Donnerstag, Dezember 22, 2005

Culture of Deception V

As usual, Dr. Sanity says it better than I can.


Delusional Projection.





The critical point for me is that we're not dealing merely with people with problems, but more fundamentally with a denial of truth, denial of reality, of insistence on "that's just your opinion", of sophistry, all based on some sort of ill-defined, sophmoristic relative epistomology, where the insane ravings of a certified loony have, fundamentally, the same weight, the same inherent truth value of any other statement on the subject, whether it be opinion or facts.

Dr. Sanity also makes the point above that this sort of stance is common among children before they begin maturing.  She brings the excellent point that for children (and those within the culture of deception) view reason as a creative process, independent of thinking or perception. It is very closely tied to using their emotions as perceptual tools: let's keep that phrase in mind.

Artists, good ones, are skilled in intertwining their cognitive abilities and their emotions to create their art, to create the emotions that they want to in their viewers. It's part of the skill and the talent: a painting with extraordinary technique but which has no "soul" is an interesting exercise for the art critic, but add the true artist's ability to get the viewer to emote, to experience an emotion by merely viewing the picture, and you've got something that will propel an artist into greatness.

But what happens when all you have is emotion? Then you have a failed artist (and we all know about failed artists: that disgusting Austrian corporal was one) and a political activist.

On previous posts, I've touched on the role that deliberate deception plays in Hollywood. What Dr. Sanity touches on is the abandonment of the cognitive aspect of acting - think of the brilliant and electrically charged performances by, say, Bogart and Bacall, where the sexual attraction is not so much physical as intellectual - for the purely emotive aspect of acting that we see in today's actors.

And. of course, the killer point is this: by claiming that everything is relative - which is self-contradictory, since the sentence itself is an absolute - then the members of the Culture of Deception cannot claim to have the truth behind them, unless they understand truth literally as only emotional truth: of feelings.

Of feeling that something is true.

Not merely this: actively placing emotions at the same level as facts, of subjective opinion at the same level as objective reality.

Fiction writers need "emotional truth", actors need it. Without it artists can't create the emotions that they want to.

But the danger, the critical danger, is when it is elevated to the same epistemological level as objective facts.

Why does this happen? Well, it's fairly simple: the facts are too complex.

I was in Germany during the Nato Double-Track Agreement (move Pershing IIs to Europe to counter SS-20 and offer to scrap them if the Soviets scrapped theirs). I was involved with a German girl at the time and we went to a lecture given by a German professor in Chinese History on what it all meant.

The lecture was so full of inaccuracies as to be absurd, and I, in my ignorance, stood up and pointed out several to the Prof (one of the better bad career moves I've made in my life) when he asked for questions. I had the facts on my side (yes, the US does do EMP testing on nuclear systems and spends a lot of money to ensure that an EMP doesn't cripple communications and weapons), which the Prof acknowledged, but he felt that it didn't make any difference.

My girlfriend of the time (she dumped me shortly therafter: her worst career move, according to my wife) took my back to her apartment that she shared with 4 other students and we all sat and had some wine and talked about the lecture.

And they didn't understand anything about escalation scenarios, about the calculus of deterrence, about the weapons and what they meant. I spent something like 4 hours that evening trying to explain to them the simplest, basic elements of deterrence.

They didn't like it. They felt that the whole thing was just awful. I pointed out that I didn't like it much either, but that it was keeping the peace and was working. They thought that was awful as well.

But all they were doing was emoting and not thinking. And we're talking about two psychology grad students, a PhD candidate in Biology (the girlfriend of the time), and a strange guy who switched from doing a PhD in Philosophy to a MA in political science, economics and philosophy (me).

But back to the Prof. One thing that strikes me now is that he was a damn good Chinese History prof (I still have my class notes and reviewed them while I was reading that recent biography of Mao, and he was pretty good) and knew nothing of what he was talking about, but he felt that it was important to do so. He didn't have the facts, but was using his position to preach. Further, not knowing the facts didn't make any difference : he felt that it was important to protest against the Nato Double-Track decision.

This sort of emotional truth is indeed self-delusion.

Dr. Sanity says it better than I can:

When you live in a world where objective reality is unacknowledged, is it any wonder that from your perspective noone can every prove that what you feel is true, isn't really true? That is why the same distortions and creative fabrications resurface time after time in political discussions these days.

This is critical. Feeling that something is true doesn't make it true, unless, of course, you value, like Mapes does, your emotions, your feeling that something is true, more than reality itself, i.e. self-delusion.

And to bring this back to the Culture of Deception: film makers love this, especially left-wing film makers.

Read this by Ebert. Films aren't about truth, especially Michael Moore "documentaries." Films are about emotions, and Moore's films are agit-prop. I remember seeing Roger & Me and thought that as a film-maker, Moore was brilliant. The problem is that it's not a documentary, but rather agit-prop, and successful agit-prop, since it creates emotions that Moore deliberately wants to inculcate for his own political reasons.

But that's all part of the game of the Culture of Deception: it's not just about deceiving others - the useful idiots of Lenin - but is also about deceiving themselves - the left in the US today - about the world we live in and what it all means.

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