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Author Topic: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL  (Read 105270 times)

Kalos

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Re: GAY SHOWS THE WAY
« Reply #470 on: June 03, 2009, 10:42:51 AM »

Gayness is the wedge that splits open the gender system, in which feminine and masculine fit together in the sexual division of labor: a double wedge in fact, as the rejection of heterosexuality proceeds in parallel among both women and men. It is in this sense that we speak of a 'gay revolution'. It is not 'gay chauvinism' to say that gay is better than straight. All that is wrong here is that gay is simply the immediate next step, not the final goal. GAY SHOWS THE WAY. But as more and more people follow gay peoples' lead and the gender system crumbles, they shall have to redefine themselves, no longer as a deviant  minority but as the new majority, having only pity for the stubborn minority who still cling for a while to the traditional path.


Gay people are spiritually different from the rest of society. They are more in touch with nature, bodily pleasure, the true essence of human nature. They seek to refashion the world after their egalitarian, non-hierarchical views. What drives them is a belief that sexuality is sacred. A belief that queer sexuality has an essential outsider quality that makes the outcast homosexual the perfect prophet for a heterosexual world lost in strict gender roles, enforced reproductive sexuality and numbingly straitjacketed social personae. A cross between born-again queers and in-your-face shock troops practicing g e n d e r @ # ! * drag.

The new human being will be of a kind that would seem to us as intrinsically both masculine and feminine, as seemingly both a man and a woman, and because of this, this new kind of human being will be in fact, really neither masculine nor feminine, neither man nor woman, but instead something new, something of a character that will have superseded the usefulness and meaningfulness of such divisions and demarcations. In any event, this new human being would probably not seem in all respects equally masculine and feminine to us, equally a man and a woman, but in fact, would more likely seem at least in the area of close interpersonal relations (those of social and sexual intimacy and desire) to be more feminine than masculine, more "like a woman" than "like a man." In addition, not only would this future human being seem to be what we would describe as "bisexual" but also would likely seem to us to be far more gay than straight.

In a society dominated by the sexist culture it is very difficult - if not impossible - for heterosexual men and women to escape their gender-role structuring and the roles of oppressor and oppressed. But gay men and lesbian women don't need to oppress women in order to fulfill their own psycho sexual needs, and gay women don't have to relate sexuality to the male oppressor, so that at this moment in time the freest and most equal relationships are most likely to be between homosexuals. All this as a demonstration that human beings really can change, really can overcome the competition and struggle to dominate, the survival of the fittest, that reactionaries have always proclaimed is an eternal part of the human condition. It is needed not only the abolition of class, but equally of the gender system that underlies this, with its masculine specialization in violence, domination of men over women, and institutionalized heterosexuality. Gay men and lesbian women are rebels against the gender system and gender differences altogether. Instead of two radically different types of human being, feminine women and masculine men -- with this distinction involving a very definite relationship of oppression in the bargain -- a post-gender society would enable all human beings to combine the positive aspects attributed at present to one sex or the other alone, and jettison the negative aspects. Love is to be seen as a relationship between equals, rather than between dominant and subordinate.

Even when straight men are allied by common work, kinship or belief, they are still underneath it all enemy brothers; it is legendary how competition over women turns brotherhood into hate. Even when not immediately realized, this potential lurks just beneath the surface, dividing men from one another and thus helping perpetuate the law of violence -- indeed it is the first precondition for masculine hierarchy. If men are to love one another, it must be possible for us to love one another in the full, sexual sense; as long as this is tabooed, inter-male competition can never be dissolved. What perpetuates this vicious competition, of course, is not the practice of heterosexuality, but the non-practice of homosexuality. It would disappear if the gender system were abolished, and human beings could relate to one another irrespective of biological sex, i.e., both homosexually and heterosexually, with the family accordingly replaced by a form of commune. But in this case, the resultant 'bisexuality' would be clearly established in the terms of homosexuality, or rather gayness. It would be a sexuality between essentially similar individuals, rather than essentially dissimilar, thus 'homosexual' rather than 'heterosexual'.

philetor

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Non-Violent Revolution: Is It Possible?
« Reply #471 on: June 04, 2009, 09:46:09 AM »

[...]

Mahatama Gandhi explains his philosophy and way of life in his autobiography "The Story of My Experiments with Truth." He was quoted as saying:

Quote
"When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall — think of it, always."

Quote
"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?"

Quote
"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."

Quote
"There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for."

In applying these principles, Gandhi did not balk from taking them to their most logical extremes in envisioning a world where even government, police and armies were non-violent.


The notion of many persons that non-violent actions never work or that they take too long to achieve. These notions should be rejected on the basis of history. One classic example is in regard to the 1963 overthrow of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem. An almost anti-climactic military coup followed a half year of intensive public actions led by Buddhist monks, in a campaign that destroyed Diem's base of support. Look at most history books and this is contributed almost entirely to a military coup. The fact is, even in revolutions that are primarily violent, the successful ones usually include non-violent civilian actions not so different from the ones Gandhi used. And nearly every time, you will find these actions curiously downplayed or ignored by most journalists and historians.

Gandhi positively rejected the idea that a class war was incompatible with non-violence:

Quote
"The idea of class war does not appeal to me. In India a class war is not inevitable, but it is avoidable if we have understood the message of non-violence. Those who talk about class war as being inevitable, have not understood the implications of non-violence or have understood them only skin-deep."

Many people today still regard Gandhi's ideas of non-violence to mean passivity, he even commented "that one must never be passive in the face of evil; that violence was better than cowardice." It is very common to see in socialist literature an overplaying of the "struggle." If a person were to read most literature available on the Internet or in print they would find words such as "defend," "fight" and "attack" splattered though out each article. This kind of language can only draw people who like the idea of a fight. The key question is, what kind of leader would be the result of such a party or group?

The revolutionary leaders of the past have all advocated that a revolution can only be achieved with the tool of violence. These kinds of methods have so far only contributed to undemocratic socialist parties. Other factors have played a part too, such as isolation by capitalist powers and the fact that the socialist states were underdeveloped. However the leaders thoughts should not be dismissed and much evidence could be given to indicate that Lenin, Castro and others were not of a peaceful mind. New strategies must be employed in order to bring in a socialist party based on peace. In a non-violent revolution there would be no enemies. The struggle is against ideas and institutions but not individual persons. As Gandhi said, "Hate the sin and not the sinner."

As Marx and Engels suggested, this revolutionary class must be the working class. It is the job of the socialist parties to raise the consciousness of the working people and give them the tools for a non-violent revolution. This was summed up quite nicely by Lenin:

Quote
"By educating the workers' party, Marxism educates the vanguard of the proletariat, capable of assuming power and leading the whole people to socialism, of directing and organizing the new system, of being the teacher, the guide, the leader of all the working and exploited people in organizing their social life without the bourgeoisie and against the bourgeoisie."


This leaves open the question of how the socialist parties can prepare the working class in non-violent struggle. Gandhi stressed many times that it requires great training and discipline to be equipped with the tools needed to win a non-violent struggle. A key component in learning non-violence is of course to learn from history, past success and mistakes. This however is currently not the case; instead a greater emphasis is put on the violent option. By putting greater emphasis on non-violent actions a greater and more diverse working class would be open to the ideas of socialism. As socialism tries to shake off the image of the Stalinist Soviet image this way of thinking would only help develop the idea that Stalinism is not Socialism.

Martin Luther King spelled out 5 principles on non-violent action:

  • First, it must be emphasized that non-violent resistance is not a method for cowards; it does resist. If one uses this method because he is afraid or merely because he lacks the instruments of violence, he is not truly non-violent.
  • A second basic fact that characterizes non-violence is that it does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding. The non-violent resister must often express his protest through non-cooperation or boycotts, but he realizes that these are not ends themselves; they are merely means to awaken a sense of moral shame in the opponent ... The aftermath of non-violence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness.
  • A third characteristic of this method is that the attack is directed against forces of evil rather than against persons who happen to be doing the evil.
  • A fourth point that characterizes non-violent resistance is a willingness to accept suffering without retaliation, to accept blows from the opponent without striking back. 'Rivers of blood may have to flow before we gain our freedom, but it must be our blood', Gandhi said to his countrymen. The non-violent resister ... does not seek to dodge jail. If going to jail is necessary, he enters it 'as a bridegroom enters the bride's chamber...'
  • A fifth point concerning non-violent resistance is that it avoids not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. The non-violent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him. At the centre of non-violence stands the principle of love.

If socialism wants to be associated more with peace and the people these kinds of principles should be followed up more. Too much emphasis on the "struggle" can only serve two purposes:

1) The alienation of the vast majority of peaceful working people
2) Promote violence and a cultural of violence.

According to common socialist theory the revolution should be carried out by the working people, which in industrialized countries is the majority of the people. Therefore by using these principles and by raising the consciousness of the working people a socialist government could be brought about via a ballot box. This is assuming that all people have the right to vote. Therefore this idea of a fight and conflict would seem to make no sense in the West of today as the only way to bring about socialism. In Marx's time of course not everybody had the right to vote and therefore the situation was different.

parastates

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Re: GAY SHOWS THE WAY
« Reply #472 on: June 04, 2009, 11:01:23 AM »

Gayness is the wedge that splits open the gender system, in which feminine and masculine fit together in the sexual division of labor: a double wedge in fact, as the rejection of heterosexuality proceeds in parallel among both women and men. It is in this sense that we speak of a 'gay revolution'. It is not 'gay chauvinism' to say that gay is better than straight. All that is wrong here is that gay is simply the immediate next step, not the final goal. GAY SHOWS THE WAY. But as more and more people follow gay peoples' lead and the gender system crumbles, they shall have to redefine themselves, no longer as a deviant  minority but as the new majority, having only pity for the stubborn minority who still cling for a while to the traditional path.


Gay people are spiritually different from the rest of society. They are more in touch with nature, bodily pleasure, the true essence of human nature. They seek to refashion the world after their egalitarian, non-hierarchical views. What drives them is a belief that sexuality is sacred. A belief that queer sexuality has an essential outsider quality that makes the outcast homosexual the perfect prophet for a heterosexual world lost in strict gender roles, enforced reproductive sexuality and numbingly straitjacketed social personae. A cross between born-again queers and in-your-face shock troops practicing g e n d e r @ # ! * drag.


Gay and lesbian movements which remain merely content to work for greater tolerance, acceptance and/or inclusion of homosexuality and homosexuals within capitalism are engaged in ultimately futile pursuits. They should aim for not mere tolerance/acceptance but rather to undermine the very basis upon which heteros have the power to decide whether or not to accept/tolerate homos (as the latter don't have the power to decide whether or not to tolerate/accept the former). Instead of accepting the terms by which homosexuality and homosexuals are excluded, expelled, and ostracized from the dominant society and culture, instead of remaining content to develop a merely separate, self-excluding, self-ostracizing subculture, the genuinely radical gay/lesbian liberation movement must oppose the division of society into hetero majority/hetero dominant and homo minority/gay subordinate. It must strive to remake and transform the dominant sexzual culture into a "gay" culture. It must therefore develop a positive content which is both genuinely critical of and ultimately superior to straight culture: the gay culture must work to supersede straight culture as the newly dominant sexual culture of a genuinely sexually liberated society.

This is because existing limitations/restrictions imposed upon the naturally free and flexible variety of social/sexual associations of human beings are oppressive and exploitative. It is also necessary because complete toleration, acceptance, integration and equality of homosexuals and homosexuality in heterosexist, patriarchal sexist society and culture is impossible. The violence against homosexuals will continue to increase as the capitalist system heads closer to its ultimate collapse. A revolutionary gay/lesbian liberation movement must move from accommodation to transgression, from allowable to unallowable rebellion, from struggle for personal liberation to struggle for social emancipation, from difference as life"style" to making a difference in the conditions by which all must live, and from rebellion as escape and retreat to rebellion as confrontation and contestation, destruction and reconstruction, supersession and transformation.

plgek

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #473 on: June 06, 2009, 12:20:23 PM »

I tend to believe Sartre's philosophy is so pessimistic because it was written during the Nazi occupation of France where Sartre was living. The peace ended on September 3, 1939, when France and Britain declared war on Germany. Sartre was reinducted into the army. His division was sent to Eastern France, where he worked in the meteorological service sending up balloons, testing the direction of the wind. However, the war interfered little with his own productivity: he began a big novel "The Age of Reason" and read Soren Kierkegaard. He was taken prisoner on June 21, 1940. In the prisoner of war camp, he washed rarely, didn't shave, and developed a reputation for being dirty. In these conditions he began writing a major philosophical work, "Being and Nothingness."

The atmosphere of the Nazi occupation of Paris where he was writing can be felt in these lines from "The Republic of Silence": "We were never more free than during the German occupation. We had lost all our rights, beginning with the right to talk. Every day we were insulted to our faces and had to take it in silence. Under one pretext or another, as workers, Jews, or political prisoners, we were deported en masse. Everywhere, on billboards, in the newspapers, on the screen, we encountered the revolting and insipid picture of ourselves that oppressors wanted us to accept. And, because of all this, we were free. Because the Nazi venom seeped even into our thoughts, every accurate thought was a conquest. Because an all-powerful police tried to force us to hold our tongues, every word took on the value of a declaration of principles. Because we were hunted down, every one of our gestures had the weight of a solemn commitment. The circumstances, atrocious as they often were, finally made it possible for us to live, without pretense of false shame. The hectic and impossible existence that is known as the lot of man... Exile, captivity, and especially death -- which we usually shrink from facing at all in happier times -- became for us the habitual objects of our concern. We learned that they were neither inevitable accidents, not even constant and exterior dangers, but that they must be considered as our lot itself, our destiny, the profound source of our reality as men."


If that's really what you believe, that Sartre's thought is "pessimistic" because it was formed during the Nazi occupation of Paris, then you haven't understood a thing what his philosophy is about.


So basically Sartre is saying that Paris under siege was nothing more than a microcosmic mirroring of the human world as a whole, that normal life is no less tragic than a concentration camp? From this point of view, Nazis causing death and destruction were some kind of cowards that could not face the fact that life is meaningless and tragic?

kehlk

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TMT
« Reply #474 on: June 06, 2009, 12:52:28 PM »

I tend to believe Sartre's philosophy is so pessimistic because it was written during the Nazi occupation of France where Sartre was living. The peace ended on September 3, 1939, when France and Britain declared war on Germany. Sartre was reinducted into the army. His division was sent to Eastern France, where he worked in the meteorological service sending up balloons, testing the direction of the wind. However, the war interfered little with his own productivity: he began a big novel "The Age of Reason" and read Soren Kierkegaard. He was taken prisoner on June 21, 1940. In the prisoner of war camp, he washed rarely, didn't shave, and developed a reputation for being dirty. In these conditions he began writing a major philosophical work, "Being and Nothingness."

The atmosphere of the Nazi occupation of Paris where he was writing can be felt in these lines from "The Republic of Silence": "We were never more free than during the German occupation. We had lost all our rights, beginning with the right to talk. Every day we were insulted to our faces and had to take it in silence. Under one pretext or another, as workers, Jews, or political prisoners, we were deported en masse. Everywhere, on billboards, in the newspapers, on the screen, we encountered the revolting and insipid picture of ourselves that oppressors wanted us to accept. And, because of all this, we were free. Because the Nazi venom seeped even into our thoughts, every accurate thought was a conquest. Because an all-powerful police tried to force us to hold our tongues, every word took on the value of a declaration of principles. Because we were hunted down, every one of our gestures had the weight of a solemn commitment. The circumstances, atrocious as they often were, finally made it possible for us to live, without pretense of false shame. The hectic and impossible existence that is known as the lot of man... Exile, captivity, and especially death -- which we usually shrink from facing at all in happier times -- became for us the habitual objects of our concern. We learned that they were neither inevitable accidents, not even constant and exterior dangers, but that they must be considered as our lot itself, our destiny, the profound source of our reality as men."


If that's really what you believe, that Sartre's thought is "pessimistic" because it was formed during the Nazi occupation of Paris, then you haven't understood a thing what his philosophy is about.


So basically Sartre is saying that Paris under siege was nothing more than a microcosmic mirroring of the human world as a whole, that normal life is no less tragic than a concentration camp? From this point of view, Nazis causing death and destruction were some kind of cowards that could not face the fact that life is meaningless and tragic?



Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? One of Post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin's most famous paintings.

Since life is meaningless and absurd we should find our own values we will live by. One value system suggested by social psychologists, broadly called Terror Management Theory, states that all human meaning is derived out of a fundamental fear of death, whereby values are selected when they allow us to escape the mental reminder of death. Terror management theory (TMT) looks at what researchers claim to be the implicit emotional reactions of people when confronted with the psychological terror of knowing we will eventually die (some believe that awareness of mortality is a trait that is unique to humans). The theory was first developed in the late 1980s by Skidmore College psychology professor Sheldon Solomon, University of Arizona psychology professor Jeff Greenberg, and Colorado University at Colorado Springs psychology professor Tom Pyszczynski, who were graduate students at the University of Kansas at the time. The trio were inspired by the theories of Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death, 1973), Otto Rank and Freud, on how potent reminders of one's own ultimate death often provoke a belief in some form of mystical transcendence (heaven, reincarnation, spiritualism, etc.) Terror management theory attempts to provide a rationale for the motivational catalysts of human behavior when life is threatened.

The theory builds from the assumption that the capability of self-reflection and the consciousness of one's own mortality can be regarded as a continuous source for existential anguish. This "irresolvable paradox" is created from the desire to preserve life and the realization of that impossibility (because life is finite). Humans are aware of the inevitability of their own death. Culture diminishes this psychological terror by providing meaning, organization and continuity to people's lives. Compliance with cultural values enhances one's feeling of security and self-esteem, provided that the individual is capable of living in accordance with whatever particular cultural standards apply to him or her. The belief in the rightness of the cultural values and standards creates the conviction necessary to live a reasonable and meaningful life. This cultural worldview provides a base of making sense of the world as stable and orderly, a place where one rests their hopes on symbolic immortality (e.g., fame, having children, legacies of wealth or fortune) or literal immortality (e.g., the promise of a life in an afterworld). Our cultural world view is a "symbolic protector" between the reality of life and inevitability of death. Because of this men and women strive to have their cultural worldview confirmed by others, thereby receiving the community's esteem. However, when one's worldview is threatened by the world view of another, it often results in one's self-respect being endangered as well. In such a situation people not only endeavor to deny or devalue the importance of others' world views, but try to controvert the ideas and opinions of others which may, as a consequence, escalate into a conflict (ie. religious holy wars). As a result, mortality salience increases stereotypic thinking and intergroup bias between groups.

Two hypotheses have emerged from TMT research; the mortality salience hypothesis and the anxiety-buffer hypothesis. The mortality salience hypothesis says that if cultural worldviews and self-esteem provide protection from the fear of death, then reminding people of the root of that fear will increase the needs of individuals to value their own cultural worldview and self-esteem. The anxiety-buffer hypothesis provides the rationale that self-esteem is a buffer which serves to insulate humans from death. By doing so our self-esteem allows us to deny the susceptibility to a short-term life. Developing from the analysis of authoritative leadership by Erich Fromm (1941) in "Escape from Freedom," people in a state of emotional distress by nature are prone to the allure of charismatic leaders. Research has shown that people, when reminded of their own inevitable death, will cling more strongly to their cultural worldviews. The data appears to show that nations or persons who have experienced traumas are more attracted to strong leaders who express traditional, pro-establishment, authoritarian viewpoints. They will also be hyperaware of the possibility of external threats, and may be more hostile to those who threaten them. Additional research indicates those who are raised by authoritarian parents tend to conform to authority more frequently than those who are not. This perpetuates the belief that culture worldviews are a product of the socialization process and those who are socialized through authority are more susceptible to conformity when their mortality is made salient. The theory gained media attention in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, and after the re-election of President George W. Bush in the USA, Prime Minister Tony Blair in the UK, and John Howard in Australia.

Terror management researchers have shown that making mortality salient to research participants will lead to such changes in behaviors and beliefs that seemingly protect worldview and encourage self-esteem striving. This mortality-salient state is usually induced by having participants write down the emotions that come to mind when thinking about death, and expanded by having participants write about what they think will happen as they die and after they die. Following this procedure a brief delay is provided. Past research indicates mortality salience effects are more pronounced following a brief delay. Nevertheless, these researchers have not yet demonstrated that this happens for the reason they propose, namely to alleviate unconscious fears of death. Direct tests of this hypothesis are likely to soon emerge in the scholarly literature.

nbemkl

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Re: TMT
« Reply #475 on: June 06, 2009, 01:20:38 PM »

I tend to believe Sartre's philosophy is so pessimistic because it was written during the Nazi occupation of France where Sartre was living. The peace ended on September 3, 1939, when France and Britain declared war on Germany. Sartre was reinducted into the army. His division was sent to Eastern France, where he worked in the meteorological service sending up balloons, testing the direction of the wind. However, the war interfered little with his own productivity: he began a big novel "The Age of Reason" and read Soren Kierkegaard. He was taken prisoner on June 21, 1940. In the prisoner of war camp, he washed rarely, didn't shave, and developed a reputation for being dirty. In these conditions he began writing a major philosophical work, "Being and Nothingness."

The atmosphere of the Nazi occupation of Paris where he was writing can be felt in these lines from "The Republic of Silence": "We were never more free than during the German occupation. We had lost all our rights, beginning with the right to talk. Every day we were insulted to our faces and had to take it in silence. Under one pretext or another, as workers, Jews, or political prisoners, we were deported en masse. Everywhere, on billboards, in the newspapers, on the screen, we encountered the revolting and insipid picture of ourselves that oppressors wanted us to accept. And, because of all this, we were free. Because the Nazi venom seeped even into our thoughts, every accurate thought was a conquest. Because an all-powerful police tried to force us to hold our tongues, every word took on the value of a declaration of principles. Because we were hunted down, every one of our gestures had the weight of a solemn commitment. The circumstances, atrocious as they often were, finally made it possible for us to live, without pretense of false shame. The hectic and impossible existence that is known as the lot of man... Exile, captivity, and especially death -- which we usually shrink from facing at all in happier times -- became for us the habitual objects of our concern. We learned that they were neither inevitable accidents, not even constant and exterior dangers, but that they must be considered as our lot itself, our destiny, the profound source of our reality as men."


If that's really what you believe, that Sartre's thought is "pessimistic" because it was formed during the Nazi occupation of Paris, then you haven't understood a thing what his philosophy is about.


So basically Sartre is saying that Paris under siege was nothing more than a microcosmic mirroring of the human world as a whole, that normal life is no less tragic than a concentration camp? From this point of view, Nazis causing death and destruction were some kind of cowards that could not face the fact that life is meaningless and tragic?



Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? One of Post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin's most famous paintings.

Since life is meaningless and absurd we should find our own values we will live by. One value system suggested by social psychologists, broadly called Terror Management Theory, states that all human meaning is derived out of a fundamental fear of death, whereby values are selected when they allow us to escape the mental reminder of death. Terror management theory (TMT) looks at what researchers claim to be the implicit emotional reactions of people when confronted with the psychological terror of knowing we will eventually die (some believe that awareness of mortality is a trait that is unique to humans). The theory was first developed in the late 1980s by Skidmore College psychology professor Sheldon Solomon, University of Arizona psychology professor Jeff Greenberg, and Colorado University at Colorado Springs psychology professor Tom Pyszczynski, who were graduate students at the University of Kansas at the time. The trio were inspired by the theories of Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death, 1973), Otto Rank and Freud, on how potent reminders of one's own ultimate death often provoke a belief in some form of mystical transcendence (heaven, reincarnation, spiritualism, etc.) Terror management theory attempts to provide a rationale for the motivational catalysts of human behavior when life is threatened.

The theory builds from the assumption that the capability of self-reflection and the consciousness of one's own mortality can be regarded as a continuous source for existential anguish. This "irresolvable paradox" is created from the desire to preserve life and the realization of that impossibility (because life is finite). Humans are aware of the inevitability of their own death. Culture diminishes this psychological terror by providing meaning, organization and continuity to people's lives. Compliance with cultural values enhances one's feeling of security and self-esteem, provided that the individual is capable of living in accordance with whatever particular cultural standards apply to him or her. The belief in the rightness of the cultural values and standards creates the conviction necessary to live a reasonable and meaningful life. This cultural worldview provides a base of making sense of the world as stable and orderly, a place where one rests their hopes on symbolic immortality (e.g., fame, having children, legacies of wealth or fortune) or literal immortality (e.g., the promise of a life in an afterworld). Our cultural world view is a "symbolic protector" between the reality of life and inevitability of death. Because of this men and women strive to have their cultural worldview confirmed by others, thereby receiving the community's esteem. However, when one's worldview is threatened by the world view of another, it often results in one's self-respect being endangered as well. In such a situation people not only endeavor to deny or devalue the importance of others' world views, but try to controvert the ideas and opinions of others which may, as a consequence, escalate into a conflict (ie. religious holy wars). As a result, mortality salience increases stereotypic thinking and intergroup bias between groups.

Two hypotheses have emerged from TMT research; the mortality salience hypothesis and the anxiety-buffer hypothesis. The mortality salience hypothesis says that if cultural worldviews and self-esteem provide protection from the fear of death, then reminding people of the root of that fear will increase the needs of individuals to value their own cultural worldview and self-esteem. The anxiety-buffer hypothesis provides the rationale that self-esteem is a buffer which serves to insulate humans from death. By doing so our self-esteem allows us to deny the susceptibility to a short-term life. Developing from the analysis of authoritative leadership by Erich Fromm (1941) in "Escape from Freedom," people in a state of emotional distress by nature are prone to the allure of charismatic leaders. Research has shown that people, when reminded of their own inevitable death, will cling more strongly to their cultural worldviews. The data appears to show that nations or persons who have experienced traumas are more attracted to strong leaders who express traditional, pro-establishment, authoritarian viewpoints. They will also be hyperaware of the possibility of external threats, and may be more hostile to those who threaten them. Additional research indicates those who are raised by authoritarian parents tend to conform to authority more frequently than those who are not. This perpetuates the belief that culture worldviews are a product of the socialization process and those who are socialized through authority are more susceptible to conformity when their mortality is made salient. The theory gained media attention in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, and after the re-election of President George W. Bush in the USA, Prime Minister Tony Blair in the UK, and John Howard in Australia.

Terror management researchers have shown that making mortality salient to research participants will lead to such changes in behaviors and beliefs that seemingly protect worldview and encourage self-esteem striving. This mortality-salient state is usually induced by having participants write down the emotions that come to mind when thinking about death, and expanded by having participants write about what they think will happen as they die and after they die. Following this procedure a brief delay is provided. Past research indicates mortality salience effects are more pronounced following a brief delay. Nevertheless, these researchers have not yet demonstrated that this happens for the reason they propose, namely to alleviate unconscious fears of death. Direct tests of this hypothesis are likely to soon emerge in the scholarly literature.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it that life can be lived all the better if it has no meaning?

glnst

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A Death-Haunted Man?
« Reply #476 on: June 09, 2009, 01:38:58 PM »

The frenzy of destruction and the rejoicing in blood and ritualized murder arise from the fact that few can admit that none of our immortality systems or our glory fixes works at all. They are elaborate deceptions, illusions, rituals with no power to save. No matter how much wealth the rich person accumulates, or how great the power wielded by the king, everyone knows that the relatives will be fighting over the spoils before the body gets cold. Everyone knows that no Reich lasts a thousand years and no family line is assured of perpetuation. Furthermore, insofar as I derive my glory from merging myself with another person or system, to that degree I am less than whole. Borrowed glory is not my glory.

But these are the only buffers people have to shield themselves from the terrible dark and cold of the Void. The frenzy arises from the constant undercurrent of realization that the immortality strategies are illusion. The fact that they cannot save must be denied, hidden, repressed. [...]


Freud, for one, has been portrayed as a relentless materialist whose death-instinct theory has burdened us with a most unattractive load of pessimism, reductionism, past-driven determinism, and dualism. He may be seen as one of the last giants in a dying tradition. Ernst Becker (1973) is perhaps his severest critic. Becker sees Freud as a man who was haunted by death anxiety all his life. According to Becker, Thanatos represents a not-very-clever effort to conceal Freud's own death anxiety.Essentially, Thanatos is said to be Freud's way of avoiding confrontation with the "terror of death."

Another approach would be to conclude that Freud was just telling us stories again. He could not resist the dramatic impact of making a Big Cosmic Statement. Freud might have taken us for very dull folk if we accepted "inorganic peace" as a concrete description of reality when all he wanted to do was prepare us to look kindly at his reformulation of our instinctual life. One can imagine him drawing another puff from his forbidden cigar and sighing, "So they can't take a little joke, can they?"

Death-instinct theory offer one way of naming the unnameable. It does not presume to divulge the nature of death per se. However, it does provide "identification papers" for what might be construed as our most intimate link to death. Something that answers to the name of death is inside us. Whatever might be its ontological status, death instinct is an identifier and a locator. Death figures into our very being: so much for "Otherness."

Do we really have a death instinct in the same way that we have bones, muscles, and red blood cells? This is a question for future research to answer. What we do have with "death instinct" is a way of speaking, one way of representing a key facet of our relationship with mortality. In the death-instinct story, Freud endowed Thanatos with a self-propelled quality. It was a force, a drive. This was not necessarily a bad idea. Physicists worked productively with "forces" and "attractions" for many years and even today find it useful to speak of such whimsical pseudo-beings as "strange attractors."

A driving, insistent, death-oriented force has resonates with the determined and obsessed behavior that has all too often been observed when members of our species engage in acts of violence. Determination certainly describes the attitude of the woman who, having failed to kill herself by hanging, started hacking at herself with an axe. It also describes some killers who keep shooting at anything that moves, and then fire again into those who have already fallen victim. This brings us to the threshold of one of the most disturbing propensities of our species: Doing death.

Appledore

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #477 on: June 09, 2009, 08:17:37 PM »

A WOMAN RECENTLY ASKED HOW I could, in good conscience, write an instruction book on murder.

"How can you live with yourself if someone uses what you write to go out and take a human life?" she whined.

I am afraid she was quite offended by my answer. It is my opinion that the professional hit man fills a need in society and is, at times, the only alternative for "personal" justice. Moreover, if my advice and the proven methods in this book are followed, certainly no one will ever know.

The book is so effectively written that its protagonist seems actually to be present at the planning, commission, and cover-up of the murders the book inspires. Illustrative of the nature and duration of the criminal partnership established between Hit Man and its readers who murder is the following "dialogue" that takes place when the murderer returns from his first killing:

Quote
I'm sure your emotions have run full scale over the past few days or weeks.
There was a fleeting moment just before you pulled the trigger when you wondered if lightning would strike you then and there. And afterwards, a short burst of panic as you looked quickly around you to make sure no witnesses were lurking.

But other than that, you felt absolutely nothing. And you are shocked by that nothingness. You had expected this moment to be a spectacular point in your life...The first few seconds of nothingness give you an almost uncontrollable urge to laugh out loud. You break into a wide grin. Everything you have been taught about life and its value was a fallacy.


You've got to be kidding us, lawn! You obviously don't have the slighest idea what does it feel like to kill. Here it is how researchers have described the whole process:

Concern about Being Able to Kill. Holmes' research indicates that one of the soldier's first emotional responses to killing is a concern as to whether, at the moment of truth, he will be able to kill the enemy or will "freeze up" and "let his buddies down." Interviewers and researchers have verified that these are deep and sincere concerns that exist on the part of most soldiers, and it must be remembered that only 15-20% of U.S. World War II riflemen went beyond this first stage. Too much concern and fear can result in fixation, resulting in an obsession with killing on the part of the soldier. This can also be seen in peacetime psychopathologies when individuals become fixated or obsessed with killing. In soldiers -- and in individuals fixated with killing in peacetime -- this fixation often comes to a conclusion through step two of the process: killing. If a killing circumstance never arises, individuals may continue to feed their fixation by living in a fantasy world of Hollywood-inspired killing, or they may resolve their fixation through the final stage, rationalization and acceptance.

The Killing Stage: "Without even thinking." Usually killing in combat is completed in the heat of the moment, and for the modern, properly conditioned soldier, killing in such a circumstance is most often completed reflexively, without conscious thought. Being unable to kill is a very common experience. If on the battlefield the soldier finds himself unable to kill, he can either begin to rationalize what has occurred, or he can become fixated and traumatized by his inability to kill.

The Exhilaration Stage: "I had a Feeling of the Most Intense Satisfaction." The adrenaline of combat can be greatly increased by another high: the high of killing. What hunter of marksman has not felt a thrill of pleasure and satisfaction upon dropping his target? In combat this thrill can be greatly magnified and can be especially prevalent when the kill is completed at medium to long range. Fighter pilots, by their nature, and due to the long range of their kills, appear to be particularly susceptible to such killing addiction. For some combatants the lure of exhiliration may become more than a passing occurrence. A few may become fixated in the exhiliration stage and never feel remorse. 

The Remorse Stage: A Collage of Pain and Horror. The tremendous and intense remorse and revulsion associated with a close-range kill is expressed in these words:

Quote
"... my experience, was one of revulsion and disgust... I dropped my weapon and cried... There was so much blood... I vomited... And I cried... I felt remorse and shame. I can remember whispering foolishly, "I'm sorry" and then just throwing up."

Whether the killer denies his remorse, deals with it, or is overwhelmed by it, it is nevertheless there, almost always. The killer's remorse is real, it is common, it is intense, and it is something that he must deal with for the rest of his life.

The Rationalization and Acceptance Stage: "It Took All the Rationalization I Could Muster." The next personal-kill response stage is a lifelong process in which the killer attempts to rationalize and accept what he has done. This process may never truly be completed. The killer never completely leaves all remorse and guilt beyond, but he can usually come to accept that what he has done was necessary and right. In personal accounts of those who have killed one may notice the use of specific words. At first, for instance, use of words such as "he" "him" and "his" shows the recognition of the killer's humanity. But then the enemy's weapon is noted, the rationalization process begins, and "he" becomes "the body" and ultimately the "gook." Once the process begins, irrational and irrelevant supporting evidence is gathered, and the possession of, say, U.S.-made shoes and a watch becomes a cause for depersonalization rather than identification.


Well, Master, I've to pay a little bit of attention to what lawn says - for what it's worth, what he says is somewhat confirmed by the experience of Camus' Meursault of "The Stranger." Now, that's a purely fictional character, but it's possible that Camus has fashioned it based on a composite person of some sort..

http://www.amazon.com/Stranger-Albert-Camus/dp/0679720200


Meursault is not an emotionally detached man, he simply cannot see any reason not to if it pleases Raymond. As an existentialist, he has no reason to regret what he does because it is done—regret is redundant. In his state of mind, Meursault is living fully in the present: he DOES feel, he feels joy and anger and frustration like every other human; he has a soul. The difference is that his feelings are sensual, they are experienced and explained through his senses: feeling the heat of the sun etc. Basically for him the only absolute Truth is death, and then there are many relative truths — and, in particular, the truths of religion and science (empiricism, rationality, etc) being, ultimately, meaningless. Meursault is unaware of the absurdity of human existence, yet it colours his actions, the only real and true things are his physical experiences, thus, he kills the Arab man as his response to the sun's physical effects upon him, as he moves toward his adversary on the brightly over-lighted beach. In itself, his killing of the Arab man is meaningless — merely another occurrence that happens to Meursault.

Please note, however, that instead of killing someone because there's no meaning in doing it or not, Camus advocated (through "The Plague" and other works) helping others. At the end of "The Stranger," Meursault's ability to even consider himself "happy" means it's not a nihilistic work.

Back to the Basik s

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #478 on: June 09, 2009, 10:00:53 PM »

Meursault is not an emotionally detached man, he simply cannot see any reason not to if it pleases Raymond. As an existentialist, he has no reason to regret what he does because it is done—regret is redundant. In his state of mind, Meursault is living fully in the present: he DOES feel, he feels joy and anger and frustration like every other human; he has a soul. The difference is that his feelings are sensual, they are experienced and explained through his senses: feeling the heat of the sun etc. Basically for him the only absolute Truth is death, and then there are many relative truths — and, in particular, the truths of religion and science (empiricism, rationality, etc) being, ultimately, meaningless. Meursault is unaware of the absurdity of human existence, yet it colours his actions, the only real and true things are his physical experiences, thus, he kills the Arab man as his response to the sun's physical effects upon him, as he moves toward his adversary on the brightly over-lighted beach. In itself, his killing of the Arab man is meaningless — merely another occurrence that happens to Meursault.


Apple, I tend to believe the "trick" with Mersault is that he has an utter detachment from all emotions -  so detached from the world around him, from his own emotions and the emotions of others, that the reader has to wonder what is the point of even living... Dostoyevsky's Raskolnikov from "Crime & Punishment" comes to mind, but he is an intellectual in a bind. Mersault is part of the uber-mundane class who never tried to learn anything because he was so unpreoccupied with life.

Honest Tea

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #479 on: June 11, 2009, 09:51:30 AM »

Meursault is not an emotionally detached man, he simply cannot see any reason not to if it pleases Raymond. As an existentialist, he has no reason to regret what he does because it is done—regret is redundant. In his state of mind, Meursault is living fully in the present: he DOES feel, he feels joy and anger and frustration like every other human; he has a soul. The difference is that his feelings are sensual, they are experienced and explained through his senses: feeling the heat of the sun etc. Basically for him the only absolute Truth is death, and then there are many relative truths — and, in particular, the truths of religion and science (empiricism, rationality, etc) being, ultimately, meaningless. Meursault is unaware of the absurdity of human existence, yet it colours his actions, the only real and true things are his physical experiences, thus, he kills the Arab man as his response to the sun's physical effects upon him, as he moves toward his adversary on the brightly over-lighted beach. In itself, his killing of the Arab man is meaningless — merely another occurrence that happens to Meursault.


Apple, I tend to believe the "trick" with Mersault is that he has an utter detachment from all emotions -  so detached from the world around him, from his own emotions and the emotions of others, that the reader has to wonder what is the point of even living... Dostoyevsky's Raskolnikov from "Crime & Punishment" comes to mind, but he is an intellectual in a bind. Mersault is part of the uber-mundane class who never tried to learn anything because he was so unpreoccupied with life.


Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, an impoverished St. Petersburg ex-student who formulates and executes a plan to kill a hated, unscrupulous pawnbroker for her money, thereby solving his financial problems and at the same time, he argues, ridding the world of an evil, worthless parasite. Raskolnikov also strives to be an extraordinary being, similar to Napoleon, believing that murder is permissible in pursuit of a higher purpose.

The novel does not so much deal with the crime and its formal punishment, as with Raskolnikov's internal struggle. The book shows that his punishment results more from his conscience than from the law. He committed murder with the belief that he possessed enough intellectual and emotional fortitude to deal with the ramifications, [based on his paper/thesis, "On Crime", that he is a Napoleon], but his sense of guilt soon overwhelms him. It is only in the epilogue that his formal punishment is realized, having decided to confess and end his alienation.

The moral-psychological traits of his character incorporate this antinomy between instinctive kindness, sympathy, and pity on the one hand and, on the other, a proud and idealistic egoism that has become perverted into a contemptuous disdain for the submissive herd. Raskolnikov's inner conflict in the opening section of the novel results in a utilitarian-altruistic justification for the proposed crime: why not kill a wretched and "useless" old moneylender to alleviate the human misery? Dostoevsky wants to show that this utilitarian type of reasoning and its conclusions had become widespread and commonplace; they were by no means the solitary invention of Raskolnikov's tormented and disordered mind. Such radical and utilitarian ideas act to reinforce the innate egoism of Raskonikov's character, and to turn him into a hater rather than a lover of his fellow humans. He even becomes fascinated with the majestic image of a Napoleonic personality who, in the interests of a higher social good, believes that he possesses a moral right to kill. Indeed, his "Napoleon-like" plan drags him to a well-calculated murder, the ultimate conclusion of his self-deception with utilitarianism.

Although Raskolnikov eventually comes to the realization that happiness cannot be achieved by a reasoned plan of existence but must be earned by suffering, I would not place Camus's Meursault on the same par with him: in fact, it may well be argued that Raskolnikov is a product of his environment, and the main theme of the work is poverty and its results.