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Monday, October 31, 2016

The Enemy Within




The Enemy Within,
or,
Another Symptom
of Monopolistic Dualism,
by Liviana (Giovanna L.)


"Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein."
~ Friedrich Nietzsche, Jenseits von Gut und Böse, Aphorismus 146

"Who with monsters fights, should see that he in the process not become a monster. And when you long into an abyss gaze, then gazes the abyss also into you."
~ Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146
(my translation)


"In Italia, i fascisti si dividono in due categorie:  i fascisti e gli antifascisti."
~ Ennio Flaiano

"In Italy, the fascists divide themselves into two categories: the fascists and the antifascists."
~ Ennio Flaiano
(my translation)


Preface

"Monopolistic Dualism" is a term whose origin is rightly attributed to one who used to go by the "tribal name" Crommán mac Nessa, one of the founders and leaders of a movement which has at times been called "an Rian Sinnsearach" or "in Róen Sinserda" (the first is Gaelic and the second is Old Irish, and both mean "the Ancestral Way"), among other names, mac Nessa's own expression of which has sometimes been called "Ivernian Heathen Revivalism."  His work now survives only in privately-held copies and in earlier versions preserved at the Internet Archive.

Writing in the late 1990s and early 2000s, mac Nessa used the term to refer to a "religious tradition" which in its main expressions teaches dualism, both metaphysically and ethically (although its theologians often deny the dualism, realizing that dualism is metaphysically unsatisfactory and ethically depressing;  nevertheless, the "sacred" texts of the religions which derive from this tradition do express rather obvious dualistic ideas, and the laypeople of the religions think in dualistic terms, even if this dualism be "merely" a form of what has sometimes been called "External Dualism" or a form of what might be called "Actual Dualism" [as distinct from "Real Dualism"] or "Temporary Dualism" or "Finite Dualism"), and which insists, in each of the main religions which are its expressions, that that particular religion is "the one true and only way," regarding other religions of the same tradition as wrong, and consequently advocates for what mac Nessa pointed out was "religious imperialism," that is, efforts to convert others, whether by attempted persuasion or by force.  To regard these as somehow unique or original is to overlook the influences upon them, which included Parthian Zoroastrianism and various dualistic perspectives (whether philosophical or mystical, or both) in the territories around the northeast and central east Mediterranean Sea, especially in imperial Roman and imperial Hellenistic societies.

An extended examination of these various religions of the same religious tradition, and the influences upon them, is beyond the scope of this present writing, but the successor of mac Nessa, who goes by the "tribal name" Dianim ingen Nessa or Dianaimh nic Nise (and who has been entrusted with legal custodianship, editorial authority, and continuation of the works of Crommán mac Nessa), may eventually produce some discussion thereof, here or elsewhere.  Suffice it to say for the purposes of this present composition that "Monopolistic Dualism" as used by mac Nessa refers primarily to certain underlying metaphysical and ethical concepts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (the Abrahamic Tradition of Religions), and, more relevantly for this present discussion, ~ the influences of those concepts upon societies in which those religions have been more or less dominant. ~


Introduction

So strong has been the influence of these religions upon certain societies that the majority of persons within those societies have a preconscious assumption of the truth of whichever of these religions is more or less dominant within the society in which they have been raised, even if they themselves have never read the "sacred" texts of that religion, attended any sort of doctrinal presentations of the religion, or done anything worthy of the name "study" of the said religion.  In consequence of this preconscious assumption, such persons when and if they take a greater interest in the religion are required to unlearn a number of erroneous concepts about the religion (and usually to be indoctrinated in a specific sect's interpretation of said religion, which may involve more "unlearning" of "erroneous" concepts and replacement with the sect's particular dogmatic positions).  As this influence is so strong upon the wider society, even of those who are, at most, merely nominal followers of the religion, the culture or cultures associated with the society tend over time to take on more and more influences from the religion.  Examples of such influence may be relatively mild or even innocuous, or they may be rather pervasive.  Such examples may be found in poetry and other literature, music, visual art and architecture, figures of speech, political discourse and rhetoric, and assorted other expressions of culture.

As the concepts involved in this influence are metaphysical dualism and ethical dualism, some explanation of Systematic Philosophy and its branches or stages is probably in order.  Philosophy, the Queen and Mother of the Sciences, from at least the mediaeval era till around the time of the fin de siècle XIX and the dèbut de siècle XX, has been characterized in retrospect (by some Logical Atomists and Logical Postivists) as "speculative," and subsequent Philosophy has been portrayed as "analytic."  Such painting of the discipline is, however, generalization, for analytic philosophy existed long before Gottlob Frege, and so-called "speculative" philosophy has continued well beyond Wittgenstein, Russell, and Quine.  The author sees the alleged distinctions between "analytic" and "speculative" Philosophy as artificial and of little to no benefit,  However, for the purposes of this explanation, when performed as a "systematic" discipline, Philosophy has traditionally begun with Metaphysics (or more accurately, Ontology and Metaphysics), built Epistemology upon that foundation, decorated it with Aesthetics, erected the pillars of Ethics to support the roof, and then constructed the roof of Politics (including usually Law and Economics) atop those pillars.

Without going into too much detail, Ontology is concerned with Being (or "Essence") and Existence, the Real and the Actual, and Metaphysics applies these concerns to questions of "What is the nature of Reality?" and "What is the One or the Many Constituent(s) of Reality?" and consequent elaborations of answers proposed to these questions.  Very briefly, Ethics deals with Justice in an internal sense (as Politics expands upon this and takes the ideal of Justice to external applications).


Dysfunctions Derived from Monopolistic Dualism

If Monopolistic Dualism be the cause, then it results in assorted dysfunctions of a philosophical, psychological, and/or sociological nature.  Having the same cause, these dysfunctions are naturally similar, at times even blurring into one another and interacting in complex ways.  Indeed, sometimes they are virtually indistinguishable.  For the purposes of this present discussion, only three will be addressed:  Bifurcation Fallacy, Double Standard, and Dichotomy, each of which is a type of Polarization.

Bifurcation Fallacy, which has a variety of names, is more commonly known as "False Dilemma" (or more precisely is a type of False Dilemma, in that False Dilemma may involve more than two options, but never all possible options, whereas Bifurcation Fallacy reduces all choices to a mere two and pretends that those are the only choices which exist), and is generally referred to by laypersons as "Black-and-White Thinking" or "Black-or-White Thinking," is a Logical Fallacy, that is, an incorrect inference form, or a type of faulty reasoning.  Bifurcation Fallacy is limited and limiting;  where multiple answers to a given question exist, only two are presented, while all others are either ignored or left unmentioned, or their existence may even be denied explicitly.

Double Standard is defined by Merriam-Webster as:


a set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people or circumstances than to another; especially :  a code of morals that applies more severe standards of sexual behavior to women than to men


In unequal or undemocratic societies, a double standard may exist in the application of law to the wealthy and the middle class and poor, with the wealthy receiving privileged or preferential clemency or treatment, while the poor and the middle class are dealt with more strictly and more severely.  In the example given by the dictionary, what is intended is that the notion that a man who is sexually promiscuous is merely "sowing his wild oats" is contrasted with the characterization of a promiscuous woman as "a slut," but likewise the view of a celibate or sexually faithful man as somehow lacking in masculinity contrasted with the celibate or sexually faithful woman as a "virtuous" virgin or wife.  Exceptions to both of these exist:  a celibate woman may also be disparaged as a "spinster" or an "old maid," and a sexually promiscuous man might occasionally be labelled a "scoundrel" or a "roué," but these are exceptions to the general custom.

Dichotomy is defined by Merriam-Webster as:


a difference between two opposite things : a division into two opposite groups : a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities; also :  the process or practice of making such a division 


A dichotomy presupposes the actuality or reality (or both) of "polar opposition," and more often than not misrepresents complementary opposites as "polar opposites," the dichotomy being expressed by persons who conceive of opposition only in terms of Polarization, and furthermore see no shades of grey between the extreme poles of black and white.


Symptoms of Dysfunctions Caused by Monopolistic Dualism

Symptoms of these dysfunctions include:  Puritanism vs Hedonism, Fundamentalism, Racism, Fascism (and "Antifa"), Reactionary vs Radical, the "Two" Party System, Paranoia, and "the Enemy Within."

The influential American thinker H.L. Mencken once wrote, "Puritanism. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."  While this was satire, it was not an inaccurate description from some perspectives.  Puritanism was (and is) a form of self-righteous busybodyism.  Puritans assume they know the will of their god, and employ haste in their judgements of others, looking at superficial actions and appearances, rather than essential motivations and attitudes.  Puritanism is an extremist movement devoted to "purifying," initially the Church of England, and later the wider society (especially members of adjacent communities who disagreed with the views of the Puritans).  Puritans have also been characterized as killjoys or dour prudes, in polar opposition to Hedonists;  some scholars (notably, Peter Gay) have contested this view, albeit with somewhat unconvincing counterexamples.  The reputation of the Puritans for religious intolerance, however, is well deserved.

A related phenomenon is Fundamentalism, which exists in most religions (and other forms of worldview).  Fundamentalism is usually, but by no means always, a religious phenomenon, and, like Puritanism, involves an attempt to maintain "purity of doctrine, and is intolerant of dissent or diverse viewpoints.  Fundamentalism also promotes a rigid literalism and socially reactionary perspectives, as well as a sort of exclusivist elitism among its adherents (whence the term "Holier than thou").  Fundamentalism may be "separatist" (withdrawn from the wider society and unconcerned with what the fundamentalist regards as "worldly" concerns) or "open" (engaging in socio-political and economic activism intended to impose the views of the particular manifestation of Fundamentalism on the wider society).  In religious contexts, Fundamentalism is sometimes set in polar opposition to what religious Fundamentalists refer to as "Modernism" or "(religious) Liberalism," by virtue of the religious Fundamentalist rejecting the application of scholarship and critical tools and techniques to learn more about the sources of their dogma (for the acceptance of such might result in the need to amend one's interpretations).  Sometimes "Credalists" are distinguished from "Fundamentalists" on the grounds that the former embrace Creeds and the Traditional Teaching Authority attributed to the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church, while the latter claim to embrace the Protestant rallying cry "Sola scriptura."  For any practical purposes, however, they are the same in terms of how they approach belief and scholarship, and how they view dissent and dissenters.

Racism is a symptom of the belief in "good and evil," and the wish on the part of a person that he or she is "good," and by extension, that people who are like her or him are also "good," and therefore, anyone who is not like them is "evil."  This is usually born of ignorance and fear, which mutates into hate.  When it is writ more largely, it often results in Fascism.

Fascism is a socio-political and economic viewpoint, which has certain salient characteristics, chief among which are intense nationalism, intense pro-Capitalism, intense anti-Communism, rhetorical appeals to traditional values and patriotism and the middle class, strong "law and order" policies of an authoritarian nature, glorification of war, and scapegoating (often in the form of racist hatred).  "Antifa" was, once upon a time, a legitimate resistance movement against Fascism, but has long since devolved into the mirror image of Fascism, utilizing many of the same tactics and espousing ideas which tolerate no dissent.

"Reactionary vs Radical" refers to two polarized perspectives on society and social questions.  The Reactionary is one who is so resistant to change that he or she would attempt to undo changes and revert society back to a previous condition, and often expresses an intention to use violence in order to effect this reversion (sometimes following through with the violence).  The Radical is one who espouses change without much regard for whether or not such change will be beneficial, and generally advocates for accomplishing such change by means of violence (again, sometimes following through with violent acts).  In between these are various shades ranging from "Conservative" to "Moderate" to "Liberal" or "Progressive" (while "Liberal" and "Progressive" are not synonymous or coterminous, they do share occasional goals and sometimes their ideals even overlap, while at other times, they will be at loggerheads, because even though they both advocate for beneficial change, they come at it from different angles, the Liberal being in favor of top-down imposition and the Progressive being in favor of grass roots activism;  other distinctions between these two perspectives exist as well, but for the moment, this will suffice).

The "Two" Party System should require no explanation to regular readers of this blog.  If, however, someone would like a refresher in the subject, then "For the World Is Hollow, and I Have Touched the Sky" should serve well enough.

Paranoia refers to an irrational fear that "the other" is not only "evil," but also actively working to do harm to the subject, often by means of some type of conspiracy.

"The Enemy Within" deserves its own separate discussion, for it is to some extent a result of one or more than one of the other symptoms listed.


The Enemy Within

The quote from Nietzsche which opens this present discussion says:  "Who with monsters fights, should see that he in the process not become a monster. And when you long into an abyss gaze, then gazes the abyss also into you."

Nathaniel Hawthorne, in his short story "Young Goodman Brown," provides an illustration of this "aphorism," in that Young Goodman Brown begins the story as one of "the elect," those who in Puritan society viewed themselves as having been predestinated (Sic; haec orthographia recta est.) to salvation in spite of the total depravity which Puritans (and Calvinists in general) believe to be the state of humanity, goes out from the authoritarian order of his society into the untamed wilderness, where he started at every woodland sound and shadow, had some sort of revelation or vision, and returned to his home as depraved as he thereafter believed everyone else to be.

Fundamentalists in their zeal to be "Holier than thou" see "the other" as heretical, deceived, oppressed by demons, and so on, and consequently attempt to outdo one another in external signs of piety, much as the Pharisees who were condemned in the sixth chapter of Matthew, living not due to honest belief or desire to be good, nor from love of the divine and his or her fellow humans and other animals, but out of fear of punishment and a desire to be viewed as "orthodox" by the community.  They become what they claim to not be.

The racist or Fascist projects all of his or her vices upon "the other" who is the subject of scapegoating, and by persecuting this "other," the acting subject, in what Freud would have described as "an unholy marriage of the Id and the Superego," becomes all that he or she hates, while generally not realizing it.  When such a person does realize the truth, his or her hatred is likely to become even more intense, as blame for such "transformation" is also projected onto "the other."  She or he becomes all that he or she hates.

Reactionaries and Radicals will likewise view any variation from their particular perspective among their fellows to be a clue that these fellows are not only not "pure," but may indeed be an agent of the polar opposite perspective who has somehow infiltrated the security of their organization, and will then perform the work of the adherents of the polar opposite perspective by persecuting their own for minor deviation from orthodoxy.  They become their own oppressors.

Party members in a "Two" Party System are notorious for viewing any criticism of their party and its candidates and elected/appointed officials as evidence that the critic is a member of "the other" party (as if there were only two parties, and as if the "two" were not identical in essence).  The author's father was a lifelong partisan Republican, and he would listen to the author criticize Democrats and the Democratic Party with what might be considered to be contentment, but when she went on to criticize Republicans and the Republican Party, her father would become hostile and accuse her of being "a damned Democrat," in spite of her having just spent thirty minutes or more in critique of the Democrats and their party.  An unfortunate consequence of the "Two" Party System is that many of its captives cannot conceive of any criticism of their party coming from anyone other than a member of "the other" party.  They behave in exactly the same manner towards critics as members of "the other" party, and so have become identical to them in all but name.

When coupled with Paranoia, any of these, or some combination thereof, may lead a person thus afflicted to distrust others and to allege that such distrusted others are infiltrators from a polar opposite perspective, and/or agents of a conspiratorial operation devised by representatives of such.  When the acting subject has set himself or herself up as some sort of "crusader" against a given polar opposite perspective, convinced that the said perspective and its adherents are "evil," he or she may over time adopt the tactics attributed to that other perspective, becoming, in Nietzsche's phrase, the monster which she or he fights, having studied those tactics and the ideology of the polar opposite perspective long enough that, again in Nietzsche's expression, the abyss has gazed back into him or her.

In short, she or he becomes "the enemy within."


The Cure

In order for this symptom to be eradicated, one must not merely address the symptom.  Such a "treatment" would be ineffective, since the cause of the dysfunction behind the symptom would remain unaddressed.  Attempting to treat the dysfunction itself would likewise be less than satisfactory, because, again, the cause would still not be addressed.  The cause of these dysfunctions and their attendant symptoms must be cured.  Dualism alone is undesirable, but Monopolistic Dualism is dangerous to society.  It poisons intellects, holds people captive in the Cave of Ignorance, easily manipulated by unscrupulous demagogues and Machiavellian connivers.  Thus, what must be cured is Monopolistic Dualism itself.  To effect this cure, Monopolistic Dualism must be replaced with a more suitable worldview, of which there are several, including both Monism and Triplism, as well as various other options (even Pluralistic Dualism would be preferable to Monopolistic Dualism).  The author herself espouses Triplism, but she is not imperialistic, and leaves the choice of the replacement up to the individual healer.  For her own part, she will attempt to heal by means of Triplism, as it is her own perspective, and she will hope that it will effect the necessary cure.




Supplemental

Some readers have expressed confusion over this piece, and therefore, presented below are some comments by the author, which she hopes will clarify the import and intent of the above writing.  These comments taken together may be seen as a sort of "Abstract" of the piece, although written in a more "conversational" style than an Abstract would be.

1. The post is ultimately about how the assumption of the existence of a flesh vs spirit dualism, and/or a good vs "evil" dualism, when those are coupled with monopolistic views, result in people hurting other people, and becoming all the bad things which they thought those other people were.  It also includes a proposal for subverting the dominant paradigm which leads to this situation of "The Enemy Within."


2. I myself have a tripartite anthropology: We are Body, Soul, and Spirit.

I believe that Ethics is a complicated business, and the ethicality of conduct is found in Motivation/Attitude, Context/Situation, and Consequence.


3. Imagine that Philosophy is like a temple.

The foundation of the temple has to do with Being/Essence and Existence (Ontology), and the pavement on that is an application of it to more specific ideas about Reality/Being/Essence and Actuality/Existence (Metaphysics).

Then you need walls, so you build those out of ideas about Truth and Knowledge (Epistemology).

Then you want some decoration, so you bring in ideas of Art and Beauty (Aesthetics).

You'll need columns to support the roof, and those are made of ideas about Justice in Personal Conduct (Ethics).

And then you put the roof on, which is made of ideas about Justice in Society (Politics, including Law and Economics).


4. Okay, now, along come worldviews which have as part of their underlying Philosophy the belief in a Dualistic Metaphysic which says that Good and Evil are Metaphysical Realities, that they are Essences (no matter Augustine's attempt to spin this into a conception of "Evil" as "privatio boni" or "absence of Good"), Eternal and Forever in Conflict. This Metaphysic moreover asserts that Spirit is "Good" and is somehow imprisoned in Flesh, which is "Evil" (or at least has somehow become "Corrupted"). This may not be officially accepted as "orthodox," but is nevertheless subliminally inculcated by the guardians of "orthodoxy." Nature is consequently seen as likewise "Evil" (or "Corrupted") and so on.

Arising out of this Metaphysic comes an Ethic which affirms that Actions in themselves are "Good" or "Evil." As time goes on, this evolves through the work of Reformers like Y'shua` (Jesus) into a focus on the Motivation/Attitude (and sometimes the Context/Situation), rather than the Act In Itself. However, the old Legalism remains under the surface and generally bubbles up among the laypeople, who are not usually taught that Y'shua` gave a new Ethic to replace the old Legalism. While they are given the texts, the import thereof is not explained to them, and so they still cling to the Literalism and Legalism of the older perspective. Further contributing to this complication is the fact that early teachers of the new reform also perpetuate the Legalism to a greater or lesser extent. Other expressions of this perspective survive as well, or later develop, which perpetuate the old focus on Action In Itself as "Good" or "Evil." The Reform is therefore not very successful, like a revolution which merely replaces "Tsar" with "Chairman," or "Congreditor princeps novus, idem princeps vetus" (Meet the new boss, same as the old boss).

Because these worldviews are religious, and not simply philosophical, they also include additional notions beyond the confines of Philosophy, including the idea of "Original Sin" and a "Sin Nature" somehow deriving from "Original Sin." Rather than teaching the disciple to amend his or her own conduct by intellectual meditation, mystical contemplation, and the cultivation of virtue, these worldviews develop a concept of "salvation" or "deliverance," which requires a "savior" or "deliverer." Such a person must of course be somehow free of the "Sin Nature" and therefore must be somehow divine or specially blessed by the divine, or some such device.

Furthermore, the claim is put forward that ONLY this belief system and its "savior" figure can effect this deliverance.

Taken in combination with the Metaphysical and Ethical Dualism, this Soteriological Exclusivity (see note below) implies, or even explicitly demands, that the disciple should spread this belief system to others, allegedly out of compassion, but more because 1. the disciple fears that infidels will perpetuate "Evil" in the world and possibly visit evil in the sense of pain and suffering upon the disciple, AND 2. because the disciple may be led into doubt when confronted by an infidel who seems virtuous and is willing to rationally discuss such concepts, and doubt challenges the unquestioning credulity upon which the priesthoods of these belief systems depend for wealth and power.

Thus arises "Monopolistic Dualism."

(Soteriology = from Sôtêria, Classical [Attikê] and Hellenistic [Koinê] Greek for "Salvation" + -logia, Attic and Koinê Greek for "study, science, discipline").


5. Monopolistic Dualism leads to a number of intellectual dysfunctions, among which are Bifurcation Fallacy, Double Standards, and Dichotomies.  Symptoms of these dysfunctions as experienced in society are also discussed (including the one which is the main focus of the post, and which I have called "The Enemy Within"), and then a "cure" is proposed.








The title of the post comes from Star Trek (The Original Series), Season 1, episode 5;  episode 5 overall;  production code 05.


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