We teach children that they’re not the center of the universe, and in doing this we make solipsistic animals into human beings. But wouldn’t it accomplish the same moral goal, but with less intellectual violence, to teach them that they’re not the sole center?
To attempt universal decentering as a means to socialization sets up a situation nearly as dangerous as universal solipsism — an akrasia epidemic. Akrasia is like gasoline vapor, one spark of really strong solipsistic personality and up it goes in a fireball of fascination and blind obedience. Akrasia feels the void at the center, and fills it with whoever is bold and charismatic to take it, preferably aggressively.
One of the worst things about using objectivism to decenter a person is it makes real friendship, real marriage and real religious life impossible.
Under objectivism, everyone lives as an object among objects, everything sitting side by side in peer relationship. Truth is looked at, not entered, not participated in, not looked along. The mind lack conceptual tools for understanding kinds of being that bind without enslavement: community, marriage, friendship, communion, atonement, metanoia, myth, dialogue — and the newcomer, brand.
Not that the objective mind goes around confused. Nobody is more certain of everything than objectivists. Objectivity not only knows everything perfectly — according to itself, it knows better. It translates and remaps all religious notions into psychological, sociological, procedural, scientific or antiscientific-objective terms and is done with them.
An objective mind must either be atheistic or agnostic or pantheistic — or become the vacuous opposite to atheistic: fundamentalist. (Fundamentalists accept the scientific vision of reality, but reject its rigor, and therefore its reason — its logos, and replaces this with personal emotion, and renders reality undiscussable. You feel vehement agreement, or you feel vehement disagreement.) But authentic religious vision is out of the question.
And whatever resists this translation is dismissed as “nonsense”.
The problem with solipsists is not that they believe they are the center of the universe. The problem is that they think only they are the center of the universe. They cannot yet conceive of being beyond self that includes and involves self. This violates the rules of discreteness of things. If they are the center, then how can something else be the center, too? This is a logical contradiction. Etc.
The problem with akratics is not that they believe they are not the sole center of the universe, they think the center of the universe is somewhere in space… until they think the center is in some powerful person or another.
There will always be a few incurable solipsists or akratics, or even small clusters of akratics with a solipsist at the core (a.k.a. cults) — the problem only arises when a society starts breeding itself for universal akrasia. Then you end up with national or racial or class cults, and terrible, terrible shit happens.
We can temporarily tame ourselves with vulgar objectivity, but taming and civilizing are not the same thing.