GASLIGHTING by applying preconceived identity categories

AN “us versus them” mentality is a basic part of our brain structure. The more stressed we are, the more we will tend to employ these categorical distinctions unconsciously.

In Western cultures, knowledge is considered to be very important. It is viewed as an indispensable sign of competence, especially in levels of society above blue collar working class (which probably explains why I find blue collar types much more companionable).

Unfortunately, what happens when people encounter some phenomenon that they don’t fully understand, instead of slowing down and giving it their full attention, they speed up, wanting to cover themselves with a sense of competence, by asserting what they think they “know” about it. This is likely done in a state of extreme stress, with the threat of ‘failure’ (in terms of not knowing) hanging over one’s head. The effect is a form of psychological abuse, whereby a person is fit into a particular category of identity and deemed to have certain attitudes and dispositions that they can’t remember ever having expressed. If enough people hold that the category of identity has some independent meaning that determines the thinking of the individual, the subject can start to feel as if they’re going mad. Their own experiences have little in common with projected notion of who they are. It’s the individual versus mob mentality.

I have detected that pattern that when people are not listening carefully to what I am saying, but are instead drawing sketchy and categorical conclusions about ‘identities’, this is usually because they are in a state of stress because they fear being shown up for having a lack of knowledge in certain areas.

A state of stress leads to the imposition of a narrow and categorical identity. The one who does this does not intend to do any more or less than deal with a feeling of urgency and uncertainty, to make it depart. These sensations nonetheless guarantee that one will draw one’s conclusions in an “us versus them” way, rather than rationally and empirically.

You need to realise what is going on — that people are ‘thinking’ about you in a regressive way because your type of existence (or your words) makes them feel their knowledge is inadequate. They don’t like that feeling. They are trying to expel it by means of a primitive form of jiu jitsu. They’re trying to make things seem simpler than they are.

The experience of intellectual shamanism is remedial because it acclimatizes one to endure ‘nonknowledge’, neutral consciousness, or formlessness. One can learn to be at ease with not understanding everything — and that way, more information about the world can be obtained, with a minimisation of the use of narrow-minded defence mechanisms.

 

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