Weird Psyience – Conspiracy, Totalitarianism and Propaganda

"The Origins of Totalitarianism" by: Hannah Arendt

By: Jay

Most people do not think of “science” as something coming under the auspices of propaganda and manipulation.  However, as Hannah Arendt shows in her masterful work, The Origins of Totalitarianism, the philosopher highlights several examples from Soviet and Nazi propaganda use of “science.”  This is not to say there is no science, but rather that the given corridors of power are only going to support the “science” that supports the present regime itself.  Thus, race was outlawed in the Soviet Union, and any facts that contradicted the Nazi ideology, such as the downfall of the Reich, were illegal in Nazism.  Psychology and advertising become tools of the totalitarian scheme to further the Gospel of the regime – the deification of the race, or the classless utopia the dialectical material processes of historical forces have been working towards.  Both ideologies include an eschatology and a promise of salvation, and as such function like Roman Catholicism, with an infallible leader.

Conspiracy, in these systems, becomes the ideology of the enemy.  Arendt mentions the Nazis using the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, as well as the Bolsheviks using the conspiracy of the 300 ruling families, the conspiracy of the MI5/6/CIA controlling all world events, etc.  The adopting of the conspiracies need not be perfectly consistent, either, so long as they have an explanatory power that is useful for the immediate time, since the masses have little memory of the past, and it need not matter if the prevailing conspiracy of a decade earlier is not consistent with the present conspiracy.  For example, consider the threat of the Soviets of the Cold War, which magically disappeared and morphed into the threat of international terrorism.  Where were the Jihadis before they were radicalized under Carter’s administration?  I thought the Jihad went back to Mohammed himself.  Similarly, where did all the Soviets go?  Did they magically all adopt global capitalism after the “wall fell”?

In reality, as Arendt’s chapter on propaganda shows, all of these threats are manufactured, controlled, created, guided, or allowed to have some autonomy, within a certain predetermined sphere.   This is the game of global power blocs, and mass psychological warfare and the control of “conspiracy theories” is crucial.  The government and any given regime is not opposed to conspiracy theories – in fact, governments thrive from paranoia.   What is key is causing the masses to accept a certain propagandized conspiracy theory.   At present, global terrorism is the poster child.  And the masses still largely buy into this narrative.  History, then, must be controlled by the regime, and no errors or mistakes can be admitted, beyond a feigned incompetence of some patsy.  In fact, the historians, academics, and “scientists” all magically seem to tote the line, generally, of the regime in power.   When global finance capital becomes the enshrined global power, the academic sectors magically support the Gospel of the system’s salvation and prosperity, unless they are part of the controlled opposition, which is crucial in any empire.  Continue reading

The Good of Metaphysics and the Sophists

Aristotle's Masterful "Metaphysics"

By: Jay

For Aristotle, the starting point of Wisdom, or philosophy, was metaphysics.  Modernity has more or less rejected metaphysics in its quest for self-destruction.  But metaphysics will never go away, because metaphysics is reality itself – the study of the totality of what is.  Metaphysics is the starting point in terms of actual foundations of knowledge and presupposition, yet comes at the end of the process of pedagogy, as it is the highest science.   Nowadays, aside from some continental philosophers who follow in the train of genius writers like Husserl, theoria and metaphysics have been jettisoned for pragmatism, post-modernism and other forms of nonsense that Ayn Rand aptly describes as the self-destruction of philosophy.  There is a long train of contributors to this gradual decline.

Unfortunately, certain basic flaws in Aristotle’s own position led to the decline, particularly his adoption of empiricism.  Aristotle cut the world off from the possibility of any other world or reality or dimension, and while it took a millennia or two, this ultimately resulted in materialism, positivism and then, the tossing out of all meaning and purpose.  In fact, that last notion was crucial for early moderns like Bacon who did have legitimate scruples with Aristotle.  Aristotle had adopted several ideas about the natural world from tradition, such as that the heavens are perfectly unchanged, static realities, or that rocks have an essential quality of “going downward.”   Bacon rightly laughed at this, but Bacon didn’t foresee that tossing out Aristotle’s final cause, or telos, would result in the total collapse of philosophy.

The place of Thomas Aquinas can also not be forgotten in this chain.  Aquinas followed suit with an Aristotelian-Platonic synthesis (so he thought), which placed human reasoning on an independent basis that never touched the divine, since the absolutely simple divine essence, within which the divine archetypes upon which even “natural” reasoning was based, were never accessed by the mind of man in this life.  He held this because of his idea of simplicity, which was such that the divinity, which is also the ground of human knowledge, never interacts with or connects to the abstracted phantasms in man’s mind, since the exemplars themselves are “in the divine essence” is a “First Cause” that is always only able to “reveal” itself by created effects in this life.  Bacon departed from these ideas, and turned to a more consistent (so he thought) empiricism.  Continue reading