Банкеръ Daily


Nikolay Slatinski on Facebook: BG power lives in reality - parallel to ours

My observations of the situation in our country  make me more frequently think about the "parallel reality" problem. The authorities in our country constantly speak of a reality that my eyes, the eyes of my loved-ones, relatives, friends, acquaintances, do not notice.

These days I have been  talking  to respectable university professors, almost my age, that none of us knows people who are supporters of the Party of Power, who vote for it, who think like it, and who appreciate reality like it. Yet, we are the most normal people fighting for our survival and worthy existence. We are obviously moving in different circles with the contingent of the Party of Power  but more importantly, we see two different realities.

Of course, every authority strives to present things in a more beautiful and successful way than the way they exist. This is a part of politics, no matter how it is called – propaganda or PR.  It's natural, it's so logical. But from the top levels of power we hear such stories about reality, which show that it is not just about typical political boasting and own promotion but about something different - about believing that reality is what they want it to be. It's about living in a parallel reality. Moreover, it is about  harnessing  all the might and media power to force us to live by the rules, norms, standards and values ​​of this parallel reality.

Historically, the problem of parallel reality has occurred many times. It is by no means new.

The literature, I got acquainted with  shortly before I was born, categorically speaks of the parallel reality in which Valko Chervenkov lived. He lost touch with reality, lived in parallel reality, and forced people to live according to  its laws.

I remember comparatively vaguely the late Khrushchev, the headlines in the newspapers that promised us to live under communism in 1980. As a child  I was not able to think soberly and critically at all but somehow I tried to compare the life of my hardworking and dedicated parents back then with the absurdly impossible picture painted by the ”Rabotnichesko delo”.

I am tempted to think that if Todor Zhivkov, who appeared  riding the wave of Khrushchev, survived after Khrushchev's fall  it is because he was then a pragmatist, even a cynical pragmatist  and would not allow himself to live in Khrushchev's parallel reality. I have been reading lately numerous memoirs which show me that Todor Zhivkov himself  began to live in parallel reality in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His face-to-face confrontation with reality when his closest and most loyal friends "cut his head off" shows how far he was from the idea of ​​reality and the processes that come with it.

And here it is again - the problem of "parallel reality", popping up in front of me with terrifying force.

I assume that the reasons for it are not only social, there must be some intersectional areas between what determines the political core in a leader: character, passion, panache, thirst for power, quick mind, instinct for self-preservation, animal-like intuition, cunningness, charisma, seeing 1-2 moves forward, being able to use teammates and stab them in the back, as well as what is contained as a kernel or a nucleus in his mentality and that which goes beyond the standard limits of normality, i.e. what  is transferred only partially in abnormality, in anomaly - in comparison with ordinary people.

I have been reading now the book by the American explorer William Taubman, “Khrushchev and his Era”. It states that Khrushchev's behavior and personality should be explained from a psychological point of view. In 1960, at the request of the CIA, twenty psychologists and psychiatrists prepared a report on the psychological image of the Soviet leader.

They define his character as "hypomaniacal". The characteristic signs of hypomania include a constantly elevated background of mood, sociability, inexhaustible energy, a tendency to overestimate their own powers and abilities, hasty and thoughtless decisions, irritability, violent outbursts. This type of people constantly need the attention of others, they are eloquent, charming, persuasive, easily make people obey them, they enthrall the others,  they are ready to work without sleep and rest, they’re initiative and enterprising, their head is always full of grandiose plans and brilliant ideas.

Obviously, ego, narcissism, high self-esteem, the sense of infallibility are key prerequisites for such people to begin to see not what it is, but  how they want it to be seen and to believe in it swiftly and uncritically, that is, to start living in parallel reality and to be scandalized when someone dares to question that parallel reality.

The lives of each of us are full of examples of such people with similar psychological deformities. After all, they are what they are, that's part of their personality. They are almost innocuous as a rule, and if you do not get into the "flutter" of their senses you will break up the friendship and the acquaintance with them will come to an end. However, things can get too complicated and acquire a dramatic scale if such people are covered with power - in personal, professional, public, political life. Then they possess serious resources not only to talk about their parallel reality, not only to make us live in it but, as I said, to force us to live by its rules, norms, standards and values.

And if, on a personal level, people with similar psychological deficits can be bypassed with irony or regret, bearing one thing in mind and even with sympathy, when they are power-clad, they are, in their own way, a phenomenon of an authoritarian type that contains prerequisites for a possible development into totalitarianism or dictatorship. Such authoritarianism can easily be exercised in softer forms, through the so-called symbolic violence - propaganda, manipulation, misinformation, preference for people to adapt themselves, to keep mum, to shut up, to hang to their job, to pretend they don't see what's going on, to be passive, indifferent, to say to themselves – let them do whatever they like, I am not out to reform the world, bend your knee and save you head.

The problem is that - as History has repeatedly shown and proved - when the soft forms of authoritarianism cease to exist, a similar kind of psychological deficits can push those who possess them to head for to more solid forms, through the so-called  structural violence - physical, punishing, repressive, crushing and overwhelming.

That is why such psychological phenomena cannot be underestimated.

In fact, not that they can't - they can. But they shouldn't.

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