What is unique to each of us is intimately connected with what is universal to all of us.
The connection is intimate but it runs a long and intricate circuit through everyday, practical life.
Let us call this intimate, intricate circuit the social region.
In good times, the social region mediates between uniqueness and universality and provides us roles and identities that do justice both to our uniqueness and to universality. Because it mediates uniqueness and universality, we find social existence tolerable and sometimes worthwhile.
In bad times, the social region imposes upon us roles and identities which suppress our uniqueness and eclipse our relation to universality. Social existence alienates us from ourselves, and from universality beyond socially given commonalities.
Cut off from our uniqueness, individuals are reducible to identity. Cut off from universality, reality is socially constructed.
Cut off from everything apart from social existence, tormented by their alienation, social activists work tirelessly deconstruct and reconstruct society, in order to win the recognition, power and resources to which those of their identity are entitled. They win and win and win. But with each victory they feel less and less victorious. And the social region, as it tries to do more and more of what it cannot do, becomes more and more alienated and alienating.
Arthur C. Clarke famously said: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
The supreme example of such a technology is religion.
And ironically, another example is… magic.
We do not even know what either of these technologies exist to do.
But we go on knowing, anyway, with “the sublime confidence of the ignorant.”*
This addled age is a cargo cult of history.
Credit to Freddy DeBoer for the hilarious expression: “the sublime confidence of the ignorant.”
This article, by the way, is about the unfounded belief that a normal, intact personality lurks beneath the outward personalities of the severely autistic.
This exhibits the same disastrous mental move I have observed in vulgar understandings of the subconscious. Somehow, fully-formed but unspoken beliefs lurk beneath the surface of consciousness, forever trying to bob up, despite our frantic efforts to push them back under, away from our awareness.
Both are the result of an incapacity to think subjectivity-first.