Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #241 - A Gaslighted Nation
Gaslighter works hard to make you believe of the crimes that he knows he is committing. He doesn't have to prove your guilt. Mere doubt in you is enough. Story of a gaslighted nation.
“Experience is the most brutal of teachers but you learn, my God, do you learn” ― CS Lewis
Herodotus and Eusebius have been two history legends. The difference between how Herodotus (called “Father of History” by Cicero) approached history and how Eusebius, (called the “Father of Church History” for writing the Ecclesiastical History, On the Life of Pamphilus, the Chronicle and On the Martyrs) looked at the role of history was stark.
While for Herodotus, history was an inquiry as he called it in his seminal work titled The Histories; for Eusebius, it was propaganda and a weapon. He was guided by hate for the ‘others’ and the conviction of upholding that was dear to his ‘faith’ as the true history. It was a tool of domination.
“I myself have read the writings and teachings of the heretics, polluting my soul for a while with their abominable notions, though deriving this benefit: I was able to refute them for myself and loathe them even more.” Eusebius, The Church History
History is not just the story of the past. It is a tool for the future.
For defining the future of an entire set of people.
The extreme hate of Eusebius was transferred on to the narratives and world-view of the future Greek generations. And there came a time when the Greek pagans and heathens had nothing left to lose.
British poet, playwright, and writer, Samuel Johnson, once angrily retorted while discussing a girl who had converted from the Anglican Church to Quakerism “The heathens were easily converted, because they had nothing to give up; but we ought not, without very strong conviction indeed, to desert the religion in which we have been educated.” (Source)
The religious busybodies did not stop at turning the Greeks against their own history by rewriting it. They did the same with others.
Domination, you see, is not a goal. It is a condition. A disease.
you are being driven insane
Paula is convinced that she was going crazy. That she was to be blamed for saying things that weren’t true. Gregory, her husband, had made her believe that she was losing her mind. It was not until Brian leads her to the truth as he opens Gregory’s desk that she finds the clues of what had happened. Things that she knew she saw, but Gregory had convinced her were her imagination and hallucinations (superstitions?), that she finally realizes that she was correct all the while.
The lies that her husband was forcing upon her while driving her mad to ensure that the truth about the diamonds he had stolen and the lady he had killed would remain a secret, were actually a way to manipulate and control her.
For that secret to remain intact, Paula, played by Ingrid Bergman in that iconic role in the movie Gaslight, had to be made to believe that she was losing her mind and what she believed to be the truth, was actually, not the truth, but a hallucination.
This scene and the reaction of Paula are so absolutely symptomatic. Watch this clip closely. Very very closely.
The term Gaslighting came into the wider psychoanalytical literature from this George Cukor’s suspenseful melodramatic thriller. It was based on Patrick Hamilton’s Broadway play which premiered in London in 1938.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment. Typically, Gaslighter uses denial, contradiction, misinformation, lies to completely delegitimize the victim’s beliefs.
At the very heart of Gaslighting is the process of projective identification.
The aggressor, through manipulation, propaganda, and lies ensures that his victim is accused of the very things that he himself indulges is or is guilty of, to a point where his victim starts to believe those things (his aggressor’s traits) are actually part of his personality. The gaslighting victim believes to be infested of the same ills that his abuser really has, even when the victim has been fooled about it all along!
From the story of India’s independence (Real Story) to those psychopaths who were made our icons (Amir Khusrau and Rumi) - stories of Indians in general and the Hindus, in particular, is a story of gaslighting and projective identification at an immense scale.
Projective identification - and global scale gaslighting!
वो बात …वो एक बात सारे फ़साने में जिसका ज़िक्र न था
वही बात उनको सबसे नागवारा गुज़री !
(The one thing which was never mentioned in the entire story, that one thing was the most unpalatable to them!)
This is the one common thread between every protest and showdown against the Indian government in the last 3 years. Those who targeted India used absolute falsehoods at a global scale to obfuscate facts on the ground.
Citizenship Amendment Act change in 2020 had nothing to do with the citizenship of any Indian but about providing succor to the persecuted from the neighboring countries (CAA- Refugee vs Migrant)
Article 370 abrogation had nothing to do with taking away freedoms but about providing better lives to those who had been looted and engulfed in terrorism for over 70 years
Farm Bills have absolutely nothing to do with the abolition of the regressive, punitive, and corruption-enhancing MSP, which was to be in place as just one option
But why were lies turned into global narratives at such a large scale by analysts? Even when a simple read of the laws and sane discussion can puncture the entire narrative?
Because lies are a tool. They are a means. Every lie that the gaslighting victim starts to believe is one more nail in the coffin of his sanity. That is one thing. And second, the time between floating of the lie as the truth, and the time when (to borrow from the movie Gaslight), a Brian comes along and opens Gregory’s desk of hidden artifacts used to construct the lies - the victim will be disposed of forever. Paula was lucky that in her case Brian came in time.
You see, Modis and Brians do not always come in time. And even when they do, the gaslit self-delusional will take them to be villains.
One does not need people to believe in the lies as truth perennially in the political arena. The powers-that-be just have to make people believe in falsehoods long enough to discredit and destroy the actors that they are targeting.
Once the target has been destroyed, does it matter if what happened was falsehood or the truth?
But does that matter now?
Iraq is now a wasteland. Saddam was killed. And those who wanted to profit from that scenario have done so already.
In politics, you don’t need to convert lies into truth forever. You just need to do it long enough!
The strategy of every gaslighter who works relentlessly to hang you for the crimes that he himself has been committing shamelessly is always the same. Whether it is within a household or at the global level.
First, the pre-emptive strike tactic. The gaslighter is cheating: They are planning secret meetings with their lovers, and getting a rush from it. They are invested in keeping up the charade. To keep you off kilter, they start accusing you of cheating. The goal is to keep you so busy defending yourself and being emotionally distraught that you don’t have enough time to pay attention to the gaslighter’s own behavior. By accusing you, the gaslighter has bought themselves time. The gaslighter can go as far as claiming they saw you out with someone — when in fact you were at home waiting for the gaslighter to show up late from work again. The gaslighter has you in a bind — you can’t prove that something never happened. But you try and try to prove to them that you did nothing wrong — though whatever evidence you produce is not good enough for the gaslighter. You become more concerned about being falsely accused than paying attention to the gaslighter’s own behavior. (Source)
The web of a professional gaslighter is very detailed and carefully woven. Taking you down a notch with every lie and push to prove yourself correct. All the while working hard to get validation from outsiders to showcase your culpability or complicity in a crime that you never committed (sounds familiar?). Proving that you committed a crime is not even attempted. Just sowing enough doubt about your argument, however ridiculously done, is enough. Because you spend your energy in disproving it as well as redeeming yourself in your own mind!
While projection is familiar, projective identification is a way to be aggressive while appearing to be the victim. The aggressor gets validation from others, even though all parties involved may be be unaware of what is happening. Aggression always has a chaotic and primitive aspect, and it can lead down a rabbit hole that only ends when someone "hits bottom." And with aggression, violence is possible as well. (Source)
The gaslighters are psychopathic and pathological. They will not stop at anything short of a complete sadistic orgasm. They are control freaks. Their fetish for domination is what really drives them.
They are not after you. They are in it to satisfy their urge for control and domination. It gives them a high. A way to feel victorious.
The only way out - other than completely abandoning such psychopaths - is to put your fears aside and assume control. Dominate them. And, that domination has to be ruthless. They will appeal to your “good self” while they devise their next move. They will be outraged by your lack of ethics and principles while they lie, mislead, and distort every situation and fact. That is the fundamental way of a gaslighter. He will commit every crime but hold you onto the highest standards of principles expounded by him! Principles, human rights, morality, justice, and fairness. Holding you on those things, he will create enough doubt in YOUR mind about your own morality and self.
And, use his edifices and ways to dominate him. Turn the very story on its head.
Democracy is not an event. It is a way
The so-called liberals have made a fashion of accusing everyone and his brother of being a fascist and dictator. But how can someone who is a fanatical bigot himself and perfectly fine with using violence as a response to a democratic loss make moral arguments?
In October 2020, Politico came out with a poll where 26% of those who called themselves “very liberal” said ‘there would be “a great deal” of justification for violence if their candidate loses the presidency.’ This compared to 16% of Republicans calling themselves “very conservative.” (Source)
Democratic norms and ways have changed. Insurrection at the Capitol was not a random event. The psychological volcano was building for some time and increasing in its potency. By September 2020, over 40% of Americans on both sides believed violence was justified if the nominee of the other side won the election.
In September, 44 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of Democrats said there would be at least “a little” justification for violence if the other party’s nominee wins the election. Those figures are both up from June, when 35 percent of Republicans and 37 percent of Democrats expressed the same sentiment. (Source)
Those who are saying that that one day’s events were a blow to the American Democracy are simply being delusional. The fall in the democratic mindsets - where respectful dialog and a peaceful change of guard is a must - had been accelerating for a long time. It just manifested at the Capitol on January 6th.
Conversely, just because it is over and its culprits are being arrested and hunted, does not mean that Democracy in the US is now back to its vibrant self and everything is Hunky-dory. The targeting of anyone who is even questioning those events in media shows that the lines have been drawn. It does not matter which ideology one is siding with. The line separates A from B as much as B is separated from A.
The Politico poll showed that the tempers on both sides were very high.
And, the chasm is deep. When over 40% on either side are baying for the blood of those on the other side for who wins then that society is not a Democracy any longer. It shows the devastating post-social media impact. We are in the “Wild West of Democracy.”
The quicker and the sharper draw wins the battle. Until at least the other one can fire back.
This is extreme polarization. And, it is happening in every country now.
The entire population has gone through the steps that are aligned with Terrell Northrup’s theory of intractable conflict.
Stage One: THREAT - one group of people perceive another group of people as a threat to their identity. For example, it is very common for the so-called Indian leftists to call anyone who criticizes them as a ‘troll or a bhakt.” Bhakt is a Hindu who is a devotee. The anti-Hindu sentiment being unmistakable here. (Read Vilification of Bhakt)
Stage Two: DISTORTION - The first group, that starts the conflict refuses to engage with any new and factual information about the other group. Instead it works overtime and relentlessly to distort or dismiss it. For example, the Hinduphobic left of India continues to call PM Modi a “dictator” despite him being an elected leader in the largest democratic election in human history!
Stage Three: RIGIDIFICATION - Both, or at least one group, is locked into set positions and it is extremely difficult or impossible to change their minds. Close to 10 rounds of parleys and discussions by the Modi government and many offers have been met by an intractable demand - take back the laws. Nothing else.
The global intractable conflict cannot be approached in polemical ways. It needs people and mindsets that value nuances and understand the basics with utmost clarity.
If Democracy is about freedoms and expressions, then it is also about eschewing all violence and subjugation.
You cannot use your right to freedom on the one hand and demand immunity from violence and silencing of the other, on the other hand.
That is where I find Emmanuel Macron to be a different kind of leader. A leader of the classical liberal order. He does not just understand democracy, he stands for it with a clear head. Here is his interview with the Atlantic Council. Specifically, watch it from 22:40 onwards.
market corner: 10 quick bytes
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Probing Support to Farm Laws: In a shocking development, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government on Monday ordered a probe to know if celebrities like Sachin Tendulkar, singer Lata Mangeshkar, cricketer Virat Kohli and others tweeted under pressure by the Centre in support of farm laws. Maharashtra Pradesh Committee Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant held a virtual meeting with Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Monday, 8 February, asking for a probe into the tweets posted by Indian celebrities in response to the global criticism of the farmers' protest. (Source)
Kejriwal’s daughter duped: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's daughter Harshita has allegedly been duped of ₹34,000 by a man, who approached her as a buyer on an e-commerce platform, where she had put up a sofa on sale, police said on Monday. (Source)
China Vs Australia: An Australian news anchor for Chinese state television has been formally arrested and accused of "illegally supplying state secrets overseas", Canberra said Monday, six months after she was detained in China without explanation. Australia's foreign minister Marise Payne said Chinese authorities informed her that Cheng Lei was formally arrested on February 5, after disappearing from public view and being detained last August. (Source)
PLA to vaccinate Pak Army: Chinese military on Sunday delivered a batch of Covid vaccines to the Pakistan Army. These vaccines are in addition to the five lakh doses already delivered to Islamabad by Beijing. With this, the Pakistan Army has become the first foreign military to receive the COVID-19 vaccine aid from the People's Liberation Army (PLA). (Source)
Mark on Clubhouse: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made an appearance on the invite-only Clubhouse app where he dished about his firm’s progress in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology. Under the name ‘Zuck23,’ Zuckerberg said ‘we should be teleporting, not transporting’ and believes the futuristic work being done at Facebook’s Reality Labs group could soon make it happen - at least virtually. (Source)
UAE Robot on Mars: Three robotic explorers launched by three different nations are due to reach Mars within days of each other, after hurtling hundreds of millions of miles through space. The United Arab Emirates' orbiter, called Hope, reaches Mars on Tuesday, followed less than 24 hours later by China's orbiter-rover combo, Tianwen-1. NASA's rover, Perseverance, will arrive a week later, on February 18, to collect rocks for return to Earth – a key step in determining whether life ever existed on Mars. (Source)
video corner: when the quiet speak up
PM Modi doesn’t speak much these days. He is busy working on a lot of things. One is often irritated at so many things that one wishes he should speak about and clarify. Or at least have his cabinet do it for him. But when he does speak out, it is with complete control and authority.
This was his speech in Rajya Sabha. Many would have listened to it or at least some parts of it. But it is one that we should listen to in its completeness.
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