Contents of such volume and the two book covers of the hardback 1965 and paperback 1966 editions are presented. The importance and “rediscovery” of such book in PsyPolitics is motivated by the extraordinary concordance with some of the themes present in today’s transforming global politics, currently in mass and digital media, as well as in formulations independently developed over the past three years.
“Parallel with these events is the perfecting of conditioning procedures, with or without the aid of drugs and hypnosis. The abolition of privacy – already well along in our day – is placing potent instruments of control in the hands of elites who may see an opportunity to consolidate their position by policing the population medically” – Harold Lasswell
In this article, two covers are presented from conferences proceedings sponsored by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, about Cybernetics – 1953 Macy Conferences – and Neuropharmacology – 1955 Neuropharmacological Conferences, in which U.S. neurophysiologist and behavioural scientist Ralph Waldo Gerard proposed the term ‘psychotomimetic’.
“There is one golden rule that should be applied in working with model psychoses. One should start with oneself.”
“Our psychotomimetics resemble the hypothetical endotoxin that Carl Jung called toxin-X and that we have called M (mescalinelike) substance.”
Osmond views raise an interesting paradox of experience over logos: if in order to discuss rationally about such substances one has to use them and if using them disorganizes the psyche, would it ever be in fact possible to discuss rationally about them? Or the move to use them implies – a priori – an abandonment of human rationality?
“Probably the one event capable of instigating so fundamental a change would be a major collapse. Only if the present producing and distributing apparatus should definitely break down, only if hunger and cold should spur the minds of a majority of the nation into unaccustomed activity, could a revolution conflicting with nearly every current belief gain momentum.”
“Since revolution should neither be desired nor expected now, and since the transformation from capitalism to technocracy is so drastic that certain of its stages will certainly be considered to be of a revolutionary nature, it may be asked what preliminary steps should be taken in order to prepare for the crucial moments.”
“Revolution, as Trotsky puts it, can only occur when the class in power has outlived its usefulness and thereby become rotten.”
“As a result, capital has been shorn of its function though the realization of this may not immediately percolate through the group consciousness.”
“There is no a priori reason why a sustained, even intelligent, study of the phenomena which induce these visions cannot eventually permit us to attain them at will.” “And when a being is in possession of them, he knows or thinks he knows the meaning of life and thus, as a secondary benefit, reduces, by the aid of memory, to their proper unimportance, the sorrow, the tragedy, even the ostensible evil which is woven of necessity into the texture of our temporal days.”
“Society since the beginning has discouraged by means of church, school, and statutory restrictions all experimentation in the domain of spiritual living. The consequence has been a stultification of the intellect, a frustration of the emotions, and a damming up of nervous energy which is bringing many people to the verge of a nervous breakdown. A technocracy would attempt to set free that great surplus of vital energy now burning itself out, uselessly, in the business game, and redirect it into unexplored channels.”
“Research work, directed toward discovering the causes of psychic maladjustments, may prove more difficult than devising a machine to pick cotton; and successful achievement in this field will surely be harder to measure.”
“As a last measure the energy certificate” – a measure reminding of today’s Chinese ‘social credit’ – “could be cancelled. This punishment should prove efficacious in most cases. When an individual proved obstinately recalcitrant for obscure reasons, the psychiatrists would attempt to unravel the trouble. In no case should real punishment, such as solitary confinement or labor forced by physical threats, be necessary.” “On first thought, tyranny, due to the human tendency to get drunk with power, would seem to be a grave menace to the technocracy. Our present constitution is so preoccupied with guarding against this menace that executive action is greatly hampered. In fact, action would be nearly impossible if every legal requirement were conscientiously fulfilled. In a technocracy there would be no statutory checks on tyranny.”
“Human energy, applied to finding ways of life that satisfy, to creating values which uplift the spirit, may improve the lot of man on earth as emphatically in the inner psychic sphere as man’s genius, directed toward conquering the outer material world, has ameliorated the conditions of his physical existence.”
“Man and his environment act upon each other. Both are altered in the process.” “Some men work upon the external world. The remolding of the earth’s crust in order to make it more congenial to human life, and the use of natural materials to satisfy physical needs are functions of men of action.” “Other men remold human nature. Their attempt is to adapt man to his environment rather than vice versa. The transmuting of the nature of man, the developing of his perceptions so that he is able to attune himself to those inner harmonies which give value to life, the digesting of phenomena so that instead of fear and disgust they give pleasure, and the interpreting of nature’s phases are the province of the artist.”
“To avoid an enormous increase in discontent and misery of the psychological variety, the consequence of multiplying the individual’s leisure, provision must be made for pleasure stimulation. The intermediate period would be particularly difficult.” “The control of anything the appeal of which is subjective, such as the theater, or painting, should not be entrusted to the state. A state may be entrusted with engineering projects, with the production of goods, to a lesser extent, with the preservation of health. Values in these fields are objective and can be tested by trial and error experimentation. Consequently skillful work is easily recognized and successful accomplishment allows of no debate. This is not so with the more subtle longings of the human soul.”
“One cannot maintain an ethic on a transient certificate of service entitling the possessor to a certain quantity of energy. Ethics requires at least the illusion of eternality. Ethics deprived of the immortal dollar might again interest itself primarily in spiritual values.” “During the period in which the nature of man was adjusting itself to economic security and a superabundance of leisure, emotional needs would doubtless be rampant.” “If technocracy should be successful, and when its success had become accepted even by the individual’s subconscious mind, religion might undergo a metamorphosis.”
“Some individuals consider periodical health examination an invasion of their private rights; but such invasions are not resented long.” “It is only the suspiciousness of the poor, whom experience teaches to expect no good of the unknown, which makes them recalcitrant to medical advice.” “With doctors assuming the intimate role of family adviser, mental defectives would inevitably be recognized. When suspected of dangerous tendencies, their habits would be watched; when necessary their actions restrained.”
“In a technocracy, the separation of private and public function is clearly defined.” “The alterations in structure are radical but simple. First the present tendency to merge the competing units in each industry must be carried to completion.”
“Corporate monopolies would be the government.” “A most undemocratic system!”
“Man automatically attaches to his ego extraneous elements and calls them his”