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Friday March 1st 2019Tim Candler9

 

    March 1st is the big day, and in anxious preparation for a more positive moment of waking up, which occurred at 4.45am, and I must have been dreaming of current events, I found myself saying, and I have to paraphrase a little,  "Another field day for Political Psychologists," which is not the "Rabbit Running in Circles" I'd intended to say. Yet no thought arrives alone, it's more likely combined with other thoughts, and here I can identify a brain murmur, kind of like an emotional tumor which just doesn't go away, it rears now and then, emerges at unexpected moments, it's an ennui around us people I guess that involves a very vague memory of having read what was I believe purported to be a suggestion in Goebbels' diary that he'd either go down in history as a criminal or as a great statesman and for him it was really too late to change course, and most peculiar of all, not being able to change course didn't trouble him in the least. And as many a clergyman has suggested, a Statesman thinks about the next generation, a Politician doesn't think much beyond the next election, so who knows. All of which is red meat to the political psychologist, many of whom are scoundrel of the worst kind, give meaning to the words Snake Oil Salesman as they quarry for funding around the CPACs of this world.  But here I want to talk about Erich Fromm's political psychology, some of which emerged for him as a result of grappling with the Old Testament.  Fromm was born in the March of 1900 in the German Empire and in 1980 he died in Switzerland three days before his birthday, so he had the good fortune to miss out on forty odd years of trickle down which some have argued is now rehearsing the circumstance which in the 1930's forced Erich Fromm into exile from Germany, all it needs today is another financial disaster in conjunction with a debt laden exchequer, a failed harvest, something like that.

 

 

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    The understandings of others are hard to précis, but briefly my understanding of Fromm's view is this. Having eaten from the Tree of Knowledge (psychologists and scientists generally if they are worth their salt wisely avoid the subjectivity in good and evil) we people awoke naked and ashamed, we realized we were a part of nature yet separated from it because suddenly we had to think about stuff which was something we assumed nature didn't have to do because nature had instinct, or gut, to drive the course of something like a Penguin's time on earth, without a Penguin ever having to think about stuff. In us people, reaction to this horrible realization, Fromm reckoned, was nonetheless to follow an instinctual drive that directed us to not so much mate for life in the way Bald Eagles and Parrot Fish do, but develop some kind of meaningful, working relationships with others of our kind and the world we lived in. Fromm argued a relationship is successful when it embraces having to think about stuff through love, which for Fromm had less to do with canoodling and more to do with care, responsibility, respect for each other and combining all this with knowledge, in the more traditional western sense of the word knowledge that goes back to Zoroaster of a growing body of experience, experiment study, discussion and insight. The opposite possible reaction was to run away from the nightmare of it all by throwing our arms around a savior of some kind, you could become like an automaton to a tyrant and do what he and his hangers on tell you to do whether it made any sense to you or not, and then if you got really desperate to avoid having to think, you could embrace an entirely destructive Goebbels type solution, in the understanding that destroying the world was the simplest, if desperate, solution to being destroyed by a failure to develop a healthier, perhaps more knowledge based, more loving relationship with it and the rest of us people.  In my view Fromm's thinking certainly goes some way to offering insight into the predicament of the current GOP.

 

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