Published on Apr 6, 2021 Recorded on March 30, 2021 Dr. Stephen Meyer directs the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle. He returns to Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson to discuss his newest book, Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe. In this wide-ranging and often mind-bending interview, Dr. Meyer explains the God Hypothesis; makes his continuing and evolving case for intelligent design; describes how Judeo-Christian theology gave rise to science; discusses why the discovery of DNA is actually an enigma, as its existence cannot be explained by natural selection; and more.
There is a monument at the Texas State Capitol of the Ten Commandments which the U.S. Supreme Court let stand in its Van Orden v. Perry (2005) decision. The Ten Commandments Monument also stands in Fargo ND’s Civic Center Courtyard. It can be seen in the far background behind the thesis Scherling imagines for this Ten Monument Poster, which he wrote about in this High Plains Reader essay. This poster is available by contacting Scherling.
A New Universal Spirituality in Fargo’s Civic Center Courtyard By Steven A Scherling
One year ago, during Fargo’s Ten Commandments Monument debate, a local professor supported his argument for removing Fargo’s Ten Commandments Monument with this reasoning, “Try to imagine you have recently escaped persecution in another country and are now a refugee in the United States. You travel to city hall or a courthouse to find a tablet saying, ‘Thou shalt not have other gods before me.’ What if you aren’t Christian? Are you going to feel as though you will get a fair treatment in this country? Your entire life has been one of fear of being hurt or killed for not belonging to the accepted group. And you escape that, only to find an apparent requirement to belong to another group” (Reasons clear why marker should be removed, Forum 9/03/03). His rationale is that emigrants and refugees entering public buildings should not have to pass any such religious monument so remove them all.
I tried putting myself in refugee shoes, walking into Fargo’s Civic Center courtyard for my first civic experience, and thought about what I would like to greet me. Instead of having no references to the center of life, I would prefer to see the Civic Center courtyard displaying monuments to the many ways men and women have found to touch center ground – place monuments to all beliefs and to “no belief”, if no belief is possible. For me the most welcoming reception would be to see all religions openly acknowledged – this would tell me that Fargo’s belief systems are encompassing and accommodating. And this seems to be the issue – are we open and tolerant to all beliefs?
This summer I was working on a Fargo photo collage and when I took a photo of the Civic Center, I saw an opportunity to state my opinion photographically. With a panorama of the Civic Center at the top and the green lawn extended downward, I placed at the poster’s center a photo of the Ten Commandments Monument. I then selected saying from the other religions Houston Smith, author of The Religions of Man, discusses to surround the Ten Commandments Monument photo. These saying may not be the ones others would choose to represent these faiths but they have similar themes.
I had the opportunity while at UND in the 1970s to attend visiting lectures by Houston Smith and in the last chapter of this book he suggests that at the core of man’s religions we find the same underlying truth. In Smith’s final chapter, he asks us to ponder, “how do these religions fit together? In what relation do they stand to one another?” He poses three answers and suggests a direction forward. The first is that one religion is clearer and superior in expressing religious truth. The challenge here is to live to the depths of them all in order to make this judgment. The second is that in “all important respect they are the same” – each contains a version of the Golden Rule, sees man’s self-centeredness as source of his troubles and seeks to help, and acknowledge a universal Divine Ground from which man rose and good is sought. The challenge is again to fully understand them and then decide how to fit them together.
The third answer stands in contrast to the first two, in that, not all religions say the same thing but they do have a similar unity. Nor does it find one tradition to be superior, for if God is a God of love, surely, He would be revealing himself to all others as difference necessitated. The third answer is the most challenging in that the light of man’s religions derives from the “same source.” Smith suggests the challenge in this third response is “whether our personal, autonomous reason is qualified to stand judgment on matters as important as these, picking and choosing what in other traditions is authentic and what is spurious?”
Smith’s last question is, “What should be our approach to the religions of man from this point on?” Here I suggest Smith misses the point, in that we should not be about “picking and choosing” with “autonomous reason” but of exploring inwardly with symbolic reasoning our common source – our common collective unconscious. Smith’s suggestion that we must listen first to our own faith and then to others, left me wondering what listening involves. Smith views the “same religions source” as an objective rather than a subjective experience and thus left me looking for more direction.
In the face of the threats Smith saw in 1958 from “nationalism, materialism, and conformity” (today add terrorism) he correctly calls attention to the urgency of opening a dialogue on “man’s spiritual life.” In spite of these plagues, Smith called this a potentially “great century” if, however, the scientific achievements of the first half are matched by “comparable achievements in human relations” in the second. What happened to Smith’s call for a basic change human relation? How do we rate the capacity of man’s mind today to destroy itself? Where have all the soldiers gone? Still going to fields everyone….
Indeed, soldiers are still going, as suggested by C.G. Jung, in that the body count in the wake of 20th Century’s political faiths surpasses the slaughter left by the crusaders, inquisitor, and Holy Wars following the Reformation. Jung writes, “Not even the medieval epidemics of bubonic plague or smallpox killed as many people as certain differences of opinion in 1914 or certain political ‘ideals’ in Russia.” There certainly is an urgency to find common understanding – a new universal spirituality.
In considering Smith’s approach to “religions from this point on”, I discovered John Dourley’s book, The illness that we are, to offer a point of departure. What is unique is Dourley’s thesis that a universal subjective symbolic reasoning process provides a way to deeply listen, understand, and dialogue about man’s common religious function. Symbolic reasoning addresses this key concern of Smith’s, “Who does not have to fight an unconscious tendency to equate foreign with inferior?”
Smith closes his book with this Jesus saying, “Do unto others as you would they do unto you.” However, at a deeper level this Jesus saying, “First take the beam out your own eye,” has to precede “Loving thy neighbor as thy self” or “Doing unto others…” Symbolic reasoning is about “understanding the beams”, which in turn unveils the “unconscious tendency to equate foreign with inferior” or that “evil” is out there in an “empire” or “triad” and can be eradicated. A more universal spirituality might begin by placing many religious monuments in Fargo’s Civic Center Courtyard.
Scherling, S.A., 2004, Ten Commandments or a new universal spirituality in our Civic Center courtyard?High Plains Reader, October 14, Vol.11, Iss.6. p.3. www.hpr1.com.
I became acquainted with Thomas Sowell a year ago after returning from China just as the Covid-19 pandemic was infecting the World and the US Election year was entering ‘warp velocity’. Sowell is an economist, social theorist, and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, which is a conservative American public policy research institution that “promotes personal and economic liberty, free enterprise, and limited government.” This fellow is sharp and has written several books demonstrating his smarts. I suspect we will need to read one or more of his books in order to fully understand his conservatism. All this unfolds as we have Joe Biden’s Democratic ‘liberal’ party assuming ‘control’ of the three branches of Government. I suspect Republicans will soon come to the conclusion that Donald Trump was an ‘outlier’ and begin ‘praying in tongues’ that their party is not dead and can rise from its ashes.
There were 11 Blog entries with Trump’s name in the title and this is the first with Biden’s name in the title, one down, really – 10 to go! I hope I live this long. These will not be presented chronologically but by what appear to be unfolding topics and we begin with Sowell tying to educate Joe Biden, which will be a difficult task, may not be possible, however, we will be witnessing in real-time, up-close, in-your-face – a real danger just ahead. We will end with Sowell speaking about “Kamala Harris’ Communist Video” – today our Putin Scare. Okay, give me a break, tiring out a dramatic writing style. What you think Barry?
Published on Nov 4, 2008 Sowell describes the critical differences between interests and visions. Interests, he says, are articulated by people who know what their interests are and what they want to do about them. Visions, however, are the implicit assumptions by which people operate. In politics, visions are either constrained or unconstrained. A closer look at the statements of both McCain and Obama reveals which vision motivates their policy positions, particularly as they pertain to the war, the law, and economics.
Published on May 9, 2012 Peter Robinson talks to economist Thomas Sowell about his book “Intellectuals and Society.” Robinson and Sowell discuss the fact that intellectuals play a disproportionate role in society, as evidenced by linguist Noam Chomsky’s influence on liberal politics. Is a fancy education a high-speed rail ticket to fallacy? Find out as Professor Sowell discusses the pride and fallacies of the intellectuals, in addition to the unused brilliance of the masses.
Recorded on April 1, 2019 Is discrimination the reason behind economic inequality in the United States? Thomas Sowell dismisses that question with a newly revised edition of his book Discrimination and Disparities. He sits down with Peter Robinson to discuss the long history of disparities among humans around the world and throughout time. He argues that discrimination has significantly less of a role to play in inequality than contemporary politicians give it credit for, and that something as incontrovertible as birth order of children has a more significant and statistically higher impact on success than discrimination. He discusses why parental attention is the most important aspect of a child’s intellectual development. Sowell goes on to break down different minority groups around the world who went on to have more economic and political success than their majority counterparts, such as the Indians in East Africa, Jewish people in Eastern Europe, Cubans in the United States, and the Chinese in Malaysia. He argues that there is an underlying assumption that if discrimination was absent equality would prevail, which historically has been proven wrong. Sowell goes on to discuss changes in crime rates and poverty since the expansion of US welfare programs in the 1960s and how this has had a huge impact on the success of African Americans. He talks about his own experience growing up in New York, how housing projects used to be considered a positive place to live, and his experience as the first member of his family to enter the seventh grade. Robinson asks Sowell his thoughts on the case for reparations currently being made in Congress, and Sowell presents an argument about why a plan for reparations is not only illogical but also impossible to implement, with so many US citizens’ ancestors arriving long after the Civil War. He also explains that slavery was common throughout the known world for thousands of years and that abolition movements didn’t begin anywhere in the world until the late 18th century. He reminds us that the United States was not the only country guilty of participating in slavery and yet is the only country debating reparations.
We might as well begin this new Presidency thinking about Thomas Sowell on Kamala Harris’ Communist Video which premiered Nov 11, 2020 and has Sowell debunking Harris’ video about using government power to achieve equality among groups. 0:00 – Intro 0:18 – How inequality is the rule, not the exception 3:27 – Why Using government power to create equality among groups is a bad idea.
This has been a lot to absorb! If I were back at UND, CUHK, NTU, UIBE, NDSU, UMary, or Concordia, I would have shown these clips in class, discussed them with students, and then together asked us to each write a 5-page 1.5 spaced paper on our experience. I now need, no will write this paper.
The Frontline PBS ‘President Biden’ https://www.facebook.com/frontline program airs at 9pm tonight, 01.19.2021. There are now 30 hours remaining of the Trump Nightmare and many are counting the hours down just like counting the hours of the old year heralding in the New. Many are struggling to understand what is happening. A psychoanalytical analysis of what has happened these last four years now shifts into overdrive. Several days ago, I began to re-read Erich Neumann’s book ‘Depth Psychology and A New Ethic’s’ Chapter IV The New Ethic – searching for some hint about what is coming. Neumann began writing this book as WWII was ending, Nazi Evil had just been defeated.
Neumann was a student of Jung, Freud, and Adler, but followed Jung’s analytical theory more closely. His New Ethic 1948 addresses the issues he saw unfolding after Nazism almost squeezed the life out of Europe. Trump Evil is the same nazi evil that has possessed the US these last four years and may now be ending, we can hope! I will again re-read and write-up the Neumanns new ethic, however, in the meantime this Recollectivization – Eric Neumann beautifully addresses the challenge ahead. This is horror… 28, 27, 26, 25, 24, …
There seems to be ‘a force’ about this morning since as soon as I posted my re-reading of Eric Neumann’s essay, on my pc screen was – Edward Bernays and Group Psychology: Manipulating the Masses and I immediately thought this is what Trump is planning. This video addresses the ideas of Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, who pioneered “the field of public relations and modern propaganda – particularly his ideas on how group psychology can be used to manipulate the masses.” Is it possible that the individual’s Trump will be pardoning today, will form a group he will lead following Bernays group psychology methods to continue building the Trump myth? However, this may be too deep for Trump Inc. to think up, or is it? This might be the beginning of a thriller-horror story! What do you think Barry?
We need a third video to round out what has unfolded above and this one fits The psychology of Power – How to dethrone tyrants, which addresses how to neuter Trump once he is out of the Presidency. The ‘psychology of power’ reminds one of David McClelland a noted psychologist for his work on motivation the Need Theory, which is comprised of the Need for Achievement, Need for affiliation, and the Need for Power. These three exist in a dynamic that forms the individual’s personality and that is measured with the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT). We cannot measure Trump’s personality, however, from observations, we can analyze his personality as high on power, moderate on achievement, and low on affiliation. From this, we could sketch a description of Trump. However, this is not our interest, neither is dethroning, now we want to neutralize, the power-hungry Trump once he is out of office? Okay, we might follow Slavoj Žižek’s Russian joke about dusting balls and just cut Trump’s off. All we would hear is Trump’s voice go up an octave.
This video on neutering Trump is well done. The final point to make is what McClelland calls the positive aspect of power, which I addressed in the Blog Individuation of Ethics – Justice. When we work at becoming self-actualized persons, individuation, we cannot be influenced by tyrants – our Self is hard at work of ‘becoming’, Justice now waits for Trump! Many will be watching Biden’s inaugural ceremony tomorrow and afterward, most will take a deep breath of fresh air! There are now 11 posts with Trump’s name in the title, I expect this is the last.
I re-visited the blog Integral Spirituality: No Boundaries posted on July 27, 2016 and realized that its theme is still unfolding. I sent my friend Ubaldo, a psychoanalyst, this Blog post to get a deeper understanding of this topic and this can be read in the commentary section. I then posted Health and Self-Actualization and am now drafting ‘Health and Individuation’. The unfolding logic here is to compare Maslow’s ‘self-actualization’ and Jung’s ‘individualization’ processes for obtaining ‘psychoanalytical health’ – facing the dragon within.
My recent outreach to Ubaldo was hoping to rekindle a deeper interaction with him. However, something in our past dialogues triggered a hurt that he seems to have chosen to hang onto. This seems to be similar to what my grade-school friend Jim and I are experiencing – no interactions going on now for months. Ubaldo is a highly educated psychoanalytical professional and Jim a grade schoolmate, technically trained, IBM associate. It is obvious that I need to look within in order to restore psychoanalytical health. This is a good New Year’s Resolution! However, this can not be done alone – needed are friends – all of us need the ‘other’!
I had two dreams in the night as I continued reading Moore’s book ‘Facing The Dragon’. Before getting out of bed, I lay there wondering what this Morning’s Page would be like. With all the had gone on in the night, I need not have worried about writing this morning – it just flows out and onto the page, just as Julia Cameron says it does in her book The Artist’s Way I follow Julia’s suggestion every morning and just begin my ‘morning page’ after getting a cup of coffee. What follows just bubbles to the surface as she writes should be the way morning pages emerge.
What captures my imagination this morning, is Moore identifying the challenge now facing the United States. This challenge “is to rediscover ways to use ritual processes and mythic vessels to contain and channel grandiose ‘god-energies’. We can do this in a conscious way informed by new psychoanalytic insights. Our forebears, lacking such insight, used myth and ritual to displace their grandiose energies onto their various tribal groups. They had no way of knowing that it was a bogus solution to achieve personal humility by displacing grandiosity onto the tribe, the royal personage, or the nation’s identity. Social displacement of grandiosity still leaves the grandiose energies intact and fundamentally unchallenged. They have, in effect, gone underground and achieved social and even spiritual camouflage and sanction. This kind of failed social displacement mechanism has been the engine behind all genocides, all racism, classism, sexism, nationalistic hubris, and religious and ideological warfare” (76). Moore notes that this is the same engine behind the Enron debacle and the 9.11 Twin Towers attack. (italics added)
I now suggest that this again is the same engine behind the 1.6.2021 U.S. Senate Chamber occupation? How so? I suggest that Trump’s instigation encouraging his supporters to forcefully enter and attack the Senate Chambers is a displacement of energies bottled up in the U.S.’s national identity, its nationalistic hubris? What we now hear in the news is the U.S. being compared to a ‘third-world banana republic ruled by a despot’, which Trump is showing us it is. The clear and present danger now being reported is that Trump’s 20 million ult-right supports are still behind a sitting U.S. President until January 20th. Will Trump further move to reveal the banana republic that we really are? Even after this date, Trump it is suggested has a ‘marching army’ of supporters and the show goes on.
However, the point being made here is that Trump may be doing the U.S. an important service – exposing its hypocrisy, its nationalist hubris of who U.S. citizens think they are. The U.S. is not the beacon on a hill, giving all “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” that she thinks she does. Dragging Fargo’s Broadway, we observe rags-dressed Old Joe peeking into garbage cans or his lunch and then we glance across the street to see gray pin-striped suited Governor Doug Bergum entering the Ho Do for his martini lunch – what hypocrisy!
It is unlikely that Trump can imagine providing an empathic act for the Nation – suggesting the U.S. should be engaged in serious self-reflection. We now wait to see if Biden possesses the empathy we need. Trump’s presidency’s end is just ahead and we pause as if frozen. We should not have to wait long for historians’ evaluations of Donald Trump Presidency, but there may be surprises. My Dragon is awake and I am learning to ride her. Eragon riding Saphira.
I started writing this Empathic Civilization Blog entry several years ago and for some reason did not complete it. When it began, we were watching politicians, reporters, and experts talking about the shooting of Republican congressmen while practicing baseball and no one is addressing what someone mentions in passing as the systemic cause of American violence. “Systemic refers to something that is spread throughout, system-wide, affecting a group or system, such as a body, economy, market or society as a whole.” Wikipedia further defines systemic into three areas, medicine, biology, and other, which we will label as psychological. A psychological definition will help us construct a research framework to study American culture’s systemic risks. These eight definitions are inter-related and should be helpful in understanding not only the culture of violence but violence itself and needs to be processed into a research project framework. Some work lies ahead to implement this Systemic research strategy:
• Systemic (amateur extrasolar planet search project), a research project to locate extrasolar planets using distributed computing • Systemic bias, the inherent tendency of a process to favor particular outcomes • Systemic functional grammar, a model of grammar that considers language as a system • Systemic functional linguistics, an approach to linguistics that considers language as a system • Systemic psychology or systems psychology, a branch of applied psychology based on systems theory and thinking • Systemic risk, the risk of collapse of an entire financial system or market, as opposed to risk associated with any one entity • Systemic shock, a shock to any system strong enough to drive it out of equilibrium, can refer to a change in many fields • Systemic therapy, a school of psychology dealing with the interactions of groups and their interactional patterns and dynamics
As we study these elements, look carefully for interrelationships keeping this definition of Complex Theory in mind:
Complexity theory is an interdisciplinary theory that grew out of systems theory in the 1960s.:350 It draws from research in the natural sciences that examines uncertainty and non-linearity. Complexity theory emphasizes interactions and the accompanying feedback loops that constantly change systems. While it proposes that systems are unpredictable, they are also constrained by order-generating rules.:74 Complexity theory has been used in the fields of strategic management and organizational studies. Application areas include understanding how organizations or firms adapt to their environments and how they cope with conditions of uncertainty. The theory treats organizations and firms as collections of strategies and structures. The structure is complex; in that they are dynamic networks of interactions, and their relationships are not aggregations of the individual static entities. They are adaptive; in that the individual and collective behavior mutate and self-organize corresponding to a change-initiating micro-event or collection of events.
After composing the above ideas in this essay, I took a break and watched the Morning Joe Show, where co-author Chris Fussell and foreword writer General Stan McChrystal were discussing how their new book tackles how to build a ‘Team of Teams. The MJS staff wrote an excerpt from ‘One Mission’ stating this as the book’s mission:
“In 2014 I was invited to join my former commanding officer, Stan McChrystal, as a co-author in writing Team of Teams. Our goal in writing it was to offer our view on why the military models of the twentieth century were fundamentally misaligned with the realities of an information- age battlefield. The speed and interconnectivity of this new type of conflict forced the senior leadership within our branch of the special operations community to make a choice: lead us through a culture change or potentially lose the fight against Al Qaeda. They chose the former. Team of Teams explored a simple idea that sat at the epicenter of the challenge in making this culture change: How can large organizations move with the speed and agility of a small team? In that vein, our writing team laid out the reactive small-team dynamics that are so powerfully highlighted within special operations units, as well as in any number of other high-performing teams. We explained that a small team’s ability to quickly adapt comes from the combination of four key drivers.”
Gen. McChrystal and Navy SEAL Chris Fussell on leadership on CBS.
Joe in true fashion asked if this system could be applied to any organization and of course, the answer is yes. However, as smooth as this book might be, I have not read it yet, it does not seem to address the “systemic risk” of the U.S culture! As such, a smooth technique cannot fix a flawed system!
I am reminded of David Harvey’s work and this clip outlines the Crises of Capitalism. Here we see Queen Elizabeth’s reaction when she is told by her economists that the 2008 world economic crisis was due to the “systemic risk” inherent in capitalism. “What, systemic risk?”
What we saw the Republican shooter protesting was the sign he was holding, “Tax the wealthy as we used to do” – this is the big issue – the systemic risk in our economic, cultural system. It is the American capitalistic culture that is making us sick! So, how to go deep into fixing it is our challenge! I have not yet seen this being discussed in the news. Of course not, we were told to be aware of the “military-industrial-media complex”, and no way is Morning Joe going to shoot himself in the foot – committing class-treason is difficult.
Trump’s move away from globalization, toward nationalism, is absolutely wrong and dangerous! Jeremy Rifkin’s work on “The Empathic Civilisation” is the framework moving to civilized globalization, we now wait to see if President-Elect Bidden will be able to lead this necessary change.
Finally, we have Ed Raymond’s HPR essay on Aggressive rats and monkeys, which is a look at what we are becoming. Ed writes this in his column on June 14th, 2017, which is an issue NIMH might re-visiting anew today January 14th, 2021. Covid19 should be reducing our “hyper-aggressive and violent behavior toward one another” thus moving us toward a more empathic civilization?
Over 50 years ago the National Institute of Mental Health used rats and mice to dramatically demonstrate how crowding affects behavior. Animals crammed into a small place with nowhere to go become hyper-aggressive and violent toward one another. As a farm boy I experienced horses, pigs, cows, and geese often fighting for a place at the feed trough.
The research proved that the greater the density the more deviant the behavior. If there is a common experience associated with large crowds, such as a popular rock band playing favorites before 50,000 waving and clapping hands, we love being in that atmosphere. But when you have 200 passengers boarding an aircraft, perhaps with a 100 different reasons for flying, the only common experience they have is the confines of the aircraft. (HPR).
We watched the attack on the White House, then live US House and Senate sessions on the ‘Trump Tragedy’, then watched Nancy Pelosi’s news briefing, where we witnessed someone fearing the remaining days of Trump’s presidency. My bookcase reached out to me with Robert Moore’s book ‘Facing The Dragon’ saying re-read me. I am now re-reading this book, where Robert Moore explores the spirit of grandiosity. Psychoanalyst Moore explores the spirit of grandiosity—the feeling you possess some tremendous hidden power—and its corrupted forms if it is not acknowledged and brought into its proper place in our lives, whether tamed or untamed. This is in part an analytical description of Trump’s mental state but Moore’s list of assumptions on the nature and dynamics of evil frighteningly describes Trump as evil! This ends with Robert Bly’s lecture on the ‘gift of grandiosity’, which I suspect is understood by President Biden. sas
The Nature and Dynamics of Evil:
Evil is a reality with an agency of its own.
The presence of evil can be felt in the enchanting power of denial on the individual, familial, cultural levels, the seductive power of what the philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich called “dreaming innocence.”
The chief tactic of evil is to present the human individual and community with a false, deceptive reorientation of reality. In short, it lies.
Evil, therefore, has the capacity to clothe and disguise itself in forms that seem innocent, good, or at least justified, and have a seductive attractiveness.
Being near this evil enchantment causes you to lose your powers of discernment and vigilance, and your spiritual and moral light grows dim. Its influence is contagious. Tribal peoples around the world recognized this danger and built an elaborate system of taboo and ritual “insulation” against it.
An evil presence can get inside your community, family, home, and body, and even into your psyche before you realize the danger exists. It is already “in the house” by the time you realize you have a problem.
Once inside, evil begins to erode the foundations of personal and social life by presenting itself as the true center of life. It functions as a “black hole,” a power vortex that, in effect, attacks Being itself. This is the human reality behind the biblical injunction against idolatry, “You shall have no other gods before me.” We can read it this way, “You shall not create bogus or pseudo centers for your life and society.”
Evil multiplies itself on your energy, your lifeblood, your creativity. It co-opts your good and often magnificent energies and potentials, and makes them serve hatred, sadism, oppression, and the destruction of health and life. It recruits and diverts the energies of life and creativity into the service of death.
Evil denies the reality of death and all human limitations. It makes an insatiable, limitless quest the substitute for legitimate expansion of the individual self. It puts polymorphous desires and pleasure in place of a social concern for the community and the consequences of one’s actions. It infects us with what Kierkegaard called “the sickness of infinitude.”
The presence of evil can be seen in its effects on the persons and community around it. It is not simply an idea or an absence of some positive quality. It is an active, aggressive, antilife force that attacks the health and vitality of everyone around it. “You shall know them by their fruits.” (5-6)
I published these clips before and feel on this day January 6, 2021, when the Electoral College of the US formally confirms President-elect Biden’s win, a time to reconsider what Herbert Marcuse thinks.
On 7/27/2017 5:40 AM I began drafting this Blog entry to my physician Stephen C MD: Good afternoon Stephen, I enjoy visiting with you and always bring a book to read before you arrive for our appointment and as always we briefly discuss what the book is about. I had Ivan Illich’s book Toward a History of Needs, with me the other day, it has been in my library for decades and I began several times to read it but I guess we were not ready for its message. I am finally getting serious about gathering together my mother’s Silver Dollar AA Newsletter columns for a book and the first column I read, she mentions Abraham Maslow’sSelf-Actualization Need, which is central in my essay.
Now, what is this? It is Illich’s book, watching me from my bookcase suggesting it has something to contribute!” After reading a few pages, I realize this work is deep, complex, and very relevant to the need issues we need to address – in particular the need for health – the health care debate now raging, July 4, 2017, when this blog entry began and even more so now, January 1, 2021, as Covid-19 kills 1000 Americans a day. One issue before for us, “Is health care a right or a privilege?” Without ‘health’ there is no ‘self-actualization’ – there is no humanity, there is no civilization!
I cannot fully address the issues now, only suggest, that if we have a Constitutional right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness it has to be a healthy life, health holds the ‘center’ point in Maslow’s theory – unless we are healthy, all of the higher-level needs, love, esteem, and self-actualization, which make up liberty and happiness are inaccessible! We have to be healthy in order to self-actualize – creating liberty and happiness.
So, the issue before us is to examine the processes involved in self-actualization. If the medical profession is not addressing this human need with every patient, it is failing us! Stephen, can you say you are filling this requirement with every patient? Yes, we explore this dimension of life during our meetings, however, this is at my initiative and I suspect you and your colleagues do not go into this with any of your patients! Am I correct? Illich, however, addresses this issue for us and offers a protocol to apply this medical procedure.
As I mentioned, Illich addresses all ‘professions’ but in particular the ‘medical profession’ as the source of our current dysfunctional healthcare culture. Stephen, I listened carefully to your description of the conflict you experienced in working overtime to cover patients and the push-back you received from hospital administrators concerned about the cost of having to staff those additional hours. As you put it, “hospital administers are money motivated, the profit motive controls the health care industry”. Later in the day, after our meeting, I re-opened Illich’s book on a history of needs and re-read the last paragraph I had read, it was in my mind when you were describing your experience, and now as I re-read it I realized it was what you were describing. Illich writes:
“Only during the last 25 years has medicine turned from a liberal into a dominant profession by obtaining the power to indicate what constitutes a healthy need for some people in general. Health specialists as a corporation have acquired the authority to determine what Health Care must be provided to society at large. It is no longer the individual professional who imputes a “need” to the individual client, but a corporate agency that imputes they need two entire classes of people and then claims the mandate to test the complete population in order to identify all who belong to the group of potential patients. And what happens in health care is fairly consistent with what goes on in other domains. New pundits constantly jump on the bandwagon of the therapeutic – care provider: educators, social workers, the military, com planners, judges, policemen, and their ilk have obviously made it. They enjoy wide autonomy in creating the diagnostic tools by which they then catch their clients for treatment. Dozens of other need – creators try: International Bankers “diagnose” the ills of an African country and then induce it to swallow the prescribed treatment, even though the “patient” might die; security specialist evaluate the loyalty risks of a citizen and then extinguished their private sphere; dog catchers sell themselves to the public has pest controllers and claim a monopoly over the lives of stray dogs. The only way to prevent the escalation of needs is a fundamental, political exposure of those illusions that legitimate dominating professions” (Toward a history of needs, p.29).
Ivan Illich gives this lecture on 09.12.1974 to mark the launch of his book Medical Nemesis: The Expropriation of Health in which he continues his critique of the medical profession and the ‘delusions’ of importance that exist in Western culture regarding the medical profession. Illich contrasts personal responsibility with individual impotence and questions the corporate indoctrination that reorganizes society within such excesses of professionalization. Here is Ivan Illich on the Medical Nemesis: The Expropriation of Health.
Life is a Test: Ivan Illich’s Medical Nemesis and the ‘Age of the Show’ is presented by Babette Babich Fordham University. It is a detailed presentation which was published on Nov 22, 2016 at the International Philosophy of Nursing Society; Keynote address 20th Annual Meeting in Quebec City, Quebec. This is Chapter 1, the remaining chapters can be seen following this one.
Stephen, I am not yet at the deepest understanding of “systems” producing the illness of which we suffer, however, it is obvious we suffer more each day. Thank you for watching my health! I expect soon to read your “Prescription for a healthy mind, body, spirit, and civilization”. Sounds like a title? What else you got to do on the lake? sas