A Tale Of Two BlogsThis is part of a series on politics and psychology. You can jump to other parts here:
Prologue: A Tale Of Two Blogs
Part 1: The Most Annoying Thing
Part 2: Sociopaths, Losers and the Clueless
It all started in a weird sort of roundabout way. Here was an article, full of moments of incredible insight. About small things, and about large things. Maybe about both at the same time, as is the way of most thought travelling from the unconscious forward.
Perhaps, it’s impossible to say for sure, this was how it was meant to be. As though a philosophy was slowly forming, and my conscious mind had just not been made aware of it yet.
This piece I had written, I sought feedback, but the same thing kept being said: this is two blogs. Disjointed. Skipping from one random thought to the next. Now psychology, now sociology, now politics. Perhaps they were right, even though social proof is often misleading in these cases, it seemed likely that the writing hadn’t hit the mark.
I put the article aside to think some more. I must admit I had trouble defining what it actually was that I intended to communicate. Something about it confused me, yet, at the same time, something about it seemed to connect, in my mind at least. It remained unpublished for many weeks, my unconscious pondering the problem.
There was some not very good writing in the meantime…writing experiments more than proper articles. Then one morning as I lay half awake this idea popped into my head. It was a grand idea…well a hypothesis really, at first. It was politics, but it was also sociology, and again psychology (of the pop variety at least)…and yet one more thing: math. An idea of set theory, so applicable it seemed like a bolt of an idea. But politics and maths? I’m not talking obvious connections like economics. Rather the kind of connection that leaves people saying things like, “but we’re not talking about maths, we’re talking about politics”.
I’ll get to that idea soon. But first it occurred to me that these ideas that had been bubbling around inside were all somehow intimately connected. And therein lies the first problem.
Many times I’ve found myself confounded, when attempting an analogy, or a metaphor, by a miscommunication. At first, well at least the first time my understanding started to clarify, I saw this as a pattern/facts dichotomy. Perhaps I should explain a little more clearly.
As far as I can tell, given my background in computer software, and understanding of people, as well as pop psychology, there are, as is usually the case, two types of people.
First there are those amongst us, who primarily deal in facts. Now, perhaps there needs to be a better word for what I’m talking about here but I’ll try to elucidate. I’m not talking about facts in the sense of something being true or not. Rather I’m talking about facts in the sense of discrete pieces of information, easily measured, and all in their own little clearly marked boxes. For instance, and I’ll coin a phrase just for the sake of the argument, it is a thoughtlet that in democratic societies politicians tend to gravitate into two dominant parties.
“But the hour presseth them; so they press thee. And also from thee they want Yea or Nay. Alas! thou wouldst set thy chair betwixt For and Against?”
Excerpt From: Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. “Thus Spake Zarathustra.”
The second type of person is the type that thinks in patterns. They don’t concern themselves too much with facts and figures (although this doesn’t necessarily mean they believe in nonsense or oogity boogity), but rather concern themselves with organising general patterns of ideas. They more easily see the connection between, say, the movement of atmospheric pressure and the political vacuum of war and peace. This gives them advantages in predicting general outcomes for an unknown discipline, but less understanding of specific areas of knowledge.
I am more of a pattern thinking person, although I only realised this a few years ago. Till that point it hadn’t occurred to me that there was any reason to suspect that others didn’t even understand the general style of thinking I was using.
Pattern thinking is the basis behind such things as fables. Almost no one would suggest that “slow and steady wins the race” only applies to tortoises, so at least on some level pattern thinking must be understood by most people. And yet in most topics it seems to be almost anathema.
Where does this resistance come from? It’s probably out of my range of skills to make conclusions, although I do have a certain suspicion. Most of us, from the age of about five, are sent to school. It becomes a (if not THE) dominant influence on our modes of thinking. For (I assume) reasons of efficiency all the information is delivered via a number of discrete categories: maths, science, history etc. Therein, with increasing levels of difficulty, we are presented with gruelling examinations, testing us on each topic individually. Is it any wonder than that we develop minds that try to separate conversations to singular discrete topics? It’s probably also the reason why we hear arguments like: why should I learn statistics if I’m never going to be a statician? (Answer: you’re an idiot.)
There is perhaps nothing more preposterous a notion than that of separating ideas into their own baskets. LIFE IS MESSY! Life doesn’t separate itself, it just is! Economics (to use an example) can be no more separated from philosophy, can be no more separated from politics, can be no more separated from psychology, can be no more separated from baking, building, designing, nor living than a heart can be separated from a living being. Sure, you CAN separate these things but what you have left is a pile of human remains WITHOUT life, only death.
As if one can play soccer without considering the importance of a healthy heart and diet! In that regard, at least, perhaps sports people are a little ahead.
And yet we must never let the disciplines cross. And why? Why must we talk about political climate WITHOUT discussing the mental state of those in charge of it?
It’s obvious, in retrospect, that Adolph Hitler was seven hens short of a dozen, but if he was around today, and there ARE MANY JUST LIKE HIM, we would excuse him and mark the naysayers as deluded conspiracists!
It’s no longer viable to talk about these things as separate ideas. EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS CONNECTED. DISCONNECTION IS DEATH, and it’s high time we talked as so.
“In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues….” George Orwell, Why I Write