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Like all of us, presidents create in their minds personal life stories—or what psychologists call narrative identities—to explain how they came to be who they are. This process is often unconscious, involving the selective reinterpretation of the past and imagination of the future. A growing body of research in personality, developmental, and social psychology demonstrates that a life story provides adults with a sense of coherence, purpose, and continuity over time.
In middle age, George W. Key events in the story were his decision to marry a steady librarian at age 31, his conversion to evangelical Christianity in his late 30s, and his giving up alcohol forever the day after his 40th birthday party. By atoning for his sins and breaking his addiction, Bush was able to recover the feeling of control and freedom that he had enjoyed as a young boy growing up in Midland, Texas.
Extending his narrative to the story of his country, Bush believed that American society could recapture the wholesome family values and small-town decency of yesteryear, by embracing a brand of compassionate conservatism.
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On the international front, he believed that oppressed people everywhere could enjoy the same kind of God-given rights—self-determination and freedom—if they could be emancipated from their oppressors. His redemptive story helped him justify, for better and for worse, a foreign war aimed at overthrowing a tyrant. In Dreams From My Father , Barack Obama told his own redemptive life story, tracking a move from enslavement to liberation. Obama, of course, did not directly experience the horrors of slavery or the indignities of Jim Crow discrimination. Obama had already identified himself as a protagonist in this grand narrative by the time he married Michelle Robinson, at age What about Donald Trump?
What is the narrative he has constructed in his own mind about how he came to be the person he is today? And can we find inspiration there for a compelling American story? Our narrative identities typically begin with our earliest memories of childhood. Rather than faithful reenactments of the past as it actually was, these distant memories are more like mythic renderings of what we imagine the world to have been.
For Obama, there is a sense of wonder but also confusion about his place in the world. Donald Trump grew up in a wealthy s family with a mother who was devoted to the children and a father who was devoted to work. All five Trump children—Donald was the fourth—enjoyed a family environment in which their parents loved them and loved each other.
Instead, it is saturated with a sense of danger and a need for toughness: The world cannot be trusted. Fred Trump made a fortune building, owning, and managing apartment complexes in Queens and Brooklyn. On weekends, he would occasionally take one or two of his children along to inspect buildings. You have to be tough. He trained his sons to be tough competitors, because his own experience taught him that if you were not vigilant and fierce, you would never survive in business.
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There were ex—drill sergeants all over the place. Military school reinforced the strong work ethic and sense of discipline Trump had learned from his father. And it taught him how to deal with aggressive men, like his intimidating baseball coach, Theodore Dobias:. Trump has never forgotten the lesson he learned from his father and from his teachers at the academy: The world is a dangerous place. You have to be ready to fight. The same lesson was reinforced in the greatest tragedy that Trump has heretofore known—the death of his older brother at age Freddy Trump was never able to thrive in the competitive environment that his father created.
Alcoholism contributed to his early death. The greatest risk for the warrior is that he incites gratuitous violence in others, and brings it upon himself. Trump loves boxing and football, and once owned a professional football team. In the opening segment of The Apprentice , he welcomes the television audience to a brutal Darwinian world:. The story here is not so much about making money. As president, Donald Trump promises, he would make America great again.
They keep beating us. We have to beat them. Economic victory is one thing; starting and winning real wars is quite another. In some ways, Trump appears to be less prone to military action than certain other candidates. He has strongly criticized George W. David Winter, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, analyzed U.
And, as noted, his extroversion and narcissism suggest a willingness to take big risks—actions that history will remember. Tough talk can sometimes prevent armed conflict, as when a potential adversary steps down in fear. But Trump has kept this same kind of story going throughout his life. Even now, as he approaches the age of 70, he is still the warrior. Going back to ancient times, victorious young combatants enjoyed the spoils of war—material bounty, beautiful women. Trump has always been a big winner there. His life story in full tracks his strategic maneuvering in the s, his spectacular victories the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Trump Tower in the s, his defeats in the early s, his comeback later in that same decade, and the expansion of his brand and celebrity ever since.
Throughout it all, he has remained the ferocious combatant who fights to win. But what broader purpose does winning the battle serve? What higher prize will victory secure? Here the story seems to go mute. You can listen all day to footage of Donald Trump on the campaign trail, you can read his books, you can watch his interviews—and you will rarely, if ever, witness his stepping back from the fray, coming home from the battlefront, to reflect upon the purpose of fighting to win—whether it is winning in his own life, or winning for America.
But his narrative seems thematically underdeveloped compared with those lived and projected by previous presidents, and by his competitors. Although his candidacy never caught fire, Marco Rubio told an inspiring story of upward mobility in the context of immigration and ethnic pluralism. Ted Cruz boasts his own Horatio Alger narrative, ideologically grounded in a profoundly conservative vision for America.
Bernie Sanders channels a narrative of progressive liberal politics that Democrats trace back to the s, reflected both in his biography and in his policy positions. To be sure, all of these candidates are fighters who want to win, and all want to make America great again. But their life stories tell Americans what they may be fighting for, and what winning might mean. And he must relish the prospect of another big win, as the potential GOP nominee. But what principles for governing can be drawn from a narrative such as his? What guidance can such a story provide after the election, once the more nebulous challenge of actually being the president of the United States begins?
Nearly two centuries ago, President Andrew Jackson displayed many of the same psychological characteristics we see in Donald Trump—the extroversion and social dominance, the volatile temper, the shades of narcissism, the populist authoritarian appeal. Jackson was, and remains, a controversial figure in American history. Nonetheless, it appears that Thomas Jefferson had it wrong when he characterized Jackson as completely unfit to be president, a dangerous man who choked on his own rage. His life story appealed to the common man because Jackson himself was a common man—one who rose from abject poverty and privation to the most exalted political position in the land.
Amid the early rumblings of Southern secession, Jackson mobilized Americans to believe in and work hard for the Union. The populism that his detractors feared would lead to mob rule instead connected common Americans to a higher calling—a sovereign unity of states committed to democracy. Who, really, is Donald Trump? I can discern little more than narcissistic motivations and a complementary personal narrative about winning at any cost.
It is as if Trump has invested so much of himself in developing and refining his socially dominant role that he has nothing left over to create a meaningful story for his life, or for the nation. It is always Donald Trump playing Donald Trump , fighting to win, but never knowing why. Meet pint-size future grand masters at the Elementary Chess Championships.
A year ago, the year-old Swedish climate activist began striking from school each Friday to protest climate inaction; last Friday, she gave a speech to hundreds of thousands of people in New York, at the Global Climate Strike, which was inspired by her protest. It is always at least a little unfortunate to see a young person become an icon—it robs them of the privacy of growing up. But Thunberg is an especially flummoxing figure. She looks younger than her years, yet her speeches take a shaming, authoritative tone that is, at the very least, unusual for a child.
Usually the drama of an investigation lies in finding out what happened, but the drama of this investigation lies in what happens next. By the end of last week, rumors were swirling about what President Donald Trump might or might not have done to elicit a whistle-blower complaint about his conversations with a foreign leader. The president was refusing to answer questions.
It was largely corruption—all of the corruption taking place. Neither Ukraine nor Trump has produced any evidence to support that claim about the Bidens. Trump once again implicitly admitted pressuring Ukraine during remarks at the United Nations Monday. The president of the United States reportedly sought the help of a foreign government against an American citizen who might challenge him for his office.
This is the single most important revelation in a scoop by The Wall Street Journal , and if it is true, then President Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office immediately. Until now, there was room for reasonable disagreement over impeachment as both a matter of politics and a matter of tactics. The Mueller report revealed despicably unpatriotic behavior by Trump and his minions, but it did not trigger a political judgment with a majority of Americans that it warranted impeachment. The Democrats, for their part, remained unwilling to risk their new majority in Congress on a move destined to fail in a Republican-controlled Senate.
Denying a teen a smartphone in is a tough decision, and one that requires an organized and impenetrable defense. My year-old son just started high school, and he does not have his own smartphone. My son is fine, though—really. My son and his brother, one year his junior, are not living in the Dark Ages. They each have a tablet, loaded with a souped-up internet filter and time restrictions, that they use at home. My kids readily quote Ron Swanson and Dwight Schrute. They text, they Snap—but only on weekends and a little bit this past summer. What sets them apart from most of their friends is that neither of them owns a portable device connected to the internet that can be hidden in the depths of their baggy Under Armour shorts.
To be a parent is to be compromised. The organized pathologies of adults, including yours—sometimes known as politics—find a way to infect the world of children. Only they can save themselves. To hear more feature stories, see our full list or get the Audm iPhone app. Our son underwent his first school interview soon after turning 2. An admissions officer at a private school with brand-new, beautifully and sustainably constructed art and dance studios gave him a piece of paper and crayons. While she questioned my wife and me about our work, our son drew a yellow circle over a green squiggle.
Pro football can look past allegations of predatory behavior toward women, but making the NFL look bad is a different story. Hours before week three of the NFL season got under way, the recently unemployed wide receiver Antonio Brown took to Twitter, unloading a series of self-destructive tweets that may finally dissuade teams from taking him on. Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day?
Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice? She focused her attention outward, but the only presence with her was the wind.
Still her thoughts had momentarily felt alien to her. Tyler sighed. It was time to go back to the hotel. She stood up. She shifted her weight as she prepared to walk away, but she never took the step. She froze. With a chill of apprehension, Tyler realiz Tyler came out of her reverie, disquieted. With a chill of apprehension, Tyler realized someone was near, someone who could not be a conventional perceiver. Someone who had screened their presence as only another psy perceiver could screen. Someone she had almost missed, except that a couple of minutes ago the careful screening had failed for a glimmering moment.
She had dismissed it then, but not this time. A murmur of words answered her thought. Not this time. Then Tyler heard her name, but this time the voice she heard spoke only in her mind. And Tyler felt afraid because the sorrow and regret were for her. Get A Copy. Kindle Edition , pages. More Details Other Editions 1. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Psy Mind , please sign up.
Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. There seemed so many grammatical faux pas it made my initial reading very annoying. Maybe - that was part of the introduction to the futuristic story setting???? She also brings us amazing imagery of futuristic technologies that really tease the mind and makes one really 'think'.
Among my favorites: Chandra's description of the southwest landscape in Chap. I live next to a 'wash' and so have experienced this kind of scenery! Beautifully done! I found the use of 'glamour names' very distracting, again - maybe this is part of my own literary failing. View all 5 comments. It's not easy for me to suspend belief in order to read novels. In some cases rapport can be established immediately, in others rapport cannot be built up at all, in most cases it develops gradually during the course of the therapy.
It is not difficult for a psychologist to test a man's "softness" and willingness to be conditioned, and as a matter of fact the Pavlovians have developed simple questionnaires through which they can easily determine a given individual's instability and adaptability to suggestion and brainwashing. Pavlov found that all conditioning, no matter how strong it had been, became inhibited through boredom or through the repetition of too weak signals. The bell could no longer arouse salivation in the experimental dogs if it was repeated too often or its tone was too soft.
A process of unlearning took place. The result of such internal inhibition of conditioning and the loss of conditioned reflex action is sleep. The inhibition spreads over the entire activity of the brain cortex; the organism falls into a hypnotic state. This explanation of the process of inhibition was one of the first acceptable theories of sleep.
An interesting psychological question is whether too much official conditioning causes boredom and inhibition, and whether that is the reason why the Stakhanovite movement in Russia was necessary to counteract the loss of productivity of the people. We can make a comparison with what happened to our prisoners of war in Korea. Under the daily signal of dulling routine questions for every word can act as a Pavlovian signal their minds went into a state of inhibition and diminished alertness.
This made it possible for them to give up temporarily their former democratic conditioning and training. When they had unlearned and suppressed the democratic way, their inquisitors could start teaching them the totalitarian philosophy. First the old patterns have to be broken down in order to build up new conditioned reflexes. We can imagine that boredom and repetition arouse the need to give in and to yield to the provoking words of the enemy. Later I shall come back to the system of negative stimuli used in conditioning for brainwashing.
Pavlov distinguished between stimuli of the first order, which condition men and animals directly, and stimuli of the second order, with weaker and more complicated conditioning qualities.
In this so called second signal system, verbal cues replace the original physical sound stimuli. Pavlov himself did not give much attention to this second signal system. It was especially after Stalin's publication in on the significance of linguistics for mass indoctrination as quoted by Dobrogaev that the Russian psychologists began to do work in this area. In his letter, Stalin followed Engel's theory that language is the characteristic human bit of adaptive equipment. That tone and sound in speech have a conditioning quality is something we can verify from our own experience in listening to or in giving commands, or in dealing with our pets.
Even the symbolic and semantic meaning of words can acquire a conditioning quality. The word "traitor," for example, provokes direct feelings and reactions in the minds of those who hear it spoken, even if this discriminatory label is being applied dishonestly. Through an elaborate study on speech reflexes written by one of the leading Russian psychologists, Dobrogaev, we get a fairly good insight into the ways in which speech patterns and word signals are used in the service of mass conditioning, by means of propaganda and indoctrination.
The basic problems for the man tamer are rather simple: Can man resist a government bent on conditioning him? What can the individual do to protect his mental integrity against the power of a forceful collectivity? Is it possible to do away with every vestige of inner resistance? Pavlov had already explained that man's relation to the external world, and to his fellow men, is dominated by secondary stimuli, the speech symbols.
Man learns to think in words and in the speech figures given him, and these gradually condition his entire outlook on life and on the world. As Dobrogaev says, "Language is the means of man's adaptation to his environment. Dobrogaev continues: "Speech manifestations represent conditioned reflex functions of the human brain. In the Pavlovian strategy, terrorizing force can finally be replaced by a new organization of the means of communication.
Ready made opinions can be distributed day by day through press, radio, and so on, again and again, till they reach the nerve cell and implant a fixed pattern of thought in the brain. Consequently, guided public opinion is the result, according to Pavlovian theoreticians, of good propaganda technique, and the polls a verification of the temporary successful action of the Pavlovian machinations on the mind.
Yet, the polls may only count what people pretend to think and believe, because it is dangerous for them to do otherwise. This is the simple formula for political conditioning of the masses. This is also the actual ideal of some of our public relation machines, who thus hope to manipulate the public into buying a special soap or voting for a special party. The Pavlovian strategy in public relations has people conditioned more and more to ask themselves, "What do other people think? Expressed in psychoanalytic terms, through daily propagandistic noise backed up by forceful verbal cues, people can more and more be forced to identify with the powerful noisemaker.
Big Brother's voice resounds in all the little brothers. News from Red China, as reported by neutral Indian journalists See the "New York Times", November 27, tells us that the Chinese leaders are using this vocal conditioning of the public to strengthen their regime.
Throughout the country, radios and loud speakers are broadcasting the official "truths. This microphone regimentation was foreseen by the French philosopher La Rochefoucauld, who, in the eighteenth century, said: "A man is like a rabbit, you catch him by the ears. I saw their strategy at work in Holland. The radio constantly spread political suggestions and propaganda, and people were obliged to listen because the simple act of turning off one's radio was in itself suspicious. I remember one day during the occupation when I was taking a bicycle trip with some friends.
We stopped off to rest at a cafe that, we later realized, was a true Nazi nest. When the radio, which had been on ever since we arrived, announced a speech by Hitler, everyone stood up in awe, and it was a must to take in the verbal conditioning by the Fuhrer. My friends and I had to stand up too, and were forced to listen to that raucous voice crackling in our ears and to summon all our resistance against that long, boring, repetitive attack on our eardrums and minds. Throughout the occupation, the Nazis printed tons of propaganda, Big Lies, and distortions.
They even went so far as to paint their slogans on the stoops of the houses and in the streets. Every week newly fabricated stereotypes ogled at us as if to convince us of the splendour of the Third Reich. But the Nazis did not know the correct Pavlovian strategy. By satisfying their own need to discuss and to vary their arguments in order to make them seem more logical, they only increased the resistance of the Dutch people.
This resistance was additionally fortified by the London radio, on which the Dutch could hear the sane voice of their own legal government. Had the Nazis not argued and justified so much, and had they been able to prevent all written, printed, or spoken communication, the long period of boredom would have inhibited our democratic conditioning, and we might well have been more seduced by the Nazi oversimplifications and slogans.
It is more than that. It is tampering. It is taking possession of both the simplest and the most complicated nervous patterns of man. It is the battle for the possession of the nerve cells. It is coercion and enforced conversion. Instead of conditioning man to an unbiased facing of reality, the seducer conditions him to catchwords, verbal stereotypes, slogans, formulas, symbols.
Pavlovian strategy in the totalitarian sense means imprinting prescribed reflexes on a mind that has been broken down. The totalitarian wants first the required response from the nerve cells, then control of the individual, and finally control of the masses.
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The system starts with verbal conditioning and training by combining the required stereotypes with negative or positive stimuli: pain, or reward. In the P. The moment the soldier conformed to the party line his food ration was improved: say yes, and I'll give you a piece of candy! The whole gamut of negative stimuli, as we saw them in the Schwable case, consists of physical pressure, moral pressure, fatigue, hunger, boring repetition, confusion by seemingly logical syllogisms.
Many victims of totalitarianism have told me in interviews that the most upsetting experience they faced in the concentration camps was the feeling of loss of logic, the state of confusion into which they had been brought the state in which nothing had any validity. They had arrived at the Pavlovian state of inhibition, which psychiatrists call mental disintegration or depersonalization.
It seemed as if they had unlearned all their former responses and had not yet adopted new ones. But in reality they simply did not know what was what. The Pavlovian theory translated into a political method, as a way of levelling the mind the Nazis called it "Gleichschaltung" is the stock in trade of totalitarian countries.
Some psychiatric points are of interest because we see that Pavlovian training can be used successfully only when special mental conditions prevail. In order to tame people into the desired pattern, victims must be brought to a point where they have lost their alert consciousness and mental awareness. Freedom of discussion and free intellectual exchange hinder conditioning.
Feelings of terror, feelings of fear and hopelessness, of being alone, of standing with one's back to the wall, must be instilled. The treatment of American prisoners of war in the Korean P. They were compelled to listen to lectures and other forms of daily word barrage. The very fact that they did not understand the lectures and were bored by the long sessions inhibited their democratic training, and conditioned them to swallow passively the bitter doctrinal diet, for the prisoners were subjected not only to a political training program, but also to an involuntary taming program.
To some degree the Communist propaganda lectures were directed toward retraining the prisoners' minds. Experiments with animals and experiences with human beings have taught us that threat, tension, and anxiety, in general, may accelerate the establishment of conditioned responses, particularly when those responses tend to diminish fear and panic Spence and Farber.
The emergency of prison camp life and mental torture provide ideal circumstances for such conditioning. The responses can develop even when the victim is completely unaware that he is being influenced. Thus, many of our soldiers developed automatic responses of which they remained completely unconscious Segal. But this is only one side of the coin, for experience has also shown that people who know what to expect under conditions of mental pressure can develop a so called perceptual defense, which protects them from being influenced.
This means that the more familiar people are with the concepts of thought control and menticide, the more they understand the nature of the propaganda barrage directed against them, the more inner resistance they can put up, even though inevitably some of the inquisitor's suggestions will leak through the barrier of conscious mental defense.
Our understanding of the conditioning process leads us also to an understanding of some of the paradoxical reactions found among victims of concentration camps and other prisoners.
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Often those with a rigid, simple belief were better able to withstand the continual barrage against their minds than were the flexible, sophisticated ones, full of doubt and inner conflicts. The simple man with deep rooted, freely absorbed religious faith could exert a much greater inner resistance than could the complex, questioning intellectualist.
The refined intellectual is much more handicapped by the internal pros and cons. In totalitarian countries, where belief in Pavlovian strategy has assumed grotesque proportions, the self thinking, subjective man has disappeared. There is an utter rejection of any attempt at persuasion or discussion.
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Individual self expression is taboo. Private affection is taboo. Peaceful exchange of free thoughts in free conversation will disturb the conditioned reflexes and is therefore taboo. No longer are there any brains, only conditioned patterns and educated muscles. In such a taming system neurotic compulsion is looked upon as a positive asset instead of something pathological. The mental automaton becomes the ideal of education.
Yet the Soviet theoreticians themselves are often unaware of this, and many of them do not realize the dire consequences of subjecting man to a completely mechanistic conditioning. They themselves are often just as frightened as we are by the picture of the perfectly functioning human robot. This is what one of their psychologists says: "The entire reactionary nature of this approach to man is completely clear. Man is an automaton who can be caused to act as one wills! This is the ideal of capitalism!
Behold the dream of capitalism the world over a working class without consciousness, which cannot think for itself, whose actions can be trained according to the whim of the exploiter! This is the reason why it is in America, the bulwark of present day capitalism, that the theory of man as a robot has been so vigorously developed and so stubbornly held to. It is apparent to us that their simple explanation of training ignores and rejects the concept of purposeful adaptation and the question of the goals to which this training is directed.
Western experimental psychologists tend to see the conditioned reflex as developing fully only in the service of gratifying basic instinctual needs or of avoiding pain, that is, only when the whole organism is concerned in the activity. In that complicated process of response to the world, conscious, and especially unconscious, drives and motivations play a role. All training, of which the conditioned response is only one example, is an automatization of actions which were originally consciously learned and thought over.
The ideal of Western democratic psychology is to train men into independence and maturity by enlisting their conscious aid, awareness, and volition in the learning process. The ideal of the totalitarian psychology, on the other hand, is to tame men, to make them willing tools in the hands of their leaders. Like training, taming has the purpose of making actions automatic; unlike training, it does not require the conscious participation of the learner.
Both training and taming are energy and timesaving devices, and in both the mystery of the psyche is hidden in the purposefulness of the responses.
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The automatization of functions in man saves him expenditure of energy but can make him weaker when encountering new unexpected challenges. Cultural routinization and habit formation by local rules and myths make of everybody a partial automaton. National and racial prejudices are acted out unwittingly. Group hatred often bursts out almost automatically when triggered by slogans and catchwords. In a totalitarian world, this narrow disciplinarian conditioning is done more "perfectly" and more "ad absurdum. This kind of conditioning occurs everywhere where people are together in common interaction.
The speaker influences the listener, but the listener also the speaker. Through the process of conditioning people often learn to like and to do what they are allowed to like and do. The more isolated the group, the stricter the conditioning that takes place in those belonging to the group. In some groups one finds people more capable than others of conveying suggestion and bringing about conditioning.
Gradually one can discern the stronger ones, the better adjusted ones, the more experienced ones, and those noisier ones, whose ability to condition others is strongest. Every group, every club, every society has its leading Pavlovian Bell. This kind of person imprints his inner bell ringing on others. He can even develop a system of monolithic bell ringing: no other influential bell is allowed to compete with him.
Another subtler question belongs to these problems. Why is there in us so great an urge to be conditioned, the urge to learn, to imitate, to conform, and to follow the pattern of family and group? This urge to be conditioned, to submit to the communal pattern and the family pattern must be related to man's dependency on parents and fellow men.
Animals are not so dependent on one another. In the whole animal kingdom man is one of the most helpless and naked beings. But among the animals man has, relatively, the longest youth and time for learning. Puzzlement and doubt, which inevitably arise in the training process, are the beginnings of mental freedom. Of course, the initial puzzlement and doubt is not enough.
Behind that there has to be faith in our democratic freedoms and the will to fight for it. I hope to come back to this central problem of faith in moral freedom as differentiated from conditioned loyalty and servitude in the last chapter. Puzzlement and doubt are, however, already crimes in the totalitarian state.
The mind that is open for questions is open for dissent. In the totalitarian regime the doubting, inquisitive, and imaginative mind has to be suppressed. The totalitarian slave is only allowed to memorize, to salivate when the bell rings. It is not my task here to elaborate on the subject of the biased use of Pavlovian rules by totalitarians, but without doubt part of the interpretation of any psychology is determined by the ways we think about our fellow human beings and man's place in nature.
If our ideal is to make conditioned zombies out of people, the current misuse of Pavlovianism will serve our purpose. But once we become even vaguely aware that in the totalitarian picture of man the characteristic human note is missing, and when see that in such a scheme man sacrifices his instinctual desires, his pleasures, his aims, his goals, his creativity, his instinct for freedom, his paradoxicality, we immediately turn against this political perversion of science. Such use of Pavlovian technique is aimed only at developing the automaton in man, not his free alert mind that is aware of moral goals and aims in life.
When, during a bell food training session, the dog's beloved master entered the room, the animal lost all its previous conditioning and began to bark excitedly. Here is a simple example of an age old truth: love and laughter break through all rigid conditioning. The rigid automaton cannot exist without spontaneous self expression.
Apparently, the fact that the dog's spontaneous affection for his master could ruin all the mechanical calculations and manipulations never occurred to Pavlov's totalitarian students. There are many other human habits and actions which have a coercive influence.
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All kinds of rumours have been circulated telling how brainwashees, before surrendering to their inquisitor, have been poisoned with mysterious drugs. This chapter aims to describe what medical techniques -- not only drugs -- can do to reach behind man's inner secrets. Actually the thought-control police no longer need drugs, though occasionally they have been used. I will touch upon another side to this problem as well, namely, our dangerous social dependence on various drugs, the problem of addiction, making it easier for us to slip into the pattern of submissiveness.
The alcoholic has no mental backbone any more when you give him his drink. The same is true for the chronic user of sedatives or other pills. The use of alcohol or drugs may result in a chemical dependency, weakening our stamina under exceptional circumstances. In the field of practical medicine, magic thinking is still rampant.
Though we flatter ourselves that we are rational and logical in our choice of therapy, somewhere we know that hidden feelings and unconscious motivations direct the prescribing hand. In spite of the therapeutic triumphs of the last fifty years since , the era of chemotherapy and antibiotics, let us not forget that the same means of medical victory can be used to defeat our purposes.
No day passes that the mail does not flood the doctor's office with suggestions about what to use in his clinical practice. My desk overflows with gadgets and multicoloured pills telling me that without them mankind cannot be happy. The propaganda campaign reaching our medical eyes and ears is often so laden with suggestions that we can be persuaded to distribute sedatives and stimulants where straight critical thinking would deter us and we would seek the deeper causes of the difficulties.
This is true not only for modern pharmacotherapy; the same tendencies can also be shown in psychotherapeutic methods. This chapter aims to approach the problem of mental coercion with the question: How compulsive can the use of medical drugs and medical and psychological methods become? In the former chapters on menticide I was able to describe political attempts to bring the human mind into submission and servility.
Drugs and their psychological equivalents are also able to enslave people. In the ecstatic state, man arranges the universe according to his own desires and, at the same time, seeks communion with the Higher Order of things. But the ecstatic state has its negative as well as its positive aspects. It may represent the Yogi's mystic feeling of unity with the universe, but it may also mean the chronic intoxicated state of the drunkard or the passion of some manic psychotic states.
The feeling may express the intensified spiritual experience of a dedicated study group, but, on the other hand, it may be encountered in the lynch mob and the riot. There are many kinds of ecstasy -- aesthetic ecstasy, mystic ecstasy, and sick, toxic ecstasy. The search for ecstatic experience is not only an individual search, it often reaches out to encompass whole groups.
When moral controls become too burdensome, whole civilizations may give themselves up to uncontrolled orgies such as we saw in the Greek Bacchanalia and the contagious dance-fury of the Middle Ages. In these mass orgies, artificial stimulants are not necessarily used. The hypnotic influence of being part of the crowd can induce the same loss of control and sense of union with the outside world that we associate with drugs. In the mass orgy the individual loses his conscience and self-control. His sexual inhibitions may disappear; he is temporarily relieved of his deep frustrations and the burden of unconscious guilt.
He endeavours to experience the blissful sensations of utter yielding to his own body needs and desires. The ecstatic participation in mass elation is the oldest psychodrama in the world. Taking part in some common action results in a tremendous emotional relief and catharsis for every individual in the group. This feeling of participation in the magic omnipotent group, of reunion and communion with the all-embracing forces in the world brings euphoria to the normal person and feelings of pseudo-strength to the weak.
The demagogue who is able to provide such ecstatic release in the masses can be sure of their yielding to his influence and power. Dictators love to organize such mass rituals in the service of their dictatorial aims. Ever since man has been a conscious being, he has tried from time to time to break down the inevitable tension between himself and the outside world. When mental alertness cannot be relaxed now and then, when the world is too much and too constantly with him, man may try to lose himself in the deep waters of oblivion.
Ecstasy, drugged sleep, and its fantasies and swoons of mental exaltation temporarily take him beyond the burdensome effort of keeping his senses and ego alert and intact. Drugs can bring him to this state, and any addiction may be explained as a continuing need to escape. In criminal circles addicting drugs like cocaine and heroin are often given to members of the gang in order to make them more submissive to the leader who distributes them.
The man who provides the drug becomes almost a god to the members of the gang. They will go through hell in order to acquire the drug they so desperately need. In the hands of a powerful tyrant, this medication into dependency can become extremely dangerous. It is not unthinkable that a diabolical dictator might want to use addiction as a means of bringing a rebellious people into submission. In May, , during a discussion in the World Health Organization, the fact was disclosed that Communist China, while forbidding the use of opium in her own country, was smuggling and exporting it in great quantities to her neighbours, who have consequently been compelled to carry on a constant struggle against opium addiction among their own people and against the passivity which results from use of the drug.
At the same time, according to officials of Thailand who made the charge and requested U. Thailand charged that the Chinese were using every device they know to infect the Siamese people with their ideology: brainweakening opium addiction, leaflets, radio, whispering campaigns, and so on. The Nazis followed a similar strategy.
During the occupation of Western Europe, they created an artificial shortage of normal medicaments by halting their usual export of healing drugs to the "inferior" countries. However, they made an exception in the case of barbiturates. In Holland, for example, these drugs were made readily available in many drugstores without doctors' prescriptions, a situation which was against customary Dutch law.
Although the right therapeutic drugs were not made available for medical work, the drugs which created passivity, dependence, and lethargy were widely distributed. The totalitarian dictator knows that drugs can be his helpers. It was Hitler's intention, in his so-called biological warfare, to weaken and subdue the countries that surrounded the Third Reich, and to break their backbones for good.
Hunger and addiction were among his most valuable tools. What has all this to do with the growing addiction and alcoholism in our own country? I have already mentioned the alarming increases in death from barbiturates. But I would like to emphasize even more the psychological and political consequences.
Democracy and freedom end where slavery and submission to drugs and alcohol begin.
Democracy involves free, self-chosen activity and understanding; it means mature self-control and independence. Any man who escapes from reality through the use of alcohol and drugs is no longer a free agent; he is no longer able to exert any voluntary control over his mind and his actions. He is no longer a self- responsible individual. Alcoholism and drug addiction prepare the pattern of mental submission so beloved by the totalitarian brainwasher. Modern brainwashers, too, have tried all kinds of drugs to arrive at their devious objectives.
The primitive medicine man had several methods of compelling his victim to lose his self-control and reserve. Alcoholic drinks, toxic ointments, or permeating holy smoke which had a narcotizing effect, as used by the Mayas, for example, were used to bring people into such a state of rapture that they lost their self-awareness and restraint.
The victims, murmuring sacred words, often revealed their self-accusing fantasies or even their deepest secrets. In the Middle Ages, so-called witch ointments were used either voluntarily or under pressure. These ointments were supposed to bring the anointed into touch with the devil. Since they contained opiates and belladonna in large quantities, which could have been absorbed by the skin, modern science can explain the ecstatic visions they evoked as the typical hallucination-provoking effect of these drugs. One of the first useful techniques medicine delivered into the hands of the prier - into souls was the knowledge of hypnosis, that intensified mental suggestion that makes people give up their own will and brings them into a strange dependency on the hypnotizer.
The Egyptian doctors of three thousand years ago knew the technique of hypnosis, and ancient records tell us that they practiced it. There are many quacks who practice hypnosis, not to cure their victims but to force them into submission, using the victim's unconscious ties and dependency needs in a criminal, profitable way. One of the most absorbing aspects of this whole problem of hypnosis is the question of whether people can be forced to commit crimes, such as murder or treason, while under a hypnotic spell.
Many psychologists would deny that such a thing could happen and would insist that no person can be compelled to do under hypnosis what he would refuse to do in a state of alert consciousness. But actually what a person can be compelled to do depends on the degree of dependency that hypnosis causes and the frequency of repetition of the so-called posthypnotic suggestions. Actual psychoanalysis teaches that there even exist several other devices to live other people's lives. True, no hypnotizer can take away a man's conscience and inner resistance immediately, but he can arouse the latent murderous wishes which may become active in his victim's unconscious by continual suggestion and continual playing upon those deeply repressed desires.
Actual knowledge of methods used in brainwashing and menticide proves that all this can be done. If the hypnotizer persists long enough and cleverly enough, he can be successful in his aim. There are many antisocial desires lying hidden in all people. The hypnotic technique, if cleverly enough applied, can bring them to the surface and cause them to be acted out in life. Psychological study of criminals shows that their first violation of moral and legal codes often takes place under the strong influence and suggestion of other criminals.
This we may look upon as an initial form of hypnosis, which is a more intensified form of suggestion. True, the incitement to crime in a hypnotic state demands specially favourable conditions, but unfortunately these conditions can be found in the real and actual world. Recently there has been much judicial discussion of the problem of the psychiatrist who uses his special knowledge of suggestion to force a confession from a defendant.
Such a psychiatrist is going beyond the commonly accepted concepts of the limitations of psychiatry and beyond psychiatric ethics. He is misusing the patient's trust in the medical confidant and therapist in order to provoke a confession, which will then be used against the patient temporarily in his care. In so doing, the doctor not only acts against his Hippocratic oath, in which he promised only to work for the good of his patients and never to disclose his professional secrets, he also violates the constitutional safeguards accorded a defendant by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which protects a man against self-incrimination.
What a defendant will reveal under hypnosis depends on his conscious and unconscious attitudes toward the entire question of magic influence and mental intrusion by another person. People are usually less likely to stand on their legal rights in dealing with a doctor than in dealing with a lawyer or a policeman. They have a yielding attitude because they expect magic help. An interesting example of this can be seen in a case that was recently decided by the Supreme Court. In , Camilio Weston Leyra, a man in his fifties, was arrested and accused by the police of the brutal hammer murder of his aged parents in their Brooklyn flat "People v.
At first, under prolonged questioning by the police, Leyra denied any knowledge of the crime and stated that he had not even been at his parents' home on the day of the murder. Later, after further interrogation by the police, he said he had been at their home that day, but he remained firm in his denial of the murder. He was detained in jail, and a psychiatrist was brought in to talk to him. Their conversation was recorded on tape. The psychiatrist told Leyra that he was "his doctor," although in fact he was not.
Under slight hypnosis and after continued suggestion that Leyra would be better off if he admitted to having committed the murder in a fit of passion, Leyra agreed to confess to the crime. The police were called back in, and the confession was taken down. During his trial, Leyra repudiated the confession, insisting that he had been under hypnosis. He was convicted, but the conviction was set aside on the grounds that the confession had been wrested from him involuntarily, and that his constitutional safeguards had been denied him.
Later, Leyra was brought to trial and convicted a second time. Finally his case was appealed to the Supreme Court, which reversed the conviction in June, , on the grounds that mental pressure and coercive psychiatric techniques had been used to induce the confession. The Supreme Court gave its opinion here, indirectly, of the responsibility of the brainwashed P. Suggestion and hypnosis are considered by some to be a psychological blessing, but they can also be the beginning of terror.
Mass hypnosis, for example, can have a dangerous influence on the individual. Psychiatrists have found several times that public demonstrations of mass hypnosis may provoke an increased hypnotic dependency and submissiveness in many members of the audience that can last for years.
Largely for this reason Great Britain has passed a law making seances and mass hypnotism illegal. Hypnosis may act as a trigger mechanism for a repressed dependency need in the victim and turn him temporarily into a kind of waking sleep- walker and mental slave. The hypnotic command relieves him of his personal responsibility, and he surrenders much of his conscience to his hypnotizer. As we mentioned before, our own times have provided us with far too many examples of how political hypnosis, mob hypnosis, and even war hypnosis can turn civilized men into criminals. Some personalities are more amenable to hypnosis than others.