Archive for August 12th, 2022

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He seems to me to be headed for his ideal fate, which is compulsive psychosis dashed with a jigger of psychopathic irresponsibility and violence.

— Jack Kerouac, On the Road

I lately have the unframed painting above, Ship of Fools, on a small table in front of my desk here in the studio. I look at it quite often, more than I would have thought. Maybe because it disturbs me or that I am trying to understand it, to find some comprehension in it.

In recent days, I see it as a symbol of the cultish followers of the former president*. It’s a group that disturbs me because I can’t understand the basis or belief behind it. It makes no sense to me in any way.

I think of the guy in Ohio who tried to storm the FBI offices yesterday, believing he was kicking off a civil war with his attack. Wearing body armor, he tried to break through bulletproof glass at the entry by shooting it with a nailgun, I believe in order to enter the space without firing his AR15 rifle which would allow him to better surprise the agents he desired to kill.

It, of course, failed. He fled and ended up in a field, wounded and still somehow sending posts to fellow cult members via Truth Social. His last post ended abruptly, and he was dead from the FBI’s returned fire.

How does one comprehend this sort of stupid, senseless death?

Why would someone sacrifice their life for someone who I doubt even paused to give a moment’s thought that this person’s life was given in his name? Someone who no doubt sees this person and all the others only as tools to be employed on his behalf.

They are there for him and it is a one-way transaction. He has no interest in doing anything that does not ultimately benefit him personally. 

So, why the cult following? I have never heard an answer to this question that is rational in any way. Oh, you’ll hear people say that they liked his policies and when you ask which policies, they are often at a loss to name one. And even if they can, why would a few policy agreements allow them to overlook the gross corruption and criminality and potentially treasonous behavior of this creature?

It is not normal. I am not qualified to say, but it seems to be some sort of mass psychosis. It might be as psychiatrist Thomas Szasz wrote in his book The Second Sin in 1973:

Doubt is to certainty as neurosis is to psychosis. The neurotic is in doubt and has fears about persons and things; the psychotic has convictions and makes claims about them. In short, the neurotic has problems, the psychotic has solutions.

As someone with more than my fair share of neuroses, this makes sense to me. A neurotic has conflicts within, whereas the psychotic’s conflicts are manifested in the outer world. They are filled with total conviction and have solutions, as they see their actions to be.

And their conviction is so intense that they cannot see how those who they oppose do not possess similar convictions. They know by their own thoughts and actions that they are dangerous which their psychosis leads them to believe that everyone on the other side poses the same level of threat.

It creates an out-of-control spiral.

How this spiral psychosis came to end up as it is now and how its effects can be alleviated remain cloudy. If it will continue as the former guy’s crimes and misdeeds are further revealed is up in the air. For those deep in the throes of the cult, it probably won’t make a difference.

And therein lies the conflict.

I am sure some of you will dispute my amateur psychoanalysis and that’s okay. I am just venting on the needless tragedy of it all.

Maybe that tragedy and the people involved are those that I see in this painting. I am just hoping that nobody else will die with the name of that creature on their lips.

Hoping but who can really know what the days ahead will bring?

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