Monday, June 30, 2014

Agnotology: The Surge - 9

Sarah Palin on Steroids
In this series we have been exploring the interesting field of the study of ignorance generators within American society / culture.

In the first post of this series, for instance, it was pointed out that Agnotology "is the study of culturally-induced ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data" (Agnotology: The Surge).

Today, we will take a look at a classic example of the subject matter studied by Agnotology.

That example is "Sarah Palin on steroids" (see video at the end of this post), a candidate running for a House of Representatives seat in Louisiana, a candidate funded by Oil-Qaeda.

It is a textbook case.

But first, let's remember that people can be deceived, can trust people they should not, and can and do become increasingly ignorant as time goes on, because ignorance generation is a very, very huge industry  (The Deceit Business).

You should not believe anything you read or hear anywhere, including Dredd Blog, unless it passes muster after you research the material to confirm or deny its veracity.

Otherwise, as Epistemology reveals, our knowledge is nothing more than either faith or trust (The Pillars of Knowledge: Faith and Trust?).

One of the tenets of Agnotology is that ignorance cannot grow without a proper environment of bias, falsehoods, misguided epistemological reliance, and a culture that supports ignorance.

Ignorance in this Agnotology sense is a lack of the knowledge of a subject specifically because of the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data.

But more than that, we focus on the ignorance about the scientific data that is available, but is nevertheless ignored for some reason.

The reason for ignoring scientific data can be bias, conflict of interest, psychological denial, and the like.

In cases of nationcide (national suicide), empirecide (empire suicide), societycide (society suicide), or culturecide (culture suicide) a.k.a. omnicide, we have to take a look at historical autopsies of nations, empires, societies, and cultures to deduce the reason for their self-inflicted demise:
"In other words, a society does not ever die 'from natural causes', but always dies from suicide or murder --- and nearly always from the former, as this chapter has shown."
(A Study of History,  by Arnold J. Toynbee, emphasis added). Historian Toynbee used the word "society" in the context of any group --even up to the size of civilization itself.

The study of history sometimes involves the autopsy of a nation, empire, society, or culture -- an autopsy conducted by historians rather than by psychologists.

If we are to analyze this phenomenon of mass suicide together with the psychoanalysis based on that autopsy, we can use some of the pointers that Freud left us:
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? To analytic dissection of these neuroses, therapeutic recommendations might follow which could claim a great practical interest. I would not say that such an attempt to apply psychoanalysis to civilized society would be fanciful or doomed to fruitlessness. But it behooves us to be very careful, not to forget that after all we are dealing only with analogies, and that it is dangerous, not only with men but also with concepts, to drag them out of the region where they originated and have matured. 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. [p. 39]
Men have brought their powers of subduing the forces of nature
to such a pitch that by using them they could now very easily exterminate one another to the last man. They know this——hence arises a great part of their current unrest, their dejection, their mood of apprehension. [p. 40]
(MOMCOM's Mass Suicide & Murder Pact - 5, quoting "Civilization and Its Discontents", S. Freud, 1929, emphasis added). I doubt that Freud intended that the psychoanalysis (e.g. "Why did the Roman Empire fall?") would be conducted by historians.

But, there is no specialized discipline that I know of in psychiatry that deals with the diagnosis of national behavior via posthumous autopsy, because, current psychiatry tends to be designed only for individual persons:
This study uses the methods and procedures of psychological autopsy to portray the life of an academically gifted college student who completed suicide. The study is unique in that it follows the subject across his 21 years of life, highlighting relevant milestones and significant stages and events. A comprehensive view of the life and death of a gifted student is offered through both researchers' and parents' perspectives, along with multiple theoretical explanations, including a developmental explanation.

This psychological autopsy yielded three sets of findings: those that reflected exclusively on the subject's life, those that compare his life with 3 previous psychological autopsies conducted, and those that reflect the parents' observations and experiences of his life. Two important findings of this study include a depiction of the psychological makeup of a subject in interaction with his environment and the fact that many of the factors contributing to suicidal behavior identified for the general population of adolescents and young adults existed in this case, as well. Consequently, as Cross, Cook, and Dixon (1996) found, certain types of aberrant behavior, belief systems, or both should not be considered a typical part of being a gifted person; they should be recognized as potential indicators of suicidal behavior.
(A Psychological Autopsy, emphasis added). The historian Toynbee did the same thing concerning nations, cultures, societies, and empires which he said had committed "suicide."

As the individual case above shows, even if the person who committed suicide was of the brightest and was exceptional --that does not matter, in terms of who will and who will not commit suicide.
Don't waste time in this Koch book store

What matters is following ignorance that will kill you.

Or not following ignorance in order to say alive.

The exercise is to know what ignorance is and how to avoid it.

All too often our culture or civilization embraces and even worships ignorance (MOMCOM's Mass Suicide & Murder Pact).

The video below is an example of official ignorance that is leading people in the direction of cultural suicide (cf. Comparing a Meme Complex to a Cultural Amygdala).

It would not have helped the bright young person mentioned above, who committed suicide, if a psychiatrist had counselled him to "seek a political solution" to his problem.

Nor is a political solution workable for a society that is politically corrupt.

Perhaps there is no solution to what historian Toynbee observed?

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.


  1. The diabolical Republitards continue to accuse their opponents of the very thing they themselves are doing. Here, this ridiculous woman quotes ORWELL of all people, to make the point that HER VIEW is the correct and "revolutionary" one. My goodness - have these people no functioning cerebral matter? It's patently obvious that we've RUINED the biosphere - our habitat - and now we're watching as it dies, ever so slowly at first, but now picking up speed and intensity (not to mention areas of incidents). This on-going calamity will end up taking us with it to extinction because we depend on our habitat for survival. Meanwhile, we've created another monster in nuclear energy, which is now out of control and lethal to all cellular life. Between these two and all the pollution we keep pouring into the biosphere - there's no way out. Whether she gets a seat in Congress or not - we're on our way out.


  2. For the first time ever April, May, and June averaged over 400 ppm. of CO2 in the atmosphere. Link

  3. “Climate change is a hoax” was voted the biggest lie of the year (Link).