Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Can we overcome the psychosis in our society and come to "really see?"

Tim Folger writes in the forward to The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2018 about the corruption of speech in our national conversations facilitated by cable news and social media. Mr. Folger points out that this corruption was foretold by George Orwell in his novel 1984 when he coined the term "Newspeak." This idea of the creation of propaganizing memes is at the heart of what is being called in the Trumpian age, "fake news."

"Early in 2017, for some strange reason, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four suddenly jumped to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list. Orwell laced his dystopian novel with Newspeak, the language of Oceania, one of the story’s perpetually warring states.

Here’s a short sampler of its Big Brother–approved vocabulary: minipax—the Ministry of Peace (Oceania’s war department, not to be confused with our Department of Defense); prolefeed—mindless mass entertainment; malquoted—what today’s authoritarians would call fake news. And then there’s blackwhite, a synecdoche for all the perversions of Newspeak: to believe that black is white. Our own leaders have given us “enhanced interrogation,” “collateral damage,” “clean coal,” and so many more."

Kean, Sam. The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2018 (The Best American Series ®) . HMH Books. Kindle Edition.

These propaganizing memes cannot be stopped because the means of dissemination are obiquitous. The best hope for restoring sanity to the members of our society is making them aware of the forces of communication which are being deployed to influence them so they can choose their own thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors and not just react in mindless ways.

In psychiatry, "psychosis" is a term of servere cognitive disorganization which places the person suffering from it out of touch with reality. It seems that we are witnesses to this daily in our news stories from politicians who express inaccurate ideas which do not correspond with any reality other than the one they are intending to create in their target audiences with their own dissembling.

Marianne Williamson, a Presidential candidate, tells us we have to "really see", "not just look, but really see." This ability to "really see" requires a maturity, a nonreactivity, an ability to apprehend a spiritual vision of self, community, and society which far exceeds what we have been led to hope for from politics.




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