A friend of mine sent a link to a Fox News video and article in which Psychiatrist Keith Ablow discusses the case of Rachel Dolezal, former head of Spokane NAACP, who claimed to be black but whose parents verify that she is white.
A number in the media have plumbed the philosophical and psychological depths of Ms. Dolezal’s claim that she in fact is black because she for a while now has self-identified as black, i.e. the contention is that though I might not have black genes, I nonetheless feel black.
Dr. Ablow, in the article, ruminates over whether there isn’t some validity to her position. He frames the case as follows:
If a blond man with Scandinavian roots visits Japan and feels a gripping sense of belonging, such that he is certain he is among his own people, why can’t that man return to America, dye his hair, have facial surgery and be accepted as an Asian-American?
Why does factual history have to dictate current reality if a human being feels very deeply that that factual history is not in tune with his or her inner sense of self?
It is of interest that this development and the media narrative concerning it comes on the heels of the Bruce Jenner, transgender media extravaganza. Apart from the particular expression of the case in view, these issues and our cultural perspective on them are practically identical.
Dr. Ablow in the quote above systematically identifies the foundational issue. He compares “factual history” related to some aspect of a person’s life with the issue that “a human being feels very deeply that that factual history is not true.” Therefore, he and others are weighing facts versus feelings to determine which defines reality.
Ablow joins others in dancing around the answer, not stating their conclusions categorically, e.g. Dr. Ablow states his response framed as a question, but posing the question so as to suggest that it is rhetorical. Therefore, Ablow can give the politically correct response siding with feelings without having to come right out in favor of such a ludicrous position.
This giving preference to feelings over facts as determining reality represents the natural and necessary outcome of the thinking of the 60s. That feelings constitute reality comprises the foundational ingredient of the 60s philosophy, with its mantra, “If it feels good, do it.” Rational analysis of the outcome is disallowed. Only feelings must be considered. Rational assessment would militate against the use of drugs. Using a feelings basis makes drug use a good choice.
The problem with this insane (I used the word advisedly) perspective begins with Ablow’s use of the term “factual history.” This discussion appears to overlook the issue that “factual” means reality. One dictionary gives as a first definition for fact, “1. something that actually exists; reality; truth.” Consequently, when someone lives in a world other than the real world, they find themselves constantly colliding with reality. Rachel Dolezal experienced such a collision in her role with the NAACP. Bruce Jenner no doubt will encounter a similar fender-bender when using the ladies restroom or shower room. Though politically correct advocates seek to direct traffic for him, it is difficult to do detours around reality.
The problem proliferates with the insistence that not only is it okay for them to identify with their new reality, but we must also join them in their make-believe world.
As this sort of make-believe reality spreads, it is sending our society into a tailspin. Even worse, it is putting us in jeopardy. With Pres. Obama pretends that ISIS is the JV team, they keep taking one city after another and continue to gain strength. As he fantasizes that a nuclear armed Iran will make for a happy world, they continue to move closer to building a bomb.
It seems that the solution must begin with telling Pres. Obama and our society in general that fantasy is not reality—that the king has no clothes. In listening to Donald Trump’s speech the other day, he seems to come closest to possessing the capacity to communicate that fact in a way that people can understand.