NOTE: For other posts in this series, click ONE BLOOD on posts/pages (right)
The process through which racism can break out can be identified in a psycho-therapeutic process known as 'transference.'
Defined by Sigmund Freud in 1895, a relationship can be encouraged between therapist and patient where the therapist becomes a blank screen for the building up of fantasies in the mind of the patient based on his anxiety.
In this way, the patient is encouraged to indulge in fantasy in order to highlight the root of his problem. However, recent evidence suggests that this process is much more subtle than first thought.
For instance, evidence is rising that in False Memory Syndrome, past life regression and alien abduction, fantasies can pass from the therapist to the patient.
As an example, if a therapist believes that child sex abuse is endemic in society, or that reincarnation is a reality, or that extraterrestrials really do abduct humans, he is more likely to find evidence to support his view in his patients. In a real sense, it seems that the therapist's fantasies can pass into the worldview of the patient, producing psychological ideosyncracies based upon the therapist's ideas.
This point is vital to an understanding of how society interacts. For in this process a possible mechanism can be identified where an authoritative figure - particularly if he is charismatic - can transfer his delusions to the population at large.
Such a process could well lie at the heart of racism. Rather than being a process within society based on criminal or evil tendencies, racism could well by a psychological disease that can affect a society in a similar way to more physical epidemics.
Basically it could be that, at times of social stress, racism can be caught.
But more than this, the same process - a process I would call psycho-sociological infection - could be at the heart of all our social woes throughout history. Hence, in order to really come to grips with racism, we must begin to understand how easily delusion and paranoia can become the driving forces of social interaction.
© Anthony North, February 2008