One understanding of the roots of the Doomer-Polly Blame/Flame Game? (Long) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

The numbers of new threads about so-called doomer/polly understanding/misunderstanding, rightness/wrongness seem to be exponentially growing. (All threads demonstrate either lack of interest in why, and/or outright refusal to learn better means of communication.) A rhetorical question could be: why are so many participating in these threads? A failure to address this question, and the human reason for these recurring verbal wars is intrinsically linked to everything that is wrong with the prevailing social system on the planet. Misunderstanding and ignorance of this information is at the bottom of the hourly lament of 'lack of personal responsibility' the refrain that politicians cultivate, and their well-trained followers sing. It is the main theme issuing from the cultural "loudspeakers." One understanding is below.

The age-old phenomenon of scapegoating is widespread. It causes great anxiety and misery. Victims of scapegoating are found everywhere: in school playgrounds, in families, in small groups, and in large organisations. Whole nations may be scapegoated. The work of The Scapegoat Society [non-profit] is to raise consciousness about scapegoating and its dynamics so as to make it easier to resist and root out.


Scapegoating is a discrediting routine by which people move blame and responsibility away from themselves and towards a target person or group. It is also a practice by which angry feelings and feelings of hostility may be projected, via inappropriate accusation, towards others. The target feels wrongly persecuted and receives misplaced vilification, blame and criticism; he is likely to suffer rejection from those who the perpetrator seeks to influence. Scapegoating has a wide range of focus: from "approved" enemies of very large groups of people down to the scapegoating of individuals by other individuals. Distortion is always a feature.


First of all build an understanding of what has been going on, not just on the surface, but deeper as well. What is your scapegoater really trying to achieve?


In scapegoating, feelings of guilt, aggression, blame and suffering are transferred away from a person or group so as to fulfil an unconscious drive to resolve or avoid such bad feelings. This is done by the displacement of responsibility and blame to another who serves as a target for blame both for the scapegoater and his supporters. The scapegoating process can be understood as an example of the Drama Triangle concept [Karpman, 1968].

The perpetrator's drive to displace and transfer responsibility away from himself may not be experienced with full consciousness - self-deception is often a feature. The target's knowledge that he is being scapegoated builds slowly and follows events. The scapegoater's target experiences exclusion, ostracism or even expulsion.

In so far as the process is unconscious it is more likely to be denied by the perpetrator. In such cases, any bad feelings - such as the perpetrator's own shame and guilt - are also likely to be denied. Scapegoating frees the perpetrator from some self-dissatisfaction and provides some narcissistic gratification to him. It enables the self-righteous discharge of aggression. Scapegoaters tend to have extrapunitive characteristics [Kraupl-Taylor, 1953].

Scapegoating also can be seen as the perpetrator's defence mechanism against unacceptable emotions such as hostility and guilt. In Kleinian terms, scapegoating is an example of projective identification, with the primitive intent of splitting: separating the good from the bad [Scheidlinger, 1982]. On another view, scapegoaters are insecure people driven to raise their own status by lowering the status of their target [Carter, 1996].

The Scapegoat Society Defense Mechanisms

DEFENSE MECHANISMS protect us from being consciously aware of a thought or feeling which we cannot tolerate. The defense only allows the unconscious thought or feeling to be expressed INDIRECTLY in a disguised form. Defenses may hide any of a variety of thoughts or feelings: anger, fear, sadness, depression, greed, envy, competitiveness, love, passion, admiration, criticalness, dependency, selfishness, grandiosity, helplessness. For a list of defense mechanisms with examples: Defense Mechanisms The above is one road to understanding, and applies to doomer and polly players alike.

-- Donna (, October 12, 1999


So all scapegoaters are screwed up? I don't think so. Granted, most are, but I'm not.

-- A (, October 12, 1999.

This will not be a popular and quickly-embraced idea. However, that does not make it false. Defense mechanisms, of which several are invested in the scapegoating process, almost magically remove the issue; it is very plainly demonstrated in any of the doomer/polly threads here...the issue of potential problems due to Y2K is completely gone. Only the "game" (process) remains. Very wonderful how the mind does this, really...this protection...What remains is the ever-escalating "game" - scapegoating (which includes projection, displacement, denial and others, varying at different times). Actually these "games" most probably serve a useful function for human beings in small to large social groups. But calling the blame/flame wars what they are, here and in the world, making them conscious is critical. You don't have to like this. It is what it is.

-- Donna (, October 12, 1999.

I suggest that we, doomers and pollies alike, put our differences aside momentarily and TURN ON DONNA!


-- Liberty (, October 12, 1999.

ROFLMAO! Bravo! Don'tcha just love group process. (truly applauding Liberty! Standing ovation!) Look at it this way, we can each become 'anthropologists of us'. ;-)

-- Donna (, October 12, 1999.

LOL, nah, Donna's one of our favorites :-) and we're just gonna send her rainbow garlands to drape around those sheets ...

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, October 12, 1999.

My take on the Doomer/Polly crowds is quite simple. I just relate them to religion. Any religion has its believers and non-believers. Any religion has its fanatics, skeptics, etc. Y2K is no different. Believers and non-believers will denigrate the opposite side for the same reasons they do for most religions. Believers want to "save" the non-believers, non-believers think the believers are full of it, etc.

-- James Collins (, October 12, 1999.

Yeah yeah. You are what you hate. next.

-- lofty tone (, October 12, 1999.


TURN ON DONNA!?! You have a dirty mind ;)

-- Eh (, October 12, 1999.

Donna, You wrote: "A rhetorical question could be: why are so many participating in these threads?" My answer (CALMLY NOW): Because it's ludicrous* that the potential effects of Y2k are still being debated in OCTOBER OF 1999! *(American Heritage Dictionary definition of ludicrous: Laughable or hilarious because of obvious absurdity or incongruity)

The Toilet Paper Chronicles: Gallows Humor from the Y2k Underground

P.S., Paul Milne has led me to believe he doesn't think I'm a "BUTTHEAD." Well. . .he didn't exactly say that, but, he DID give me permission for a quote.

Milne almost says I'm not a "BUTTHEAD"


-- Marianne Michaels (, October 12, 1999.


Wise words, falling on deaf ears. As I said in another thread, "Anyone who thinks Baseball is the Great American Pastime, never paid attention to scapegoating."

Scapegoating just makes life easier and ultimately everyone will, at some point in their life, reach for something to make their life easier, no matter how false that something is. It's just a question of which poison you pick.

-- Bokonon (, October 12, 1999.

'Tis easier to find a scapegoat than to fix the problem...

-- Mad Monk (, October 12, 1999.

Donna, I'm with you all the way. I consider myself a fairly religious person, and to my mind a religious awareness has to incude a knowledge and a fear of the beast that lies within. Thank you for your post.

-- Peter Errington (, October 12, 1999.

Now at last I understand Washington politics.

-- Tom Carey (, October 13, 1999.

And Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said,
"If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart."

-- Tom Carey (, October 13, 1999.

Thanks Tom, for the Solzhenitsyn quote! Reminds me of a book I've read more than once,..."The People Of The Lie", by M. Scott Peck.

Thanks to everyone else who've responded. Bok,...yes, I understand, what is the recent saying? "Whatever floats your boat!" The most important thought for me about the psychodynamics of scapegoating/blame is that as far as it is out of consciousness it is very destructive. Once the behavior and motivation is in conscious awareness one can not 'do it' in the same way any more. In counseling we used to kiddingly call this corrective act - this raising to consciousness - "spitting in somebody's soup".

Be well. Ain't awareness grand? :=)

-- Donna (, October 13, 1999.

And to Marianne,...yep, I've kept up on the whole hullabaloo on your book. Congratulations by the way. I understand how difficult it is to find a publisher these days. Truly an accomplishment.

As to getting flamed (scapegoated, demonized, discounted), I'm reminded of a section of Hamlet's great soliloquy. Contrary to popular understanding Hamlet was not suicidal, but was weighing, (albeit indecisively throughout the play,...his major flaw),...weighing whether he was up to 'fighting the good fight', standing up for what he thought was the right course of action. This section:

Whether 't is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?"........[and this]"And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, And enterprises of great pith and moment With this regard their currents turn awry, And lose the name of action."

Thanks for responding.

Don't be outraged. Be outrageous! (Wish I could remember who said this!

-- Donna (, October 13, 1999.

Fine form, there, Sheeted Wonder. You go, girl!

"Be outrageous." Yup. Nothin' like a heapin' cup of creative audacity in the morning. (Especially after watching "Patch Adams" the night before.)

-- Faith Weaver (, October 13, 1999.

From: Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr (pic), near Monterey, California

We can't turn on Donna until we first find out what turns her on.

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage), October 14, 1999.

What turns Donna on....I never imagined this thread to quite turn this way. Dang, I love chaos theory.

What turns me on: Knowledge, metaphor, stories, images, wildfire discussions, a good beer, three good beers, opportunities to nurture the nurtureless, piano, Bach, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Ravel, Copland, Shakespeare, Neruda, Physics and Feynman, Anthropology, fish ponds, windchimes...etc., etc.,........

And may I say...thanks for asking! :-)

-- Donna (, October 14, 1999.

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