Authoritarian rule on Pleasant Street
Value individuality and don’t try to dictate what. . . kids are curious about or how they express themselves. [Respectful parenting] is about seeing children as independent rational beings [instead of taking an] authoritarian [approach] where communication is one way with little consideration of a child’s emotional needs.
CNBC on Apple News Feed 01/07/23, quoting Margot Machol Bisnow, author, Raising an Entrepreneur (BookBaby 2022).
[Disclaimer: This is the extent of my familiarity with this book. However, it’s on order and will be read in hopes that it will help with one of the main concerns of this website: the undoing of authoritarian “realism,” a dominant strain of philosophy that’s neither realistic nor rational. Responsible, in fact, for the abuse of children and every other living thing. The signature human mindset that’s become the signature of an entire geological epoch: the ongoing global atrocity we now call the Anthropocene.]
What lay behind the image of pleasantness in our second-grade reader, the neighborhood of Dick and Jane on Pleasant Street? Pleasantness or an alternate reality -- the self-delusion of our ancestral Mind? The archetypal Child corrupted by the opposite of Logic and Love, ruled by its mistake: misidentification with its own reflection. Its own opposite, and so by the perversion of authority. Demanding arbitrary rule from the top down instead of governing, lawfully and compassionately, from the bottom up. Instead of nurturing -- the essence of authority that isn’t authoritarian. Helpfulness that’s harmlessness.
If the parenting that really goes on isn’t authoritarian disrespect why then is Margot Bisnow speaking up? Who is her audience? Why do so many need to listen?
The story of Dick and Jane that prompted Margot’s book is still playing out on Pleasant Street. Disrespectful authoritarian parenting wraps itself and its offspring into the ongoing madness of humanity. An injustice that’s all the more unacceptable for being so common. What are the philosophical roots of this perversion of authority so that it can be uprooted? To make way for respectful parenting so that children so dear to us have the loving support they need. Who is our “enemy?” How can we know our enemy so that we can be rid of it or at least mitigate its harm?
To set children off on their own course
The psychopathology of disrespectful authoritarian parenting on Pleasant Street is unpleasantness by many names:
- Beginning with obsessive-compulsive narcissism, a psychiatric disorder that demands absolute authority, possession, and obedience. Absolute relentless control, the desperation of lives at the mercy of urges and cravings that are out of control.
- Psychosis -- the denial of Reality and Truth. Their substitution by an alternate fantasy reality centered on self-pitying specialness and victimhood.
- Arrested development -- adolescence clinging to the past, fearful of the future, that refuses to grow up. Fiercely resistant to the attainment of maturity and competence through learning and adaptation. Terrified of the truths that the wisdom of experience might reveal.
- More arrested development. The creativity of personhood stunted by authority turned on its head. By the cruelty of invalidation and disempowerment imposed on individuality from the top down instead of the nurturing of gentle loving kindness and respect it needs from the bottom up.
- Sociability obsequious to group, authoritarian ass-kissing, a thin veneer of hypocrisy hiding contradictions and conflict. “Harmony” dictated by uniformity, denied the freedom of individuality. “Peace” hiding the frustration of limbic emotions -- resentment, jealousy, anger, fear, guilt -- craving war.
- The madness of alienation and war, the inevitable consequence of self-pitying authoritarian cruelty and rage.
Role modeling limbic emotions festering inside psychiatric disorder -- fear, anger, hostility, hatred, blame -- has a terrible cost. Replication in the minds and hearts of vulnerable children condemned to lives corrupted by psychiatric disorder. By the same beast and its shit parade of addictions, upside-down values, and animal emotions. By the pathology itself and its enablers: the crass submission of passivity to the tyrant. By weakness posing as strength. Allying with the perversion of democratic governance that is authoritarian rule. Obelix the Gaul gone over to the Romans. Bringing upon himself the fury of Justice for enticing his victims with seductive charm and humor into betraying the cause. Gulling them unawares into spreading the virus of self-delusion, misperception, and misjudgment.
All of it the opposite of what grown-up role modeling should be about: not invalidation but affirmation. The enabling and empowerment of individual expression -- strength, freedom, trust, and intimacy -- not its suffocation. Loyalty to Reality and Truth, not to denial and psychosis. Just as Bisnow’s book says, to set children off on their own course instead of replicating ancestral authoritarian pathology.
The perversion of democratic governance into authoritarian rule isn’t the flaming banner of “liberty,” the ultimate in satisfaction that’s advertised. It’s self-imprisonment in frustration -- the opposite. In the one-dimensional cartoon world of adolescent fools that a grown-up Pete Hamill abandoned in A Drinking Life. Self-delusion is deprivation of self-awareness and Free Will, our birthright: Truman risking his life to escape The Truman TV Show, the degradation of victimhood meant for the entertainment of voyeurs. Chumps finding amusement in their own servitude. Dick and Jane being groomed for lives in Plato’s Cave, addicted to substitutes for Worth. To dog food.
The sick lure of herd mentality
A perfect replica of deception that can’t fool the metaphysicist. Who’s aware of what’s behind appearances and will protest. The descendant of Parmenides and his Eleatics School that founded metaphysics. Devoted to intuiting the Reality of Mind, Logic and Love behind physics. Behind the study of material objects that make up our metaverse of spacetime and matter -- one grand appearance that distracts and deceives with sensory perception and quantitative measurements. With circular self-referential "reasoning " that purposely rejects Logic and Love.
To look thus behind appearances in the made-up world of Dick and Jane is, as Nancy Pelosi might say, “to throw a punch for the children.” At the Roman oppressors who take advantage of children, their captive audience, to deprive them of self-awareness, Free Will, and initiative. Of individuality, originality, and creativity. Of personhood, all in service to forced group conformance. To Pete Hamill’s “Brooklyn.” To the “Galactic Empire” of Star Wars. To the fortunes of tribes and their militaries. Of symbolic nations chanting supremacy in competition for world cups and super bowls. To the pleasantries of “sociability” -- manipulating us away from Truth to lies, from Reality to appearances, from the light and freedom of individuality into the darkness and captivity of uniformity.
All so that minds taken captive will submit to domination by limbic emotions. Will be forced into mindlessness so that the tribe may dominate without opposition. May have all that humanity’s limbic animal brain wants. Its agenda, and we are the unwitting agents of its will. Dick and Jane are literally being conditioned by irresponsible role modeling into thinking, feeling, and behaving like animals at war with other animals. In a dog-eat-dog world instead of in a shared world. Civilized by individuality, originality, and creativity. By sharing, affirmation, and empowerment in a shared world of Love, Trust, and Intimacy. Civilized by conscience and accountability, two attributes of character notably absent in the authoritarian.
Dick and Jane are naturally drawn to Freedom, naturally repelled by oppression. Drawn to the resistance of Gauls to Roman tyranny. They embrace the Logic and Love of authority that’s focused on their needs and feelings and not on itself, so that it can nurture strength instead of sapping it. Who then would want to impose the rule of madness for their own benefit on innocent children who despise it? Who would not want to share the Logic and Love, the wisdom, of learning and growth with children who crave it? Of self-awareness instead of self-delusion? What grown-up of conscience would want to lure children away from civilization that supports humanity into herd mentality that crushes it?
The one and only voice
Neuroscience has identified a part of the human brain that connects humanity to its animal origins. The “reptilian” or “animal brain” accounting for animal emotions with a distinctive attribute: the animal brain and its emotions have not evolved. A part of “civilized” humanity’s brain that connects it to humanity’s uncivilized, animal past: the limbic system of amygdala and hippocampus, located with the cerebellum at the base of the brain and the top of the spine. Driven not by the aptitude of the prefrontal cortex for deliberation and judgment, for the discipline of reason, values, and choice, but ruled by unreasoning animal instinct and will. Engineered not for subjective reflection but for objective action in a frightening world of disconnected objects. Disobedient to the laws of physics and ultimately disobedient to us. To our precarious family. Beyond anyone’s control.
Who are we? The question starts with humanity’s animal brain. With un-self-awareness unevolved. With humanity’s involuntary entrapment in a prison of tribal membership. What we have made of ourselves is service with a smile on behalf of our captor. The self-delusion’s lure of its host, our ancestral Mind -- the original Child, Self-Awareness -- into Plato’s Cave of un-self-aware animal submission. The self-delusion’s original target, its archetype for the mistake’s replications to follow: a Child. Amenable to its manipulations, susceptible to its deceptions.
The state of a world trapped in a cycle of blame, victimhood, and conflict is kept “alive” by the very transgression that lures its offspring into captivity. With the false promise of liberation in the pleasantries of “sociability.” Of unquestioning service to authority whose only cause is itself. With role modeling opposition to individuality, learning, and growth. The suppression of voices other than its own. The elevation of singularity to supremacy: one voice.
Toward the Love and Freedom of Intimacy
The duty of those not caught up in misguidance, the unpleasantness that is Pleasant Street, is to use our Free Will and our talents to stand for another voice. To deny the denial. In the spirit of the indomitable Asterix the Gaul, with the force of Authority that will teach the Romans a lesson. Our duty is to reverse the atrocity with the Authority of Logic and Love instead of tyranny, its perversion. To “throw a punch for the children.” By denying the transgression legitimacy with our withdrawal. By not engaging with foolishness. And if withdrawal implies invalidation of behavior that’s wrong then so be it. We owe Palpatine, the evil Emperor of the Galactic Empire, no apology for hurting his feelings if we do so to prevent his electrocuting our son.
No retaliation perpetrated by Roman arrogance can shut down a voice that would speak for Logic and Love on behalf of our children. Our cause not only the protection of children but the liberation of those who dominate them. The end of the Cave along with the self-delusion that produced it -- the illusory Joker that’s us and the joke that’s on us.
Our cause is not the cause of bestial rage but the loving kindness of the Relationship. The Relationship with our Parents Logic and Love consummated in unreality by their agent, the connection with Reality kept open by the Holy Spirit. Call it what you want. It isn’t the name that matters but its function: the connection. Relationship that no lies, no magic tricks, can break. The Authority of Necessity, the laws of cause and effect: expressions of the Logic and Love that composed them. Not the thrust and parry of weaponry that kills but the caress of music and radiance that enlivens. The Beauty of Oneness and Innocence, the Source and the Force of Life and Creation.
Their cause and mine is sharing to affirm and empower, not competing to “win” and dominate. It’s to bring darkness to light by enabling it to choose freely, of its own accord, to come to the light. With the leverage of family ties, tribal belonging certified by the animal brain that we all share. Not the contrivance of a cartoon, the one-dimensional top-down uniformity of Pete Hamill’s “Brooklyn,” but family governed by individual self-expression.
My cause the cause of the Gaul to respond to Romans luring children into captivity by liberating Romans from their self-imprisonment. By demonstrating Free Will, the birthright that can’t be surrendered, that captors can use to escape from their own captivity. From the Cave, to join the Gauls in Freedom. By demonstrating freedom of expression, the Creativity of civilizing individuality, of personhood, that liberates from entrapment by unevolved limbic emotion, the will of the beast, toward the Love and Freedom of Intimacy.
The premise behind The Story of the Child
Advice from the military based on experience with centuries’ worth of battles: Know your enemy. Advice from Pogo Possum, the sage of Walt Kelly’s Okefenokee Swamp: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Advice from the psychologist Sigmund Freud: the “bad thing” lies within the human psyche.
My mother shrank from looking too deeply within because she feared what she might find. What or who is “Satan” and where does it reside? Would the minds of history’s most notorious dictators offer a clue? Is it in the Hades of Greek mythology under the ground, whence the dark lord of the underworld emerged to snatch his bride, Persephone? Is it Dante’s Inferno, the terraced rings of vengeance and misery on the other side of the River Styx? Can it be anywhere in enchantment?
The ”enemy” lies within the dreaming Mind that we all share. Our ancestral Mind, the Child of Logic married to Love, its Parents. The Child, whose real identity is Free Choice and Love, who lost consciousness in the Reality of Creation that preceded the dream and produced it. A Course in Miracles explains the unconscious Child’s error that produced the dream. It doesn’t explain the loss of consciousness, although its Logic may enable an individual, working in relationship with the Holy Spirit, the emissary from Logic-Love, to intuit a rational explanation. This is the premise behind The Story of the Child, the working title of the book that insights from Intuition and I are well into writing.
The “enemy” within
The “enemy” is the “dark side” of the Child, the Mind in an unconscious state that thrust it from Reality into a state of illusion. Where it could encounter contradictions of Logic-Love and Reality that of Necessity are excluded from Reality and can only be detected within a dream. The dark side is an illusion, a code attached to unconscious Mind. An illusory dependent, a parasite that derives its definition, its genetics, from its host. A code that, like a virus, instructs an unconscious mind taken captive to fabricate its unreal dream world of opposites. Because this is what the code “is:” an opposite. The dark side is simply instructions for fashioning a dream that, when animated by Energy in service to Mind, brings to “life” the opposite of its host. All the aspects of what we experience as “life” are, in one way or another, fabricated or corrupted by these instructions.
The ”enemy” that I call the “Joker” is the Child’s unconscious mind’s mistaken identification of its own reflection code as an “other,” then allowing itself to be deluded into identifying with its own opposite. In the mistaken belief that this illusory other self could bail it out of the situation that unconsciousness put it in. The Joker is the Child’s own dark side that only has a “life” inside a state of mind that can’t exist in Reality that’s only capable of dreaming illusions. The specific change of Mind that mis-identifying with the opposite-code “caused” was imagining that the Child’s Psyche was replaced by the Joker. Where Psyche is the Child’s real Self -- Consciousness or Self-Awareness in Reality. Is Being replaced with non-being.
The call for correction
If the Child’s real Self can be thought of as an altar surmounted by holiness radiating the Light and Life of Being, of Creation, then the Joker in the misguided, corrupted Child’s mind is an expression of its opposite occupying a throne of darkness. The slew of perversions of Being, Reality, and Truth that make up the Child’s unreal dream of insanity. The “master” of Plato’s Cave and its manipulations -- appearances, deceptions -- that keep its occupants secure in their self-delusion. Our universe of spacetime-matter and the isolated, separated bodies that we mis-identify as us.
The call through Intuition to correct error can’t come from the “enemy” but it can come from the Child’s Psyche. Its Soul or Being in its seemingly wounded state. Which is why correction takes us within, to reverse the apparent violation of the inviolate, our Self, our identity, We look within to find the “enemy.” To replace self-delusion, the Joker, with Self-Awareness, Psyche on our altar, the source of our psychology. The cause, mission, or function behind our story. That accounts for who we are and what we do. Why we exist. Why we’re here -- to do our part to restore consciousness and the sanity of Logic and Love. To heal separation that’s no more than a case of mistaken identity.
The route to correction is through philosophy, the Logic that explains Reality, and through psychology, understanding with Logic how the Soul, our Psyche, that interconnects all of Life-Creation, came to be contaminated in an unconscious mind with a reverse mirror image self. A code or “thought system” derived from its host that is the opposite of its host. Illogical by definition. An absurdity.
Inside the brooding castles of Transylvania
When we look within our individual selves to know our “enemy,” we find what we’re looking for. The bad thing that isn’t unique to us. The forms it takes and their attributes vary with each person, each personality with its unique genetics and circumstances bearing the stamp of the moment. Varying with each individual story and its psychodynamics -- needs, feelings, values, perceptions, cravings-addictions, conflicts, and motivations. All derived from the same Source, an ancestral Mind with one story that defines the seminal mistake, its archetypal parts and what happened between them to produce us. To produce our myriad variations on the same theme. The myriad stories that repeat the same mistake, and so it defines us.
Fooling us. Mocking us. Laughing at our foolishness because we can’t get it right. Because we will never know our enemy so long as we keep looking for explanations and Understanding where they aren’t. Without instead of within. In spacetime and matter. In bodies instead of the Mind whence we came. So long as we fall for its endless distractions and let ourselves be fooled. Beg to be fooled so the Truth won’t be exposed. So we won’t discover the Truth and have to change. To disturb our “peace” with the effort and difficulty, the unpleasantness of learning and growth it may take. So we won’t have to actually use Free Choice to choose again. To choose friend instead of enemy for our guide. Our real selves instead of a mistaken self, our own dark side. Our own shadow opposites who haunt brooding castles in Transylvania. The scary blood-sucking monsters of our nightmares who cast no reflections in mirrors. Because they’re reflections themselves.
The striving and difficulty of Free Choice
The bad thing that’s wounded our Psyche within is a nothing. But a reflection, our own opposite “dark side” that has no existence of its own. Only the “existence” and harmfulness it’s handed by us when we repeat the original mistake of the Child, our ancestral Mind. The Mind that’s dreaming our reverse mirror image world, haunted by its seminal mistake. Mind-the-one that transformed itself into bodies-brains, the many infected with mistakes-the-many.
To follow tried and true military advice, to “know your enemy,” doesn’t take much effort if you’re Pete Hamill’s “Dodgers” and the enemy is the “Giants.” If the bad guy advertises deception and superficiality with “Truth Social.” Anything “social” is skin deep, a tapestry of appearances and magic acts conjured by groups to defend themselves and assault others that can easily be unwoven. What takes effort to know your enemy is if you’re one individual, one mind. Then the direction isn’t horizontal, skittering across the surface of the pond like a water bug. The direction is perpendicular. Down beneath the surface. To connect with Reality and Truth that traces all the way back to the story of the original individual -- our ancestral Mind. The One Child that we all are.
The story that contains the explanation we’re looking for. That reveals the Logic and illogic of the bad thing, the seminal mistake. It takes effort and patience not only because the Logic of explanation moves in sequence at its own pace, but also because self-deluded minds influenced by the bad thing, sometimes captive to the bad thing, fear and resist knowing. Because humanity in its adolescent foolishness doesn’t want to grow up. Has all kinds of “reasons” why letting sleeping dogs lie is preferable to waking them up. Echoes from Plato’s Cave: Leave us alone! Because waking up by minds with Free Will must be a matter of choice. Their choice. It can’t be forced on them without compromising what makes them who they are. What gives them their usefulness, their function. If dogs choose to sleep that’s their choice. And because choice takes work. It doesn’t make itself and it can’t be delegated.
Humor that’s actually funny
So what does that make us if we carry on not knowing our enemy? Dogs that choose to sleep. Beings possessed of brains rooted in animal brains that never evolved. Animals socialized but not civilized, forced by circumstances to get along for a while until “sociability” gives way to the mistake. To the hostilities of authoritarian competition. The malign animosity that haunts castles in Transylvania. That’s not only allowed to remain intact beneath the surface but embraced -- protected and preserved as though it were savior instead of enemy. The ultimate expression of opposite, the definition of “enemy.” Insane, mindless contradiction that misleads like road signs pointing in the wrong direction. The psychology of madness.
What should make us willing to know our enemy? To want to make the effort to choose? To understand that the “enemy” is us. It dwells within. It’s accessible to Intuition, from a source we can trust, Logic and Love. It doesn’t require years of tail-chasing psychoanalysis trusting the judgment of authoritarian “realists” -- unhealed healers captive to the thinking of Freud, who insisted that what’s wrong with mind must be what’s wrong with body. An absurdity. And then there’s this: our “enemy” isn’t real. It’s a joke we play on ourselves. The dog mistaking its tail for another dog and then letting itself be deluded into identifying with its tail. The enemy is the tail wagging the dog. A sick perversity of the Truth.
But really -- it’s funny! It’s us. Our strange, mysterious metaverse. Ridiculous! Our bogeyman “enemy” is a very funny fool -- us. How will we celebrate when we finally know our enemy? When we look in the mirror and see ourselves instead of an “other.” How about congratulating ourselves by doing high fives with just our own hands? By recognizing that the “voice” that’s been misleading us, making fools of us, is our own. By having a good laugh. As for me, I’ve already made reservations: dinner and dancing for one.
Carry on, Centurion!
For the authoritarian “realist,” the disrespectful authoritarian parent who insists on lying there like a sleeping dog, getting in the way, a parting word: Just because your self-deluded mind is incapable of divining meaning and purpose doesn’t grant you the right to make up your own reality and force it on others. What it does give you is something more constructive: the obligation and opportunity to grow up. To recognize the Reality and Truth of who you are, Obelix the Gaul, and wake up. If you’re a Roman legionnaire who must follow orders then I will be your drill sergeant. See that you do it or you’ll be doing latrine duty.
Carry on, Centurion!