Are we all “dittoheads” to some ideology?
Wikipedia informs me that “dittoheads” are “faithful listeners to The Rush Limbaugh Show. Limbaugh explains that these adoring fans are not necessarily those who agree with his views; “they are people who love the show and what he's doing, and hope he never stops doing it.” Dittohead is a term that came into use because one caller said “ditto” to a string of former callers who praised Limbaugh’s rants; he recognized that time was important on the show and just wanted everyone to know that he wanted to “OK” all the glories previously announced by others.”
The “art of reasoning consists in…getting hold of the big ideas and hanging on to them like grim death”--William James
I think that the ‘big idea’ is the ‘big question’ that we must answer if we desire to comprehend “why do we do the things we do?”
Wo/man worships and fears power; we enthusiastically give our loyalty to our leader. Sapiens are at heart slavish. Therein lay the rub, as Shakespeare might say.
Freud was the first to focus upon the phenomenon of a patient’s inclination to transfer the feelings s/he had toward her parents as a child to the physician. The patient distorts the perception of the physician; s/he enlarges the figure up far out of reason and becomes dependent upon him. In this transference of feeling, which the patient had for his parents, to the physician the grown person displays all the characteristics of the child at heart, a child who distorts reality in order to relieve his helplessness and fears.
Freud saw these transference phenomena as the form of human suggestibility that makes the control over another, as displayed by hypnosis, as being possible. Hypnosis seems mysterious and mystifying to us only because we hide our slavish need for authority from our self. We live the big lie, which lay within this need to submit our self slavishly to another, because we want to think of our self as self-determined and independent in judgment and choice.
The predisposition to hypnosis is identical to that which gives rise to transference and it is characteristic of all sapiens. We could not function as adults if we retained this submissive attitude to our parents, however, this attitude of submissiveness, as noted by Ferenczi, is “The need to be subject to someone remains; only the part of the father is transferred to teachers, superiors, impressive personalities; the submissive loyalty to rulers that is so widespread is also a transference of this sort.”
Freud saw immediately that when caught up in groups wo/man became dependent children once again. They abandoned their individual egos for that of the leader; they identified with their leader and proceeded to function with him as their ideal. Freud identified man, not as a herd animal but as a horde (teeming crowd) animal that is led by a chief. Wo/man has an insatiable need for authority.
People have an insatiable need to be hypnotized by authority; they seek a magical protection as when they were infants protected by their mother. This is the force that acts to hold groups together, intertwined within a mutually constructed but often mindless interdependence. This mindless group think also builds a feeling of potency. The members feel a sense of unity within the grasp of their leadership.
‘Why are groups so blind and stupid?’ Freud asked; and he replied that mankind lived by self delusion. They “constantly give what is unreal precedence over what is real.” The real world is too frightening to behold; delusion changes this by making sapiens seem important. This explains the terrible sadism we see in group activity.
Sapiens display a need to be hypnotized by leaders.
Psychology is a domain of knowledge that is complex and filled with concepts that are completely unfamiliar to the vast majority of our population. But Psychology provides us with an insight into why humans do what they do that no other domain of knowledge can provide.
Sapiens are at heart slavish. Therein lay the rub, as Shakespeare might say.
Humans seek to be more than animals. We seek to be gods or at least propagate that level above animal and just below God.
That which promotes life is good that which promotes death is evil. “Evil lies not in the hearts of men but in the social arrangements that men take for granted.”
Wo/man lives a debased life under tyranny and self delusion because s/he does not comprehend the conditions of natural freedom. Sapiens need hope and belief in themselves; thus illusion is necessary if it is creative for life, but is evil if it promotes death.
A psychodynamic analysis of history displays saga of death, destruction, and coercion from the outside while inside we see self-delusion and self enslavement. We seek mystification. We seek transference; we seek hypnotists as our chosen leaders.
We seek the power to ward off big evil by reflexively embracing small terrors and small fascinations in the place of overwhelming ones.
I concluded that we are all dittoheads to one degree or another. Intellectual sophistication is a means to extract our self from our self imposed dittoheadhood.
Do you have any interest in comprehending why humans do what they do?
Can you think of any subject matter that might provided this insight better than does psychology?
Have you ever tried to study psychology?