I’m not making a claim that concrete thinkers don’t have self-delusions, but this is a whopper!
Americans are unable to connect behavior to consequences of that behavior, or to comprehend the “fact” that behavior has consequences! The “concept” is that each man, woman, and child “ought to” receive whatever attention, food, comfort, money, and “respect” that each “feels” entitled to: if a person cannot recognize that this is impossible in a real physical environment, then that person is a “magical thinker” – stuck in a stage of development when all young children are totally dependent on “huge beings” (parents and adults in the home). It is expected by child “experts” that this is a transitory state of brain processing that will “magically” disappear as the child grows to adulthood. It is believed to be “automatic” that young adults become rational and analytical; acquire “good judgment” or at least common sense – which means “able to connect behavior with consequences”.
What is ignored is that this “automatic” development is not automatic. A self-designated individual or group of any type (religious, academic, political, medical, or economic), can make up a “story” of how things “ought to be” (and thoroughly believe that their version is the One True story). Inevitably, lists of behavior accompany The Story; behaviors, both prescribed and taboo, that will guarantee that The Story is enforced, encouraged, brought to fruition; conformity to these lists will prove that the desired result will follow:
The Story will be proven to be an absolute model for the “cosmic social order” that must be imposed on “bad” human behavior.
The “cosmic social order” (having been achieved by the magic power of prescriptive words) will take effect; human beings will “snap to” the lines drawn for them, which not only confirms the absolute truth of The Story, but also the absolute “right” (or even the obligation) of the “people who own The Story” to wield absolute power over human behavior.
After 10,000+ years of developing and applying The Story: Tthere are many versions and are broadly called “cultures”. Whatever the narrative and content, The Story is all about controlling human behavior to conform to an “idea” that is not “true” in any real sense, but serves a small group of people. Despite tremendous force applied to human individuals and groups, such as horrific punishments, haranguing sermons, academic lectures, sanctions and exile, threats of eternal suffering, denial of participation in society, denial of food, water and shelter, denial of life itself, human behavior GOES ITS OWN WAY, like a river that overflows obstacles built to confine it; over levees and walls of sandbags, flowing on over contours of topography into natural basins, and reworking or demolishing old structures in its way.
The “consequence” that power structures are unable to grasp is that their use of “force”, whether or not it is physical brutality, economic strangulation, military threat, denial of legal rights, or imposition of unjust laws, CAUSES human behavior to become distorted; destructive, passive aggressive, and violent, even if attempts at relief require self-harm: destruction of one’s own environment, people, food supplies, water and infrastructure. The “result” of imposing false stories onto human nature, which claim to represent “the cosmic order” and therefore dictate what constitutes an acceptable human animal, is that human beings react badly. There is no mystery as to why people rebel against being told “who they are” (rotten and evil); that they do not own themselves; and that “the ultimate power of the universe” has “hired” certain “special people” to control their existence.
The official “story” is meant to oppress the natural creative and adaptive impulses that are instinctive in Homo sapiens.
As far as human behavior goes, I don’t see our social instincts as different from those of chimpanzees, but unlike them, as individuals we do have the ability to extensively modify our reactions and behaviors through learning. These “modifications” must be experienced to “take effect”: the body’s sensory system and chemistry let the brain “know” what is “proper” to our biology. It’s not a “word” thing; it’s a “do it” thing.
Learning involves risk, especially in societies that fear loss of control over every teeny-tiny action or thought that might reveal the invalid “parts” of The Story. Denial of education to certain categories of people, notably females, betrays this “paranoia” about natural learning behavior; education about “how to survive” is the number one task of being a parent. Modern humans have removed the “natural” basis for all human learning, and have replaced the “big picture of nature” with indoctrination of children into “the social cosmic order”.
The task for children becomes “surviving” a warped social environment that hates humans (and Nature) because its “leaders” don’t see individual people, animals, plants, physical processes and materials as “having innate value”, but as objects that must be coerced into creating a wildly perverted “magical story” of self-importance. A version of “the universe” that is centered on the infant body; a universe generated by the infant brain whose existence requires “magical obedience” from the people around it; behavior that is absolutely necessary to its survival.
“How nature works” is the model for “how humans work”. Nature is the “playground” in which children discover and master (sort of) brain-body abilities necessary to survival. Parents and other adults are the “guidance system” that protects the child, and carries the child through dangerous lessons, imparting skills and experiential “truths” about “the wider world.” One of those truths is that the environment belongs to everyone: magical thinking needs to evolve into conscious awareness of one’s not-so-glorious position in the “scheme of things” (The Natural Order) Ironically, this is the core message of many “religions” but they rarely practice what they preach; the temptation to “own” power perpetuates The Story, no matter how much suffering it causes.