Belmont Club and the War Against Sleep

To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.
— George Orwell

In a terrific post at the Belmont Club, Wretchard ties together a sea change in the blogosphere with a theory about the purpose of introspection and prophecy in the bicameral mind.

He cites Julian Jaynes.

His [Julian Jaynes’] book, the Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind suggests that our ancestors were instructed by voices and visions.

Wikipedia quotes Jaynes

At one time human nature was split in two, an executive part called a god, and a follower part called a man.

Neither part was Consciously aware.[1]

Wretchard continues…

Jaynes’ theory intriguingly suggests that hunches, guesses and intuition may hold some validity. They are the end result of a logical process inaccessible to the waking mind. My own hunch is that in the last two or three months there’s been a change in the tone of the blogosphere. Nothing definite, simply a change in atmosphere in proportion to the degree of abstract tendencies of the blogger. Authors who trafficked in ideas and concepts have altered the most. Some have paused to take stock, pleading disgust or confusion; still others have returned to writing as seemingly different persons; others seem to be suffering a kind of nervous breakdown, obsessed with hatred for one or more public figures or inventing new words and finding conspiracies in everything they see.

I cannot count myself as perceptive as Wretchard. Few can. So I have not seen such a sea change in the blogosphere. However, I have noticed a change in myself. The sites I read, from Belmont Club to the various counter-terror blogs, milblogs, and the political sites, affect me as if we have hardened somewhat. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it is the sites. Perhaps that is the same sea change that Wretchard perceives.

How could this happen? Before 9/11 the western world was reaping the peace dividend, indulging itself with increasingly self-absorbed entertainments, and engaging in brutally partisan political attacks and counter-attacks. The outside world didn’t exist. Most newspapers and newscasts in the USA had no more than 2 or 3 minutes of world news. We of the west were asleep.

On 9/11 the rest of the world, and especially the festering sore of the Moslem world, sprang into sharp focus. We awoke to the threats and lashed out at them. Afghanistan was first in American sights.

Then those of us who cared about it, whose inclination was to try to understand the situation completely, began to explore our declared enemy. Multicultural assumptions were shattered by what we found. The bland face of universal, undiscriminating, uneducated tolerance blinked. Aroused, we realized that we as a people could not tolerate intolerance, murderous intentions toward us and ours, or the poisonous brew of totalitarian fantasy ideologies and capabilities for mass destruction.

Meanwhile the sleep continued in some, as demonstrated in airport security lines everday where little old methodist ladies’ shoes were removed and x-rayed.

Over the last five years we have become educated. Our tolerance has been tempered by knowledge. Now we know what may be tolerated, and what must be opposed. The exploration and abstract thinking has slowed, because we have learned enough from it.

Now we know enough to be able to act intelligently. Some are soldiers on the battlefield. Others have other skills. The propaganda battlefront awaits those bloggers who have understood that the Mujahedins’ weaknesses are their own words and beliefs when answered with ridicule, cartoons and poetry.

Clarity is the watchword. Wit is our weapon, and knowledge our ammunition. Propagandize safely.

As Wretchard insinuates in a following post, the time for auto-didacticism has ended. Now is the time to act.

H/T: Mudville Gazette


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