Acting-Out Politics

Weblog opens discussion about the psychology of Bushmerican style of behavior.

Dorothea Tanning “Truth About Comets” (1945)

What for the imagination of two little girls, especially if they are mermaids, to do during a snowy and windy winter? Boys can create competing snowball armies, fight and win or lose in the midst of a cold whiteness. But the girls don’t want to be here, where everybody else are. They want to be far away. They want to be above. They have to invent comets. They have to reinvent themselves as… comets. They don’t want to belong to the snow, to the cold, to people with their smiles and noisy voices.

Here they are both, particular, genuine neat and, as if, from fairy tale. But how to go above? Here is a staircase. If you will go up you will be on the tree, and then – you have to jump… up.

Jump, jump, little mermaids! The sky is closed by the thunder-clouds. It doesn’t much matter for the comets. Their dream is to fly and burn and feel hot and free. They are ready to fly forever, to fly by themselves, not as boys dreaming to fly in metal boxes named airplanes. Mermaid girls will fly themselves and everybody will see and be envious and admire them. They will fly until they’ll become old – forever in the painting of Dorothea Tanning. They will show people how to fly and burn forever instead of living in cold and boredom between snow and trees, between childhood and old age. Oh, heroic beautiful little girls!

Com and Met – two sisters – Com is a little elder, Met a little younger. Met touched the staircase. And the sisters understood – this is not the staircase transformed into a tree, but the tree that has transformed into staircase in order to invite them up. Their trip to the top of the tree was hard, but flying up easy – they for the first time felt themselves in their own world. They were flying and burning and they felt warm and… above. And they were together and for the first time they had a feeling that they know who they are and where they are headed. They jumped through the clouds, they crossed the winds, and with their multicolored sparkles they are warming the world.

They were seen from the up and from the down – two courageous flying mermaids. They are what they wanted to be – alive comets. And they don’t want to return down, to the boring boorish people. They don’t need to. They will fly through the air – their wonderful wandering home.

George Grosz, “The Sunny Land”

Periods of prosperity makes people confident and proud – they start to allow themselves too much, feel invincible and here the periods of austerity are ready to follow. Then people become infuriated and aggressive – during prosperity they felt themselves as the centers of the world, but austerity puts them into humiliation. Fascization of population is often the consequence, when people start to look for scapegoats – foreigners, emigrants, national minorities, liberals, people with humanistic education (whom the uneducated people are prone to see as arrogant) and always the “lazy poor people” – those who cannot protect themselves with armor of self-respect. During the fascization the wealthy and the politicians dependent on them take active leadership to create militant groups to intimidate and squeeze the population even more.

John Heartfield, “Metal Prosperity”

The topic of this caricature is based on Heartfield’s reaction on the Fuhrer’s call on German people to help the German army to equip itself with quantity of the metal which can make Germany to build the strongest military force in the world. Hitler expected from Germans to cut spending on their life for the sake of investing money into the glory of the Third Reich. So, Heartfeld’s hyperbolic joke is that according to Hitler the really patriotic German citizens should learn how to eat metal instead of food – how to identify with military technology – (how to turn into bombers, tanks and cannons).

Georg Grosz, “Hunger”

Hunger makes this poor family unable to turn away from the window of the food store. Father, mother and child will be standing here until salesmen will not chase them away. They will not beg for food – they already know that it’s pointless. Prosperous Germany is dreaming about global domination, not about the hungry.

Georg Grosz, “Doomed”

Grosz made this drawing in the style of Kathe Kollwitz. The doctor still investigates the lungs of the boy to postpone naming the truth that his tuberculosis is in an advanced phase, while the mother of the sick boy already understands her son‘s fatal condition. Only he himself doesn’t know that he is doomed and doesn’t understand why his mother is so sad (“Is she sick?”)

George Grosz, “Interrogation with Torture”

The point of the interrogation with torture is not to get the needed information (the tortured either doesn’t know the truth or fabricates it or invents it in order to stop the pain at least for a few moments. The people in charge know this although profusely lie about the supreme effectiveness of torture. The real point of interrogation is to train the interrogators-torturers in domination and toughness and frighten the arrested ones to the point that they’ll never ever even get the idea to contradict the opinions of those in charge. The real goal of interrogation with torture (IWT) is to make the population feared, panicky and conformist.

Georg Grosz, “Forced Feeding as Torture”

Caricature as a Grosz’s preferable genre has transformed here into tragic and surreal caricature – something like a sarcasm through tears or a combination of mocking perverted reality and simultaneously weeping about human condition.

George Grosz, “Post-war idyll” (1930)

Here, we see at the table the immortal global race of philistines knowing how to survive through any war, any environmental disaster and any dictatorship

George Grosz, “After and Before War”

The young recruits are warming up for future wars – heroic battles, noble passionate hate, irresistible glory of self-sacrifice and heroism. They learn to compete with other recruits of the same or other countries and nationalities. They learn the feelings of the victories opening the world to the sky and defeat closing the world into cave. And they’re ready for both equally because what they basically learn in training is the importance of not victory or defeat but a personal self-sacrificial heroism with its gift of equality between life and immortality.

She appeared in front of my nose on top of an adolescent tree for few moments
With a message from the angels.
But I don’t understand the language of angels.
I only know the fallen human language –
Russian and American fiction.
And, may be, I also know the language of dying.
But she knows how to start everything again without even for a moment stopping to be.
And when I come to the park I a bit obsessively search for her.
Not that I want to learn something – I‘m subdued by my limitations.
For me it’s either life or death.
And I don’t trust the fallen human imagination –
I don’t believe in living after death.
I believe in humming bird – in her wisdom and humility,
In her tininess full of eternal vitality.
Here she is, under the blue, turning her head, looking around, moving her wings,
Pushing the sky with her beak thin as a hair.
I cannot leave, I need to keep her presence.

The Evolution of Religion: The Transposition Of Worship Of Theological Figures Into The Worship of Seductively Entertaining Objects – The Cosmic Feminine Lips As A Mass-Cultural Icon To Be Consumed And Enjoyed

Man Ray, “The Lips”, 1933

What for heaven’s sake are the irresistible feminine lips doing in the sky? Are they some kind of a space ship? Are they archangel baptizing the flesh of the earth? While we watch them they have already slightly turned – so, their left side (right in our perspective) just got the connotation of a freshly fleshy feminine hip-and-thighs turned like Goya’s “La Maia denuda” (1800), but the right side of lips’ hip-thighs (left in our perspective) is like a tenderly flexible end of an angel’s wings.

It‘s usually the decision-makers decide where the object (here, lips in the sky) offered for consumption should be – theocrats in the past or in our time the financial and political leaders and producers of the goods people will buy, but whatever they’ll offer/allow it’s always supposed to be agreed with mass tastes – theocrats and businessmen know what the masses need and want. In other words – it was Ray’s parody that his “The Lips” was doomed to be in the sky – the desire of masses (looking at the sky for being saved from life), that of the deciders and masters of life (mediating between sky and life) and the desire of the artist are touchingly united – the rare unity, indeed.

The sky in the painting is not open to the sun – the lips are here, who does need sun? The sky, as if, is carrying a laced robe for the lips – a kind of lips’ back clothes. Like icons are the essence of the church, Man Ray’s “the lips” are the essence of profane religion of consumerism and entertainment for people.

Giant voluptuous lips are occupying a wide space with a deep background and even deeper underground – the geographic space we humans use to settle in. Feminine lips are our new heavenly fetish – mass culture of entertaining gimmicks and sentimentality as a new global authority over human hearts and minds. Female lips are seductive and inspiring us to become taller and bigger.

Today, it’s very difficult to differentiate between seductive aspect of traditional religious art and the profane – mass cultural entertaining and sentimentally playful art. When we are seduced by the icons of Mary and Christ, we’re seduced into the heavenly abyss of sublime love elevated into the grief of the cosmic suffering and its eternal importance.

Then we are simultaneously taken by belonging to the world of holy and holy… tragedy, to a supreme value and to the blasphemous destruction of value, to a power which doesn’t intend to protect itself, and to the pagan – vulgar power of destruction of power whose power is sacred – spiritual, of a kind which voluntarily not protect nor defend itself.

But, according to Man Ray, it’s our past, which is destroyed by our idolatry of unlimited prosperity suggested to us by the demons of wealth whom the today’s masses admire and whom they simultaneously being deadly and shamefully envious of.

Man Ray (1890 – 1976)

Melania Klein with her grandson Michael

Adults like to hold babies and small children in their arms – and for this age to be hold is perceived as an incredible support of vitality and objectively it is absolutely necessary for infants’ development. But in this photo we see Melania Klein refraining from physical contact with her grandson in order to reinforce the mental rapport between them and get the chance to concentrate on the “pre-thinking processes” in the head of the child. She silently observes little Michael’s gazes at various objects and his facial expressions and gesticulation. And we notice on her face that she is really getting some information about the child’s concentrations and pre-contemplations. We notice how “Dr. Klein’s” hands, as if, keep one another – how she refrains from embracing and touching the child in order to concentrate better on his mental processes.

For a child the silent presence of the adult nearby has a specific value – the adult who doesn’t express the “smart” initiative trying to involve the child in a certain activity is encouraging the child to find his own interests and fantasies more independently. Séances of the silent and, as if (positively) distant projection of adult’s attention towards the child, while limiting attempts to stimulate his verbalizations teach the child how to internalize the closeness to the other human being by making it the matrix of his own (internal) contemplation. Adult’s generous love-radiating smile, as we see in this photo, can encourage the child’s confidence more than adult’s verbalizations and actions.

The silent communication is a valuable addition to communication with a child through voice and touch. Dr. Klein’s intense “mute laugh” we see on the photo, activates in Michael attention to the world, openness to and desire to interact with it. We feel that the child “is thinking”, although we don’t know what about, but Melania Klein, for sure has her guesses about it.

It looks necessary to teach children from the early age not only physical interaction and social action with other people, but contemplative and para-intellectual functions. In US physically active behavior is advertised and taught together with social games, but cognitive functions in existential context (not on TV screen and in video games) are neglected and the best under-taught. Among the consequences of this situation are weakness or even paralysis of self-critical ability among the teenagers and adults, the ideological naiveté and gullibility of the population in relation to governmental and media propaganda, and also impulsive rage and cruelty added to non-violent crimes like theft or robbery.

Melania Klein

Melania Klein in her youth

Photo of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Adolf Hitler at school among their classmates

This unique photograph allows us to compare the faces of schoolboys Wittgenstein and Hitler when they were just schoolkids.

Here, we see the faces of six boys of the same age.

In the second line, to the left we see a boy who is looking at us without any particular facial expression. He is just looking in the front of himself following the general instructions of the photographer.

To his left hand, in the middle of the second line we see a boy who is looking to the side – who has noticed something that doesn’t deserve particular attention.

In the middle of the first line the boy looking at us generically is, as if demonstrating to the photographer his independence.

And in the first line to the right we see a kid who is looking at the camera almost attentively and by this, as if, demonstrate his positive – based on his barely noticeable smile, presence in life.

Finally, we’re coming to Wittgenstein (to the left of the first line). He is looking without showing that he is seeing something – his function of seeing is subordinate to that of thinking not necessarily in this very moment, but as an experience of thinking before this particular situation of posing for a collective photo. We can say that his gaze is meaningful not because he is in this very moment thinking something meaningful but because he is very often thinking in his life. His gaze is hidden by a deeper than the usual sockets of his eyes, as if he looks outside from the cave of tranquility.

Now we are coming to Adolf Hitler with feeling of being a little uncomfortable by the intensity not of his gaze as such but of his whole posture. He is, as if, challenging the photographer and us looking at this photo – with his very existence and expecting from us to notice his toughness and take him seriously. His left hand is under his right arm – this, as if, creates the impression of his independence. He wants us to think that he is a “tough cookie”, that he doesn’t give a damn about this photo taking event. We understand that this boy was abused and prematurely developed a psychological armor, that he is prone to “challenge the world”. His gaze is militantly straight, as if, he wants the photographer and even the camera to put their gazes down in front of him.

According to a 2015 statistics – The top one percent of earners in US earned as much as the bottom 99%. Frances Moore Lappe, Jan. 29, 2019

*Stalin hardliners were the ideologically dogmatic and violent officials within the Soviet government of the 30s – 50s. These severe extremists together with the right-wing Communists amidst the Soviet population were psychologically conservatives – intolerant towards the slightest versatility of political opinions and the desire for progressive changes in people’s way of life**.

**Soviet left conservatives (ideologically pro-Communism, not only pro-Socialism) can be compared to the politically right functionaries in the democracies. Like right-wing Communists in Soviet Union fought for Socialism in an anti-socialist – despotic and belligerent way, right-wing American “defenders” of democracy “promote” it in an anti-democratic way and by this hurting and distorting it. This morbid incompatibility between the proclaimed ideology and psychological proclivities of its carriers is a contradiction in essence – split between what people claim to believe (usually humanely looking ideological facade) and their behavior in defending and promoting their ideology (usually people’s private interests contradicting ideological construct).

Today, in 21st century many Americans started to notice, some with shock this split between good looking and shining ideology and totalitarian behavior claiming to support it. Messianic megalomania of Soviet ideology of Communism is transformed in US into American megalomaniacal exceptionalism. American democracy became financial totalitarianism (like Soviet Union always was in essence a typical ideological totalitarianism). Despotic ideological behavior of American ultra-conservative politicians less and less ambiguously started to demand from the population to serve the accumulation of the private wealth and protect its growing profits in wars (as despotism of the Soviet Communist ideology transformed the Soviet masses into “heroic” “builders of Communism”). Stalin or Brezhnev were as alien to regular people and their opinions (locked in private life), as today’s Bull Gutts or Lord Bankfein to most Americans. Today’s Trump style of governing is as dogmatic and despotic as the Communist government was in the Soviet Union.

Of course, American political propaganda is much more versatile and effective than the Soviet propaganda ever was – technological machinery of propaganda (seductive advertisements, consumerist consolation and entertaining gimmicks) is impressive achievement of the American industries which provide incredible profit for its creators, craftsmen and investors. But all these creations are oriented on distracting people from thinking about life in its facticity and potentials, the world and its mysteries and from spiritual development, as belief in Communism was a distraction from the present life and reality. Under American commercial culture of neo-conservative leadership life of regular people is more entertaining and sweetened than life was in USSR, but the lies, misinformation and fake emotional ties between the leaders and the masses have a similar disorienting and dumbing effect, like drug addiction and alcoholic poisoning. Communist totalitarianism, although much more primitive and crude than the American financial totalitarianism of the shared (totalitarian) dedication to the ideology of money/profit and common dream about becoming billionaires or at least millionaires, is in essence a very similar political system where the whole population wants – super-happiness and super-prosperity without moral and spiritual complications, without importance of decency and sensitivity and humanistic education (without which all previous additions are unavailable). In both cases (Soviet Russia and democratic US) we have ideology of one ideal for all, the same dream for every citizen. Instead of Marxist anti-capitalist dogma the American conservative leadership and its propagandists use anti-Marxist anti-Socialist dogma with the same absolutism and propagandist zeal.

We have to learn and rapidly how to differentiate between the content of ideas and beliefs and behavioral manner of representing them to the people. Ideas can be numerous – it’s how they’re communicated tells us about the difference between democracy and a totalitarian system. If something is represented in absolutist way, dogmatically and intolerantly towards disagreements and criticism – we have a totalitarian communication. People permanently defending their dogmas are prone to suspect others in being against them and then are prone to attack them as opportunists and anti-patriots – here we recognize the American neocons of the 21st century.

Ruling or the just fanatic Soviet Communists and American conservative politicians both tend to accuse those who disagree with them in disloyalty to what is beyond criticism, like “Communism” or “free market” (meaning a market free of fair competition – not for everybody but for the American monopolies able to crush their opponents instead of honestly competing with them). Like in USSR any criticism of the system was viewed as a form of treason, for American neocons the democratic politicians are the enemies of their country and don’t deserve to be in the government. We can see a curious similarity between the left-wing conservatives in USSR and the financial totalitarian conservatives in US today.

Self-aggrandizement and a lack of humanistic education are going together. Emotional reasoning, intolerance to criticism, reducing the problems to personalities and carrying hate as goal in itself looking for targets are just some of the features which belong to the same psychological kitchen as Stalin’s mass arrests. Those who are seeking direct power (Soviet Communists) or power through wealth (the wealthy or dreaming to become wealthy) have strong totalitarian psychological features and behavioral tendencies. Totalitarianism is a combination of despotic authority and proclivity for unconditional obedience to it. This combination of sadism of leaders and the self-sacrificial masochism of the masses is very unlucky for the destiny of humankind – this unity between an erected self-aggrandizement and shy melting in front of the master, between phallus and fleece.

Vincent Van Gogh (Jacques Dutronc) and Marguerite Gachet (Alexandra London)

According to Maurice Pialat the relationship between Vincent and Marguerite Gachet is characterized by the incompatibility between the intensity of spiritual pain torturing Van Gogh who was slipping closer and closer to the inevitability of his suicide and Marguerite’s hopeful youth which only touches reality through intuitive feeling of Vincent’s permanent torment without understanding it.

In the shot above the both are concentrating on the mutual feeling that their destinies are separate in spite of the magic touch of their love – they’re together, their bodies feel one another, but their gazes aren’t synchronized – Vincent looks at the dead end of his life, Marguerite somewhere else without knowing what and where it is. Our impression is that Van Gogh is looking at himself – outside of him. Marguerite is looking to the side from both of them, as if she senses what can happen soon and that she is locked in having to live alone – away from both of them. She doesn’t know why.

Only he knows that to open the door to his art he has to die. People are interested in sensationalism of great sacrifices – only this can move them – not art, not life. After his death Marguerite will understand what’s happened – she will witness his success. People are interested in his art only because it is an echo of his death. And she will live with it as she lived with him. She will love his art as she loved him – as when she was trying to hide her passion for him from her father. She will not advertise her association with him in front of the public. She will be ashamed, not for herself – she was too young to help him. She will be ashamed for people as she is for her father – for all the people allowing to destroy his life.

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