The Fascist Mind Within
I have to thank my wife for this photo of me walking down a new trail we found in the back country on the island of Cebu, Philippines. We are both curious about new places, seeing what is behind the public face that is presented along the coasts near villas and resorts or on the tourist trails as advertised in travel guides.
Heading down these hidden trails is as much of an adventure of discovery of the world behind the scenes as it is about a discovery of ourselves in relation to each other in the face of what we experience together as we wander and talk about what we see. What is quite amazing is how we see different things in the same scenes. As we talk about what we see, we begin to see the world through the lens of the other. The mind, in relationship, becomes open to new possibilities, to different views. It is this willingness to be open to other possibilities that animates a relationship, that keeps an eternal wonder and mystery of other.
Sadly, much of the world is not so open and hides behind closed minds, unwilling to accept any other possibility. James Hollis refers to this mind set as a fascist mind.
“Thus the fascist mind – which is always with us, in whatever culture, waiting to control what you or I might experience for ourselves. Why? Because it makes them uncomfortable! Today they show up on school boards and try to remove books that challenge their antiquarian, three-story universe. Today the seek to impose creationist dogma as science, in the name of free inquiry, of course . . . they deny the reality of evolutionary process even as their bodies mutate and evolve within their short lifetimes in reaction to antibiotics and environmental toxins . . . they show up labeling dissent, different views, and sincere questions as unpatriotic and disloyal . . . the fascist mentality occurs whenever ambiguity occurs . . . they want, need, to “save the appearances,” deny the discrepancy, patch over contradiction, and make all things fall within their control.” (Hollis, What Matters Most, p. 30)
Hollis is talking about a segment of society that somehow has the reins in the modern Western world. But he could just as easily been talking about each and every one of us. Each of us wants control, consciously and unconsciously. Like the “moral right” in modern society, we deny things that contradict whatever it is that we hold to be true. It seems that it is too much to hold the mind open for things that come from the opposite, the polar regions of being and knowing. How do we suspend what we “know” to be true and actually hear what others “know” to be true?
Though I am not empowered by the moral right of the modern world, I also have a fascist mind that sabotages my journey of individuation, my attempts at going behind the scenes to find out other answers, other ways of being my self.