Perception is selective. Much of perception is projective. The chicken I see on the road ahead at twilight, turns out to be a large, crumpled, kraft paper bag. From visual data received I unconsciously selected shape, size and color, then, also unconsciously, I projected a preparatory, highly abstract, mnemonic image of the chicken that wasn’t there. When it comes to political description and ascription, we enter still deeper into realms of unconscious life. Personal history provides us with patterns of many kinds including behavioral repertoirs of self-support and ego-defense which aid, warp or prevent accurate perception. Major life patterns affect each person’s view of the world. As if whatever one sees of the world is viewed through a portal shaped for him by his personal experience. He behaves toward the world however his outlook dictates.
Falsehoods fracture the heart, sicken our minds and infect the world. For my animosity toward a few right-wingers whom I’ve held to be not only mentally malfunctional but imperceptive and disbalanced on important matters, I express regret and offer apology. Each of us has a unique, perhaps peculiar, developmental past. My own history is not without an unusual aspect. Each of us may seem deficient in some way or lacking in the good qualities needed in order to reach and retain good psychological and spiritual health. We tend to project our own oddness or defect on to others, but we continually need to understand how others come to think as they do. Indeed, we need to understand why we ourselves think as we do.
I try to distinguish between people’s positions on public matters and the persons who hold or express them. Out of frustration and impatience I sometimes move beyond distaste for certain views to detest them and feel anger toward the person or group that holds them. These feelings are hard to distinguish from hatred, especially by those who feel the effects in one’s speech and action. Over the years, these negative feelings can fuse together and become evident in spite of one’s sociable intentions. Those others may expect or wish to perceive hatred toward themselves while ignoring the fact that the other may prefer equable sociability, too. Often we demand tact from another without really extending our own. Mere forms of politeness will not suffice, for they can be empty or sarcastic. What we need is true courtesy toward each other. One can seldom be sure just what really troubles another that may drive him to extreme behavior, such as drove young Jared Lee Loughner and John Wilkes Booth to political assassination. The roots of unsocial and destructive behaviors lie not only in politics or bad public discourse but at least equally in personality, family and developmental background.
For instance, with engineering background one may see the world’s problems in terms of structural support, power-train delivery, available force and the manipulation of conditions toward favorable states. Politically, one would seek to gather a weight of opinion sufficient to crush opposition. Rhetorical statements need not be honest or truthful because the goal is not a fully informed consensus but the solving of problems in vote count. Appeal to the Bill of Rights makes even Hitlerian Big Lie technique look defensible. Truth is irrelevant save to one’s assessment of electoral numbers. Success at the polls is all. But, to idealize oneself is to falsify by hyper-abstraction.
In contrast, a background in the humanities and social sciences tends to make one as idealistic as pragmatic. Such people are not much inclined to get down and dirty with opponents. They prefer clear, circumspect talk without fakery. They try to persuade with fact and untampered evidence. Dedicated warrior-engineers like Karl Rove care nothing for honestly obtained consensus. It is terribly shameful that such people feel no value in civic wholeness and solidarity nor in maximizing of benefits for any but those already in positions of power and wealth. They regard liberal humanists as silly dreamers who want to pull the high achievers down and level the rewards. This is totally false. It serves only to discredit the communitarian impulse and hide it under a mask of dreaded socialism. One would think Rightists resist sociality with the same emotion as that with which one resists forced sodomy. Their readiness to deform words to fit their purpose, such as ignoring the meaning of the word Socialism in order to use the mere sound of it to growl at people or ideas they oppose, matches a severe deformity in their mental structure.
There seems to be little use in criticizing Right Wingers. Like old-line Communists or heavily endoctrined Freudians, they can no longer understand anything negative to themselves. They have systems ready and automatically active for offsetting and shedding contrary thought. It is as if within such minds there is a central darkness that projects itself anywhere it looks. Anything it perceives not of itself is tainted and tarred with its own darkness. We see this regularly in the writings of certain people. They cannot help themselves and no one can help them. They reject input of information or attitude which does not fit the shapes required by their internal puzzle, a puzzle that gives false clarity to all they think and say. They hate anyone who offers them a fact-based world just as they would reject an outsider’s love urged upon them. They prefer to flash darkness wherever they focus: the darkness of fear, distrust and hatred. How I regret not being able to stay perfectly free from their sticky, black swamp yet still write anything relevant to meaningful discourse between us. It seems henceforth I can only ignore the dark side and write of matters above those brooding hemlocks and palmettoes, things in the unclouded light of objective truth.