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Interview with Ariane Bilheran, PhD - Part 2: The Desmet/Breggin controversy; the question of responsibility; the concept of delusional contagion, and more
We are living a "war" against humankind, against our human rights, against the populations. We have no other choice but to resist and protect the sacred dimension of the human being.
This is the second part of our interview with Ariane Bilheran, Ph.D., philosopher, clinical psychologist, doctor in psychopathology and author.
According to American psychiatrist Peter Breggin, we would be the "prey” of some excessively influential individuals and possibly, according to some, of some psychopaths, who aim to control the future of the world. What are your thoughts about this?
Of course, there is a clique of (extremely rich) plutocrats who have decided to impose their agenda on human beings whom they often consider to be parasites (too numerous, polluters, virus carriers, etc.). They do not hide from it: texts and declarations exist in the open air.
I have already established a kind of psychological cartography of the profiles in power in totalitarian times: schematically, we could say that the perverts pull the strings in the shadows, the paranoiacs elaborate the "program" of control, and the psychopaths perform the dirty jobs. This is like a parade of narcissistic disorders!
Let me add that, although paranoia is classified as psychosis because it is a delusion of persecution that presents the appearance of reason, I have been defending the idea for years of the penalization of these profiles, because they know very well that they do harm. The intention to harm is characterized, it is legitimized: clearly, the paranoiac says he is authorized to persecute because he (wrongly) considers himself persecuted.
Today, we are in the middle of an open-air paranoiac delusion: the confusion of the boundaries between human and animal with chimeras, the confusion of the sexes, the confusion of generations, the confusion of machine and man with transhumanism, man who thinks he is God in the place of God, not to mention the delusional hypochondria, the permanent harassment, etc. What we are living is in the register of paranoia.
To read: my book “Psychopathologie de la paranoïa” (The psychopathology of paranoia).
Another author who has received a lot of attention is Mathias Desmet from Belgium, and his theory of totalitarianism which he called "mass formation"? What do you think about it?
Editor’s Note: the Desmet/Breggin controversy gained prominence with the involvement of Dr. Robert Malone, who has largely supported Desmet’s perspectives. It has just been revealed that Dr. Robert Malone is actually suing Peter Breggin and his wife for US$ 25 million! Malone’s legal filing can be found on his substack, where there are also noteworthy comments by his followers, from endorsing the lawsuit to totally opposed to it and begging him to drop it.
I think that the merit of Mathias Desmet's work is that it draws attention to the nature of totalitarian indoctrination which, quite simply, drives people crazy, and leads them to act as if they were in a cult, to commit acts and utter speeches that they would never have committed or uttered in other circumstances.
This is the hallmark of delusional certainty. For example, I have heard very good people who were very humane and empathetic before this crisis, clearly wishing for the denial of health care to certain groups of the population, or even calling for more child abuse. It seems to me that it is this precise point that Mathias Desmet is trying to explain, by talking about "mass formation” or "mass formation psychosis.”
According to Breggin, Desmet’s theory is not credible. It would make the people responsible for the psychosis of which they would also be victims. What do you think about this?
From my point of view, I think that the question of responsibility is fundamental, and it is one that we must imperatively and quickly address.
It seems obvious to me that those who have knowingly put in place dangerous, abusive, and sometimes deadly measures, in the name of "health", using manipulation on a massive scale, need to be criminally responsible for their actions. They know what they are doing, there is no doubt about their sadism and their cynicism, especially since they claim it publicly, in many instances.
Hannah Arendt said, that the more one rises up in the hierarchy of the totalitarian system, the more cynicism is characterized.
Moreover, and I would like to insist on this, although I am talking about paranoiac psychosis, I would like to say that for me the thinking head of the totalitarian system, which can be a consortium of individuals, is a sum of paranoiac and perverse pathologies.
On the legal level, perversion cannot be exempted from criminal responsibility because there is no delusion. I have been advocating for years for the criminal responsibility of paranoiac psychoses, because even if in delusion, the harassment of others is "legitimized" by the feeling of persecution ("I ‘am harassing him because he wants to do me harm”), in the reality of the psychic experience of the paranoiac, the intention to harm is clearly assumed, with duration and repetition in the fixation/obsession of the victim.
Some individuals are complete victims of what is going on and have not caused any damage to others. But this is not the case for everyone in the population.
The totalitarian drift has indeed allowed and even encouraged dangerous and transgressive behaviors. It has given illegitimate power to people who have seized it.
When, for example, as I have been told, nurses vaccinating pregnant women have said “It either makes or breaks”, they were aware that they were causing a risk of abortion, so they knew that their action had a potentially harmful outcome.
Concretely: who should be held responsible?
It is a delicate philosophical reflection that we must carry out regarding this segment of the population, which is both the victim of manipulations and the author of transgressive acts. I think that the two criteria that should never be discarded are the intention to harm, and the awareness of the consequences of one's actions.
To consider that we, adult citizens, would only be victims, is infantilizing and is not fair. We are part of a system in which everyone has a share of responsibilities, just as we also have a responsibility if we let things happen, if we do not object, if we do not inform ourselves.
This does not mean, however, that we would be guilty in the same way as those who sadistically and cynically implemented a totalitarian program on the population. For we cannot dismiss the gigantic undertaking of mass propaganda, among other things.
We also have to determine the degree of responsibility according to the respective professions. I haven't had time to follow the whole debate in detail, but it seems to me that there is a paradox in the accusation made against Desmet: if the population is under "mass psychosis", it is therefore under delusion. This means, from the point of view of classical Criminal Law, that it is exempt from any responsibility because being under hypnosis and performing acts under hypnosis, especially in the context of mass psychosis, is likely to make irresponsible from a legal point of view.
In my opinion, Desmet does not make the population feel guilty if he makes them a victim of mass psychosis. On the contrary! Indeed, I think that he could insist more on the existence of a clique of plutocratic "plotters", but then again, if there had been only this clique and if no one had obeyed it, the totalitarian drift would never have taken place. So, we come back to the question of the manipulation of the masses, to what it generates at the psychic level — what I call "delusional contagion" - through paranoiac delusion.
We also come back to the question of establishing the various responsibilities according to criteria that cannot be the simple exoneration of responsibility on the grounds of not knowing, or of having been manipulated.
It seems to me that we said at the end of Nazism, that simple blind obedience to orders could not be considered as a factor of exoneration of responsibility. There is a duty of disobedience in certain circumstances.
I think it is essential to clarify all this as much as possible. I am also working with the lawyer Virginie de Araujo-Recchia to establish all these nuances, it is a common study between the philosophy of Law and the Law, which is essential to do, and we must think about it now, in order to avoid new injustices, future revenge, or arbitrary trials. Civilization must be rebuilt according to the fundamental principles of Law. That's my point of view anyway.
Can you explain to us the concept of “delusional contagion” to which you subscribe? What are the parallels with what we observe in cults?
If an adult is under the influence of a cult that pushes him to commit crimes, who is responsible? The cult that pushed him to commit the crime but didn't commit it? The adult who committed the crime? The current totalitarian drift, by causing traumatic shocks on the psyche of individuals, and by inciting hatred, through the mass media, leads to a loss of empathy in individuals.
Clearly, the more someone is psychically confronted with violence, the less he is able to protect himself, and the more he will develop what is called in psychology a “desensitization”, a loss of emotions. This leads to automated behaviors to channel one's own anguish, as well as an identification with one's tormentor, whom the individual will become the "spokesman" and the executor. There is no longer any need to feel or think, only to apply "protocols" in a robotic way.
This is what the totalitarian drift invites: to this psychic regression, which transforms a large part of the population into executors who no longer reflect on the consequences of their acts, who are no longer capable of critical thinking or of empathy towards other human beings, if they do not share their points of view or disagree with them.
For example, some say, about those health caregivers who have said "no" to the false choice between free and informed consent on their body and their right to work (and thus to their livelihoods): "Serves them right", or "let them die".
The individual clearly does not know what he is saying at that moment and does not realize the charge of hatred and intolerance that his own discourse conveys, devoid of empathy for another who, quite simply, does not think like him and has another vision of this crisis. However, it is always essential to debate.
You have made comparisons between the current era and older times. Do “human nature” and “the art of power,” from the Romans to the current rulers, passing through Machiavelli, not change?
What interests me personally are the invariants of human nature. I do not believe that we have evolved from the point of view of human psychology.
On the other hand, we now have very sophisticated and dangerous technological tools and instruments, including conventional, nuclear, and biological weapons, and this is our major problem.
Another major problem is transhumanism, which in my opinion is only a recycling of the concept of the Übermensch, the “superman”, dear to the Nazis, with much more advanced and dangerous technologies.
All these tools are beyond our capacity of imagination regarding the damage they can cause to humanity.
Do you have any other comments to make in order to conclude this interview?
I believe that the more we become aware of what is planned for our humanity, the more we also become aware that we are living a "war" against human beings / humankind, against our human rights, against the populations.
We have no other choice but to resist and protect the sacred dimension of the human being.
It can be dangerous to talk, but it is even more dangerous to be silent.
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See Part 1 of the Interview:
The original in French can be found here.
See also our video interview with American psychiatrist Mark McDonald