Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The "cultural heritage" group neurosis 1: Introduction and scope

 GroupThink Model
© Irving Janis 1972.  Victims of GroupThink: A Psychological Study of Foreign-policy Decisions and Fiascoes
(click to enlarge)  
This series is inspired, in part, by Raimund Karl's Every sherd is sacred: Compulsive Hoarding in Archaeology. The link between religiosity and compulsive behaviour was first proposed by Sigmund Freud in 1907: Zwangshandlungen Und Religionsübungen (Obsessive Actions and Religious Practices). Freud does explain here, though, that there are important differences between religious practices and the compulsive behaviour of a single neurotic:
"It is one of the conditions of the illness that the person who is obeying a compulsion carries it out without understanding its meaning—or at any rate its chief meaning. It is only thanks to the efforts of psycho-analytic treatment that he becomes conscious of the meaning of his obsessive action and, with it, of the motives that are impelling him to it. We express this important fact by saying that the obsessive action serves to express unconscious motives and ideas. In this, we seem to find a further departure from religious practices; but we must remember that as a rule the ordinary pious individual, too, performs a ceremonial without concerning himself with its significance, although priests and scientific investigators may be familiar with the—mostly symbolic—meaning of the ritual."
These differences are further expanded by M. Andrew Holowchak in Freud: From Individual Psychology to Group Psychology within the context of  group neuroses (GroupThink).

I plan to expand upon these ideas but within the narrower parameter of the term "cultural heritage" and to demonstrate that, within the common usage of this term, culture is actually being impeded through appropriation and that there are two divisions of these actions: the instigation (conscious and nefarious) and the reception (unconscious and memetic). Because of the memetic factor, these divisions have become very blurred as a meme, being unconscious, propagates the same actions in an unthinking manner or without the same nefarious motives as the originator (mind control for political reasons). Thus proselytizers of the "cultural heritage" meme are carriers of this "psychic virus" while being as much victimized by it as society itself.

I will also show that culture is not a static condition but an observed fixed point in an evolutionary process and that by fixing it thus, almost like a butterfly pinned to a board, it can no longer propagate naturally and can only serve as an icon to the underlying symbols. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle "states that the more precisely the position of some particle is determined, the less precisely its momentum can be known, and vice versa" A social-evolutionary corollary to this, I propose, is that the more fixed the position of some cultural element becomes, the less momentum it can have, and vice versa.

The dead or dying manifestations of "cultural heritage" are called "cultural property" and thus the idea becomes solid, as it were. It no longer contains viability and thus becomes a fixed symbol.

Anyone with familiarity with the proponents of "cultural heritage" especially when expressed with the ideas of "cultural property" will be able to find multiple examples of their characteristics in each box of Janis' GroupThink diagram above.

John's Coydog Community page

No comments:

Post a Comment