Protectors of democracy, look deeper into the unconscious mind if you want to eliminate the alternative facts now contaminating public discourse.
We need to uncover and understand the inner conflict that makes our psyche a breeding ground for perversions of truth, as well as for personal discontent and national dissension.
The biggest conflict raging in America and the world might be the one taking place in the human psyche between rationality and irrationality. In our psyche, the irrational side is powerful in its own right, in part because we’re markedly prepared, through inner resistance, to cling to our delusions, defenses, and distortions of reality.
Researchers have been showing for decades that reason and evidence are frequently unable to change the minds of everyday people. As journalist Elizabeth Kolbert writes in a recent issue of The New Yorker, “any graduate student with a clipboard can demonstrate that reasonable-seeming people are often totally irrational.”
The pervasiveness of irrationality is consistent with the prevalence of neurotic behaviors in the population. Symptoms of this emotional weakness include poor ability to appreciate and respect oneself, difficulty in changing self-defeating behaviors, a compulsion to recycle painful memories, a recurring sense of victimhood, a need to blame others, and resistance to fulfilling one’s potential. [Read more…]