Thought I’d share an email I wrote this morning to my Italian friend Roberto Quaglia, the science fiction writer and 9/11 researcher and author.
Greetings, my friend. How are you? How is life in rustic and laid-back Romainia? I hope life is treating you well there.
Sometimes I wake up inspired with an idea, and don’t ask me why, but this morning, it involved you! I had been thinking about your very interesting insight into the fact that (if I understand and paraphrase you correctly), there comes a point where the sheer volume or quantity of hypocrisy brings about a qualitative change in that a person (or culture) who acts sufficiently hypocritical or incapable of abiding by his own professed values and beliefs initially starts to display but ultimately becomes indistinguishable from a sociopath. That, at least, is what the empirical phenomenology indicates.
The thought I had about this, this morning, is that I connected it with Dostoyevski’s point that if God is dead, everything is permissible.
And with its other (atheistic) existentialist corollary, Nietzsche’s Will to Power.
Lastly, I also connected it with a French movie I saw, oh, about 10 years ago I guess, which left a deep impression on me at the time. It is translated as “With a Friend Like Harry” and it is about a man who runs into an old school chum of his, who embodies Nietzsche’s Will to Power and uses this will to grant favors to his friend, so that, for example, if the man complains to him about his parents, that they are old and sick and are in constant need of attention, and it is a drag on his time, etc., Harry simply gets rid of the problem for his friend by getting rid of his parents for him. He is a sociopath, in other words. Here is a link to the film’s details.
So I wanted to recommend this movie to you. And if you end up writing a review of it using your original insight, I would love to read it.
My contention based on all of this is that not only is the West acting sociopathically as a whole (in its foreign policy double standards, etc., as you keenly pointed out), but that its individual members are more or less acting in this way also, save only for the absence of their Will to Power. And that, in time (on a sociological and not individual scale, of course), (and this is my prediction), their squeemishness will abate, and more and more numbers will be less and less demure about their visceral and libidinal desires, and so, will display attributes of sociopathy more and more, feeding into the viscious cycle of the police state at a geometric or hyperbolic pace. This is the price of supra-individuation and social fragmentation and atomization at the expense of commonly held sacred beliefs, the traditional definition of society, in other words – at the expense of society itself. This is the price and the ultimate destiny of the Enlightenment project.
Zhou Enlai was once asked what he thought of the French Revolution and famously quipped that it was “too early to tell”. I beg to differ, I guess.