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Tue Apr 4, 2017, 10:57 AM

Water Maniacs




Speaking of Erich Fromm, I'd recommend his wonderful book “The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness” (1973) as a guide to how Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election. The book describes, in historical terms, the very nature of the Trump campaign. It also provides a valuable blueprint of how Trump – and Bannon, etc – intend to rule.

Before we discuss that book, it would seem important to look at one of Fromm's previous books, “On Disobedience: Why Freedom Means Saying 'No' to Power.” It is a collection of Fromm's essays on the topic from the early 1960s. In this book, the author describes how a society becomes vulnerable to such an authoritarian leader.

The concept of “disobedience” has a curious interpretation in western society. Western culture has been influenced by both the Hebrew and Greek concepts. Human history, according to the Hebrew mythology, began with an act of disobedience that resulted in their being expelled from harmony within the natural world. And the Greek fable of Prometheus defines human civilization as being a result of disobedience.

But before considering the power of disobedience, let's consider “obedience,” as Fromm speaks of it. He notes that there are two types of obedience: “Obedience to a person, institution, or power (heteronomous obedience) is submissive; it implies the abdication of my autonomy and the acceptence of a foreign will or judgment in place of my own. Obedience to my own reason or conviction (autonomous obedience) is not an act of submission but one of affirmation. My conviction and judgment, if authentically mine, are part of me.” (page 5)

From this, we can see how enough Americans submitted to the Trump campaign's promise to “make America great again.” Of course, the majority of voters did not support Trump. Hopefully, they will continue to say “no” to his insanity. The biggest question remains as to if they can do so in a coordinated, unified manner.

These basic ideas are, obviously, not limited to our current situation involving Donald Trump. We can apply these same concepts to other groups and individuals, including family, school, workplace, internet groups, church, etc. And there is a large range of locus on control spanning between fully internal and external in individual human beings.

To better understand this wide range, Fromm notes that we must understand how it involves the individual's conscience. There are, he explains, two distinct types: “One is the 'authoritarian conscience' which is the internalized voice of an authority whom we are eager to please and afraid of displeasing. This authoritarian conscience is what most people experience when they obey their conscience. It is also the conscience that Freud speaks of, and which he called 'Super-Ego.' This Super-Ego represents the internalized commands and prohibitions of father, accepted by son out of fear. Different from the authoritarian conscience is the 'humanistic conscience'; this is the voice present in every human being and independent from external sanctions and reward. Humanistic conscience is based on the fact that as human beings we have an intuitive knowledge of what is human an inhuman, what is conductive of life and what is destructive of life. It is the voice that calls us back to ourselves, back to our humanity.” (page 6)

Because each human life is distinct, and people's beliefs are rooted in their individual life experiences – family, education, etc – humanistic conscience provides for more than one option for individual thinking, beliefs, and values. Only authoritarian conscience holds that there is one, and only one, legitimate set of thoughts, beliefs, and values. On its surface, this is weak, because any time two people's thinking is exactly alike, it means only one is thinking. More, in practice it is tragic: for if all people thought and acted exactly alike, humanity would decay in short order.

This is not to suggest that people should disobey any and all rules of social order. Clearly, those who are incapable of following what Martin Luther King, Jr., correctly called “just laws” create problems. It is the disobedience of “unjust laws” that King advocated, including the willingness to accept the consequences nonviolently. King grasped that this form of appeal to humanistic conscience possesses the power to advance social justice.

Fromm notes that the Hebrew prophets understood history as the period of time required for people to become fully human. When humanistic conscience is shared, then humanity enters “the end of days,” which indicates the ability to live in peace with one another, and in harmony with the natural world. It does not mean that all people will think and act alike. It does mean having respect for other people having the right to identify, for themselves, what type of person they favor for representing their interests and values in “government.”

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Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply Water Maniacs (Original post)
H2O Man Apr 2017 OP
democrank Apr 2017 #1
H2O Man Apr 2017 #2
coeur_de_lion Apr 2017 #3
H2O Man Apr 2017 #5
coeur_de_lion Apr 2017 #4
H2O Man Apr 2017 #6
coeur_de_lion Apr 2017 #7
coeur_de_lion Apr 2017 #9
H2O Man Apr 2017 #10
coeur_de_lion Apr 2017 #12
H2O Man Apr 2017 #13
coeur_de_lion Apr 2017 #14
CanSocDem Apr 2017 #8
H2O Man Apr 2017 #11
Sensitive soul Apr 2017 #15

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Apr 4, 2017, 01:08 PM

1. I'm mulling this over, H20 Man.

From my humanistic conscience....

Once I got over the shock from the election results of 2016, I struggled to understand what happened, and why. This struggle helped me reach a deeper understanding of nuance, degrees, perception.

I learned some Trump voters were motivated solely by despair, some by a complete loss of faith in "the system", some by a lack of information. Some had previously voted for Obama. Believe me, prior to listening, I was prepared to discount them all, and there is still a chunk of them I want stay away from.

Awful as it was, the election helped me grow. I'm going to continue toward understanding others and helping us come together, and at the same time feel good about the values I hold dear.

Today, when I saw photos of those precious children gassed in Syria, I honestly saw the foolishness of arguing over why a person who wants peace but has a (D) after their name is better than a person who wants peace but has an (I) after their name....or vice versa.

~PEACE~




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Response to democrank (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 4, 2017, 02:29 PM

2. The news about

"Black Water's" Eric Prince holding the secret meeting with Russian intelligence suggests that this "scandal" is not only like Watergate, but has the worst characteristics of Iran-Contra, as well. Back then, the Reagan-Bush administration attempted to create a National Security Council/ private "contractors" foreign policy operation. Not only did they break the law per the Boland Amendment, but they were operating a covert government/criminal enterprise that was supposed to avoid any Congressional -- or State Department -- oversight.

Truly, the criminal gang known as the "Trump administration" and their "contractor" associates are attempting the overthrow of the US government. Yet, as you note, numerous people are instead obsessing on what letter follows people's names, and who they voted for from 2000 on.

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Response to democrank (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 5, 2017, 06:01 PM

3. You're a better woman than I am

I have no wish to try and understand anyone who voted for this moron.

I hope at least some of them realize what a terrible error they made and what it has cost this country. Other than that I hope they all rot.

I say this knowing that at least 3 members of my family voted for this.

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 6, 2017, 12:13 AM

5. I can't think

of any family or good friends who voted for him. I am aware of a couple old friends, who I hung out with in the 1970s and '80s, that did. I communicate with them on face book every so often, but not on politics. I'm not sure what bad experiences warped their minds in recent decades.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Apr 5, 2017, 06:04 PM

4. End of days

When humanistic conscience is shared, then humanity enters “the end of days,” which indicates the ability to live in peace with one another, and in harmony with the natural world. It does not mean that all people will think and act alike. It does mean having respect for other people having the right to identify, for themselves, what type of person they favor for representing their interests and values in “government.”


Really H? Even if the person they identify is someone like Trump?

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #4)

Thu Apr 6, 2017, 12:15 AM

6. In a healthy society,

either there would be no Trumps, or the community would get his ilk the psychological help they require at a young age.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #6)

Thu Apr 6, 2017, 07:07 AM

7. At a young age?

if Trump had gotten help early on it wouldn't have helped what is wrong with him. If I'm right about his diagnosis there is no cure or magic pill that could help him. You would know better though.

But I definitely agree that in a healthy society people like him would never have any influence at all. We would not have taken notice of him.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #6)

Thu Apr 6, 2017, 07:47 AM

9. I need reason to hope

Do you have any wise words for those of us who are heartbroken over the election of this nutter?

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #9)

Thu Apr 6, 2017, 11:11 AM

10. One of my

old co-workers recently asked me how it was that I remain upbeat about the future, when the current situation is so horrible. Like so many of us, she recognizes the obvious diagnosis that Trump has. (And, indeed, it causes suffering to others, rather than his suffering from it.)

I reminded her that I always favored a "systems" approach. Take, for example, a family system. And let's view our society as a dysfunctional family system .....maybe one with an evil step-father that we'll call Donald. Now, some of the family members thought Donald would be a wonderful addition to the family, one who could provide leadership. Yet, even more found him repulsive, and were disgusted that anyone would want such a trashy character involved in their family.

Now, the family had some serious issues before Donald entered the scene. And he was attempting to exploit those issues to his own advantage. Plus there was evidence that Donald was carrying on an affair with a Russian gal.

Let's use my favorite model of a family system: a mobile that hangs over an infant's crib. We know that if one piece moves, all the others must also shift. Donald's addition obviously marked a shift to the extreme right. And some of the other pieces attempted to shift that mobile back to the left, but were met with resistance.

Now, my Beautiful Little Sister, as a therapist, where do you see the hope for progress in this family system? Is there any cause for belief that individual therapy with Donald will help? Or is your focus on empowering the group that recognizes Donald is a disease?

Often, a system has to reach "rock bottom" before it will become invested in making real change.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #10)

Thu Apr 6, 2017, 02:30 PM

12. OMG beautifully put

And as always helpful. Brings me some measure of peace. YES.

The hope for the family is within me and you and all of us who hope to bring health and well being to the family system.

Is it okay with you if I post this to some of my family (and yours) elsewhere?

I feel like this would help a lot of people the way it helped me.

And gosh thanks for calling this old lady beautiful, been a good many years since I actually earned that title! LOL

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #12)

Thu Apr 6, 2017, 03:09 PM

13. Well, thanks.

And yes, of course, use it in any way you want.

And you are absolutely both Beautiful and Gorgeous. I know that you've visited my island, and when I think of what's best there, I immediately think of you.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #13)

Thu Apr 6, 2017, 03:14 PM

14. {{{blushes}}}

Now you're gonna give me a swelled head.

Thanks H will post forthwith.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Apr 6, 2017, 07:39 AM

8. Kickin'...

 


...for introducing another great voice from our last revolution(ary effort). And for the thoughtful essay in keeping the folks rational.


.

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Response to CanSocDem (Reply #8)

Thu Apr 6, 2017, 11:13 AM

11. Thank you.

I had two outstanding mentors -- Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman and Dr. Rubin "Hurricane" Carter -- in my youth. Next in line for influencing my thinking was Erich Fromm. While I never met him, his numerous books played a large part in my life.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Apr 9, 2017, 06:37 PM

15. Very good

Especially your response to coeur_de_lion. Nice. 💜

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