I was wondering about some of this while reading the book We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy--And the World's Getting Worse, by Hillman and Ventura.
In that book I came across this back and forth between them:
HILLMAN: There is a decline in political sense. No sensitivity to real issues. Why are the intelligent people - at least among the white middle class - so passive now? Why? Because the sensitive, intelligent people are in therapy! They've been in therapy in the United States for thirty, forty years, and during that time there's been a tremendous political decline in this country.(ibid, page 5). Yes, how does that work? I think Noam Chomsky, a great scholar, gave us a hint when he said:
VENTURA: How do you think that works?
Throughout history it's been mostly the property holders or the educated classes who've tended to support power systems. And that's a large part of what I think education is — it's a form of indoctrination. You have to reconstruct a picture of the world in order to be conducive to the interests and concerns of the educated classes, and this involves a lot of self-deceit.(Noam Chomsky, emphasis added). Chomsky indicates that our educational system is perceived to be controlled by the private sector. But there are other considerations:
And one of the striking features of the modern period is the institutionalization of that process, so that we now have huge industries deceiving the public — and they're very conscious about it, the public relations industry. Interestingly, this developed in the freest countries — in Britain and the US — roughly around time of WW I, when it was recognized that enough freedom had been won that people could no longer be controlled by force. So modes of deception and manipulation had to be developed in order to keep them under control.(Chomsky, above, emphasis added). We see that impact clearly when education via public information is controlled by the military; and it is to a great degree in our nation at times.
And by now these are huge industries. They not only dominate marketing of commodities, but they also control the political system. As anyone who watches a US election knows, it's marketing. It's the same techniques that are used to market toothpaste.
So the High Priest Warrior is to be expected. Take cover!
A statement we hear so much is that we need to "grow". Grow inside, grow the economy, grow outside, grow baby grow. Why? The book had an interesting comment on that notion:
HILLMAN: You think people undertake therapy to grow?(ibid, page 7, emphasis added). Our economy and our political structure has seemed to have had cancer which was called "growth" in recent years.
VENTURA: Isn't growth a huge part of the project of therapy? Everybody uses the word, therapists and clients alike.
HILLMAN: But the very word grow is a word appropriate to children. After a certain age you do not grow: You don't grow teeth, you don't grow muscles. If you start growing after that age, its cancer.
What is left of those years of "growth" is dying economies everywhere, the gangrene of torture, and endless wars.
Growth for growth's sake, it turns out, really is like cancer as the book suggests.
The next post in this series is here.