Beyond Order
Beyond Order

Beyond Order

Simply put: We outsource the problem of sanity. People remain mentally healthy not merely because of the integrity of their own minds, but because they are constantly being reminded how to think, act, and speak by those around them. (Location 581)

If you are not communicating about anything that engages other people, then the value of your communication—even the value of your very presence—risks falling to zero. (Location 614)

In a phrase: The internal hierarchy that translates facts into actions mirrors the external hierarchy of social organization. It is clear, for example, that chimpanzees in a troop understand their social world and its hierarchical strata at a fine level of detail. They know what is important, and who has privileged access to it. They understand such things as if their survival and reproduction depend upon it, as it does. (Location 696)

Because of that commonality, there is an ethic—or more properly, a meta-ethic—that emerges, from the bottom up, across the set of all games. The best player is therefore not the winner of any given game but, among many other things, he or she who is invited by the largest number of others to play the most extensive series of games. (Location 728)

It is useful to take your place at the bottom of a hierarchy. It can aid in the development of gratitude and humility. Gratitude: There are people whose expertise exceeds your own, and you should be wisely pleased about that. There are many valuable niches to fill, given the many complex and serious problems we must solve. The fact that there are people who fill those niches with trustworthy skill and experience is something for which to be truly thankful. Humility: It is better to presume ignorance and invite learning than to assume sufficient knowledge and risk the consequent blindness. It is much better to make friends with what you do not know than with what you do know, as there is an infinite supply of the former but a finite stock of the latter. When you are tightly boxed in or cornered—all too often by your own stubborn and fixed adherence to some unconsciously worshipped assumptions—all there is to help you is what you have not yet learned. (Location 737)

He had ceased being casually cynical about the place he occupied in the world and the people who surrounded him, and accepted the structure and the position he was offered. He started to see possibility and opportunity, where before he was blinded, essentially, by his pride. He stopped denigrating the social institution he found himself part of and began to play his part properly. And that increment in humility paid off in spades. (Location 781)

All causes of mortality appear to be reduced among adults with high-quality social networks, even when general health status is taken into consideration. This remains true among the elderly in the case of diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, emphysema, and arthritis, and for younger and older adults alike in the case of heart attacks. Interestingly enough, there is some evidence that it is the provision of social support, as much or more than its receipt, that provides these protective benefits (and, somewhat unsurprisingly, that those who give more tend to receive more).9 Thus, it truly seems that it is better to give than to receive. (Location 822)

But good people are ambitious (and diligent, honest, and focused along with it) instead because they are possessed by the desire to solve genuine, serious problems. That variant of ambition needs to be encouraged in every possible manner. It is for this reason, among many others, that the increasingly reflexive identification of the striving of boys and men for victory with the “patriarchal tyranny” that hypothetically characterizes our modern, productive, and comparatively free societies is so stunningly counterproductive (and, it must be said, cruel: there is almost nothing worse than treating someone striving for competence as a tyrant in training). (Location 868)

genuine authority constrains the arbitrary exercise of power. (Location 877)

Sanity is knowing the rules of the social game, internalizing them, and following them. Differences in status are therefore inevitable, as all worthwhile endeavors have a goal, and those who pursue them have different abilities in relationship to that goal. Accepting the fact of this disequilibrium and striving forward nonetheless—whether presently at the bottom, middle, or top—is an important element of mental health. (Location 899)

That is the moral of both narratives: follow the rules until you are capable of being a shining exemplar of what they represent, but break them when those very rules now constitute the most dire impediment to the embodiment of their central virtues. (Location 1101)

Note: Rules are straight edge manifestations of the more nuanced virtues that advocate it.

What does this statement mean? It sums up the meaning of Rule I perfectly. If you understand the rules—their necessity, their sacredness, the chaos they keep at bay, how they unite the communities that follow them, the price paid for their establishment, and the danger of breaking them—but you are willing to fully shoulder the responsibility of making an exception, because you see that as serving a higher good (and if you are a person with sufficient character to manage that distinction), then you have served the spirit, rather than the mere law, and that is an elevated moral act. (Location 1135)

Note: Just like coding conventions

A certain amount of arbitrary rule-ness must be tolerated—or welcomed, depending on your point of view—to keep the world and its inhabitants together. A certain amount of creativity and rebellion must be tolerated—or welcomed, depending on your point of view—to maintain the process of regeneration. (Location 1150)

Stories become unforgettable when they communicate sophisticated modes of being—complex problems and equally complex solutions—that we perceive, consciously, in pieces, but cannot fully articulate. It was for this reason, for example, that the biblical story of Moses and the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt became such a powerful touchstone for black slaves seeking emancipation in the United States: (Location 1200)

We are dormant adventurers, lovers, leaders, artists, and rebels, but need to discover that we are all those things by seeing the reflection of such patterns in dramatic and literary form. That is part of being a creature that is part nature and part culture. An unforgettable story advances our capacity to understand our behavior, beyond habit and expectation, toward an imaginative and then verbalized understanding. (Location 1250)

And now you will have to decide: are you going to open the letter and face what is “inside”? And, having done so, are you going to think your way through the problem, terrible as that might be, and begin to address it? Or are you going to ignore what you now know, pretend that everything is all right (even though you know, emotionally—as a consequence of your anxiety—that it is not), and pay the inevitable psychological and physical price? It is the former route that will require you to voluntarily confront what you are afraid of—the terrible, abstract monster—and, hypothetically, to become stronger and more integrated as a result. It is the latter route that will leave the problem in its monstrous form and force you to suffer like a scared animal confronted by a predator’s vicious eyes in the pitch of night. (Location 1289)

The Seeker is therefore the person who is playing the game that everyone else is playing (and who is disciplined and expert at the game), but who is also playing an additional, higher-order game: the pursuit of what is of primary significance. The Snitch (like the round chaos) can therefore be considered the “container” of that primary significance—that meaning—and, therefore, something revelatory when pursued and caught. We might in this context remember what has come to be known as the Golden Rule: “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31). There is nothing more important than learning to strive under difficult and frustrating circumstances to play fair. This is what should be chased, so to speak, during any game (even though it is also important to try to obtain victory in the game).fn6 (Location 1334)

You do not choose what interests you. It chooses you. Something manifests itself out of the darkness as compelling, as worth living for; following that, something moves us further down the road, to the next meaningful manifestation—and so it goes, as we continue to seek, develop, grow, and thrive. It is a perilous journey, but it is also the adventure of our lives. (Location 1346)

In all these cases you experience what is new. Sometimes that is painful; sometimes it is better than anything else that has ever happened to you. Either way, it is deeply informative. It is all part of the potential of the world, calling you into Being, changing you forever—for better or worse—in consequence of your pursuit. (Location 1350)

It is because our own experience is genuinely literary, narrative, embodied, and storylike that we are so attracted to fictional representations. Movies, plays, operas, TV dramas—even the lyrics of songs—help us deal with our lived experiences, (Location 1389)

Something should be clarified here: It is not truly accurate to state that the reality portrayed in children’s fiction is personified. It is the case, instead (and this is a genuine reversal of the presumption in question), that we directly and naturally perceive reality as personified, and then must work very diligently to strip that personification away, so that we can detect “objective reality.”fn7 We understand reality, therefore, as if it is constructed of personalities. That is because so much of what we encounter in our hypersocial reality, our complex societies, is in fact personality—and gendered personality, at that, reflecting the billion years or so since the emergence of sexual reproduction (ample time for its existence to have profoundly structured our perceptions). We understand male, and abstract from that the masculine. We understand female, and abstract from that the feminine. Finally, we understand the child, and abstract from that, most commonly, the son. These basic divisions are clearly reflected in the creation story of the Enuma Elish, just as they are reflected in, or more accurately underpin, our understanding of the stories we all know. (Location 1395)

It allows us to apprehend in dramatic form the fundamental necessity of coming to grips with what our senses demonstrate to us, no matter how terrifying the reality revealed. It allows for the possibility of bringing our explicit understanding closer in line with our deepest being, making possible a truer union of body and spirit through the partial comprehension and imitation of the story. Most importantly, perhaps, it allows us to realize the immense importance of words in transforming potential into actuality, and helps us understand that the role we each play in that transformation is in some vital sense akin to the divine. (Location 1449)

One of Marduk’s many names is, in fact, “he who makes ingenious things as a consequence of the conflict with Tiamat.”5 It might be noted, in this regard, that tens of thousands of years ago, men literally did construct the habitable world out of the pieces of monsters, making their early dwellings from the giant bones of animals they had so courageously speared. (Location 1455)

This basilisk is an analog to the great dragon faced by Beowulf, hero of the thousand-year-old story that served as pattern for Tolkien’s adventures, perhaps the twentieth century’s closest cousins to J. K. Rowling’s extensive fantasy. It is, as well, the great devouring shark of the movie Jaws, lurking in the black water of night, ready at a moment’s notice to pull the naked and unwary below; the fragility of our homes and our institutions, which can collapse and leave us stripped of their protective walls in a single terrible moment; and more comprehensively, the underworld of the ancients, whose doors gape open when everything predictable collapses. At the deepest of levels, this is the chaos and potential that continually lurks under the order of our familiar worlds, psychological and social. (Location 1522)

And Harry, like Bilbo, can only manage this—can only perceive the serpent, when it is invisible to everyone else—because he has a dark side. Tolkien’s Bilbo must become a thief before he can become a hero. He must incorporate his monstrousness, so that he can supersede his naive harmlessness, before he is tough enough to face the terrors that confront him. Harry is touched by evil in another manner, as part of the incomparably dark wizard Voldemort’s soul is embedded within him (although neither he nor Voldemort are initially aware of this). It is for this reason that the young wizard can speak with and hear (that is, perceive) snakes. (Location 1542)

All such manifestations of serpentine chaos and danger are apparently still first detected, processed, and symbolically interassociated by the ancient brain systems that evolved to protect us from predatory reptiles.10 And freezing—prompted by those systems—solves the problem now, maybe, by hiding the individual who is currently being preyed upon, but it leaves the predator alive for tomorrow. (Location 1557)

Even truth, virtue, and courage are not necessarily enough, but they are our best bet. And sometimes a little death is the medication necessary to forestall death itself. (Location 1571)

A voluntary death-and-rebirth transformation—the change necessary to adapt when terrible things emerge—is therefore a solution to the potentially fatal rigidity of erroneous certainty, excessive order, and stultification. (Location 1578)

But it is important to remember, as we discussed in Rule I: Those who break the rules ethically are those who have mastered them first and disciplined themselves to understand the necessity of those rules, and break them in keeping with the spirit rather than the letter of the law. (Location 1616)

Aim at something. Pick the best target you can currently conceptualize. Stumble toward it. Notice your errors and misconceptions along the way, face them, and correct them. Get your story straight. Past, present, future—they all matter. You need to map your path. You need to know where you were, so that you do not repeat the mistakes of the past. You need to know where you are, or you will not be able to draw a line from your starting point to your destination. You need to know where you are going, or you will drown in uncertainty, unpredictability, and chaos, and starve for hope and inspiration. For better or worse, you are on a journey. You are having an adventure—and your map better be accurate. Voluntarily confront what stands in your way. The way—that is the path of life, the meaningful path of life, the straight and narrow path that constitutes the very border between order and chaos, and the traversing of which brings them into balance. (Location 1624)

Be careful, though; it is not easy to discriminate between changing paths and simply giving up. (One hint: if the new path you see forward, after learning what you needed to learn along your current way, appears more challenging, then you can be reasonably sure that you are not deluding or betraying yourself when you change your mind.) In this manner, you will zigzag forward. It is not the most efficient way to travel, but there is no real alternative, given that your goals will inevitably change while you pursue them, as you learn what you need to learn while you are disciplining yourself. (Location 1632)

Discipline and transformation will nonetheless lead you inexorably forward. With will and luck, you will find a story that is meaningful and productive, improves itself with time, and perhaps even provides you with more than a few moments of satisfaction and joy. With will and luck, you will be the hero of that story, the disciplined sojourner, the creative transformer, and the benefactor of your family and broader society. (Location 1640)

Do not pretend you are happy with something if you are not, and if a reasonable solution might, in principle, be negotiated. Have the damn fight. Unpleasant as that might be in the moment, it is one less straw on the camel’s back. And that is particularly true for those daily events that everyone is prone to regard as trivial—even the plates on which you eat your lunch. Life is what repeats, and it is worth getting what repeats right. (Location 1672)

Make no mistake about it, however: you age as you drift, just as rapidly as you age as you strive. But you have no direction when you drift, and the probability that you will obtain what you need and want by drifting aimlessly is very low. (Location 1717)

Freud understood that the human personality was not unitary. Instead, it consists of a loose, fragmented cacophony of spirits, who do not always agree or even communicate. The truth of this claim is self-evident, at least in one simple manner: we can think about things—we can simulate potential or alternative actions or events—without immediately having to act them out. (Location 1736)

First error: Freud failed to notice that sins of omission contributed to mental illness as much as, or more than, the sins of commission, (Location 1753)

Second error: Freud assumed that things experienced are things understood. In accordance with that assumption, he believed that a memory trace existed, somewhere in the mind, that accurately represented the past, like an objective video recording. (Location 1764)

Every ideal is a judge, after all: the judge who says, “You are not manifesting your true potential.” No ideals? No judge. But the price paid for that is purposelessness. This is a high price. No purpose? Then, no positive emotion, as most of what drives us forward with hope intact is the experience of approaching something we deeply need and want. And worse, when we are without purpose: chronic, overwhelming anxiety, as focused purpose constrains what is otherwise likely to be the intolerable chaos of unexploited possibility and too much choice. (Location 1841)

If you make what you want clear and commit yourself to its pursuit, you may fail. But if you do not make what you want clear, then you will certainly fail. You cannot hit a target that you refuse to see. You cannot hit a target if you do not take aim. And, equally dangerously, in both cases: you will not accrue the advantage of aiming, but missing. You will not benefit from the learning that inevitably takes place when things do not go your way. Success at a given endeavor often means trying, falling short, recalibrating (with the new knowledge generated painfully by the failure), and then trying again and falling short—often repeated, ad nauseam. Sometimes all that learning, impossible without the failure, leads you to see that aiming your ambition in a different direction would be better (not because it is easier; not because you have given up; not because you are avoiding—but because you have learned through the vicissitudes of your experience that what you seek is not to be found where you were looking, or is simply not attainable in the manner by which you chose to pursue it). (Location 1845)

The latter act is impossible, in any case. The information in our experience is latent, like gold in ore—the case we made in Rule II. It must be extracted and refined with great effort, and often in collaboration with other people, before it can be employed to improve the present and the future. We use our past effectively when it helps us repeat desirable—and avoid repeating undesirable—experiences. (Location 1877)

If you pile up enough junk in your closet, one day, when you are least prepared, the door will spring open, and all of what has been packed inside, growing inexorably in the darkness, will bury you, and you may not have enough time or energy left in your life to confront it, sort through it, keep what you need, and discard the rest. This is what it means to be crushed under excess baggage. This is the return of Tiamat, the great Mesopotamian Goddess of Chaos, destroyer of those who act improperly. (Location 1900)

The world is full of hidden dangers and obstacles—and opportunities. Leaving everything hidden in the fog because you are afraid of the danger you may find there will be of little help when fate forces you to run headlong toward what you have refused to see. Impaling yourself on sharp branches, stumbling over boulders, and rushing by places of sanctuary, you will finally refuse to admit you could have burned away the haze with the bright light of your consciousness, had you not hidden it under a bushel. (Location 1904)

It appears that the meaning that most effectively sustains life is to be found in the adoption of responsibility. When people look back on what they have accomplished, they think, if they are fortunate: “Well, I did that, and it was valuable. It was not easy. But it was worth it.” It is a strange and paradoxical fact that there is a reciprocal relationship between the worth of something and the difficulty of accomplishing it. Imagine the following conversation: “Do you want difficulty?” “No, I want ease.” “In your experience, has doing something easy been worthwhile?” “Well, no, not very often.” “Then perhaps you really want something difficult.” I think that is the secret to the reason for Being itself: difficult is necessary. (Location 1946)

It is for this reason that we voluntarily and happily place limitations on ourselves. (Location 1952)

Frequently, in my clinical practice—and in my personal life—I observed that people did not get what they needed (or, equally importantly perhaps, what they wanted) because they never made it clear to themselves or others what that was. It is impossible to hit a target, after all, unless you aim at it. In keeping with this: People are more commonly upset by what they did not even try to do than by the errors they actively committed while engaging with the world.2 At least if you misstep while doing something, you can learn from doing it wrong. But to remain passive in the face of life, even if you excuse your inaction as a means of avoiding error—that is a major mistake. As the great blues musician Tom Waits insists (in his song “A Little Rain”): “You must risk something that matters.” (Location 1970)

The encouragement? You will have the opportunity to reveal yourself as much stronger and more competent than you might imagine. There is a potential within you (some of that magic so evident in childhood) that will emerge when circumstances demand and transform you—God willing—into someone who can prevail. (Location 2015)

Despite the damage he sustains, Horus emerges victorious. It is of vital importance to reiterate, in light of this victory, the fact that he enters the battle voluntarily. It is a maxim of clinical intervention—a consequence of observation of improvement in mental health across many schools of practical psychological thought—that voluntary confrontation with a feared, hated, or despised obstacle is curative. We become stronger by voluntarily facing what impedes our necessary progress. (Location 2069)

Confront the possibility that manifests in front of you every second of your life with the desire to make things better, regardless of the burden you bear, regardless of life’s often apparently arbitrary unfairness and cruelty. All other approaches merely deepen the pit, increase its heat, and doom those who inhabit it to continual worsening of their already serious problems. (Location 2078)

When you face a challenge, you grapple with the world and inform yourself. This makes you more than you are. It makes you increasingly into who you could be. (Location 2094)

And it is in the nature of mankind not to cower and freeze as helpless prey animals, nor to become a turncoat and serve evil itself, but to confront the lions in their lairs. That is the nature of our ancestors: immensely courageous hunters, defenders, shepherds, voyagers, inventors, warriors, and founders of cities and states. That is the father you could rescue; the ancestor you could become. And he is to be discovered in the deepest possible place, as that is where you must go if you wish to take full responsibility and become who you could be. (Location 2104)

Here is what the future means: If you are going to take care of yourself, you are already burdened (or privileged) with a social responsibility. The you for whom you are caring is a community that exists across time. The necessity for considering this society of the individual, so to speak, is a burden and an opportunity that seems uniquely characteristic of human beings. (Location 2130)

They think, “Ah, look at those relaxed lions! Relaxed lions are never a problem!” Zebras do not seem to have any real sense of time. They cannot conceptualize themselves across the temporal expanse. But human beings not only manage such conceptualization, they cannot shake it. We discovered the future, some long time ago—and now the future is where we each live, in potential. We treat that as reality. It is a reality that only might be—but it is one with a high probability of becoming now, eventually, and we are driven to take that into account. (Location 2137)

However, I do not believe you should pursue happiness. If you do so, you will run right into the iteration problem, because “happy” is a right-now thing. If you place people in situations where they are feeling a lot of positive emotion, they get present-focused and impulsive.4 This means “make hay while the sun shines”—take your opportunities while things are good and act now. But now is by no means everything, and unfortunately, everything must be considered, at least insofar as you are able. In consequence, it is unlikely that whatever optimizes your life across time is happiness. I am not denying its desirability, by the way. If happiness comes to you, welcome it with gratitude and open arms (Location 2153)

What might serve as a more sophisticated alternative to happiness? Imagine it is living in accordance with the sense of responsibility, because that sets things right in the future. Imagine, as well, that you must act reliably, honestly, nobly, and in relationship to a higher good, in order to manifest the sense of responsibility properly. The higher good would be the simultaneous optimization of your function and the function of the people around you, across time, as we have discussed previously. That is the highest good. (Location 2160)

But, also like pleasure, attainment is unreliable. Another question thus emerges: “What is a truly reliable source of positive emotion?” The answer is that people experience positive emotion in relationship to the pursuit of a valuable goal. Imagine you have a goal. You aim at something. You develop a strategy in relationship to that aim, and then you implement it. And then, as you implement the strategy, you observe that it is working. (Location 2172)

This implies something crucial: no happiness in the absence of responsibility. No valuable and valued goal, no positive emotion. You might object, “Well, what exactly constitutes a valid goal?” Imagine that you are pursuing something pleasurable, but short term and trivial. The wise part of you will be comparing that pursuit to the possible goal of acting in the best interest of your community of future selves and your community of other people. (Location 2180)

We are temporally aware creatures: We know that we are continually and inescapably playing an iterated game from which we cannot easily hide. No matter how much we wish to discount the future completely, it is part of the price we paid for being acutely self-conscious and able to conceptualize ourselves across the entire span of our lives. We are stuck with it. There is no escaping from the future—and when you are stuck with something and there is no escaping from it, the right attitude is to turn around voluntarily and confront it. That works. And so, instead of your short-term impulsive goal, you lay out a much larger-scale goal, which is to act properly in relationship to the long term for everyone. (Location 2189)

the cost of betraying yourself, in the deepest sense, is guilt, shame, and anxiety, the benefit of not betraying yourself is meaning—the meaning that sustains. That is the most valuable of opportunities that lurks where responsibility has been abdicated. (Location 2212)

It is necessary to lift your eyes above the horizon, to establish a transcendent goal, if you wish to cease being a puppet, under the control of things you do not understand and perhaps do not want to understand. Then all the subsystems or subpersonalities that might otherwise be pursing their own limited fulfillment will join together under the aegis of the truly ideal, and the consequence of that will be an engagement that approximates the ultimate or total. Under such conditions, all the parts of you are going to be on board. That is the psychological equivalent of monotheism. (Location 2240)

What is the antidote to the suffering and malevolence of life? The highest possible goal. What is the prerequisite to pursuit of the highest possible goal? Willingness to adopt the maximum degree of responsibility—and this includes the responsibilities that others disregard or neglect. You might object: “Why should I shoulder all that burden? It is nothing but sacrifice, hardship, and trouble.” But what makes you so sure you do not want something heavy to carry? You positively need to be occupied with something weighty, deep, profound, and difficult. Then, when you wake up in the middle of the night and the doubts crowd in, you have some defense: “For all my flaws, which are manifold, at least I am doing this. At least I am taking care of myself. At least I am of use to my family, and to the other people around me. At least I am moving, stumbling upward, under the load I have determined to carry.” You can attain some genuine self-respect that way—but it is not a mere shallow psychological construct that has to do with how you are construing yourself in the moment. It is far deeper than that—and it is not only psychological. It is real, as well as psychological. (Location 2246)

If what you are doing is causing you to lash out at others impulsively; if what you are doing is destroying your motivation to move forward; if your actions and inactions are making you contemptuous of yourself and, worse, of the world; if the manner in which you conduct your life is making it difficult for you to wake happily in the morning; if you are plagued by a deep sense of self-betrayal—perhaps you are choosing to ignore that still small voice, inclined as you may be to consider it something only attended to by the weak and naive. (Location 2440)

We have been implying that the important meanings of their lives will be given to them because of such demands, when we should have been doing the opposite: letting them know that the meaning that sustains life in all its tragedy and disappointment is to be found in shouldering a noble burden. (Location 2551)

in Dostoevsky’s view. He could see that the adoption of a rigid, comprehensive utopian ideology, predicated on a few apparently self-evident axioms, presented a political and spiritual danger with the potential to far exceed in brutality all that had occurred in the religious, monarchical, or even pagan past. Dostoyevsky, like Nietzsche, foresaw that all of this was coming almost fifty years (!) before the Leninist Revolution in Russia. That incomprehensible level of prophetic capacity remains a stellar example of how the artist and his intuition brings to light the future far before others see it. (Location 2579)

Nietzsche appears to have unquestioningly adopted the idea that the world was both objective and valueless in the manner posited by the emergent physical sciences. This left him with a single remaining escape from nihilism and totalitarianism: the emergence of the individual strong enough to create his own values, project them onto valueless reality, and then abide by them. He posited that a new kind of man—the Übermensch (the higher person or superman)—would be necessary in the aftermath of the death of God, so that society would not drift toward the opposing rocky shoals of despair and oversystematized political theorizing. (Location 2592)

However, the psychoanalysts Freud and Jung put paid to that notion, demonstrating that we are not sufficiently in possession of ourselves to create values by conscious choice. Furthermore, there is little evidence that any of us have the genius to create ourselves ex nihilo—from nothing—particularly given the extreme limitations of our experience, the biases of our perceptions, and the short span of our lives. We have a nature—or, too often, it has us—and only a fool would now dare to claim that we have sufficient mastery of ourselves to create, rather than discover, what we value. (Location 2598)

There are other problems with Nietzsche’s argument, as well. If each of us lives by our own created and projected values, what remains to unite us? This is a philosophical problem of central importance. How could a society of Übermenschen possibly avoid being at constant odds with one another, unless there was something comparable about their created values? (Location 2605)

Perhaps communism may even have been a viable solution to the problems of the unequal distribution of wealth that characterized the industrial age, if all of the hypothetically oppressed were good people and all of the evil was to be found, as hypothesized, in their bourgeoisie overlords. Unfortunately for the communists, a substantial proportion of the oppressed were incapable, unconscientious, unintelligent, licentious, power mad, violent, resentful, and jealous, while a substantial proportion of the oppressors were educated, able, creative, intelligent, honest, and caring. When the frenzy of dekulakization swept through the newly established Soviet Union, it was vengeful and jealous murderers who were redistributing property, while it was competent and reliable farmers, for the most part, from whom it was violently taken. One unintended consequence of that “redistribution” of good fortune was the starvation of six million Ukrainians in the 1930s, in the midst of some of the most fertile land in the world. (Location 2640)

Thus, the perfect Aryan could be and certainly was conceptualized by the Nazis as a “higher man.” This does not mean that the Nazi ideal as postulated bore any resemblance to the Nietzschean ideal. Quite the contrary: Nietzsche was a fervent admirer of individuality and would have considered the idea of the higher man as state creation both absurd and abhorrent. (Location 2653)

Since the ideologue can place him or herself on the morally correct side of the equation without the genuine effort necessary to do so validly, it is much easier and more immediately gratifying to reduce the problem to something simple and accompany it with an evildoer, who can then be morally opposed. (Location 2679)

the fact that the comparatively rich are always a minority—and a small one, at that—seems dismally immutable. (Location 2720)