[Marxism] young men trouble again (shooting incident)
shacht at aol.com
shacht at aol.com
Sun Dec 16 02:20:18 MST 2012
From: Gregory Adler <gregadler502 at gmail.com>
To: Wayne M. Collins <shacht at aol.com>
Sent: Sat, Dec 15, 2012 9:58 pm
Subject: Re: [Marxism] young men trouble again (shooting incident)
Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
Let this be my response to the posts of Gregory Adler (gregadler502 at gmail.com),
John Wesley (godisamethodist at yahoo.com) and Roger Lee (ralattorney at yahoo.com).
Roger Lee posted two comments. In the firsst of these he mentioned certain
factors which ostensibly account for a "rage massacre." These included speed-up,
reduced wages, withdrawn social safety net, world violence, etc. The second was
in essence a comment on my post concerning Asperger's and a failure to "connect
the dots" of increased numbers of such mass killings and the capitalist decay
symptoms he had earlier referenced.
John Wesley justly asks whether Adam Lanza was diagnosed with Asperger's
suggesting that judgment should be withheld until the facts are known.
Gregory Adler declares that my comments are "lip-flapping idealism," and "are
as far from Marxist analysis as can be imagined."
I posted the original comment with considerable caution in wording and
more than a little trepidation in sending, because the relation of environment
in the social sense and mental disorders (for Asperger's is a mental disorder,
is it not, as the DSM-5 just issued so calls it one within the autistic
spectrum rather thab an independent category in itself) is a coplex problem
as well as one loaded with emotional content for anyone with direct involvement
with its victims. As Marxists it is incumbent on us to try to understand the
ongoing developments within a nation whose economic and social system
is a result of specific relations dictated by our experience in that system.
This may be difficult or painful for those who have lived with an Asperger
son for decades, with all the disappointment, frustration, family stress and
despair that entails, but it does not excuse us from looking at events
In my posting I specifically addressed many of the issues raised in Roger
Lee's first post, pointing out that these did not seem to be applicable
to the young man in question: that he was probably not in the labor
force, that he probably was not relying on social services that the
state was in danger of withdrawing, was living in his mother's house
and not subject to the pressures less fortunate sufferers from Asperger's
may be. Consequently, "connecting the dots" of capitalism's ongoing
immiseration of human beings did not seem an immediate influence
on him. In other words, the profile suggested by Lee's comments did
not seem to fit the parameters of his apparent social reality. If that
is correct, the to attribute his action to the current horrors of capitalism
is a mechanical and schematic response that can only be sustained if there
is exactly those relations to the afore-mentioned consequences of capitalism
that seem to be missing in his case.
As a believer in a material universe, and one that is ever in flux, I can
only look to certain other material facts known to us, however tangentially,
from the reports we have. First, there was some indication that he had been
said to have Asperger's. Second, aspects of his behavior were consistent with
such a diagnosis: flat affect, social isolation, nerdiness (in the perception
of others, including his brother),outward appearance of being "very smart,"
self perception of being outcast (the adoption of Goth clothing or mannerisms),
the rapid delivery of speech. All of these symptoms were referenced at various
points in various articles on the killer and were made by different persons.
The perceptions of the killer's contemporaries, are material facts, part of
the material universe. The existence of Asperger's Syndrome is a material fact,
part of the material universe. That from all evidence Asperger's Syndrome is
not a stress induced mental aberration similar to PTSD, is not the function
of an invasive disease process such as dementia praecox, neuro-carcinoma,
Parkinson's or Multiple Sclerosis. Rather it appears to be a situation where
those neurons or clusters of neurons, areas of the brain that are supposed
to "turn on" at a certain stage are simply not activated, and those particular
centers are the onces dealing with socialization, executive function and emotions.
These are known factors that appear to affect this young man.
When these people are twenty years old they know they have a disorder. They
have generally been told it, regardless of the level on functionality or not.
They have been told they are different whether they are consciously aware of
it or not to begin with. However this causes them to interact with or see
the world is a function of their environment internally and externally.
"The poignancy of the moment," John Dewey commented, "Is that we cannot tell
what tendendcies are pressing for action." In other words,in any given case
we cannot predict what the outcome of the pressures of reality as mediated
within a given person in response to a situation are going to be, because we
cannot know all of his internal or exterman reality or experience, their
interaction and resultant behavior.
In other words, everything is dependent on something else, which is pushing,
growing, shrinking, contradicting (if you will) something else already
experienced or existing and of more or less strength and import. This is a
reflection of the fact that the material universe is dialectical - changing
and interrelated. This is Marx, Engels and Dietzgen (Marx's "Philosopher" -
no matter what Mehring, Korsch or other over-educated, class descending academics
said about him) thought of as a dialectical materialism. Presmably, as
Marxists cognizant of an every changing universe and accumulating amount
of knowledge, we become familiar with other thinkers, much of whose work
is not only consistent with dialectical materialism but an example of it:
James, Dewey, Mead and Harry Stack Sullivan, for example, in terms of psychological
processing of reality. This includes an ability to acknowledge the existence of neuro-biology, mental disease and
mental disorders. They are part of the material universe also.
It was because I anticipated some such comment as that of Gregory Adler that
I should look something about Asperger's before speaking, in what he appears
to think is an "out of turn" fashion of ignorance that I referred to Temple
I don't know how much plainer I can speak to make clear to Gregory Adler what
should have been clear already. If that, to him, is "nothing more than
idealist lip flapping" then he can't tell Kant from Hegel or the Word of God
from the Big Bang.
If anyone wants to discuss this further I am more than willing to do so,
but rather than take up space on this list, and because exchange in what
may be personal areas is difficult for some we can do it off list. We can
even involved others with similar experiences, but this is a Marxist discussion
exchange not an Asperger's Support Group and I probably never should have opened
The speculation about whether or not the perpetrator of this horrible
event had asperger's and if he did what if any effect that had on what
he did is based on precisely no real evidence at all as far as I can tell.
It is therefore nothing more than lip-flapping idealist nonsense as far
removed from a Marxist analysis as can be imagined.
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