Whipnosis, Part 2 (of 3)
Covid exposed the pathological personalities of politicians. While pandering for electoral reasons to the concerns of ‘normal’ people, these actors harbour contempt for those who are not like them.
Narcissists in Lockstep
Everyone knows about the ‘lone tyrannical psychopath’ in history — your Stalin, your Hitler, your Pol Pot — whose apparently pathological personality draws an entire people to itself in the errand of destruction, and in the process destroys the people as well as himself. We are familiar also with the incidence of the psychopathic group — usually gravitating to and surrounding such a figure — the Party, the Brownshirts, the Khmer Rouge — to whom the psychopathic tendencies appear somehow to be transmitted intact in the interests and purpose of evildoing. The Covid Project, however, brought us a new concept: an entire generation of political leaders, most of whom had come to notice only for their mediocrity, transforming into — or appearing to transform into — psychopaths all at once, adopting the same threatening mien, using the same menacing language — indeed the same sentences and phrases — to bully their own peoples into accepting the deletion of freedom and the indefinite suspension of their lives, lying ceaselessly in the same way, constantly contradicting themselves and each other in the same ways, and, above all, appearing to take the same extreme degree of satisfaction, if not pleasure, from the sudden alterations in their personalities under the protection of their unity and the pretence of a good cause.
From April 2020, I was in touch with the Irish hypnotherapist John Anthony, who from the outset characterised what was happening as the use of hypnotic and NLP techniques by politicians who were either themselves narcissists or following a narcissistically-directed protocol. Narcissism, he assured me, might be the watchword and the common driving attribute of the implementation of the Covid agenda. As in the arena of romantic/sexual interplay, the narcissist in political life is a predator who sets out to deceive for his own gratification and gain. Anthony described how these traits translate from private to public sphere, to create what has since emerged as the signature political phenomenon of the Time of Covid. The people were subjected to the frog-boiling strategy: ‘two weeks to flatten the curve,’ followed by two years of fear-mongering, moral blackmail and plain tyranny.
Psychopathy, sociopathy and narcissism present on a graduating scale in reverse order of gravity, all three embracing similar conditions of solipsism, diminished or absence of empathy, shallow emotions, and lack of conscience. Though frequently used interchangeably, and exhibiting several common symptoms, clinically they are regarded as different disorders. Of the three, narcissism is the most treatable, because, unlike the psychopath or sociopath, the narcissist may develop a capacity to experience remorse or empathy. The narcissist is also less prone to violence than the other two types, which are sometimes jointly referred to under the heading ‘Anti-Social Personality Disorder.’ Sociopathy is environmentally transmitted, whereas psychopathy is innate, or at least hardwired following some traumatic episode.
In many psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists the tendency towards manipulating others is an almost essential recourse for a personality that, in all three instances, will be afflicted by pathological egotism. Compelling others to think and experience reality in like manner to themselves provides these people with a degree of relief, which might otherwise be unavailable.
It is not always straightforward to place a line around narcissism that separates it cleanly from the other strains. In many instances, perhaps, the narcissist does not ‘develop’ to full psychopathy because of absence of opportunity or deficit of ambition. People are different. Many with non-violant antisocial personality disorders live their lives without damaging anyone outside their intimate circles.
Psychopaths and sociopaths account for about four per cent of the world’s population — enough to deliver at least one or two such creatures into the relatively intimate circles of most ‘normal’ citizens. One of the peculiarities of these conditions is that, whereas they have been profoundly analysed by many experts, their nature remains culturally hermetic beyond the scope of direct experience. The ideological depiction of evil — from either sides of various lines — clouds the true nature of the phenomenon when it manifests in the public sphere, so that people think in crude terms of political evildoing in a kind of spaghetti western frame of reference, in which the Bad Guys are the ones with the bad moustaches.
In his summer 2021 paper, The year of the Narcissistic Agenda, MAYHEM and MADNESS, March 2020 to June 2021 — Hysteria, Hypnosis, NLP and the programming of a Nation, John Anthony describes in exhaustive terms the outcome of this insidious campaign in Ireland: an entire population ‘persuaded, enticed or influenced to lock up and isolate our elderly, close our businesses, restrict our movements, close our churches, neglect our dying, negate all our traditions including the shaking of hands and hugging, putting face masks on our children and isolating them from their families and friends, even closing down access to nature walks, beaches and forest parks for those who were privileged to be allowed outside their doors.’ His objective was to sketch out a model put together from his own observations in the hope of conveying the strategies employed in the ‘psychological war’ waged to achieve this unprecedented set of outcomes.
The narcissist we speak of here is a chameleon — he (or she) changes colour to suit the environment, playing whatever role is appropriate to the person or persons he has decided to target. But all this occurs superficially: There is ‘nobody home.’ The narcissist is emotionally immature, but capable of hiding this. He is intelligent up to a point. He possesses characteristics of charisma and seeming confidence that others find enviable. He craves admiration, lacks empathy and is given to fantasy and grandiose gestures. He seeks, above all, control over others. The narcissist, writes Anthony, believes himself special and unique, capable of being understood by ‘other special or high status people or institutions.’ He or she is motivated primarily by self-interest, but likes to be able to clothe this in spurious virtue and pseudo-morality.
These characteristics profile virtually every single political leader on the contemporary global scene. Indeed, one might observe that these appear to be essential qualifications, when one considers Boris Johnson, Leo Varadkar, Micheál Martin, Justin Trudeau, Jacinda Ardern, Emmaunel Macron, Daniel Andrews, Nicola Sturgeon, Gretchen Whitmer, and a hundred others.
‘The weight of the evidence,’ says Anthony, ‘is that a horde of expertly picked, egocentric, easily manipulated, self-centred narcissistic types were strategically placed in positions of power and trust in the medical, political and national media structures. It had to be a premeditated contrivance. How else could one have all political parties agree so uniformly while using almost identical rhetorical language across so many countries accompanied by the same mass censorship and suppression of all contrary opinions and the blatant manipulation of statistical data? Their lack of empathy and low moral standing makes for the ideal partners in crime. It’s a crime for sure — one that has already been etched in our history.’
Hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) are among the tools the technocratic narcissist uses to achieve his objectives. John Anthony talks about the three sequential levels of manipulation: the ‘love-bombing’ or ‘idealisation’ phase; the devaluation process; and, finally, alienation. The controlling narcissistic first draws his victim in, then begins the process of belittlement, leading to a baring of fangs. Anthony demonstrates how the manipulative techniques of the narcissist can be adapted to the public realm, enabling the Covid operation to harness the dynamics of archetypal relationships between narcissists/psychopaths (politicians) and co-dependent submissives/empaths (citizens), in effect weaponising on a grand scale the dynamics of what was once reductively called ‘wife-beating’.
The first phase in the creation of a hypnotic state, ‘idealisation,’ is more familiar as ‘love-bombing’, whereby the controller/hypnotist strives to identify with and mirror the target individual or social group. He thanks the people for their stoicism thus far, praises them, reminds them they are ‘saving lives,’ then spells out the next stage of the lockdown. The predator/perpetrator in this case is the state/government/president/governor, but also — and continuously — the media, exerting power to manipulate and control, using the weapons of fear, guilt and obligation, which impress the presence of constant danger on the reptilian lower ‘brain,’ ensuring widespread compliance. This reptilian non-brain responds to repetition — of words and phrases, memes, catchwords, clichés, which embed the hypnotic suggestions to the extent that they become beliefs, thus immune to rational argumentation.
In the intimate zone of relationships, observes Anthony, ‘the narcissist may target a suitable person who shows signs of compliancy or low self-esteem,’ though this is not the full story, as almost everybody can be manipulated depending on how domineering, assertive and skilful the predator. The ‘love bombing’ or ‘identification’ phase produces in the target a good feeling of having found the ‘one’, or ‘soul mate,’ that many humans crave. The predator/narcissist sees this early stage as a fact-finding expedition, to gather material for later use in bullying, gaslighting, moral blackmailing and guilt-manipulation. Anthony places this alongside the initial speeches delivered by the politicians in the spring of 2020, promising that the necessary sacrifice would be brief, and declaring us ‘all in this together.’
‘Everything is terrific in the love bombing stage: the empathetic person feels they have found somebody that understands them, and listens to them, and the narcissistic person is listening to them and gathering information about this person, and begins to understand them and give sense to the information about them. In the second part of the process, the narcissistic person cannot maintain the persona; it’s a false persona that they produce. They’re massively insecure people. They need attention, and they need to get control, and they need this manipulation in order to validate who they are.’
The chief instruments of narcissistic manipulation involve the leveraging of guilt, obligation and fear, in variations on the nice cop/nasty cop routine. Language is the principle instrument of this process. In the Covid scam, John Anthony outlines, the rollout of the programme of manipulation took the form of a rolling series of apparently mixed messages: ‘The pandemic is coming and will cause millions of deaths’; ‘We are with you!’; ‘Stay at home, save lives!’; ‘Clap/dance/light a candle for the front line workers!’; ‘Being apart brings us together’; ‘Let us leave no one behind’; et cetera.. The language employed was top-heavy with negative phrases designed to instil fear and dread. Those who did not obey were told they were risking the lives of others and repeatedly urged to ‘do the right thing.’ These injunctions were accompanied by the use of embedded command phrases, apparently random and superfluous but always serving to emphasise the mandatory nature of what was being conveyed: ‘There is no alternative!’ ‘All you have to do is follow the rules!’ ‘Experts’ and celebrities were rolled out to supply further emphases, offering ‘objective’ confirmation of the scale of the crisis and the necessity for obedience, which further propelled the recruitment of citizens in the process of their own incarceration.
Anthony recalls listening to the then Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, deliver his St Patrick’s Day speech from Washington in 2020, in which he spoke to the Irish public for the first time about the impending Covid crisis. He recalls thinking straightaway that it was not a normal or fitting speech for the occasion. ‘I heard Leo Varadkar’s speech, and the speech was, “We are with you!” He was saying, “If you have lost loved ones, we are with you!” “If you have somebody sick in the family, we are with you!” And it just didn’t sound right to me. I wasn’t seeing it apparent in my own life. I was looking around at my family, my relations, and then I was looking at the society I lived in, my friends — and nobody knew anybody who had come down with this virus. Yet, “We are with you!” This was the phrase that he used when he spoke about the “coming calamity.” And he said, “And it will come!” He seemed to know stuff that nobody else seemed to know precisely.’
First there is the ‘honey period’, when the prey is lured in. Then the boot goes in — and the denigration begins, subtly at first. As in: ‘The surge will come!’, the doubling down on the initial measures, the censorship of quizzical voices.
‘The structure is the same whether it is the abusive partner, boss, government, CEO, church, state or doctor. It begins with identification or love-bombing. Then the denigration begins and the abuse begins to be escalated slowly and in a covert (mostly) way. This process I refer to as “death by a thousand cuts.” The victims don’t even realise [what is happening] because it is done incrementally and always with a public face that it is for the public good, or the victims’ own good. ‘Since that time,’ he writes, ‘we have been bombarded with hypnotic suggestion at every turn.’
The second phase, ‘devaluation,’ is analogous to the live cooking of a frog. Words of praise and consolation are juxtaposed with house arrest in a form designed to provoke a kind of Stockholm Syndrome. Images and ideas of restriction, control, humiliation, are packaged in sentimental forms of manipulation: nurses dancing amidst what we are led to presume are unremitting scenes of death; grandchildren waving to their heartbroken grandparents through a wound-up car window — the glass becoming a symbol of the invisible wall that may permanently separate them, the ‘new normal’ that quickly became part of the dread insinuated concerning an unknowable future. Generated confusion, mixed messages, are central elements: You must be sure to take care of old people — just don’t go close lest you kill them; it is important to become infected to achieve immunity but at all costs avoid infecting other healthy people; wear a mask, even though ‘experts’ say they are ineffective (It’s okay, ‘the science’ has changed!). This incoherence destabilises the sensibility of the subject, rendering him amenable to further manipulation. Since he cannot understand, he simply obeys.
Then comes the final phase of the hypnosis: ‘abandonment,’ the iron fist. No more Mr Nice Guy. The police have been issued with more powers, more equipment, more vehicles, more guns, more batons, rottweiler-shaped robots to spy on the public. Reinforcements are brought in, including trainees, part of the process of abasement. This is where the true motives may more readily be seen. The people’s rights having been stripped away, we begin to awake to the folly of thinking of the controllers as our savours or guardians. John Anthony explains that, in order to maintain the control, a method known as ‘intermittent reinforcement’ is employed, whereby the tone of the controllers becomes more austere and threatening, establishing another layer of conditions in respect of the future. Unless compliance improves, we are warned, the ante may have to be increased. We should not expect a return to normal anytime soon — or at all. The ‘second wave’ is mentioned in tones of disappointed rebuke, setting up an expectation that failure to meet the contradictory requirements may result in further coercion. The ‘variants’ raise their multifarious heads. With each intermittent reinforcement there will be a further erosion of civil liberties and so the programme goes on.
‘A stage hypnotist,’ writes John Anthony, ‘may bring a subject out of trance several times to induce a deeper trance each time. A malignant narcissist will give approval/aggression/disapproval, inducing a pattern of the very same type of addictive behaviour in a partner. Government propaganda uses the very same technique. This is accomplished through a variety of ways, all with a view to ultimate control: opening and closing business, lengthening and shortening permitted travelling distances, increasing and decreasing permitted numbers of contacts or the number of places you can have these contacts in, the length of time you can expect to be locked up for, the increase in how many can attend festivities, funerals or weddings and so the pellets of hope are turned off and on. We become entranced or fixated over everything except examining reality.’
Anthony speaks also of ‘bread-crumbing,’ whereby the controller further undermines, devalues, and denigrates his targets. This concept derives from the idea of the subject of a romantic crush, who though not reciprocating the feelings of the entranced person, nevertheless flirts a little, perhaps by sending occasional signs (breadcrumbs to hungry birds) so the attention does not dissipate. When the subject discerns the patterns of manipulation, control and abuse, his sense of the benign intent of the controller dissolves and foul play becomes more apparent. If feedback indicates that the populace is beginning to wake up to the deception and manipulation, the controller must demonstrate that he is indeed working for everybody's good by intermittently appearing to be on their side. This registers in the entranced individual as a chemical rush of serotonin, oxytocin and other chemicals of relief, which facilitate the deepening of the stranglehold.
‘The abandonment phase,’ says Anthony, ‘is where they can dole out abuse of all sorts. In the intimate context, the perpetrator may leave [home] — infidelity might be part of it. And this is where the compliant person begins to hit rock bottom. They have, in a way, abandoned their own experience and their own judgement, because each time they do something, they’ll say to themselves, “Well, that’s a very simple thing. I should have known that he doesn’t eat steak for his dinner and I put on a steak — and I forgot, really,” and that was the reasons for the blow-up. And now the person is beginning to enter into a phase where they’re so unsure of themselves, where the goalposts are constantly changing, and where the confusion is mounting in them, and they do not know because of this addiction, because of this ideal that they had about the person in the beginning — it’s holding the map in place, if you like. But they are becoming less certain, and they are beginning to blame themselves. This method of levelling a constant barrage of both overt and covert suggestions is how any narcissistic abuser gaslights his victims, and that is no different in structure from the tyrant trying to impose a toxic regime on a population, designed for the benefit of the few.’
Gaslighting, he writes, ‘can be done by malignant manipulation of the person’s environment so that they begin to really doubt their own perceptions. They then turn to the manipulator for support or begin to rely on him to validate their reality.’
It is important to understand that, in this context, it is not necessary that the politician himself exhibit symptoms of personal narcissism — though this certainly ‘helps’: The instructions can be laid out in a protocol and implemented in a detached manner, here amounting not so much to narcissism as a kind of orchestrated psychopathy.
Lies are no mere collateral aspect, but an essential element. ‘Narcissists are inveterate liars and generally speaking, whatever they accuse others of is what they are guilty of themselves. Their lies are not always necessary but often are quite banal and trite. This can bestow a sense of power or control, albeit illusory, over their target. Like a cat playing with a mouse, the narcissist has a sense that he is somehow beginning to control the other’s reality. It is the seedlings of “gaslighting.” Later it develops into creating confusion by moving goalposts. It also feeds into intermittent re-enforcement. The other gets locked into thinking s/he will get it right the next time, not realising that there will never be a next time. The victim has taken a mental photo of the perpetrator at his best and forever blames him/herself, thinking that this person will return once conditions have been put right. They have just become the dedicated servant or slave.’
Trance depends on a bedding of emotion, ideally a strong one. The initial trance imposed in 2020 was grounded in fear, by far the best foundation. Fear is a powerful emotion. Few are immune to it, and generally it grips people in an almost total fashion, especially when — as here — the emotion in question was essentially fear of death. On the pathways in the parks near my home, from mid-March 2020, it was hard to miss the intermittently placed chalk figures separated by arrows pointing at each figure, indicating the extent of two metres, designed to evoke the chalk marks investigators draw around the corpse of a murder victim. If you watched TV or listened to the radio, statistics of deaths, most of them invented or inflated — were rolled out by the hour. Terms like ‘deadly virus’ were used non-stop: The phrase ‘new normal’ had the effect of insinuating the loss of things long cherished, a state of bereavement, characterised by sadness. The applauding by candlelight of ‘front line’ workers was transparently a way of compelling holdouts to throw themselves into the spell, an almost literal form of gaslighting in which we are required to celebrate our own loss of freedom.
Andrew Lobaczewski, a Polish psychologist who lived through Poland's suffering under both Nazi and Soviet occupation during and after World War Two, was the first person to describe the process through which a pathological minority can come to dominate a nation to the point of infecting its population with its pathologies. Lobaczewski was the intellectual executor of an assortment of psychologists, psychiatrists and other scientists, who had come together to investigate the real nature and psychopathology of the macro-social phenomena of Nazism and Communism. The group worked underground in Poland during the Soviet occupation. Lobaczewski ended up as sole survivor, and it fell to him to collate and write up this material, losing two drafts — one hastily burned to avoid the attentions of the secret police, the other sent to the Vatican and lost without acknowledgement — before finally getting the research published under the title Political Ponerology: a science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes, in 2006. He died two years later.
‘Ponerology,’ from the Greek word poneros, is the name of a division of theology dealing with evil. But Lobaczewski is not concerned with theological definitions — his work relates to the formulation of a clinical classification and deconstruction of the concept of political wickedness. Before, evil was almost purely a ‘moral’ question, but he turned it into something like a scientific category. ‘Experience,’ he writes, ‘has taught the author that evil is similar to disease in nature, although possibly more complex and elusive to our understanding.’
‘Moral evil and psychobiological evil,’ he claims, ‘are interlinked via so many causal relationships and mutual influences that they can only be separated by means of abstraction. In his work, he says, he acted like a physician confronting disease. He accepted ‘the risks of close contact with evil and suffered the consequences.’
‘Parallel to the traditional approach, problems commonly perceived to be moral may also be treated on the basis of data provided by biology, medicine, and psychology . . . Experience teaches us that a comprehension of the essence and genesis of evil generally make use of data from these areas.’ A new discipline thus arose: Ponerology. The genesis of evil was termed ‘ponerogenesis.’
Lobaczewski’s concept of the ‘characteropathic personality’ — a type that often rises to become a leader of what he calls the’ pathocratic’ initiative — relates to a single acute condition involving all three elements: psychopathy, narcissism and paranoia. Stalin, he said, was a characteropath, and also suffered from a brain deformity — a common malady among psychopaths — indicated in the Soviet dictator in photographs by ‘a typical deformation of his forehead,’ probably from brain damage dating from birth or childhood. Drugs or childhood disease can also be the cause of the onset of the condition, Lobaczewski says.
Lobaczewski demonstrateed that, aside from destructive behaviours, the most reliable means of recognising someone with a dangerous personality disorder is through the detrimental effects they have on the ability of psychologically normal people to think. They do this by ‘techniques’ such as insisting on something that is manifestly untrue, making illogical assertions, or stridently questioning the most obvious facts. This leads to an erosion — eventually a deficit — of common sense, which in a group can have disastrous consequences, as Irving Janis has comprehensively demonstrated in his unpicking of the groupthink phenomenon. ‘Normal’ people in this situation,’ Lobaczewski claims, ‘find themselves in conflict with the newly dominant group and, being unable to assert common sense, tend to leave, to be replaced by more individuals with personality disorders.’
The internal dynamics of such a group are characterised by psychological bullying and, sometimes, physical violence, which have the effect of dividing the group into the manipulators and the subjugated.
Lobaczewski describes the ‘spellbinder’ — someone with the capacity to hold sway over others, sometimes to the point of messianism.
‘The spellbinder places on a high moral plane anyone who succumbs to his influence, and will shower such people with attention and property and perks of all kinds. Critics are met with “moral” outrage and it will be claimed by the spellbinder that the compliant minority is actually a majority. In a healthy society, the activities of spellbinders meet with criticism effective enough to stifle them quickly. However, when they are preceded by conditions operating destructively on common sense and social order — such as social injustice, cultural backwardness, or intellectually limited rulers manifesting pathological traits — spellbinders’ activities have led entire societies into large-scale human tragedy. Such an individual fishes an environment or society for people amenable to his influence, deepening their psychological weaknesses until they finally become a ponerogenic union.
‘On the other hand, people who have maintained their healthy critical faculties intact attempt to counteract the spellbinders' activities and their results, based on their own common sense and moral criteria. In the resulting polarization of social attitudes, each side justifies itself by means of moral categories. The awareness that a spellbinder is always a pathological individual should protect us from the known results of a moralizing interpretation of pathological phenomena, ensuring us of objective criteria for more effective action.’
Lobaczewski described a situation from his university days in Poland. A fake academic somehow got to become a scientific professor at the university and proceeded to deliver lectures comprising nothing but nonsense. Lobaczewski writes: ‘He failed to distinguish between scientific and everyday concepts and treated borderline imaginings as though it were wisdom that could not be doubted. For ninety minutes each week, he flooded us with naive, presumptuous paralogistics and a pathological view of human reality. We were treated with contempt and poorly controlled hatred. Since fun-poking could entail dreadful consequences, we had to listen attentively and with the utmost gravity.’
Most of the students, while pretending to absorb these ‘lectures,’ were ignored by the professor. But that was the least of the difficulties. ‘The world of psychological reality and moral values seemed suspended like in a chilly fog. Our human feeling and student solidarity lost their meaning, as did patriotism and our old established criteria. So we asked each other: “Are you going through this too?” Each of us experienced this worry about his own personality and future in his own way.’
They noticed that some of their fellow students — of the order of six per cent — started to alter their world-views. Moreover, their speech patterns started also to mimic the fake professor’s chatter. They became less friendly to their colleagues. Eventually, these former colleagues, who came from every social group in Poland, all joined the Communist Party. ‘Benevolent or critical student arguments bounced right off of them. They gave the impression of possessing some secret knowledge; we were only their former colleagues, still believing what those professors of old had taught us. We had to be careful of what we said to them.’
Lobaczewski calls this process of personality-demolition by the name ‘transpersonification.’ Some of those affected became zealots of the ideology; others withdrew from the context and gradually returned to normal. But here is the most astonishing part: Each one who left was replaced by someone else. The ‘magic number’ of six per cent was maintained, no matter what. In evaluating those who had succumbed in order to analyse the phenomenon, they concluded that the six per cent were generally marginally less ‘talented’ than the average of the students, which appears to be a polite code for ‘less intelligent.’ These events had a profound effect also on the ostensibly untouched majority, the 94 per cent, who ‘suffered varying degrees of personality disintegration which gave rise to individual efforts in searching for the values necessary to find ourselves again.’
‘Approximately 6 per cent of the population,’ he says, ‘constitute the active structure of the pathocracy, which carries its own peculiar consciousness of its own goals. Twice as many people constitute a second group: those who have managed to warp their personalities to meet the demands of the new reality. This second group consists of individuals who are, on the average, weaker, more sickly, and less vital. The frequency of known mental diseases in this group is at twice the rate of the national average.’
The core issue here, as it emerged, is not the machinations of the narcissist/psychopath per se, but the fact that there exists — and he senses that there exists — susceptible individuals who can be ‘worked on’ for malign purposes and recruited in the service of wickedness. This is the key ‘secret’ of the totalitarian project: the psycho and his victim in partnership.
‘Something mysterious gnaws into the personality of an individual at the mercy of the psychopath,’ writes Lobaczewski, ‘and it is fought like a demon. His emotions become chilled, his sense of psychological reality is stifled. This leads to decriterialization of thought and a feeling of helplessness culminating in depressive reactions which can be so severe that psychiatrists sometimes misdiagnose them as a manic-depressive psychosis.
‘When the human mind comes into contact with this new reality so different from any experiences encountered by a person raised in a society dominated by normal people, it releases psychophysiological shock symptoms in the human brain with a higher tonus of cortex inhibition and a stifling of feelings, which then sometimes gush forth uncontrollably. Human minds work more slowly and less keenly, since the associative mechanisms have become inefficient. Especially when a person has direct contact with psychopathic representatives of the new rule, who use their specific experience so as to traumatize the minds of the “others” with their own personalities, his mind succumbs to a state of short-term catatonia. Their humiliating and arrogant techniques, brutal paramoralizations, deaden his thought processes and his self-defense capabilities, and their divergent experiential method anchors in his mind. This is followed by a shock which appears as tragic as it is frightening. Some people from every social group — whether abused paupers, aristocrats officials, literati, students, scientists, priests, atheists, or nobodies known to no one — suddenly start changing their personality and world-view. Decent Christians and patriots just yesterday, they now espouse the new ideology and behave contemptuously to anyone still adhering to the old values.’
Lobaczewski identified Germany in the 1930s as a society captured by these pathological conditions, which in that context, he argued, had their roots in World War One, following which a pathologically-rooted absence of German guilt made inevitable some kind of sequel. ‘The Germans inflicted and suffered enormous damage and pain during the First World War; they thus felt no substantial guilt and even thought that they were the ones who had been wronged. This is not surprising as they were behaving in accordance with their customary habit, without being aware of its pathological causes. The need for this pathological state to be concealed in heroic garb after a war in order to avoid bitter disintegration became all too common. A mysterious craving arose, as if the social organism had managed to become addicted to some drug. The hunger was for more pathologically modified psychological material, a phenomenon known to psychotherapeutic experience. This hunger could only be satisfied by another similarly pathological personality and system of government.’
Those thus afflicted learn to recognize each other, even in childhood, and in a crowd acquire an almost instinctual awareness of the proximity of individuals similar to themselves. Having seized or attained power, this pathological rump will assert control over the most intimate areas of human existence — through propaganda, indoctrination, terror, scapegoating and extermination. These ‘pathocrats’ will encounter surprisingly little resistance, but in any event will peremptorily extinguish any opposition with extreme prejudice. Lobaczewski outlines how societies afflicted by this syndrome — what he called ‘Macro-social Evil’, i.e. large scale evil that overtakes whole societies and nations — break down into two stratifications: the normal and the psychologically abnormal, with the latter representing a tiny but all-powerful element, with the capacity to hold sway over the majority and the propensity to spread its psychopathy by a contagion of ideology and mesmerism.
The trickle-down effect of pathocracy, says Lobaczewski, can ‘affect an entire society, starting with the leaders and infiltrating every town, business, and institution. The pathological social structure gradually covers the entire country creating a “new class” within that nation. This privileged class feels permanently threatened by the “others,” i.e. by the majority of normal people. Neither do the pathocrats entertain any illusions about their personal fate should there be a return to the system of normal man.
‘After a typical pathocratic structure has been formed, the population is effectively divided according to completely different lines from what someone raised outside the purview of this phenomenon might imagine, and in a manner whose actual conditions are also impossible to comprehend. Pathocracy corrodes the entire social organism, wasting its skills and power. Typical pathocrats take over all the managerial functions in a totally destroyed structure of a nation. Such a state must be short-term, since no ideology can vivify it.’
‘In any society in this world,’ writes Lobaczewski, ‘psychopathic individuals and some of the other deviants create a ponerogenically active network of common collusions, partially estranged from the community of normal people. . . Their world is forever divided into “us and them” — their world with its own laws and customs, and that other foreign world full of presumptuous ideas and customs in light of which they are condemned morally. Their “sense of honor” bids them cheat and revile that other human world and its values. In contradiction to the customs of normal people, they feel non-fulfillment of their promises or obligations is customary behavior. They also learn how their personalities can have traumatizing effects on the personalities of those normal people, and how to take advantage of this root of terror for purposes of reaching their goals. This dichotomy of worlds is permanent and does not disappear even if they succeed in realizing their dreams of gaining power over the society of normal people. This proves that the separation is biologically conditioned. In such people a dream emerges like some youthful Utopia of a “happy” world and a social system which would not reject them or force them to submit to laws and customs whose meaning is incomprehensible to them. They dream of a world in which their simple and radical way of experiencing and perceiving reality [i.e. lying, cheating, destroying, using others, etc] would dominate, where they would, of course, be assured safety and prosperity.'
‘Those “others” — different, but also more technically skillful — should be put to work to achieve this goal. “We,” after all, will create a new government, one of justice [for psychopaths]. They are prepared to fight and suffer for the sake of such a brave new world, and also of course, to inflict suffering upon others. Such a vision justifies killing people whose suffering does not move them to compassion because “they” are not quite conspecific.’ The pathocrats, belonging to a different species, are not concerned with the feelings and concerns of ‘normal’ people.
Later, he elaborates: ‘A normal person deprived of privilege or high position goes about performing some work which would earn him a living; but pathocrats never possessed any practical talent, and the time frame of their rule has eliminated any residual possibilities of adapting to the demands of normal work. If the law of normal man were to be reinstalled, they and their kind could be subjected to judgments, including a moralizing interpretation of their psychological deviations; they would be threatened by a loss of freedom and life, not merely a loss of position and privilege. Since they are incapable of this kind of sacrifice, the survival of a system which is best for them becomes a moral idea. Such a threat must be battled by means of psychological and political cunning and a lack of scruples with regard to those other “inferior-quality” people.’
There is, then, this intellectual inversion: the mediocre declare themselves all-knowing and condemn the others as inferior, thus breeding a true mediocrity that proclaims itself otherwise. This may be why mediocre societies in which a lot of people are promoted beyond their abilities tend to favour whip-cracking totalitarianism. You’re all but certain to find this in societies where ‘gender balance’ and other forms of tokenism have taken hold. Inadequate people require visible authoritarianism to defend them from the threat posed by the talents, abilities and ambitions of others. Societies run by cadres of the psychotic mediocre are driven by fear, most of all by the fear of those clinging to power of the people they wield it over. For this obvious reason, societies that set equality-of-outcome as a mandatory social policy goal are at a high risk of descending into tyranny. This is also the inevitable fate of societies in which the political ‘leadership’ has slid to the lower reaches of mediocrity by virtue of the outsourcing of meaningful power and authority. You cannot expect to attract into politics the ‘brightest and best’ when all the job requires is the implementation of instructions. Hence, in a globalist world, all our societies have become totalitarian ‘accidents’-waiting-to-happen. Such factors, Lobaczewski says, decide whether a society will experience evolution or revolution.
To summarise: Having gained a foothold on a society, a psychopathic group becomes irresistible, using indoctrination, intimidation and fear-tactics to subdue dissent. The group acts like a magnet for like-minded narcissists and others afflicted with anti-social personality disorders. With such a group in control, the society as a whole rapidly becomes pathologised, with a tiny majority able to control and dictate to the entire population. Ideology is a core instrument of this operation, and the ideology-of-choice is all but invariably of a pathological character, being usually camouflaged with good intentions towards the majority’s well-being, a consideration that evaporates as the boot comes in. The sole objective is power, and after a time this becomes clear, as all pretence of benevolent motivation is abandoned. And yet, it is important too that some semblance of the initial masquerade remains even after total power has been claimed, for this causes the victim class to cling to the hope that the brutality and abuse are but temporary ‘necessities,’ which will disappear one day to be replaced by the former mood of benevolence.
Here, as elsewhere, there is a cycle. In hard times, men learn to think carefully, truthfully and creatively, because this is necessary for survival. In good times, they succumb to loose, indulgent thinking, so hastening the return of hard times. Too much contentment, says Lobaczewski, is bad for a society. Catastrophe waits in the wings. The good habits of reasoning and moral reflection formed in the hard times grow weaker. At such moments, Evil rears its ambiguous head and the cycle starts over. Paradoxically, it is the hard times, not the good, that lead to genuine progress, because that’s when people are forced to think straight and sensibly.
These patterns may have become accentuated in the modern era, because men in general have become less attentive to the fragility of peace and culture in the human world. TV has rotted out the brains of whole generations. The world wide web has filled the gaps with vile nonsense and spite. As a result, the hard times become harder and the good times spike into the hedonistic red. Again, these patterns suggest that something like what’s happening now was not merely inevitable but actually planned.
Lobaczewski‘s descriptions of the ‘psychopathic group’ bring to mind the raft of vaguely-defined supranational bodies, highly secretive and seemingly intent upon bypassing democracy, which have sprung up in the Western world since the middle of the twentieth century: the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, and especially the World Economic Forum (WEF), a kind of international ‘club,’ and grooming/brainwashing clinic for emerging political figures, which seems to have nurtured some of the most manifestly pathological political figures of recent times, including former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, current Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, Jacinda Arden, prime minister of New Zealand, and Leo Varadkar, formerly Taoiseach (PM) of Ireland and currently — while awaiting his re-ascension to that position next December — treading water as Tánaiste (deputy prime minister). One of the most striking things about the WEF (also known, disaffectionately, as ‘the Party of Davos’) is that it seems to inculcate in most of its members a supra-national loyalty to the objectives and values (anti-values?) of the group rather than to their own nations and peoples.
There is no objective necessity for, or benefit to, ordinary humans of a group like the WEF. Though, not unlike the Trilateralists and Bilderbergers, it claims to be ‘improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas,’ in reality it is a school for psychopaths, in which the nascent pseudo-leaders of the former Free World are trained in the manner of climbing plants to assume the ideological demeanour of the club, disregard all previous loyalties to country, people, electorate or posterity, and implement the agenda of the puppet-masters. The WEF is as the ‘support’ that allows the would-be future ‘leaders’ to grow independently of democratic concerns, which in many instances results in the cultivation of what Andrew Lobaczewski, described as ‘pathocracy’ — a system of government wherein a small pathological minority takes control over a society of normal people.
The narcissist/psychopath does not necessarily think of himself as doing ill. On the contrary, his sense that he knows best and is unassailable in his good intentions allows him to give rein to his deepest power-cravings in a manner that provides him, at least, with plausible deniability. He has the benefit also that the vast majority of people tend to believe that most of their fellow humans are disposed towards good, and to be ‘puzzled’ when people behave in a manner that appears to be willfully wicked. In such circumstances, most of us are inclined to look for underlying factors to ‘explain’ such behaviour: a difficult childhood; some kind of encroaching mental illness; something we may have said or done to hurt or offend; or some kind of necessarily secret danger that requires them to act harshly in order to ‘save’ everybody.
These conditions, Lobaczewski claims, have through history contributed to the cultural suppression of a functional consciousness of evil. ‘The character and genesis of evil thus remained hidden in discreet shadows, leaving it to playwrights to deal with the subject in their highly expressive language, but that did not reach the primeval source of the phenomena. A certain cognitive space thus remains uninvestigated, a thicket of moral questions which resists understanding and philosophical generalizations.
‘The pathocratic world — the world of pathological egotism and terror — is so difficult to understand for people raised outside the scope of this phenomenon that they often manifest childlike naiveté, even if they studied psychopathology and are psychologists by profession. If a person with a normal instinctive substratum and basic intelligence has already heard and read about such a system of ruthless autocratic rule based on fanatical ideology, he feels he has already formed an opinion on the subject. However, direct confrontation with the phenomenon causes him to feel intellectually helpless. All his prior imaginings prove to be virtually useless; they explain next to nothing. This provokes a nagging sensation that he and the society in which he was educated were quite naïve.’
This helps to understand some aspects of the Covid episode, for example that, although the playbook in use clearly replicates almost verbatim the language and logic of Orwell’s 1984, many of those who have ingested that book with alarm and alertness were unable to identify the same symptoms playing out under their noses.
‘The facts,’ write Lobaczewski, ‘are that “good times” for one group of people have been historically rooted in some injustice to other groups of people. In such a society, where all the hidden truths lurk below the surface like an iceberg, disaster is just around the corner.’ Good times also result in a depletion of psychological skills and moral criticism. When things turn bad, these conditions can be exploited by the pathocrats.’ Such a society is ripe for what Lobaczewski calls ‘pathogenic bacteria’ — cultural infections of contagious psychopathy.
‘The psychological features of each such crisis are unique to the culture and the time, but one common denominator that exists at the beginning of all such “bad times” is an exacerbation of society's hysterical condition. The emotionalism dominating in individual, collective, and political life, combined with the subconscious selection and substitution of data in reasoning, lead to individual and national egotism. The mania for taking offense at the drop of a hat provokes constant retaliation, taking advantage of hyperirritability and hypocriticality on the part of others. It is this feature, this hystericization of society, that enables pathological plotters, snake charmers, and other primitive deviants to act as essential factors in the processes of the origination of evil on a macro-social scale.’
Lobaczewski suggests that such a shift occurred in America and the world after 9/11. But he holds too that such times provide a vital rebalancing of civilisational evolution, serving to regenerate positive values like empathy and reason.
‘When bad times arrive and people are overwhelmed by an excess of evil, they must gather all their physical and mental strength to fight for existence and protect human reason. The search for some way out of difficulties and dangers rekindles long-buried powers or discretion. Such people have the initial tendency to rely on force in order to counteract the threat; they may, for instance, become “trigger happy” or dependent upon armies. Slowly and laboriously, however, they discover the advantages conferred by mental effort; improved understanding of psychological situations in particular, better differentiation of human characters and personalities, and finally, comprehension of one's adversaries. During such times, virtues which former generations relegated to literary motifs regain their real and useful substance and become prized for their value.’
The good news is that, because a pathocratic society fills the upper layers of leadership and authority systems with people who generally suffer from the same pathologies as the rulers, mediocrity is an unavoidable by-product, which renders all but certain that such a society will be short-lived, because all areas of public life — economy, science, technology, culture, et cetera will go into radical decline. Gradually, even those who approved of the regime’s actions at the beginning, will tire of it and start to withdraw their affection. This may in the early stages result in an uptick of terror tactics — the vindication of Orwell’s observation that all tyrannies rule by fraud and force, and eventully by force alone. Eventually, however, history has shown that even terror and force will be insufficient to insulate the regime. This happens when the ‘normal’ people begin to reclaim their balance and reason and gradually start restoring the damaged social bonds and structures.
‘During the initial shock,’ writes Lobaczewski, ‘the feeling of social links are fading; after that has been survived, however, the overwhelming majority of [a] people manifests its own phenomenon of psychological immunization. Society simultaneously starts collecting practical knowledge on the subject of this new reality and its psychological properties. Normal people slowly learn to perceive the weak spots of such a system and utilize the possibilities of more expedient arrangement of their lives. They begin to give each other advice in these matters, thus slowly regenerating the feelings of social links and reciprocal trust. A new phenomenon occurs: separation between the pathocrats and the society of normal people. The latter have an advantage as regards talent, professional skills, and healthy common sense. The pathocracy finally realizes that it must find some “modus vivendi” or relations with the majority of society: “After all, somebody's got to do the work for us.”’ At this stage, he claims, things begin to improve, as the pathocracy seeks to insinuate itself as a ‘normal sociopolitical system’ — what he calls the ‘dissimulative phase.’ The ‘normal’ people tend to go along with this, taking advantages of the relaxations and other benefits. This bears some resemblance to the phase we have entered into in Ireland in recent weeks, with the ‘relaxation’ of ‘measures’ and the general sense that Covid is ‘over.’
Lobaczewski’s book, then, is ultimately hopeful. The gradual wearing off of the trance can enable ‘normal’ people to realize that the pathocrats are infinitely less smart than they had led everyone to believe: ‘One of the first discoveries made by a society of normal people is that it is superior to the new rulers in intelligence and practical skills, no matter what geniuses they appear to be. The knots stultifying reason are gradually loosened, and fascination with the new rulership's secret knowledge and plan of action begins to diminish, followed by familiarization with the knowledge about this new reality.’ Gradually, the knowledge spreads, and the society acquires a ‘resourcefulness of action which enables it to take ever better advantage of the weak spots of the rulership system.’
In the end, walls come down and the pathocrats either surrender or run for the hills.
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