14 May 2007


I just saw part of the film Sleuth, with Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier, and thought how it expresses a (the most?) fundamental motivation of human psychology.

People think they cannot do anything about their position as finite and mortal in relation to physical reality so, to find some way of asserting themselves, they turn to other people as a source of significance, especially as those others seem to be conscious beings like themselves.

So, having accepted that you can’t do anything about your own physical limitations, you can assert yourself best by having a real effect on the consciousness of someone else, and the most powerful way of doing this is by making him have experiences which he does not want to have.

So Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine mislead one another into experiences of fear and anxiety, in which they become decentralised; i.e. they stop referring to their own internal psychological criteria and distort themselves in any way that may placate other people and avert the threat of what other people may do to them.

The fact that this is associated with lying and deception satisfactorily places the person doing the decentralising in a position of superiority to both objective reality and to the decentralised person who is anguished by his uncertainty of the real state of affairs.

This is the fundamental strategy of the modern religion of collectivism.

We may note also the theme of class warfare; one is supposed to sympathise with the ‘ordinary’ Michael Caine as against the ‘superior’, snobbish and elitist Laurence Olivier, who complains of the damage done to the lives of people like him by the modern world.

Conclusion? The objective of modern society is to make everyone decentralised, especially those who formerly had some vestige of centralisation.