Further reply to Marc-Andre Cotton
Re: In the midst of the Greece turmoil, his shared feelings are of particular significance to make sense of the deep psychohistorical factors underlying the current crisis. Three years ago, in an ABC News 24 interview by Leigh Sales, Varoufakis stated:
This is our Great Depression. Not only in an economic sense, but also in a psychological sense. Greeks are in a catatonic state. One moment in a state of rage, another, this is a typical case of manic depression. There are no prospects. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. There are sacrifices, but nobody gets a feeling that these are sacrifices that take the form of some kind of investment in turning the corner. This is the problem when you are stuck in a Eurozone which is really badly designed, which is collapsing and which does not give opportunities to its flimsier parts to escape through some kind of redemptive crisis.
Such a public statement carries strong emotional overtones resulting from the close interweaving of past and present sensations—a regressive process Dr Vamik Volkan has termed “time collapse” in his many books and articles. Fears and intra-psychic defenses associated with a past traumatic experience tend to resurface when triggered by a contemporary menace such as social unrest or economic downturn, often reactivating a sense of victimization. In such a case, current perceptions and traumatic memory become inextricably interwoven into a seamless totality.
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Enjoyed the essay. Thank you. Wanted to mention a concern I had about this particular section. DeMause's argument is that economic upswings and periods of peace are actually much more scary to, produce much more unhappiness in, people than periods of depression and unrest. Happiness is the significant trigger (of trauma) because it reminds people of how their mothers abandoned them when they first felt the pleasure of self-individuation. I mention this because DeMause's take on economic depressions is actually really very interesting and needs to kept fresh as a vital potential counter to everyone presuming that we're in a period of revolution owing to how stressed out everyone has been during these economically depriving years. DeMause, we remember, would have it that economic depressions... that periods of severe austerity, actually reflect the wishes of a populace. They're experiencing growth panic, owing to prosperity, and at this moment find more emotional peace than distress by the quieting down of life possibility.
We assume that everyone would be so much the happier if during the last twenty years they'd had full employment and living wages. But the DeMausian take would be that essentially for all nations outside that blessed locale of advanced childrearing, Scandinavia, you'd be in error about this. They'd actually be feeling worse. They'd be absent an effective means of atoning for previously incurred societal growth, and they'd feel guilty as all hell... have inner maternal alters haranguing them and driving them insane. As is, they now feel rather virtuous for being able to show off how little they've prospered, and so now they can't be balked from the period of revenge that we all sense will define our upcoming age.
They can't be effectively targeted as "deplorables" because they feel so spare of what actually makes them feel guilty and bad -- namely, riches, prosperity, self-actualization. The ones lambasting them as deplorable tend to be liberals who have prospered and who have richly developed individualized selves, and so seem to to the lower psychoclasses like people who abandoned their obligations to others (read: parents) to tend selfishly to their own interests, and never looked back. And for such are clearly the highest ranking deplorables society has to offer.