"Davis writes with fervor, vision, and keen moral appreciation of our condition. He encourages us to see what we fear to see, to say what we fear to say. This book is illuminating, challenging, fierce." Michael Eigen, author of The Sensitive Self, Rage, Ecstasy, Toxic Nourishment, Damaged Bonds andThe Psychoanalytic Mystic 'An unsettling book, passionately and lovingly crafted by a superb and unique writer and thinker.' Counterpunch 'Davis argues that ideology is not so much a matter of what you believe as why you believe it...[An] important book.' Eugene Holland, Ohio State University Why is fear a dominant emotion in contemporary society? Why are politicians using words like 'terror', 'evil' and 'fundamentalism', and what effect is it having on public consciousness? Answering these questions, Walter A. Davis taps into the cultural psyche to explore the link between ideology and emotional and psychological manipulation.
Starting with the three topics that have preoccupied social discourse since 9-11 -- terror, evil and fundamentalism -- he shows that the Bush administration has been hugely successful in controlling and developing a new political climate through the creation of an almost hypnotic mass consciousness. Davis's findings take us to the heart of the ideological paralysis of the Left, while offering an innovative approach to understanding contemporary history. Davis fuses a psychoanalytic and philosophical framework to explain the relation between culture and political events, from the sado-masochist hysteria of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ' to the atrocities at Abu Ghraib prison; and from the genocidal use of depleted uranium in Iraq to the apocalyptic language driving the Christian Right's assault on basic human rights. He exposes the motives and belief-systems of this new American psyche and shows how it sustains the Bush administration's agenda. Illuminating how psychological needs govern political action, Davis reveals why the relationship between politics and public consciousness has massive implications for all of us beyond America's borders.
Walter A. Davis is Professor Emeritus in the Department of English at Ohio State University. He is the author of six previous books, including Inwardness and Existence: Subjectivity in/and Hegel, Heidegger, Marx and Freud (University of Wisconsin Press, 1989) and Deracination: Historicity, Hiroshima, and the Tragic Imperative (SUNY Press, 2001).
Preface: The Way We Were PART ONE-THE BELLY OF THE BEAST 1. 911- America 2. Living in Death's Dream Kingdom: The Psychotic Core of Capitalist Ideology 3. Passion of the Christ in Abu Ghraib 4. Weapons of Mass Destruction Found in Iraq 5. A Humanistic Response to 9-11: Robert Jay Lifton, or the Nostalgia for Guarantees 6. A Postmodernist Response to 9-11: Slavoj Zizek, or the Jouissance of an Abstract Hegelian PART II: TO THE LEFT OF THE LEFT 7. Bible Says: The Psychology of Christian Fundamentalism 8. The Psychodynamics of Terror 9. Evil: As Psychological Process and as Philosophic Concept 10. Men of Good Will: Toward an Ethic of the Tragic Notes Bibliography Index