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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Psychoanalysis / Henry James / Deconstruction / Postmodernism / Religion

I am interested in missed encounters, misrecognitions, and the narcissism of small differences. All the related phenomena in which people don't notice obvious connections between similar things, or misunderstand what things are about in ways fairly obvious to anyone else. Lack of self-awareness in otherwise very self-aware people. Or inexplicable differences in the way two people similarly situated view the same thing. I don't know what to call this complex of phenomena. When I try to name it, I can only come up with words like "psychoanalysis," or "Henry James." It could be a deconstructive viewpoint.

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Because, really, people who denounce postmodernism as being some facile evasion of a super obvious notion of the truth. Well, these people do not realize that reality is like that. All these fictions that surround us. All the cognitive dissonance. The most vociferous in denouncing postmodern relativism are typically those who buy into the most bizarre fictional narratives, like religions, for example. I don't mean to demean religion or any particular versions of it. My test is a fairly straightforward one. Think of the most bizarre religious cult possible, one that to anyone who doesn't belong to it would be very silly. Now your own religious belief system probably looks exactly like that anyone who doesn't actually hold it. If it is large and mainstream and prestigious, then people will generally not call it silly any more, but that's a sociological fact. If you are at all self-aware as a religious person you will be a relativist yourself, realizing that the whole thing is a useful fiction, and not really insisting on the silly parts at all. In fact, earnest religious moderates are always telling me that the silly parts are silly and that nobody believes them any more.

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