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View Diary: The GOP are schizophrenics led by sociopaths (74 comments)

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  •  You seem to have based your 'understanding' (3+ / 0-)

    of schizophrenia on the work of one individual.  Julian Jaynes' theories are interesting, but extraordinarily reductive and not just prone to, but based in, massive generalisation of his own experience to all others.  They are not particularly well-supported by other evidence.

    A better model for understanding the GOP and its base would be the authoritarian personality, or perhaps paranoia, although the authoritarian type is often understood to include a considerable paranoid element.  This authoritarian model fits far better with the observable patterns of behaviour seen in right-wingers.

    Frankly, your use of 'schizophrenic' in this context smacks of first-year uni student who's just discovered what they think is a profound insight.  It's not.  Worse, it is insulting and potentially harmful, and perpetuates inaccurate stereotypes of mental illness.  If you can't deal with the fact that perfectly sane people are capable of massively harming others, well that's your problem, but please do not inflict it on us.  You are trying to other those who do not believe as you do, in an effort to put a greater distance between them and you, which is, in itself, a reflex that must be overcome in order to properly understand and deal with the real evils that those 'others' help to create.

    Finally, as a schizophrenic with a degree in literary criticism, I can assure you that your description of schizophrenia in this diary has only a passing resemblance to my own experience of it, and is an inaccurate metaphor for current political reality that crumbles with any closer examination.  The points of resemblance between schizophrenia and the behaviour of the GOP base as a whole (I do not deny that individuals in that group may be schizophrenic, but simple observation shows that they do not have substantial influence on the wider body) are so slight that you cannot then use your chosen metaphor as a way of opening up the subject to a greater understanding.  Pressing the metaphor further, in fact, leads to obfuscation, and obscuring of the reality of the phenomenon that you are attempting to describe, rather than a greater transparency and comprehension.

    I would suggest that, in future, you read much more widely, and consider the full implications of your analysis more thoroughly before writing.


    And, on a personal note, I despise you for both pushing the work of a hack who thinks that I am an 'automaton', and for reminding that I know how to write crit-speak.

    •  ah, the best response so far (0+ / 0-)

      If it had only been earlier, this could have been quite productive.

      And, on a personal note, I despise you for both pushing the work of a hack who thinks that I am an 'automaton', and for reminding that I know how to write crit-speak.
      Let's dispense with the personal insults first.

      Excuse me, but the term "command automaton" is quite common in the discussion of schizophrenia. Jaynes did not invent it.

      Command hallucinations

      Command hallucinations are hallucinations in the form of commands.[19] The contents of the hallucinations can range from the innocuous to commands to cause harm to the self or others.[19] Command hallucinations are often associated with schizophrenia. People experiencing command hallucinations may or may not comply with the hallucinated commands, depending on circumstances. Compliance is more common for non-violent commands.

      - Command Hallucination

      Get back to me when you reach the hack status of Princeton professor, with articles published in major journals.

      OTOH, if you are PoMo, I surrender. You guys could make Jesus doubt his faith. :-) Other than that, litcrit is just another derivative pile of academic solipcism that has no business throwing stones at psychology.

      Now that we've both shown we know how to insult each other, can we move on to a more productive discourse? Or will you continue to "despise" me.


      Yes, mea culpa, I have a weakness for Dr. Jaynes. I knew one of his students.

      And, you will accept than John Dean has already covered authoritarian personality several times over. So, its hardly helpful to suggest I write along those lines.

      Now, your criticism that I sound like a "first year uni-student" is the polar opposite of the criticsms up-thread. Those critics were so unclear that I had to correct their understanding of what I said before we could proceed. You come at me from the idea what I said is naive.

      My counter-argument is that I calculated just how dumbed down the post had to be not to lose people. Up-thread demonstrates I didn't dumb it down enough. Yes, what I said is simple; and judging by the response, I have managed to be attacked from both ends of the intellectual spectrum.

      Can we now have a productive discussion?

      If you can't deal with the fact that perfectly sane people are capable of massively harming others, well that's your problem, but please do not inflict it on us.  
      Perhaps you should consider that some of the biggest murderers in history were nuts. Stalin was paranoid, Hitler had a psychotic break in hospital. Himmler thought he was the reincarnation of Henry the Fowler. Clearly, Pol Pot was nuts. Its pretty presumptuous to assume that among the collection of creeps in the GOP, that none of them are nuts, in a non-crippling kind of way - the kind of way that leads to atrocity.
      as a schizophrenic with a degree in literary criticism, I can assure you that your description of schizophrenia in this diary has only a passing resemblance to my own experience of it,
      First, the number of schizophrenics who recover sufficiently to get a doctorate is small, the John Nash story not withstanding. That is a compliment. You are exceptional in a productive way.

      I would appreciate your describing your experience, since you insist my description has only a slight resemblance. How can I correct myself without information? How can you be sure that your exceptional circumstances are representative? that my diary is generally inaccurate?

      Other than your assertion that I am wrong by personal experience, your post sounds like all the other complaints. So please give me some facts that differentiate you from the others.

      Thank you.

      •  I'm not sure I can have a productive (1+ / 0-)
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        Alice in Florida

        coversation with someone who seems to have more invested in defending their own alleged intellectual superiority than their ideas.  Your every response so far has been merely a variation on utterly correct you are, with little attempt to actually engage with others or to provide substantive evidence for your own assertions.  

        I'm afraid that in your response above I see nothing solid that I myself can engage with.  You have made another pile of sweeping generalisations and chucked in a wikipedia definition without, apparently, even considering the gulf between 'command hallucination' as defined there (where the possibility, even likelihood, of resistance is included in the definition) and what Jaynes was implying in terms of the disintegration/annihilation of the self.  Jaynes' underlying theme of the erasure of self and discarding of the possibilities of self-direction and self-reflection, were also among the reasons why I disliked 'The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind' when it first came out.  On the academic side, his own lack of grounding in more recent psychological theory (as at the time of publication) and his focus on a handful of sources which were by no means universally representative of that historical period, were much more serious flaws.  I can tell you that none of the Classics professors that I knew at the time were particularly impressed.

        As for the rest, I am uninterested in point-scoring and only commented in order to register my distaste for your cavalier use of mental illness as a metaphor.  I do not think that there is any discussion to have, between the two of us, since you are so completely unwilling to reconsider any of your ideas, or to pay much attention to what I actually said, other than to focus on the bruise to your own ego.  And if you don't think that a professor at a prestigious university can be a hack, then you either haven't met many of them, or you're viewing them through a golden haze.  By the way, I wasn't accusing you of naivety with the comparison to a first-year student, you reminded me of that because of your heavy dependence on a single text, with no evidence that you had 'read around' that text, or properly understood its context.  It's a common error that we've all made on first finding what initially looks like an exciting idea that could explain what we have previously found no good explanation for.

        As for

        the number of schizophrenics who recover sufficiently to get a doctorate is small,
        how many schizophrenics do you know?  How about the fact that I didn't 'recover' before getting my degree(s), I had a psychotic breakdown in the middle of the first one and a minor one during my final year exams.  I still passed.  Yes, I'm probably bit unusual, but I've come across others like me, we are out there, we just don't talk about it with people who are likely not to understand.  That includes people like you who buy into the binary theory of insanity that posits that everyone is either 'nuts' or sane and that there is a bright line between the two.  There isn't, people who gain immense power may become paranoid over time, and an awful lot of perfectly sane people believe in reincarnation and may think themselves the reincarnation of someone in particular.

        Oh, and to put your mind at rest - I'm not a PoMo, the rise of that nonsense is part of why I decided not to pursue an academic career in my initial choice of subject.  Also, note that I said 'degree(s)' up there, the second one was in psychology.  For all your posturing, the very fact that you can engage in large-scale, very poorly founded distance diagnosis of both living and historical figures indicates that you do not understand the principles of the discipline very well.

        •  What a pile of projection (0+ / 0-)

          You may not be PoMo but you sure sneer like one.

          You did not comment on one substantive thing I said. I guess that's because you were in such a hurry to get down to trashing me.

          Your response contains everything you say you find objectionable in me: a perfect certainty that you are right , and that I am dangerously stupid. These are not assumptions I made about you.

          So, no, we cannot have a productive conversation because you are every bit as arrogant as you say I am. You simultaneous use your status as schizophrenic to beat me up and to play the victim. Nice trick. Sort of GOPish in its simultaneous superiority and victimhood.

          Good luck with your life. No more personal offense meant than in any random Internet encounter. BTW - I am seriously sick of being dissed for fighting my corner after six hours of clearly stating my position. But, that's life on the net.

          Goodbye, Mr. LitCrit.

          •  That's Ms LitCrit to you. (0+ / 0-)

            What 'corner' are you fighting?  It doesn't seem to be the one that contains any evidence that you can actually cite.  If you are not interested in discussing some of the fundamental assumptions underlying the work of the authority that you are basing your argument on, then I must question the genuiness of your desire to engage in productive debate.  Let me make myself clear, if Jaynes' analysis of schizophrenia is flawed, then that affects its utility as a metaphor in the way that you are using it.  Are you actually aware of the history of controversy surrounding Jaynes' theories and the counterarguments?

            I never accused you of being arrogant, it is interesting that you leapt to that word.  I also never requested pity for my mental health history, only an awareness that perhaps it gives me a little inside knowledge that can inform my analysis of theory.

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