My new Apple podcast channel is up and running and this week’s addition is Dynamic Paradoxicalism the Anti-Ism Ism
Here’s the first paragraph:
Dynamic paradoxicalism is my attempt to create a meta-philosophy that is a counter to fundamentalist and absolutist thought, which is nearly as common amongst New Agers and the Left as it is amongst religious fundamentalists and the Right. The greatest of life skills is the ability to live with ambiguity, ambivalence, and paradox, without trying to regularize these uncertainties into finished, absolute truths. Dynamic paradoxicalism recognizes that most important areas of truth exist as a paradox, where seemingly contradictory elements have a dynamic level of validity based on context specific circumstances. Although a greater conception that synthesizes the disparate elements of a paradox into a grand unit is an awesome addition to the conceptual toolbox, it is not always the most useful tool in the box. Dynamic paradoxicalism recommends an ability to slide between the poles of a paradox, in some circumstances favoring the point of view of one side of the paradox, in other cases the other pole, and in still other cases favoring the unified view.
A few words on the Tucson shooting: Yes, the shooter sounds like a classic schizophrenic and his mug shot would be the perfect thumbnail image to put beside the definition of maniac. Although a causal connection with our present political climate probably can’t be proven—- we really don’t fully know what a schizophrenic is. These DSM4 type labels are really just what my former writing teacher, E.L. Doctorow, called, “the industrialized form of story telling.” We also don’t know exactly where in a given case one psyche leaves off and another begins and the boundaries between individual and collective psyche are always blurred and permeable. When someone is psychotic, as this fellow obviously is, the boundaries may be nearly nonexistent and he may therefore be a kind of scanning transceiver picking up and transmitting all sorts of collective undercurrents. So although his craziness seems fairly incoherent, there is a lot of thematic coherence in the circumstances—i.e. shooting someone at the center of vitriolic red/blue acrimony, a person whose district had gunsite crosshairs on a Sarah Palin map and who spoke out about that as a bad gesture that would have consequences, etc. Another part of the thematic bull’s eye of the circumstances is that one of the victims was born on 9/11/01. This could be synchronistic—a tragic element relating this occurrence to the national zeitgeist and shocks to the zeitgeist. Therefore, I feel that although it is logically sufficient to explain this event via mental illness, it would be too reductive and superficially dismissive to say it has no relation to our national zeitgeist. Staring at his disturbing mug shot right now on the cover of the New York Times Loughner (the shooter) could be the personification of our collective shadow.