Opiate of the Masses

Arguably, the “stream of consciousness” and Cornel West are joined at the hip, in the sense that West’s discourse agglomerates all the various fragments of knowledge he has acquired into a “stream” which then flows as a form of discourse and engagement with the listener. And amidst this discourse or “stream” at one particular point in time was an interesting comment made by West, which was that at its core, America as both a country and a society is “childish” and “immature.” Although the face value and surface value of West’s comment does not measure its real and true value, when bourgeoisie culture and repression is considered, the real and true value of the comment made by Cornel West can then be understood.

Arguably, what is on demand more than anything in Washington and in other Western capitals at the moment is solid and valid knowledge as well as soild and valid insight into the behavior and decision-making processes of ‘OPEC’ which I mentioned in my previous piece. Thus, the demand for knowledge and insight into OPEC behavior and decision-making is a peculiar one in Western capitals. As Fereidun Fesharaki and David T. Isaak explained:

“The study of OPEC behavior has become a big-time business for academics, consultants, and political risk analysts. Not only are the oil companies and banks willing to pay for studies that attempt to explain OPEC behavior, but also governments (in particular, the U.S. government) have sponsored many studies to unravel the magic of OPEC decision making.”

However, there is a caveat to the whole attempt of analyzing and understanding OPEC behavior and decision making: “In our opinion, OPEC decision making cannot and should not be ‘modeled.’ This statement may disappoint many of our colleagues who have come to fame and fortune by doing just that.” Moreover: “In truth, the process is far less sinister and complicated than many analysts would like to believe.” 

Thus, it follows that OPEC behavior and decision making “is not difficult to explain” and that it can be predicted “only if biases, prejudices, and widely accepted misconceptions are set aside.” Moreover, a dire need for the behavioral and organizational psychology of OPEC coincides with a period of our country’s history whereby the “hegemonic” stage of capitalism itself is transitioning into one out of its three possible outcomes, namely, socialism, anarchy, or de-growth. 

One American official bragged that the United States “wrote the manual on torture.” But this does not come as a surprise or shock, given that at the very heart of conscious bourgeoise life is repression. And when it comes to the repression of the conscious level of everyday life, American puritanism, extremism, and Quakerism outdo everyone else and everything else. Hence, the chiropractic videos which have flooded YouTube and the intensity of the support which is shown for Trump by many people and so forth. As mentioned before, a proper and healthy integration of both the conscious and unconscious halves of the mind and psyche occurs through education. But education standards have also fallen, and this fall in education standards coincides with the growing inability to access quality education. 

The history of bourgeoisie repression, in turn, arguably coincides and intertwines with the history of organized religion itself. Arguably, bourgeoisie repression and organized religion cannot be disentangled and isolated from one another. As Marx famously said, religion is the “opiate of the masses.” Nancy Pelosi’s insider trading, for instance, is cloaked and shrouded with talk of Christian “values” and Christian “faith.” But Pelosi is not unique in this sense. Rather, the intersection of bourgeoisie repression and organized religion as the tool for bourgeoisie repression has been going on for millennia, as Marx argued. The only difference between Washington and all other previous instances of bourgeoisie repression is that Washington has long been in denial of this historical pattern or theme. 

Nevertheless, Marxist thought also suggested that “Technological Determinism” would be the eventual and ultimate counterweight to global bourgeoisie repression. Much of the response to repression through globalization and technology which Marxist thought had conceived of is now manifesting in this very day and age. Some of the collective response to repression through globalization and technology has been creative and erotic, whereas another significant part of the collective response has been cruel and violent. Hannah Arendt – in an essay titled “Is America by Nature a Violent Society?” – noted in the 1960’s that America is violent by its very nature and can only become more violent in the future, for three reasons. 

Arendt argued that for one, America is a place where “lawlessness” is in the very basic nature of the American people, given that lawlessness is “inherent in all uprooted people.” American society is “artificial” by nature, as Arendt noted, because Americans have essentially been uprooted from their ancestral roots. Second, Arendt noted that the “Freedom of Assembly” is a right which has to be gradually taken away from Americans because of an “imperial presidency” and a “shadow government” which is faced off with right-wing groups. And third, and as Arendt noted, there is the issue of racism and “the possibility of a white backlash of such proportions as to be able to invade the domain of regular government.” The result of this backlash would be an “unmitigated disaster” and the “end” of the “American republic” to borrow from Arendt. For Arendt’s words to echo decades after they were crafted comes as no surprise for those of us who have somewhat of an educated and informed view of international affairs. 

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