Welcome to TOTALITARIA! A wonderful world based on the highest ideals, most moral codes ever conceived by man!
Oooops! Do you really want to live in a Totalitarian society where your neighbors and creepy people spy on you and report you to the Morality Police overseen by the Minister of Interior, a guy responsible for the interior thoughts inside your mind?!
This blog explores Joost Meerlo’s chapter on the Totalitarian Mindset, which is a mindset that serves as a fundamental building block of totalitarian societies. This mindset does not just infect Totalitarian Rulers. It infects lots of people in a society who become susceptible to it for a variety of reasons
Totalitarianism is a form of government and a political system that prohibits all opposition parties, outlaws individual and group opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an extremely high if not complete degree of control and regulation over public and private life. -- Totalitarianism -- Wikipedia
In fact, there are recognizable personality traits for forming and holding a Totalitarian Mindset.
These traits include conventionalism, authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, anti-intraception, superstition and stereotypy, power and "toughness", destructiveness and cynicism, projectivity, and exaggerated concerns over sex. -- The Authoritarian Personality -- Wikipedia
There is even such a thing as a totalitarian democracy, which is a state is said to maximize its control over the lives of its citizens by using the dual rationale of general will (i.e., “public good”) and majority rule.
Recap & Current Events
Previous blogs of this series explore why we need heroes, super heroes, and strong stories that activate and workout the body parts of our mind: Archetypes. Like the rest of the world, I am shocked and horrified by Hamas October 7 attack and anyone celebrating this attack. What were they thinking is beyond what a normal person can conceive. Only people who have broken their minds and eviscerated their hearts are capable of cutting the fingers off a little boy before executing him and cutting heads off of babies. Only people who have turned themselves into monsters spend 16 years and billions of dollars building underground tunnels while not dropping a dime to build a bomb shelter for the 2.2 million people of Gaza and then build their underground bunker headquarters underneath refugee facilities and hospitals.
The killing of any innocent person–baby, child, woman, or man–is wrong… be it by knifes and guns or bombs… and yet, here we the people of the world, stand again looking into the jaws of violence, which breeds violence, which breeds violence and revenge and more violence. The same killing is happening in Ukraine implemented by another crazy totalitarian monster who is cozying up to this favorite totalitarian dictators in Iran, North Korea, China, and now Hamas, Hezbollah, and any and all extremists, violent visionaries who want to rule the world.
I have been devastated by images of death and destruction in Israel and Gaza, but one picture caught my attention in a curious way. This is the picture of the captured soldier recused by the IDF from Gaza.
I cannot fix or change this torn and tattered world. I can only reflect and notice and try to understand what makes a person lean into a Totalitarian Mindset and Life that never ends up serving the good of all. It only ever seems to serve a few living like rats in tunnels or cockroachs in golden palaces.
So let’s dive into Joost Meerlo who was a Jewish psychiatrist who survive the Nazi holocaust and thought a lot about what makes such men do such monstrous things.
There actually exists such a thing as a technique of mass brainwashing. This technique can take root in a country if an inquisitor is strong and shrewd enough. He can make most of us his victims, albeit temporarily.
What in the structure of society has made man so vulnerable to these mass manipulations of the mind? This is a problem with tremendous implications, just as brainwashing is. In recent years we have grown more and more aware of human interdependence with all its difficulties and complications.
I am aware of the fact that investigation of the subject of mental coercion and thought control becomes less pleasant as time goes on. This is so because it may become more of a threat to us here and now, and our concern for China and Korea must yield to the more immediate needs at our own door. Can totalitarian tendencies take over here, and what social symptoms may lead to such phenomena? Stern reality confronts us with the universal mental battle between thought control (and its corollaries) and our standards of decency, personal strength, personal ideas, and a personal conscience with autonomy and dignity.
Future social scientists will be better able to describe the causes of the advent of totalitarian thinking and acting in man. We know that after wars and revolutions this mental deterioration more easily finds an opportunity to develop, helped by special psychopathic personalities who flourish on man’s misery and confusion. It is also true that the next generation spontaneously begins to correct the misdeeds of the previous one because the ruthless system has become too threatening to them.
My task, however, is to describe some symptoms of the totalitarian process (which implies deterioration of thinking and acting) as I have observed them in our own epoch, keeping in mind that the system is one of the most violent distortions of man’s consistent mental growth. No brainwashing is possible without totalitarian thinking. The tragic facts of political experiences in our age make it all too clear that applied psychological technique can brainwash entire nations and reduce their citizens to a kind of mindless robotism which becomes for them a normal way of living. Perhaps we can best understand how this frightening thing comes about by examining a mythical country, which, for the sake of convenience, we shall call Totalitaria.
While writing this blog, I heard this on NPR. If you are interested in Totalitarian Societies and Mindset and what can happen to ordinary people just trying to live their lives in such societies, you should listen to this episode that tells how things can go sideways really fast, especially with social media and modern technologies.
In this episode, you meet a man in Iraq and the new app called Snitch, a woman in the US who was giving birth at home and arrested because her baby was a still birth, and what has been happening in Iran for decades with its brutal Morality police. The very same Iran supplying Putin with drones and Hamas with rockets.
Click Here is a five-part special series telling true stories about the people making and breaking our digital world. Hosted by former NPR Investigations correspondent Dina Temple-Raston, Click Here uses deep reporting and investigative journalism to introduce listeners to the people behind today’s cybersecurity and intelligence headlines. You’ll meet not just the hackers, but the people who are chasing them – without all that insider jargon that makes tech shows hard to understand.
What happens when authorities use digital weapons to impose their vision of morality on the people they are supposed to serve? Across the globe, rulers have launched apps, tracked phones, and used personal data in increasingly hostile ways, and it has sparked some very creative responses. -- Listen to this and other episodes of the Click Here podcast at clickhereshow.com or wherever you get your podcasts.
Hoffer seeks to provide non partisan and non bias information from both sides to help people understand the different sides, perspectives, and history of the conflict in the Middle East. It is a big lift and hard to do, and it is hard for people to reach out and seek more information to understand more about the horrors taking place. It is the only way forward for every individual to do this work, to check one’s own biases and blind spots. It is hard work, thinking, but without this hard work… there is only one place the world is going to land… and it’s not a peaceful place.
Following the onset of the Israel-Hamas war, Harvard University junior Shira Hoffernoticed a lot of one-sided and polarizing narratives around the conflict.
In an effort to promote peaceful dialogue across differences, Hoffer launched the Hotline for Israel/Palestine, an educational texting hotline that seeks to provide users with nonpartisan information and resources.
The initiative already has two dozen volunteers, spanning across religions, ethnicities and countries.
Here & Now's Jane Clayson speaks with Hoffer for more details on this peace-forward effort.
Resistance requires bold acts of creativity. Without creativity, we lack the ability to imagine a better world.
This blog focuses on creative acts of resistance and resilience regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These five Bs are just but a few of the billions of ways we can resist violence and hatred wherever and whenever it pops up in our world. Without resistance, destructive people like Putin will turn our world into a Hellish place.
Food, art, dance, and storytelling (in any form) have always been creative tools of resistance and resilience for oppressed people living anywhere in world during any age or time. There are many ways to resist creatively, as many as there are human beings alive on the planet right now.
Wherever you are, know you are not alone, and you can resist creatively. The world is slowly catching up to the realization that we cannot leave any human being behind to be devoured by beasts like Putin or other fiendish, fascists monsters.
Each human being, be they rich or poor, famous or obscure, is critical to the social currency and fabric of human life on Earth. Not one person is dispensable or disposable, no matter how much the haters want us to think this is so.
I.Bake for Ukraine
There are so many ways everyone around the world can help the people of Ukraine overcome Putin’s War. Bake for Ukraine. If you sell your creations, donate some of the money raise to individuals as chef José Andrés and his organization World Central Kitchen who are providing food to people trying to survive in places devastated by the same beast that held Europe in its grip in the wars that became global: WWI and WWII.
There is no ignoring this beast lives inside of Putin, his stooges, and his flying monkeys. We must stare it down right here, right now. We need to do what ever we can to help every Ukrainian wherever they are and in whatever way we can. We must merge our collective will into a force greater than the beast inside of Putin. If we fail, it will only grow stronger and swallow more of the world dissolving it into its acid of hate.
This is a beast desperate for its intoxicating food, which is destruction and death. So bake, shout, write your congressmen and women. Tell them to do more for Ukraine and all people suffering from brutality or indifference wherever they live in the world. If we do not deal with this now (if we do not stare down the beast wherever it pops up in our world), we will pay the collective price for ignorance (that is ignoring what we can do now to help others rather than just helping ourselves).
A.Bake for Ukraine — Acts of Creativity Are Acts of Resistance
This is a video I made of us (really Elena) creatively baking Putin out of our world.
Music: Sally Cooper by Foubert [as featured under Neutral Music on iPhone]
One way leads towards greater freedom and self-determination for people and countries. It is not any easy path for it roots out corruption in imposes consequences on the people who steal from others, who lie, who double-deal, who smear and slander others, who take what others need to live, including their lives.
The other way leads to less freedom and no self-determination for people and countries. It is an easier path because you just have to follow the crowd and keep your mouth shut, even if that means your business is taken from you to line the pockets of some rich billionaire or your child is beaten up for spraying painting an act of resistance against a fascist government or showing too much hair under a veil. This is the way towards dictatorial rule of a few people who want to control everything.
Everybody on the planet is choosing right now. What will you choose?
B.Bake, Bake, Bake for Ukraine and to Free Oppressed People Everywhere
Elena baked all these gorgeous cakes! Drawing on her rich and beautiful Ukrainian culture and heritage, she is mixing and baking a better way to be and live in our precious, fragile world.
This is another video I made of us (really Elena) creatively baking Putin out of our world.
Music: Space Space [I made this song using GarageBand!?!]
When people are eating together, they are not fighting each other.
We all choose our path in life. Do you choose love and kindness, sharing food and fun times with other people.
Eating together also requires physically being in the same space, something increasingly rare in our fast-moving, high-tech world. Do you choose hate and rage using your keyboard to troll and disparage others sowing seeds of fear and loathing through dark myths, lies, and misinformation… a evil form of creativity, closely associated with Dark Empathy and Narcissism.
C.World Central Kitchen
Food brings people together. Food nourishes people. Food is an act of love!
When people are eating together, they are not fighting.
Cook, bake, and create for the people of Ukraine and all people who are living under tyranny or trying to escape it. When we cook and bake for people, we are not ignoring them or turning them away from our borders after desperate journeys of survival and escape from injustice and violence.
II. Banksy & Other Street Artists for Ukraine
A. Who Is Banksy?
My good friend from Germany sent me a video about Banksy’s art in Ukraine. I did not know who Banksy is and had to look him up. Then, I was shocked I didn’t know about him.
His work is a creative act of resistance against the brutal, evil will of Putin and his fiendish cronies. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says if the Free World remains united like a fist, Ukraine will win this war started by Russia.
C. Other Artists Supporting Ukraine Through Creative Acts of Resistance
As I scrolled through Banksy’s work, I also saw other beautiful and inspiring murals, graffiti, and creative acts of unity and resistance. Art is a powerful form of symbols, and symbols have long united human beings in accomplishing difficult and dangerous collective action.
Now is no different than 10,000 from now or 10,000 years ago. We need each other to do difficult, dangerous things. And untied, as President Zelenskyy says, we will smote the evil flame Putin light on his bomb of greed and hunger to control and crush anyone who does not worship him.
III. Ballet for Ukraine
Ballet has always been used to symbolize and defy great powers of death and destruction and to inspire hope. Here are just two examples of how ballet is defying Putin’s hate.
A. Ballet dancers from across Ukraine bring ‘Giselle’ to the Kennedy Center
Some 60 Ukrainian dancers are scheduled to arrive in Washington, D.C., this weekend from The Hague. They'll perform Giselle, with choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, at at the Kennedy Center.
The dancers are refugees who fled Ukraine after the Russian invasion. With help from local officials and dance professionals, they formed the United Ukrainian Ballet Company. The artistic director is Igone de Jongh, a former prima ballerina with the Dutch National Ballet.
The stories of how these dancers fled Ukraine by train, bus, car and by foot are harrowing. Vladyslava Ihnatenko was dancing with the Odesa Opera House when the Russians invaded. She decided to leave when she could hear explosions from her apartment. -- NPR, 1/28/23
B. Ballet for Refugee Kids in the Czech Republic
I learned about this beautiful program taking place in Prague, Czech Republic that helping Ukrainian refugee children find joy during a time of incredible stress and dislocation. I learned about this magnificent program from a friend who is in a writing group that we both belong. The story of how this program came into being is just as wonderful.
In the summer of 1995, Greater Europe Mission’s president, Ted Nobel, visited GEM workers Greg and Debby Nichols in Odesa, Ukraine. As they walked along the beach, Debby told him about her crazy thoughts and dreams of organizing an evangelistic concert at the Philharmonic Hall of Odesa. President Nobel said, “But what if those are not ‘crazy thoughts’ but rather the still small voice of the Lord prompting you to move ahead with this dream?” Those words still ring in Debby’s ears today. That was the beginning of three yearly outreaches reaching thousands of Odesans.
Fast forward to 2022. The Nichols now live in Prague, Czech Republic where part of their work has been with refugees over the past six years. When the Ukrainian war began in February 2022, the Nichols jumped in with both feet to minister to their hurting friends. After many years of practicing listening to the still small voice, they are quicker to discern. And yet, it still surprises them when God invites them into ministries that only he could think up.
As they personally provided help to over 50 refugees who journeyed out of Ukraine, the Nichols sought to bring Christ’s healing in varied ways to the bodies, minds and souls of the displaced Ukrainians. Out of this sprang the idea to create a ministry Center in Prague from which to better operate. As Greater Europe Mission sought to maximize its efforts toward the Ukraine crisis, GEM focused resources on two main areas of refugee ministry –Bucharest, Romania and Prague, Czech Republic.
You can learn more about ballet for refugee kids in the Czech Republic and Greater Europe Mission’s work here.
Special note, I just received an article from my friends that Prague unveiled a powerful new mural on anniversary of the Russian invasion.
“Ukrainians are brave, you can see it every day. And they often stand on the ruins and speak for Ukraine to be free.” – ChemiS
I think it is also important to point out that Czechoslovakia was invaded by Hitler for the same reasons and in the same manner as Putin invaded Ukraine. A very good friend of mine who is German told me his father who lived through Hitler’s tyranny of German said that Putin gave the very same speech justifying why Russia was invading Ukraine that Hitler gave before invading Czechoslovakia.
Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia before Poland. The world did nothing. Hitler kept going.
Our next-door neighbor is Peter Stein and he has written a truly compelling book about being a boy in German occupied Czechoslovakia. His father was Jewish and sent to a concentration camp. His mother was Catholic and forced to work in a German factory for long hours throughout the war.
Amazon: Peter J. Stein was a witness to history, a keeper of Holocaust memories and teller of its stories. He grew up the child of a Catholic mother and a Jewish father who was forced into slave labor and later disappeared. Nazi-occupied Prague was full of German soldiers everywhere and Peter’s loved ones vanished in mystery and secret. As a 12-year-old immigrant in America, he searched for a new identity that left his past behind. But as Faulkner tells us, the past is never past. When, as a college professor, a group of students sought his help to challenge a Holocaust teacher, Stein’s memories of his childhood resurfaced. A Boy’s Journey makes the past present and carries it into our future so that we do not forget.
C.BALLET BENEFIT RAISES FUNDS TO HELP UKRAINE’S CHILDREN
Throughout history, dance — ballet in particular — has played a vital role during times of war and exile. Ballet and other forms of art were used to both symbolize and defy great powers during World War II and other times of conflict. Today, as we near the one-year mark of escalated war in Ukraine, dancers from Ukraine and around the world are fighting back.
In August 2022, the National Ballet of Ukraine performed at Steinmetz Hall in Orlando, Florida. Presented by the Ginsburg Family Foundation, the Ukraine Ballet Benefit invited audiences to experience Ukraine’s culture through its national artists while raising funds to support those whose lives have been upended by the war. The performance, with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, was professionally filmed by the Parable Foundation in partnership with Full Sail University, and the resulting feature film is now available for free streaming. -- Unicef USA, Ukraine, Ballet Benefit to Help Ukraine's Children, January 25, 2023
Coming Soon, the historic performance by the National Ballet of Ukraine from the Taras Shevchenko National Opera House, live from the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, Florida. Accompanied by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, this monumental performance brings together Ukraine and the America united for the hope of Ukrainian independence and sharing the light of hope to the world through the art and power of ballet. Presented by the Ginsburg Family Foundation, this performance was filmed and produced by the Parable Foundation, in partnership with Full Sail University. All proceeds raised are donated directly to Olena Zelenska Foundation, Razom, and UNICEF to provide humanitarian aid relief to Ukrainians impacted by Russian military invasion. -- Promo - Ukraine Ballet Benefit
Ballet and dance are most definitely brilliant, powerful ways to resist fascism and unite the Free World in collective resistance to smote the evil flame Putin ignited when he invaded Ukraine in 2014. Dance is a brilliant flame to counteract any evil flame ignited by a budding evil fascists or hater in the world.
Let’s dance our world back into harmony and peace so all can live without fear and terror.
IV. Blook & Blog for Ukraine
Where would we be without writing and words? Probably, we’d still living in caves, I suppose. The first volleys of every modern war (even medieval wars) begin with words of hatred and dehumanization of the target to the aggressors seeks to diminish, control, or destroy. It has always been this way. The war begins inside the mind.
So too does the resistance and resilience. Words and stories and video blogs (aka blooks) help reconnect us to what is most essential about ourselves and each other. Words inspire us to be better humans and to act in ways to create a better world. During times of war, words will destroy the swords and bombs because they live in the hearts and minds of people.
I first learned about Olena from Anderson Cooper when he interviewed her in the first horror-filled and savage days after February 24, 2022.
Blogging is another powerful way to show what Putin is doing to real people, right now. And another powerful way to galvanize the world’s collective will against fascism and hate of any kind. As I explored in my last blog, fascism and hate is not confined to Putin and his cronies. It inflicts China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, the United States of American.
Fascism, hate, and ignorance lives inside of all of us. But, we do not need to be slaves to it. It only takes a little conscious awareness to illuminate the fullness of who you are and the choices that lay before you each day. It only takes a little self-awareness to choose loving kindness instead of hate and dictatorial impulses to control and degrade other human beings. No one on this planet is dispensable or disposable. No one!
Beliefs form our life boats upon the sea of being that we must all navigate throughout our lives. Here are two powerful individuals sharing how people survive against all odds to overcome the impossible and to thrive once again.
This is a deeply moving and compelling podcast. It illuminates just how devastating Putin’s insane war has on every dimension of being human. War…wherever it happens, however it happens, however big or small it is…it tears apart the nature and fabric of life and everything life needs to survive.
Anyone who desires war and can’t wait for the shooting and killing to start is a deranged human being. This is something my brother-in-law actually said to his son just before the events of January 6, 2021 unfolded. My brother-in-law is a deranged human being devoid of empathy, filled with hate, and obsessed with himself.
Perhaps our modern world has done this to vulnerable human beings in the world making them feel unmoored, frightened, and insecure. Like animals, a hurting human can lash out and hurt other humans. But, there is something more ominous and menacing going on in the world today. A thing that is boiling over into the rise of hate groups around the world. A thing that puffed up Putin into a blimp of terrific terror who is pummelling the world with his particular brand of hate and horror.
I think Esther Perel is a wondrous voice of healing, hope, and regeneration beginning inside ourself and spreading throughout every relationship we have in every moment of our crazy, draining modern lives.
This is another talk by Esther Perel that dives in deep into how relational intelligence guides us towards well-being, success, and a better, healthy, more nourishing life. We need to nourish ourselves so we can nourish each other. We need this sort of nourishment, this sort of insight and self-knowledge desperately now before we blow ourselves up with hateful wars or destroy our planet with woeful ignorance and lack of the collective action to save our planet from our self-destructive actions based on competition, greater profits over the greater good, and self-annihilating focus on things, power, and control.
Love always finds a way. When it doesn’t, the world will end.
B. The Will to Win
Clarissa Ward has been reporting in Ukraine since Putin’s dramatic escalation of his ugly, brutal war on February 24, 2022. Nearing the one year mark since this horrible day one year ago, Clarissa returned to some of the places where she reported to reconnect with people and places during the earlier days of this invasion. And she connects with survivors of Putin’s indiscriminate killings.
It is a compelling testament to the resilience of the Ukrainian people and how love is overcoming hate each and every day of Putin’s hate. It is the Will to Win!
Whatever your joy is, whatever you like to do when you can really relax and sink deeply into yourself, do it now in one magnificent, massive act of creative resistance that will utterly, totally blow Putin’s flame of evil and hell out.
Both Archetypal Animations Draw from These Creative Sources
Street artists worldwide are paying tributes to Ukraine amid Putin’s invasion and showing their support for Ukraine. The invasion on 24th February 2022 has been widely condemned internationally as an act of aggression and has triggered Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II.
French street artist Seth Globepainter painted a little girl in Paris three days after the war began that symbolizes the Ukrainian people’s courage and determination to face the Russian invasion. Seth Globepainter visited Ukraine in 2017 when he painted a mural of a little girl for the Back to School Project at the Popasna school, located close to the frontline of the Donbas war, curated by Oleg Sosnov, Unicef Ukraine and Sky art foundation. The artist states that the school children he met in 2017 were the inspiration for his mural “Onwards Ukraine”. -- GraffitiStreet | Street Artists Paint in Solidarity with Ukraine, Worldwide 2022
A new mural featuring a young girl taking shelter under a Ukrainian flag with popular figures from children's entertainment can now be seen on Mojmírova street in Prague 4, a few blocks from Náměstí Bratří Synků.
ChemiS, the artist behind the work, told journalists on Friday that the mural is an an expression of his stance against the war in Ukraine, and an appeal for continued support of Ukrainians affected by the war.