Good Times, Bad Times 1: The Hysteroidal Cycle
A society can be the custodian of a vast quantity of knowledge, but if that knowledge is not spread out, held, and utilized by the entire population, it can do little good. It remains theoretical and is not applied. If the knowledge remains concentrated in the hands of the few, it has the same consequences as the concentration of money, resources, or business ownership in the hands of a few. It becomes a lever of power and oppression, not freedom and justice. A monopoly of knowledge is created.
Such is the situation in the United States today. A small few have real knowledge of what is going on in the world. The others are fed a diet of lies, half-truths, and wishful thinking.
In the first four articles of this series, we looked at the players who are running the United States from the point of view of political ponerology. For convenience, we call them the insiders. We saw in the second article that this type of person was also found in our everyday lives. Then we took a look at the insider enablers, that is, the insider wannabes, those people in society who form the support base for power.
We noted that the core group of insiders suffer from different forms of pathological traits that are genetic in some individuals, due to accidents that affected the brain in others, and the result of societal influence in still others, or perhaps a mixture in some cases. Among the genetic deviants I include essential psychopaths. Those created by society are commonly known as sociopaths.
The wannabes have been infected by certain pathological forms of thought that leave them open to influence by the snake charmers in the first group. Rather than having developed their own capacity for critical thinking and analysis, the wannabes are lost in a sea of slogans and ready-made formulae taken from the mainstream media that they mindlessly repeat as explanations for everything. These solutions have no basis in reality.
Finally, we looked at the notion of reality itself and saw that psychopaths believe they can create reality by fiat; by merely declaring a thing to be so, they can call it into existence. We gave an example of this type of thinking from an insider at the Bush White House.
We will now begin looking at the social implications of the arrival of such types to positions of power. We will step back from the individuals and look at society as a whole.
Look at the news delivered via the mainstream media. The American people are told nothing but lies about the actual situation in Iraq, from the true numbers of US soldiers and Iraqi citizens killed and wounded to the long-term goal of the US occupation. We are also told lies about our history and the history of the world. Unfortunately, too many people are not interested in the truth. They have other concerns, and as long as they are unable to see the the effects of these lies on their own lives, they won't change. They won't be able to make such connections until their own daily lives are disrupted in some way, preventing them from carrying on as they are. Then the people, the outsiders, will start to ask questions.
Some observers have suggested that societies and countries, like the individuals that make them up, pass in cycles from good times to bad times and back again. They have called this pattern of change the hysteroidal cycle, from the psychological definition of hysteria: a psychological state of uncontrollable fear or exaggerated excitability. Here it is being used to describe "fear of truth" or fear of thinking about unpleasant things so as to not "rock the boat" of current contentment.
When a country is in a period of "good times", the search for truth, especially the unpleasant ones, makes people uncomfortable because it asks them to give up their comforts, hard-won after a period of crisis. Rather than peer under the surface of the illusion, people want to relax and think only about pleasant things. They begin to eliminate unpleasant data from their thinking, and, before long, it has become a habit. The trouble is, thought process based upon such limited information cannot be correct. They can only produce correct conclusions by accident. Unfortunately, because the pathologized thinking process has become internalized, ever more convenient premises must be substituted to patch over the errors in thinking.
After the Second World War, Americans benefited from a long period of economic growth. The fruits were more evenly distributed than they are today. Real incomes rose. Jobs were much more secure, on the whole, than today. The fact is, however, that this growth was based upon the exploitation of the US's new economic colonies. American's benefited at the expense of people elsewhere. However, to point out this fact at the time was to invite accusations of being a communist. During good times, people don't want bad news, even if it is true.
Another example of this is the view of Arabs and Muslims propagated in the US media. The US has a blatantly one-sided approach in the Middle East that comes down to: Israel can do no wrong; the Arabs can do no right. The only way this lie can be sold is to portray the Arabs as more and more bloodthirsty and bestial, all for no reason at all, simply because "They hate our freedoms", as Bush Jr. put it.
The actual atrocities committed against Arabs are hidden, swept away, and eliminated from our thinking in order to make the victims appear crazed and inhuman and deserving of abuse, violence, and even genocide. They are portrayed as if they are calling it upon themselves rather than reacting to injustices committed against them.
During bad times, on the contrary, faced with mounting difficulties, unable to continue to live in the old ways, people are open to new ideas in their search for solutions to current problems. People are more willing to look problems in the face and to accept unpleasant truths about themselves and their country because the falsity of the old ideas has been made apparent. The old ideas have run into the wall of reality and have been cracked or shattered.
Here is how psychologist Andrew Łobaczewski describes the process:
During "good" times, the search for truth becomes uncomfortable because it reveals inconvenient factors. It is better to think about easier and more pleasant things. Unconscious elimination of data which are, or appear to be, inexpedient gradually turns into habit, and then becomes a custom accepted by society at large. The problem is that any thought process based on such truncated information cannot possibly give rise to correct conclusions; it further leads to subconscious substitution of inconvenient premises by more convenient ones, thereby approaching the boundaries of psychopathology.
Such contented periods, which are often rooted in some injustice to other people or nations, start to strangle the capacity for individual and societal consciousness; subconscious factors take over a decisive role in life. Such a society, already infected by the hysteroidal state, considers any perception of uncomfortable truth to be a sign of "ill-breeding"... In such times, the capacity for logical and disciplined thought, born of necessity during difficult times, begins to fade. When communities lose the capacity for psychological reason and moral criticism, the processes of generation of evil are intensified at every social scale, whether individual or macrosocial, until they revert to "bad times"...
When a few generations worth of "good-time" insouciance results in societal deficit as regards psychological skill and moral criticism, it paves the way for pathological plotters, snake-charmers, and even more primitive impostors to act and merge into the process of the origination of evil as essential factors in its synthesis... Those times which many people later recall as the "good old days" thus provide fertile soil for future tragedy because of the progressive devolution of moral, intellectual, and personality values which give rise to Rasputin-like eras. [Andrew Łobaczewski, Political Ponerology: A science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes.]
The final point Łobaczewski is making above is that the intellectual and psychological poverty of a society after several generations of "good times" allows snake charmers and pathological plotters such as the Bush gang (following the Clinton gang) to come to power. Think of the glaring and outrageous lies that fall from the lips of the president. He appears to be completely unconcerned that what he says is not true.
And, unfortunately, so does a large portion of the populace.
They do not have the psychological knowledge necessary to see that the president of their country, as well as those around him, are pathological deviants. Excuses are found and served up hot daily through the mainstream media. Moreover, ordinary people project their own "goodness" onto people who have no such qualities.
However, since the leaders are living in their own reality, as we discussed in the last article, circumstances in the country deteriorate. Reality does eventually reassert itself. The daily life of the people, the outsiders, worsens. Eventually something snaps and individuals begin to ask questions again. The shocks that have been delivered to the Iraqis or the Palestinians begin to fall on those at home. They are awoken from their slumber. They wonder why and how things could have gotten so bad. They wonder why it is that they work 50 or more weeks a year while people in other countries have five or six weeks of paid vacation. They wonder why all the jobs are being sent overseas, why people who have studied for years to get a diploma cannot find work that allows them to apply what they know, or why it is that the house they purchased last year is now worth less than they paid.
They look for answers.
That moment marks the upturn. While conditions may continue to deteriorate for some time, the important moment comes when people begin asking "why?" because that is the moment when the outsiders begin to take power back into their own hands.
Of course, the insiders are well aware of this process and have taken things into hand to ensure that the shocks are so great that the population is too traumatized to even ask questions. We'll look at that process next