Why the Nation-state Was Doomed | Clarissa’s Blog
As I said, the psychological model I was brought up with was very much a nationalist model and here are the comparisons between the strong militaristic nation state and the liberal democratic state:
In fact this depiction far from idealizes either of these societal organisation patterns, which are also taken on as the patterns for the individual’s psyche.
In the first image we can see that the lack of sufficient (in my view!) ego buffering between the undifferentiated self and the autocratic power principle at the top of the pyramid (the uppermost reaches of the psyche) leads to a unity of purpose and social solidarity — but also to individuals being sacrificed, because they do not sufficiently count themselves as individuals. A lack of ego buffering, or ego mediation between the two levels of the autocratic power structures and the diffused or naive self is something I find quite problematic.
By contrast, we have the second pyramid in the picture, which I think represents the liberal democratic state in the throes of extreme capitalism. It seems to me that this is the situation we have right now, where there is virtually no autocratic control or difffused self, but rather the normalization of the competitive ego as the dominant principle of existence. Without a difffused self, however, there is no receptivity, which means no intellectual life. A diffused self is a disinterested self, which simply takes in the world as it happens to be, rather than setting up a war between the facts and the individual’s own interests. The diffused self may seem passive, but it is also open, reverential and receptive.
When people are too competitive, they are not at all open or receptive, but view everything in the light of “what’s in it for me?” Without any receptivity to novelty, or reverence for broader reality simply because it happens to exist, the consciousness that is purely individualistic makes the world seem very small indeed. We can’t have science, we can’t have religion, we can’t have a realm of the intellect, because the narrow individual cannot see how these things serve individualistic competitiveness directly. (And, in truth, they do not, as they serve the collective of society or humanity only indirectly.)
Also in a liberal democracy dominated by late capitalist competitiveness, the minimisation of any commanding structure leads to social incoherence (on the societal level) and/or a lack of discipline (on the individual level), which cannot always be made up for by the will to compete against others more effectively. A pill popping society where everybody blames everyone else for what ails them is one of the symptoms of an overblown middle level of the psyche.