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Sociopolitical conflicts in America reveal the latent microcosms of communities, linguistic forms, bodies, and shared cultural narratives, which are driven by polarities and aggression. Considerable political alterity has arisen, promoting dehumanization, prejudice, sexism, and collective trauma as factions war over counter myths that create opposing American stories, including the debate over the role of science, the fusion of religion with politics and material gain, and the nature of truth. Individual psychic and projective events are also represented in sociopolitical events, creating aliens of external communities, promoting objectifying language, and enlisting alienation and dissonance within the self. These darker forces represent a synchronicitous evocation—a call to spiritual transcendence, political, gendered, and racial perspective-taking, the balancing of opposites in culture and the self, and pro-social resistance. Levinas suggested that the ethical encounter begins in non-representation. Anxiety and the void that accompanies being unable to define or name the Other may precede the rebirth of a humane and reasonable democracy in America. As we explore ethics we must also ask questions regarding the boundaries of the self and the non-self, acknowledge our embeddedness in, and reliance on, earth as vulnerable and alive, and recognize that there is more to tolerance than resigned forbearance.


Originally published by Taylor & Francis. 2019. Chapter 3 of Race, Rage, and Resistance Philosophy, Psychology, and the Perils of Individualism. 1st Edition. Pages 46-72.

ISBN 9780367217822