Paul Barker – England
Predictions of looming global totalitarianism are glibly dismissed by many simply as ‘conspiracy theories’ (a weasel-worded phrase originally cooked up by America’s FBI). Others view this so-called Great Reset as a dystopian New World Order with a population decimated by war, disease and starvation. This, they warn, is a world of global techno-capitalism, digital IDs, a cashless society, mandatory vaccinations and a communist-style social credit system. They claim it will mean the end of the traditional family unit with children being removed from their parents to be indoctrinated by the state. There will be no religion beyond worshipping the power of the state. Wholesome food will be replaced by the consumption of insects and genetically modified food and lab-grown synthetic products. Above all there will be control by the all-seeing eye of artificial intelligence –
George Orwell’s 1984 made real
It really does sound demonic. But is there any truth to all this? And if so, how can it be counteracted?
The pioneering psychologist Carl Jung said that the greatest threat to humanity is our inability to deal with the forces of our own psyches. The most dangerous of all psychic epidemics is the mass psychosis. This is an epidemic of madness occurring when a large portion of a society loses touch with reality and descends into delusions which spread like a contagion.
Jung noted that individuals who made up the infected society became ‘morally and spiritually inferior’, becoming more unreasonable and irresponsible, more emotional, erratic and unreliable and worst of all, they commit crimes as a group infected by madness (which as individuals they could not).
Professor of Psychology Ervin Staub noted that when a majority of the population advocates government enforcement of conformity then a society places itself on what he called a ‘continuum of destruction’ in which the majority rationalises its support for authoritarian measures by demonising the non-compliant. This leads to increasingly severe government measures and to the further devaluation of victims. People assume that the victims have earned their suffering by their actions or character. This leads to mass scapegoating, imprisonment and murder.
Two factors are important in a psychotic breakdown according to US physician Alexander Lowan:
(1) an ego that is weak and insecure, and
(2) a flood of feeling and negative emotion that cannot be integrated by the ego
We need society to be composed of self-reliant, resilient, and inwardly strong individuals. Otherwise there exists the potential for mass delusion which in the past led to the killing of witches, the mass murder of Jews or the recent scapegoating of perfectly healthy people during the so-called Covid-19 pandemic.
There are extremely primitive, irrational mental forces at work in all of us that are usually overlaid with reason, but which can manifest in the behaviour of normal people when they face threat or stress.
More people need to act with moral courage and a willingness to encounter risks so as to defy immoral orders, reject authoritarian government control, and to stand up for the disappearing values of truth, freedom and justice, argues Rushworth Kidder in Age of Conformity.
It is important to dispel the notion that totalitarianism can be defeated through compliance – a cowardly and ignorant response that emboldens totalitarian regimes. Hannah Arendt writes in The Origins of Totalitarianism: ‘Compliance is the food of totalitarianism – it will never be the path back to some form of normality’. We need non-compliance and the construction of a parallel society embracing the authentic needs of real people.
However, French polymath Gustave Le Bon asserts that the masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from uncomfortable evidence. Whoever can seduce them with illusions is easily their master. Mark Twain pointed out: ‘The truth has no defense against a fool determined to believe a lie’. And the psychologist Stanley Milgram stated that about 80 per cent of people do not have the moral and psychological resources to defy an authoritarian order.
Over the past two or three years we have witnessed relatively few lone voices prepared to oppose government diktat. Recent campaigns were redolent of the ‘othering’ approach adopted in the Nazi persecution of the Jews in the 1930s, and in Stalinist and Maoist purges against dissidents and intellectuals.
Voltaire observed that those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. To avoid being an individual who can be convinced of absurdities one must become an active truth seeker instead of the all-too-common propaganda receiver. An active step in becoming an active truth seeker is the realisation that when evaluating the claims of those in power, scepticism is vital.
The general way that ruling elites achieve control is called menticide – a killing of the mind. Priming a population for menticide begins with the sowing of fear. When an individual is flooded with negative emotions such as fear or anxiety, they can become susceptible to delusions of madness.
Threats, real or imagined, can be used to instil fear but a particularly effective technique is to use waves of terror in which periods of fear are staggered with periods of calm – but each period of calm is followed by a more intense period of manufactured fear.
Never before in history have such effective means existed to manipulate a society into the psychosis of totalitarianism – TV, internet, social media, smart phones in conjunction with algorithms that quickly censure the flow of information.
But there are further steps the totalitarians can take to increase mass psychosis – by isolating victims and disrupting normal social interactions. People then become far more susceptible to delusions. Conditioned reflexes can be developed more easily in a quiet place.
A never-ending stream of propaganda turns minds once capable of rational thought into playhouses of irrational forces and with chaos swirling around, and within them, the masses yearn for a return to a more ordered world. The would-be totalitarians can now take the decisive step: they can offer a way out and a return to order in a world that seems to be moving rapidly in the opposite direction.
But all this comes at a price, namely that the masses must give up their freedoms and cede control of all aspects of their lives to the ruling elite. They must relinquish their capacity to be self-reliant individuals who are responsible for their own lives, and become submissive and obedient subjects. Reason and common decency are no longer possible.
The question then is how can we counter the factors destabilising the fabric of society when many institutions are corrupt and politicians are detached from reality? There are cures. However, this necessitates many different approaches from many different people.
Information countering propaganda should be spread as far and as wide as possible. The truth is more powerful than the fiction and falsities peddled by the would-be totalitarian rulers and so their success is partly contingent on their ability to censor the free-flow of information. As the Dutch/American Professor of Psychiatry Dr Joost Meerloo explains: ‘We must learn to treat the demagogue and aspiring dictators in our midst with the weapon of ridicule. The demagogue himself is almost incapable of humour of any sort, and if we treat him with humour he will begin to collapse’.
And there is also the spiritual approach. In Civilisation in Transition Jung suggested that in order to restore sanity to an insane world the first step is to bring order to our own minds and to live in a way that provides inspiration for others to follow. Our age cries out for the Redeemer Personality, for the one who can emancipate himself from the grip of the collective psychosis and save at least his own soul. He lights a beacon of hope for others, proclaiming that here at least there is one person who has succeeded in extricating himself from total identity with the group psyche.
The looming crisis will present enormous difficulties and challenges to humanity. Jung pointed out that difficulties are inevitable and nothing worth achieving comes easily. For when we accept that life is hard (and that we confront our ‘shadow’ self) we will also realise that only through a strengthened character do we have any chance of living a purposeful life. Along with becoming more conscious of our shadow self, another integral aspect of Jung’s approach was for each individual to discover a role as one of the actors in the divine drama of life.
The next few years present an opportunity for what is known as the Great Awakening. This will cause people to find a way to justify their existence not in material terms but in more meaningful ways, such as promoting the values of justice, freedom or community service. Many individuals will be challenged to move from the superficial and surface layer of their psyche, as Nietzsche described, and to descend deeper into the depths of their psyche.
Perhaps the Theosophical Society can play a significant role by continuing to form a nucleus of the brotherhood of humanity (the organisation’s first object) and actively promote the kind of spiritual change that will become increasingly important as values and the physical environment change.
As Mahatma Gandhi commented:
‘When I despair, I remember all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it – always.’
This article was also published in Esoterica, the journal of the Theosophical Society in England. To read Esoterica click HERE
The author wishes to share with the readers that he has been influenced by the 'Academy of Ideas' online videos.
For references click HERE