Punchinello’s Chronicles

April 6, 2009

Pseudo-Feelings and Liberalism

Filed under: The Great Adventure! — Punchinello @ 7:31 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Empathy isn’t built in to our basic, default system. It takes the introduction of the emotional center, somewhere right around puberty, before we can empathize with other living beings. Empathy is an interesting capability, and as far as we know, unique to human beings. But maybe it’s only because we can’t yet talk well with other animals that we think empathy is only for humans.

Our basic feelings are the result of sensory input. We feel hot or cold, tired or alert, hungry or thirsty. We feel the velvet texture of a cat’s fur, the heat of a burning fire. Everyone likes to use the word “feelings” to mean our emotions, but those are quite different.

Emotions are evaluations and judgments. They take place very fast, almost instantly, so they’re not so easy to figure out. We have feelings leading to like/dislike, pleasure/pain. We also have our intellect, which we use to assign language to our experience. How would we remember that we like something unless we could assign the word “like?” When we’ve experienced something, assigned a value of like/dislike, then stored the experience with words, we make a judgment.

Over time, our judgments about what we like and dislike become our emotional database. Fear is a feeling, but anxiety is an emotion. But so far, all we know is our own emotions. What about interpreting what other people feel or judge?

Empathy is the ability to simultaneously partition our own experience, life, senses and emotions, while running an assessment of someone else’s experience. To do it means to have the capacity to perceive life and reality from an external, observer perspective. We can’t ordinarily do that until we reach adolescence. Prior to that, children are almost entirely subjective.

Little children seem to have empathy, but studies show that it’s more like merging. A child can’t always separate his or her self from the larger, “group self” of the family. And it’s in this area that narcissism develops, a borderline personality disorder.

We’re starting to find evidence that certain mental capabilities link with genetic instructions in our DNA. Even the sense of complete identification with other living beings may be associated with our genes. We also know that the way a person is raised can impact on their ability to empathize and form a conscience. So what happens when a person can’t empathize?

Even at an early age, some children discover that they really and truly don’t care what happens to the people or animals around themselves. If they’re at school and a child falls and scrapes his or her knee, the budding narcissist discovers that they don’t at all care. They feel nothing. But they’re smart enough to realize that if they evidence this utter lack of feeling, they won’t fit in. People will look at them as peculiar.

Another of the most basic drivers in human beings is the desire to fit in with the group. We want to be liked, we want to be accepted. We don’t like to be singled out, embarrassed or shamed. We don’t want to be “other” in the eyes of those around us. It’s a powerful drive, and leads to the formation of rules of behavior.

For the narcissist, feeling nothing whatsoever about what others are experiencing, they often make mistakes. It’s only the level of intellectual development that makes a difference as to the result of those mistakes. For a smart kid, it doesn’t take many mistakes before the child learns rules. “When someone starts to cry, act sad and tell them you feel sorry for them.”

The problem is that it’s an act.

By the time the narcissist grows to adulthood, they’ve substituted rules of acting for actual empathy. They can’t at all feel what others seem to feel. They can’t empathize, and have no real clue at all about the emotions other people are experiencing. But they’ve become master actors, capable of interpreting what “should” happen almost instantly.

What comes out of all this? The narcissist only feels their own feelings. They have no real emotions because nothing is valuable. Only their immediate sense of apathy or pain matters. When they get their way, life is good. When they don’t get their way, someone else caused a problem. Why or how others cause the problem, the narcissist can’t fathom. They have no idea. All they know is that if life isn’t good or going their way, then everyone else is to blame.

From there, it’s only a small step to demanding that others act appropriately. The meaning of “appropriate” is “whatever makes me feel good.” It’s not whatever makes someone else feel good! Only what makes the narcissist feel good. And that’s the moral equivalent of “good” behavior. It’s totally subjective, disconnected with reality, and disassociated with genuine emotions.

“Those children should be in car seats!” That’s an example of a narcissistic analysis. It’s true that children are safer in a car seat, but is that really the underlying demand? No. It’s rather that people see children splattered all over the highway and have a rule in place: “When children are injured you’re supposed to feel really badly.”

Because their authentic emotions are replaced by rules of behavior, a simple way to uncover the narcissist (aside from lack of empathy) is hypocrisy. A particular type of hypocrisy. When you examine what they say “should” happen, you discover that it’s only OTHER people who “should” be doing whatever is being demanded. Not the narcissist.

When these kinds of behavioral rules get out of hand, we end up with so many laws being passed it’s almost a personalized legal system. One person is injured, and the narcissist community feels nothing. But they know they “should” feel something. It’s not that they’re upset about the injured person. It’s that they’re upset about having to act as if they’re feeling something.

Since it takes effort to act all the time, and effort to pretend they’re feeling something, the narcissist would rather outlaw whatever caused all that extra effort.

Liberalism routinely proposes what “should” happen to other people. Whatever the laws being passed, they rarely apply to those making up the laws. It’s only that it “looks good” for someone who feels nothing to appear as if they’re compassionate, humanitarian, loving, and poignant. But it’s all an intellectual act.

The instant rage that results in liberals being contradicted by conservatives comes from this fear. They’ve been found out! They’ve been contradicted, told they’re wrong. And that brings up all the childhood memories of being wrong all the time. Not only sometimes wrong, always wrong!

People who experience genuine emotions tend to focus on happiness and joy. They don’t usually focus on fear and anxiety. But those who feel nothing about anyone else, also elevate their own feelings to “global.” If they’re feeling pain, EVERYONE must be feeling pain. If they’re happy, EVERYONE must be happy. It’s a result of the symbiotic merging that toddlers experience.

Most liberals are full of ideas about what other people should be doing. If those others don’t do what’s best for them, it’s because other people aren’t capable of taking care of themselves. It’s impossible for those other people to be happy doing what the narcissist can’t imagine is pleasurable. Therefore, it should be outlawed.

For their own good.

We live in what could easily be called The Age of Narcissism. How we got that way is very complex, and it took a very long time to arrive at this condition. But the reality is that nearly a majority of people have lost their ability to empathize. Instead, those crowds of people are filled with a massive database of rules of behavior. When we look around at the countless rules and regulations being put in place, it makes sense.

Liberalism is a political ideology based on feeling nothing and being afraid of being found out. To avoid that uncovering, the best solution is to propose law after law, regulation after regulation, and appear to be ultra-compassionate. All because at the inner core, liberals feel nothing whatsoever about anyone, or anything other than their own immediate comfort or anxiety.

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