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Thread: Why does the fluttering red cape prevail?

  1. #1

    Default Why does the fluttering red cape prevail?

    Why does the fluttering red cape prevail?

    The confident Matador flutters the red cape, the massive bull charges, energetically hooking empty air in bewilderment.

    Please be reasonable! Let us reason together. There was no reason for that. What do we mean by these common expressions?

    Ignoring the fact that these are generally just common exclamations by most of us that are meaningful only in their emotional content; what is the source of our indication of reliance on ‘reason’?

    “The decay of decency in the modern age, the rebellion against law and good faith, the treatment of human beings as things, as the mere instruments of power and ambition, is without a doubt the consequence of the decay of the belief in man as something more than an animal animated by highly conditioned reflexes and chemical reactions. For, unless man is something more than that, he has no rights that anyone is bound to respect, and there are no limitations upon his conduct which he is bound to obey.” Walter Lippmann

    Western democracies have invested in a concentrated effort to establish a ‘confidence in reason’ because it is assumed by the sophisticated that reasoning is the principal factor that makes humans different in kind from other animals.

    A popular adage goes something like this “I cannot argue down a conviction that has not been argued up.” It is impossible for me to use reason to convince someone who is without confidence in reason that they should have confidence in reason.

    An adult without confidence in reason must start the effort to study reason before they can gain a confidence in reason. Perhaps that is impossible also. Perhaps it is the case that an adult without a confidence in reason will never have confidence in reason.

    I suspect that 95% of the adults in the US have no confidence in reason and if my logic is correct they never will have that confidence. If that does not depress 5% of the population then nothing will. Perhaps it will delight the other 95%.

    Further thought leads me to modify that statement. The 95% without confidence in reason do in fact have some confidence in reason. They do recognize that as an instrument to gain a goal reason is necessary.

    What can we say about the 95% and reason? I guess we can say that they often have confidence in reason but that confidence is restricted to a limited aspect of life.

    Is a person capable of having confidence in reason when that person is almost completely ignorant of the nature of reasoning?

    “Confidence in reason is based on the belief that one’s own higher interests and those of humankind will be best served by giving free play to reason…The very idea of reasonability becomes one of the most important values and a focal point in one’s life. In short, to have confidence in reason is to use good reasoning as the fundamental criterion by which to judge whether to accept or reject any belief or position.” Quote from Critical Thinking: What every Person needs to Survive in a Rapidly Changing World Paul and Elder.

    A person who lacks confidence n reason might place their trust in:

    1) Charismatic leaders
    2) Institutional leaders
    3) Corporate leaders
    4) Spiritual leaders
    5) Social leaders
    6) Political ideologies
    7) Gut feeling
    8) Fate
    9) Astrology
    10) Parents

  2. #2
    Priestess Of Syrinx Array Katsuni's Avatar
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    Aug 2009


    More or less, I'd hope yeur belief in the % of people who believe in reason to be a bit low... at least I really hope so. It would admittedly be depressing were that the case.

    Still, the point is valid unfortunately, people cling to anything but common sense usually, and are far more likely to fight practicality if it counters their superstitions or whotever.

    How do yeu think the 'angry mob' arises? Because MOST people fit under that category...

    The ones who are the voice of reason either get cut down, ignored, or just don't bother wasting their time and effort on it.

    The mob rushes past, picking up new members along the way to confront the evil monster. Opening the door to one of the nearby houses, a friend of the owner steps into the room.

    "Bob, we've got to kill the monster!"
    "Uh... why?"
    "...Because it's a monster?"
    "Alright, how do you know it's a monster?"
    "...It looks like one, duh."
    "The only difference from you or me is it's GREEN."
    "Yeah, that's pretty monsterlike if you ask me."
    "George over there looks a little ill, he's turning a bit green himself, does that make him a monster?"

    And thusly so George is ripped to shreds by the mob because they didn't pasturize their milk.

    Seriously, do we really think we've come any farther? For liking to boast about how we're a "thinking" race and how much "smarter" we are than animals, we sure as hell don't actually seem to use it, and if someone suggests using our brains for once we seem to enjoy to riot >.<

  3. #3


    Kool-Aid didn’t kill those people.

    Transference and suggestibility killed those people.

    In October of 1978, surrounded by hundreds of his followers, cult leader Jim Jones was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head; this event took place in Jonestown, Guyana, where the followers of Jones drank the Kool-Aid of group psychology, killing them self by drinking a soft drink laced with cyanide at the cult's sprawling compound.

    The images of bodies found at the compound were seared into the consciousness of a generation. The phrase "drank the Kool-Aid" came to describe any blind devotion to a cause or person. It was not the Kool-Aid that killed all of these people but it was a human propensity called transference.

    Freud informs us the reason for this form of behavior is the tendency for humans to be suggestible and influenced by a psychic form of transference.

    What do the following entities have in common: fascism, capitalism, communism, political parties, and religions? They all have a common characteristic that can be called “group mind”.

    What is striking is that members of these entities often undergo a major change in behavior just by being members of such entities. Under certain conditions individuals who become members of these groups behave differently than they would as individuals. These individuals acquire the characteristics of a ‘psychological group’.

    What is the nature of the ‘group mind’, i.e. the mental changes such individuals undergo as a result of becoming a group?

    A bond develops much like cells which constitute a living body—group mind is more of an unconscious than a conscious force—there are motives for action that elude conscious attention—distinctiveness and individuality become group behavior based upon unconscious motives—there develops a sentiment of invincible power, anonymous and irresponsible attitudes--repressions of unconscious forces under normal situations are ignored—conscience which results from social anxiety disappear.

    Contagion sets in—hypnotic order becomes prevalent—individuals sacrifice personal interest for the group interest.

    Suggestibility, of which contagion is a symptom, leads to the lose of conscious personality—the individual follows suggestions for actions totally contradictory to person conscience—hypnotic like fascination sets in—will and discernment vanishes—direction is taken from the leader in an hypnotic like manner—the conscious personality disappears.

    “Moreover, by the mere fact that he forms part of an organized group, a man descends several rungs in the ladder of civilization.” Isolated, he may be a cultivated individual; in a crowd, he is a barbarian—a creature acting by instinct. “He possesses the spontaneity, the violence, the ferocity, and also the enthusiasm and heroism of primitive beings.”

    There is a lowering of intellectual ability “pointing to its similarity with the mental life of primitive people and of children…A group is credulous and easily influenced”—the improbable seldom exists—they think in images—feelings are very simple and exaggerated—the group knows neither doubt nor uncertainty—extremes are prevalent, antipathy becomes hate and suspicion becomes certainty.

    Force is king—force is respected and obeyed without question—kindness is weakness—tradition is triumphant—words have a magical power—supernatural powers are easily accepted—groups never thirst for truth, they demand illusions—the unreal receives precedence over the real—the group is an obedient herd—prestige is a source for domination, however it “is also dependent upon success, and is lost in the event of failure”.

    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.

    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.

    [b]The predisposition to hypnosis is identical to that which gives rise to transference and it is characteristic of all sapiens.]/b] 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.

    I have read that some consider objectivism to be a cult rather than a philosophy; I asked my self what is the difference between a philosophy and an ideology. I turned to Freud and his book “Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego” for my answer. I discovered that Freud had turned to the Frenchman Gustave Le Bon for an understanding of group behavior.

    Gustave Le Bon was a French social psychologist, sociologist, and amateur physicist. His work on crowd psychology became important in the first half of the twentieth century. Le Bon was one of the great popularizers of theories of the unconscious at a critical moment in the formation of new theories of sociology.
    English translation Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, was explicitly based on a critique of Le Bon's work. The quotes and short phrases in this post are from this book.

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