It is always fascinating for the outsider to read of the preparation of innocent young men and women to participate in routinized institutionalized violence, which is -- after all -- the essence of law school training. The system requires, first, the dehumanization of the self; then, by natural extension, the dehumanization of everyone else. This is the key to survival in a world where lives must be disposed of as cheaply and quickly as possible. It was Freud who first described the marriage between sensuality and organized violence -- e.g., the law school thinking way. "Libido" refers not only to the sexual drive, but to all aggressive acts. In his dual instinct theory, Freud stated that libido and aggression come under broader biological principles Eros (love) and Thanatos (death and self-destruction). More recent psychological theorists suggest that war -- including a nation's insatiable hunger for military power and the passion for armaments -- arises from a deep-seated fear of death, a fear that is, naturally, basic to the human condition. This death fear creates the paradoxical situation where institutionalized murder (war, capital punishment, "right to bear arms," mob violence, legitimized military statism) grows out of something known as "radical pain."According to this theory, there are three types of pain:- Physical pain (old age, sickness, and dying);- Emotional pain (being away from a loved one, being forced to be with people one hates); and - Radical pain (knowledge -- or fear of knowledge -- of the intransigence of life, and one's own inevitable move towards chaos and entropy).In other words, the lunacy of a Hitler or a Pol Pot (or even America's own militarists) grows out of an unacknowledged and unrecognized terror of the inevitable, the most inevitable fact of life. Namely, death.
youyou's posts are amazing! I am saving this thread and printing it out as well!
The most interesting and most promising aspect of the book is perhaps Ritzer's analysis of the extent to which the rationality of the system imposed by McDonaldization spawns irrational tendencies. For example, the replacement of human by nonhuman technology can be unbeneficial. The worker or the employee is often forced to learn new technologies, master new techniques, keep up with upgraded software, figure out new functions, and memorize new numbers -- all of which means that business often has to pay high prices in order to operate efficiently. In addition, the types of jobs that ensue from the McDonaldization of society are jobs that require almost no skill or thinking from the worker. Whether it be a student serving food at McDonald's or a checker scanning barcodes at a supermarket, there is an increasing dependence upon and subordination to the machine: "Perhaps the ultimate irrationality of McDonaldization is the possibility that people could come to lose control over the system--that it could some day come to control them. Already, these rational systems control many aspects of people's lives." In the rationalized settings imposed by McDonaldization people be-have not as human beings but as functions of the system. A McDonaldized society is not just a panoptic society a la Foucault -- that is, a society that is structured around quasi-utilitarian principles and based on self-policing -- but also a dehumanizing society: "though it at least appears that people still control them, these rational systems can spin beyond the control of even those who occupy the highest positions within those systems." Because red tape can render bureaucracies increasingly inefficient and unpredictable, individuals become both confused and counterproductive. The anger and frustration generated by the inadequacies of nonhuman technologies can even lead people to undercut or sabotage the operation of such technologies.
... "society of spectacle," a world of manufactured desires and manipulated emotions ...
I remember it so well when I started law school how each and every day when I'd get out of the building I'd feel like I had returned to life again and how I wanted to kiss each and everyone on the train, on the street, it was just like everybody was a good person that deserved to be kissed ... I had never ever felt like that before, it was just like even the-black-dude-clearly-and-unequivocally-a-thug was a good person -- that is how disgusting, despicable was everyone inside that building where I had chosen to spend three years of my life!
In 1943 A.H. Maslow listed the basic components of a generic "authoritarian personality"
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