The World Explored, the World Suffered Education Issue Nr. 22 September 2019 - Page 21

leader of the Germans at the time of Hitler's suicide would have been very cool and technical. Terms such as "pathological or chronic narcissism", "paranoia" "delusional"for him were descriptive and explanatory and embedded in a network of concepts and principles rather than emotionally laden as they seem to be for us when taken out of their medical context. Hannah Arendt points out the banality of the way in which the everyday family German participated in atrocities during the day whilst going home in the evening to be fathers to their families. In doing so, she argues, this phenomenon bears witness to the Freudian battle of the giants on the cultural stage. The same mechanism, if not same instincts, binding a child to his parents binds a citizen to his leader: one can identify out of love or as a consequence of exposure to aggression. With all the Freud bashing going on in the name of "science" it is not so difficult to believe that we have not learned very much about the pathological mechanisms and phenomena operating at the social and political levels. If one believes in the logical relation of the individual and the political, and one understands how Freudian mechanisms are operating at the political level, then the idea of the nation state being driven into nationalistic isolationist anti-immigration policies and thereby manifesting itself as a pathological obsessive compulsion, becomes understandable. History has taught us about the causes of social and political pathology but the understanding of the mechanisms of the identity formation of groups need further philosophical investigation. Until that happens we will not be able to judge whether the counteracting mechanisms of the translation of cultures, the exchange of cultural memories relating to traditions customs and mores, and the secular concept of forgiveness suggested by Ricouer, will heal the wounds inflicted by globalization upon the pathological nation state. Until we understand the mechanisms of political identity we risk embracing the pathological elements of our politics and blaming all our woes on Globalisation.