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These people are toxic.

The peremptory discourse of petty power: "Only if you want to!"

"WE and YOU AND I [ / ] Are not the same thing [ / ] WE defeat the foe [ / ] But YOU defeat ME." (St. Bertolt of Brecht)

"Take away their power, and they cannot do anything." (BMcC[18-11-46-503])

"Why are you doing this to me?" (Words captured by a surveillance camera in New York City's Bellevue Hospital. Spoken by a woman doctor, who was being murdered by an intruder)

1. When parents complain that a child "isn't listening", they are only infrequently hypothesizing that the child failed to acoustically register or semantically decode what they said.[1] ("Excuse me. I didn't hear what you said." "You lie!")

1a. "You didn't mean what I thought I heard you say. [Optional: I think You made a mistake when you said that.]" Implied: "Repent and recant!"

1a.i. "You shouldn't make me have to feel ashamed about myself!"

2. "Don't tell me what I said!" ~ "Why do I have to keep telling you what to do? I don't understand" [Implied text: "...how you can not be saying and doing and thinking and feeling what you know you are supposed to say and do and think and feel, i.e., what I [wielder of petty power] want you to?"]

2a. Subordinate person asks for clarification of the specifics of the task they are to perform. "You are talking too loud."

3. "Why can't you be like a normal person? There's something wrong with you. Be normal!"[2] [Unstated subtext: "...but don't do things 'normal' people do that I do not want you to do.": "Why are you doing [whatever that I don't approve of but which is currently popular to do]? If everybody else was jumping off a bridge would you jump too?"]

4. "Why didn't you tell me [whatever]?" "I would have told you if I thought it was important." "It's not for you to decide what is important." ~ "Just answer the question. Don't tell me all the details!" ~ "Answer the question I asked, not the question you want to answer!" ~ "Once again, not what is being asked... u idiot."[3]

5. "You did it!" "I did not do it." "All you care about is whether you did it [Implication: You should accept responsibility for me being in a mess no matter how it happened -- including if I brought it on myself --, and you should clean it up before I have to notice anything I don't like, including I don't like to see myself as a nag...]."

5a. Selflessly Concerned Authority Figure (SCAFAll trash to recycling!) asks Selfish Dependent Person (SDP) if the latter can help with [whatever]. SDP replies: "I'll try." This is definitely not an acceptable answer![4] Should SDP have lied and committed to doing something before SDP knew what it was and therefore whether or not they w,ere capable of doing it?

The Guiding Light.

5b. Dependent person has the temerity/folly to say something rationally defensible [pick anything], in a declaratory tone, to Authority figure. Authority figure responds: "I don't like it when you talk like that." Also: When SCAF tells SDP: "You worry about everything!", SCAF does not intend that to be a compliment. ~ SDP asks why they have to do something that seems pointless to them. SCAF: "I don't have to explain everything to you." (The problem here, of course, is that SDP, like Aristotle, needs to understand the causes of things in order to act rationally in regard to them.)

6a. There is a chance of freezing rain in the morning, but, evening before, so far, nothing.... Selflessly Concerned Authority Figure (SCAF): "They say the roads are going to be very icy in the morning, so please be careful going to work! -- Maybe you should go in late! I'm worried about your safety." Selfish Dependent Person (SDP)[5] likes to go to work early, in part because there's nobody there to nag him or her at work at that hour (it should be obvious, especially to SCAF's, that dependent person is naggable longer by authority figure if dependent person leaves late to go to work, and also naggable longer by people at work if he or she has to stay late to make up for coming in late).

6b. SCAF is eager to see the mail even though it's raining heavily, and there's not likely to be anything in the mail that can't wait until the rain ends. Authority figure is also, conveniently-for-themself, seemingly oblivious they could go out in the rain and get the mail themself. SCAF continues talking to SDP: "You still haven't brought the mail in. [implication: Go out and get it! ~ Other times authority figure can be more explicit: Are you on strike?]." Because, at that moment, it is raining heavily, Selfish Dependent Person -- who has asthma and is susceptible to bronchitis --, does not want to go out and get the mail, because they fear that if they get wet they may catch cold or even get pneumonia. Selflessly Concerned Authority Figure detects dependent person's reluctance to go out in the rain, and becomes increasingly concerned: "You're the only person I know who never thinks about anybody except yourself! And what do you think? You'll melt in the rain? There's something wrong with you. Why don't you go to the doctor? You just want to be sick to avoid having to deal with the real issues...." (SDP is trepidant anent doctors.)

6c. [Where do you, my reader, throw your used paper towels in public restrooms?] "There is a piece of trash on the lawn." [This declarative sentence, seemingly stating a simple, indisputable observation, shows how "objective facts" have an ideological aspect: Unstated but clearly conveyed here are (1) a command: "Pick it up!" and (2) a judgment: "You should have picked it up already, without me having to tell you to." As in #6b (immediately above), Selflessly Concerned Authority Figure (SCAF) conveniently fails to broadcast that they could have already picked it up themself.]

7. "You never let us talk about your problems, which just keep getting worse. I can only imagine how you must alienate people at [school/work/...]! No wonder you don't have any friends. [Added if needed: And if you think you have any friends, either (1) they are too polite to tell you how you offend them, or (2) they have something wrong with them, too, like you." "I do my best." "It doesn't help. You need to do something different." "I'll try to do better." "You refuse to discuss anything real. You only talk about irrelevant things on television. You always get defensive. Something is wrong with you." "I've changed how I interact with people a lot over the years. But I'll try even harder.[6] I try to take into account everything you say." "You never change anything about yourself. You think you are perfect and everybody else is wrong." "I don't claim I'm perfect." "You never accept any responsibility. You only try to do the minimum you think you have to do to not get [specify here something dependent person fears greatly, and which authority figure can in fact cause to happen to dependent person, e.g. homelessness]." "I really do try." "Next you'll probably say then you'll stop trying. I'm trying to help you. Why won't you talk about this with me? ... You never listen to anything I say. You just keep talking to yourself and not listening. I'm only trying to tell you things I think will help you. I don't need this.".... [Whether dependent person tries to argue against any of what authority figure has said, or else keeps quiet, authority figure keeps getting angrier and angrier....]

8a. "You never do anything." [Alternatively: "You never do anything without having to be asked to."] "I do a lot of things." "You only do what you want to do, not what needs to be done. You never finish the job. You always try to do as little as possible." / "Can you do [whatever] for me?" "What is it you want?" "When somebody asks you for something, you should just say 'Yes'".... [Authority figure's use of "somebody" here, instead of "I", obfuscates a specific personal wish as a universal obligation to all humanity, which is appropriate, since each authority figure identifies themself with all authority figures, who constitute, in their view, the whole of humanity in an honorific as opposed to merely phylogenetic/biological sense: the universal community of order-givers, so that, here, "somebody" ≡ "a Selflessly Concerned Authority Figure".]

8b. "Why do you have to do it now? Wait till I'm gone. You should be helping me get out the door, now." [In the computer world, this would be called "parallel processing", i.e., person issuing the order wants to be able to be doing something entirely different with faciitation by subordinate person while subordinate person concurrently carries out the order.]

8c. "You don't get brownie points for doing what you're supposed to do." ~ "What do you want: A medal or a chest to pin it on?"

8d. "You think I [i.e., petty authority figure] don't do anything except eat bon-bons all day, but I've been working hard all day [doing things that, often, dependent person wouldn't see any good reason for anybody to do, if dependent person dared think such dangerous thoughts], while you don't do anything." Aside: Dependent persons' idle hands are the Devil's workshop. Selflessly Concerned Authority Figures (SCAFs) need leisure to design their selfless deployment of Selfish Dependent Persons (SDPs).

8e. "You're skating on thin ice!" This, of course, is true: SCAF does indeed have to wield power to be able to destroy SDP, else they would never say such a thing because it would result in consequences for SCAF from SDP which SCAF would not like.

8f. SDP tries to tell SCAF that SDP has just awakened from a nightmare about being hurt by school teachers. SCAF explains to SDP that SCAF d=oes not want to hear anything disturbing because SCAF is getting ready to go to bed and does not want their mental state [SCAF uses a different word, forgotten by reporter] disturbed.

8g. SDP says something SDP thinks has value. SCAF: "Can't you see I'm doing something? Don't talk to me all the time." (I (BMcC) had a psychotherapy patient who was seriously mentally disturbed. In his childhood, his mother would make him stand still without moving and not say anything for 2 hours. As an adult, he reported this to me, and I found it explanatory for at least part of his mental problems which included being abusive of his wife/girlfriend.)

9. "You have a very negative attitude." ~ "Just because you're unhappy, you don't have to try to make everybody around you unhappy, too."

10a. "Don't yell at me!" [To anticipate any doubt here, these words are spoken by authority figure, and directed at dependent person after authority figure has yelled at dependent person] ~ "Don't look at me that way!" [SDP cannot say to SCAF: Notice what's hiding in plain sight!] ~ "Why did you answer me that way?" [cf: Paragraph #4, above; Compare with discourse in Paragraph #4.]

10b. Response of person with power, to dependent person, when dependent person tries to stand up to being bossed, quizzed, nagged, whatever: "Just who do you think you are?" [Dear reader: I apologize for taking your time to read this all too well-known truism, but I feel it is important to be comprehensive. Thank you for bearing with me on this detail.]

11. Dependent person: "I'm going to do [x], now." -- where [x] is something dependent person thinks (or at least hopes...) will please (or at least appease...) person with power over him or her. Person with power replies: "Why are you telling me about this?", "Why do I need to know about that?".... [Compare: Paragraph #4, above] ~ Dependent person (trying to make sure what he or she is about to do: [y], is really what authority figure wants, since otherwise he or she sees no reason to do [y]): "So you want [y]?" Authority figure: "Stop asking me!" [Compare: Paragraph #2, above]

A paradoxical meta-elaboration of this discourse space: 12. "Everything's not about you." [Authority figure is enlightening benighted dependent person about the focal subject/object of authority figure's discourse, here. Of course, this assertion is correct, because the root subject/object of said discourse is authority figure, not dependent person.][7]

The structure of [a]symmetrical social relations 12a. A heavy package has been delivered at the front door, for Selflessly Concerned Authority Figure (SCAF). Selfish Dependent Person (SDP) hss reached front door to retrieve package for SCAF. Door is not transparent. SDP knocks on door. Knocks again. SCAF opens door and enlightens SDP: "You know I waa doing something." SDP is puzzled and thinks to themself, but, of course, cannot say aloud: "But wasn't I doing something, too? And even I was doing it for you [SCAF]." Again, to repeat: Door was not transparent. Also: SDP disposes over neither Superman's X-ray vision, nor telepathy.

Was Husserl wrong? 12b. SDP does something [whatever] of which SCAF does not approve: "What did you do that for?" There are two possibilities: (A) SDP did something for no reason, which would violate Edmund Husserl's idea that all human action has a reason (excepting, of course, autonomic nervous system activity, such as epileptic seizures or stimulation of nerves by electrically charged probes, such as is done in high school biology classes to the dissected frogs' legs → Eppur si muove!), or (B) SDP had a reason for doing what they did, but it was not a reason of which SCAF approved. I vote for the latter, which confirms Husserl but does not confirm liberty of SDP to choose.

The Pedagogy of the Empowered: 13. "I [authority figure] said you [dependent person] could take this out [mandatorily-voluntarily do whatever authority figure wants dependent person to do]; but you didn't." [cf.: "Free will"]

Or cloyingly disengenuous: 14. "If you happen to go past [wherever], could you [do whatever]?" ~ "If you've got a minute, would you mind [doing whatever]?" -- Selfless authority figure knows (or could learn...) that dependent person wasn't planning on going past [wherever], that [whatever] will likely take a lot longer than "a minute", that dependent person has few if any free minutes, and that whenever dependent person does have a free minute, dependent person vainly hopes to use it for respite from catering to authority figure(s).[8]

But now for something completely different 15. Selflessly concerned authority figures (SCAF's, again) are sometimes able to pull off an even better trick than overt or covert intimidation: Like Circe in Homer's "The Odyssey", they transform the persons beneath themselves into Zombies that worship them, so that they do not need to stoop to threatening them: The Selfish dependent persons (SDP's, again) pray to be given orders to have the undeserved privilege of basking in the radiance emitted the the SCAF, which they appreciate has been brightened even more than otherwise by their service. A middle-aging grande dame wannabe waves her cocktail glass slowly in the air and seductively says to her bewitched mate: "[Husband's intimate nickname]! A drink!", and the zombified one experiences ecstasy by step-and-fetching it. Oh, to be appreciated by The Great One (SCAF)! A chorus of admirers only wish they could be so lucky.

Uniquely from the work world:

16. Memo to all employees: ".... Attendance at this meeting is mandatory. Looking forward to seeing you all, [Signed: Boss]." During said meeting, [Boss] emphasizes that the company treats employees as adults and expects everyone to take initiative and responsibility, incl. unspoken: to take voluntary initiative to attend mandatory meetingsYup!

Sandor Ferenczi wrote, in an essay evocatively titled "The Adaptation of the Family to the Child": I am reminded of an incident with a little nephew of my own, whom I treated as leniently as, in my view, a psycho-analyst should. He took advantage of this and began to tease me, then wanted to beat me, and then to tease and beat me all the time. Psycho-analysis did not teach me to let him beat me ad infinitum, so I took him in my arms, holding him so that he was powerless to move, and said: "Now beat me if you can!" He tried, could not, called me names, said that he hated me; I replied: "All right, go on, you may feel these things and say these things against me, but you must not beat me." In the end he realized my advantage in strength and his equality in fantasy, and we became good friends. (Sandor Ferenczi, "Final contributions to the problems and methods of psychoanalysis", 1955, p. 75)

Sophocles: "Many things are strange, but strangest of all is man" (Paraphrase: "What a piece of work is man!").

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Footnotes

  1. "You don't listen." "I listen to every word you say. I think about every word you say. I analyze it and try to undertand and contextualize it...." ("It is not your place in this world to contextualize what [your mother] says!") "You don't change!"
  2. I (BMcC) cannot verify this story, so it may just be a great story not reality: Family psychotherapist Gordon Hirshhorn [son of the Museum Hirshhorn] told me he had a patient who had, what I will call: A nagging bitch wife. The patient had an ear tumor which only impeded his hearing when his wife was nagging him: He couldn't hear her bitching at him. Now, we know what the bitch would have demanded if she figured this out: That he go to a doctor and enjoy the pleasure of unnecessary surgery to get the tumor removed for his own good, to make him healthy: so that she could more effectively bitch at him! He was sick and that was hurting → not him (who cares about a selfish person like him whose income probably paid the bills but I cannot verify that, who has no value except to be a bitch-target?), but hurting her! She was a gift from God! A selfless shrew! Moral of this story: Be healthy so you can be hurt (I, BMcC, recently came across my Waffen SS[S] (Selective Service System) identification number from 1964(?): 18-11-46-503. Fortunately, I was not fit for service).
  3. At this point, Dependent person could offer to read Wikipedia in it entirety, or answer what they think Authority figure meant to ask, including all relevant context, but that would not help. Authority figure: "Answer the question I asked." The value of a person's time varies directly with their social power.
  4. Why is this answer unacceptable to SCAF? Because it questions their omnipotence, and SCAFs do not like to have to own up to themselves that they might not be able to boss anybody who is not an SCAF around ad libitum: that could suggest to the SCAF they might be mortal or some other undesirable thing they don't want to face up to about themself.
  5. In order for a person to understand the eternal immutable and righteous Order of the Universe, they must realize that (1) SCAF's do not have contingent personal needs, wishes or desires, much less any impure thoughts, but only Platonically ideal, pure and sanctimonious sacred duties to serve all humanity [by lording it over others], while, conversely, (2) SDP's have no needs, but have only earthly, contingent, secular and selfish wishes and often even soiled and sinful desires. SDP's must, in consequence, be selflessly supervised in detail 24/7 by SCAF's, to prevent the SDP's selfishnesses dragging everybody down to hell (eternal torments) in a hand basket. [Santa Claus knows what you've been thinking, kid! And Christmas is coming for you!]
  6. This is a coded plea from SDP to SCAF for mercy. What SDP would really like to say is something like: "Lay off! Stop persecuting me, you big bully! Go pick on somebody your own size!"
  7. It is imperative to interpret correctly: When SCAF indicts SDP: "Yes, I know, It's all about you!", by which, overtly, they are entertaining the hypothesis asserting the apodictic truth that: "You SDP are being selfish", the deeper meaning of this indictment is: "SDP! Your life agenda is not being a proper subset of my self-serving agenda, preferably both one-to-one and onto, except that my sex life is none of your business and you are not permitted to have any sex, you selfish ingrate scum who does not deserve my selfless lily-white pure as Ivory soap love for you, you despicable, sinful child! How dare you!"
  8. George Floyd famously said: "I can't breathe."


No person or social formation (e.g.: government) should cross the line beyond which a person's body and/or soul is compromised. Show respect! Keep your distance! Request permission and pass inspection before approaching!


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2022-07-26 12:23:34