The manipulation of the masses: the masters of the twentieth century and Kennedy’s prophecy

"Vulgus vult decipi, ergo decipiat": man wants to be deceived, and therefore he is. This cynical phrase, bordering on brutality, is attributed to a cardinal of our Renaissance, Carlo Carafa. It expresses in an unsurpassable way the crucial concepts on which the Self-Defense Manual for Sovereignists rests:

a) the human being has a moving tendency towards naivety and the mass of human beings amplifies this inclination to the nth degree;

b) the masses are often surrounded not by shepherds, concerned about their well-being, but by wolves animated by hidden and very little peaceful purposes. Pastors who do not hesitate to give to the community, and to individuals, that scam to which both of them seem irresistibly attracted and that Cardinal Carafa had admirably intuited.

A first typical way of influencing the general public consists precisely in the manipulation of crowds, that is, of a large number of people in a given interval of time. This methodology mostly takes the form of the elaboration of a slogan duly associated with effective visual, auditory and kinesthetic stimuli capable of “bending” our psyche (both the conscious and the unconscious part) to desire a specific object. The most banal example is the advertising of a product. The same phrase, a single video clip, the same refrain and the identical protagonists of a story are repeated over and over for many and many days until they penetrate our brain and make us want something that, before the treatment, does not we never even dreamed of asking. In this sense, television and radio advertising (with its jingles and its catchphrases) is the perfect, and best known, variation of these ways of guiding and guiding people's choices in the commercial sphere.

Over the course of the twentieth century we have had some true champions in this field, so good that they were included by the magazine "Life" in the list of the hundred most influential personalities of the short century. Let's talk, for example, of Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud, Austrian like his uncle but less famous, who created a well-deserved fame in the field of so-called "public relations". He was able, ahead of time, to guess how easily the psyche of a mass, that is the set of minds (or the "collective mind") of a large number of people, can be "conveyed" in the direction of undeclared goals. So that such minds act and interact in unison just like a cooperative swarm of bees.

Bernays developed many of his techniques starting from the study of the works of his most famous relative, founder of psychoanalysis. And he used them to meet the needs of big industry and the latter's handmaid: advertising. After the end of the First World War, the Big Corporations of large-scale distribution needed to "keep up" the demand from American consumers and then, by extension, from those of Europe and other world markets. Bernays succeeded by relying above all on the power of emotions.

It was, as evident, the realization, at the level of business needs, of one of Freud's greatest intuitions: we are not "made" only by the conscious part of our psyche. Indeed, the conscience represents, in hindsight, only the visible, and therefore less extensive, portion of that immense unconscious agglomeration by which we are guided in our apparently conscious choices. In reality, most of the time, we make decisions driven by the unmanageable, ungovernable and animalistic magma of unconfessed drives. This is where Bernays' intuition was born. Acting on the “abysmal” portion of the human mind to snare its unconscious desires, the most persistent ones in directing behavior, desires and, ultimately, even the apparently “rational” choices of modern man and woman.

A phrase attributed to a great American banker, Paul Mazur, can make us understand what we are talking about: “We must change America from being a culture of needs to being a culture of desires. People have to be taught to want new things even before the old things have been completely contaminated. Man's desires must overshadow his needs ».

Now, that these psychological "technologies", so to speak, have not been used only in the commercial and advertising fields is evidence that we have under our eyes every day.

The subtle manipulative techniques Bernays spoke of, and taught, were employed by the most famous dictators of recent history. It is well known that Mussolini, Stalin and Hitler were assiduous readers of the works of one of Bernays' reference points, Gustave Le Bon, so much so that they kept a copy of his best-known work on his work table. And Edward himself was traumatized when he learned that the Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, had his texts in his very personal library.

This shows that the mental conditioning of crowds is not just a mixture of strategies aimed at making us buy more, eat more, consume more. It is also a system designed to make us "vote well", "decide better", "give our approval". Where "vote well", "decide better" and "give our consent" means orienting oneself according to the objectives (and in accordance with what is the agenda) of the financial, industrial, institutional and media apparatus dominant in a certain historical situation and in a certain geographical area of ​​the world. Today, this apparatus no longer has borders: it moves and "moves" its enormous capital, from one box to another of the world geopolitical chessboard, often in a deliberately obscure, anti-democratic and as indifferent to the well-being of peoples as it is attentive to its own commercial and investment returns.

We are talking about that complex of forces, often hidden or not easily identifiable, pointed out as the cause of many future evils, in a famous speech, by American President Robert Kennedy, in 1961, shortly before he was killed:

“Ladies and gentlemen, the word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society and we, as a people, have opposed, inherently and historically, secret societies, secret oaths and secret meetings. We are facing, all over the world, a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy, based above all on secret means to expand its sphere of influence, on infiltration rather than invasion, on subversion rather than elections, on intimidation rather than on free. choice. It is a system that has recruited vast human and material resources to build a tight-knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. His actions are not disseminated, but kept secret. His mistakes are not exposed, they are hidden. Its dissidents are not praised, but silenced. No expense is contested. No secrets are revealed. That is why the Athenian legislator Solon decreed that avoiding disputes was a crime for every citizen. I am asking for your help in the very difficult task of informing and alerting the American people. Convinced that with your help man will become what he was born for: a free and independent being ».

A prophetic phrase by Bernays contained in Propaganda perfectly anticipated Kennedy's denunciation: "In almost all the actions of our life, whether in politics, or in business or in our social conduct, or in our moral thinking, we are dominated by a relatively small number of people who understand the thought processes and behavioral patterns of the masses. They are the ones who pull the strings that control people's minds ».

Bernays spoke of "consensus engineering" precisely because he had intuited how manipulation, an art as old as man, could be "engineered", that is, analytically studied and above all scrupulously applied according to rational and scientific protocols, so as to expand to the maximum degree its effectiveness. Ours was perfectly aware that it was "a matter of primary importance to learn how to manage this amplification system for the forces concerned." I repeat: for the forces concerned. In other words, for the forces John Fitzgerald Kennedy later warned us about.

Master of Bernays, as aforementioned, was the Frenchman Gustave Le Bon, psychologist, sociologist, anthropologist who lived for almost one hundred years between two crucial centuries like the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Le Bon also and above all dealt with the way in which crowds reason, or rather "unreason", how they are able to move like a single man, driven by obtuse, blind and often indecipherable impulses; impulses shared, in fact, by an indeterminate number of people.

Le Bon even wrote, in 1895, therefore well in advance of Bernays, a book (Psychology of crowds7) which constituted the cornerstone of a certain type of study. He too, like Bernays later, had been struck by the possibility of bombing a huge number of "human targets", a crowd, in one shot, in a fateful instant. And this thanks to the prestige, the charm, the ascendancy, the aura of a charismatic leader. And in fact, Le Bon also represented the North Star not only of Bernays, but also of the various dictators, red and black, who ravaged (with their persuasive capacity, bordering on seduction) the masses, in the central part of the last century.

Another absolute precursor in this field was Walter Lippmann, an American journalist who won two Pulitzer Prizes between the 1950s and 1960s, but also a great scholar of the potential and deadly effects of communication.

Well, we can rightly conclude that – due to the process of planetary globalization in progress roughly since 1989 – the apparatus of which Kennedy spoke has become a single gigantic monolith articulated in a plurality, less and less multiform and always more cohesive than reference agencies. We are talking about the great giants of world finance, multinationals in the energy, banking, credit, insurance and media sectors, which have reached dimensions and business volumes equal to, if not greater than, the main state powers of the globe.

To demonstrate how the major theorists of consensus manipulation were contiguous to politics, and above all to politics in the absence of democracy, we must not only look at the bibliographic preferences of the great dictators of the twentieth century.

The thinkers we have mentioned were also sources of inspiration for the new potentates who were establishing themselves on a global scale. For example, Lippmann was one of the founders of the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations). The Council on Foreign Relations was born in 1921 precisely with the intention of constituting a kind of business committee, a real glue between the main exponents – in the political, institutional, banking, media, industrial fields – of the global elites. We find the same man as the inspirer of the so-called "Lippmann colloquium": a sort of meeting held in Paris in 1938 and promoted by the French philosopher Louis Rougier during which twenty-six intellectuals of liberal extraction laid the foundations for the affirmation on a world scale of the so-called "neoliberalism".

Finally, another of the crucial works on the subject in question dates back to 1957: Vance Packard's “The Hidden Persuaders”. We are talking about a book that has made an era. Written by one of the most attentive scholars and popularizers of the subtle conditioning strategies (of the individual and collective unconscious) used by big corporations in the management and marketing of their services and products. Packard disclosed the true purpose of the corporate propaganda offices. For which, and for which, it is no longer necessary (and only) to "promote" in an assertive and rational way the message relating to a "thing" to sell. What counts, if anything, is to first understand – through accurate and scrupulous testing campaigns – why that thing "underneath" can like (more and more). In short, the hidden psychological motivations of consumers are of interest in order to turn them against them to drive their purchases.

And what works with toothpaste, of course, works the same for any political agenda.

Enjoy the reading.

To purchase the book "Self-defense Manual for Sovereignists" by Francesco Carraro, ByoBlu Editore.

Francesco Carraro, , was born in Padua in 1970. Graduated in Law and in Educational Sciences, writer and lawyer, he is the owner of a law firm. Communication expert, he teaches courses in negotiation strategies, time management, public speaking and personal development.

He writes for the newspaper LA VERITA ', is a columnist for the economics and politics site SCENARIECONOMICI.IT and editor of his own blog on ILFATTOQUOTIDIANO.IT. He is a television commentator of the news program of Canale Italia NEWS TODAY. He has published numerous non-fiction and fiction books.

In 2015 he published the book-interview, with the journalist Vito Monaco, Krisiko – are you a player or a pawn? The way out in the great game of the crisis (with a preface by Magdi Cristiano Allam). In 2017 the book Post scriptum – All the truth about post truth was released (with a preface by Diego Fusaro). In 2018, with Chiarelettere editore, together with Massimo Quezel, he published the book HEALTH Spa – Health sold out to insurance , a wide-ranging and documented investigation into the privatistic drift of the public health system and the decline of the once inviolable right to health .

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This is a machine translation of a post published on Scenari Economici at the URL on Mon, 21 Sep 2020 13:22:58 +0000.