venerdì 12 settembre 2014

Obsolete Capitalism: Dictatorial psychopathology and collective sleepwalking (Pt. XII - The Birth of Digital Populism)

Dictatorial psychopathology and collective sleepwalking

There is a clear difference between the old-media version of traditional populism - well represented by the Italian Berlusconism - and the new five-starred analogue media populism. In this regard, a mention to the concept of the psychopathology of dictators is needed. This term indicates the atypical ability of the leader, in this case Beppe Grillo in his digital-pop version, to move its followers from a position of inferiority - due to the overpowering action of the corrupt power and the honest and helpless nature of the citizen - to a position of superiority. This superiority is ensured by the double effect ability of the ex-comedian: on the one hand he make s use of sharp mockery techniques, which enable the audience to take down their political opponents and make fun of their most disadvantageous aspects; on the other hand, Grillo underlines the ethical and moral superiority of the Maximum Leader and of its followers, comparing it to the inferiority of the opponents, who are identified in an old-fashioned way: politicians/corrupted people, bankers/usurers, immigrants/thieves are seen as the hypothetical adversaries. While the main reasons of Berlusconi’s followers’ state of hypnosis were complicity, identification and a dark use of the law - this includes frequent amnesties and inefficiencies of a State certifying impunity for everyone –,the 5SM hypnosis is due to the viral transmissions of a feeling of passivity and vague truths,. This is the result of unique communicative abilities in a society that is in an advanced state of decomposition. Once again the Cipolla’s eloquence is sharp and pointed:

The capacity for self-surrender, he said, for becoming a tool, for the most unconditional and utter self-abnegation, was but the reverse side of that other power to will and to command. Commanding and obeying formed together one single principle, one indissoluble unity; he who knew how to obey knew also how to command, and conversely; the one idea was comprehended in the other, as people and leader were comprehended in one another. But that which was done, the highly exacting and exhausting performance, was in every case his, the leader's and mover's, in whom the will became obedience, the obedience will, whose person was the cradle and womb of both, and who thus suffered enormous hardship.

How many similarities to the fateful figure of the dux Grillo! He is obediently directing his voice through a megaphone, trying to convince a mass of people who are already-hypnotised … Mr. Grillo does not practice politics for himself; instead he laughs and fights for us. He has become the instrument of a virtual will: ‘I'm just amplifying the voice of the young generation.’ (...)

Painting: Stelios Faitakis

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