EXCEPTIONALISM

There's a Problem


No doubt you've heard the term used in this context: "American Exceptionalism". That there refers to the special character of the USA as a uniquely free and democratic nation. Thus, we [obviously!] feel free to assume a leadership role in world affairs. An obligation of our manifest destiny. Though, others may differ. Violently so, it now seems.

Never mind that this credo has been the cover for some pretty, pretty, pretty bad behavior. Blame all around. 

Exceptionalism, I define this way: We're better than you. It's an Us-vs-Them construction. The philosophers will say that as soon as you name something, you invite separation and therefore some form of violence. Conflict. I know that I could be argued down on the literal meaning of the word. But, there is a huge coded connotation in the direction of, "We know better".

True exceptionalists take it a step further and feel permitted to take ... steps. Maybe even obliged to. In the hands of idiots you get, well, the story of civilization. If you don't think you're an idiot yet, then you are in denial of a part of yourself and that part of yourself is coming to bite you on the ass. Chum! Heard of Karma? Nobody exempt.


To clarify on the foregoing: “A man who is unconscious of himself acts in a blind, instinctive way and is in addition fooled by all the illusions that arise when he sees everything that he is not conscious of in himself coming to meet him from outside as projections upon his neighbour.” (Carl Gustav Jung "The Philosophical Tree" (1945). In CW 13: Alchemical Studies. P.335)

Everyone in some sense considers themselves to be exceptional. Why, my children certainly are. Interestingly, though, they don't consider me so. Karma! Even I — can you believe it?! —have been given to consider my particular set of job skills as exceptional. I once described my skill to a prospective client as, "Not bad". She didn't think that was good enough. 

So many world religions consider themselves to be exceptional. So much so, that all manner of idiocy has been — and continues to be — perpetrated on those outside the fold. Zealous missionary converters. Those Bible clutchers knocking at your door. Those adherents to certain faiths who look upon the unanointed as fodder for exploitation. The radical elements of whatever stripe who will subjugate and murder to achieve God's will on Earth. 

We divvy the world up into its many separate components. Mainly for the sake of making things work. It gets problematic when the components begin to believe that separation is real and then take the next step and see themselves as "Exceptional".

Now we have a candidate for high governmental office who boasts himself to be exceptional, and promises on the stack of Bibles which he loves so much that he will take us beyond exceptional, all the way to supremacy. 

Über alles in der Welt!  


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