11 January 2006

Paramoralisms: Ponerological Definition

Since I have mentioned the term "paramoralism" on a number of occasions recently in my writings elsewhere, I thought that now would be a good time to publish a good description of the term as it is used in Ponerology.

If you search for the term on google, you will not find a definition. Not a surprise. Lobaczewski was obliged to create words to describe aspects of Evil that, with which, up to then, our natuaral language could not deal adequately. He writes in his book Political Ponerology:

Para-moralisms: The conviction that moral values exist and that some actions violate moral rules is so common and ancient a phenomenon that it seems to have some substratum at man’s instinctive endowment level (although it is certainly not totally adequate for moral truth), and that it does not only represent centuries’ worth of experience, culture, religion, and socialization. Thus, any insinuation closed in moral slogans is always suggestive, even if the “moral” criteria used are just an “ad hoc” invention. Any act can thus be proved to be immoral or morally proper by means of such para-moralisms through active suggestion, and people whose minds will succumb to such reasoning can always be found. In searching for an example of an evil act whose negative value would not elicit doubt in any social situation, ethics scholars frequently mention child abuse. However, psychologists often meet with para-moral affirmations of such behavior in their practice, such as in the above-mentioned family with the prefrontal field damage in the eldest sister. Her younger brothers emphatically insisted that their sister’s sadistic treatment of her son was due to her exceptionally high moral qualifications, and they believed this by auto-suggestion. Para-moralism somehow cunningly evades the control of our common sense, sometimes leading to an affirmation of behavior whose character is openly pathological. Para-moralistic statements and suggestions so often accompany various kinds of evil that they seem quite irreplaceable. Unfortunately, it has become a frequent phenomenon for individuals, oppressive groups, or patho-political systems to invent ever-new moral criteria for someone’s convenience. Such suggestions often partially deprive people of their moral reasoning and deform its development in youngsters. Para-moralism factories have been founded worldwide, and a ponerologist finds it hard to believe that they are managed by psychologically normal people. The conversive features in the genesis of para-moralisms seem to prove they are derived from mostly subconscious rejection (and repression from the field of consciousness) of something completely different, which we call the voice of conscience. A ponerologist can nevertheless indicate many observations supporting the opinion that the various pathological factors participate in the tendency to use para-moralisms. This was the case in the above-mentioned family. As occurs with a moralizing interpretation, this tendency intensifies in egotists and hysterics, and its causes are similar. Like all conversive phenomena, the tendency to use para-moralisms is psychologically contagious. That explains why we observe it among people raised by individuals in whom it was developed alongside pathological factors. This may be a good place to reflect that true moral law is born and exists independently of our judgments in this regard, and even of our ability to recognize it. Thus, the attitude required for such understanding is scientific, not creative: we must humbly subordinate our mind to the apprehended reality. That is when we discover the truth about man, both his weaknesses and values, which shows us what is decent and proper with respect to other people and other societies.
Gurdjieff speaks of a certain example of "paramoralism" in the following extract from In Search of The Miraculous, by P.D. Ouspensky:
"As I have already said, people very often think that if they begin to struggle with considering within themselves it will make them 'insincere' and they are afraid of this because they think that in this event they will be losing something, losing a part of themselves. In this case the same thing takes place as in attempts to struggle against the outward expression of unpleasant emotions. The sole difference is that in one case a man struggles with the outward expression of emotions and in the other case with an inner manifestation of perhaps the same emotions. "This fear of losing sincerity is of course self-deception, one of those formulas of lying upon which human weaknesses are based. Man cannot help identifying and considering inwardly and he cannot help expressing his unpleasant emotions, simply because he is weak. Identifying, considering, the expressing of unpleasant emotions, are manifestations of his weakness, his impotence, his inability to control himself. But not wishing to acknowledge this weakness to himself, he calls it 'sincerity' or 'honesty' and he tells himself that he does not want to struggle against sincerity, whereas in fact he is unable to struggle against his weaknesses. "Sincerity and honesty are in reality something quite different. What a man calls 'sincerity' in this case is in reality simply being unwilling to restrain himself. And deep down inside him a man is aware of this. But he lies to himself when he says that he does not want to lose sincerity."
Lobaczewski relates certain other psychological deficits to paramoralism:
Reversive blockade: Emphatically insisting upon something which is the opposite of the truth blocks the average person’s mind from perceiving the truth. In accordance with the dictates of healthy common sense, he starts searching for meaning in the “golden mean” between the truth and its opposite, winding up with some satisfactory counterfeit. People who think like this do not realize that this was precisely the intent of the person who subjected them to this method. If such a statement is the opposite of a moral truth, at the same time, it simultaneously represents an extreme para-moralism, and bears its peculiar suggestiveness. We rarely see this method being used by normal people; even if raised by the people who abused it, they usually only indicate its results in the shape of characteristic difficulties in apprehending reality properly. Use of this method can be included within the above-mentioned psychological knowledge developed by psychopaths concerning the weaknesses of human nature and the art of leading others into error. Where they are in rule, this method is used with virtuosity, and to an extent conterminous with their power.


Blogger Constance X said...

OMG! I have been assembling a list of these from my own experience, shaking out of my own therapy, after growing up with, and spending half a lifetime with, narcissists! My break was the term "uncertainty," listed in a diagnosis for "adjustment disorder." I had been unable to build a psychological foundation for myself, as I was not granted any of the mirroring or affirmation of anything I was, did, or thought; because their psychology required that they could not be wrong, they could never tell me that I was right -- I had a deep sense that there were shifting mysteries that were simply beyond my understanding -- and I had given up asking for clarification. Now I know, finally, what I don't understand is nonsense, for the most part!

4:53 PM  

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