There is a good deal more to #MeToo than is being discussed here. What about the fact that many women are claiming that this is about predatory masculinity in general, blaming all men for the actions of a few? What about the fact that the #MeToo crowd are behaving like a lynch mob, gleefully demanding the destruction of the careers and reputations of men based purely on unproven allegations?
What we are seeing is the collective moral power of women to shame men - something that we should be very interested in as psychohistorians - and that power operating without regulation from the mechanisms of civil restraint (law and order, or cultural decency).
me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change)
It's not the actions of a few; that's something #metoo is exposing (maybe two-thirds of them women on my facebook feed decade #metoo). It is a gleeful thing to watch a long period where victims simply had to live with not being believed while those who predated on them carry on as usual... or even glory in their victims not having any means to protest without being further victimized in doing so, finally knowing that collectively that war against them is down. We won't waylay you any longer because we secretly enjoyed your remaining powerless. This is cultural evolution, and, yes, it is appropriate to rejoice. It's also empowering to have this prompt to learn, to experience victims from the inside: who hasn't been listening to these accounts by women and children and been almost surprised at how often something that happened twenty years ag, never really stopped affecting one? It's tribute to them to listen well, and also educating, and also empowering -- for that stifled pain exists in almost all of us too.
We used men's status to stop accusers before. We can't allow you to take him down, because WE NEED him. It's exciting to see this no longer works. Again and again, let's rejoice in seeing another man who wasn't touchable, find himself instantly dissolved of his status for the massive damage he inflicted on those under his power. Everyone will know now that we really mean it when we articulate that victimization will not be encouraged or tolerated. No cueing, no subtle sanctions of the behaviour, which predators will take note of and which will in the end protect them.
I don't feel shamed by this. I am relieved. The tormentors in my own life, who weren't men, are easier for me to identify as predators, which is something I always felt was true but never had sanction to call valid. Every progressive turn is marked by this shaming that you're directing us to, though. Anti-slavery movements, anti-animal abuse movements, anti-child abuse movements... they didn't shame? Shaming is also a declaration that the harm that was inflicted on you and that you were told to disregard, was a monstrous activity on the part on the abuser and the abuser-supporting culture. It's an articulation of sanity, in a sense, in that it call's a spade a spade.
I have responded in other discussion forums my own belief that only malignant use by unloved mothers during the pre-oedipal period results in boys becoming men who are so concerned to behave sadistically towards women. This is deMause's view, and mine as well. I might get a listen to because my instinctive reaction to what is happening is not to demonize the accusers and their supporters, but to laud them, rejoice with them, and to absolutely accept the breadth of damage. Now's the time as psychohistorians we can school them in the pointed fact that no man would ever glory in a woman's humiliation and destruction unless they'd been treated sadistically themselves... and early on, when their brains will still forming. I haven't seen much of this, not much on childrearing generally, from psychohistorians. (When they're not reacting just like you did...) Just Freud and drive theory, which feels conservative (and also as a running away from dealing with the affect our mothers had on us, ), in that it could feed into a conservative movement, a la Pinker's argument in "Better Angels of Our Nature," towards gauging that men need superego sanction... men can't implicitly be trusted, and this could lead to men assembling into Promise Keeper-type movements, first, and then calling for women to assist them in managing their weakness by the like of covering up. It could indeed lead to another Hays Code environment, if the populist rightwing has more sway that does this emerging, humane, progressive consciousness, we're mostly only experiencing so far here.
For deMausian psychohistory to thrive we have to be existing at a time when victims are believed. I suddenly see great possibilities for my kind of psychohistory that I haven't felt for a long time. If the numbers of victims is huge, and the effects are recognized as huge, and the reason they weren't recognized before a matter of cultural assumptions that waylaid attempts to deal with the ramifications of abuse... a cultural empowerment that wanted their to be victims and wanted for abusers to get off scot-free, then deMause's explanations that the world we live in is almost determined by still-ongoing widespread child abuse gets another looking at, without being articulated as at best a single factor of many, and a single factor that proves to mostly vanish as abuse-protector social scientists get to the more important matters of what proves to be every single other factor. DeMause would have us understand our time as suffering from intense growth panic. Growth panic is almost an entire populace being stopped in their ability to tolerate further genuine societal growth because it reminds them of the apocalyptic experiences being abandoned by their mothers for their crime of individuating from them had on them as children. How do more and more people come to accept this "bizarre" theory? Through what we're finding here in #metoo: damage done has a massive effect; we've all suffered it; we end up blaming ourselves for it, for sanction for some reason lies in the empowered predator... we must obscure his/her true nature from ourselves, almost always, and approval of some kind comes our way when we do. This doesn't take us directly to thinking on our mothers, but I feel the ingredients are there... we're no longer collectively as invested in feeling some kind of pleasure in allowing predators to have their way without being called on it. We're more in mind to instantly speak up and speak the words of righteous accusation they've tried to intimidate us away from speaking. They're confronting us with less intimidating fears, fears that we can now manage, because our overall childrearing has reached sufficient level to permit this breakthrough.
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Patrick, I think this is one of your finest essays, notwithstanding the off-target swipe at "rightwing populism" given that leftists are at least equally represented amongst the perps.
Nevertheless, the connection you draw between classic (DeMausian) psychohistory and the revelations of apparently widespread metoo# assaults previously repressed by society (against children and women, respectively) is one that needed to be made.
I also applaud David Shackleton's message. While many of the accusers were doubtless shamefully victimized by their circumstances (needing to keep their job, relative power etc.), there are also some of the accusations that seem shallow and/or opportunistic to the point of complete fabrication.
The culture based on everyone searching for their inner victimhood is, in my opinion, itself a run-away pathology.
And that does not even address the cases where psychopathology warped reality on either or both sides in these cases.
Certainly if the accusations are believed there are some sick puppies out there in positions of power (Bill Cosby a sad case in point; not to mention the garden-variety malignant narcissism of many of the others).
Then there are the pathetic basket cases like Congressman Farenthold who whined to his accuser, whom he had employed just a few months, that he hadn't had sex with his wife in years. (What is wrong with our political system that we elect such losers??!)
With respect to the accusers, there are Borderlines out there whose grasp of reality is severely distorted as it pertains to relationships due to severe splitting in their stunted and incomplete personalities, and who can only see others as over-idealized or as demons, never as normal humans with both desirable and undesirable qualities.
Respond incorrectly to one of these ladies and she will cook your rabbit.
One conclusion I will draw in advance is that the public, including media on both sides, will react with extreme shallowness to each and every sensational exposure.
Society as a whole does not believe in psychology.