Bigotry


While reviewing Sigmund Freud’s life, and
the bigotry he lived through, I’ve decided to create a series that will eventually become
a book. It’s tentatively called The Envy Handbook. In my book reviews, I’ve always enjoyed handbooks,
because a lot of what we learn, goes in one ear, and out the other. I often have to return to remind myself of
the different steps, or deep insights. Handbooks are also easy to update with later
editions, as social psychology moves along. In my memory, and while I was growing up,
I saw past generations, and their struggle with racism, but I naively thought that it
was in the past. The examples I’ve seen in the workplace, but
it’s also the cyclical nature of the economy, and the envy and resentment, when the economics
are bad, and everyone is in a scarcity mentality. This isn’t new of course, but it appears to
be something that each generation has to learn about. As my series on Narcissistic Personality Disorder
shows, there are networks of leverage and control against people, for the sake of privileges,
which matches that scarcity mentality. The core emotion of envy has to do with competition
and survival. This series will span from before The Bible
up to mimetics and mirror neurons. I’m personally influenced by Rene Girard,
but it’s pretty clear that in Totem and Taboo, that the seed of the Girardians is in there,
and they come from a Freudian line of reasoning. Rene’s understanding of scapegoating is also
in Jungian psychology, and there’s the experience of Socrates, and the entire history of ancient
to modern politics, which is riddled with examples of scapegoating and war. Like Freud going back to the origins of his
Oedipus complex, Rene looked to the early humans and theorized on how scapegoating led
to the development of institutions. As fascinating as the world is with our knowledge,
the world must have been even more mysterious in the ancient past. Why is there something, rather than nothing? All we get is silence, and some moments of
our current experience. Even if you are not religious, there’s always
a sense of wonder. Like that insight from the video On Narcissism
by Freud, it’s all about getting our needs met. But since we were babies, we had to be weaned
off of our feeling of primordial oneness, and introduced to the harsh scarcity mentality
of the real world. That by itself can destroy our sense of wonder,
as we grow up. We start hungering for that early parental
love in relationships, friendships, and religions, with often mixed results. We as humans all want to know that we are
important and matter in this universe. On this planet, we will ask as tenderly as
possible this question “why?” We will get cold silence. It forces us back into thinking about our
day to day practical concerns. Daily life has its own sense of wonder too. Instead of why, science looks at how. Each new sub-concept is more accurate, than
the prior, and it allows us to develop things like medicine, and other practical inventions. It gives us constant interest as humans, we
will never run out of mystery. It empowers each new generation to find something
to explore in the inner or outer worlds, and advance our collective knowledge. Just like our ancestors, we are still forced
to investigate what we have. When the smallest leisure time was available,
early humans wondered at the sky. Our genetic mutations, that allowed us to
have imagination, will try to fill in the gaps in knowledge as best they could. The conception of the universe in the paleolithic
era, was very close by. It was a difficult life for humans. It was all about survival. The life expectancy was around age 30. With predatory animals, or strange stars in
the sky, existence was mysterious and frightening for our ancestors. This 40,000 year old cave painting give us
a reminder of our human sense of wonder. “We exist!” As we projected our personalities into myths
and Gods, our ancestors came up with rich and detailed stories of the universe. Every time we look at the cosmos for answers,
we are stuck with our mental projections. As some point, early humans gathered into
tribes, and fought other tribes for scarce resources. In order to work together, there had to be
leaders and followers, and the beginnings of different forms of civilization. There were creative attempts at making new
societies, and complaints about exploitation. Different ethnic groups were scary and threatening. Today we find that this problem of bigotry
and exploitation still exists, but it is more covert, than in the past. Yet the source of bigotry is still the same:
Envy and Jealousy. The myriad forms of envy are representative
of dyads of power differentials. Power allows for exploitation, and exploitation
leads to resentment. For example, the book Totem and Taboo, some
points of agreement between the mental lives of Savages and Neurotics. So we have here the terms Savages being compared
to Neurotics already. Savages being a pejorative term about people
with less power in the power dyad. But this is a book from 1913! In this library book, it also has writings
from a knucklehead reader, who is okay with writing “Jew” in the liner. These are on an edition from 1989. That means, in the late 20th century at least,
or more recently, we have these mentalities still. Because of this, it will make sense to cover
the period of the NAZIS and the events leading up to them, but also the seminal works of
Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche, and their analysis of Ressentiment. The reason why these cycles of nationalism,
and groupthink appear, is partially due to economics, politics, and alienation and competition. People want to protect themselves in groups. It is also due to the individual human and
the inherent pleasure of sadism in the competition itself, as covered by Susan Fiske, and her
fellow researchers. These cycles are also found in our history,
where civilizations rise, but then fall. An exploration of this magnitude must include
the causes of falling civilizations. Even if the endeavour doesn’t lead to a simple
solution, many thoughtful people, will find it healing to refresh themselves of these
insights. It will be necessary to stand on these shoulders
of giants before we can make fresh contributions to this intractable problem.

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