lunes, 5 de diciembre de 2016


 Thanks to Jorge and Sofía López for their wonderful translation work 

populisms, nationalism... choleric without a cause?
I've seen it in the Basque Country
just need to sow discord

 In social studies, a political ideology is [wiki]:
 “A certain ethical set of ideals, principles, doctrines, myths, or symbols of a social movement, institution, class, or large group that explains how society should work, and offers some political and cultural blueprint for a certain social order. Political ideologies are concerned with many different aspects of a society, including (for example): the economy, education, health care, labor law, criminal law, the justice system, the provision of social security and social welfare, trade, the environment, minors, immigration, race, use of the military, patriotism, and established religion.
Political ideologies have two dimensions:
    Goals: how society should work
    Methods: the most appropriate ways to achieve the ideal arrangement

Outside the field of ideologies, we lack a similar term that allows us to characterize what, for instance, populisms and nationalisms have in common. Since it is for me quite clear that neither of these are real ideologies. 
That's why I have invented the word: emotiologies.

Emo: abbrev. of emotiology.
Emotiology: Complex structure of cognitive distortions oriented to the social and political mobilization through emotional influence. Most usually in a negative way, promoting the confrontation of the citizenship in groups based on some differentiating element (language...). 
They differ from ideologies by not including a global representation of the system, nor a differentiated government action program. Just as ideologies have as central axis a rational component, emos base their functioning on emotional facets, leaving beliefs, ideas and even reality (post-truth) relegated to a minor role.
It is usual for ideologies to be accompanied by an emotiology. 

Examples of emotiologies:
Populist emos: "The rich or big companies govern us for their benefit", "conservatives are sexist and want to oppress women", “an elite dominate the people”…
Nationalist emos: "Spain hates Basque language and wants to end it", "Spain steals from us", "Basques are more intelligent and have a finer style", "we will do better alone" ...
Political correction emos: doubts about global warming become negationism... 
Trump: are false news part of an strategy to create his own emotiology? Did he success because he knew better how to surf in an emotiology clash? (1e)

These are not ideas. In fact, they would be rationally indefensible as, for example, not even the subject is usually objectively defined. Who are “the rich”? “the elite”? “the people”? who is “Spain” and who “the Basques” as actors? Can a “Basque” become “Spanish” if he falls out of favour?
These are prejudices which are introduced in the citizenship; cognitive distortions of high emotional impact, which form part of a whole and will then provide political benefits.

Taking advantage of the moral spheres of Steven Pinker (harm, fairness, community, authority, purity):
- Autonomy: the interests and rights of the individual (we value security, justice, wealth…)
- Community: customs of a social group (we value respect, the fulfillment of obligations, authority, traditions…)
- Divinity: the sense of a superior something (we value purity, the sanity before the contamination and corruption).

We can consider that these three types of strong motivators allow us to classify emotiologies according to its predominant facet:
- Autonomy (populism, protectionism, liberalism…)
- Groups (nationalists, racisms, elitisms…)
- Religious (Islamism…)

So, the populism/nationalism/Islamism encourages a social division between healthy and innocent people/Basques/Muslims which suffer from (the)elite/Spaniards/infidels taking advantage of them, perverting and despising them.

The scheme is always the same. Basically, the most common narrative: the good, the bad, and the evil which has to be defeated to achieve a happy ending.
Hence, the most basic scheme to thrill. Like in any action movie, firstly grievances are accumulated, and after, emotions are released towards the alleged aggressor. 
And, the politicians who lead this will have a social group which supports them in a compact way.

Obviously, this scheme of manipulation has always existed; in small groups or as the support of the ideologies. 
What has changed? Telecommunication technology evolution.

Actually, the incorporation of the media in our daily life is so intense that emotional manipulation can be reinforced constantly. What before was broadcasted mainly by punctual emissions through the classic centralised forms of media, is now multiplied exponentially in real time and multipolarly via the internet, in each comment and meme of the media which produces vibrations in each citizen’s phone. There’s no longer a need for a solid belief, like religions, nor of a rational model, such as ideologies. Four words which are well locked on a sentimental syntax are enough.

Our populist, doesn’t know anything about communism, our nationalist doesn’t care about the history or believe in races, and our islamists are capable of immolating after just a couple of weeks of internet recruitment. Behind them there is only emotional motivation and distortion, as described by cognitive psychology. (wiki: Cognitive distortion)

This concept of emotiology has orientated this blogs’ writing from the beginning: 
when evaluating the importance of the media’s influence (3),
describing nationalism and populism (4),
warning about favoring the apparently innocuous emotiologic approaches (5),
disassembling the flattering siren plebiscitary chants which emo leaders are so fond of (6)
or when proposing efficient answers that avoid both concessions, that stimulate emo leaders, and aggressiveness that feedback people’s distorted fantasies; the most efficient answer to emotional pressure is assertiveness and ¨common sense. (7)

The concept of emotiology is necessary to clear out some of the usual confusions respecting political action and opinion:

-there isn’t a critical corruption or a lack of morality problem in Spain (there are worse examples in history), but we might suffer an self-destructive reaction to it (neatness distorsion) (8)

-there isn’t a problem of democratic representation, but a flattering exaggeration of the functions of citizenship (6);

-there is no problem with Basque or Catalan identities, but a distortion sometimes absurdly reaffirmed by some who we would naturally expect to reject the idea (4);

-It is not easy to understand the coincidence between Spanish nationalism and populism when ethnicisms are isolationists and elitist and socialisms universal and egalitarian. The fact is that being rationally antagonists doesn’t imply that emos can’t be complimentary once they choose a same target enemy. Furthermore, such as with the Spanish case, when emotiologies fly alone, leaving behind the originary ideology; 

-Can a nationalist party not be harmful? Yes, as long as it doesn’t deploy a negative emotiology. 

 - Could Brexit, populisms, nationalisms... be rising because, not having them named, we have neglected emotiologies hygiene?

Those who don’t efficiently diagnose reality can not propose truly practical actions. It is clear we need it


Links in this blog related with emotiology approach:

(1e)     Trump, a clash between political correctness hypocrisy & gross emotional manipulation

(1)    "Religión, ideología y populismo, el enfoque clínico"
(2)    "Los enemigos emocionales de la democracia"   
(3)    "Pedro J.: Guerra de distorsiones"
        "La mediocracia"
(4)    "Nuestros nacionalismos ¿algo más que publicidad?"
        "La fantasía de la izquierda, un cuento de buenos y malos"
(5)    "Conductores al abismo" 

        "La aventura electoral de Artur Mas. Resumen."
        "Las aventuras de Sánchez y Mas, parecidos y diferencias"
(6)    "Populismo, democracia directa y destrucción de la democracia"
(7)    "Como acabar con el nacionalismo antidemocrático"   

        "Firmeza frente al nacionalismo y mano tendida a los nacionalistas"
        "Populismo, modos de empleo"

        "El PSC, motor de la deriva populista del PSOE" 
         "Unió ¿es posible un nacionalismo alegre y de gobierno?"
(8)    " La corrupción está de moda"


Note 7 (Feb 7 2017) The emotiologies book

Sorry, only in spanish version yet.

 Note 6 (Dec 25 2016) Don’t blame it on emotions, treat them as science does (cognitive psychology)

Politics seem to be too emotional lately, but there is no use in regretting it nor to ask for will to avoid it. Politics have an emotional component, so we need to accept it and treat emotions as science does in cognitive psychology.

That is what I try with my proposal of using the concept of Emotiology.

Note 5 (Dec 22 2016) Against Empathy 

Interesting idea from Paul Bloom's book (Against empathy)
He adds two good reasons to avoid empathy in politics:
 - You can also empathize negarive feelings, like hate, contempt...
 - Empathising blocks rational decisions in distressing situations, better keep calm

Two good reasons to add to my basic one. When you base in emotions, distortions master. Emotiologies risk is always there.

 Note 4 (Dec 12 2016) Did an emo-aware Trump bullfight democrat emotiologies?

Is that the explanation for Trump's lower campaign money?
Did he use in his benefit democrat campaigns demonizing him?

Note 3: (Dec 10 2016) Trump election as a clash of emotiologies
Inclusion of Trump references.

The main idea is that Trump drifted the election campaign into a clash of emotiologies:
 "Great America" vs "Political correction"
where he is an expert as reality shows producer 

Note 2: (9 Dec 2016) Can emotiologies be considered a type of memeplex ?

I've always been fond of Susan Blckmore's Meme theory.
A meme: an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture (like a genes do in biological evolution)
Memeplex: Memes that are replicated together, such as religions and cultures

Then, if a cognitive distortion can be considered a meme (it is an idea that replicates from head to head), emotiologies could be a type of memeplex.

Note1: (9 Dec 2016) Emotiology and double game
The ideology / emociology combination also allows the parties to perform a double game. To be formally politically correct (ideology) but to simultaneously develop an opposite emociology.

Spanish example: PSC (branch of the Socialist Party in Catalonia) declares itself federalist but emits confederal emotions suggesting a right to decide of Catalonia, promoting its naming as "nation"...

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