Contagion and Remission of Ideologies

Contagion? Remission? Of ideologies? What, is an ideology a disease, then?

In a word, yes.

An ideology is a seemingly coherent set of beliefs that, at best, emanates from a small handful of unfalsifiable postulates. (At worst, the beliefs are much more random and self-contradictory than that.) Because these postulates are unassailable, the entire belief system — the entire ideology — is built on a house of cards. So, too, is the life of the person afflicted with ideology.

It’s pretty easy to see how the contagion process works with ideologies: People adopt a particular ideology because respected peers or authority persons adopt them; because they provide a convenient justification for behaviors they don’t feel like avoiding; or for converse reasons with respect to opposing ideologies (i.e. because disrespected peers or authority persons adopt an opposing ideology or because an opposing ideology would dissonantly suggest that well-liked behaviors are unethical).

Preventing the contagion of ideologies must certainly be one important aspect of any future public political health system. But what about the billions of people who already have the disease? How can the affliction be beat into remission?

Ideology is an issue of public mental health, and should be approached as such. As a mental disorder leading to cognitive disability, ideology must be recognized clinically in such classification catalogues as the DSM. After this important first step, public mental health policies must be designed to treat those suffering from ideology as well as preventing further contagion.

“A mind is a terrible thing to waste” indeed.

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One Response to “Contagion and Remission of Ideologies”

  1. Repetitive patterns of alignments, collaborations, expulsions, realignments (again) — ultimate allegiance to automatism — the Republican party has become an exposition of the surrealistic manifesto: the turning inside out of the unconscious polemic literary form. Belief in the superior reality of ideological forms, the omnipotence of dreaming, the disinterested jangle of random reactionary thought; it is the ultimate heir to the Dadaist anarchy wrapped up in an empty black suit and a tin-foil hat. The short answer: it does not matter what we do, for we can always buy the White House.

    And the princess said: Your name is Rumplestiltskin. And with that, the gnome stomped and stamped, then disappeared in a puff of oil smoke.

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