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Our language as used in the media and other public domains has failed us totally.  There are so many phoney "debates" out there and so much new speak and double speak  that communicate ceased a long time ago.  This Orwellian pun sums it up in part:  

1984 was meant as a warning not a guidebook
I don't know about you but for me it gets harder and harder to read our diaries here without either wanting to scream or cry.  So very many play right into this misuse and abuse of language and the resultant distorted picture of reality.

While researching for the follow up to my book with Jim Coffman I ran across this:  A Growing "Social Psychosis" Clashes With Serving The Common Good

Much of the ongoing debate in political, business and social/cultural arenas is rooted in an underlying disagreement about what best serves national interests and individual lives -- is it promoting the common good, or serving self-interest?

Interdependence and interconnection on this planet is becoming ever-more apparent. It's bringing new challenges and new realities for personal life, the role of government and the conduct of business leadership. Along with these new realities, attitudes and behavior are shifting towards ways to serve the larger common good; now necessary for successful, flexible and psychologically resilient functioning.

However, these shifts clash with a long-prevailing ideology, that the primary pursuit of self-interest best serves the public interest and personal success. That ideology has also prevailed in our views of adult psychological health and maturity. In essence, this ideology makes the pursuit of greed, self-centeredness and materialism the holy trinity of public and private conduct.  And it's generating a growing "social psychosis."

I find it useful not because it answers the question but rather because it addresses it.  Read on below and I will explain what I mean.

First of all let me review our findings in our book: Global Insanity: How Homo sapiens Lost Touch with Reality while Transforming the World

The Global Economy that sustains the civilized world is destroying the biosphere. As a result, civilization, like the Titanic, is on a collision course with disaster. But changing course via the body politic appears to be well nigh impossible, given that much of the populace lives in denial. Why is that? And how did we get into such a fix? In this essay, biologists James Coffman and Donald Mikulecky argue that the reductionist model of the world developed by Western civilization misrepresents life, undermining our ability to regulate and adapt to the accelerating anthropogenic transformation of the world entrained by that very model. An alternative worldview is presented that better accounts for both the relational nature of living systems and the developmental phenomenology that constrains their evolution. Development of any complex system reinforces specific dependencies while eliminating alternatives, reducing the diversity that affords adaptive degrees of freedom: the more developed a system is, the less potential it has to change its way of being. Hence, in the evolution of life most species become extinct. This perspective reveals the limits that complexity places on knowledge and technology, bringing to light our hubristically dysfunctional relationship with the natural world and increasingly tenuous connection to reality. The inescapable conclusion is that, barring a cultural metamorphosis that breaks free of deeply entrenched mental frames that made us what we are, continued development of the Global Economy will lead inexorably to the collapse of civilization.
The meaning of what we are saying can easily be lost in the very process about human thinking we are describing.  The work of George Lakoff explains it in part and does it very well.  

The link above to Psychology Today illustrates the dillema we face very well.  Who among us would disagree with this:

The delusion here is that a society can progress - or even hold it's own - by embracing an anti-science position and glorifying ignorance. The delusion consists of the belief that denying scientific evidence or knowledge of facts in general is a good basis for making decisions that affect the public. Whether in the halls of Congress, in the media or on Boards of Education, the delusion of the anti-science/pro-ignorance crowd have increasing influence and impact, as polls indicate. It includes denial of evolution, rejection of the evidence for human-created rise of carbon emissions that creates ongoing climate change, and a general embrace of ignorance as a virtue; that it trumps the usefulness of empirical facts.
 Look closely at this quote and that from  our book and you will see the problem.  It is not science that we need but a science that does not divorce us from reality and nature.

Today's science has been carefully groomed to feed our addiction.  It leads to the technology that fuels the growing capitalist monster.  It rejects or ignores any challenge to its myopic and limited utilitarian focus.

We escape this reality by having "the other side" to make us feel superior.  What is there to feel superior about if we are contributing just about as much to the problem the world is now facing?

We chose the title "Global Insanity" for a reason.  We see our species on a path of self destruction that would continue if every Republican were to vanish instantaneously.  We have a mass psychosis and its misidentification is part of that psychosis. Psychotics seldom can identify their illness and we are no exception.

Originally posted to don mikulecky on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 12:48 PM PDT.

Also republished by Systems Thinking.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You say lots of good things here ... (4+ / 0-)

    but I kind of lost the thread of the argument. You seem to decry an anti-science attitude, but then turn around and say our science isn't good enough.

    Well, there's no doubt that out of the vast amount of scientific work being conducted, some of it is more valuable, more generally applicable, if you will, than others. But how is that a problem of science, per se?

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 12:58:08 PM PDT

    •  almost what I said (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage
      decry an anti-science attitude, but then turn around and say our science isn't good enough.
      here's what I say about modern science:
      Today's science has been carefully groomed to feed our addiction.  It leads to the technology that fuels the growing capitalist monster.  It rejects or ignores any challenge to its myopic and limited utilitarian focus.
      and this
      James Coffman and Donald Mikulecky argue that the reductionist model of the world developed by Western civilization misrepresents life, undermining our ability to regulate and adapt to the accelerating anthropogenic transformation of the world entrained by that very model. An alternative worldview is presented that better accounts for both the relational nature of living systems and the developmental phenomenology that constrains their evolution. Development of any complex system reinforces specific dependencies while eliminating alternatives, reducing the diversity that affords adaptive degrees of freedom: the more developed a system is, the less potential it has to change its way of being. Hence, in the evolution of life most species become extinct. This perspective reveals the limits that complexity places on knowledge and technology, bringing to light our hubristically dysfunctional relationship with the natural world and increasingly tenuous connection to reality.
      What do you not understand?

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 02:17:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Smaller paragraphs would help sort your ideas (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        don mikulecky, linkage

        better. I know, I know, everything's connected, but still.

        Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding"

        by Bob Love on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 03:28:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  A glance at the other comments here corroborates (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, linkage

        ... my assertion that your point is not very clear, because they're kind of all over the place.

        I think I get what you're saying, and to a point I even agree with it, though I think your way of expressing it is not helpful.

        To me science is a tool and a very powerful one. It is a means for us to answer an astonishing array of questions through reliance on repeatable processes and independent verification. Science has not changed.

        What you are complaining of seems to me to be the commercial, social and political forces driving our technology. But if we use a tool in destructive and life-diminishing ways that is not really an argument against the quality of the tool itself.

        "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

        by Demi Moaned on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 03:44:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh yes science has changed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          linkage

          But you do not know about the changes because all you hear  about is the the stuff the sponsors want you to hear.

          There is a lot of new stuff out there in every part of science just sitting there because it won't make money for anyone at the moment.

          An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

          by don mikulecky on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 03:56:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Take the 'Efficient Markets Hypothesis' (0+ / 0-)

        please!

  •  Homo Sapiens is such a perfectly ironic misnomer. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania, don mikulecky, linkage

    Homo Sapiens is such a perfectly ironic misnomer.

    Bald monkeys, who was it that thought that was a good idea?

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 01:43:21 PM PDT

  •  Crazy mega-religions a big part of ignorance (7+ / 0-)

    spreading and no more separation of church and state the other.

    People who still believe, live by, practice life from a 2000 yr old book 'Don't Get Life Today' or progress or that moving forward is the way to go..

    It is beyond STUCK behavior. They are the 'zombies'.

    That's my opinion and observation. This place got crazy religious in 2008.

    "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    "It's said that the honest man has nothing to hide. Not true. The honest man has to hide himself, because honest men are the prime targets of those who lie."

    by roseeriter on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 02:07:28 PM PDT

    •  Don't use them to escape your own complicity (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage

      Look inward first.  You are an addict in denial.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 02:18:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think I know what you're trying to do here (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        don mikulecky, Pluto, Bob Love, linkage

        (See my post below.)

        I'm just not certain that this approach (referring to this comment) is destined to be very effective.

        A few years ago, after the Matrix had achieved cultural ubiquity, there was a poll that asked people to describe themselves as a "red pill person" or a "blue pill person." Some insanely high percentage of people characterized themselves as red pill people. Few people perceive themselves as anything other than servants of reality. Few people are prepared to accept the idea that they're not only being deceived, but that they are a party to that deception. That's why this problem you are pointing to is so implacable.

        Louis CK talks about this in his "but maybe" bit. Basically, he suggests that maturity is the ability to hold two conflicting thoughts without immediately and reflexively rejecting the one that makes us feel bad. Our media makes bank on the precise opposite premise. Media is literally at war with reality, and in league with belief.

        Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

        by The Termite on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 02:58:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I do not see the point of this insult (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        linkage

        to Rose.  You may have a point, but I can't figure it out.... at all.  This piece is almost incoherent.

        Btw, you slam Rose for complaining re. the role bigchurch has played on the dumbing down of civilization and then you have the utter b*lls, to say the following downthread:

        The human mind is too complex for mere
        rationality.  Rationality  is too much like the bible.  We use it when it suits us.
        How dare you use religion as a comparison when you have just grossly insulted Rose from exploring the impact of religion?

        I am going to speak what I am thinking (always a bad idea online.)  This whole diary reads as though it was written drunk.  Your responses read as though written drunk.  Or maybe high.  I vote for drunk.

        This is a topic of intense interest to me, but this diary is an utter waste of time.  There is no coherent thread, just choppy disjointed platitudes and then attacks.

        Addressed to Pope Francis: "Don't tell me what you believe........show me what you DO ........and I will tell you what you believe." (~Meteor Blades)

        by SeaTurtle on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 03:34:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A recent piece in the NYT on... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, Pluto, Bob Love

    ...the durability of belief in the face of contrary fact addressed this issue really well.

    I think that post-rationality will be the death of us. I think it is arising from fear that owes to the pace of change in our world, and I think it is inflicting the left as well as the right (though in different and more subtle ways).

    If you challenge anybody about the idea that their beliefs are stronger than their reason, they shut down. Nobody wants to imagine themselves irrational. So directly addressing this problem is very difficult.

    Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

    by The Termite on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 02:36:17 PM PDT

    •  But it is rationality that made possible the (0+ / 0-)

      the things that are killing us.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 03:05:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rationality made all human development possible (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        don mikulecky

        The good with the bad.

        When I say rationality, I mean a foundation of reason that precedes faith, bias, prejudice, etc. By "rational" I mean that when the facts say the ice caps are melting and your belief system says "I want to keep driving my SUV," you don't allow that second truth to negate the first.

        Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

        by The Termite on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 03:10:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Does Lakoff really say this? (0+ / 0-)
    The meaning of what we are saying can easily be lost in the very process about human thinking we are describing. The work of George Lakoff explains it in part and does it very well.
    There is Lakoff the linguist. Conceptual metaphor uses one idea and links it to another, to better understand something. It's a universal aspect of human language use.

    Then there is Lakoff the political strategist and the political critic. You should use good strong metaphor, for political effectiveness. And, conservatives use metaphor in ways that obscure the truth.

    But this still doesn't lead to the idea that meaning is somehow lost, if conservatives use metaphor in ways that obscure the truth. Metaphor is how meaning is expressed.

    •  Read what he says about framing. (0+ / 0-)

      Most of what we do is unconscious according to him.  He has written numerous books on this.

      He also blames a lot of our political problems on the "enlightenment".

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 03:31:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ebola? (0+ / 0-)

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 03:25:52 PM PDT

  •  When is civilization going to collapse? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    Best Scientist Ever Predicts Bacon Will Be Element 119 On The Periodic Table

    by dov12348 on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 03:55:02 PM PDT

  •  Just found this new diary (0+ / 0-)

    that's making a lot of the same points, but much more concisely.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 03:55:48 PM PDT

  •  "Today" I think that, once life begins in this Uni (0+ / 0-)

    verse, Evolution will lead inevitably to an intelligent, self aware species that can deduce the rules. Survival of the meanest will produce the smartest and most devious. I actually hate that thought but believe it is probably true. "Today."

    Tomorrow I will think that we just have to get a tiny bit smarter and it will be a little easier.

    We can not only build an incredible machine to help us figure out if we are part of a Multiverse or not, thanks to the cooperation of thousands if not billions of regular folks, but we can also let clever Dick[cheney]heads fuck it up. Go figure.

    I have good days and bad days but, "Today", me is leaning in the direction of "We are fucked!' Then I remember what an astounding, slightly larger machine than the LHC, this Internet doohickey thingy that we have assembled, is, to figure out this gloriously insoluble, devilishly engaging Universe. The origin of which shall challenge us all to live another day to fight the good fight.

    Don't get me wrong, unless you are a Republican't. I think that method of thinking [Republican't] angers me enough to stick around for another day to help overcome what I believe is not the way towards a better future for all your great-grand children. I don't like anger though it does help me fight the depression I suffer from after reading too much "News"

    There is no they, We will sink or swim together.... We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness

    by GDbot on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 05:50:33 PM PDT

  •  to paraphrase donald rumsfeld ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SeaTurtle

    ... I think the problem lies not in what we know so much as in what we don't know and don't know that we don't know.

    And reading this article did not make me feel any wiser.

    •  quotable non quote, tx, are you downunder? (0+ / 0-)

      thewombat?  I luv me some Oz snark.

      Addressed to Pope Francis: "Don't tell me what you believe........show me what you DO ........and I will tell you what you believe." (~Meteor Blades)

      by SeaTurtle on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 07:56:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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