COMMENTARY: In his article, Vasilis Karapostolis, a professor of Culture and Communication at the University of Athens—with his perceptive observation, his clear vision and his penetrating thought—observes and warns us about the dissolving and eroding influence the degeneration of ethos of individual and social relations has on the social cohesiveness and the interpersonal communication. He discusses the internationally observed social shift from the positive and desirable pursuit of individual and social freedom—which for every mentally healthy person is functionally and inseparably connected with responsibility and respect for others—to the prevalence of libertinism, license and irresponsibility, as well as the barbarization of the personal and collective practices which disregard and scorn every moral code and widely accepted standard of individual and social conduct. The social orgonomist, from his perspective, agrees with these findings and attributes them to the rise of the fully permissive expression of the secondary layer’s contents. It is a clear indication of social psychopathology, tolerating the expression of sadistic secondary impulses and has been brought about by the mutation of the individual and social armoring. This mutation, in turn, is the product of the prevalence of the reactionary, i.e. neurotically, oriented anti-authoritarian education and anti-authoritarian social behavior which encourages rebellion against any kind of authority, even rational authority acting cohesively on the social structure by demarcating and excluding deviant and antisocial forms of individual behavior.

For an excellent description of permissiveness from an orgonomic perspective, please read Dr. Wind’s article “Prison on Permissiveness”, at “Orgonomy and sociology / Social psychopathology / Psychopathology and antisocial activism (permissiveness and tolerance)”.

The passage from freedom to contemporary brutality
The vulgarities, the sneers, the curses are not a result of the crisis

By Vasilis Karapostolis*

The passage from freedom to contemporary brutality  The vulgarities, the sneers, the curses are not a result of the crisis  By Vasilis Karapostolis*  It should come as no surprise that today the licentious behavior is becoming a habit or even commonplace. Vulgarities, sneers and curses reaching the full length of baseness are exchanged with an readiness leaving speechless someone living a few decades ago, a period when the word “limit” was not considered a derogatory term.  The roots of the problem run deep. And don’t think even for a moment that it’s due to the crisis, the difficulties society is currently facing or people’s shattered nerves. The whole problem goes way back and if our thoughts could momentarily leave the daily confusion, they would allow us to see that the cesspool did not overflow in one night. There was a very loud denunciation of “good manners” already happening in families, at schools and in society as a whole. They called them “pretentious” and thought they did away with them. They never realized that when we confuse the formality of a rule with its content, the outcome is atrocious.  I have to say that it was somewhat liberating to lose the conventionality, the extreme affectation and the hypocrisy hiding behind the many formalities. Along with those however, out came the sense of obligation people have, not to hurl their wishes at each other as if they were inalienable rights that should be fulfilled just because they were voiced. The act of voicing became itself a value. It was not important anymore what one was claiming; what mattered was if one had that earnest urge, imprisoned for centuries, to state openly who one is, or rather, who one would like to be.  The wick was already in place for the explosion, because other people would also reveal their intentions. So everyone brings into the relationship only their wishes, which would be impossible to fulfill, since they are similar and equal. When two people show each other that they want their demands respected immediately and without postponement, the first repercussion is mutual disgust for what everyone means by saying “respect”.  It is the disgust we feel when the other person’s wish appears naked. This nakedness brings with it the terror and horror of a very distant past, when the mouth of our primitive ancestors was foaming with anger and passion, accompanied by inarticulate grunts. The time of language had not come yet, and the necessary bargains between two selfish beings were absent. Since that time however, many mechanisms were invented to keep passions in check and as much as possible under control. The price was restriction (limitation) of spontaneity, the feeling that our pleasures are being handicapped. The benefit was preservation of resources, to be spent for beneficial projects which would bring a more refined pleasure, less intense but more stable from the one felt after the seizure of prey, the crush of the enemy, the war against anything that stands in our way.  The different periods of history were characterized—some more some less—by the way people dealt with this antithesis and how they resolved it. There were no protocols of decency in ancient Athens, but there was provision that whether someone was in the public Agora or at a private symposium, one should behave according to the existing “ethos” and the accepted principles of decency.  Later on, during the Renaissance, at the courts in Florence, Urbino, Ferrara, Modena, young men were taught how “a gentleman should not offend one, neither should he make the other person feel inferior by flashing his superiority”, according to Castiglione’s manual titled “The Courtman”, which was as popular as the gospel. Still later on, the main attitude changed, with the predominance of the histrionic formalism of Luis XIV’s court. Lastly, evolution brought on the rigidities and prudery of the Victorian era—that was mainly the concept which all the newer generations rebelled against, nourished with the popular ideas of naturalness and simplicity.  There was oppression in every era, but the earned ability to go against one’s tendencies was also considered an achievement. Only in our period, the generalized disdain for any limitation is considered an accomplishment. We should not protest therefore that locks are broken and doors are opened wide which were closed tight in the past. The new Centaurs are here. Free to insult, to take the law into their own hands, to break everything in sight, however they feel, and to taunt the others for being shocked. According to mythology, their furious ancestors were curbed with the help of Theseus, at the famous wedding table of the Lapiths where they were invited. Today, due to the lack of noble help, the peaceful Lapiths have to make do on their own. And they should spot in their ranks, all by themselves, those who secretly admire the force of the Centaurs.

*Vasilis Karapostolis is a professor of Culture and Communication at the University of Athens

From “Kathimerini” newspaper – Date of publication 22-09-2013