Many states in the US (and countries in the EU) recognize it’s in their best interest to disassociate with the neoliberal empire, but it is foolish to be the first to secede when the empire still has the wherewithal to enforce reprisals. This is because the majority of the most influential people in the empire have invested either their egos, their fortunes, or both in the continuity of the imperial project. Therefore, most would-be rebels prefer to submit to authority and wait for a moment of weakness. Formal secession, no matter how reasonable it may seem, would be a narcissistic injury and a salient threat to these powerful, invested parties (not unlike a silverback gorilla’s reaction to a challenger).
Navigating this process requires understanding of the dynamic between Id and Ego, which I’ll define in simplified terms for the purpose of analysis throughout this week’s series of posts (presuming this is not overly ambitious):
-The Id is the set of pragmatic mental models by which a person actually navigates the ruleset they live in.
-The Ego is a person’s self-conception and the set of idealistic aspirations, or their “values”. But the Ego’s values are 95% determined by the first law of Edenic political science, which is to say most self-conception is self-gaslighting in order to more effectively gaslight others in the political sphere.
-The Euclidian distance between the Ego and Id are a person’s “hypocrisy”, and a background daemon called the Shadow invents and manages the self-narratives which maintain the cognitive dissonance and sustain the pretension.
-Ego death is the abandonment of self-conceptions when the Id is persuaded these are pathological and too costly to maintain in light of new information. It precedes a period of grieving and is characterized by a shift from outrage to (energy-conserving) depression as the bottom-up reconstruction begins.
There’s a saying in the corporate world that goes “You might be forgiven for being wrong, but you’ll never be forgiven for being right.” It’s both a slap in the face (Ego) and a punch in the gut (Id) to not only be told “you’re wrong” but then have this demonstrated by a superior method achieving its predicted results. The typical reaction is therefore outrage, driven by the Id’s desire to neutralize the threat of an expensive Ego death.
On the other hand, it is relatively simple to persuade the Id (which is Egoless by definition) that a new worldview is preferable, and requires only two elements: a proof of concept to build the necessary mental model, and a fear stimulus sufficient to overcome complacency and change course. The key, then, is to to direct the libidos of the various influential groups like a controlled burn. This has three basic parts: inflaming desired levels and areas of libido, suppressing undesired expressions of libido, and pre-arranging the desired course of the burn. These battles are not won in the streets or the woods, but rather at the dinner table, and this is what is to be expected in a culture/civil war: To defeat a woman, you must think like a woman.
The West has more or less successfully transitioned from a guilt culture to a shame culture, so that power, influence, and status are heavily dependent on “Face”: the mutual understanding that “I know this is a farce, you know this is a farce, and the audience knows this is a farce, but we’re doing it anyway and we’ll all plausibly deny that we understood what was happening.” The current union of people who hate each other is a great example of Face writ large. Everybody knows the “nation” is a farce. But it is quite another thing to convince powerful narcissists to abandon their pretensions, and I’ll argue this would be unnecessary and counterproductive.