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Nederlog


 
July 10, 2013
Crisis: Modern man, Century of Self, Snowden, Greenwald, Rosen 
    "Those who sacrifice liberty for
      security deserve neither."
         -- Benjamin Franklin




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Sections

Introduction
1. Modern man
2.
The Century of the Self
     2.1. The point about Freudians, psychoanalysts,
              psychotherapists etc.

   2.2. The end of "The Century of the Self"
3. Snowden 2 written out
4. Greenwald 1 (DN!)
5.
Greenwald 2 (DN!)
6.
Jay Rosen: The Snowden Effect
About ME/CFS

Introduction:

It still is the case that sleeping remains quite difficult for me. This also makes my life rather difficult, at the moment.

Anyway. Today I have considerably more on Snowden and the Snowden Effect, and also on Glenn Greenwald, and I preceded that by a somewhat more theoretical take inspired by Adam Curtis's "The Century of Self", that I all preceded by a repeat of yesterday's last item, because it is really good and really pertinent.

1. Modern man

I start with repeating the last item of yesterday, because it is quite appropriate  and quite good: George Carlin defining Modern Man for you, in a kind of free verse:
It certainly is one of the last things he ever did, and it is very good. Also, it is very fast and very clever free verse, so you probably will have to see it at least twice to get most of it.

But it is pertinent to everything that follows, and especially the next item, and that is why I repeat it, besides the fact that it is anyway a good and heartening item, that only takes 3 minutes and 33 seconds.

2. The Century of the Self

Next, I mentioned Adam Curtis and his movies, and especially his 2002 four part series "
The Century of the Self" repeatedly before, e.g. here and here (and in more places, for it is really impressive).

Now I do it again, with a new videolink, because it really is good and appropriate:
As you see, it will take almost 4 hours of your life, but they are very well spend.

It's in four parts (in my words): 1. Edward Bernays 2. Anna Freud 3. Reichian leftist psychotherapy and 4. The new left (Blatcherism/Blairism/Third Way).

It is from 2002, and it is very good. I can't and won't summarize it all - this Wikipedia item: The Century of the Self does it somewhat fairly and briefly - but I will summarize its end, after making a point about Freudianism, psychoanalysis, and psychotherapy, that are considered, in some depth, in the first three parts, that I will suppose you have seen, because they clarify a lot:

2.1. The point about Freudians, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists etc.

Apart from agreements and disagreements with what you've seen, my point is this, which I will make in a logical fashion, and back up by my series on the DSM:

Either the Freudians, or the psychoanalysts, or the Reichian or Laingian psychotherapists who took over from the previous two, briefly, in the seventies and early eighties are (mostly) right or they all are not, and either the DSM-crowd (III, IV or 5 doesn't really matter) are
(mostly) right or they are not.

These are just two tautologies, and the only thing I want to add to it is the claim that the DSM-crowds are opposed to the foregoing Freudians, psychoanalysts, and Reichian or Laingian psychotherapy.

This claim is simply true, and will not be opposed by many, and certainly not by those who know what they are talking about.

My point is simply this: Nearly ALL of these folks, and ALL of these systematic movements, were specialists in pseudoscientific bullshit, who did - in actual fact - hardly know what they are talking about.

Having seen the first three parts of the above
The Century of the Self should convince anyone this is true about the earlier movements - which, if even partially and remotely right, are thoroughly opposed to the DSM-movement, that evidently is a pseudoscience even without a theoretical basis: See my series on the DSM and in particular DSM-5: Medicine is a very sick business in the US - 2.

And to stress the bullshit factor, here is
Frankfurt's own description of bullshit (aka baloney, bogosity, BS, crap) as cited in my entry on it in my Philosophical Dictionary:
It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.
-- Harry Frankfurt, "On Bullshit"
I think it was and is all bullshit, and it was all mostly consciously contrived by the leaders of these movements, who are more than intelligent enough to know, but who neither of them ever admitted, that none of them has the necessary knowledge to make even a small percentage of the great and quite false or misleading claims they all have been making, collectively for more than hundred years also.

2.2. The end of "The Century of the Self"

As I said, I will not summarize the series, but I will summarize its ending, and will do so by giving quotes from it:

First, a statement by Curtis what consumerism really is:
"Consumerism is a way giving people the illusion of control, while allowing a responsible elite to continue managing society"
- Adam Curtis

Note that this is an illusion, and this illusion has been consciously built up for some 80 years now, and has finally taken hold the last 30 years or so, with all manner of individuals claiming they are independent selfs who live for themselves - which is just delusion: We each and all depend on many tenthousands of people merely to get the products we delusively consume, and we each and all depend on an intricate system of laws and conventions, that frame(d) the societies we live(d) in.

Second, one of the main inspirers of Curtis (as claimed by Wikipedia):

"It's not that the people are in charge, but that the people's desires are in charge. The people are not in charge. The people exercise no decision-making power. So democracy is reduced from something that assumes an active citizenry, to something that is predicated on the idea of the public as passive consumers."
- Stuart Ewen
Quite so. Again, I stress most men are deluded in their beliefs that they are independent consumers who live free lives of free individual choice: They are neither independent nor free. But they believe they are, because they have swallowed the myth they are - which has been systematically and for several generations been pumped down their throats through advertisements, public relations, and the media.

The main reasons this has been done is mentioned by Curtis:

"This would be challenging the now dominant Freudian view of human beings as selfish instinct driven individuals, which is a concept of human beings that has been fostered and engineered by business, because it produces ideal consumers."
- Adam Curtis

Yes indeed - and "The Century of the Self" will show you this Freudian view has been imposed ever since the thirties by persons like Bernays, and quite consciously so: It was and is all Propaganda, also quite cynically so, for according to Bernays, most people simply are stupid (as his daughter makes quite clear).

Finally, there are two quotes by Robert Reich, who served in the first but not in the second Clinton government:

"Although we feel we are free, we, like the politicians, have become the slaves of our own desires. We have forgotten that we can be more than that. That there are other sides to human nature."
- Robert Reich

Yes indeed - though it may be too late. Here is Reich's version of the two views of mankind, what he calls the Freudian and the non-Freudian views:

"You have the view that people are irrational, that they are bundles of emotion. This comes directly out of Freud and businesses are very able to respond to that, They have honed their skills to it. That is what marketing is really all about. (..) Politics must be more than that. Politics and leadership are about engaging the public in a rational discussion about what is best, and treating people with respect in terms of their rational abilities to debate what is best. If it is not that, if it is Freudian, if it is basically a matter of appealing to the same unconscious feelings that business appeals to, then why don't let business do it? Business can do it better. Bussiness knows how to do it. Business, after all, is in the business of responding to those feelings."
- Robert Reich

Note it is not about what you call it - Freudian, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy or what not: it's about how average people are being treated, namely as if they are bundles of irrational desires that have to be played and misled by a small elite, or as if they are rational men who are capable of making up their own minds.

The basic problems with the last thesis are that (1) most average men have come to accept the delusion that they are independent consumers looking freely at markets in order to buy the products that define their own life styles - which in spite of its being utter baloney has been accepted nearly universally, in good part because it is simple and flattering, and (2) meanwhile, they now also lack the more or less objective media to conduct whatever rational discussion they may or might like to have, for the media have been taken over by the advertisers, the public relation folks, and the lackeys of the corporations, at least to a large extent.

About the only way out I can see is the internet - which is being watched and stored globally by the NSA, not because of terrorism, for it doesn't work against terrorism (anyway mostly a pretext), but in order to - ultimately - control and repress anything the US government doesn't like. For power and secrecy corrupt, and absolute power and secrecy corrupt totally.


3.
Snowden 2 written out

I have yesterday given a link to the second interview with Edward Snowden:
So I am quite pleased to mention it meanwhile also is available as text, namely on Democracy Now!:
This is well done and really helpful.

4.
Greenwald 1 (DN!)

Next,
there are two Greenwald interviews on Democracy Now! To start with, here is the first:
Here is just one quote from it, that seems quite accurate to me:
I think this is really the critical point that has to be understood. The reason that Edward Snowden came forward, the reason that we’re reporting on this so aggressively, is because—and this is not hyperbole in any way; it’s a purely accurate description—the NSA is

in the process, in total secrecy, with no accountability, of

constructing a global, ubiquitous surveillance system that has as its
goal the elimination of privacy worldwide, so that there can be no
electronic

communications—by telephone, Internet, email, chat—that is
beyond

the reach of the United States government. They are attempting to

collect and store and monitor all of it, and that they can invade it at

any time they want, no matter who you are or where you are on the
planet.



This has very profound implications for the kind of world in
which

we live, for the kind of relationship the United States has to the


rest of the world, the way in which individuals feel free to


communicate with one another, use the Internet. And that, I think, is
why

the story is resonating as much as it is.

For more see the last link.

5.
Greenwald 2 (DN!)

Next, there is another interview on Democracy Now! with Glenn Greenwald, and it is here:

This is a very good interview about several subjects - Snowden, Greenwald, and Rosen on the Snowden Effect - that you have to read yourself, but I'll give one quote, about Snowden:

I

actually had the opportunity to speak with him for the first time on
Saturday,

the first time since he left Hong Kong. I had a good, long
conversation

with him. And although I’m not interested in divulging
where

he is, he, you know, is enthused about the developments over the
last

week, both in terms of ongoing revelations and the ongoing debate
that

he helped trigger about surveillance policy worldwide, as well as
the

support that he’s getting from around the world and from, as of the
moment,

three different governments who have all independently offered

him

asylum. So the question of how he’s going to get there, what’s going

to happen once he arrives, those are still in the process of being
worked

out. But he’s doing very well in terms of his mindset, his
demeanor.



He’s able to follow things online, the debates, as they
unfold.

And he’s very—feeling very good about the choices that he made.

That is quite heartening, which is also my reason to quote it. Otherwise, you have to use the link I supplied above.

6. Jay Rosen: The Snowden Effect

One of the things Glenn Greenwald did mention in his last interview is the following article by Jay Rosen, who is a professor of journalism at New York University:
Here is its definition, in Rosen's words:

The Snowden effect, a definition:

Direct and indirect gains in public knowledge from the cascade of events and further reporting that followed Edward Snowden’s leaks of classified information about the surveillance state in the U.S.

Meaning: there’s what Snowden himself revealed by releasing secrets and talking to the press. But beyond this, there is what he set in motion by taking that action. Congress and other governments begin talking in public about things they had previously kept hidden. Companies have to explain some of their dealings with the state. Journalists who were not a party to the transaction with Snowden start digging and adding background. Debates spring to life that had been necessary but missing before the leaks. The result is that we know much more about the surveillance state than we did before. Some of the opacity around it lifts. This is the Snowden effect.

It is good for public knowledge. And public knowledge is supposed to be what a free press and open debate are all about.

This is a very important article that gets supported and worked out in 10 points and over 50 comments you should read yourself.
---------------------------------
P.S. 11-vii-2013: Straightened out the text of Greenwald's pieces.

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)



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