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September 07, 2007


Matt S.

Someone's been reading Fragility of Freedom...or at least getting the abridged version in class.

John Aristides

You write:

"This is important because it inverts the typical causal relationship between politics and psychology: the former, Tocqueville suggests, decisively impacts the latter, and not the other way around."

I like the way you think, but the truth is both more and less interesting than you propose.

Psychology the discipline cannot arise unless it is enabled by what can be broadly described as political circumstance; furthermore, the nature of the political circumstance -- the shape of its thrownness, let's say, its phase state -- will have a substantial impact on what type of discipline develops. Obviously.

But if you step back, it's also obvious that the human-social class of phenomena we call politics emerged from -- and is entirely dependent upon -- the psychological facts of human existence. Simply, if we were lions our "politics" would be the politics of the pride. But we're not lions, we're human. Our politics is the politics of the society (this is, of course, a simplification).

Knowing with high resolution the activities and tendencies of the mind -- this is the goal of psychology in the 21st Century. The quest is for an accurate and useful isomorphism, a quest that is, as you say, indirectly affected by political climate. However, as more useful knowledge is compiled, I can't help but think that the causal forces will begin to flow the other way -- from psychology (the science of component parts) to politics (the science of how to organize component parts). In other words, a new politics will emerge from a better understanding of Man and his human all too human tendencies. Freud deserves no small credit for getting it started.

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A person's indifferent to add another man's anguish,
A person's loyalty to add another people cheat,
A person's pay to add another man's rob,
A person's deeply to add another man's perfunctory.
Love is a man and another man.
But, one plus one equals two, but not
Just like you and me, also does not equal to us.
The call of love, o love..
If you forget to awaken, that I'd rather close my eyes.


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