I find that it is extremely common for males from Northern America to try to use logic to do the role that religion otherwise plays for them. In effect, they misunderstand the nature of logic because they assume that it can furnish them with a world view and confirm the difference between absolute truth and absolute error. In actual fact, logic doesn’t quite work in this way. Rather, it is a method to ensure consistency between various statements one may make. If one’s world view is already messed up or nonexistent, pure logic cannot give you a world view. It’s not a means to define what is real and what isn’t. In fact the logical positivists were severely let down when they tried to use it in that way. They grappled endlessly with the statement, “Pegasus doesn’t exist.”
They went mad over it, because they had a very significant problem with trying to get language to do all the work of defining reality for them when language was already capable of asserting a fantastical creature’s existence (despite retracting the sense of its existence with the word, “not”.) If one can use a word, then that means it is necessarily indicative of part of absolute reality — so reasoned the logical positivists. But they were mistaken. Language is a relativistic structure or what Nietzsche calls “a mobile army of metaphors”.
In any case, language and logic can’t do all the work for us of furnishing us with a world view. Our reason is not bestowed from above, but emerges from our humanity. To think otherwise is to embrace a quasi-religious perspective, without realizing one is doing this.
Indeed such quasi-religious perspectives may present a clear and present danger to public health, if one happens to be sucked into the vacuity that is North American “thinking”.
The Wilson Quarterly: Beyond the Brain by Tanya Marie Luhrmann
Epidemiologists have now homed in on a series of factors that increase the risk of developing schizophrenia, including being migrant, being male, living in an urban environment, and being born poor. One of the more disconcerting findings is that if you have dark skin, your risk of falling victim to schizophrenia increases as your neighborhood whitens. Your level of risk also rises if you were beaten, taunted, bullied, sexually abused, or neglected when you were a child. In fact, how badly a child is treated may predict how severe the case of an adult person with schizophrenia becomes—and particularly, whether the adult hears harsh, hallucinatory voices that comment or command. The psychiatrist Jean-Paul Selten was the first to call this collection of risk factors an experience of “social defeat,” a term commonly used to describe the actual physical besting of one animal by another. Selten argued that the chronic sense of feeling beaten down by other people could activate someone’s underlying genetic vulnerability to schizophrenia.
The pushback is also a return to an older, wiser understanding of mind and body. In his Second Discourse (1754), Jean Jacques Rousseau describes human beings as made up out of each other through their interactions, their shared language, their intense responsiveness. “The social man, always outside of himself, knows only how to live in the opinions of others; and it is, so to speak, from their judgment alone that he draws the sentiment of his own existence.” We are deeply social creatures. Our bodies constrain us, but our social interactions make us who we are. The new more socially complex approach to human suffering simply takes that fact seriously again.
I wouldn’t go so far as Jean Jacques Rousseau in seeing our existence as being rooted in the social, but you get the point. My view is that we can exist quite easily apart from conventional social life — so long as society does not project qualities into us that it wishes to disown about itself.
I would add that the real burden of social engagement occurs when others project their shadow side into you — thus blacks in a white society bear the weight of the evaluation that they are animalistic, whereas women who go against patriarchal mores often have to tolerate the impact of those who continue with conventional views viewing them as ‘hysterical’.