Friday, June 20, 2008

Torture by Isolation is What We Do

[Originally submitted 6:54 local time; now posted as Comment #3 at Psyche, Science, and Society]
  • 2. knowbuddhau | June 20th, 2008 at 9:54 am

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    Thanks for all your work on this. I just watched Dr. Reisner on Democracy Now!

    Back on 27 November 2007, I made this comment

    We get fooled, again and again, by being mind-f*cked (the impolite phrase for Naomi Klein’s brilliant ’shock doctrine’) into thinking we are only part things that must relate to the Whole via bachelor fathers with terrible tempers and unspoken habits. Our science, psychology, has midwifed this monstrous abuse of being human.

    Today, 20 June 2008, I’ve again just watched Democracy Now! I’m retrieving from the trash a recent APA invitation to renew my membership.

    Thank you, Dr. Reisner, for restoring my faith.

    Regarding torture, our fundamental debate is between two conceptions of Being: are we a Newtonian machine constructed by an external agent of point particles in an absolute vacuum; or are we growing from within? Is life really a Holy War amongst these cellf-imprisoned points of pure pain? Is our essence that of a castle, or a growing, living, Being aware of its own Becoming?

    “Coercion doesn’t work,” the UK decided after 15 years of terror, Phillippe Sands tells us. And that’s what I was taught at UW back in the 80s: punishment is passé. So how come we’ve resorted to such primitive methods, namely cruelty and torture?

    Because torture by isolation is at the very basis of our conception of Being.

    Are we ego-driven machines? quantum singularities of pure pain? When C. Daniel Batson, University of Kansas professor of social psychology, dogmatically asserted to me in a type-written letter back in 1980something that “the self/other divide must be maintained,” upon what evidence did this assertion rest? None.

    No, that’s an outdated and discredited reduction that presumes an absolute dualism that does not obtain. Prof. Batson crossed the line, from psychology into mythology, by denying that empathy involves a transpersonal realization of this self-evident Being Aware of Becoming “whose center is in each of us, but whose circumference is NoWhere.”

    If you’re so convinced of the facticity of the self/other divide, dear colleagues, then put your finger on it. Of what is it made? how does it function? is it permeable, or semi-permeable? if there’s stuff in continuous transport across the divide, then isn’t it’s delineation an arbitrary imposition by the observer?

    No. This pointilistic conception of Being only imprisons us in CELLVES of our own making, from within which we then wage war on all else. Sounds like feudalism, to me.

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