The projection of one’s own mentality or “way of seeing the world” onto others, e.g., the teenager who is obsessed with sex, and assumes the same about everyone else. In the current situation of globalization, cognitive egocentrism has its greatest impact in the political relationships between people coming from civil societies and those raised in prime divider societies. Since the basic political principle of Prime divider societies is “rule or be ruled,” “do onto others before they do onto you,” political actors from those cultures assume the same zero-sum, domineering intentions in their opponents (the “enemy”). Since the basic political principles of civil societies is “I’ll give up trying to dominate and trust you to give it up as well,” “if I’m nice to you, you will be nice in return,” assume positive-sum attitudes in their opponents (the “other”). The current situation testifies to a dangerous mis-apprehension that works to the distinct disadvantage to civil society. The media, in particular, as the representative of civil society, emphasizes its role as empathizer, often failing to defend civil society, even exposing it to danger.
LIBERAL COGNITIVE EGOCENTRISM (LCE):
The projection of good faith and fair-mindedness onto others, the assumption that “other” shares the same human values, that everyone prefers positive sum interactions. In a slightly more redemptive mode, LCE holds that all people are good, and if only we treat them right, they will respond well. This is a form of empathy that, like MOS, aspires to the radical victory of justice, and robs the “other” of his or her own beliefs and attitudes. It projects onto rather than detects what the “other” feels.
DOMINEERING COGNITIVE EGOCENTRISM (DCE):
The projection of bad faith onto the other, the assumption that everyone abuses power, that one must rule or be ruled. In deep-seated cases, DCE cannot even perceive the possibility of a positive-sum game: whatever the “other” does, no matter how generous it may seem, is a trap, a covert act of hostility in which the other is really jockeying for superior position in a zero-sum game. Hence DCE has strong affinity for conspiracy theories (the other is malevolent evil that must be opposed at all costs).
MOEBIUS STRIP OF COGNITIVE EGOCENTRISM:
Demopaths are particularly adept at exploiting LCE. They speak in precisely the terms that appeal to LCE, insisting that their struggle is for human rights, fairness and justice, even as their notions of these matters differ wildly from those of the liberals to whom they appeal (DCE). Liberals find themselves confused, since both genuine moderates and demopaths use more or less the same language. Forced to judge, many liberals, eager to believe anything civil these people might say and any hope for peace now they may hold out, prefer to project good faith, taking the protestations of demopaths at face value, becoming their dupes.
As a result, a dysfunctional relationship between demopaths (DCE) and their dupes (LCE) has emerged. Under current circumstances, where most liberals cannot even detect the existence of their own LCE nor imagine the possible DCE of others, this dysfunctional relationship works radically to the advantage of the demopaths. When Western authorities empower demopaths rather than sincere moderates, they hurt the forces of civil society and human rights and empower the forces of dominion and war.
The surprise of the British to the 7-7 bombings, and subsequently to the much higher levels of support for it in an English Muslim population than they had previously been led to believe (by a paradigmatically credulous press and intelligentsia), reflect precisely this dynamic. Europe may fall to this dysfunctional dynamic, although the emergence of hard questioning has begun to identify demopaths disguising themselves as moderates, and to reveal the jihadi discourse beneath the moderate rhetoric.