Previously I noted how the thinking of a typical social justice advocate seems to be rooted in subjectivity and emotion. I think this insight helps us to better understand the social justice crowd, but I think we can also dive deeper than this. To help, let me dust off some old ideas from Sigmund Freud:
Perhaps Freud’s single most enduring and important idea was that the human psyche (personality) has more than one aspect. Freud (1923) saw the psyche structured into three parts (i.e. tripartite), the id, ego and superego, all developing at different stages in our lives. These are systems, not parts of the brain, or in any way physical.
Now, I am not proposing we consider Freud’s ideas as scientific. But they do seem to function quite well as useful metaphors when looking in on the postmodernists. For consider just how uncanny it is that the description of the id maps so well to the postmodern social justice movement:
According to Freud’s model of the psyche, the id is the primitive and instinctual part of the mind that contains sexual and aggressive drives….. The id is the primitive and instinctive component of personality. It consists of all the inherited (i.e. biological) components of personality present at birth, including the sex (life) instinct – Eros (which contains the libido), and the aggressive (death) instinct – Thanatos.
If you ponder the morality of the social justice crowd, it does indeed seem that the lion’s share stems from both the sexual and aggressive drives.
Concerning the sexual drive, it would seem obvious that the postmodernists are obsessed with sex. I’d like to develop this thought some more, but for now, just consider where we are. Among the post-modernists, sexual identity is considered to be of primary importance. That is, when people “self-identify,” it’s not about their personality traits or virtues they strive after. Their identity is not about being patient, or being willing to sacrifice, or willing to put others ahead of yourself, or a willingness to strive for peaceful resolutions, etc. No, their identity is largely about who they sleep with and how they sexually present themselves. In fact, activists often cite their sexual identity as some type of credential of moral authority.
Concerning the aggressive drive, a huge chunk of their morality is tied to aggression. For example, the postmodernists posture as if they are champions of the oppressed. But that’s not quite right. For as many have noticed, the postmodernists don’t seem to care about the women who are oppressed in strict, totalitarian Islamic states. They don’t care because it’s not about some lofty moral principle that opposes oppression. It’s about them. It’s about them seeing themselves as being oppressed. And since it’s only about them being oppressed, their morality is essentially disguised retribution. It’s all about pay back. Which nicely explains why the postmodernists are filled with rage that is increasingly leading to violence.
Like I said, I would like to develop these thoughts some more, but it does seem at this stage that the morality of the postmodernists is rooted largely in the id – the sexual and aggressive drives. But there is more. Consider another aspect of the id:
The id remains infantile in it’s function throughout a persons life, and does not change with time or experience, as it is not in touch with the external world. The id is not affected by reality, logic or the everyday world, as it operates within the unconscious part of the mind.
When you think of all the ways culture has changed over the last 70 years, it’s rather quite amazing. Abortion is legal and women outnumber men on college campuses. Civil rights gains have been enormous and a black man was elected President of the United States. Gay marriage is legal and many in the mainstream media are openly and proudly gay. Yet the social justice crowd appears angrier than ever. It’s as if they think we are still living in the 1950s. It’s as if they are “not in touch with the external world.”
What’s more, the postmodernists often come across as infantile. Whether it’s the feeling of being “unsafe” because someone used a particular word, the need for trigger warnings, or just the overall expectation that the world revolve around their emotional and psychological needs, or the paranoid sense of an impending apocalypse if their needs are not met, the postmodern movement strikes me as infantile. And the fact that most of the postmodernist protesters (and rioters) seem to be under the age of 22 doesn’t exactly help to mitigate this perception.
Then there is this:
The id operates on the pleasure principle (Freud, 1920) which is the idea that every wishful impulse should be satisfied immediately, regardless of the consequences. When the id achieves its demands we experience pleasure, when it is denied we experience ‘unpleasure’ or tension.
The pleasure principle seems to be at play behind the social justice advocate’s demand for cultural and political changes. They demand some kind of economic and cultural neo-Marxist existence and they want it NOW! Then some crude and vulgar business man comes along gets elected President of the United States, and suddenly they are crying as if the world was about to end at any moment.
The id engages in primary process thinking, which is primitive, illogical, irrational, and fantasy oriented. This form of process thinking has no comprehension of objective reality, and is selfish and wishful in nature.
That could just as easily be a description of the postmodernist movement. Selfish and wishful in nature.
In summary, I find it fascinating how well the id maps to the social justice movement:
- Morality rooted in the sexual and aggressive drives.
- Infantile and insulated from external reality.
- Operating on the pleasure principle while being irrational and fantasy oriented.
- Selfish and wishful in nature.
While I don’t offer this up as some form of definitive conclusion, I do propose it as a working model to better understand the postmodernists – the id atheists.