Thursday 26 January 2023

Why do most people respond so willingly and cheerfully to "scare tactics, emotional blackmail, shifting goal posts and gaslightning"?

Commenter AnteB made a very incisive point in discussing William Wildblood's fascinating account of his conversation with a peck enthusiast. 

The most difficult thing for me is to understand how so few people, Christian or not, resisted a campaign that was so clearly manipulative and coercive. A whole battery of scare tactics, emotional blackmail, shifting goal posts and gaslightning were employed but few seemed to care or even register that something was out of place.

This expresses exactly my own incredulity and disgust at the behaviour of... well, nearly everybody in The West! 

Clearly this behaviour was not limited to the issue of the birdemic-peck; but reflects a fixed mental and psychological habit of The West

We have reached a point where the mass of people - including especially the intellectual middle classes (who are the most passively credulous of all population sectors) - will believe and act-upon any-thing that is monolithically presented by bureaucratic officialdom and the mass media.


Anything about-which The System has consensus today - here-and-now - will be believed and acted upon; and the same will apply to the System-consensus tomorrow. 

The fact that the System-consensus is incoherent and extremely labile (sometimes literally reversing in a matter of days) - is irrelevant. 

That the System-consensus is evil and/or insane - as, currently, with engineering and escalating World War Three - is irrelevant. 

The cognitive time-horizon has been (all but) closed-up to the present-moment; because past and future are defined and redefined - without limit - by the present-consensus. 

It seems clear that 'morality', reason, and political expedience have simultaneously been reduced to 'today's consensus'.

And this further implies that the crucial constraint on human bahaviour - almost its sole determinant, is now System-consensus. 

Proof of this can be observed by the immense efforts at manufacturing such consensus - for example the blatantly monolithic propaganda (clearly emanating from a single central source); and the blatant suppression ('censorship') of more, and ever-more, even slightly dissenting perspectives and sources. 

So; on the one hand, They can make Us believe anything at all that they wish us to believe; on the other hand, They can only make Us believe what They agree to agree-upon

We can only be made to believe that which is susceptible to System-consensus. 

The System has closed-in upon itself; and its main activity is now to to ensure its own current-consensus. 

Within The System - all serious effort is directed at alignment with other aspects of The System (bureaucrats servicing bureaucrats - and other synergies between sub-systems; in a web of mutual-influence, mutual adjustment, mutual manipulations).  

While those-who-stand-outside The System, and who control The System; are mainly concerned to create serial current-consensuses that will advance their overall agenda

The point being that The System has Us under control; and System problems nowadays come only from power games ('office politics') within The System. 

To this picture need be added that there is (of course!) a reality outside-of, and all-but unrelated to - the System-defined current-consensus; and this reality is always constraining The System - but imperceptibly to The System.

(The System cannot understand reality - but only itself; therefore when reality affects The System, the effects will always be explained as having been caused by The System, from within The System - not by reality. This is one deep cause for the 'doubling-down' phenomenon which has been noted as characteristic of the System ideology: i.e. atheistic-materialistic-leftism.)

And furthermore that "those who control The System" are ultimately demonic, plus the servants of demons (humans who may, remember, be more evil-motivated than actual demons). 

Therefore the ultimate goal of this System-control and serial-consensus-formation; is the damnation of Men and the destruction of divine creation and all that is Good.  

This explains why The System is indifferent to its own coherence - whether linearly (through time) or cross-sectionally (here-and-now). Its deep nature is oppositional - so coherence is not required. 

Coherence is irrelevant - consensus is all - and consensus defines reality for those who accept The System's current-consensus - which clearly includes most of the masses, most of Us, in The West.

For so long as We overwhelmingly regard obedient conformity to System-consensus as our highest value; for so long will this continue. 



Francis Berger said...

This was of grave concern to me back in 2020 when the glaring scare tactics, emotional blackmail, goal post shifting, and gaslighting around the birdemic began. I framed that concern within the call for "system-distancing", which I still regard as a spiritual imperative, one that should not be limited to the birdemic.

Unfortunately, very few have engaged in anything even closely resembling that sort of distancing. As you note, adhering to system consensus has been most prevalent in the intellectual middle classes. I find this to be quite depressing, especially when it comes to Christians within those intellectual middle classes.

Talk about missing "things coming to a point". I mean, how much "pointier" do things have to get before the penny finally drops? Perhaps it never will.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Frank - I think what happens is that each person is brought (by God) to a crux, where a decision is made on which path to take.

If the wrong decision is made at that point (often by denial of the decisive nature f that decision - e.g. by self-framing it as a trivial or highly specific decision rather than life-changing), it becomes very 'difficult' from then onwards (or, not so much difficult - because the person is not even trying; but at least *unusual*) to change after that point; because all evidence and concepts are reorganized to support that original wrong decision (rather than to repent it).

An dismaying number of traditionalist and church-orientated Christians (of many denominations and particular churches) have passed that point, made the wrong decision - and are now converged onto The System (at those points which The System itself regards as essential).

The first thing about System Distancing, is that one needs to recognize the Need for it. That is exactly where most people (including self-identified Christians) are in error: they fail to recognize this fact. Recognizing the Need is to win most of the battle.

My concern from here, as is your, is that the church-obedient trad Christians who - so far - have Not converged, and who reject The System, will at some point realize that they are Not truly church-obedient, but are making Personal discernments that oppose dominant elements of their church...

And will then revert to church obedience - which is convergence with The System - rather than standing against their chosen churches wherever these churches err from real Christianity (err in specifics, and also in overall effect and trends).

Mike Bryant said...

Bruce from my observations most people love the system so when we were locked down and out they would do anything to be let back in. Friends who totally agreed with me on the dangers and uselessness of the peck still rushed out and got it with a big smile on their face all so they'd be let back into system, pathetic.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Mike - It is interesting to observe (as well as extremely depressing!).

On the one hand, those who are ultimately worldly naturally do what the world says; and worldly Christians identify Christianity with the worldly manifestation of 'the church'.

But there are also those (including many Christians) who profess to be un-worldly, also end-up doing what the world says - because they claim such small materialist issues 'don't matter' in the spiritual context and timescale of eternity.

What is needed (and what Christianity actually provides, if only that is recognized) is a recognition that this world and the temporary-material - also have eternal-spiritual significance.

The material is a manifestation of the spiritual; and events and decisions of mortal life have permanent consequences.

Epimetheus said...

I think many surrenders to the birdemic took place because the mass of people were exhausted by life and were more than happy to give up on it all and go home.

Mikah said...

I suspect at least part of the answer is depressingly stupid. It's the same reason humans enjoy horror films.

Nozdryov said...

Great post Bruce,

Epimetheus is right.

My experience in the most "locked-down" city in the world was that by the second and third (and fourth and fifth) go round the vast majority of people were profoundly relieved, both in the sense that there was a perfect ready-made excuse for anything they wanted and did not want to do, and also in the sense that they deserved no less, that their manner of living in some sense brought on the punishment of "lockdown", quite apart from any of the scary headlines. The old phrase, "asking for a whipping" comes to mind. Not that this would be acknowledged in any way.

Lucinda said...

The line here that stuck out to me was when you described the credulity of especially the intellectual middle-class. These are my peers and your criticism is right on. In "My Fair Lady", Eliza's father talks about the need to avoid middle-class morality, which he ultimately fails to do, jokes on him, so he must marry his woman.

So I got to thinking that this may be a fixed limitation on the idea of wealth distribution (wealth of all kinds, including intellectual.) That the middle between dependence and independence is fundamentally corrupting, which is why this life is so harsh, because it is a middle between eternal dependence aspiring to eternal independence. Something about wanting to escape the one is the seed of rejecting the other, if what is wanted is wrong. And what appears to be desirable about independence to a dependent person is pretty much always wrong.

I think this is why Jesus is crucial, to give us an alternative to the wrong ideas as we go through a process designed to challenge our wrong desires, to repent them.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

OK I'll try this again in light of your comment guidelines.

To answer the question, because the alternative is too awful for comfortable people to tolerate. They are deeply into normalcy bias. To acknowledge that the System and its agents really are stupid, evil and insane would break their minds. The System is beyond reform and will continue on its diabolical arc, and voting won't stop it. Frightened, spiritually bereft people cannot accept this; they would kill themselves or sink into catatonic depression. A number of them would lose their livelihoods as System flunkeys.

But then I'm right back at a similar question: why are so many people spiritually bereft, not least among them so many self-described Christian conservatives?

Bruce Charlton said...

@AG - "why are so many people spiritually bereft, not least among them so many self-described Christian conservatives?"

Answering that has been the core theme of this blog (and the books deriving from it) through most of its history; and to which Romantic Christianity is the best answer I can devise.

Bruce B. said...

I would like to think that my skepticism is spiritual discernment but in reality I just have a habit of immediately reacting to everything THEY say with skepticism. I always expect that they have a hidden agenda when the mainstream media, politicians, etc. are pushing something hard with one voice. My immediate reaction to the birdemic was skepticism, my immediate reaction to the war with the Fire Nation (I hope I correctly identified the nation you mean by that) was skepticism.

When the criminal man died in Minneapolis, none other than Mr. Taylor himself declared that he was horrified and the policeman was very bad. Even WAY out of the mainstream figures are prone to this.

I find that these people come to agree with my positions later but they lack the initial skepticism.

I approach what THEY tell us with skepticism and expect them to prove it to me.

Bruce Charlton said...

@BB - When one is dealing with statements by a recidivist liar - your attitude is the only rational one. Why that attitude is it not universal - or even a lot more common, when it is validated by every single experience - that is the big question.

I am not so much complaining about what people do but what they think. People have apparently become afraid to be skeptical even privately, even in their own thoughts.

In their minds, most people inhabit a world where THEY can read our every thought; yet somehow people believe this makes them powerless.

I also believe that thoughts do matter, decisively - but the matter for Good as well as for our harm. This is exactly why our thoughts must be true - so far as we can make them.