So I want to discuss the massive gaslighting operation that is going on all around us, even as we speak, and in order to accomplish this, I need to do two basic things. First, I need to define gaslighting, and then I need to wax philosophical for a wee bit beyond that. I want to do this because the effete snobs who are trying to govern the remains of our great republic, and who are doing so with a governance philosophy that would have trouble if applied to running a taco stand, are trying to accomplish this by gaslighting the goobers, as they see us. And if we put up with it for more than about ten more minutes, then their assessment would be proved quite correct. Only goobers would put up with this.
Gaslighting is basically a way of messing with someone’s head, seeking to persuade that person that he did not see what he actually saw, did not understand what he actually understood, and so on. In short, the point of the whole jive operation is to make the target question his own grip on reality. “Who are you going to believe? Me, or your lying eyes?” The word comes from a 1938 play, which was the basis for two movie adaptations (in 1940 and 1944). The set up is that a husband does a series of nefarious things to make his wife believe she is losing her sanity, when she is actually doing nothing of the kind.
So much for the term gaslighting. And this leads us on to the next important term, which would be reality. We need to do this because a lot rides on whether we are talking about your reality or, you know, reality reality. This distinction used to go without saying, but alas, not anymore.
In short, it would seem impossible to gaslight people who have already lost their grip on reality. Wouldn’t you think?
The Reality Touchstone
In order for a term like gaslighting to actually make any sense, we need to have a baseline. If we want to use a word like crooked, we have to have some idea of the straight. If we want to say it is dark, we have to have some notion of light. In order to gaslight someone, there must be a hard, cold reality out there that the gaslighter is saying the victim is no longer seeing correctly. In short, there is an implied standard.
But if everyone makes their own reality, then it makes no sense to say that anybody is out of touch with it. Each one has to be in touch with his own reality, by definition. If we all are the source of our own standards, then we all have to be meeting them, right?
Whatever else we might say about them, if we had two inmates in a psych ward, and one of them thought he was a piece of buttered toast, with the other one maintaining he was Titania, queen of the fairies in the wood, the one thing we can be pretty sure of is that neither one of these two individuals will be gaslighting the other one.
But Also Remember That They Don’t Really Mean It
Remember the times in which we live. If you want to identify as a girl, it mattereth not what your pesky chromosomes might think about it. That older objective reality, you know, the one that used to be kind of just out there, right around the corner and out of Kant’s line of sight, used to have a say in these matters. But no longer.
Residents of Mush World, I bring you tidings! Our Post-Truth Wisdom: “You are the master of your own fate, and you are the captain of your own soul! You can adopt any identify you wish!” Also Our Post-Truth Wisdom: “No, no, not that . . . that’s despicable.”
This relates to a point much bigger than this post, but I still need to tip my hat to it, however briefly. Again, not whether but which. It is not whether there will be an objective reality, but rather which objective reality it will be. Unfortunately for the pipe-dreamers, there can only be one — this town ain’t big enough for two objective realities. But everybody sees that there has to be at least one objective reality, which means that the current celebration of a thousand subjective realities blooming is simply a transitional tactic.
The secular and relativistic push for subjectivity is simply their transitional move. They are doing this as a means of tearing down the old Christian order. Once that is accomplished, they will not continue on indefinitely with the nonsense. They do not intend for all of us to go off to live in our own private realities. Once they have firm control, their ideas of objective reality will make a roaring comeback. Your tax bill will have a fixed meaning that they will not allow you to deconstruct. The editors of alt-right newsletters will not be getting any Pulitzers. And their gulags will be objective enough.
Their objective reality will be mandatory and authoritarian because it is aspiring to be an objective reality–trying to imitate the way God made water wet. At the same time, because it is a thrown-together humanistic mash-up, it will be a brittle and fragile sort of thing. However much we try, we can’t master the God thing. However much we seek to ascend the sides of the north, we keep triggering avalanches and finding our utopias at the bottom, under ten feet of snow.
Our attempts at constructing reality resemble . . . what do they resemble? I will tell you what they resemble. They resemble a band of chimpanzees that got into a warehouse of trade gin, partook of it with singular abandon and gusto, got as full of themselves as they did with the alcohol, and then all voted to write the definitive treatment of string theory in theoretical physics. That is what all this resembles. I can think of no more apt comparison.
So the make-your-own-reality-up move is being used as a wrecking ball on the flying buttresses of Christendom. It won’t be tolerated for a minute when the word goes out that we must all gear up for the next Great Leap Forward.
When Everything Is Seen by Gaslight
But in the meantime, they are pushing a high-octane constructivist agenda. Make your own reality.
However, by allowing every one to construct their own reality, we have made the whole concept of gaslighting (in the old sense) meaningless. We did this in much the same way that we made medallions for women’s track and field meaningless. No fixed reality, and therefore no juking someone into thinking they are losing touch with it. No fixed reality, no more gaslighting.
This does not mean there is no activity that goes by the name of gaslighting. On the contrary, people appeal to it all the time now. A term that refers to thinking you are losing touch with reality came into hot currency just as everybody started to lose touch with reality.
Just like the term “fake news” can refer to actual fake news, and also to real news that somebody wishes was fake, so also the term gaslight can be hurled in pretty much any direction. Someone hanging onto reality can resist an actual gaslighter, which was the premise of those movies made in the forties, but some dude who has convinced himself that he is a girl can now accuse anyone who seeks to detach him from his private reality, in order to pull him back into what I have most helpfully called reality reaiity, can also be accused of gaslighting.
In other words, by quietly changing of the definition of what objectivity means (and for those just now joining us, objectivity now means subjectivity), these maestros of mendacity are gaslighting anybody who knows what gaslighting is.
So here we are, standing around in this secular fun house of ours, at a heavy hors d’oeuvres party, say, and you are introduced to a reincarnation of Xandrika, Mongolian princess from the 12th century. But the introduction was unnecessary because you remember her from high school, back when she was Shelly from the Bronx. You gently remind her of this, and she turns to her therapist, who is dating her and brought her to this event, and she says, “Make him stop gaslighting me!” And the therapist, acting like he is onto a good thing, and who doesn’t want you to wreck it, because Shelly probably wouldn’t sleep with him, tries to make you stop gaslighting her. And this is when you wish that the good Lord would allow the shade of Greg Bahnsen to arise out of the floorboards, Samuel-like, and ask all the parties concerned, “By what standard?”
Gaslighting is when you try to convince somebody that they are losing their grip on reality. But what is this “reality” you speak of?