Clio's Psyche #4

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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change


9/17/17


Masha Gessen on why checks and balances won't save us.

Andrew Sullivan on why checks and balances likely won't save us
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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change

9/17/17
There's an interesting article by Mel Goldstein on "Forrest Gump" in one of the first issues of Clio's Psyche (Dec. 1994). This bit in particular is especially good: 

I am already confused, since Forrest as agent for interracial harmony would likely have gotten these liberal notions from his mother. But would this perfect mommy of infinite humanistic view name her son after Nathan Bedford Forrest who founded the KKK? Not unless she was illinformed or simple. And is it necessary for this perfect mommy to explain complex matters simply, to blatantly lie to Forrest? How are we to respond to the snippet of The Birth of a Nation? Why are all of the friends but one of Forrest's black? Mommy tells Forrest, "You're no different from anybody else." When asked by Forrest, "Where is my Father?" Mommy answers, "On vacation,... That means when you go away and never come back." Worse yet, she brings home the principal of the school she wants Forrest admitted to, and Forrest hears the man's grunts and groans, which he imitates as the principal leaves. Forrest may be simple but his response to being in on "the primal scene," and his sense that his "mother sure wants to get you into school,", that is, whored herself for him, stunts Forrest's sexual development. His first view of Jenny's breasts has him gagging and about to vomit during her first attempt to seduce him. It is only mommy's "my time has come, Forrest," and she dies that Forrest becomes amenable to Jenny's seduction, and unknowingly impregnates her. Now as he lies in bed he does not have to say, "I sure miss mommy and Jenny." He can forget about mommy. 

In early issues, there are also interesting discussions on Schindler's List, and the JOP, as I remember, had quite a few interesting ones (Lloyd deMause's are interesting as hell: total disregard of plot, very phenomenological). There is sort of a depository which is becoming default for people to store their movie reviews -- letterboxd.com. (Almost all of Pauline Kael's reviews are there, for instance.) I would suggest that someone consider pasting reviews from both Clio and JOP onto the letterboxd.com site, naming it under Psychohistory Film Reviews, or Clio's Psyche and JOP's film reviews, or some such, and then crediting particular reviews to particular contributor. I think people need larger access to these reviews. They're exciting. 

I've posted my reviews at letterboxd.com. If you'd like to see what they read like, and what the site is like, they're here: Patrick McEvoy-Halston's Movie Reviews
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neuroscience, personality, and Trump
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bdagostino2687 

9/16/17
Dear all,

Consider the following quotation: 

The equilibrium or balance, so to speak, between his intellectual faculties and animal propensities, seems to have been destroyed.  He is fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the grossest profanity, manifesting but little deference for his fellows, impatient of restraint or advice when it conflicts with his desires, at time pertinaciously obstinate, yet capricious and vacillating, devising many plans of future operation, which are no sooner arranged than they are abandoned in turn for others appearing more feasible.  

Sound familiar?  Interestingly, this is Dr. John Harlow’s description of the personality of Phineas Gage (1823-1860), a railroad construction foreman after an industrial accident that severely damaged the man’s frontal lobes and neighboring brain structures.  (From Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain, Fourth Edition, Mark F. Bear et al, p. 625). I am not suggesting that our president got to be the way he is as a result of physical brain trauma, though that cannot be ruled out without a complete and accurate medical history.  The culprit could also be psychological trauma of one kind or another, very plausibly stemming from his early childhood experience.  My only point is that the uncanny similarity between Gage’s personality after his accident and Trump’s personality today as reported by the media dramatically underscores the value of neuroscience as part of a multidisciplinary inquiry into human psychology.

Brian

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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change

9/16/17
Trump's a disaster. I think I'm more interested in knowing if these studies will be applied to the working class base that supported him, because while everyone other than those who voted for him will endorse studies which show how mentally compromised Trump is, large sections of the left will have problems if these studies work to prove the working class are mental discombobulates as well. That is, Sanders, Chomsky, The Green Party, The Nation... want to see the working class as voting for Trump only because they were desperate, not because they were mentally ill / brain-diseased. Liberals are pulling back from openly castigating the white working class and are focusing now more simply on Trump and overt Nazis... which worries me. Politically, it might be smart, but in terms of truth it is closer to truth to argue that they went Trump because they are deplorable (with the closest truth being that they are suffering from growth panic, owing to having had immature mothers who grossly abandoned them when they made efforts to individuate as children, as Audrey Abrams and Kenneth Adams point out in their recent JOP article). 

On the topic of neuroscience, while we're doing more aligning ourselves with it, strengthening it, it's again worth noting a huge countermovement emerging now which is working to sink it, sink it as a trustworthy science, for ostensibly being inclined to obfuscate results that work against socially desired activist outcomes. Steven Pinker's always pointing this movement out, with approval, on his twitter feed. Here's an example: http://quillette.com/2017/09/06/genetics-fear-slippery-slope-moral-authoritarianism/   
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arniedr 

9/17/17
But Gage remained Gage

Arnold Richards

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bdagostino2687 

9/17/17
What do you mean by this, Arnie?  Gage’s personality before the accident was 180 degrees different.  And how do you see Trump not remaining Trump?

Patrick, I think we need to be dialectical in our critique of neuroscience and academia generally.  Stanley Aronowitz criticized the modern university as a “knowledge factory,” like C. Wright Mills before him (cf Mills’ The Sociological Imagination) and Upton Sinclair before both of them (c.f. Sinclair’s The Goose Step, a scathing critique of academia).  Universities are part of the power structure and even the natural sciences are distorted by power.  That said, there is an internal politics to every academic department in every university and some of these political struggles have implications for the general public.  Also, different people need to hear different things.  Academics need to hear the critiques I mentioned, and non-academics need to hear about the value of formal learning, study, and research as antidotes to ignorance and the arrogance of ignorance.   

Brian

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From: cliospsyche@googlegroups.com [mailto:cliospsyche@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Patrick McEvoy-Halston
Sent: Saturday, September 16, 2017 12:31 PM
To: Clio’s Psyche
Subject: [cliospsyche] Re: neuroscience, personality, and Trump

Trump's a disaster. I think I'm more interested in knowing if these studies will be applied to the working class base that supported him, because while everyone other than those who voted for him will endorse studies which show how mentally compromised Trump is, large sections of the left will have problems if these studies work to prove the working class are mental discombobulates as well. That is, Sanders, Chomsky, The Green Party, The Nation... want to see the working class as voting for Trump only because they were desperate, not because they were mentally ill / brain-diseased. Liberals are pulling back from openly castigating the white working class and are focusing now more simply on Trump and overt Nazis... which worries me. Politically, it might be smart, but in terms of truth it is closer to truth to argue that they went Trump because they are deplorable (with the closest truth being that they are suffering from growth panic, owing to having had immature mothers who grossly abandoned them when they made efforts to individuate as children, as Audrey Abrams and Kenneth Adams point out in their recent JOP article). 

On the topic of neuroscience, while we're doing more aligning ourselves with it, strengthening it, it's again worth noting a huge countermovement emerging now which is working to sink it, sink it as a trustworthy science, for ostensibly being inclined to obfuscate results that work against socially desired activist outcomes. Steven Pinker's always pointing this movement out, with approval, on his twitter feed. Here's an example: http://quillette.com/2017/09/06/genetics-fear-slippery-slope-moral-authoritarianism/   


From: arniedr via Clio’s Psyche [mailto:cliospsyche@googlegroups.com
Sent: Sunday, September 17, 2017 6:40 AM
To: cliospsyche@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: [cliospsyche] neuroscience, personality, and Trump

But Gage remained Gage
Arnold Richards 
ipbooks.net                              

-----Original Message-----
From: Brian D'Agostino <bdagostino2687@gmail.com>
To: cliospsyche <cliospsyche@googlegroups.com>
Sent: Sat, Sep 16, 2017 11:49 am
Subject: [cliospsyche] neuroscience, personality, and Trump
Dear all,

Consider the following quotation: 

The equilibrium or balance, so to speak, between his intellectual faculties and animal propensities, seems to have been destroyed.  He is fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the grossest profanity, manifesting but little deference for his fellows, impatient of restraint or advice when it conflicts with his desires, at time pertinaciously obstinate, yet capricious and vacillating, devising many plans of future operation, which are no sooner arranged than they are abandoned in turn for others appearing more feasible.  

Sound familiar?  Interestingly, this is Dr. John Harlow’s description of the personality of Phineas Gage (1823-1860), a railroad construction foreman after an industrial accident that severely damaged the man’s frontal lobes and neighboring brain structures.  (From Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain, Fourth Edition, Mark F. Bear et al, p. 625). I am not suggesting that our president got to be the way he is as a result of physical brain trauma, though that cannot be ruled out without a complete and accurate medical history.  The culprit could also be psychological trauma of one kind or another, very plausibly stemming from his early childhood experience.  My only point is that the uncanny similarity between Gage’s personality after his accident and Trump’s personality today as reported by the media dramatically underscores the value of neuroscience as part of a multidisciplinary inquiry into human psychology.

Brian

917-628-8253
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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change

9/17/17
Is there anyone out there actually against neuroscience these days? I suppose history... but not even, is my bet: given the esteem neuroscience currently has, to be against including its data is to mark one as cro magnon. I couldn't agree more that it is enormously useful, of course, only that it has become more interesting to me how even neuroscience (not just the social sciences, that is) is finding itself caught caught in a situation where it might not be allowed to find out anything that would support politically incorrect opinions. They guy who just got fired at Google was citing science to prove there are key differences in the brains between men and women, citing science that reinforced stereotypes that ran against emerging agreement on the essential equivalence between genders. Some new technology that purportedly can scan a face and determine if someone is homosexual just got canned, because there are not supposed to be telling markers, so science and tech that suggests there is, is bigoted, period. 

And I've mentioned before that one of the problems we should be aware of as we find make our own discipline more scientific, conduct more and more studies, and as we reach out in plenty to other fields, and as we include other countries, including China, as leading participants in our field... is that we've just made psychohistory seem so evolved that it becomes that much more resistant to people like deMause who'd undermine the whole enterprise by saying, since about 1980, there has been massive regression away from calling genuine perversions, perversions, and by a willingness to face up to the enormous influence of the psychological state of the mother in determining our adult fates, out of fear of doing "mother hate," out of fear of the judging terrifying mother embedded in our own right hemispheres, and as such our whole current enterprise might be becoming less nourished without our being able to see it. More satisfying, more rewarding, not really owing to discoveries, but because its displaying all the markers of having evolved, and because the most profound anxiety-producing stuff has been clipped off, by mutual agreement. That was Lloyd's response to Clio's assessment of his "Emotional Life of Nations"... it's not about whether I've got the data or not, it's not about whether I've sufficiently gone multidisciplinary or included sufficient neuroscience, I'll be accepted or rejected because:

Behind all these denials I see (as you might predict I would see) a denial of each of the critics’ own childhood abuse and neglect. The clue came when I gave a speech recently and someone in the audience got up and shouted, “Don’t listen to him! He’s a mother-basher!” By tracing wars and social violence to early childhood, I am “just blaming our mothers.” But a part of us still needs them so much --in the right hemispheres of our brain, the storage place for our early fears -- that it is better to say our social violence is our own fault (“it’s our in- stinctual aggression,” “it’s because we’re greedy”) than to try to remember that we were really afraid mommy meant it when she said, “I wish I never had you!” 
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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change

9/17/17
I'll add, by the way, that in the current environment I wouldn't go anywhere near brain science and studies of perversion, or even, brain study and biological differences. The reason for this is that I feel that that any science that can be used to justify persecution... will in the short future be used to justify persecution. I think we're in a time where people want to project their compromised, "feminine" feelings into homosexuals and get rid of them -- homosexuals, that is -- in order to feel better. I think people are so anxious of powerful women reminding them of their own overwhelming mothers, they're looking for scientific justification to keep them away from empowered positions. So publicly, at least, I'd join the Gender Studies crowd, and disavow the Steven Pinker crowd. This said, I wouldn't lie to myself about what science proves (note: it doesn't prove that men are more adept at leadership than women are), only wait ten to fifteen years when we're out of this period of apocalyptic punishment for collective accrued self-actualization, out of this current period of growth panic, when I don't have to worry about truth serving to make miserable and even kill, very good people. Sometimes the best people alive, the most emotionally evolved, do in some regards have to convince themselves of false truths because they've checked with their brains, and they're not yet at the state where they could, for example, both defend and not romanticize people, not increase rights for everyone, while not still selecting out one group (the white working class deplorables) where they can project their own still existing fears of weakness and hate into. This said, the other side, is in the larger sense, far, far, far more awry from truth than they are. 
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arniedr 

9/17/17
Nothing to do with Trump   It was a comment that I read about Gage after the accident

Arnold Richards

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#metoo
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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change

10/16/17
I mentioned about a month ago here that Frederick Crews has benefited from the fact that he has made his arguments in an environment where collectively people have decided to keep some topics, as they say, away from view. He's argued that sexual abuse against children is not some massive phenomena that has lead to mass collective repression, and society decided to weigh in with him: abuse exists but is not everywhere; and is not so crushing it demands repression. What we're seeing now with the twitter and Facebook #metoo movement is a massive show of just how many women have suffered sexual abuse, and I think we're all beginning to realize that any attempt to successfully label this a witchhunt will fail: something about our times has changed, and now collectively were ready to see the abuse we needed for a long while to keep out of view. With all the disclosures we're going to see in next upcoming years, it will be this that clears away the impact Crews has had to put psychoanalysis on the defence, while society went about its daily routine, with all its ills projected onto forlorn groups designated to hold all of our suffering onto themselves.  
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Trevor Pederson 

10/17/17
Hi Patrick

I would add that this can be seen as a group psychology phenomenon that relates to a high level of authority. Republicans trying to impeach Bill Clinton for Monica Lewinsky and calling him a sexual aggressor was probably the first great inroad here. The Republican desire to get power at any cost means that they have been undermining authority in any way they can. They denigrate universities and scientific consensus on climate change, for example, and also by playing the political outsider card, they denigrate insiders who are beholden to big business (even though it is still business as usual in the Trump admin). They have been consistently attacking 'big government" for decades and this is eroding public trust, which is bad for centrists but good people who interested in more radical change.

Women feeling like they can come out to speak about sexual aggression is directly linked to powerful men being taken down when in the past, they retained their grip on power. 

Trevor

On Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 9:49 AM, Patrick McEvoy-Halston <pmcevoyhalston@gmail.com> wrote:
I mentioned about a month ago here that Frederick Crews has benefited from the fact that he has made his arguments in an environment where collectively people have decided to keep some topics, as they say, away from view. He's argued that sexual abuse against children is not some massive phenomena that has lead to mass collective repression, and society decided to weigh in with him: abuse exists but is not everywhere; and is not so crushing it demands repression. What we're seeing now with the twitter and Facebook #metoo movement is a massive show of just how many women have suffered sexual abuse, and I think we're all beginning to realize that any attempt to successfully label this a witchhunt will fail: something about our times has changed, and now collectively were ready to see the abuse we needed for a long while to keep out of view. With all the disclosures we're going to see in next upcoming years, it will be this that clears away the impact Crews has had to put psychoanalysis on the defence, while society went about its daily routine, with all its ills projected onto forlorn groups designated to hold all of our suffering onto themselves.  
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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change

10/17/17
Hi Trevor. 

Weinstein had his whole career yet to follow when the Lewinsky incident occurred. Clinton's "getting off," his escaping their plans for him, despite being loaded up with guilt, may have enabled empowered youngish democrats to feel they had avenue to, in a sense, be just like him. He was sacrificed, yet rose again... time for liberal professional class to really stretch its legs, now that inner persecutors in the mind, the worst guards at the gate -- angry old naysayers, representing parental fury at the child's bad behaviours -- had been confronted and defeated. Subsequent high-power democrats might have been empowered as predators after Clinton, because his sacrificing himself for them felt like it brought forward a long period where accusers would find themselves absent all power. Sauron had been destroyed, so green pastures of permission, once again. 

I don't think this story could have come about until today because I think collectively we were all too invested in keeping stories like it from view. It would unbalance us to much, as we would be faced with re-experiencing our own trauma, and our own traumatizing. These predators functioned to ensure that in a time when many professionals would be experiencing enormous life gains that an underclass working undignified jobs, who had to put themselves in literal casting couches or just, in mass, on display for public humiliation at low-paying jobs, would know the humiliation and trauma we felt someone had to experience so that it didn't sit with us. 

This is a deMausian idea; that when we acquire nice things for ourselves in life we are reminded of how our parents, belonging to a lower psychoclass, reacted to our self-growth, how it lead to us feeling abandoned, punished and alone, rejected, and unless its projected elsewhere we have to feel all of this blowback too. The casting couch, with the Weinsteins as the rapist/humiliators, were part of what kept the liberal professional class sane, as they themselves superseded all their own life expectations. This is a perspective psychohistory, or the history of psychohistory, can offer, that will be found nowhere else. 
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Trevor Pederson 

10/17/17
I didn't mean what I said in a simple mechanistic way Patrick.

It is a process.

Think about it in comparison to Nietzsche saying that God is dead. He didn't mean that no one believed in God anymore in the 1880s and wouldn't believe in Him again. 

I'm open to the idea of white liberal guilt having an influence on things, but there was white liberal guilt involved in the abolishment of slavery and in other moments of history. There are other factors that allow these forces to come to the fore, and in this case, I'd point to the conservative side actively undermining authority and attacking the morality of liberals that allows for it.

Trevor 
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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change

10/17/17
But "the process" seemed to give life to predators over a long interim. A huge grant of permission where it felt like no one would oppose them, so long as they were Clintonesque, democrat and powerful, as Harvey Weinstein is. They were free to serve their function as those who grossly oppress the vulnerable, so a rising class would feel absent the consequences of growth panic for it having been projected out. 
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Trevor Pederson 

10/17/17
I'm not sure if I follow you Patrick.

My sense is that former presidents and elite individuals got away with doing a lot in the past, and that only recently we started to see authority eroded so that these individuals could be brought down for such things. Otherwise the "boys club" protected their own.

Weinstein was a predator before the days of Clinton and I wouldn't think his actions were related to imitating, or some identification with the president. Do you have any info for why Bill was important to him, and not others in the Hollywood industry?

I wouldn't think that Bill's near impeachment would open the doors to imitators, but instead give others the fear that they weren't as safe as they were before.
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Joel Markowitz 

10/18/17
Trevor and  Patrick,

Questions re: these daily happenings re: Weinstein, Clinton, etc.— remain impossible to answer adequately unless we place them in the context of the larger currents of history.

As you know:

Rape and other abuse of women was commonplace until recently.  Power was routinely abused and that abuse was collectively accepted as an understandable advantage of being powerful.  Inequalities of all kinds were accepted as normal, natural, and inevitable.

As our psychic evolution has continued toward Mature Psychosexual Development, natural selection favored the mores & principles that WERE more-mature— because they proved more-workable—  than those that were less-mature.

Thus did equality replace hierarchy; democracy replaced tyranny; freedom and the rights of the individual replaced domination of the individual by a leader or by the state.  Legislation and other laws evolved increasingly toward Psychosexually Mature incarnations.

The rebellions of the late 1960s announced a tipping point in this process.   It was inevitable that women’s increasing equality would reach a stage in which men who would have safely exploited the Traditional mindset would be condemned by the new mindset.

FDR’s and JFK’s affaires were safely protected  by the traditional mores of that time.  Clinton was not so lucky in being closer to the tipping point.  Trump — even as president— is constantly chided for his “pussy-grabbing” comment.   Cosby and Weinstein are actively attacked.

Tipping points in this continued evolution are increasing in frequency as— collectively— we move closer to Mature Psychosexual Development. 

To understand psychohistorical events, one must go DEEPER— into an understanding of the FUNDAMENTAL MATRIX that GENERATED those events — in the evolution of our groups. 

Joel
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psyjourn313 

10/18/17
If anyone indeed wants to start looking deeper, please don't forget Freud. This is from the Dora case, about the disgust she felt being kissed by a man who, among other things, reeked of tobacco:

Instead of the genital sensation which would certainly have been felt by a healthy girl in such circumstances, Dora was overcome by the unpleasurable feeling ... 

I love Freud, and realize he was the product of his times, but he at least an enabler of the same kind of perpetrator that we are seeing in the newspapers. I know you understand that this is as old as the human race.

Joyce.

Joyce M. Rosenberg
Licensed Psychoanalyst
928 Broadway, Suite 503
New York, N.Y. 10010
917 806-6605
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Trevor Pederson 

10/18/17
Hi Joyce

It's been a while since I read Dora. If Freud is just saying that a young girl should be attracted to older men as a universal judgment then it's clearly a blind  spot in him.

However, I hope you're also open to the idea that when a patient comes in and is fixated on how someone is disgusting or how much he or she hates them, that it's also possible that these negative feelings cover up positive ones.

Trevor

Otherwise I agree that the boys club and social practices of excluding and scapegoating women have been around for centuries and centuries. 
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Judith Logue 

10/18/17
Yes, it is , of course!
- but the overwhelming expectable response we women and girls are used to is to not be taken seriously or heard and understood.

I have heard over and over and over from adult women how as girls they were blamed when uncles, fathers and brothers assailted them and used them sexually and otherwise... by their mothers not just by men.

Judy Logue 
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psyjourn313 

10/18/17
Trevor, yes I am, absolutely -- to quote another brilliant writer, "the lady doth protest too much." 

Re blind spot, that is one of the Freud passages that some readers, male as well as female, have cited as reasons why they think Freud was clueless about women. He seemed to think that just because a man physically approached a woman she would welcome this. And he was speaking not only about Dora but other young women in that passage. It's a little amazing to me that he made that assumption, but, as I said before, he was a product of his unenlightened times. Clearly we're still quite unenlightened given the current headlines, but we have made some progress.

Joyce.

Joyce M. Rosenberg
Licensed Psychoanalyst
928 Broadway, Suite 503
New York, N.Y. 10010
917 806-6605
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bdagostino2687 

10/18/17
Regarding Freud and enabling sexual abuse, isn’t his revision of his seduction theory a turning point on this matter in Freud’s own psychobiography?  Dorothy Bloch (see attached) notes that Freud observed sexual abuse in his own family (abuse of his sisters by his father), which contributed importantly to his seduction theory.  Can it be an accident that he backtracked on this theory and played down actual sexual abuse in the etiology of mental disorders soon after his father died and Freud had his “One is requested to close the eyes” dream?  Bloch thinks not, and believes this shift in his thinking helps explain how he could overlook blatant parental abuse (both sexual and punitive) in his later work, most notably, the Schreber case. .
Brian

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From: cliospsyche@googlegroups.com [mailto:cliospsyche@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Joyce Rosenberg
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 3:17 PM
To: cliospsyche@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: [cliospsyche] #metoo
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Attachments (1)

Freud's Retraction of his Seduction Theory.pdf
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Ken Fuchsman 

10/18/17
Brian,

Freud's first published articles on the seduction theory occurred before his father died in late 1896.  It was after his father's death that in early 1897 he revised the seduction theory to focus on fathers, including his own.  Freud never published these accusations about his father.  They were only stated in letters to his friend Wilhelm Fliess.  In September 1897 in a letter to Fliess, he declared that what he had taken to be seduction were really fantasies. .   . 
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bdagostino2687 

10/18/17
Ken,

Yes, that is also how Bloch understands it.  But the fact that he didn’t publicly accuse his father misses her point.  His seduction theory implicated fathers in sexual abuse, and Freud knew that the theory he published applied to his own father, even if hardly anyone else did.  So when his father died soon after he published this theory, isn’t it plausible that he felt unconscious guilt?  Note that we are talking about unconscious guilt, not rational remorse for having said anything publicly against his own father.  

What makes this more than an idle speculation is Freud’s “one is requested to close the eyes” dream, which provides insight into his state of mind at the time.  As Bloch notes, it was after this dream that Freud closes his eyes to actual abuse and by attributing psychopathology to fantasies of the children rather than actual abuse by the parents, implicitly protects the reputation of the parents, and by extension (and unconsciously), of his own father.

Brian

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From: cliospsyche@googlegroups.com [mailto:cliospsyche@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Ken Fuchsman
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 8:52 PM
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Ken Fuchsman 

10/18/17
Brian,

What is the evidence that when Freud first presented his seduction theory in published 1896 articles that he knew then that the seduction theory applied to his father?  There is no mention in his published articles that fathers specifically abused children.  There is no mention in his correspondence with Fliess that fathers in general and his father in particular sexually abused their children until after his father died..  

It should me mentioned that when Freud told Fliess his father was responsible for abusing his children that Freud gave no evidence to support his accusation.  Bloch is not the first scholar to mention the close they eyes dream.  But I do not take it as evidence for Freud changing his mind, it is too big a leap from a dream to action..   There is no solid evidence to make the determination as to why Freud renounced his seduction theory other than what he said.  I have my own suspicions, but I can't say it is more than suppositions on my part..      
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bdagostino2687 

10/18/17
Ken,

These are good questions for Bloch and for Freud scholars.  I don't have answers of my own.  I was only conveying Bloch's argument, which seemed plausible to me, though my knowledge of Freud studies is very limited.

Brian
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bdagostino2687 

10/19/17
FW: Re: [cliospsyche] #metoo
That said, I should hasten to add that Freud’s revision of his seduction theory is not ONLY a matter for Freud scholars.  The issue also relates to contemporary debates over recovered memory therapies and dissociative identity disorders (DID).  It would appear there are two or more “thought collectives” on this, to use Arnie’s favorite term.  In one camp are people like Alice Miller and Dorothy Bloch, who believe that Freud and Freudian psychoanalysts did for the most part close their eyes to parental abuse, leaving it for the object relations school to reinvent the viewpoint that Freud abandoned when he retracted the seduction theory.  Many theorists and therapists who work with DID, like Bessel van der Kolk and Colin Ross, may be in this group, though I say this based on what I have read about them and have not actually read their works.

Then there are the orthodox Freudians on the one hand, who focus on the role of Oedipal fantasies, and on the other hand non-Freudian critics of recovered memory therapies like Elizabeth Loftus.  Many in the latter group even dispute the validity of the DID diagnosis.  While Frederick Crews is also a non-Freudian critic of recovered memory therapies, he confuses the discussion by associating psychoanalysis with the seduction theory, while in fact the Oedipal theory went in exactly the opposite direction, at least according to Bloch.

I say all this in the spirit of contributing to an exchange of ideas.  I am not interested in defending any of these ideas, not least of all because I don’t know enough to do so.  This is just what I am thinking based on my limited knowledge of these matters and I welcome hearing what others who are more informed have to say.  

Brian

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Ishiguro's "The Buried Giant"
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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change

10/30/17
In Ishiguro's "The Buried Giant," collective memory that has been suppressed, suddenly comes back full bloom. All memory of victimization, is suddenly remembered by all. Ishiguro presents it as, in one sense, quite necessary, but also as fully regrettable, as it gives incontrovertible righteous fodder for the war-intending.

With what's coming out of Hollywood and Washington now, his novel really resonates. For while it seems only good that we are now becoming knowledgeable of the sheer number of predators in both places, and that victims who had felt kowtowed and shamed for years are now feeling some sense of resolve and self-pride again, it is also true that both of these places are seeming more the cesspools of the corrupt of rightwing populist lore.

It is possible that as we see these many reveals and long-delayed takedowns occur and realize, as it makes the previous tendency of both of these high-density, democrat-voting locals to attack "everyday Americans" as the seat of everything that is foul in the world an actual aversion of truth, that it is the rightwing rather than feminism that is best taking advantage of it, we may find ourselves regretting that we are now duty-bound (absolute fidelity with the victimized) to follow this to the end.

Lloyd deMause once talked about social institutions as delegate groups that "act out ambivalent feelings common to all members of the larger group but which the rest of the group wish to deny."  He referred to "the Church as a group-fantasy of dependency, the Army as a group-fantasy of birth, the Government as a group-fantasy of nurturance, Capitalism as a group-fantasy of control, Revolution as a group-fantasy of counterdependency, the Class System as a group-fantasy of obeisance, The School as a group-fantasy of humiliation." DeMause thus provides liberals with a means of understanding why these locations of such absolute resolved faith in voting Democratic, in supporting governments that are progressive and improve the lot of wo/mankind, can also be places where predatory behaviours run rampant. Powerful people working there are cued by the public at large to act out specific group fantasy needs -- to make unknowns suddenly famous, but also the inverse: to act out punishments upon them for their egoistic desire to have it all, to live out the American dream.

Without deMause's help, where will be left, but to agree that these places that were such leaders in keeping democracy afloat have been revealed to be, in fact, the very cesspools the rightwing have always declared them to be, and are in deep need of supervision and reform... lead by those currently becoming the recognized holders of virtue, those loyal to "the forgotten American man and woman," namely, nativists, nationalists, whether on the right or the left.


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halloween costumes
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Trevor Pederson 

10/27/17
I'm curious to hear some other takes on having ethnic halloween costumes


The comedian in the segment interestingly says that intentions don't mean anything. 

So the point, as I take it, is that even if you think that all races are equal, and dress in an ethnic costume for fun, you should know that other races were treated poorly in the past, and that for someone who knows the history, this is a reminder of the oppression, and (regardless of your intention) it's not right to remind someone of this.

They invite a professor on to tell you the history, with the idea that once you know that something was a practice that is related to oppression, it is obvious that you wouldn't want to engage in it.

I've similarly seen people who make an ad hominem against certain philosophers' and artists' work. "So and so was a sexual predator, for example, so we should ignore his work or not cite her." 

Any thoughts about how far this logic should extend? or, whether this logic may inhibit the process of overcoming racism" 

Trevor


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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change

10/28/17
If one agrees with deMause's work, or Steven Pinker's account of historical progression, it would seem that you should be in favour of people wearing ethnic costumes for them representing "pasts" we should all at some level be inclined to lampoon, if we can't simply dismiss them: all of our ancestors were appalling victimizers; there were no simple innocents. This includes Western, as much as any. Yet you look at the professors advocating against ethnic costumes, and the youth advocating against them, and it's the most emotionally evolved -- in deMause's terminology, where the higher psychoclasses presently "are". So there is no question that even as you'd think every one of us should find ourselves more repelled by our pasts than trying to sustain them, find dignity in them, you always align yourself with the movement where these people are currently locating themselves, knowing that each peak of overall awareness, even to this date, is still somewhat dipped of the ideal that will one day be reached. It is with this movement that people are locating the concept, the truth, that victimization -- maybe victimization, period -- is broad and can't be covered up. It's important their movement wins. 

Patrick
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Trevor Pederson 

10/28/17
Re: [cliospsyche] Re: halloween costumes
Thanks for the reply Patrick.

I’m pondering over what you wrote and I’m not sure about the normativity of it

“you always align yourself with the movement where these people are currently locating themselves,”

It makes me think of the Bernie or bust people and the idea of being an ideological purist or voting “more realistically”

Do you have something to say on that?

“knowing that each peak of overall awareness, even to this date, is still somewhat dipped of the ideal that will one day be reached. It is with this movement that people are locating the concept, the truth, that victimization -- maybe victimization, period -- is broad and can't be covered up. It's important their movement wins.”

I’m still not sure if trying to shame people into remembering victimization is the best way to ensure that people are better to “the other”

I’ll have to think more...

Trevor

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On Oct 28, 2017, at 4:06 PM, Patrick McEvoy-Halston <pmcevoyhalston@gmail.com> wrote:

So there is no question that even as you'd think every one of us should find ourselves more repelled by our pasts than trying to sustain them, find dignity in them, you always align yourself with the movement where these people are currently locating themselves, knowing that each peak of overall awareness, even to this date, is still somewhat dipped of the ideal that will one day be reached. It is with this movement that people are locating the concept, the truth, that victimization -- maybe victimization, period -- is broad and can't be covered up. It's important their movement wins. 
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Trevor Pederson 

10/29/17
Re: [cliospsyche] Re: halloween costumes
Here’s another video

This time on women sexualizing women and some leftists trying to decide if it is right or wrong.

People are quiet...  thoughts?


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On Oct 28, 2017, at 4:06 PM, Patrick McEvoy-Halston <pmcevoyhalston@gmail.com> wrote:

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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change

10/29/17
Re: [cliospsyche] Re: halloween costumes
What I was trying to get at was that I myself would be guilty of being a purist -- and therefore, someone actually venturing against my own goals -- if I didn't appreciate that the kinds of people who are actually most close to being psychologically healthy enough to appreciate what I think is the true course of history, note, IN THE SPIRIT I WOULD WISH, at this point don't believe what I believe; don't see history at all like I do. In fact, those who come closest to believing what I believe -- people like Steven Pinker and Richard Dawkins -- are actually in my judgment a bit recessed in terms of emotional health than many of those who see history in a manner which doesn't match up with my own. So I support those whom I believe will be the ones who'll be parents to progressives who'll eventually recognize the truth of the deMausian sense of history, accomplished in a manner which isn't about hoisting the validity of one culture over another, isn't about setting up an opponent to vanquish them, isn't about staging grounds so that the most progressive people out there, the ones most interested in protecting the vulnerable, are at a time of rightwing populist ascension suddenly made to seem completely invalidated for being so at odds with facts.

These people -- yes, many of them did vote Bernie, but certainly not all: many of them realized that there was an element in the Bernie movement which felt anti-feminist, and so stuck with Hillary and her absolute faith in professional women. Being a purist, for them, meant keeping faith with the idea of women as fully individuated human beings, reaching soaring heights within the professions. And they looked at Bernie and saw people in a sense being reduced into indistinct members of a folk working class, and so in a sense saw Hillary as a purer representative of what they looking for, not simply as a compromised but realistic choice. 

About not shaming others: Well, you're right. So I don't do so. But there is no movement out there right now which has completely absented its need to displace some part of themselves into others, for purposes of humiliation, in order to make themselves feel less compromised, so we're not going to get the ideal... and so it doesn't stop me from aligning with them. I made a link in an earlier post to a feminist who's approved by the likes of Jezebel, the New Yorker, New York Magazine, who argued that all of the left are using white working class men as these sorts of, in deMausian terms, "poison containers" (I think she uses the term, "shit containers"): convenient containers for properties in themselves that make them very uneasy. Jessa Crispin is her name. I read her argument. Agreed with it... and it did nothing to turn me against contemporary feminists, owing to my appreciation that I haven't seen any group prove capable of avoiding doing the same (all of them do it heavier, and worse). 

In deMause's way of looking at things, eventually you reach a time in a historical stage which has found every way to keep itself from experiencing a massive regressive turn, where pretty much everyone is showing signs of having to deal with a sense that they are guilty for continuing to push for yet further progress. Poison containers become absolute necessities, as, in a sense, no one can avoid being pill-poppers of some kind to keep themselves at equilibrium. Growth that should be making everyone happy, is now succeeding in making absolutely everyone, also miserable.

This way of seeing things makes it so that you never forget, regardless of what comes out about Hollywood and Washington, that these are places which almost in unison vote Democratic -- vote to alleviate pain, and encourage self-empowerment. They may be infiltrated with people that are as compromised as the Catholic Church, and you realize it was only going to be thus as they functioned to help, even liberals, make sure that in any place which promised the absolute realization of dreams, there would also be the absolute, thorough, ruination of them, as people are made degraded discombobulates, broken forever in spirit and self-pride. This had to be Hollywood's function, Washington's function, people there were "encouraged" -- by the broad public, including educated liberals -- to produce the victims as much as the successes, because we at some level understood that we were doing emergency measures to keep a growing, liberal society afloat, when all of us were feeling that we were soon to a time when almost all of us would be turning against what remained for optimism in ourselves in favour of regressive, punishing, mother-country-loyal, rightwing/leftwing populism.      
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binsightfl1 

10/30/17
Re: [cliospsyche] Re: halloween costumes
Hi all,

I hate to hedge on this very important issue, but that's what
it will seem like as soon as I indicate that I agree with both 
positions regarding whether or not to wear an ethnic costume.

I don't think the decision should be an either/or binary. There
are very few situations when that kind of thinking works out.
I suppose one is either pregnant or is not, one is dead or is
not, and a few other instances when such absolutisms might
legitimately apply. Otherwise, things are much more complex
than a simple, "I am fer it, or I am agin it" attitude.

Can I think of an instance when an ethnic costume is legit?
Absolutely! And, let's add to it, the portrayal of another sex
other than the one with which a person identifies him/herself.
We need to be careful about the "thought police," who decide
what is acceptable and what is not. That is not to say that we
ought not be sensitive to the rights and sensitivities of those
who have been hurt by oppression for whom certain costumes
reinjure or retraumatize. Some costumes are obvious. Some
are not. Use of "blackface," or wearing nazi uniforms ain't
kosher (except, perhaps in a play that requires the depiction
of such materiel. But, on the flip side (although I do not mean
to be flip), one could argue that wearing costumes depicting
ghouls, ghosts, vampires and witches all poke fun at what
was once considered to be very serious issues. Anyone who
doubts that ought to read the treatise Malleous Mallificarum
(the Witches Hammer), in which witches were concretely
listed, and methods for their torture described in depth. So,
some sort of commonsense needs to be applied--on both
sides. This should not be yet another way that we devise
that adds to an already wide divide, that exists, which Alice 
has repeatedly and rightly informed us.

By the way, I may wear my surgeon's outfit, complete with
a blood-stained (fake?) top, stethoscope, and de rigouer
shrunken head around my neck. Doesn't everyone have 
a shrunken head? I do hope there are no Pygmies out there
that are offended. I just hate poisonous darts. They simply
could ruin my whole evening...

Boo to you (and Happy Halloween),

Burton

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Martha Gessen's "Diagnosing Donald Trump and his voters"
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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change

10/7/17
Quote from text:   As professionals, these psychiatrists have a kind of optics that may allow them to pick out signs of danger in Trump’s behavior or statements, but, at the same time, they are analyzing what we all see: the President’s persistent, blatant lies (there is some disagreement among contributors on whether he knows he is lying or is, in fact, delusional); his contradictory statements; his inability to hold a thought; his aggression; his lack of empathy. None of this is secret, special knowledge—it is all known to the people who voted for him. We might ask what’s wrong with them rather than what’s wrong with him.

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Trevor Pederson 

10/7/17
This last part is interesting

Knowing what we know about Trump and what psychiatrists know about aggression, impulse control, and predictive behavior, we are all in mortal danger. He is the man with his finger on the nuclear button. Contributors to “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” ask whether this creates a “duty to warn.” But the real question is, Should democracy allow a plurality of citizens to place the lives of an entire country in the hands of a madman? Crazy as this idea is, it’s not a question psychiatrists can answer.

There is another unasked question here. If democracy is an ideal we want to uphold instead of some technocracy or new aristocracy, then how can society be changed so that we produce healthier individuals?

One binary Marx wanted to overcome was the "idiocy of rural life" in contrast to city life.

Trevor


On Sat, Oct 7, 2017 at 5:55 AM, Patrick McEvoy-Halston <pmcevoyhalston@gmail.com> wrote:
Quote from text:   As professionals, these psychiatrists have a kind of optics that may allow them to pick out signs of danger in Trump’s behavior or statements, but, at the same time, they are analyzing what we all see: the President’s persistent, blatant lies (there is some disagreement among contributors on whether he knows he is lying or is, in fact, delusional); his contradictory statements; his inability to hold a thought; his aggression; his lack of empathy. None of this is secret, special knowledge—it is all known to the people who voted for him. We might ask what’s wrong with them rather than what’s wrong with him.

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Ken Fuchsman 

10/8/17
I want to address the first clause of Trevor's posting about upholding democracy as an ideal. What do we mean by democracy?  Of the various conceptions I prefer rule by the people, or majority rule, or Lincoln's of, by, and for the people. 

By these standards since 1789 the U S has not been a democracy. In 2 of the last 5 elections, the candidate with the most popular votes did not become President. We have a Senate where the state with almost 12 percent of the nation's population gets 2 percent of the vote. California with over 39 million has the same number of Senate votes as Wyoming with under 600,000 people. The House of Representatives is gerrymandered to try to insure Republican rule. Congress will be in session 145 of the 261 work days in 2017. For every five days that the House meets members spend about two of those raising money for re-election. Democracy is a long way away. 

We  certainly need to have healthier people and working to move more towards a democracy is one step in that direction. 

Ken

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Trevor Pederson 

10/8/17
Hi Ken

Your point is well taken.

No new system will ever come into power in America by billing itself as ant-democratic, or even as anti-theist.

I've mentioned before that Trump and the alt-right has returned the language of class conflict, and draining the swamp, back to politics (after the republicans have tried to squash or malign this lens for decades). 

I must say that for a Marxist, it would be important for Trump, and the right, to able to pass some of their atrocious bills because when millions lose health care and and face death, don't get jobs, and see that they didn't get any of the promised gains, they can gain class consciousness. 

Sadly, as a therapist, you often see that people only change when they are forced to and the pain gets too great. At least, they often don't look for help until they are really suffering. 

Trevor








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arniedr 

10/8/17
No political libidinal position is given up willingly 

Arnie 

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bdagostino2687 

10/8/17
On this point, I completely agree with Ken.  A good introduction to these and other undemocratic features of our political system is Raymond Smith’s Importing Democracy: Ideas from Around the World to Reform and Revitalize American Politics and Government (Praeger, 2010).  Many Americans think that the US was the first society since the Athenians to institute democracy.  This is an ethnocentric picture that overlooks the Italian city states of the Renaissance, the Dutch Republic beginning in the 16th century, and the 17th century English Revolution, not to mention many Native American tribes and other indigenous societies around the world, to name only some major counterexamples.

It should also be said that the electorate can only choose between the alternatives that the political system generates, and in the 2016 presidential election the choice was effectively between a highly qualified insider essentially promising more of the same and an unqualified (in every possible way that someone can be unqualified) outsider who, although xenophobic, sexist, and abusive also ran on some new policy ideas that could have the potential to make things better (de-conflicting the US-Russia relationship, dismantling the neoliberal trade regime, and rebuilding American manufacturing and infrastructure).  So while some people voted for Trump primarily because they are xenophobic, racist, sexist, psychologically abused, etc. others voted for him because the alternative seemed even worse.  Had the choice in the general election been between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, the meaning of a vote for Trump would have been a lot different and more unambiguously a vote for xenophobia, etc.   

Finally, it is not possible to have a robust political democracy at the governmental levels if a society is organized around authoritarian workplaces.  I have a book review in the current issue of Review of Political Economy (attached) that addresses this topic and discusses the democratization of workplaces that is afoot in many parts of the world including in US.

I am reminded of the old saying, “To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”  To many people of a psychological bent, including many psychohistorians, everything appears to be about psychology.  For all the reasons indicated above, however, it is a huge mistake to try to reduce history and public affairs to psychology.  As psychohistorians, we should, instead, be seeking to explain aspects of history that cannot be adequately understood in terms of political, economic, and other factors, which assumes that these other factors must be part of the equation along with psychology.

Brian

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From: cliospsyche@googlegroups.com [mailto:cliospsyche@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Ken Fuchsman
Sent: Sunday, October 08, 2017 10:10 AM
To: cliospsyche@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: [cliospsyche] Martha Gessen's "Diagnosing Donald Trump and his voters"
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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change

10/8/17
We do our own mental gerrymandering and we've already got democracy: there's plenty of places where democracy's grasp is firm. If deMause is right that we're in a period of growth panic where regressing people fuse with a maternal entity -- the mother nation -- and attack those they see as mother-abandoners in their having clearly individuated themselves, what follows this disaster is a period where progressives take the lead again, and where everyone else -- after so much collective sacrifice and ruin -- feels entitled to try and keep up with them, even as it means becoming differentiated from their own forlorn mothers' intentions for them. If we're at 1933, then that will occur in 12 to 15 years from now. We hit hard then, knowing we've got about another 40 year run in which to go for broke, we might forever manage a great contrivance against a subsequent return of societal regression, a subsequent return of societal growth panic. 
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Ken Fuchsman 

10/8/17
Patrick,

What do you mean by democracy, and please give illustrations of where democracy's grasp is firm..

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bdagostino2687 

10/8/17
As I have said before on this list, deMause’s theory of growth panic is not consistent with economic reality.  Patrick, if you cannot document substantial increases in economic prosperity for the majority of Americans, then the whole theory collapses.  In fact, the period of expanding prosperity for ordinary Americans was prior to 1975; after the mid 70s, the pay and benefits for median income earners essentially stagnated and for many, things got worse.  The “growth” was enjoyed disproportionately by the affluent segments of the society, who were not panicking but rather living high on the hog at the expense of the many, while the many who panicked were experiencing government cutbacks, givebacks by their unions, loss of union jobs and other forms of austerity—anything but “growth.”  DeMause’s theory is not consistent with the available evidence and I cannot take it seriously..    

Brian

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From: cliospsyche@googlegroups.com [mailto:cliospsyche@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Patrick McEvoy-Halston
Sent: Sunday, October 08, 2017 11:52 AM
To: Clio’s Psyche

Subject: Re: [cliospsyche] Martha Gessen's "Diagnosing Donald Trump and his voters"

We do our own mental gerrymandering and we've already got democracy: there's plenty of places where democracy's grasp is firm. If deMause is right that we're in a period of growth panic where regressing people fuse with a maternal entity -- the mother nation -- and attack those they see as mother-abandoners in their having clearly individuated themselves, what follows this disaster is a period where progressives take the lead again, and where everyone else -- after so much collective sacrifice and ruin -- feels entitled to try and keep up with them, even as it means becoming differentiated from their own forlorn mothers' intentions for them. If we're at 1933, then that will occur in 12 to 15 years from now. We hit hard then, knowing we've got about another 40 year run in which to go for broke, we might forever manage a great contrivance against a subsequent return of societal regression, a subsequent return of societal growth panic. 
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Trevor Pederson 

10/8/17
Hi Brian

I agree with you on taking psychological factors along with others into account, and about how Trump voters aren't all racists or sexists.

However, the rhetoric that Trump uses 'make America great again' is about national identity. Even if most people have stagnated incomes compared to the rich (who enjoy more disparity as you point out), isn't the issue here the perception of the greatness/power/affluence of the nation?

It would be social narcissism instead of individual narcissism in which a person looks at there own benefit (or benefit for their family), wouldn't it?

Trevor 

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Trevor Pederson 

10/8/17
Hi Ken

I'm curious if you have thoughts about having a more direct democracy that goes beyond correcting the electoral college, equal representation of states, etc. 

Do you think computers and technology should be used for direct participation instead of having representatives, for example?

What is the ideal?

Trevor

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Ken Fuchsman 

10/8/17
Trevor,

Here is the Ken Fuchsman platform for reforming the American political system.

1.  A Constitutional Amendment that does its best to take money out of electoral politics.  To do so, there needs to be federal financing of elections for the President and Congress, with no PACS allowed

2.  Part of that amendment will set a limit to the primary and general election season, so as to be more in accord with our European allies.  Our election seasons go on for too long, and we pay too much attention to campaigning and not enough to governing.

3.  A separate constitutional amendment to abolish the electoral college and have the candidate with the most votes selected as President as long as that candidate receives at least 40% of the vote.  

4.  Either a Supreme Court decision or another amendment that makes gerrymandering a thing of the past.

I am still on favor of a representative democracy. 

These things are a beginning and even if implements will still leave many problems..

Not part of my political program but is an agreement with Brian that the socioeconomic system that is so hierarchical in business and government is an obstacle to developing more of a democratic sensibility.  As part of this is that we live in a nation that is as much a plutocracy as it is a republic.  In a highly industrialized society within a global economy big business and big government are a parallel development. There are often paradoxes.  Probably the most authoritarian business leader since World War II was the bullying, even monstrous Steve Jobs.  Yet it is hard to find many leaders who were as innovative and imaginative as Jobs.  He facilitated the development of the personal computer and the smart phone that have changed our lives.      .  .

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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change

10/9/17
They didn't experience these cutbacks -- they willed them in. Voting in Reagan et al. was a sure way to curb the growth of the 1970s. They knew he'd bring some relief from the threat of growth, and he delivered. Democrats delivered too, in developing an absolute distaste for the working class: this ongoing humiliation they were going to have to suffer from where everyone in power ignored them, helped guarantee for themselves they sure weren't prospering. Still, what also has happened in the meantime. For one, it had become socially harder to stigmatize the very groups the working class had been comfortable projecting their own vices on, so slowly but surely one of the "poison containers" they depended on for their emotional stability was being taken away from them. For another, what is being created by progressives in society is the beginnings of the Scandinavianation of American society... an expectation of a very high standard of living which was sure to envelope all of America. We were on the threshold of increasing minimum wage again to make them near living wage, increasing worker rights, expanding to national health care, to becoming egalitarian in a way which would ensure that more access to an enriched and full life was actually available to all, not just to children of the professional class. This is what Hillary Clinton would have furthered for us. This is what she represented. So... once again, growth panic, amongst our least loved people, to break apart something that was setting up for something good.  

I thought you said the only deMause you've read was his first book, Brian. He doesn't discuss the switch from depressed phase to war phase until his latter two books. 

Those you accuse of living high on the hog, those you encourage us to see as demons, are the grossly rich, sure, but probably also liberals who favour a quasi-socialist society and read the New Yorker. They're people of some quietude whom I'm not sure it would be healthy of us to want to see ravaged. We should hope we're not projecting on our "spoiled" selves onto them, and gaining maternal approval by lining up to war against them. And to some extent they were panicking. If they weren't, if growth didn't make them feel uncomfortable, make them feel as if they deserved punishment, they wouldn't have required that much of the rest of America serve as their poison containers, and instead would have reacted to the white working class with some exasperation -- why is it these people don't actually WANT to be helped! -- but would always have kept in mind the nature of their childhoods, and maintained an understanding and empathic stance. How exactly the professional class has been dealing with their own sense that they deserve punishment for their growth, with their own arising growth panic, is something I dealt with in my article, "Reply to Kenneth Alan Adams...", located here
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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change

10/9/17
This is the other thing I mentioned last time we discussed this, that what liberals have been doing in university has not just been about creating great careers for the educated but none for those of less fortuitous backgrounding, but redeeming the sense that no matter your colour, your gender identification, your religion, your looks, your ADHD or your Aspergers, you deserve a proud and enabled life. People like Chris Hedges say this was just a means of providing moral cover for neo-liberal economic dis-equities, but I think that America-wide people sensed the truth: with the spread of this "enablism" it would prove harder and harder for regressive parents to instruct their children that they are sinful beasts who don't deserve to live a rich life... children would have picked up on the prevalent atmosphere, the spreading norms, parents would have found themselves cowed by their authority, and children would have taken advantage of the external therapeutic support and begun to grow past their parents again. Hence, growth panic. 
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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change

10/9/17
And I have another sort of astray theory on how those living "high on the hog," that is, not the professional class but the more grossly rich, are actually evidencing growth panic as well. I think at some level they might realize they're playing out the part of a social drama where they're serving as those who've abandoned everyone else only to focus entirely on their own insatiable needs, where they're serving as the bad, abandoning parents, so everyone else can be children who acquire love, or failing that, respite from worse harm, in not confronting them too much about it -- a form of childhood re-staging. That is, I sense that they realize that in playing out a social role they've actually limited their own individuation. This will allay some of the claims made upon them that incur with grown panic. 

I believe I sense something of this happening with the professional class as well. I think they are serving, in narrowing their acceptance of what is legitimate thought, of what behaviour, manners, are to be taken seriously, to mostly those their fellow Ivy League friends possess, but to no others, to stifle a lot of what they know at some level to be very legitimate potential out there, stuff that would have enhanced their own lives if they were allowed to be grounded as something to be fully welcomed, and so are limiting their own individuation by serving as horrible social agents of an age of frustration, waste and sacrifice as well. Most of us are trying to in some way show to a monitor we know can read us with infallible, brilliant insight, that we've taken measures to ensure we don't sprout out as proudly and as independently as we might.   
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mfbrttn 

10/9/17
Patrick,
I was taken with all of what you wrote, and this in particular:  "growth panic, amongst our least loved people, to break apart something that was setting up for something good."  Your way of seeing how growth can incite panic and various reactions to escape the panic strikes me as compassionate, a framework for trying to help people risk the better life that could be theirs/ours.  I appreciate your writings..
Michael Britton

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Mark as complete

bdagostino2687 

10/9/17
I have never argued that deMause’s growth panic theory is entirely wrong, only that we cannot reduce politics to mass psychology and that when we do examine mass psychology we need to remember that there is no such thing as a monolithic group, only psychoclasses.  So the concept of growth panic may explain at most the psychology of one or some psychoclasses, and does not account for a lot else that must be taken into account to explain the outcome of large scale phenomena such as presidential elections, wars, etc.  For example, growth panic may be a good model for many Reagan voters, but to understand why Reagan was elected we need to take other things into account as well such as:
(1)  The failure of the Democratic Party, which is very nearly as beholden to the rich and corporate interests as the Republican Party, to provide a true economic populist alternative in general elections since FDR (perhaps with the partial exception of LBJ in 1964).  This is a big part of why voter turnout in the US is so low compared to countries that have multiparty systems that include socialist parties;
(2)  Notwithstanding the low rate of voter turnout in the US and the very flawed alternatives that our electoral system produces, a very large segment of working Americans still vote Democratic.  So if growth panic is the main issue, how can it account for that?  My answer is that it cannot, but as stated above applies only to certain psychoclasses.
(3)  Mass psychology does not explain the assault on unions launched by corporate leaders beginning in the 1970s, particularly the moving of factories to low wage regions of the country and then abroad.  This deindustrialized the Northeast and has been deindustrializing the country as a whole since the 1980s.  To understand this, we need to examine what goes on in corporate board rooms, not mass psychology.
In summary, if growth panic by one segment of the electorate were put forth as one factor among many for explaining the election of Reagan or austerity policies, I would have no objection.  It is the reduction to a single factor to which I object.

Brian

917-628-8253

  

From: cliospsyche@googlegroups.com [mailto:cliospsyche@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Michael Britton
Sent: Monday, October 09, 2017 11:43 AM
To: cliospsyche@googlegroups.com
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Mark as complete

me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change

10/31/17
Missed this earlier. Thank you very much Michael. 
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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change

10/31/17
In regards to (1): if most Americans had wanted a "true populist alternative," they would have gotten one. The people allow parties to be begotten to corporate interests. Where we don't see this happening as much, is where the childrearing is better -- they don't need the government to seem consisted of "averse parents"; they don't themselves feel as much the need to be, if not "good children," then at least children whose dissent is within bounds, in while recognizing that their parents can be hypocritical and completely self-interested they don't venture any further than that. By other countries you might be referencing Scandinavian ones, perhaps. Yes, their childrearing is better so they're more bourgeois: they take active political participation seriously, and do their part. These people would vote regardless if multi-parties or socialist alternatives; it feels self-actualizing, in that their activity is moved by the kind of motive that in mass can create a responsible society. 

In regards to (2): FDR offered a populist alternative in the 1930s. So did Hitler and Mussolini. (I remember it being said that people didn't go hungry under Hitler.) I bring this up because what FDR brought with him was also a depressing reduction of people into the American folk, that is, an almost instituted demand that people forgo adult individuation to become good sons and daughters to their Motherland. Voting Democratic has for some while been about voting which only marginally empowers the working class over what Republicans would provide (Thomas Frank's "What's wrong with Kansas?"). Working class Americans have not shown they wanted their economic conditions dramatically improved by their voting Democratic. Only marginally improved. This fact works well with idea of growth panic. 

This is now changing, but unfortunately it is changing because at some level the working class sense that we've entered a historical period where growth will not find some clever way to contrive its way through, as has happened these last several decades with neoliberal growth-but-also-mass-disregard, but rather where the THREAT of further growth has ended. We've entered in a sense the deMausian war phase where there will be good children pit against the bad, and the American working class feel they will be empowered -- for, in part, their several decades of suffering elites' debasement of them -- to be the good children, loyal to a mother country and its values that others have been ignoring, while certain select groups -- university professors, students, Hollywood, Washington D.C. New York City... sanctuary cities, immigrants -- will be the bad. 

They no longer need to suffer because liberalism will no longer serve as it has to communicate that everyone deserves to live a self-realized life, but rather only to argue that there should be jobs and more food on everyone's table. No voice with any social credit will exist to instruct people that life is about abandoning what your parents told you to become an individual even more individuated and self-realized than they were. Instead, every voice in society will be instructing them that their fore-bearers knew better. So they now can insist on the jobs etc. and can demonstrate what happens to politicians when they work against a populace that actually wants what they say they want, for the same reason working class Germans in the '30s felt empowered to do so. The get to "out" themselves as those who have always been mother-loyal at a time when the value of the Mother Country is being "remembered "again... and "mom," they know that everyone knows, wants her best children dressed to a proud shine. 

In regards to (3), Americans wanted this to happen, and that's why it occurred. I can get into this if necessary, but I believe I've already addressed it. Those of poorer childrearing wanted to demonstrate in their being forlorn that they had not been spoiling themselves. Those of a bit better childrearing who still wanted growth, who could help enshrine our last few decades as those which empowered a cultural "atmosphere" which told you that no matter your colour, creed, etc., you deserved a fully realized life, had to make sure this growth came along with massive negative counters, otherwise, too guilty. Those of pretty good childrearing still needed poison containers to contain the sense of powerless and helplessness -- as one remembers the rejection that occurred when your first movement towards self-activation was met by your immature mother's disapproval/apprehension, her rejection -- that comes along with self-growth, and so purposely ignored most of the rest of the country. 

By all this I think I've once again made evident how constrained I believe corporations really are.

Sorry for the late response to this, but sometimes I have to situate myself before I can take a full respectful look at what you write, or as close as I can manage to it. 
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Ben 

10/31/17
Is that growth panic, or just the unconscious shame of knowing that class privilege comes at the expense of the rights, freedom and wellbeing of others -- shame which, in being inadmissable, needs to be projected back onto the source of it as a scapegoating type mechanism that makes it possible for the opulent few to be able to live with themselves?

I mean, I don't think it's any coincidence that the economically privileged are preoccupied with 'parasites' amongst the poor, if you get my drift.

On Mon, Oct 9, 2017 at 11:03 AM, Patrick McEvoy-Halston <pmcevoyhalston@gmail.com> wrote:
And I have another sort of astray theory on how those living "high on the hog," that is, not the professional class but the more grossly rich, are actually evidencing growth panic as well. I think at some level they might realize they're playing out the part of a social drama where they're serving as those who've abandoned everyone else only to focus entirely on their own insatiable needs, where they're serving as the bad, abandoning parents, so everyone else can be children who acquire love, or failing that, respite from worse harm, in not confronting them too much about it -- a form of childhood re-staging. That is, I sense that they realize that in playing out a social role they've actually limited their own individuation. This will allay some of the claims made upon them that incur with grown panic. 


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