Acting-Out Politics

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

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.

Fascist Propaganda Poster with Benito Mussolini’s profile

Hitler slogan underlining the unity of German people was –Ein Volk, Ein Reich, ein Führer! (One Folk, One Country, One Leader!) The slogan on this poster is – Un Cuore Solo, Una Volonta Sola, Una Decisione Sola! (A common heart, a common will, a single decision!)

The contrast between the huge crowd of Mussolini’s supporters and his giant contoured profile emphasizes the sameness of the totalitarian leader and his countless admirers. The poster makes democratic people think about the very nature of unity between political leader and his followers.

The crowd which is external in relation to Mussolini-a person’s internal world is represented in the poster as belonging to his psychological internality, while Mussolini’s thinking-and-feelings which are external to the crowd of his admirers are represented as a vessel accumulating and keeping people’s excitement. The leader and the masses are symbiotically blended – they are not just together, they’re togetherness itself, they’re, indeed una decisione sola. This is a pure totalitarianism in which there is no place for psychological variations and nuances, for otherness, human uniqueness and difference in opinion – for the freedom of human souls (any obsession including obsessive love-loyalty towards the leader is not freedom, but idolatrous fixation from our unconscious).

We’re puzzled by the extremist nature – absoluteness of this unity and by the happy atmosphere embracing togetherness of the totalitarian leader and his masses. We see that in our country, US, especially in the 21th century many people also gravitate towards an unconditional admiration for a political leader in the highest position in the executive branch. But isn’t love toward a President a worthy emotion demonstrating the unity of a great country, a unity leading us into even greater future? Aren’t internal conflicts are not healthy because they are weakening us from inside? But isn’t unity of the kind that is achieved in totalitarian countries wrong because it understood in a totalitarian way of using intolerance and cruelty and a despotic exclusion of behavioral pluralism and psychological and intellectual versatility? In democratic country unity includes criticism which is considered necessary for functioning of democratic system where versatility of opinions not only maintains a politically hygienic atmosphere but creates a balanced – rational understanding of the political and economic problems. Totalitarianism doesn’t respect the majority – it is prone to transform the people of the majority into poverty ridden paupers, servants of the decision making wealthy and soldiers for the future wars.

Unfortunately, in US today taste for really democratic governing is going through a harsh and, may be, a grave time because the present conservative leaders are prone to traditional – authoritarian rule and alienating the majority of demos from influencing the decision-making. Let’s not forget what main despotic leaders (Fuhrer, Il Duce and Franco) “achieved” in Europe during the 20th century.

Weaponry As A Savior And A Grave Digger Of Human Race

Wolfgang Paalen, “The Genius of the Species/Le Genie de L’Espece”, 1938

German-Austrian-Mexican painter, sculptor and philosopher Wolfgang Paalen tells us in his stylized construction “The Genius of the Human Species” that it is not Socrates, Sophocles, Kant, Hegel, Mozart, Garcia Lorca, Beethoven, Einstein or Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr, or Bertrand Russell are the benefactors of humankind but “gun“ – gun-our-protector (although also our killer), gun-our savior (but also our grave-digger in the midst of our confused silence). Of course, Paalen is bitterly ironical by proclaiming gun’s “metaphysical” powers! – The gun of his “Le Genie de L’Espece” is made of human bones.

People of our times like to scream viva to first weapons of humankind – spur and bow with arrows with which human beings started to kill animals hundreds of thousands years ago and by this finally “conquered” the whole planet. Today the trophy hunting by the wealthy (which cost them a lot of money – the pleasure of killing is expensive) becomes more and more widespread.

But with Global warming it seems that we’re slipping into a solemn-and-pompous sunset of our “heroic” obsession with guns and ballistic missiles – you cannot use even high-tech weapons against a collapsing nature. Sure, some groups of people will try to do this (just imagine their fun of hitting a heat) – with the hope that it, somehow, will work – the gene of optimism in human brain seems inexhaustible.

Wolfgang Paalen (1905-1959)

“When dollar only earns 6% of value here in US, then it gets restless and goes over seas to get 100% of profit. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag“.
American Major-General Smedley Butler

Even Stylistically Sophisticated Art Can Be Deployed As Social Criticism

Kazimir Malevich, “Sportsmen”, 1913

It’s impressive how “suprematically” simplified bodies of Malevich’s sportsmen and multi-colors of their clothes and heads (with intentionally undifferentiated front and back, faces with occipitals) combined versatility and uniformity, plurality and monotony. We know a similar “miracle” in our own country (US), in which pluralistic choices are connected with standardized (consumerist) choosing, or versatile needs and tastes – with equally uncreative (greedily passive) appropriation. Money becomes the common denominator of everything and private guns of multiple types and designs – the common denominator of survival of whole nation. The fact that the principle of multiplicity of the colors of sportsmen’s clothes is applied to the heads and faces is provoking a joke that Malevich’s athletes are without clothes at all – that their bodies have a magical biological ability to imitate sport clothing – so dedicated these people to mass sport. We see how radical Malevich’s criticism of extreme psychological standardization of the Soviet sportsmen. According to his stylistic elaborations they are without originality of characters and any personal uniqueness. They’re organs of the Soviet state.

They’re just links inside a totalitarian society. They’re, as if, made of wooden boards, not even of the Biblical clay (Adam) or organic rib bone (Eve). As we see in Malevich’s “Sportsmen” he disapproved of standardization of people in USSR. Any totalitarianism – socialist, Nazi or commercially fetishistic when “everybody” is supposed to calculate money- or profit-making and worshipfully dream about becoming at least millionaire – needs standardization. Let’s again look at Malevich’s sportsmen – Soviet Union was promoting mass sports, like US does, but without fueling it with the money dreams of the athletes and investors – it was interested in building physical endurance and aggressive spirit of the population to use it for fight for the fetish of Communist ideology. According to Malevich, to live without an autonomous human soul, which always expects from life to take it seriously regardless of “survival”, money, profit, career, wealth calculations, proud conformism, etc. Autonomous human soul has a sublime stubbornness as a spiritual quality vis-à-vis standard demands of everyday life and standard expectations from totalitarian elites waiting from the people self-sacrificial obedience and common worship of collective idol, be it Communism, Nazism, fascism or the golden Calf.

Emil Nolde, “Soldiers”, 1913

It’s at this point that Malevich‘s sportsmen are joined by Nolde’s soldiers, and sport transformed into preparation for wars and wargames. In Nolde’s painting we see two kinds of soldiers’ faces – pink and naïve faces of recently recruited soldiers – faces communicating loyalty to the superior ranks, and, on the other hand faces of a more experienced soldiers – darkened, scorched by the battles and blood, blindly communicating monosyllabic danger to the enemies. The gazes of both types of soldiers are, as if, without eyes. Nolde’s soldiers are, as if, also made of wooden boards, like Malevich’s sportsmen.

But aren’t we here a little too rigid in our interpretation of sports and wars? Why to dramatize so darkly the fact that children and the youth will physically train their bodies and be dedicated to sports? Should they instead to sit whole life with their mammas? Surely, neither Malevich, nor Nolde could mean anything like this. Neither one of them could be against physical fitness for the next generations. Nobody can be just negative about sports by itself or reasonably short military training, but it’s a question of extreme disproportion between involvement with athleticism and acquaintance with weapons and the necessity to build in the young generations the internal world, positive curiosity towards the otherness of the world and other people and humanistically intellectual structures (acquaintance with liberal arts) which are able to equip the young to really understand human life in its wholeness. It’s here, it seems, that the stylistic eccentricity and meaningfulness of Malevich and Nolde’s two paintings became understandable and more – necessary.

It’s a great when visual arts can not only wink, not only fascinate, not only make us astounded and not only awaken our feelings or whisper something to our intuition, but rationally speak to us profound sense which proves itself exactly when we feel displaced by it from our everyday complacency.

*Bill-Mills (Billionaires-Millionaires)

What is the psychological superglue between Trump’s mass supporters and Trump-the double puppet who from one side belong to the costly cast of bill-mills and from the other to the adoring him mob of conservative fanatics dreaming to become like him – perceiving him as their idol and role model?

His alliance with the wealthy is simple like a dimple – they need politicians at their disposal, and Drump is under hand. If he will not menace, blackmail, verbally insult, force people to work without payment, separate children-American citizens and parents-emigrants, etc., his position will be in grave danger. They use him to multiply their wealth and power over the population, while he uses them to save his title – when your soul is mired money is the best – magic cleanser.

While most of his supporters are fanatics of loyalty and obedience, some of them are conservative fanatics of wealth and power. The first category dreams that the “leader like Trump – bold with balls – will eventually call them out to create order-border in the country. These power hungry people feel violated by the existence of “democrats with empty scrotums and lovers of LGBTs”. And they’re ready to “take back the streets of our supreme country”. But the second category – fanatics of unlimited wealth are… identifying with the super rich – they want to achieve what bill-mills already have. They’re in love with those who are dressed in money and they believe that with a leader like Lump the crowns of super-profit will land on their heads as well. In comparison with these previous two groups the middle class electorate needs Bump in their own way – they militantly don’t want to be transformed into poor. Middle class trumpeters, as political scientists have been explaining for decades are the solid part of the fascist flesh. General pauperization creates panic and fascist psychological defense which makes these people feel more confident in fight for survival.

The fanatics of unlimited wealth in comparison with other categories of neocon supporters of Cramp feel underappreciated, and this stimulates their megalomaniacal self-feeling more and more. Because of their very limited humanistic education (some of them may have it, but took it formally, at best ironically, just for grades). It’s not surprising that their calculating thinking predisposition is prone to share their calculations about the world with their utopian imaginary.

For them the only way to achieve what they dream about is to start to unconsciously or semi-consciously psychologically deploy the tricky instrument of identification with somebody much worthier than they, somebody whose social value obviously in contrast with their own. What is normal for the child who is identifying with particular adult to become similar with him in order to learn how to be equal to him/her, is a sign of alarming underdevelopment for poor or not too poor conservatives identifying with their super-wealthy role-models deliriously – they feel that they are already equal to them without any evidence which can confirm it. They think that as soon as they admire the wealthy they are already or very soon will be as gloriously baptized by money as personifications of their ideal. And this is the reason they support Trump – as if they support themselves! This absurd configuration in the minds of the cons hooked on somebody else’s wealth is what makes them so passionately support their leader. The more desperate these people will become in front of reality whispering them that they are really not like those whom they support with their votes, the more hateful they will become towards reality and other people.

The humanistically uneducated people are responsive to political propaganda because they need a consolation. For this reason they believe in a strong top-leader, in over-powerful money, in their right to mistreat other people who, as they afraid, hate them and are trying to rob them of limited prosperity they have. They feel the need to defend themselves from those whom they don’t understand. Because most democratic politicians have studied the multi-directed nature of a complicated modern society, but supporters of Trump and the super-rich don’t understand it – they’re suspicious of everything connected with the democrats and aren’t able to grasp how the super-rich are lying to and disorienting them. The only thing which can help them and the country in general is a free humanistic education on the college level. Without it they will never be able to comprehend, that to shut down the government and force people to work without getting paid means that these actions transform human beings into slaves. But even if they could understand it they could enjoy it even more – for them to reach status of slave owner could be sign of success, wealth and power. Deeply inside these people could be happy to be a traditional masters over people – a despots with bravado hubris feeling flattered that slaves work for them and at the same time unconditionally admiring them. That is a unconscious fundament of the super-wealthy’s pleasure of reducing salaries of the workers.

A Strategy To Shipwreck Democracy By Overinvesting In Mass Entertainment In Contrast With Drastic Underinvestment in Humanistic Education And Serious Arts

Democracy is first of all respect for and care about demos

After WW2 – the biggest in its ambitions, the most massive in its scale, the most daring in its transgressions, the most expensive and the bloodiest of the wars of human history, it seemed that a prophetic opening in humankind’s destiny appeared on the horizon of the Western countries. It’s, as if, people being struck by the horrors of technologically advanced wars were ready for an alternative world – more positive and collaborative, more culturally and democratically oriented. Only in the U.S. GI Bill, fight for human rights and, finally, the Human Rights Legislation, and, of course, the pressure to end US war in Vietnam by the young Americans who deeply felt the absurdity of the global war pointed to a direction decisively opposite to the old world of animosity, strife and competition for geopolitical dominance. Mass distribution of humanistically-scientific, scholarly books, celebration of American poetry, serious fiction, theater and some intellectually provoking Hollywood films (not numerous but discernible in the sea of entertainment) looked like a premonition of a flowering democracy ahead.

But inside the democratic garden – predatory species of plants and flowers started to become more and more noticeable. They for the first glance looked like belonging to the greenhouse of democracy, but step by step started to consume and suffocate democratic life. These weeds pretending to belong to the democratic verdure produce the giant trunk of Ronald Reagan’s authoritarian charisma, which started his monopolistically oriented pro-wealthy minority project under the hypnotizing slogans and fanfares of protection and promotion of democracy. Democracy became a code-word for anti-democracy.

The strategy to shipwreck democracy wasn’t the creation of a giant monstrous mind imagined by a paranoid imagination. It wasn’t invented by villains from James Bond or financial criminals from “The Saint” TV serial. It was a multifaceted, multicolored dream-plan designed by the profit-worshippers seeking future power over the sunset and sunrise. It was like a synergetic wave of excitement uniting the rich and rich-hopeful desperately searching for a salvation from the democratization of political system. It united the practitioners of moneymaking alchemy and think-tankers in the air-conditioned think-tanks and think-banks. Hopeful marriage of sleazy-slippery entrepreneurship with high-tech financial expertise launched a camouflaged assault on human freedom and dignity under super-freedom and super-dignity banner on the golden pole. Our country was redefined as not great enough. This propaganda assault looked absolutely positive and people’s happiness-oriented. But everything – prosperity, health, country, future and greatness were redefined as the power of big money as an essence of everything in the universe and in this form injected into the population’s slowly and bashfully developing democratic sensibility which quickly became puzzled, disoriented and seduced with perfumed greed and sunny megalomania.

The strategic principle was – over-satisfaction of people’s needs instead of just satisfying them, over-feeding the masses instead of feeding them, shutting them up with consumerist excesses. Oversaturate human dreams, and they will fade away under the burden of their excess – and in this moment put people in front of artificial: robotic drum-dreams, and history will step by step start to fade (technical progress will take the place of its awkward and too eccentric elder brother – humanistic progress). To make democracy addicted to the gluttony instead of keeping it healthy and evolving is much more effective weapon against it than ideological assault on it as it was practiced by traditionally totalitarian systems. People demand food and spectacles. Well, we, creative businessmen, will not repress these desires – if we do it, people will become infuriated and can start a revolution. Instead we will provide them with fake food (for growing fat) and conjured up (artificial) entertainment which will make people to feel super-happy. Food must be oversaturated with caffeine, sugar, fat and enhanced spices. The same in principle will be done with over-agitating entertainment.

This kind of obsessive, abusive over-stimulating consumerist gluttony food and entertainment is training in stupefaction. Instead of helping people to understand the social problems and rationally deal with predicaments of life, the soul-emptying entertainment and technical toys make people dull and kidnap them from the existential system of coordinates. But the goal of producers of bad-cheap food and processed images is not just to mislead and distract us from reality (it could be just an ideological goal), but to make incredible profits by fabricating the irresistible goods (a commercial goal). Commercial interests inevitably have an ideological aspect, like ideology is fed by the excitement of commercial calculation. This “high-tech” combination of commercial calculation and ideological manipulation is a heavenly high-way to unlimited wealth combined with unlimited power. But the success waits only for the rarest breed of those who has a daring to blend criminality and legality – who’re able to polish their crimes and immorality with cream of legalism.

Glamorous sport and pop-music events, cult of superstars and super-guns make consumers super-happy and entrepreneurs super-rich. But those poor conservatives who support Trump with their votes and unconditional admiration are waiting for the magic moment when he and other “masters of life” will call them to the streets to harass, insult, humiliate, beat up, rob and even kill people who’re considered a menace and without the right to human life. And they’re organically unable to understand that their psychological identification with the billionaires and multi-millionaires – their romantic dream about becoming as wealthy is their sentimental imagination. The role of the despotic masters’ servants and bodyguards and haters and torturers of the real people can’t exist without extreme psychological and spiritual misery. It’s like touching the shine of gold and being lethally burned by it.

Karl Hubbuch, “Three Recruits”, 1924

Three recruits – three facial expressions, three bodily postures and one common alertness mixed with deep seated fear of what war can do to them. These German recruits were under the Damocles’ sword of mandatory military service, but American recruits today who are free to make their own decision about enlisting or not, are in actuality not free from the necessities which can force them to sign up – chronic unemployment, inflated price of college education, general pauperization as a result of austerity measures and modest but a reliable salary for being military.

The face of the recruit on the left shows that he is already psychologically mobilized, and his stern seriousness includes militancy. His eyes and gaze communicate that he’ll be able to meet the enemy without any sentiments. His neck and head are one with his body which is already took a form corresponding to commands of his superiors. In comparison with his buddies we, the viewers of the drawing can see his hands, and that, probably, suggests his readiness for the weapons which he’ll get soon.

The recruit in the middle seems to be much more human. His forehead is more streamlined, the facial features are soft. His lips has a slight grimace of a sulking on his destiny. Still, his eyes are accepting what is happening to him – he is ready to make an effort.

The recruit to the right is stocky and rather thickset. But the most interesting in him is that he reacts on being “in the line of duty” with the strongest concentration. His attention to what is before him is the sharpest – as if, he is already taking aim to open fire. How much in his ability to be attentive to what’s going on in front of him is real and how much is a pose in front of his sergeant is difficult to say.

The practice of subjugating the already educationally limited human beings by making them recruits and soldiers through despotic rule and ideology of jingoism and megalomaniacal promise to triumph over enemies is congruent to our human nature. To corrupt ordinary human beings into becoming killers of human otherness in the world is the warmongers “noble” “high craft”. It’s so much more difficult to learn how to talk and negotiate peacefully with different from us (dissimilar) people than to understand scientific miracles. That’s why when Einstein in his later years comprehended it he became the object of suspicion and hate even in a democratic country.

*To The Memory Of Audie Murphy (1925 – 1971), Perhaps, One Of The Most Humanistically Significant Actors In American Western

During WWII Murphy was an efficient soldier, a person with a soul without any militancy and bravado (almost paradoxical combination in any army). And he was a movie actor without any emotional pedaling – exist as a style of acting oriented to seduce the viewers by transforming them into movie-star’s blind admirers. The quiet rationality of his screen persona is different and personified an alternative to the sentimental appeal of the Western (positive) heroes to the public. Murphy with his non-imposing humanness was organically (not just by the movie plot) victorious over the exaggerated vulgarity and cruelty of the bad guys and villains and their pompous and their braggadocios idolatrous fixation on guns and moneymaking. While he made many movies he never felt himself a star. His characters were “too real” in comparison with the shiningly positive or boastfully negative personages.

Audie Murphy was, as if a follower of Robert Bresson even before this exceptional film director made his major films and had theoretically elaborated his existentially spiritual cinematographic style. In American Westerns where there was a sharp contrast between the bad and the good people, Murphy personified the alternative good, good without any pride, a good inseparable from humility and modesty (righteousness or even confidence was never sticking up from his head).

Murphy’s exact but non-imposing style ennobled the American Western.

Murphy’s exact but non-imposing style ennobled the American Western.

Murphy’s personage is kissed by a glamorous lady

What is supposed to be a bravado pose – confrontational and gun-supported, with Murphy is a relaxed one, which in his case was never out of tune with alertness and quickness of reaction.

Audie Murphy and Jimmy Stuart (as we see Audie’s character is gentle but stubborn)

Audie Murphy’s hero is concentrating on his coming action not so much physically as mentally

Murphy’s character is looking ahead into the

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