“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where –” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“– so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”–Lewis Carroll, “Alice in Wonderland”
Since the earliest days of post-modernism (with its roots deep in Logical Positivism), the agenda of intellectuals has been to separate perception and reality. In creating (they would erroneously say discovering) differing vocabularies and methods of discourse within split-off sub-sections of the humanities and sciences, facts and wisdom became separated from each other. Information replaced essential knowledge. In traditional philosophical language, accidents overcame properties and definitions of an essential nature disappeared from conversations. Meaning, naturally, left both the humane sciences and the lives of those “informed” by them.
Today is simply the logical conclusion of those leftist thinkers and their authoritarian shadows (think of Soviet propaganda, similarly divorced from reality). “Alternative facts” might be said to come from “alternative realities,’–like from one’s imagination, for example. Naturally, both “sides” may argue specific facts and lies and learn nothing and move nowhere. In psychology, if a person lives a false narrative asserting his view of reality against reality itself, a neurosis or psychosis develops. It is a natural defense against incorrect thinking and a check which goes beyond subjective perception. In the coming months and years, the test will be this: does a collective neurosis or psychosis develop? If so, then this vision of reality currently popularized by the new administration and backed up largely by un-vetted but ideologically possessed “cogs in the machine” will be shown for what it is.
All that said, a society is based upon a unified culture which maintains a shared view of values, order, and laws. This current split shows a deeply disturbed and disassociated American culture, a problem that will either manifest its synthesis (this is clearly the anti-thesis part of the disunity) violently or peacefully–through a symbol which instigates disorder, war, and chaos, or through a symbol which promotes order, peace, and harmony. Clearly, one of these camps is stronger than the other at current moment. Perhaps it has been allowed by a sickening and dying of true and essential culture.
In Jungian psychology, this would be the moment when a symbol of unity or wholeness, a mandala, or magical circle, would appear to relieve the tension of the unity of opposites (the coniunctio oppositorum). Let us discover this symbol together before divisiveness sinks its roots into the earth, the darkness of our souls, and breeds its many falsehoods, resentments, and outrages against each other. Each one of us has a duty to unity. Find your way to express it. That is all any one can do.
So, do collective neuroses and psychoses “spread” faster than their individual counter-parts, and if so (even if not), what do they look like? The short answer is yes, and that the illnesses (psychosis and neurosis) which afflict single minds are both quicker to “catch on/spread” and are “magnified” in their collective manifestations. As a mass of people has an inverse relationship between its size and level of consciousness, its movements and thoughts are actually much easier to predict than are the movements of the collective unconscious in a singular individual (with some level of education and culture).
The signs come out in the art, literature (high and low), movies, entertainment, and “celebrity” figures of a society (think of the manner of dress, coverage, and talking points we all “seem to know”). A collective psychosis looks like a definitive split between factions of people which disallows productive discourse. This generally means war or genocide in a people. A collective neurosis would like our current relationship to prescriptive drugs. There are problems and we treat the effects, not the causes (because the causes come from the notion that there is an objective reality that cares little for our limited subjective perceptions. And a tyrannically unconscious little ego cannot accept this basic truth).
And to those of you upset by name-calling who therefore resort to name-calling yourselves, this: keep in mind that those who call you a “snowflake” are likely as frustrated by the weight of their own ignorance as you are. As any scared, battered animal would act, they are lashing out and banding together (this applies equally to both “sides,” of course). Reasoning with them in the way that you might reason with a fellow, un-scared person, can only be a second step. First, you must assert that they, and this will look deeply ironic, are safe, and that you are willing to dialog with them, rather than chastise them. At the least, you will learn what they feel, and in doing so, you may acquire insight into how they think. This personal connection, then, may be used to help this individual dis-identify with a rapidly accumulating and new, un-thinking whole. You might even make a friend, and build a genuine connection based on mutual respect and shared insight. Society, from the Latin word Socius, or friend, is based on such individual connections. The more we connect individually based on individual thoughts, the less we will falsely stand opposed based on “social” issues with well-defined (kind of) partisan talking points.