Sunday, 18 February 2018

rabble rousing or working the crowd

Hyperallergic’s Sunday Required Reading column points us back towards an Aeon magazine essay on the seemingly opposed forces that tyrants stir in their backers and in others complicit in their rise to power by appealing to one’s self-hatred through the promise of utopia never delivered.
David Livingstone Smith expands on the ideas that psychoanalysis Melanie Klein espoused to explain the sophistical powers of propaganda and charismatism that won over a great swath of Europe broken and recovering after WWI. Decision and motivation, under Klein’s model, are informed and haunted by two kinds of anxiety and how we cope explains volumes: either paranoid, we find ourselves persecuted by malicious, external forces or depressed, we find ourselves faced by being consumed by what we love. Both modes (and the sentiments feed into one another) can lead to the embrace of a totalitarian figurehead as an ego ideal and provokes the response of a manic defence that further solidifies one’s beliefs in the infallibility of the overtures of leadership and confirms that outside verification is superfluous at best by disassociating dependence and the need for something beyond a demagogue vested with omnipotence and omnibenevolence.