Thursday, March 26, 2020

America’s Ideological Infection — Christopher R. Hill

The United States is not only in the grips of a COVID-19 crisis that threatens to derail the economy and potentially take millions of lives. It is also suffering from a president who is deeply suspicious of expertise and of governance generally....
In my view, the second sentence should read, "Americans that are deeply suspicious of expertise and of governance generally elected a president that shares this view. Blaming government policy on the president rather than the political process is myopic. Polling indicates that the president's popularity at a high. This is an opportunity cost of representative democracy in a plutocracy in which competing elite factions control the narrative through the media. 

This should not devolve into being about personalities rather than issues. Democracy requires compromise rather than standing on principle no matter, with the winning faction imposing its will based on "elections have consequences," and the losing faction doing everything possible to neutralize the winning faction and preventing it from governing. Unfortunately, this has become the American way and it is resulting in divisiveness and paralysis.

I have my own attitudes and preferences in this regard but that is of no consequences to anyone but me. As citizens we should be debating issues and discussing qualifications. Not that the leadership's character should not be a subject of discussion, but that too is largely an ideological matter. Focus on personalities is basically a distraction and is is also used factionally in narrative control. Beware of being sucked in.

Why is this so significant? In addition to being part of the democratic process based on informed debate and free inquiry, it is also a matter of the collective consciousness. It is useless to criticize others on moral and ethical grounds that are largely ideological other than for political advantage and to "feel good" by venting. This is poison individually and it breaks the coherence of collective consciousness that is necessary for solidarity and community.

Most importantly, in addition to being blinded by partisan ideology, which is manipulated, focusing on personality poisons collective consciousness and lowers the "vibration" of the nation at at time when a high vibratory level characterized by resonance and coherence is needed to address emergent challenges and seize opportunities. The Chinese character for crisis includes both challenge and opportunity. Every breakdown is an opportunity for a breakthrough. What does kill you will make you stronger. This is true individually and socially.

Mike Norman constantly emphasizes that the mental game is as important as analysis and execution in markets. This involves establishing a center and functioning from it, focusing on the important instead of being distracted by the trivial, as well as maintaining poise under fire and in spite of the emotional heat or cold of "animal spirits" (Keynes).

For most people, self-talk is not enough, even though the messaging we send ourselves is important. Useful aphorisms here are, "Don't entertain negativity," and "Be happy, don't worry," even in the most challenging circumstances. But many people need more than words.

Most people will profit by incorporating some centering practice or practices that promote managing stress and giving deep relaxation. There are many such practices available and one is best advised to look for those that fit one's own disposition, since success in this requires a discipline of regular practice.

Project Syndicate

1 comment:

Peter Pan said...

A collapsed economy and/or a huge pile of bodies will help elect Biden.
If that doesn't bring enough satisfaction, look outside of politics.