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Reply To: Truth or Consequences,” with Gabrielle Basha, MFA”

Gabrielle Basha

    Stephen, I’m glad you mentioned extremist movements, especially the fact that they’ve moved beyond simply gaining steam and are now a major component of our social and political landscape, with a grasp on our shared future. It makes me think of Jung’s emphasis on the difference between individuals and individuation (emphasis mine):

    “It is obvious that a social group consisting of stunted individuals cannot be a healthy and viable institution; only a society that can preserve its internal cohesion and collective values, while at the same time granting the individual the greatest possible freedom, has any prospect of enduring vitality. As the individual is not just a single, separate being, but by his very existence presupposes a collective relationship, it follows that the process of individuation must lead to more intense and broader collective relationships and not to isolation. . . .”

    The freedom is what stands out to me, here. What we see in these extremist movements in the US is the absolute lack of such freedom, even as they claim it as their most precious value.

    While I saw the MythBlast as an opportunity to discuss how we might focus on growing the healthier side of community, the truth is that most of my time—both personal and professional—is spent thinking about how to battle the mis- and disinformation that works as a gateway to extremism.

    The methods used by white supremacists in the US, for example, can seem slap-dash but are incredibly pernicious, fueled by misinformation campaigns on virtually every internet surface. True statements such as “many manufacturing jobs have moved to Asia,” for example, are twisted to put the blame on immigrants or foreigners rather than on the shoulders of the person in charge—as it often does come down to only one or a few people who make this decision, and always to line their own pockets.

    I love that Campbell brought this up specifically, and I so appreciate you linking that in! So not only is myth weaponized but, by extension, our own human nature. One of the most heartbreaking things for me is knowing that the loved ones who have been pulled into these Shadow communities are the only ones who can get themselves out. As a culture, as a country, as a global citizenry, it’s imperative that we continue attempting to see all colors of the refracted prism, and to keep our friends from the precipice if they start falling victim to thinking there’s just one. This collective responsibility to and for one another is what’s taken the hardest hit as we’ve been literally and figuratively kept farther apart by the pandemic.