by Fazal Rahman, Ph.D.
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Originally published on imperialismandthethirdworld
October 15, 2015
Hypothesis of its epigenetic and mass psychological role inside the mass mental apparatus
Elections for the political offices in the US are incomparably worse than any horror movies, as they repeatedly and inevitably reproduce the basic politico-economic structures and institutions of class divisions, inequality, injustice, vast deprivations, crime, mental illness, selfishness, aggressions, wars, and severe damages to the ecology of nature and human nature-within the context of the most advanced capitalist political economy and the most developed scientifico-technological forces of production and destruction-which, among other things, invariably cause destruction of tens of millions of lives globally, as well as, to a lesser extent, domestically, through wars and invasions, impoverishment and deprivations that cause severe multidimensional damages to human lives, diabolical expenditures of financial and human resources on the military war machine and production of ever more destructive and advanced weapons and systems of mass destruction, and great damages to the biosphere and all the life-supporting systems of the planet. No horror movie can come even close to the reality produced by these “democratic” elections.
The structural flaws of the system and its various institutionalized processes, as well as the role of mass media, have been well-documented (see for example 1, 2), and there is no need to reproduce them here. However, there is a deficiency in the knowledge and understanding of the mass psychology and culture of political behavior in the electoral and other politico-economic matters, which will be briefly discussed in this article.
The most important questions that arise in this regard are:
1. How can hundreds of millions of adult humans-a great number of them “highly educated” and trained in various technical and other skills, and supposedly endowed with intellect and soul-constantly reproduce and put up with such demonocratic institutions and structures of politico-economic power, through regular elections, by electing candidates whose policies and actions are totally predictable to reproduce these, in close approximations?
2. What is the mass psychology and culture of this mass political behavior?
The implications of some of my previous papers (3, 4) are relevant to answers to these questions. Much of my focus in many of my publications is on the law-regulated (not the judicial or constitutional laws, but the scientific, politico-economic, social, and mass psychological laws) foundations and processes of various phenomena, problems, and events, from which these, as well as the policies and actions of various political leaders, are produced and reproduced, predictably and regularly. While various journalists and other writers document particular empirical and other facts of these, my focus is on the above-mentioned foundations and processes. Most journalists and other writers hardly ever touch such foundations and processes, much less relate the particular empirical and other facts of constantly occurring problems and events, which originate in these, to their foundations and processes. Such an approach, which is widespread and standard, leaves a fundamental deficiency in full comprehension of the nature, causes, and potential solutions of these problems and events. Of course, particular facts are essential, but so are their interconnections within the above-mentioned law-regulated foundations and processes, which need to be integrated for correct and full comprehensions. In the absence of latter, even if some specific single problems, issues, or events are resolved, these will emerge elsewhere in different forms. For example, the war in Vietnam finally ended in 1975, with the defeat of American invaders and their allies. The focus of much of the peace movement, media, and writers was on that single event, without relating it to the law-governed processes of imperialism and militarism. Such events were later reproduced, flowing out of these processes-which constitute the common foundation and structural link between all of them-in Central America, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. The resolution of the war in Vietnam did not solve the problem of imperialist wars, invasions, and militarism. To the contrary, these have now intensified in numerous parts of the world, especially in the Middle East and South Asia, and are even leading to the Third World War-which will be catastrophic for the human species, as well as most other forms of life-by provocations of the super-powers of Russia and Peoples Republic of China by the American and NATO imperialists and militarists, who are addicted and dedicated to sadistic and psychopathic domination, exploitation, inequality, injustice, and class-divisions, in their own countries, as well as rest of the world. The basic reason for such sinister developments is that the anti-war movements against particular wars failed to confront the law-governed foundations and processes of American and NATO imperialism and militarism. Currently, they are not doing anything against the ongoing wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (in which the US and NATO have played the determining role). The so-called Occupy Movement was also a dismal failure because of much worse problems than the movements of 1960s in its composition and leadership, lack of a clear agenda and goals, and lack of any effective strategy and tactics.
As far as the mass psychology of American electorate is concerned, it has evolved into even more sinister and demonocratic forms than before, evident in electing the candidates of the Republican Party, including its fascist wing, the Tea Party, to majority positions in both the House and the Senate. Instead of electing lesser of the two evils, the Democrats, they elected the greater of the two evils, at this critical time of American and world history! The Presidential campaigns for the November 2016 elections are already in full swings, with the only candidate that has a truly democratic and progressive agenda and program, Jill Stein of the Green Party, being ignored by the media and electorate, and having no chance at all. Again, it will be the billions of dollars spent on these campaigns that will decide the outcome of these elections. The quality of candidates and elected officials, with very rare exceptions, has also been deteriorating consistently over the past many decades. Even a lot of Republicans of the 1970s were better than a lot of Democrats of today.
Mass psychology and culture, along with other components and institutions of the superstructure, are predominantly created by the economic basis of political economy in a given society. Surely, that relation is dialectical and not one-sided. The superstructure also feeds back into the economic basis. However, the economic basis retains its primacy throughout such mutual dialectical conditionings. This is one of the major foundations of Marxism and should be well-understood, but is not, because of the dominant influences of the apologists and advocates of capitalism, who unleash huge torrents of confusionist concepts and words to drown this major foundation of the socio-economic formations, and to mislead the public into various diversionist directions, frequently intoxicating them with non-existing individual “freedoms” and “powers” that float above and are not conditioned by the economic basis, within the political economy of capitalism and imperialism, in which the capital has totalitarian powers over everything, including the mass psychology, culture, and behavior (including political behavior). In such a society, one’s choices and actions are limited by the amount of capital and money one possesses. However, illusions of great numbers and varieties of, even unlimited, freedom of choices and actions are created and spread by the intellectual allies and beneficiaries of the system, which are contrary to all the real and empirical facts and evidence that demonstrate and prove the accuracy of the above-mentioned relation between the economic basis and components of the superstructure in given socio-economic formations, including those of capitalism and imperialism.
The class nature and contradictions of democracy under capitalism have long been understood and analyzed by communists. Lenin, in his address to the First Congress of the Communist International in 1919, had presented a thorough analysis of the extremely limited and contradictory nature of bourgeois democracy in response to the class collaborationist, opportunist, and confusionist nonsense of the leadership of some European social democratic parties, in which they were attempting to identify bourgeois democracy with democracy in general. He conclusively demonstrated that bourgeois democracy was little more than a legal form of cover for the actual state of affairs characterized by the dictatorship of capitalists. He also pointed out that the “Marxists have always maintained that the more developed, the ‘purer’ democracy is, the more naked, acute, and merciless the class struggle becomes, and the ‘purer’ the capitalist oppression and bourgeois dictatorship” (5).
The development of American capitalist-imperialist “democracy” is the biggest proof of the failure of capitalist democracy and its inevitable evolution into ever more sinister, anti-democratic, anti-human, and fascistic forms (which it transformed into in numerous Third World countries and which is now returning to the imperialist center itself). The effects of elections in the American capitalist-imperialist “democracy” are global in nature, because of its vast networks of worldwide imperialist relations and operations. Elections in other capitalist democracies do not have such vast and powerful global imperialist impacts.
As stated above, I will only focus on the effects of Capital and Money, the concentrated embodiments of the totalitarian powers of Capital in the Advanced Capitalist-Imperialist Society (ACITS) of the US, on the mass psychology, culture, and behavior of its inhabitants. This focus will be on the mainstream parts and processes of the population. As in other such generalizations, there are always individual and group exceptions and variations to these. However, it is scientifically valid to ignore such exceptions and variations -which revolve around and are conditioned by the mainstream- in identifying and describing the general nature of phenomena and processes.
In the ACITS, reflections of the real totalitarian powers of capital and money are established at the controlling centers of the mass human mental apparatus and the mass human brain (my usage of the term mass psychology includes these), regulating all the diverse human faculties and behaviors. It is similar to the role played by the supernatural God in the religious mass psychologies or the role played by man-made laws in regulating the mass psychologies and behaviors. During various wars between people who practice different religions, the Super-Devil-God of Capital also initiates conflicts between the different supernatural Gods in their mass psychologies, in its own service. The Devil-God of Capital and Money competes with, subordinates, and displaces all the Gods of various religions, which may also be situated in the mass psychologies. In the ACITS, among other innumerable behaviors, it also regulates the political behavior of the population. That is why under the façade of regular democratic elections, in the ACITS, Capital in its controlling and regulating position in the mass psychology, exercises dictatorial and totalitarian powers, and produces anti-democratic and anti-human results. This can explain the long history of results of such elections in all the ACITS, and particularly those of the US, in which majorities vote not only for their enemies, but, many times, even for their worst enemies, as well as for the worst enemies of mankind, justice, equality, peace, and ecology of nature and human nature. The results of the coming 2016 Presidential elections will not be any better than the previous ones, and are likely to be even worse.
The explosion of research discoveries of the past twenty years in the areas of epigenetics, gene regulation, and developmental plasticity have shown that the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the enormous numbers and types of interconnected networks of neural circuits, and neurotransmitters, hormones, and other chemicals, associated with these, play controlling and regulating roles in the regulation of specific genes and batteries of genes for various morphological and behavioral traits in metazoans (multicellular organisms, with nervous systems, including humans), in response to external and/or internal environmental factors. Cabej (6) has cited thousands of such research studies and discoveries in his 2012 book, The Epigenetic Principles of Evolution. On the basis of all that new, as well as previous such information, I am convinced that social, politico-economic, and natural environmental factors play a regulating role via the brain, CNS, and interconnected networks of neural circuits, through the release and secretions of numerous variable neurotransmitters, hormones, and other chemicals, that regulate the activities of specific genes or batteries of genes, for various morphological, psychological, and behavioral traits and actions, in humans. Such processes and mechanisms are also certainly involved in the political and electoral behavior of the electorates. This constitutes a new dimension of these phenomena. At this stage of the development of knowledge and research information, it is only possible to present a general outline of these processes, like the one I have presented above, which, nevertheless, explains their regularity and relative stability in the ACITS. The key point is that various human faculties and behaviors, including those involved in the political and electoral behavior, are not merely mass psychological or cultural, but are also biological and physiological in nature, involving the interactions between environmental factors; brain; CNS; networks of neural circuits; neurotransmitters, hormones, and other chemicals; and genes and their differential regulation. These processes take place mostly on the level of unconscious. The mass and individual unconscious plays a greater role than the mass and individual consciousness in such regulations, which may even be the opposite of that required by the latter.
Socialism, among other great objective and subjective transformations, will eject the reflection of the Devil-God of Capital from the depths of human mass mental apparatus, freeing both its religious and atheist forms from its controls, regulations, and domination. Of course, this will take time, but it can only happen under socialism.
The following news item about the recent debate between some democratic Presidential candidates is self-explanatory. It shows the success and effectiveness of superfluity, shallowness, acting, and rehearsed demagoguery in influencing public opinions and choices in the electoral processes. In their essence, such contests have a lot in common with the Miss America type of contests. Rather than judging the candidates on substantial issues, they are judged by how they handle and present themselves.
“Clinton, 67, was widely hailed by analysts as turning in a nimble, effective performance on Tuesday night, perhaps easing the fears of some Democrats fretting that the flap over her use of a private email server while in the Obama administration was torpedoing her candidacy.
In doing so, she at once may have dampened calls for Biden to make a belated entrance into the race, while also blunting the threat from insurgent candidate Bernie Sanders, a 74-year-old U.S. senator from Vermont and self-described democratic socialist.”
“If you’re a Hillary supporter and you were worried for whatever reason, you should feel very good about yourself,” said Rodell Mollineau, a Democratic strategist who attended the debate in Las Vegas. “This is the kind of debate that helps build momentum.”
1. Parenti, M. Democracy for the Few. 8th Ed., 2008, Thomson Wadsworth.
2. Greider, W. Who Will Tell the People: The Betrayal of American Democracy. Touchstone, New York, 1992.
3. Rahman, F. Biosocial and epigenetic relativity of human nature: Relative to political economy, technology, and culture.
4. Rahman, F. Multidimensional and complex nature and effects of imperialism on democracy, society, nature, and human nature.
5. Lenin, V. I. “Theses and Report on Bourgeois Democracy and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat”, First Congress of the Communist International, March 2-6, 1919. Selected Works, Vol. 3, pp. 150-163. Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1971.
6. Cabej, N. R. Epigenetic Principles of Evolution. Elsevier, London, UK and Waltham, MA, USA, 2012. 804 pages.
Dr. Fazal Rahman is an interdisciplinary researcher and writer, with background in many areas of biological and social sciences. He has lived and worked in many countries, like Pakistan, Brazil, USA, Lebanon, and Zambia, as a scientist and head of research and development programs and centers. He has done in-depth and extensive studies on Marxism, Leninism, phenomenology, existentialism, political economy of capitalism and socialism, political economy of US and former USSR, technocracy, psychology, mass psychology, and genetics, etc.
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Courageous stuff Fazal, I admire your forthright approach to this intellectually demanding issue.
You cast considerable light on the constrained feedback loops associated with the economic basis of society & its epigenetic political manifestations that are reinforcing postured prejudice, rather than cultivating emergent, adjustive, reflexive and psycho-socially interactive modes of discourse & behaviour.
I think the main reason for this is the prevalent deployment of those psychological techniques of entrainment that inculcate ideological hubris as the apotheosis of success. This demonocracy as you so aptly frame it, a great term, is perpetuated by entropic corporate “intelligences” that must either expedite parasitism or perish.
The agroecologist Miguel Altieri calls it a clash of paradigms. The root of the problem as I see it, is the reactionary conservative occultism of privileged education; that advertises virtuous free-thinking whilst covertly sabotaging any authentic sovereign individual intelligence, or allowance for the coherent hermeneutics of lived experience ~ or what might be described as sceptical heuristics.
The ironic consequence of this policy of deviant subordination to a conspicuously spurious, bought-and-sold pseudo hierarchy of false values, is that unique vision is trivialised; while unrestricted nobility of legitimate expression is so blatantly misappropriated and corrupted, that societies necessarily atrophy, or implode.
Compliance to doctrinal sublimation, mutates everything into an ersatz-moralistic commodity. This is the neo-liberal gospel. How dare we imagine that any other way is possible! It makes us rich!!
In my opinion the fate of the world now hinges on the adjusted demise (you say overthrow) of this US system of totalitarian nuclear-extractive-educational-military-intel-banking-trade dominance. A dominance that China appears to be happy to lease to the internationalist emirs of capital at a theoretical cost. In other words we may be witnessing the decline of the US empire, but its sinister reincarnation as an Asian proxy dictatorship.
The predatory US establishment has cried wolf far too often. The entire continent may become a sacrifice zone if the populace does not swiftly awaken to their indigenous responsibility, to radically reorganize all representative institutions, in ways that more accurately reflect the legitimate biospherical realities of a greatly endangered planetary oikoumene.
I’m not sure if the following link is at all relevant Fazal, as I haven’t had time to study it properly, but it may be of interest if it’s moving in a similar geodetic arc as your own dialectical direction of travel, altho’ I suspect the radical eco-psychology of Andy Fisher may be making a better fist of it….http://nexusofepigenetics.com/2014/12/01/the-true-political-impact-of-epigenetics/
Thank you for your encouraging, eloquent and insightful comment. Among other things, your vocabulary is enviable. The presidential candidates deserve someone like you, who can make them look illiterate. Also, thanks for the link. I had read some of Shea Robison’s material on that site. He is one of numerous persons in social sciences, who are trying to integrate epigenetics with their fields. He seems to know the basics of epigenetics. The most comprehensive works on epigenetics have been written by Nelson R. Cabej, whose 2012 book, Epigenetic Principles of Evolution, I have cited here. In that book, he has reviewed thousands of research studies and discoveries during the past twenty years. I had reviewed numerous such studies during 1980 and 1982 for my articles. I have tried to simplify the scientific vocabulary and concepts as much as I could. However, Cabej’s books would be vary hard even for most biologists, as these contain very complex and difficult scientific terminologies and concepts, as well as complex and minute details of researches and their interpretations in the light of his own hypotheses.
Excellent Fazal, thank you for the cogent introduction to Cabej. My own understanding of this subject is tentative at best. I did work my way through Jablonka and Lamb’s Evolution in Four Dimensions about 5 years ago, & managed to absorb (ie “internalise”) much of the detail, but biology and biophysics are such daunting disciplines, I still tend to defer to the likes of Jim Al-Khalili and Mae-Wan Ho. So I very much appreciate you proffering the substantial fruits of your own research. As an aside, what do you make of Rupert Sheldrake’s approach to the sceptical method?
A decade is a long time in science, & while we may have welcomed the credible erosion of the “central dogma” of genetic determinism in recent years, one would hardly know it, given the monstrous and persistent corporate deceptions of Monsanto, Syngenta et al., that resonate so insidiously with the cavalier intention to totally erase independent science & inclusive original thinking as a social catalyst, particularly thro’ heavily freighted endowments, tenured sell-outs and PR lobbying.
There was a decent review of Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb’s work by Steven Rose published in the Guardian 10 years ago
You probably know about Sheldrake’s ideas a lot more than I do. I have not read any of his books, but have read some of their reviews. His main hypothesis of morphic resonance seems to be too vague and broad. As you already know, most scientists have rejected it and the results of some arranged tests were interpreted differently by him and some other scientists. His experiments on staring were also not repeatable. As far as ESP is concerned, numerous researchers before him did a lot more work in those areas than him. Innumerable people (I know many of them personally) have had irrefutable experiences in some areas of ESP. I myself have been very critical of the universalization of methodologies of natural sciences and confining all reality, including humans and their unique features, like consciousness, within that limiting straitjacket. However, it is important to mark a clear boundary between reality and illusions. Sheldrake often seems to go over that. I would be interested in knowing your own appraisal of his publications and ideas.
Long before Sheldrake, Edmund Husserl, the founder of Phenomenology, had pointed out the limitations of the methods of natural sciences and their misapplication to human sciences, which were creating errors of utmost importance in the latter. He also tried to create a different methodology for philosophy and human sciences. Many outstanding French and German philosophers, like Jean Paul Sartre, Martin Heidegger etc., were influenced by him. During my student days, I was also greatly influenced by them.
As pointed out by Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb in the Guardian article, the link to which you sent me, neo-Darwinists have ignored some very important parts of his theory and conclusions, which are in accord with the modern discoveries of epigenetics. In doing that, they mutilated his theory to fit it into their own agendas.
I have become much more interested in your own work. Have you written any articles or books? If so, I would be greatly interested in reading them. The natural and social realities around us are complex and your unique and profound usage of words and language reflect that. I am interested in understanding more about the nature of such expressions.
Fazal, you have a generous spirit…my story is complicated, so this is probably not the right place to go into it at great length.
So, briefly ~ I eventually got serious about academic work & education studies as a mature student (50+) was upgraded to a PhD candidate at Cardiff in 2005/6, from their Dept of Theology when I had to follow my supervisor to Liverpool. My research was unusually specialised (provenance of esoteric texts) & when she resigned, I ended up with an unprecedented 5 official supervisors, an absurd arrangement that totally sabotaged my work & doctoral prospects! So I withdrew.
After much searching, I was accepted by a brilliant (strongly feminist) classics professor at Newcastle in NSW Australia, only to be misled by their admin that I should be eligible for a bursary/scholarship ~ but after 18 months, was informed it was all a mistake! By that time I had exhausted my resources, so I resolved to go independent….
I did manage to attend a biennial conference of the US Assoc. for the Study of Esotericism (ASE) in Charleston, SC in 2008; where I presented a paper on contemporary “theurgical” consciousness and the Earth community based on conflicting readings of the esoteric writings of the English mystic Aleister Crowley.
I really enjoyed the experience, but was less than impressed with the sceptical rigour and referential context of the “big hitters” in that contentious domain, and have since resolved to follow my own lines of research and write up a dissertation independently. By far the best scholarly work in this uniquely multi-disciplinary field is from the U of Amsterdam.
I could send you a copy of my original ASE paper, but it was written quite a few years ago, so would benefit from some revision….
(re Sheldrake, though I’m still trying to fully understand his concept of “extended mind” I enjoyed his sceptical approach in the Science Delusion/US version: Science Set Free (contra Dawkins) but he has oddly “High Anglican” preferences considering his close affiliation with the celebrated “psychonaut” the late Terence McKenna…)
Thank you sharing part of your story and some of the problems you encountered in the academia. I hope your situation has improved now. I myself have gone through multidimensional and extremist politico-economic, philosophical, intellectual, cultural, and racist discrimination and career destruction at the hands of cross-institutional clones of various government and judicial institutions of this “Land of the Free” and “Home of the Brave”. Now, I have lost all interest in working for any institutions of this system, and will work for free against it.
Also thank you for offering to share your ASE paper. I will be very much interested in reading it. You can email it to me at unpollutedfaz (at) aol.com.
I hope that you will continue on your chosen path of development and will not melt into the conventional linguistic and other culture. I think that with your special language abilities, you can make important contributions for essential changes.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, David.
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Worth a couple of reads to nail down his specifics.
I do wish he had suggested an intervention and a brand new diet for ACITS.
His explanations are complicated because he doesn’t use extended metaphors.
May I suggest we take Michael Hudson’s metaphor .. the parasites infect the social hosts and our entire “systems” become corrupted ..
Thanks, Virginia, great metaphor.
Thank you for your comment and observations. Your observation that I do not use extended metaphors is correct. If these help in easier understanding of the complex, macro-level, and interacting politico-economic, mass psychological, cultural, and biological phenomena-like those involved in some of my articles-I will consider using these, even though I am generally not oriented in such usage. It would be accurate and valid to apply the metaphor that you have cited to some parts of this article.
I have added the following to my article on my site, which is relevant to part of your comment:
“Indeed, mass consciousness is predominantly created under the influence of such biosocial forces of the mass unconscious, with individual variations centered around it and conditioned by it. Can individuals overcome the effects of these forces within the framework of capitalist-imperialist political economy, like that of the US? It is possible, but is rare, and the overcoming is not complete, but only relative, as evidenced by the radical psychological conversions. Certainly, there are epigenetic and physiological dimensions of such conversions, the specifics of which are unknown at present. Mass psychological radical conversions in the population, in this regard, will only be possible during and after the overthrow of the capitalist-imperialist politico-economic system and its replacement with the socialist politico-economic system. However, even under socialism, it will take considerable time, perhaps on the inter-generational scale, for such transformations in the majorities.”