The retrospectoscope shudders and strains.

Our country is beset by an epidemic of meanness the focus of which is once again the “undeserving poor” and the visible minorities.The target is the social network that protects the poor from total destitution and despair.Police abuse and impropriety is under protest across the nation.L.R. enjoins”Focus!”at the same time that the mechanism of the blog insists on following the dialogue and commentary.How do we examine the horror of the recent terrorist acts in France and the resurfacing of antisemitism that is centuries old as well as the specter of  a radical Islam purveying an extreme belief set and determined to propogate by the sword?

The microcosm of the New Haven model city can only outline the dilemma but is not useless.With the converging on New Haven of issues involving civil rights, the Panthers.displaced issues from Chicago(The Bobby Seale trial),it is inconceivable that Washington did not provide resources and consultation to its “model city”.(The support of the police/community interaction through  the police chief is a prior example given here.) I believe that the embroilment of the U.S.A in police issues gave a signal to the world that the U.S. was unable to assume a leadership role in the dialogue between enfrachisement and disenfranchisement.The use of the words immersification and ontology indicates that the academic world has a language of its own to describe that which others certainly feel and experience.That language is an “in” language and the issues need to be posited in language that all can understand.The writing of papers supporting individual careers is insufficient when critical ideas are transiting.(The conclusion given to “When warring Goups Meet” was incorrect, the exercise did what it was supposed to do!)In the world of 1960s communication we had time even though we didn’t think so. In today’s world communication is too swift to be controlled so ontology cannot shield immersification.

Among the identifiable millenials in communication with the octogenarians are two grandchildren.Through my eldest grandson I know that the dogma of spreading Islam by the sword was only a 100 year phenomenon not proselytyzed thereafter and repudiated by both Sunni and Shiite.However,the dispute between Sunni and Shiite is quite real and centuries old ,forcing us to recognize that religion and ideology are easily and dangerously entwined.Apparently so too are science and ideology.I’ll forego “Creationism” and go back to the retrospectoscope of 1960s New Haven.Lou Fierman my old chief at the West Haven V.A. in one of his last communications indicated that Fritz Redlich the then chair of Psychiatry and subsequently Dean of the Yale medical School, on recruiting faculty, said unequivocally”make no mistake this is an analytic department”  Psychoanalysis was and is a useful tool but it is not “truth” and in an attempt to avoid the ideology of analysis a number of residents found refuge in “identity theory” supplied in part by the elder Erikson.It is not accidental that the contemporary effort to understand radicalization and the effects of inequity worldwide make heavy use of an identity concept.Freud was no doubt a genius but it is our responsibility to stand on the shoulders of the great to peer farther ahead. We seem to have a penchant for deifying great people and to bring progress from them to a halt.At any rate the combination of ideology and the closing off of free investigation and dialogue is a recipe for trouble.

I believe that the U.S. symbolizes the essence of constitutional democracy.We are the world’s “model” country. Our President must carry that symbolism through the world through his role and our example.The world(all of it) watches national response to immigration reform,relations with Cuba(including Guantanamo),reactions from the right against presidential executive action(there would appear to be no other possibility) and reactions from the left to attempts to compromise.Our inability to assume a leadership role in the world (including the use of raw military power) might even signal to those who believe overly in symbolic representation, a mystical opportunity for producing overthrow of the existing social order.Those with no “cards of identity” to draw against have nothing to lose particularly if supported by a mystical ideology that gives them recognition and something to gain.

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10 Comments

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  5. @daedal2207 I agree with your first sentence. As to your second, I believe that the rise of ISIL through social media efforts proves that to be inaccurate … ISIL is flourishing in recruitment efforts on social media and the world recognizes that effect.

    1. Of course you are right.The term disbelief is used in the old fashioned sense of something close to awe.The problem with awe is that is close to fear and fear predisposes to fight or flight. What will buy enough time for a measured coordinated response including “fight”?.Somehow we have to avoid “east is east” and “west is west” knee jerk reaction.Who are our leaders and are they up to it? Executive power is perhaps of necessity being resorted to;In the U.S congressional response seems to be unsophisticated and following rather than leading.

  6. Claude;
    You address a number of social issues that repeatedly erupt in headline news. For eight decades (or nearly so) we have personally experienced major agendas pushing against, clashing (and sometimes thriving with) other agendas. So, it may be helpful to examine – what is it, this often warring thing – this thing called an agenda? It seems that a primal agenda is that of preserving the self. Physical needs must be satisfied, and of all the agendas this one may be the easiest to understand. A striving to satisfy physical needs is about as certain a healthy agenda as can exist. This desire is shared by all. But, we humans also have active minds. Growing minds tend to sprout interests beyond the physical realm and form subjectively complicated and imaginative concepts of “self”. It can differ from the growing interests of other imaginative minds in myriad ways. The sense of self can be magnified if supplied with injections of “bigger than life” causes. The “self” learns to identify (empathize) with ideas, groups, religions, tribes, etc. Thus many a “self” becomes addictively dependent on and protective of its enhanced state of being (and increasingly protective of those (groups) with whom the self has empathically expanded.)
    If all the above is true, for survival reasons we have no option but to have agendas. The real question becomes that of determining as best we can the viability, the dysfunction or destruction that is caused when absorbing and acting out various agendas. This is complicated by the fact that many best answers are context sensitive. But fundamentally – is survival being enhanced or diminished by our particular vision of self and the agendas needed to sustain it?
    So can we agree on a criterion for evaluating agendas such that our judgments can be supported with empirically supported evidence? I find that the primal survival requirements of human life are a solid starting point. We can statistically correlate many behaviors with healthy longevity. Therefore agendas that enhance the number who actually experience long, healthy lives can be supported as worthy processes. Agendas that serve or hinder this end can be evaluated with empirical evidence. I am arguing that this is an objective method with which we can (ultimately) find the most agreement and the least conflict.
    But it is mechanistic and tends to be in conflict with those who have embraced concepts of self that rely on various forms of faith and spirituality. (Empirical evidence shows that some forms of faith have melded quite well with the objective laws of nature (and human nature) and do indeed serve well our efforts to achieve healthy longevity. It may even be true that there are some things that most humans must believe to be true that are not true. This important possibility is a haunting complexity that hopefully the Octogenarians will explore at a later time.)
    Now, if a “faith” criterion is considered “superior” we are in a realm of imaginative variables. Agreement is less likely and the means for establishing agreement become more difficult. “Faith” in its most basic sense can refer to any belief that claims for itself degrees of certitude that are not supported by all the evidence. Religions acknowledge their reliance on faith. Most ideologies are heavily dependent on faith-enhanced sentiments, but lack the clarity (honesty) of acknowledgment.
    Consider: From what basis sprouts the ideological agenda positing that “morality” is equated with an equality of outcome? An agenda determined to equalize outcome reasonably tends to require a government powerful enough to force a redistribution of a population’s product. But what if the physical and health needs of the greater number are best served by advancing an incentive market system that necessarily rewards unequally those who are most productive? If this is true, the imposition of an agenda that forcibly redistributes product would tend to a diminishment or a destruction of that goal.
    Also consider: Isn’t the choice to identify with the concept of “moral” primarily a religious-like, good-person bad-person concept? Its use indicates an enhanced, self-judgment criteria that tends to be faith-based rather than that of an objective, mechanistic, – what works best.

    Don Spencer

  7. It is only fair to add that there is a positive response to the national dilemma focusing on attempts to deal with inequity,sexism and racism.There is however,disbelief that on an international basis social media and telecommunication can sweep across nineteenth century artificial boundaries and be devastatingly effective in the hands of radicals.

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