Information Substitution and Selection in Ponerological Processes
Unconscious psychological processes outstrip conscious reasoning, both in time and in scope, which makes many psychological phenomena possible: including those generally described as conversive, such as subconscious blocking out of conclusions, the selection, and, also, substitution of seemingly uncomfortable premises. We speak of blocking out conclusions if the inferential process was proper in principle and has almost arrived at a conclusion and final comprehension within the act of internal projection, but becomes stymied by a preceding directive from the subconscious, which considered it inexpedient or disturbing. This is primitive prevention of personality disintegration, which may seem advantageous; however, it also prevents all the advantages which could be derived from consciously elaborated conclusion and reintegration. A conclusion thus rejected remains in our subconscious and in a more unconscious way causes the next blocking and selection of this kind. This can be totally harmful, progressively enslaving a person to his own subconscious, and is often accompanied by a feeling of tension and bitterness. We speak of selection of premises whenever the feedback goes deeper into the resulting reasoning and from its database thus deletes and represses into the subconscious just that piece of information which was responsible for arriving at the uncomfortable conclusion. Our subconscious then permits further logical reasoning, except that the outcome will be erroneous in direct proportion to the actual significance of the repressed data. An ever-greater number of such repressed information is collected in our subconscious memory. Finally, a kind of habit seems to take over: similar material is treated the same way even if reasoning would have reached an outcome quite advantageous to the person. The most complex process of this type is substitution of premises thus eliminated by other data, ensuring an ostensibly more comfortable conclusion. Our associative ability rapidly elaborates a new item to replace the removed one, but it is one leading to a comfortable conclusion. This operation takes the most time, and it is unlikely to be exclusively subconscious. Such substitutions are often effected collectively, in certain groups of people, through the use of verbal communication. That is why they best qualify for the moralizing epithet “hypocrisy” than either of the above-mentioned processes. The above examples of conversive phenomena do not exhaust a problem richly illustrated in psychoanalytical works. Our subconscious may carry the roots of human genius within, but its operation is not perfect; sometimes it is reminiscent of a blind computer, especially whenever we allow it to be cluttered with anxiously rejected material. This explains why conscious monitoring, even at the price of courageously accepting disintegrative states, is likewise necessary to our nature, not to mention our individual and social good. There is no such thing as a person whose perfect self-knowledge allows him to eliminate all tendencies toward conversive thinking, but some people are relatively close to this state, while others remain slaves to these processes. Those people who use conversive operations too often for the purpose of finding convenient conclusions, or constructing some cunning para-logistic or para-moralistic statements, in time undertake such behavior for ever more trivial reasons, losing the capacity for conscious control over their thought process. This necessarily leads to behavior errors which must be paid for by others as well as themselves. People who have lost their psychological hygiene and capacity of proper thought along this road also lose their natural critical faculties with regard to the statements and behavior of individuals whose abnormal thought processes were formed on a substratum of pathological anomalies, whether inherited or acquired. Hypocrites stop differentiating between pathological and normal individuals, thus opening an “infection entry” for the ponerologic role of pathological factors. After all, each community contains people in whom similar methods of thinking were developed on a large scale, with their various deviations as a backdrop. We find this both in characteropathic and psychopathic personalities. Some have been even influenced by others to grow accustomed to such “reasoning”, since conversion thinking is highly contagious and can spread throughout an entire society. In “happy times” especially, the tendency for conversion thinking generally intensifies. It appears accompanied as well by a rising wave of hysteria in said society. Those who try to maintain common sense and proper reasoning finally wind up in the minority, feeling wronged because their human right to maintain psychological hygiene is violated by pressure from all sides. This means that unhappy times are not far away. We should point out that the erroneous thought processes described herein also, as a rule, violate the laws of logic with characteristic treachery. Educating people in the art of proper reasoning thus obviously counteracts such tendencies; it has a hallowed age-old tradition which seems to have been insufficiently effective for centuries. As an example: according to the laws of logic, a question containing an erroneous or unconfirmed suggestion has no answer. Nevertheless, not only does operating with such questions become epidemic among people with a tendency to conversion thinking, and a source of terror when used by psychopathical individuals; it also occurs among people who think normally, or even those who have studied logic. This decreasing tendency in a society’s capacity for proper thought should be counteracted, since it also lowers its immunity to ponerogenic processes. An effective measure would be teaching both proper thought and skillful detection of errors in thought. The front of such education should be expanded, including psychology, psychopathology, and the science described herein, for the purpose of raising people who can easily detect any para-logism.