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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Categorical Security


I know of people that have a fetish about making their beds in the morning. It is highly significant and necessary for them to complete this initial “little routine” in order to start each day with the feeling that everything is in its place and with an undergirding sense of mastery. This psychological buttress enables them to tackle bigger, more important projects during the day.

In a sense this is similar to the feelings of control and mastery we get from putting all things in categories. In many ways this can absolutely further the human enterprise. Categorizing all life, for example, increases the ability to understand it and to subjugate it to further human influence, manipulation, and control. This is also true for the physical elements.

Huge problems arise, however, when this same sense of comprehension and control derives from categorizations that are essentially projections of our own ignorance, hateful passions, and prejudices. For example, great psychological energy, confidence, and mastery were derived from Nazi antisemitism. The Nazi's knew a Jew then they saw one and therefore categorically knew all about them and felt totally justified in manipulating them at will. Human nature is with uncanny adeptness able to substitute falsehood for truth and to feel absolutely complacent, content, secure, and self-satisfied about it.

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