Wednesday, May 20, 2020

SELF-HATRED, SELF-PROMOTION AND OIKOPHOBIA



The Ex-Muslim and atheist, Salmon Rushdie, wrote something that reflects our self- hating culture:

·       Consider the following headline: “Mississippi: Atheist faces execution for insulting Jesus on Facebook”.

·       The alert reader will immediately recognize this as a piece of fake news. Which it is. I made it up myself.

·       But it’s based on a real headline. The recent headline reads as follows: “Nigeria: Atheist faces execution under sharia for insulting Muhammad on Facebook.”

Rushdie reasons:

·       Now, if it was true, the first headline would elicit universal outrage. It would be front-page news in all the major Western newspapers, and the lead story on the evening news. CNN, NBC, and the BBC would spin the story as a typical example of Christian bigotry. https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/western-media-downplay-ignore-islams-violent-reactions-to-blasphemy?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com&utm_campaign=fb348b8640-Daily%2520Headlines%2520-%2520U.S._COPY_763&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_12387f0e3e-fb348b8640-401443397

Why does this entirely unbalanced and hypocritical reporting characterize mainstream media? Let’s back up a bit. Hated of one’s own culture now seems to be an entrenched and “politically correct” part of the Western worldview – The West is the worst! Evidence for this abounds, along with the invention of a proliferating assortment of micro-aggressions, all focused on Western misdeeds. For example, a recent ad for tacos had “culturally appropriated” Mexican dress with sombreros and Mexican accents. However, if this ad had been the work of Western non-Mexicans, the ad-makers would have been charged with “cultural mis-appropriation.” But this ad came out of Japan, where it experienced no backlash whatsoever.

Western elites seem to hate the West. This was noted by the former Pope Benedict XVI:

·       “This…illustrates a peculiar western self-hatred that is nothing short of pathological. It is commendable that the West is trying to be more open, to be more understanding of the values of outsiders, but it has lost all capacity for self-love. All that it sees in its own history is the despicable and the destructive; it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure…Multiculturalism, which is so constantly and passionately promoted, can sometimes amount to an abandonment and denial, a flight from one’s own heritage.” (Quoted by Jean Bethke Elshtain, First Things, March, 2009, 36)

Using the rationale of “inclusion” and “diversity,” Western scholars have so consistently deconstructed the West, that it is rare to find anyone teaching at a Western university who praises the West. As a result, their students have often committed themselves to radically changing their culture by importing non-Western cultural elements. Sometimes, they accept or even endorse violent change, having been convinced that our “evil” culture deserves to be swept away.

Why this dangerous “flight from one’s own heritage?” Some have identified the fatal flaw as our need to feel superior, morally worthier than others. If there had been invading armies at our doorstep, it would be natural to believe that we were the worthy party, and this would have served to unite the country against the common threat. However, where there is no awareness of a common threat, especially when affluence reins, it has been observed that society begins to turn against itself and to identify those parties that are morally inferior.

I just learned of a new term that embraces this phenomenon – “oikophobia,” the hatred of one’s own home or society. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOyD69-ghd0&t=674s&fbclid=IwAR3rZxsjb8CuX8vgp74FJp6RxtK6b5pNjEIu9Vf4jYkHWsvluTf78-jqZiU

This video makes the point that “oikophobia” or “zenophilia” (the love of foreign cultures instead of one’s own) are forms of “virtue-signaling,” the demonstration that one’s virtue exceeds that of others.

Swedish scholar Benedict Beckold argues that oikophobia is predictable and foretells the death of a society, as its internal squabbles undermine any unified effort against its problems. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hslPNjqcXMk:

·       [Oikophobia] reveal[s] a civilization that has stopped believing in itself, that hates itself, and that is therefore unwilling to defend the values of individual freedom, democracy, and scientific and scholarly skepticism that have been handed down to us since antiquity. We are all familiar with this phenomenon, and every single day brings news stories in which oikophobia is involved. To mention just a couple among literally thousands of clearly oikophobic incidents of recent times: this past July the San Francisco School Board voted to remove a mural of George Washington from one of its public schools because of its purported racism; the group leader of American volunteer teachers in Africa some years ago informed the volunteers that residing in a foreign culture had taught her that the United States deserved the 9/11 terrorist attacks because of U.S. foreign policy...Actions and statements of this kind have become perfectly commonplace by now, and we all know about them, but most people cannot explain why things are this way. How can it have come to such cultural self-hatred? The answer lies in an oft-repeated historical process that takes a society from naïve and self-promoting beginnings to self-contempt and decline.

According to Beckold, oikophobia is a predictable outcome once a society becomes affluent and comfortable:

·       So oikophobia is a natural outgrowth of the way cultures, and certainly Western cultures, develop. It occurred in ancient Greece, in Rome, in the French and British empires, and now in the United States. https://quillette.com/2019/10/07/oikophobia-our-western-self-hatred/

Is this process of self-aggrandizement and decay inevitable? Almost! It seems that we have been designed with a quest for self-mastery. Just look at the intensity of children as they begin to walk and then acquire skills! However, our conscience begins to kick-in and we become aware of our selfishness and self-centeredness, and our conscience informs us to also be other-centered. However, in our quest to fulfill ourselves, we ignore and suppress the messages of our conscience, resulting in feelings of guilt and shame. These painfully condemn us to such an extent that we feels as if God Himself is condemning us.

If we do not confess our sins to God and experience His forgiveness, these feelings will become so intense that they will coerce us to cover them up with positive affirmations, accolades, and successes to prove our moral superiority and worthiness. However, our feelings of unworthiness and impending condemnation can become so intense that we often will practice self-punishment (cuttings, burnings) to, at least momentarily, restore our feelings of worthiness:

·       The physical pain of cutting not only diffuses negative emotion, but it can also create a sense of calm and relief. Because it works almost instantly, cutting is highly reinforcing—some even say addictive. Individuals who cut describe the sensation as an escape or a release of pressure, similar to how people suffering from bulimia describe purging.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/how-be-yourself/201610/self-injury-4-reasons-people-cut-and-what-do

It is estimated that 20% of women and 14% of men practice self-harm. Why would cutting release pressure? Why wouldn’t spending money or taking a walk suffice? Could it be that we know that we deserve punishment and therefore punish ourselves? When asked why they self-harm, many claim “I dunno!..after I cut, I felt better.” https://aeon.co/essays/how-self-harm-provokes-the-brain-into-feeling-better

Research affirms the sense of relief that many experience:

·       People who self-harm, writes [Carrie] Arnold, have “learned that, while the pain peaks with self-injury, it then comes down the other side. The physical pain lessens – as does the emotional pain.” https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/theres-scientific-reason-why-self-harm-makes-some-people-feel-better-180953062/

However, when we accidentally cut ourselves, we don’t feel relief. Why then would the cutter feel relief? Evidently, the relief derived from cutting is not strictly biochemical. There must also be a psychological component that informs us that we deserve punishment. Therefore, when we punish ourselves, we feel that the price has been paid. However, the relief is only very temporary, like a drug fix. Why? Cutting and drugs do not address the underlying psychological problem.

What is this underlying problem? Alienation for the Creator, who wired our pesky conscience with its feelings of guilt, shame, and condemnation! From a Christian perspective, we need to listen to these feelings. Our temporal feelings and relationships mirror higher things – our relationship with God and our eternal fate.

If this analysis is correct, then God has given us our conscience as a way to call us into a loving and eternal relationship with Him. This is what the Cross is about. Christ died for us, proving His love for use and assuring us that He will accept us if we simply acknowledge what we already know in our heart – that we are sinners who need a Savior.


2 comments:

  1. Some psychologists discovered that ALL of their patients who had successful outcomes from treatment used a particular technique. The psychologists learned the technique from those patients, and learned how to teach it to other patients. They named the technique, "Focusing", (which, in my opinion, is a terrible name for it). Using Focusing directly fixes psychological problems. What has this to do with Christ? Nothing. However, the success rate of Christianity, and other religions, at fixing underlying psychological problems, is equivalent to that of all psychological treatments that do not include Focusing. The problem(s) get fixed less than 5% of the time. In some patients, the wrong kind of treatment makes the problems worse. When you want your people to have a better relationship with God, teach them how to do the Focusing technique. Then they will be able to have a better relationship with themselves, which enables them to relate to God better as well.

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    Replies
    1. I find this difficult to believe. Do you have a link?

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