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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    A General Theory Of Love

    I recently read a book titled "A General Theory of Love and was floored by how ignorant "western" culture has been of some of the most basic human needs. The book lays out several lines of evidence that clearly show just how dependent we are on each other from before we are born to when we die. The old quote "I am the master of my soul" is B.S. as well as the ridiculous emphasis we place on individualism. This ignorance may play a big part in the 500 year historical cycle, where the balance of world power shifts from the "east" to the "west" and back again. Individualistic western culture, with the freedom people have to innovate, can out-produce eastern cultures, which are more traditional and family oriented. But in the long run, the focus on the individual gets out of hand and ignorance (or flat out denial) of our interdependence and what we require socially eventually starts to take a toll and the individuals produced in such a society do not develop properly. Iaian McGilchrist wrote a book titled "The Master and His Emissary" that warns of a new danger - in the recent past, the "eastern" cultures have started abandoning their traditional ways so they can have the same material "prosperity" that the "western" cultures have. In the past, these traditional cultures have been a balancing, stabilizing force when western cultures collapse. I don't know if Dr. McGilchrist has read "A General Theory of Love", but some of the implications of his work dovetails with it pretty closely. I wish every person reading this review would read this book, along with every person in the "western world", but if not, then this video - - is an interview with one of the authors that mentions just a very few of the things that humans need from each other. Things we used to think were part of the "autonomous" nervous system are actually not self-contained or self-regulating. prepare to be surprised.

  2. #2
    Spectrums of self and selflessness are useful when thinking of narcissism etc.

    Take for example, the spectrum between narcissism and codependency, which seems like a far more popular paradigm in the west currently. There are layers of true self and false self especially to the pathologically narcissistic person, because their parental protector part of themselves took over at a crucial stage in development, but was modelled upon something abusive, and so it performs a dual function of protecting the stunted, root bound inner child from the world, but also imprisons the child. Even going back to Anna Freud, there is this idea of 'narcissistic mortification', where the inner person can experience brief moments of liberation from their ego via being psychologically attacked. I can see in our culture a tendency towards believing this brutality to be universally applicable, as if everyone in the west is a high-functioning narcissist who needs to be liberated from the enslavement to their own societal success, ie a 'boomer' or some similar thing. But in basic developmental theory, one needs to be able to develop a Self in order to truly share it with others interdependently, and the children of pathologically narcissistically people usually end up codependent, which requires validation rather than criticism. Its a strange family evolution from one coping mechanism to another, with bpd in between. Therefore there is a spectrum from criticism to validation required in Self-oriented cultures to ameliorate the disaffects of pathological narcissism on development.

    I'm not entirely sure how the eastern viewpoint would contradict or complement this culturally internal spectrum. The wu wei of things is always there, there an ego one can posit beyond fear reactions. The spectrum from east and west may not be as distinct when given this extra layer to work with.

    But on the subject of Selfhood beyond tribalism historicity, I adore Rick Tarnas' lecture series 'A Brief History of Western Thought'
    I think the second lecture is where it really heats up. But it is saying that the function of Christianity really has been to liberate the Self from nature, and now we've come full circle, and need to find a way of synthesing the Self as a Self back into a whole. I think quantum co-creation ideas will work best for this, and also complement eastern ideas.

    Most pop culture edicts around these subjects are nasty psy ops. You'll notice fashions every month, telling people its healthy and adult to keep to themselves, or be overly intimate with strangers. As if a healthy person cares that much what random pop psychology journalists and life coaches think about what's respectable.

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