The Dark-Side Psychology Behind Holiday Madness

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“Men (people) are rarely aware of the real reasons which motivate their actions.” — Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928

The winter holidays are traditionally supposed to embody a certain ideal of that which is best in the hearts of human beings. As the world around us retreats into ice and snow and the Earth’s northern cycle returns to death once again, the holidays represent a time of contemplation, as well as an opportunity to shine a light in an otherwise dark and dreary period. This heritage is as old as history, dating back to an era in which agriculture was paramount and men garnered far more respect for the tides of nature. The parallel relationship between social “renewal” and seasonal renewal has served the collective psyche of Western society, in my view, for the better. Unfortunately, this process has all but vanished today, twisted and mutilated into something sinister and poisonous.

Those of us who pay attention are well aware of a trend of cultural decline within our Nation, and this problem is disturbingly visible from Thanksgiving to Christmas. It’s not just the highly publicized Black Friday (now Black Thursday) riots over semi-cheap Chinese-made garbage. Those are certainly vile examples:

Rather, it’s the behavior of people throughout the season on a daily basis that is most disconcerting. I have personally witnessed, as I’m sure many people have, a magnified and astonishing disregard for conscience and basic decency growing worse each year for at least the past decade. That which is most unsettling about our society today is somehow unleashed with wild abandon every year at this time.

The idiocy and barbarism seems to span all economic “classes” — from the upper-middle-class snob screaming at bewildered cashiers over a coupon worth 50 cents, to the middle-class suburbanites brawling on the sticky floors of Wal-Mart over flat-screen TVs, to the part-time employee who sold her soul for minimum wage and now yells at people on Thanksgiving eve to stop filming the mindless brawls that her corporate masters encourage because such videos might “reflect badly” on the company image. The dark side truly knows no social or financial bounds.

Every year, we see this behavior, shake our heads in dismay and look forward to the beginning of January, when Americans go back to being only moderately disdainful toward each other. This time, however, instead of merely gawking in disbelief at the circus sideshow, I would like to challenge people to explore more deeply the true motivations of the mob itself, as well as the motivations of the elitists who manipulate the mob for their own purposes. Let’s take a look at the fundamental dynamics of the psychology of mobs and the madness of crowds.

Filling The Emptiness

In You Should Feel Sorry For Sheeple; Here’s Why, I outline the inner life, or rather the lack of inner life, common to the average sheeple. Many of my compatriots find it increasingly difficult to muster any pity for the sheeple subculture, and I can see why. When given ample opportunity, sheeple always sink toward the worst humanity has to offer usually in an effort to aggrandize themselves.

But let’s set aside that sick feeling in our stomachs when thinking of sheeple and really consider what their existence is like. What does a sheeple’s daily life consist of?

In most cases, he lives what he believes to be the American dream. He wakes up in the morning swelling with superficial concerns of personal gain, scheming ways in which he can raise his perceived stature among the other sheeple around him. He then then travels to his place of employment, usually a job he hates, in order to accumulate enough wealth (scraps from the plates of government and corporate financiers) to buy all the “things” he assumes everyone else wants. In the process, he pawns off his children to state-run schools designed to crush their spirits; and he becomes estranged from his spouse, who begins to forget why they ever got married in the first place. He returns home physically and emotionally drained, knowing that he did nothing worthwhile with his time, only to sit apathetically in front of his television for a few hours being bombarded with cancerous marketing propaganda and barely talking with the family he tell himself he works so hard for.

Think about it. Think of the pitch-black void that his life has become. Think of all the abandoned dreams, all the missed opportunities for experience and joy, all the moments of reflection and self-education that were missed because he was “too busy” trying to elevate himself within the ranks of a heartless collective.

Now, for one frightening moment, imagine this is your life. No sense of legitimate pride or individualism. No understanding of the underlying events that affect your environment or the high-placed people who determine your future. No thoughts outside the mainstream box. No recognition of possible alternative ways to live or how to break free. No hope for tomorrow but the endless drudgery of today’s mediocrity. Think of the unconscious rage you would have brewing inside like a putrid ball of sulfur and magma.

This rage is what sheeple use to fill the emptiness inside themselves once they subconsciously realize that no amount of frivolous consumerism will make them whole. Typically, they are on constant lookout for opportunities to vent their anger at unsuspecting victims in drive-by fashion.

Somehow, the holidays appear to have become a prime period of opportunity during which society opens the door for the dark side to come out and for sheeple to passively or not-so-passively project their failings onto others. For now, we might presume that this behavior is somewhat contained and relegated to particular moments of seasonal insanity, but the consequences of the willfully ignorant strata of American culture could go far beyond what most morally conscious people want to predict.

The Psychopath Next Door

“If thirty years ago anyone had dared to predict that our psychological development was tending towards a revival of the medieval persecutions of the Jews, that Europe would again tremble before the Roman fasces and the tramp of legions, that people would once more give the Roman salute, as two thousand years ago, and that instead of the Christian Cross an archaic swastika would lure onward millions of warriors ready for death — why, that man would have been hooted at as a mystical fool.” — Carl Jung, Archetypes And The Collective Unconscious, 1938

In his book, The Undiscovered Self, one of the fathers of modern psychology, Carl Gustav Jung, discusses the tension-filled relationship between the individual versus the collective and the state. In particular, he studies how individuals become swallowed up in the actions of the collective mob and how this momentum invariably leads to mass atrocities that defy imagination. A point of primary importance in Jung’s work is his discovery that at least 10 percent of any population at any given time is made up of individuals with latent psychopathic or sociopathic tendencies. Meaning at least one out of every 10 random people around you today was born with the capacity for psychopathic behavior, including the ability to completely ignore inherent conscience.

The idea that one out of every 10 people near you might suddenly burst into an overwhelming animalistic blood fever is, of course, terrifying to many people. But generally, latent psychopathy in a person does not surface in immediately recognizable ways; and many people with that potential live their entire lives without ever acting on it. Some even come to terms with it through self-awareness and dispel it altogether. Problems arise, though, as Jung warned, when a society creates an environment in which emotionally or physically violent psychopathic acts become “acceptable” to the collective. That is to say, individual latent psychopaths and sociopaths are not so much a danger on their own; but when they get together in an organization or mob, the terrible floodgates open.

During national crisis, or during great ideological shifts towards collectivism, the 10 percent are given ample opportunity to act out their inner impulses. The corrupt state will often give latent psychopaths free reign or seek them out for positions of petty authority, leaving the gates to hell ajar, as it were.

Another dangerous reality is that these same people tend to pursue positions of authority, or they unconsciously gravitate toward events and situations that allow them to act on their darker side without facing consequences. One might even suggest that there will always be a potential for despotic regimes exactly because the 10 percent will likely always be around to be used as a weapon by dictatorships.

The mass rage and self-absorption we witness during the holidays feels ominous to us because it is just a glimpse of the greater shadow side of the American public. It is a glimpse of the kind of mentality that makes all human catastrophe possible. Like the tip of a shark fin cutting the surface of the water, we swim fearing not the dorsal, but the monster we know it is connected to.

The Magicians Of Mass Hysteria

Jung, once a favorite of Sigmund Freud’s, broke sharply with Freud’s analytical school when he realized Freud would not accept the idea of inherent psychological properties beyond base instincts. Freud believed that conscience, morality, artistic ability, reason, etc. were all extensions of environment and experience. Freud’s theories on psychology focused on the idea that man was driven by animal urges at his core, that people have no complex inborn contents and that all one needed to do was manipulate his environment to make himself “healthy.” Jung’s studies proved otherwise, finding that there are vast layers of inborn knowledge and personality in every individual.

It was not until Freud was near death that he admitted the merit of Jung’s work. Jung was shunned by the mainstream and labeled everything from a “charlatan” to an “anti-Semite” because of his opposition to the Freudian method.

Some industrious elites did find Freud’s notions of environmental manipulation useful, though, including his nephew, Edward Bernays, who saw it not as a way to make people healthy, but rather, to make them unhealthy. Bernays wrote extensively on the use of propaganda to control what he called “herd instinct,” believing (as most elitists believe) that self-governance of common people was “dangerous” and that the irrational public had to be controlled for their own good and the good of the nation. His entire philosophy is summed up in this quote:

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. … We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. … In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons… who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.

Bernays was instrumental in promoting Freudian psychology in the United States, where it became the mainstay of universities across the country. He helped establish the Tavistock Institute, a globalist think-tank much like the Council On Foreign Relations, focused on molding public opinion. He was also instrumental in promoting psychological propaganda models in everyday corporate marketing and political campaigns. He called this “engineering consent.”

It was Bernays who taught the marketing world how to appeal to the basest instincts of human beings and to use those instinctual desires to covertly control them. Corporations used Bernays’ strategies to create an atmosphere of decadent consumption in America that has lasted since the end of World War II. The idea was simple: Convince the public that buying corporate products will satisfy their animal urges. All commercialism to this day revolves around this method (which is why almost every beer commercial for several decades has included scantily clad women or sexual innuendo, for example).

But Bernays was not only teaching corporations how to tap into existing human impulses, he was also teaching corporations and governments how to use psychological trickery to manipulate the citizenry to rely on their basest impulses. Essentially, Bernays taught the establishment how to convince people, or shame people, into ignoring their greater selves and indulging their psychopathic and sociopathic urges. Bernays taught the establishment how to turn people into zombies.

We see the clear results today all around us as we enter into the absurdity that Christmas has become. The ramifications are dire. The holidays have come to represent not hope, but despair; not reflection, but callowness; not compassion, but narcissism and selfishness. They have become a yearly measure of our Nation’s sharp fall into something more or less horrific, something ironically inhuman.

The only solution is to strive with everything we have to remind others, and ourselves, that we are more than the sum of our darker instincts. That we have been living in the midst of a carefully crafted lie meant to make us impotent and non-threatening to the establishment. That there are greater and more meaningful contents at our core, and these elements of our being can only be satisfied by one thing: the truth.

–Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith

is the founder of the Alternative Market Project, an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for barter and mutual aid. Join Alt-Market.com today and learn what it means to step away from the unstable mainstream system and build something better. You can contact Brandon Smith at: brandon@alt-market.com