Sun Feb 17, 2013, 06:15 AM
xchrom (108,903 posts)
Understanding 'Post-Traumatic Ass Disorder': Tendency to Turn into Complete Buttheads After Trauma
An old Jewish Joke:
Louie: Moshe, is that you? You’ve changed so much! You used to be so tall and now you’re short. You used to be so fit and now you’re fat. You used to have a full head of hair and now you’re bald. What happened?
Murry: I’m not Moshe, I’m Murry.
Louie: You changed your name too??!
I’m reminded of this joke when I fall into heated debates with fellow alumni from Akiba Jewish Day School, where I spent seven mal-formative years, grades 1-7. Now rabid right-wing rabbis, my old school chums are the most black and white thinkers I know. The subtleties of world politics boil down to a war between pure good and pure evil, and you can guess which side they think they’re on. They’re as sure that they know who’s evil as Louie is that he knows who’s Moishe. No quantity of evidence could persuade them otherwise.
Post-election, I asked one Rabbi if he had softened in his support for Romney even a little. He wrote back succinctly “ Obama is destroying the economy. You are supporting a treasonous monster.”
Policy aside, his way of reasoning in our debates sounds to my ears a lot like that of the traumatized Germans post -WWI in the prelude to Nazism’s rise, sure that the Jews were destroying the economy, and that anyone who supported them was a treasonous monster.
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Understanding 'Post-Traumatic Ass Disorder': Tendency to Turn into Complete Buttheads After Trauma (Original post)
Response to xchrom (Original post)
Sun Feb 17, 2013, 06:52 AM
napoleon_in_rags (3,989 posts)
1. Nothing distracts you from analyzing actions like the idea that there are good and bad people.
The good only being capable of good actions, the evil only being capable of evil actions even when what they two are doing is exactly the same actions.
Buried deep in any wisdom tradition is the knowledge that every person is capable of good or wicked acts, (e.g. in Christianity, the cognitive separation between the sin and the sinner) but in practice so many ignore that completely, and cling desperately to the narrative of "good guys" vs. "bad guys", an intellectual state so failed in practice that people actually pay to see Hollywood movies where it holds true, just for the sense of escape from the real world.
The ideology of good guys and bad guys cuts off entirely the ideology of good actions vs. bad actions, with all of us struggling to learn the difference, and posits the arrogant believer in the former as being absolutely right, despite all evidence to the contrary. (How COULD he be wrong? After all, he's a GOOD guy, right?) But the rational thinker interrogates all actions and deeds, including his own, ever seeking for a more pure moral state, ever seeking to be doing the right thing as its revealed through more accurate information, never considering himself/herself to be perfect.
The last election was telling. There was a point, after the first debate, where Obama was actually losing. Then he took off the gloves, he laid down a rational critique of what Romney was doing, and Romney crumbled. We on the left must never forget: reality doesn't go away when you stop believing in it: rationality is what wins, when we care enough to fight for it. The battle between the rational laws of science and the people who call themselves unconditionally good, already happened, between the Church and Giordano Bruno, between the church and Copernicus. They burned Bruno at the stake for claiming the sun was a star that earth revolved around, and claiming the existence of other intelligent life in the universe. And today, we know at least the former is true, and listen to the mighty song of this universe that contradicts the arrogant church but hums along with likes of Copernicus, Bruno, Newton and Einstein. The humble and rational will always win when they stand up boldly against those mortals who believe themselves like Gods, to be infallible. And this battle very much continues to this day.
Those of us who love reason, who love the beautiful and ethical will always prevail if we are willing to overcome our irrational fear that we live in a world that does not favor these things. (when it so clearly does) So let us hold our flags high, with our hearts welling with compassion for those we battle against, and continue to march in the direction of the greatest good for the most people.