Robert Jaffe
11/7/95
English 285

Can’t We All Just Get Along?


Finally there is someone who understood the inner working of the brain so that America could overcome the political tendencies plagued our nation. Harry A. Overstreet, a man whose mind is highly organized, provide sweeping answers to the reforms that were necessary in order to kill the individual and promote the centrist position.<1> Words like “social good” are dangerous to the growth of the mature mind because they imply that those who attain power for the “rational organization of social goods” have their own political agenda that would further their own advancement. As a result of acute semantics, Overstreet advances the idea of rational organization for the “good of life.” In effect, he strives to create an ideological system towards the achievement of a cohesive, seemingly unbiased mature nation. Overstreet constructs the premise that the mind is an arcane, strange organ that cannot be examined through the lens of an exact science. Enter center stage: psychoanalysis.<2>

The rational exploration of the mind for associations to behaviors and human motivations is the root of all psychoanalysis. The ideology behind Overstreet’s psychoanalysis lies in the centrist’s handling of Freudian philosophies to reinforce the centrist cause through shades of common welfare,<3> and to entice those wavering liberal Americans who began to question and to find cracks in the existing ideologies of the postwar nation. “This is a psychological question,” says Overstreet in his soothing of the post-war, unsettling feelings of anxiety that Americans shared as they realized that they were slowly losing their individual rights for the “good of life.” In effect, psychoanalysis is simply another ideology that tries to appeal to a greater audience through its personalization of the problem.<4> It is difficult to solve real world conflicts such as war, racism, and economic discrepancy with the tangible, accessible answers. Thus, psychoanalysis provides accessible answers such as nonpartisan committees, parental education, and institutions like church, through a series of associations to the unconscious desires and motives of the human mind. Overstreet uses psychology to say that we Americans, and even all humans are similar<5> in their inner workings of the brain. All Americans who have the “hostility potential” must acknowledge and discard this potential for a more mature rationale. “Value of human life and human experience” take the place of words like “common good,” and “common welfare.” “Human” is defined as all living and breathing organisms with the highest degree of intelligence have the same wants and desires out of life. We are working on the premise that all humans desire to have a wife, a pink house with a blue door, and 2.4 kids. This idea of the “common good” and the mature mind is no less political than social politics that he bashes.

Overstreet is the master of deception, and it is easy to love the solution and the progress that he claims that America has already made towards achieving value for the common good. He assesses the character of our nation but offers no solution as to how we should overcome these conflicts. Ethnocentrism is bad, according to Overstreet, and he presents an accurate definition of it as something that our interpretation of the strangeness factor, not the stranger factor.<6> It is something that we grow into is another keen observation. However, he offers no ways to combat the regressive nature of ethnocentrism, and focuses rather on the presence of it within the political arena. He fosters a silence, or a neutral silence “until all the facts are in” approach to the “outsider.” In other words, wait until the majority or center amasses enough evidence before one returns to the faith of the centrist ideologies. Who has the right to determine what is fact and what is fiction?

If Americans are made out of psychological stuff, then we need to erect institutions to drain our individual hostilities, the precise psychological stuff that makes us human, and shape ourselves to fit into the human that Overstreet says will promote “good will” for all. This sounds like an all too familiar ideology to me. One cannot divorce psychoanalysis from the realm of politics.


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