Friday, March 14, 2014

Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 29

Political Science
It can be argued that most, or a substantial number of, the major scientific discoveries during recorded human history have been non-intuitive, not obvious, and/or not expected.

Going even further than that, frankly, those major scientific discoveries have been "out of the blue," and in a sense or two they have been a rebellion against the "scientific status quo."

Today, I will argue that the reason for that perplexity is that groups, not individuals, rule the roost.

Further, groups are a sink, a magnet, and a common repository for neurotic cognition.

This is a reality that is increasing and expanding along with what we call our increasing sophistication of civilization, as was pointed out long ago by "The Father of Psychoanalysis":
"If the evolution of civilization has such a far reaching similarity with the development of an individual, and if the same methods are employed in both, would not the diagnosis be justified that many systems of civilization — or epochs of it — possibly even the whole of humanity — have become neurotic under the pressure of the civilizing trends?"
(Etiology of Social Dementia - 10, quoting Sigmund Freud). One myth that tries to jump out of the book "It Can't Happen Here", by Sinclair Lewis, is that "a dictator" must by convention be an individual person.

That, even though the "Here" in the book title is not only a location, it is also a location of a group of people who feel exceptional to the point of believing they are immune from the cultural diseases that have plagued most, if not all, of humanity down through human history.

And, like all of us, they are people who are by design governed by groups that are collectively called "government" (e.g. House, Senate, Administration of the President, state government, county government, city government, The National Council for Behavioral Health, and so on).

Thus, "a dictator" can also be a governing group, a dictating group ("dictate: verb ... to prescribe or lay down authoritatively or peremptorily; command unconditionally" - Dictionary).

It is obvious that the problems in our current civilization are much more likely to emanate from the dynamics of groups rather than from individual people.

Thus, Dr. Sigmund Freud's idea about the psychoanalysis of groups should be seriously considered:
I would not say that such an attempt to apply psychoanalysis to civilized society would be fanciful or doomed to fruitlessness.
The diagnosis of collective neuroses, moreover, will be confronted by a special difficulty. In the neurosis of an individual we can use as a starting point the contrast presented to us between the patient and his environment which we assume to be normal. No such background as this would be available for any society similarly affected; it would have to be supplied in some other way. And with regard to any therapeutic application of our knowledge, what would be the use of the most acute analysis of social neuroses, since no one possesses power to compel the community to adopt the therapy? In spite of all these difficulties, we may expect that one day someone will venture upon this research into the pathology of civilized communities.
(Social Dementia Causes Heated Misunderestimations - 3, quoting Freud). What is contemplated is the analysis of a group in the sense of its behavior, its proposed behavior, and its cognition (On The Definition of Sanity).

That is not unheard of, because our constitution is the result of the analysis of the group in England which was composed of a king, vassals, and serfs ... which our forefathers psychoanalyzed as behaviorally impaired (American Feudalism - 6).

They therefore developed a remedy based upon a diagnosis that concentration of power impairs clear thinking (About Toxins Of Power).

So, they then prescribed that remedy, which included the breaking up of government into smaller groups (Administrative, Legislative, and Judicial branches) that each co-governed with the other two.

Their prognosis was that by removing some of the concentration of power, it would also remove some of the bad symptoms called "the corruption of power" (The Constitution Is Quite A Medicine).

What Dr. Freud suggests is that we need to expand upon that theme by applying psychoanalysis to groups of all sorts ... because groups rule the roost.

Others, who were not psychiatrists, have also noticed the tendency of groups of all sizes to go all rogue and mavericky:
One would say that [man] is destined to exterminate himself after having rendered the globe uninhabitable.” - Lamarck

The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
(Dredd Blog Quotes Tab). Albert Einstein analyzed group dynamics in mental-medical terms when he called nationalism "the measles of mankind" and when he called American racism the nation's "worst disease" (A. Einstein, A Radical Voice).

Have a good weekend, but keep an eye out for groups that need to be rebelled against.

That is the way of good rebel science sometimes.

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