Emotional Honesty

My father insisted that men were rational, women emotional, and therefore, women were irrational and inferior to men.  He liked to prove his point by provoking his wife and daughters into a rage, at which time he would sit back and smirk. I learned from his example that emotional expression showed weakness and inferiority, so hid or denied my emotions until I finally realized he was wrong.  Over time, I discovered that much of the maturation process involves un-learning beliefs and attitudes picked up almost by osmosis from early conditioning.

My father was not a bad guy, and he was probably rather typical of his generation.  Untold generations of men and women throughout history have believed and perpetrated the idea that intellect is superior to and at odds with emotion, yet this is fallacy.  The way the brain is wired, all sensory input travels through the pain (thalamus) and emotional (limbic) centers before reaching the frontal cortex, where intellectuality resides.  This implies that even the most intellectual and rational thinking is influenced by emotion.  What we choose to focus on, our interests, our skills, are all based on intent or desire, and their emotional significance to us.

Emotion gets a bad rap because it is associated with lack of control, as in the emotions of anger or fear.  But denial of emotion makes a person particularly susceptible to being manipulated by it, a major tactic used by advertisers and propagandists.  Targeting people’s insecurities, such as feelings of inadequacy or vulnerability, makes them more suggestible and more likely to buy the product or agenda being promoted.

The artificial split between emotion and reason is culturally created at an early age, when children are told what they “should” or “shouldn’t” feel.  The words “should” and “feel” do not go together.  Feelings are.  While it may be improper to act on certain feelings, to deny their existence only leads to repression, distortion, and dishonesty.   If allowed to run their course, emotions generally evolve into something else.

The greatest value of psychotherapy is that it helps people find words for their feelings.  A diary or journal can serve the same purpose.  The words help bridge the gap between emotions and intellect, by making the feelings conscious and less threatening.

Ideally, emotion and intellect work together to guide thinking and behavior, but for this to happen, emotional honesty is crucial.  Some experts claim addiction is a disease of lying.  A more fundamental explanation is based on the Freudian model describing the stages of psychosexual development.  In the anal stage, which occurs around two years old, the child begins to learn self-control, symbolized by potty training.  Here power-struggles with the parent can begin, as the child learns boundaries and the meaning of the word “no.”  This phase is thus termed the “terrible twos” because of the child’s resistance to new structure and boundaries.  Successful mastery of this phase allows the child to develop healthy attitudes towards authority.  If this phase is not successfully negotiated, the child may develop life-long issues with authority.  In an alcoholic or addict, this shows in the see-saw between overly controlled versus out-of-control behavior, as internalized authority struggles with the inner child in a contest for power over the will.

This is why one of the maxims of addiction recovery emphasizes changing the concept of “power over” to “power to,” in which the individual harmonizes the opposing forces to achieve balance.

There’s a mistaken belief that emotional honesty must be rude, crude, or uncivil.  I’ve had people insist that people want you to lie to them.  Some believe in telling people what they think  the other person wants to hear.  I disagree and claim that tactful honesty is actually a sign of respect.

This is another benefit of psychotherapy or of journaling.  Having the words for feelings provides a broader range of tools for communication, and allows for reasonable expression of emotion in a rational manner.

 

 

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Sex and Original Sin

The confirmation hearings over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, along with the accusations of sexual impropriety in his younger days, represent the latest act in a drama that has been going on since recorded history began.  It has to do with the imbalance between the sexes in Western and Eastern cultures, with women gradually emerging from the position of chattel to more respectable roles.  In the late 1800s, it was still legal in the UK for men to beat their wives.  In the US, women got the vote with the nineteenth amendment to the Constitution in 1920.  But probably nothing has freed women like the introduction of the birth control pill in 1960. We–all of us, men and women—are still adapting to that.

Demonization of women is deeply rooted in Western monotheistic traditions, beginning with the Biblical Book of Genesis and the Garden of Eden.  Eve, the temptress, is blamed for Adam’s fall from grace.  Since then, women, representative of the earthy, intuitive side of humanity, have been deemed inferior to the abstract, spiritual male principle.  Under this scenario, sexuality is suspect, to the point where Catholic priests are not allowed by marry, and even between married couples, sex is supposed to be confined to propagation.

The notion of original sin thus puts man (and woman) at odds with their own earthly natures and has contributed to distorted ideas of sexuality ever since.  It translates into a disrespect for women and, by extension, a disrespect for the earth from which we all spring and depend on for our existence.  Even such notions as “survival of the fittest,” attributed to Charles Darwin in the 1800s, presumes that “fittest” refers to the most physically powerful members of a species.  In real terms, the fittest for survival are those who are best equipped to produce and raise healthy young.

The idea of women as necessary evils pervades modern thinking.  Even the most liberated of women, for instance, still wear make-up and shave their legs, two concessions to sexual desirability no one expects from men.  Women who disparage men for overstepping sexual boundaries must realize that these men were usually raised by mothers, who by words or behavior taught them to disrespect women.

Animals have no shame about their sexuality.  They mate in the open, yet for man, with the shame and secrecy inherited from Adam and his fig leaf, sexuality is fraught with guilt and circumscribed by rules that create their own problems.

Our distorted views on sexuality play out in every area of our lives and seem to be especially prominent today.  The women’s “#metoo” movement is an example of the solidarity of women who claim they have been harassed by men, but it also signifies a coming of age in terms of women’s recognition that sexual balance is long overdue.  The “fittest to survive” will be those who can anneal the spiritual with the earthly in respectful appreciation for all the attributes of both.

 

Global Warmists and Thought Forms

The global warmists are making summer last too long.  Today, on September 29, a week after the autumnal equinox, the temperature at my house is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now the “scientists” of the world–in this latest religion of abstractions that supposedly controls the cosmos–agree that man is responsible for “climate change,” and we must do something about it.  Even the psychiatric establishment has linked arms with the “scientists” to advocate for a “call to action,” “educational initiatives,” “alliances with other organizations,” “leadership,” “evidence-based advances,” “special responsibility,” and “radical measures” to spread the word that climate change poses a threat to public health, including mental health,” according to the September 7 issue of Psychiatric News.

Well, the climate changes every day and every minute, and each square centimeter of the earth has a different climate.  This could be proven by sticking a thermometer in the ground or hanging it in a tree or dunking it in an ocean.  Where in this scenario is the climate not changing? This simplistic grasp of science is too easy for the “climate scientists” to comprehend.

The fundamental precepts of modern “science” require hypotheses that can be tested, according to the “scientific method.”  This method requires inclusion of a “control group,” which is identical to the test group but without the experimental intervention.  It also requires that the experiment must reduce variables to one, so that the test is high in selectivity and specificity.  That is, the test must measure what you want to measure (selectivity) and only that variable (specificity).

The notion that the climate is changing and that man is the cause, contains two hypotheses, neither of which is testable under the scientific method.  This makes it “political science,” which employs its own methods.

It is at least as valid for me to claim the global warmists are extending summer temperatures through misguided thought forms.  I’m not the first or only person to claim man can and does influence the weather through thought.  This was the province of the shaman in some tribal cultures, and the premise behind Native American rain dances, and of mystics and seers around the world.

The idea of “thought forms” was popularized in the book Thought Forms: A Record of Clairvoyant Investigation by Annie Besant and CW Leadbetter, of the Theosophical Society, in 1901.  The book asserted that people’s thoughts, experiences, emotions, and music have an  ethereal substance that can be perceived by the psychically attuned.  The book contained paintings of thoughts related to devotion and devotion sacrifice, three types of anger, three types of love (undirected, directed, and grasping) and jealousy, intellect and ambition. The authors claimed that the quality of a person’s thought influences his life experience and can affect other people.  The book had a strong influence on modern art and literature.  Kandinsky, Yeats, TS Eliot, Malevich and Mondrain, especially, were charmed by Theosophy.  Wikipedia notes that Annie Besant and CW Leadbetter played a pivotal role in shaping the globalized culture of East-West mysticism and rationalism, sound and sight.

While the book refers specifically to individual thought forms, I’ve also read and believe there are group thought forms, too, akin to what psychiatrist Carl Jung called “archetypes,” “the collective unconscious,” or universal symbols.  It could be argued that the terms “most people” or “society,” or even “we” refer to a type of mass mind thought form, the generally accepted notion of what humanity as a whole is like, what it believes, or how it thinks.  Perhaps television or the mass media reflect the mass mind thought form and its assumptions.

It’s never clear how those who refer to “most people” arrive at their characterizations.  I know of no one who has interviewed “most people,” yet these terms slide easily off lips and are just as easily accepted.  Who are these nameless, faceless, creatures so easily packaged into stereotypes such as “liberal,” “conservative,” “black,” “white,” and all the labels “we” use to lump individuals together in so much featureless protoplasm?

The “scientists” only acknowledge what they can perceive with the five senses they admit to, or with sense-extenders, like microscopes or spectroscopy.  They have yet to prove life exists, or that the mind exists, and they have yet to prove the universe has only three dimensions.

If the mind exists, I would dearly love to see the “climate scientists” use theirs to bring fall weather to my back yard.

New York, New York

The June, 2018 issue of Mindful magazine was dedicated to optimism.  One of the articles relates the story of a woman whose cleaning service worker cut his finger on a broken coaster.  Her husband suggested she give the man some money, but said husband protested when the writer went further and called the service the next day to inquire about the man’s cut finger.  Apparently the cut was minor and a band-aid stopped the bleeding.

The husband worried that admitting error could bring legal charges, but our author claimed she was “optimistic” that the situation would resolve itself.

“Huh?” I wondered, after reading the article.  “These people must live in New York.”  The magazine is also based in New York.  How many regular Americans have cleaning services, I wondered.  Moreover, even if they have maids or help to clean their homes, how many Americans would worry about lawsuits from flesh wounds on index fingers?

This got me to thinking about how solipsistic New York is.  In many ways, New York dominates the world.  It is the publishing center, financial center, media center, entertainment center, and the advertising center of the world.  I lived there for two years in the mid-1970s, and there’s a lot to like about it, like the public transportation system.  But after two years, the noise, the dirt, the congestion, and the crowds got to me, so I escaped to the mountains of Colorado and re-captured my sense of balance.

Lately, though, I’ve become increasingly aware that New York provincialism has a far deeper impact than most people realize, and it’s not healthy.  These people don’t know where their food comes from or where their garbage goes.  They actually believe the propaganda they put out for the rest of the world to buy, consume, digest, and excrete.

It takes a lot of farm to feed a city, but the New York Whines and Gall Street Journal sneer at the rural rednecks who support New Yorker Donald Trump.  The New York Times, especially, seems almost deranged in its attempts to discredit the president and everything he touches, including those idiot evangelicals who are willing to overlook his licentious past and foul mouth.

While I also have issues with the president, my issues with New York itself are of longer duration and go far deeper.  New York has played a pivotal role in American history due, in part, to the machinations of the current Broadway hit Hamilton’s protagonist.  The darling of George Washington and of New York, Alexander Hamilton single-handedly did more to set the course of this nation than anyone else, except, perhaps, Benjamin Franklin.

Hamilton was admittedly an Anglophile who hailed from the West Indies, a poor, illegitimate orphan who worked in his teen years for British mercantilist traders, including slave trading.  His trip to the North American continent was financed and subsidized by his employers, who paid for his upkeep in barrels of slave-produced sugar.  He attached himself to George Washington, but was a war agitator and enthusiast even before he left St. Croix.  The only military command he ever held, after badgering Washington for years, was at the battle of Yorktown, in which he demonstrated extraordinary bravery, if his apologist/biographer, author Ron Chernow is to be believed.

Never mind that New York caved to the British three months after the Declaration of Independence was signed, on September 15, 1776, then remained in British hands for the next five years.  Never mind that at the secret Constitutional Convention—which was held on false pretenses—he drove off New York’s other two representatives, then heavily influenced proceedings, ultimately going to enormous effort to get the Constitution ratified.

Hamilton planted the seeds for the thriving blood-sucking plant New York has become, so naturally he would be a hero in the Empire State.

It was Hamilton who linked government, the banking industry, and Wall Street in the enduring marriage so-called “capitalism” has become.  After caving to the British, and maintaining an active trade with the Brits during the Revolutionary War, in 1787, the city threatened to secede from the state if it didn’t ratify the Constitution of the newly formed federal government.  As it turned out, New York and Virginia were among the last to ratify, thanks, in part to Hamilton’s barrage of anonymous newspaper articles collectively known as “The Federalist Papers.”  Then New York City became the nation’s first capitol.

It was Hamilton who pushed the first central bank through Congress, and as the first Treasury Secretary, provided loans via the Bank of New York (which he started) to pay George Washington’s and Congress’ salaries.  The first central bank, the First Bank of the United States, was 20% government and 80% privately owned, with most of the investors being foreigners.  Members of Congress also bought shares.  These two banks’ stocks were the among the first shares traded on the budding New York Stock Exchange and led to the first financial panic in US history, the Panic of 1792, thanks to wild debt-backed stock speculation by Hamilton’s erstwhile friend and Assistant Treasury Secretary, William Duer.

Now we have a case in which the government, banks, and stock market are so inter-dependent that the lines blur.  Tax-deferred pension plans, largely public pension plans, IRAs, and 401(k)s are all invested on Wall Street, providing a major source of funding for fund managers, stock churners, and profiteers to gamble their way to riches on other people’s money.

New York City and Donald Trump deserve each other.  Trump’s attitude is New York’s attitude, and it’s a gamble whether the nation will survive.

 

 

Masochists, Martyrs, and Victims

I’ve been going through old files of articles and clippings, trying to simplify my life.  While younger people talk about productivity and greed, I look at the yellowed and dusty results of having produced and saved too much that has nowhere to go, except the trash.  The exercise is gratifying and humbling, because I used to know and care about many more things than I do now.  There are remnants of lost causes, one of which was my career.

I re-read ‘The Masochistic Personality,” by Stuart S. Asch, a psychiatrist who claims a difference between the sexual masochist and the personality type.  The former gets his kicks by being dominated and abused by a certain type of person.  The personality type is not specifically sexual but courts disappointment or humiliation.  The term is derived from Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, a 19th century Austrian novelist who wrote about sexual gratification from self-inflicted pain.  Some psychiatrists believe self-mutilation is also one of the traits.

The article focuses on the personality type, which has been dropped from the official list of psychiatric diagnoses, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), although the term retains historical and descriptive usefulness.  Asch says masochists desperately seek approval and love.  The masochist is strongly self-critical, having introjected an abusing authority figure who approves of self-punishment for forbidden sexual or aggressive thoughts or behavior.  Masochists will abase themselves repeatedly or in ever more humiliating gestures to obtain the approval or extract guilt from the unloving, rejecting love object.  They tend to blame fate for their repeated failures.

Asch mentions animals, who apparently develop more intense bonds to an adult that inflicts pain in early life.  Indeed, in human beings, there seems to be a pattern of stronger attachment to an abusing parent.  Genetic theories have contributed.

Asch doesn’t discuss sadism, with that term ascribed to the Marquis de Sade, who wrote in the 18th century about people who experienced sexual pleasure by inflicting pain on others.  Sigmund Freud attributed this to fear of castration, which leads the sadist to act out his fear on others.  In my view, masochists and sadists need each other, and each carries traits of the other, like two sides of a coin.  The metal that binds them together is blame.

The coin of blame buys religions, lawyers, governments, soldiers and toys. Everything from religion to law to parenting holds self-sacrifice as a noble standard, in the name of loyalty, duty, or spiritual progress.  Society at large reinforces the sado-masochistic power struggles that have become the “norm” for Western beliefs.  To falter brings guilt and, often, punishment. The ominous “they” are blamed for universal problems that “we” feed into without acknowledging “our” contributions.

I read with the distance of time and recuperation from the world of medicine.  There is such rigid judgmentalism built into the discipline that patients become guilty just by being patients.  I can already hear the screams of protest from my former “colleagues,” who are masochists for putting up with this arbitrary system of classification known as the DSM-V  and who collude with such an inhumane approach in the name of scientific objectivity.

Moreover, psychiatry as a discipline errs by not addressing the generalized ills built into the national psyche.  For psychiatrists as a group to diagnose and presume to treat the individual effects of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), for instance, without addressing the causes of PTSD—primarily war–is abhorrent.  To attempt or pretend to treat symptoms of substance abuse or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or even depression, without delving into society’s contribution to the problems is, to me, an abdication of responsibility that puts the profession to shame.

What does this have to do with masochism?  Maybe nothing, except that by taking such a narrow view, the institution of medicine begs to be punished, as though it knows it’s wrong but will continue unchecked until something or someone puts a stop to it.

The victim role is the hardest to give up.  It’s easy to blame someone else when things don’t work out.  The masochist holds grudges and denies his role in his own trajectory.  He will find or create a controlling sadist to manage his life for him.  Power struggles ensue, with each blaming the other when things go wrong. Unfortunately, healthier choices are overlooked in this struggle, one that erodes self-respect and mutual trust.

Drug use going up?  Suicide rates rising?  All manner of psychiatric and physical illnesses swelling like a pregnancy?  Violence increasing?  Fear and anger seeking catalysts to ignite them into something cataclysmic and definitive?  Look for someone and possibly many people or groups to blame.

A retrospective analysis of “The Masochistic Personality” reveals more about psychiatry’s limitations than its strengths in understanding human nature.  Perhaps psychiatry’s move from early, descriptive interpretations to the codified DSM, its increasing reliance on medications, technology, and “scientific,” measurable results, under the pretext of objectivity, renders it less human and compassionate, and thus less relevant to real life.

From the beginning of my studies, I noted the preoccupation with pathology.  What a difference from astrology, which shows the dynamic interplay of strengths, weaknesses, and how perception often determines the difference.  Oriental belief in qi gives a similar picture of dynamic patterns, with a concentration on health maintenance.

In contrast, the Western love affair with trouble, under the guise of reason, logic, sequential, and binary thinking, that shows in its approach to medicine, is like putting blinders on to see only a narrow range of information and to deny everything outside the limited field.

No one else attempts to diagnose society at large, but I see unsettling correlations between Freud’s anal stage of psychosexual development and the current sado-masochistic world we live in.  Have Americans been unable to mature beyond the “terrible twos,” the age at which Freud claimed toddlers learn sphincter control and appropriate use of power?  Successful negotiation of this stage leads to good boundaries, healthy respect for self and others, and the ability to tolerate a degree of frustration. Shame and doubt mark those who fail at this task.  They are prone to power struggles with internal and external authority figures throughout life.

A culture carries its own karma.  I don’t understand the blame game.  I don’t blame anyone or anything for what we have created, because blame only perpetuates the problem, at the expense of solving the problem.  Not to avoid the problem but to understand that anyone could have created it, and everyone can learn from it – this is the challenge.

 

 

Placebo and Qi

An article in the September 3-9, 2018 issue of Time magazine, “Placebo’s New Power,” describes instances of people knowingly taking placebos and getting relief.  These “honest placebos” were administered in a study of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients.  One patient, whose IBS symptoms improved dramatically during the study, later found her symptoms recurred.  She decided to continue the placebo treatments at the researcher’s private clinic and achieved remission again.

Overall, results were so encouraging in this Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center study that the National Institute of Health has awarded the research team a $2.5 million grant to replicate the study.

Placebos have been around since time immemorial, used to advantage in numerous conditions.  Their use is predicated on the belief that a patient’s faith in the treatment has a healing effect.  Formal pharmaceutical studies in Western medicine measure a presumed new drug’s effects against placebo to determine whether it will work on a large scale.  In Western medicine, generally, the “placebo effect” is disparaged, as though there is something “un-scientific” about it.

The Time article speculates about why people who know they are taking fake pills get better.  It notes patients appreciate doctors who validate their suffering.  They fare better with doctors they perceive as warm and competent.  We are told that confidence in “medical industry leaders” in the US has plunged to 34%, from 73% in 1966.

To me, this is another example of Western medicine taking credit for applying common sense.  Not once does the article mention such old-fashioned terms as “bedside manner,” which cannot be measured or billed for in the codified, prioritized list of “evidence-based” protocols that wants to squeeze patients into convenient, binary-based boxes.

In Western medicine, the patient is seen as a relatively passive recipient of medical care.  The doctor, treatments, and pills act upon the patient, with the external agent believed to effect the healing.

In contrast, Oriental medicine perceives the body is its own healing agent, with its own homeostatic wisdom, presumed to want healing, with the practitioner a partner and participant in the process.  Belief in the treatment, and in the practitioner’s competence, are valuable and acknowledged aids in the healing process.  Far from being “placebo,” the partnership between patient and clinician becomes an integral component of the treatment goal.

A fundamental difference between Oriental and Western medicine involves “qi,” (also spelled “chi”) or “life force.” In Oriental philosophy and medicine, “qi” pervades all things, and is crucial to life. When the body’s “qi” is depleted, restricted, or out of balance, it leads to trouble.  Disharmonies begin on a spiritual level, then become increasingly “dense,” manifesting as intellectual, emotional, and finally physical levels.  Practices like acupuncture rely on stimulating or balancing qi along specific energy channels called “meridians.”

There’s a mistaken belief in the West that we know more than we do about the body.  While we point to specific brain chemicals, such as neurotransmitters serotonin or acetylcholine, these are only two of perhaps thousands of brain messengers that interact in a constant dynamic.  The brain is only one organ in an equally complex body, with signals going back and forth at lightning-fast speed.  Western science presumes the body is like a machine, but the mechanical construct of Western medicine gives no credit to life.

For me to say Western medicine is backwards, that the practice of dehumanizing patients under mechanical models works against health, may sound extreme.  Certainly the most expensive “health care industry” in the world deserves more respect, more funding, and more of our life blood.  But I suspect the opposite, that the commercialization and institutionalization of the “health care industry” has devitalized the system in the name of high-tech, low-yield placebos that only help if you believe they work, and often not even then.

 

What Rules the Rulers?

Aldous Huxley published Brave New World in 1932.  The novel describes a futuristic society that boasts a world government with the motto “Community, Identity, Stability.”  The year is After Ford 632, and babies are decanted rather than born.  Eugenics has been refined to the point where viviparous births no longer occur.  Human ova are extracted from purchased ovaries, manually fertilized, and grown in bottles to produce specific castes of individuals, from Alpha to Epsilon.  In the controlled process, growth and development are intentionally stunted in the lower castes, to pre-condition them to lives of menial labor and servitude.

There are no families, and the words “mother” and “father” are obscenities.  There is no social unrest, no disease, and no war.  Books like Shakespeare and the Bible have been banned, because they are old.  The Brave New World emphasizes everything new, with consumerism raised to the level of a religion, in fond memory of “Our Ford.”  Solitude and individuality are considered subversive.  Sexual promiscuity is promoted, and the popular “feelies” are pornographic movies with sensual enhancement.  The feel-good drug, soma, is dispensed freely as a work benefit, allowing everyone to maintain a state of happiness at all times.

Author Aldous Huxley was a teacher at Eton College to Eric Blair, pseudonym George Orwell, who in 1949, published his own dystopic novel, 1984.  When offered a chance to review 1984, Huxley was impressed but claimed his own dystopia was more realistic.  Huxley believed that punishment only deters undesirable behavior a short time, but a system of rewards prompting people to love their servitude was more effective.  He believed his vision in Brave New World, in which soma and easy gratification of desire kept discontent at bay, more probable than the 1984 notion of a fear-and-punishment-based society.

It strikes me that the themes of the books are similar, in that both are dystopias dealing with world government, including control by a powerful, if shrouded, elite.  The parallels between what Huxley and Orwell predicted and today’s political climate are strongly evocative, showing how beliefs seeded years and centuries ago grow over time.  There is nothing new about empire building, or the desire for control of larger and larger areas or groups of people.  Fundamentally, it comes down to the desire to control the minds of others, on a grand scale, to make them love (Huxley) or fear (Orwell) their masters.  Individuality, the anarchist, the malcontent, the extremist, become the enemies of the state and threatening to the masses, who are comfortable in the status quo.  These outliers must be discouraged, dis-empowered, disdained, discredited, disliked, or eliminated, if they veer too far from accepted norms.

While people claim to want leaders, they also resist the authority they delegate.  In Brave New World, perpetual child-like dependency allows for the social stability that seems to ensure the lasting power of the ruling class.  It also creates a state of perpetual stagnation, in which people have no free will and face no challenges or consequences that force them to grow and, theoretically, mature.

It seems unlikely to me that the world government that some hope for and others fear will ever be attained, if only because few people fully submit to control by others.  They subvert outside authority through passive resistance or passive aggression if not outright defiance.  The more control government claims, the more unrest it creates, until the forces of resistance overwhelm the efforts to contain it.

Brave New World Revisited, published in 1958, contains twelve essays in which Huxley explored the differences between democracies and totalitarian governments.  He worried that over-population would lead to over-organization, with increasing efforts by the State to fit individuals into machine-like roles, as in corporations.  He emphasizes that organizations are not living beings.  Freedom is necessary in order to become fully human.

Both Brave New World and 1984 depict totalitarian governments teetering on their foundations, forced to use extreme tactics to maintain control of the people they have subjugated.  But for what?  Are the World Controllers in Brave New World, or Big Brother’s henchmen in 1984 any happier for their lofty positions?  What gratification comes from ruling over a passive and demoralized people, those who are kept in a state of perpetual child-like submissiveness?

It’s hard for me to imagine a totalitarian government lasting for long, simply because its foundations would be composed of homogenized individuals who have never learned to stand on their own, support themselves or each other, and are not motivated or able to carry their presumptive masters.