Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Some thoughts on alienation and other-ness: A conversation with Stephanie Murphy

Conversation with Stephanie Murphy:

Darjeelingzen: Apr 5, 2012

@Stephanie_Murphy PorcTherapy show prep?

Stephanie Murphy:  Wow, thanks. Added both to my show prep. Both very depressing, though. :(
Apr 6, 2012

Darjeelingzen: -Yeah... A lot of tragic expressions of unmet needs there... A lot of perceptions of certain groups of people, as something 'other' (probably akin to enemy-imagery), an 'other-ness' imagery; that some how the rules of ethics are different for the 'other-ness'; an 'other-ness' that resists empathy (connection) through alienation.

An overlooked theoretical assumption of NVC, is that the virtue of seeking empathy/connection with others, makes the philosophic/ethical assumption of an universalization of ethics, which denies the alienation of arbitrary categories of persons; denies the alienability of persons as something 'other'...

Apr 6, 2012

Stephanie Murphy: - Wow, I am grateful to you for highlighting that point. If you don't mind I'll read it on the air because I think it's a helpful intro for framing these articles.
Apr 6, 2012

Darjeelingzen: Sure. I am pleased to contribute. :-)
Apr 6, 2012

Darjeelinzen: -I was thinking of this aspect of otherness-ization... creating an imagery of other-ness in particular categories of persons, and it occurs to me, that such a conceptual alienation creates, through its divisiveness, various dynamics of domination, hierarchies of power, that those who seek power, may use to control people. I think of the historian Howard Zinn's interpretation of the beginnings of the peculiar form of racism in the United States, as attributed to a one-time, growing solidarity of the poor whites and the black slaves, such that the plantation owners and other political elites, fearing the potential for loss of their power, gave more recognition/privilege to the poor whites, in order that the political elite would create divisiveness between the growing solidarity between the two groups, who naturally had many common interests in resisting the political elites...

Similarly, by a political elite, granting special privileges to a particular gender, helps the elite to control the populace, as the privileged gender grows to expect & depend on the privileges granted by the political elite, which the political-elite wishes to maintain, creating a vested interest in a sub-set of the populace to maintain the status quo in an essentially conservative function, and that furthermore, this privileged class helps to maintain and check the liberties of the subordinated class. Again, all through a process of 'other-ness' or alienation...

A similar dynamic is commonly observed in large social groups of adolescents (such as in public high schools); adolescents, having been dominated by some set of adult 'authorities', are impelled, in order to maintain their egos/self-esteem, to create dynamics of domination within the already dominated groups of adolescents; creating mock-elite social groups striving after privilege (cliques); treating others poorly, to establish within this own egos, a hierarchy where they are not always the dominated, but they may also dominate.... Just a tragic mess of unmet needs that ripples further alienation outward from the initial institution of domination...

Politic privileges, necessitating some violation of the universalization of ethics, necessarily creates an alienation of one group to oppose/oppress another group; this granting of political privilege fails to meet human needs, resulting in the transference of those unmet needs into tragic expressions of still further unmet needs, usually expressing themselves as further alienation in either lesser political spheres or social spheres ... does a lot for the understanding of class/group conflict...

Darjeelingzen: - As I find myself playing with these ideas, I am reminded of Nhat Hanh: for Nhat Hanh, violence begins in the mind, when we divide reality in our minds into two camps, a good-guy/bad-guy dichotomy, (and of course, we have a tendency to place ourselves, in the good guys category).

“If we work for peace out of anger, then we will never succeed. Peace is not [just] an end. It can never come about through non-peaceful [non-empathetic/non-connected] means.”

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