Thursday, August 18, 2011

As The Cookie Crumbles: Experimental States

(WWH: 8/18/11) For most of us, the most difficult thing to grasp, to understand, about Michelle Bachmann and her ilk--now Rick Perry, Ex-Sen. Frothy Cocktail, Sarah Palin and most of the rest of the GOPhux "Clown Car of Candidates"--is "how they can seem to lie so outrageously, to be in such apparent ignorance of the established "facts," and still be taken seriously?"

The reasons are that, 1) That's the "narrative": Anybody, no matter how bat-shit crazed, can grow up to be PRESIDENT. The CorpoRat/SCUM "press" is under orders (though not necessarily explicit, as at Faux Nooz) from the boardrooms to treat these crazy fucktoids like "serious candidates." And 2) to their acolytes, to the true believers, whether Bachmann, or any of 'em, is "right" or not is utterly immaterial. The important thing is the speaker (Bachmann herself, whoever): to the faithful, what she says is revealed truth.

And, by rules I do not understand, but which limit polite, journalistic discourse, whatever the candidate says is unassailable, and does not HAVE to comport with any known realities. Bachmann's appeal is not about reason, or fact, or logic, or rationality, or anything we'd recognize as reality. What she represents--and now Rick Perry, too--is the emergence--the metastasis, as with a cancerous growth--of a whole cult of shared (possibly fatally), theocratic delusion.

Once the wall between faith and law is breached, any-fucking-body can just stroll through, saying just any ol' shit, and because it is imbued with "faith," and allied--no matter how speciously or spuriously--with "religion, any fucking load of cosdswallop automatically wins an exemption from rational criticism. Theocracy is ALWAYS fascistic, totalitarian. Bachmann is the symptom, not the disease. however.

I've thought for a long time that the US citizenry was being used as subjects in the biggest, longest, most extensive, expensive, expansive, exhaustive behavioristic experiment in history. Foucault said the telos of science is not knowledge but power; that the so-called 'human' sciences were less about understanding and repair than about prediction and control. We see it in action all around us. There is an interestingly apt example in the condition of "learned helplessness" (e.g., Seligman, M. 1967).

"Learned Helplessness" is the macro/social analogue/equivalent of the personal condition, the "double bind," named by Bateson in the 60s. The Greeks had a word for it, too: apoereia. When I learned of Seligman's recent difficulties with the American Psychological Association, I went back to look at his work, and then it started making sense. We're mic'ed up, cam'd up, twittered, texted and globally located, walking data points, in the biggest fuukin Skinner box EVER. And what we're supposed to be learning is "Learned Helplessness."

The principle of "Learned (though it should probably be called "Applied") Helplessness" is cruel and effective. Seligman perfected it torturing dogs, but it has been successfully--albeit surreptitiously--adopted by the Owners to control us, too. You keep giving an animal shocks it connot escape, and pretty soon it stops trying to escape 'em. They use it in conducting interrogations, I'm guessing, since Obama just appointed Seligman the top psychological advisor to the HSA. Here's how it works, (beware, it's not for the sqeamish):
The concept of learned helplessness was discovered accidentally by psychologists Martin Seligman and Steven F. Maier. They had initially observed helpless behavior in dogs that were classically conditioned to expect an electrical shock after hearing a tone. Later, the dogs were placed in a shuttlebox that contained two chambers separated
by a low barrier. The floor was electrified on one side, and not on the other. The dogs previously subjected to the classical conditioning made no attempts to escape, even though avoiding the shock simply involved jumping over a low barrier.

In order to investigate this phenomenon, research then devised another experiment. In group one, the dogs were strapped into harnesses for a period of time and then released. The dogs in the second group were placed in the same harnesses, but were subjected to electrical shocks that could be avoided by pressing a panel with their noses. The third group received the same shocks as those in group two, except that those in this group were not able to control the duration of the shock. For those dogs in the third group, the shocks seemed to be completely random and outside of their control.

Later, the dogs were placed in a shuttlebox. Dogs from the first and second group quickly learned that jumping the barrier eliminated the shock. Those from the third group, however, made no attempts to get away from the shocks. Due to their previous experience, they had developed a cognitive expectation that nothing they did would prevent or eliminate the shocks. (Seligman & Maier, 1967).
(Probably, they had to kill those poor fucking dogs.) And, now, with the assault of the wackloon christoids like Bachmann, and Perry, and to a lesser extent, Palin, Sen. Shit'n'jizm, and others, an already stunned USer polity--still non-plussed by the "failure" of St. Barry, the Changer to actually CHANGE anything-- is undergoing another set of inescapable shocks--the GOPhux "presidential candidates"--designed to render us helpless in the knowledge that we've seen all this before, and there is nothing to do to escape it.

Nothing. It's worth your sanity to look at any of 'em and try to imagine who--what person--would actually vote for ANY of 'em...jeezis!

So, the question becomes: What now? And the answer is: I don't know. I'm personally loathe to take up arms in outright rebellion. For one thing, I'm old and slow, with a bad heart, and little endurance. I don't really WANT to blow this shit up. I like it. I don't wanna awaken to the smells of death. I wouldn't last 6 mos without my meds, and if the system falls, me and my meds will be forever parted. Taps for Woody. RIP..

But, there seems no other alternative, since the electoral option is so obviously flawed and ineffective. People don't care who they're voting IN as long as they're votinvg out the assholes who have betrayed and destroyed them.

.So, tell me, how can a poor man stand such times and live?


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