We've previously explored various aspects of the relationships involved in
dialectical interchange. In this essay we'll examine the special features of the interchange involved in genuine 1 interpersonal and political-economic relationships. Such relationships are part of life, which is an ongoing dialectical interchange between humans and an
unknown reality appearing, emerging, being released into existence.
For those capable of philosophical understanding, dialectic becomes the accustomed mode of exploring, speaking, understanding, and sharing ideas and feelings in interpersonal relationships. The extra-normal element of Dialectic comes into play when persons in relationships realize that they are co-creators of life-situations, personalities, events, and other phenomena such as artistic and literary works.
Negative, Inauthentic Relationships
Before we explore the extraordinary features of genuine relationships, we need to examine what constitutes inauthentic relationships in two different arenas:
- Interpersonal relationships
- Political-economic relationships
If you want to examine ideas and behaviors that are totally opposite to the concept of genuine relationships as defined in this essay, you can go to the Website 2 of a person who advocates male dominance over women.
A major cause of the derangement of the social-political-economic elements of contemporary society are our debased interpersonal relationship structures, ideologies, and behaviors. So-called mental health professionals, unfortunately, are as psychologically and morally
afflicted as their victim/patients.
"The sicknesses of the soul are sicknesses of relation."
The Brainwashing Establishment Sees Its Chance
Perpetuating their illegitimacy, the psychiatric-psychological establishment recently tried to create a new scam--"Relational Disorder"--to increase the number of counterfeit "illnesses" they can treat at patients' and insurance companies' expense.
Today, shrinks claim that 48% of people between the ages of 15 and 54 have some form of mental illness. Before psychiatrists and psychologists manufactured the myth of mental illness, 3 the figure used to be 0.1% of all ages in the mid-1800s.
The first edition (1952) of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the psychs’ definitive list of mental illnesses, identified 112 disorders; the fourth edition in 1994 listed 370 mental illnesses. It's reasonable to question if such an exponential rise in mental disorder could occur within just two generations.
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a psychiatric watchdog group, recently published a study in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics revealing the incestuous financial relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) “billing bible,” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). For over a decade CCHR has called on governments to eliminate the DSM as a valid diagnostic manual for insurance reimbursement or for the basis of any legislation or court testimony. “It is an unreliable, pseudoscientific document with enormous power to damage lives, while being used to rake in $76 billion a year in international psychiatric drug sales,” CCHR’s national U.S. president Bruce Wiseman stated.
How quixotic and fraudulent is the DSM? Robert Spitzer, chairman of the DSM-IV committee, thought up “self-defeating personality disorder” on a fishing trip and persuaded his colleagues to include the disorder in DSM-IV. The Manual doesn't distinguish between mental and physical “disorders.” If a child keeps missing the ball in baseball practice and this upsets the child, the parent or the coach, the child is said to have “developmental coordination disorder” and is administered Ritalin or Prozac instead of being coached.
Among many scams, "Social Anxiety Disease (SAD)" was invented by psychiatrists to give shyness a “scientific label” in 1997. Fifty mentions were made in the media of this SAD condition in 1997 and 1998, but in 1999, one billion media mentions occurred. Ninety-six percent of these also happened to say that Paxil was the only FDA-approved medication that could treat SAD. The Washington Post reported on July 16, 2001, that the manufacturer of Paxil, Glaxo SmithKline, had paid Cohn and Wolfe, a public relations agency, to coordinate a multimillion-dollar marketing and advertising campaign, to "inform thousands of people who previously did not know they were suffering from the disorder, and spurring many to seek needed help."
Since you're reading this essay, you may be suffering from a new "disease" Senator Bill Frist tried to legitimate with a bill in 2005 that would define "political paranoia" as a mental disorder, paving the way for individuals who suffer from paranoid delusions regarding voter fraud, political persecution and FBI surveillance to receive Medicare reimbursement for any psychiatric treatment they receive.
Rick Smith, a spokesman for Senator Frist, said that "If you're still convinced that President Bush won the election because Republicans figured out a way to hack into electronic voting machines, you've obviously got a problem. If we can figure out a way to ease your suffering by getting you into therapy and onto medication, that's something that we hope the entire 109th Congress will support." Fortunately, the bill did not go through.
The New Ordering Principle of Criminal Violence
It's completely understandable why the perverse manipulators of our American culture present a unified TV-movie-music-radio image of the detached, aggressive, self-assertive low-brow as the model to which the "cool" person should conform. There's not much need to divide and conquer when you have egomaniacs fighting each other for dominance, because they have no capability for cooperation or unified action whatsoever.
When there is no sense of consensual order in society--as is now the case--then the only organizing mechanism must be brute force. When people no longer live according to collaborative laws or rational principles such as personal integrity, but instead operate according to the whims and dictates of an outlaw junta that has seized and maintained American executive power through coup d'etat and vote rigging, then we're subsisting under the anarchy of organized crime.
You no longer need be amazed that criminals are celebrated in TV series and movies--with reruns of the Godfather series shown almost every night and the final episode of the Sopranos subjected to ludicrous detailed scrutiny--because criminality and corruption are the new "ordering principles" of American culture.
The Derangement of Political-Economic Relationships
In today's world, the relationships that go to make up the essence of a human being have been completely perverted and twisted by the vulture capitalism structure of economic exploitation of workers by owners of the means of production (capitalists).
The very fact that a person is alive should mean that he has the right to life, liberty, health, and employment. As viewers of Michael Moore's movie "Sicko" have learned, most other Western nations provide health benefits to their citizens as a matter of course, whereas people in the cabal-dominated United States not only lack health care but also suffer from globalization-induced unemployment and the ongoing destruction of our Constitutional liberties.
"A new society is possible only if, in the process of developing it, a new human being also develops, or in more modest terms, if a fundamental change occurs in contemporary Man's character structure."
Erich Fromm, To Have Or To Be?
Relationships As the Front Line of the "Revolutionary Struggle"
The real front line of "revolutionary struggle" for a commonwealth where "the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all" is complete revision of our patterns of relationship. Most people in today's world are "relationship cripples," totally incapable of initiating or sustaining even a single reciprocally satisfying and fulfilling relationship. We could not hope to create a genuine commonwealth until
we've created persons who are capable of genuine reciprocity, cooperation, and consensus.
A culture is essentially a consensual reality created by the interpersonal relations human beings establish with one another through ritualized practices and agreed principles. Earlier in the history of the United States we lived somewhat under practices and principles of personal integrity, rule of law not men, and some degree of rule of the people through their elected representative. Prior to and following the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a criminal cabal has systematically destroyed all those rational, positive ordering structures and replaced them with a criminal, totalitarian police state.
Part of what will constitute the "new man" is the clear realization that the current economic and political relationships--the structures of power and control--are not part of the fabric of reality but man-made ordinances. Over the centuries, capitalism and dictatorial political-economic rule have been made to appear as the outcome of natural laws, the only possible ways in which humans could order society. Two pernicious dogmas accompany this false view of human life:
"The realm of freedom . . . cannot consist of anything else but of the fact that socialized man, the associated producers, regulate their interchange with nature rationally, bring it under the common control, instead of being ruled by it as by some blind power; that they accomplish their task with the least expenditure of energy and under conditions most adequate to their human nature and most worthy of it." 4
- "The suffering of the workers as well as the destruction of an ever-increasing number of smaller enterprises for the sake of the growth of ever larger corporations was an economic necessity that one might regret, but that one had to accept as if it were the outcome of a natural law." 5
- "The very qualities that the system required of human beings--egotism, selfishness, and greed--were innate in human nature; hence, not only the system but human nature itself fostered them." 6
We create the "new man" by helping people worldwide to realize that capitalism and dictatorial rule fashion humans in the debased pattern of
egomaniacs: persons exclusively driven by self-interest and greed.
"To be an egoist refers not only to my behavior but to my character. It means: that I want everything for myself; that possessing, not sharing, gives me pleasure; that I must become greedy because if my aim is having, I am more the more I have; that I must feel antagonistic toward all others: my customers whom I want to deceive, my competitors whom I want to destroy, my workers whom I want to exploit. I can never be satisfied, because there is no end to my wishes; I must be envious of those who have more and afraid of those who have less."
Erich Fromm, To Have Or To Be?
The Lethality of Deranged Relationships
We must overcome the evil of capitalistic egomania not only because it brings about the perversion of humans into deadly antagonists in a battle for life or death but because it leads to two other lethal outcomes:
- It makes humans progressively stupid and incapable of effective functioning
"Private property has made us so stupid and partial that an object is only ours when we have it, when it exists for us as capital or when it is directly eaten, drunk, worn, inhabited, etc., in short, utilized in some way . . . Thus all the physical and intellectual senses have been replaced by the simple alienation of all these senses; the sense of having." 7
- It leads to class warfare and the ultimate breakdown of society.
"That the having mode and the resulting greed necessarily lead to interpersonal antagonism and strife holds true for nations as it does for individuals. For as long as nations are composed of people whose main motivation is having and greed, they cannot help waging war. They necessarily covet what another nation has, and attempt to get what they want by war, economic pressure, or threats." 8
In the last analysis, it's absolutely essential that we reconstitute our interpersonal and economic-political relationship patterns, because our very lives depend on it.
"The need for profound human change emerges not only as an ethical or religious demand, not only as a psychological demand arising from the pathogenic nature of our present social character, but also as a condition for the sheer survival of the human race. Right living is no longer only the fulfillment of an ethical or religious demand. For the first time in history the physical survival of the human race depends on a radical change of the human heart. However, a change of the human heart is possible only to the extent that drastic economic and social changes occur that give the human heart the chance for change and the courage and vision to achieve it." 9
|"Because society with its developed organization exercises a hitherto unknown power over Man, Man's dependency on it has grown to a degree that he almost has ceased to live a mental (geistig) existence of his own . . . Thus we have entered a new Middle Ages. By a general act of will freedom of thought has been put out of function, because many give up thinking as free individuals, and are guided by the collective to which they belong . . . With the sacrifice of independence of thought we have--and how could it be otherwise--lost faith in truth. Our intellectual emotional life is disorganized. The overorganization of our public affairs culminated in the organization of thoughtlessness."|
Breaking Out of Deranged Relationships
As an exercise in understanding, consider who you think might have been the author of the statement in the enclosed section immediately above, Karl Marx, Erich Fromm, Friedrich Engels, who? Re-read the passage and reflect on who might express such a sentiment. It might provide a clue if I were to tell you that the author of this view was a famous musicologist who began his analysis of modern culture about 1900 and later served as a medical missionary in Africa. Implausibly, the person who saw that modern capitalist culture was leading to the total breakdown of independent thought and respect for truth was Albert Schweitzer.
As long as we allow others to define us as:
- Inferior because not monetarily wealthy
- Weak because not a part of the power elite
then our being is that of a mere part of a larger whole.
The whole can be a culture, a nation state, an ideological group, or what have you.
When we define ourselves in terms of our:
Once we attain the understanding that we are, in essence, in a unified state with the One, then we can view ourselves as both a part of the One and a manifestation of the One.
It then becomes merely a matter of perspective: seeing ourselves as a part of the Divine or the Divine expressing Itself through us. In Boehme's words, God seeing and hearing through us.
The Ontology of Entities and Relationships
To understand the transcendent quality of dialectical interchange in interpersonal relationships between persons within the Perennial Tradition, we must explore the ontology, physics, and sociology of relationships.
Ontology, the investigation of being, was earlier pursued in terms of:
- Entities: objects, persons, things, events, conditions
These two approaches to being were previously thought to be polar opposites, but with the advent of quantum physics and field theory, they're now considered merely two ways of approaching the investigation of reality.
Quantum theory 10 views entities as no more--or less--real than the relationships associated with and between those entities. An entity is defined by its relationships to other entities; it is defined by locating it in time and space, which is to say by defining its relationship to other entities. One physicist put it this way: "All of the well-established laws of physics may well be nothing but consequences of the existence of stable objects whose forms are sets of spatial relations between formless objects." 11
"If you do not get schwindlig [dizzy] sometimes when you think about these things then you have not really understood it [quantum theory]."|
Neils Bohr, Quantum Physicist
When science looked closely at matter--which is said to be the constituent of entities--it found particles which can only be defined in relation to other elements. In the core of even the most solid-looking matter, separateness of being dissolves. All that remains are relationships extending curiously throughout space and time. These connections were predicted by quantum theory and were called "spooky action at a distance" by Albert Einstein. One of the founders of quantum theory, Erwin Schrödinger, dubbed this peculiarity entanglement, remarking "I would not call that one but rather the characteristic trait of quantum mechanics."
Quantum theory hypothesizes that if we know one of the relationships of a particle--our perception of it--then we can't know where the particle is going, and if we know its movement in relation to other entities, we can't know where the particle is. In other words, if you know a particle as having a precise independent existence, you can't know anything about its relationship to the rest of reality; and if you know its relationship to the rest of reality, you can't know anything about its independent existence. We can say, then, that a particle doesn't really have independent being; it is composed of its relationships.
The Human Essence
An invisible but very real Force, with empirically observable effects, exists, drawing entities together to form greater wholes. This Force pulled the components of the first living cell together and caused single cells to colonize and then become a metazoan creature. We see this Force at work in social insects building hives and mounds and in human beings building societies and civilizations.
"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us 'Universe,' a part
limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security."|
The essence of a genuine human 12 is as a manifestation of the Divine. Our life work is to purify the channel of our being so that the Divine can express through us. As Jacob Boehme says in his book Of the Supersensual Life:
"When you stop willing and thinking self then the eternal hearing, seeing and speaking will be revealed within you, and God will see and hear through you."
"May not you and I be confluent in a higher consciousness, and confluently active there, though we now know it not? We finite minds may simultaneously be co-conscious with one another in a super-human intelligence."|
William James, A Pluralistic Universe
Dialectical Interpersonal Relationships
Interaction and communication within genuine relationships evince an uncommon, supernormal openness, considerateness, and honesty which can be experienced in no other atmosphere. Once a person has experienced this kind of interaction, the "small talk" and inanity of ordinary interchange seems unrewarding and repugnant.
Participants in dialectical interchange are better able to "see" and "listen to" others--in the interchange environment and otherwise. Ego distractions no longer blind and deafen us, and we suddenly discern deeper meanings within persons, events and objects, enabling new, more potent responses.
Participants in dialectic are more capable of disclosing feelings and ideas, both those which they are aware of when the interchange begins and those newly realized elements which appear as the dialectical process proceeds.
Persons in inauthentic relationships are incapable of participating in dialectical interchange because they lack the requisite autonomy, intelligence, and honesty. Until very recently, women were not considered "equal" to men, and relationships were male dominated. Misquoting the Bible's "a woman shall cleave to her husband," English law enshrined this inequality. English jurist William Blackstone, arbiter of English law pontificated: "in law a husband and wife are one person, and the husband is that person."
For two or more persons to engage in genuine dialectical interchange, it's necessary that they both possess mental and spiritual autonomy. Their stations in life do not necessarily need to be equal. All participants must be able to think for themselves and must possess the personal force to maintain their own ideas and sentiments. An interesting example of personal autonomy was that between Jane and Mr. Rochester in the novel Jane Eyre. Though Jane was Mr. Rochester's hired governess and he her "master," she possessed a completely autonomous mind which Mr. Rochester not just tolerated but admired and loved.
Dialectic is a phenomenon which must be actually experienced before it can be fully understood. Attempting to make Dialectic clear to persons who haven't participated in its reality is like trying to convey an adequate idea of sight to a person born blind. Those discerning enough to seek out true information about, prepare for, and then actually experience Dialectic interchange, become members of a small philosophical fellowship.
As we've seen, entities--including persons--are ontologically constituted by their relationships. This is no more true than in dialectical interpersonal relationships. Persons within the Perennial tradition are created 13 through their dialectical relationships with other members of that small community. In dialectical interchange, we create and re-create ourselves, not through coercion, conflict, or compromise, but through co-investigation, cooperation, co-learning, and co-discovery.
To most people, to say that person A's relationship with person B creates him,
would imply that A was dependent on, subservient to, or inferior to B. In genuine dialectical relationships, the opposite is true: no negative dependency, subservience, or inferiority is involved. The mystical, alchemical aspects of dialectical interchange create and re-create persons, personalities, events, and other entities in a numinous 14 manner.
As an example, in any genuine dialectical relationship, a person's understanding and practice of love is re-created, refined, and ameliorated. This improvement in comprehending the essence of love does not occur through argument, debate, or conflict, but through the transcendent processes of discovering new aspects of the other participant(s) and of oneself in dialectical interchange.
Any original egocentric need to defend one's stance, in a feeling that not maintaining one's position would involve weakness and capitulation, dissolves as the genuine affection and respect each has for the other begins to work its magic.
Thanks to psychoanalysis, I'm totally free of all defense mechanisms.
Persons realize that many of their previous psychological "needs," beliefs, and scruples were merely elements of Reichian "armoring" that they no longer need in a genuine interchange environment. Old habits of arguing for argument sake, maintaining one's cherished beliefs out of sheer stubbornness, and protecting one's person from attack at all costs, are now seen to be unnecessary, counter-productive defense mechanisms.
|"In contrast are those who approach a situation by preparing nothing in advance, not bolstering themselves up in any way. Instead, they respond spontaneously and productively; they forget about themselves, about the knowledge, the positions they have. Their egos do not stand in their own way, and it is precisely for this reason that they can fully respond to the other person and that person's ideas. They give birth to new ideas, because they are not holding onto anything. While the having persons rely on what they have, the being persons rely on the fact that they are, that they are alive and that something new will be born if only they have the courage to let go and to respond. They come fully alive in the conversation, because they do not stifle themselves by anxious concern with what they have. Their own aliveness is infectious and often helps the other person to transcend his or her egocentricity. Thus the conversation ceases to be an exchange of commodities (information, knowledge, status) and becomes a dialogue in which it does not matter any more who is right."|
Erich Fromm, To Have Or To Be?
The vast difference between persons who have experienced genuine dialectical interchange and those who have not is no more apparent than when descriptions of the dynamics of dialectical interaction are presented, as above. Persons external to the Perennial Tradition find it impossible to credit the portrayal of dialectical relationships. Living in a culture beset by egomania, having totally acceded to the idea that one must maintain personal defenses and maintain one's "ground," having excelled in the invisible "assertiveness training" of American society, they're only able to "see" dialectical relationships in terms of compromise, concession, and capitulation.
Yet, genuine dialectical interchange between advanced persons moves beyond the ordinary limitations of commonplace relations and enters the realm of the transcendent. The interchange becomes a shared mystical experience in which each realizes his or her essence and the truth of the element which they are mutually investigating.
"Only in the process of mutual alive relatedness can the other and I overcome the barrier of separateness, inasmuch as we both participate in the dance of life."
Erich Fromm, To Have Or To Be?
1 We're distinguishing between genuine and inauthentic relationships because most interpersonal relationships in today's world possess negative, debilitating elements that turn them into war zones, master/slave alliances, or prisons of compromise. The genuine relationships we'll explore are those among persons working within the Perennial Tradition.
3 "The prestige and power of psychiatrists have been augmented by defining increasingly larger domains as falling within the purview of their special discipline." Thomas Szasz, The Myth of Mental Illnesss, 1961
4 Karl Marx, Capital
5 Erich Fromm, To Have Or To Be?, p. xxix
7 Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts
8 Erich Fromm, To Have Or To Be?, p. 100
9 Erich Fromm, To Have Or To Be?, p. xxxi
10 The word "theory" is used deliberately to indicate that quantum mechanics and other current systems of thought are in essence hypotheses that continue to be tested and verified.
11 From an article in thisquantumworld.com
12 A genuine human persists in continuous improvement because she wishes to develop her full potential. Unfortunately, most persons in today's world remain the same throughout their lives.
13 I'm referring to the connotations of creation as: "investing with a new form" and "producing or bringing about by a course of action or behavior"
14 Numinous: filled with a sense of the presence of divinity; paranormal (beyond normal)