When all forms of control are taken away from an individual, when he has nothing to lose, the only way to reinstate the sense of being in control, of shaping his surroundings, of having an impact is that of destruction. Continue reading “Destruction as a Way of “Taking Back Control””
How long would you enjoy playing a video game that has no rules? Or one that has but doesn’t let you know? Or it does, but it doesn’t tell you what your objective should be. Or the obstacles you should overcome.
I thought so.
The need to eliminate the sense of helplessness and to reinstate the sense of control explains many forms of, seemingly irrational, political behaviors. As a priority, getting rid of the feeling of helplessness beats many conscious and logical needs a voter could act upon.
The first way someone can try to do away with the sense of helplessness is gaining information edge.
Authoritarian thinking is a deep-seated thinking habit with easily identifiable symptoms visible on the surface. It is the fast thinking behind unfreedom – a society giving up on freedom and retreating into a self-destructing spiral. It is an unintended, unwritten, involuntarily developed thinking habit that kicks into action before people even start rational reasoning.
Here are 12 of them. Continue reading “12 Symptoms of Authoritarian Thinking”
“Dangerous ideologies erupt when these faculties fall into toxic combinations. Someone theorizes that infinite good can be attained by eliminating a demonized or dehumanized group. A kernel of like-minded believers spreads the idea by punishing disbelievers. Clusters of people are swayed or intimidated into endorsing it. Skeptics are silenced or isolated. Self-serving rationalizations allow people to carry out the scheme against what should be their better judgment.”
…the really big body counts in history pile up when a large number of people carry out a motive that transcends any one of them: an ideology. Like predatory or instrumental violence, ideological violence is a means to an end. But with an ideology, the end is idealistic: a conception of the greater good.”
In the first part of the post we described how ideas become more polarised and opinion groups have a tendency to become more extreme in their opinions over time. In the end a great many people may end up conforming with an unpopular view – even if it contradicts their own eyes. Continue reading “How To Spread An Unpopular Ideology?”
One of the symptoms of unfree thinking is conditional morality – the view that one cannot afford to apply everyday moral standards under the circumstances. So when they look for guidance as to what is right and wrong, the will of the oppressor will fill the gap left behind by morality.
It is often covered up by cynicism, which is an obvious façade for the underlying sense of helplessness. Rebranding things from “I don’t even try” to “It couldn’t be done” is a way to rationalize as well as to pose as competent in the face of the crippling sense of helplessness. Continue reading “Conditional Morality And Cynicism In The Authoritarian Mind”
“A state, is called the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly lieth it also; and this lie creepeth from its mouth: “I, the state, am the people.” … Where there is still a people, there the state is not understood, but hated as the evil eye, and as sin against laws and customs.”
— Nietzsche – Thus Spoke Zarathustra
The human mind abhors the absence of control – and does everything in its power to avoid the sense of helplessness. When it cannot avoid it, it performs mind tricks to not to have to acknowledge it. One of these tricks is never seeking fault in the stronger, and never taking the side of the underdog, not even by accident. If you happen to agree with the stronger, there is no need to intervene. Lucky because you couldn’t do it if you wanted to.
Victim blaming and seeking fault in the underdog in general are mental efforts to maintain the illusion of control. Victim blaming is just its most conspicuous symptom, but disdain for the weak and the underdog is not limited to that. Continue reading “You Blame Them Because You Can’t Help Them”
We regard freedom as a luxury, only to be sought when all else is safe and secure – but it may be the other way around. The lack of freedom makes it harder to make money – and secure our livelihood. And ultimately, the lack of political freedom makes it hard to breathe – ask political prisoners hung for their views. Continue reading “Where Is Freedom in the Hierarchy of Needs?”