic spirit that truly mixes equality and freedom is something I have not yet learned to be fully a part, maybe the more primitive instinct is to deny that we silly mortals have any business claiming the status of the sacred, a denial that nonetheless gives us some minimal access to the sacred. I raise up the other guy and lower myself and my mate in order to create a memorable scene, in short.

It's like agreeing to serve as the necessary audience for a heroic play, to be a groundling acting corny with my mates as a means of renouncing any possible claim for us to a place on the great stage where the most dangerous desires are played out. But that renouncing is the basic act of making something sacred and transcendent. It is the kernel of priesthood if not yet a full membership in it.