Friday, August 17, 2012

What should the communists do?

This is the first in a series of replies to an article by an unemployed Czech worker explaining why he was done voting for the country's democratic parties and was going to vote for the communists. I've provided historical background here.

What should the communists do?
by Jiří Drašnar

Although I can identify with Mr. Tůma in his criticism of the current regime in Bohemia (by the way, “frikulín” is a really great neologism), his appraisal of the forty-year government of the communists strikes me as more the result of cognitive dissonance relating to the way in which our memory works, rather than as the result of an effort at even remotely objective analysis. In short, just a modicum of self-examination shows that memory is not a reliable tool and definitively is not a perfect copy of the past, engraved in our brains.

the post gives another example of what Drašnar is talking about.
Memory is dynamic and changes throughout our lives. (We all know how easily we forget the negative features of childhood or puberty, how those times seem desirable and beautiful later in life. But who would actually want to go to third grade again or torture oneself over what that thirteen-year-old chick next door thinks of you, the one who just grew a beautiful pair?)

Among other tricks, we often use it as a mechanism that helps carry us over certain hard-to-reconcile contradictions in our psyche. In other words, we distort and interpret the past (we lie to ourselves, if you like) in order to sustain a certain self-image, the attributes of our “I” without which it’s difficult to live, attributes like respect for ourselves, an ethical code, etc. etc.

But I don’t want to have a discussion as to which regime was or is more corrupted, and note, I don’t want to analyze Mr. Tůma. I just want to ask about one thing: If Mr. Tůma is going to vote for the communists, what does he expect from that? What does he imagine that the communists would do in this situation if they were to get back in power? Alternatively, what does he think they should do?

and these folks say they can  "render moving video images
from your active memory" ...

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