Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I BELIEVE, as did the late Dr. Murray Bowen who pioneered family systems/differentiation-of-self theories (The Bowen Center) of human behavior, that our country and culture---are in a massive societal regression. I also think there's no end in sight for our downhill spiral. We live in coarse and vulgar times, to put it mildly.
Anyway, Robin of Berkeley has just written a piece at American Thinker that's well-worth reading entitled Sociopathic Epidemic. This shows in shocking focus where we're probably heading and parts of society have already arrived.
Of course, her perspective is from the way-liberal, left coast and highlights some extreme and tragic behavior out in Pelosi-land., where empathy flows like honey.
In this piece, Robin makes the distinction between our being a nation of mere narcissists who nonetheless have in-tact consciences which can feel shame and remorse, to being a nation of sociopaths who have totally separated from all moral constraints and the ability to know right from wrong.
It's no surprise, in such a sociopathic world, black is white, up is down and evil is good. Everything in life is relative and divorced from all spiritual, moral and founding principles as individual omnipotence and its concomitant adoration of self-esteem is raised to dizzying heights and staggering proportions.
In the beginning, middle and end though, only profound, individual spiritual renewal can save us from ourselves. This is something we can seek and pray for.
I want to come back later with my short list of individual behaviors that I think lead us from narcissism to sociopathtic nihilism and endemic to individual behavior today. None of this is new, yet I want to reiterate it.
What do I mean when I say we're living in a societal regression? I'll be posting various thoughts during the day. But here are a few for starters:
***We live in a constant feeling state of anxiety which comes from our lower reptilian brains and mistake this feeling state for reality.
***Living out of feelings demands that we spend most of our waking hours and much of our sleep time managing and medicating our feelings from what we don't want to something we do. We want stimulation and then relief. Drugs, tobacco, alcohol, sex, shopping and all kinds of addictive behaviors---where we get less and less or a kick even with more of the substance---are part of this syndrome.
****Loyalty to tribe, family, friends, groups and significant others---even despicable ones in the face of cruel behavior---is mandatory and more important than living from principles and doing what's right. Taking a stand against group think is not OK and risks expulsion from the lower functioning immature group. Bowen called this fusion. The only way out is differentiation of self and such a process requires higher functioning brain power.
***Projection takes the place of human introspection which naturally leads to taking responsibility and making changes where changes are called for.
****The inability to either make an amends or receive and acknowledge another's amends comes with increasing narcissism.
****An irresistible attraction to drama and adrenaline in greater and greater amounts.
***The need to be right rather than authentic, especially when being authentic conflicts with our need to be loyal/fused to our group. Authenticity is not letting every crass emotion fly; it comes from having processed our emotions and then getting to the real issues underneath the rawness of feelings.
****A sense of entitlement---which is a lack of appreciation and gratitude---goes with increasing narcissism. In working the 12 steps a sign of recovery is always a sense of gratitude and of personal responsibility. Conversely, falling in the hole goes with ingratitude and narcissism.
All of us to some degree possess many these traits, and we must choose whether we take up the long and arduous spiritual journey of recovery and from narcissism to sanity and maturity. It is always a journey from living, working and recreating in the lower reptilian realms up into the saner neo-cortex and higher brain. It takes courage, humor and patience.
It's never a straight line up, but filled with many fits and starts and detours. I can tell you from experience. Still our recovery into sanity is the only hope for a regressed society. We can't even begin it without a belief in God which hopefully sooner rather than later becomes a belief in the redeeming power of Christ.
Posted by Webutante at 5:02:00 AM