From smp.no today:
"About lies and reality"
In a thought-provoking chronicle in Aftenposten the other day, parliamentary representative Marianne Martinsen discusses the concept of gaslighting, and discusses what this term really means, and what actuality this has really gained today, and what this can ultimately lead to.
What Trump is trying to do is slow manipulation of people’s perception of reality. Slowly but surely the course is turning more and more from reality to fiction, says the author of the article. PHOTO: DOUG MILLS
That Trump is lying so he runs off is, strictly speaking, no news. He does this to get the public on his side, and it works scary often.
PUBLISHED:MAY 21, 2020 2:10 P.M.LAST UPDATED:MAY 21, 2020 2:10 P.M.
- Written by Eimar Hagen, Fosnavåg
This tempts me to make some additional comments.
The word gaslighting comes from a play that later became the movie “Gaslight”. In this 1944 film, Ingrid Bergman had one of the lead roles, and here she plays a trusting and sensitive wife who struggles to preserve her identity in a violent marriage. Her husband manipulates and confuses her over time by dimming down that day’s gas lamps in their house, then denying that the light has changed. Through this, she slowly loses control of reality.
The title of this film later gave rise to the psychological word, or the term gaslighting. This term is often still used as a label for a psychological manipulation technique. The purpose here may be to make other people lose their grip on their own judgment, or the knowledge of what is right or wrong, falsehood or truth. Gaslighting is also related to one of the narcissists’ frequently used instruments. And the term narcissist is often linked to people / leaders who are extremely self-absorbed, selfish and often have zero tolerance for being contradicted by others.
The year 2016 in many ways marks a fairly extreme change and transformation of the public vocabulary. It was just this year that Donald Trump came to power in the United States, and through his endless series of tweets trying to manipulate, and in part, manage to market his perception of reality. Here the concept of gaslighting in modern form emerges on the political scene.
When it comes to Trump, he, as US President, has a sphere of influence that is quite enormous. And this is not just limited to the United States. The entire world notices how an American president speaks, acts, and treats other people, and in the case of Trump, it can often be difficult to know what is true or not when he speaks. At the same time, it can be difficult to know whether Trump is generally acting on impulse or whether what he is marketing is deliberate strategy. In any case, the result of this is that truth and falsehood, reality and fiction merges, and the result can be as in the movie Gaslighting; one no longer knows what to believe or what is real.
To illustrate what is relevant in this regard, there is a reason to show a small tab of Trump’s handling and statements in this regard with the ongoing corona crisis:
22/1: «Completely under control.
26/2: “The danger to the American people is low”.
28/2: “This is their new bluff”. (This addressed to Democrats in the United States.)
15/3: “Has tremendous control.”
Then all of a sudden two days later (17/3) came the following message from Trump: “I have felt this is a pandemic”.
To cover his own catastrophic handling of the corona crisis, Trump claimed (1/5) that this crisis began in a laboratory in China. This, Trump claimed, even though two days earlier, Secretary of National Intelligence Richard Grenell had made the following statement:
"The intelligence community joins the broad scientific consensus that the Covid-19 virus is not man-made or genetically modified. "So a statement contradicted what Trump claimed. For the sake of clarity: The intelligence community, which Grenell states on behalf of the above, consists of 17 intelligence organizations.
Perhaps the United States and the world would have faced enormous challenges in the fight against the coronavirus, regardless of who has been in charge. But it does little help here that the US and the world have a president who at one moment announces that the corona epidemic is a bluff to scare people from attending elections, and then at the next moment to say that he felt it was an epidemic long before this was a fact.
That Trump is lying through his teeth is, strictly speaking, no news. He does this to get the public on his side, and it works scary often. But the last thing one needs to lead a world in crisis is leaders like Trump who create confusion and suspicion among people, both domestically and globally. In such situations, there is one thing that matters, and there is trust.
What Trump is trying to do is slow manipulation of people’s perception of reality. Slowly but surely the course is turning more and more from reality to fiction.
Viktor E. Frankl, the well-known Austrian psychiatrist who sat in the notorious concentration camp of Auschwitz during the last war, comes among others. with this statement and warning in his book. “Fighting Life”:
The emptiness of man is a widespread phenomenon in our century. This is understandable. It is due to several losses suffered by man after it became a truly human being. At the beginning of human history, man lost some of the basic animal instincts upon which animal behavior is based and secured.
Such a security is forever locked out of man, just like from paradise. In its later development, man has suffered another loss, in that the traditions that supported his behavior are now rapidly diminishing. Few or no instincts tell man what to do, and no traditions say what to do. Soon it will no longer know what it will do. More and more, people will be led by what others want them to do, and so they will increasingly become a victim of unification.
Blue. the independent American organization Freedom House confirms a development that is now moving towards more and more authoritarian regimes around the world, and where Frankl’s warning of an ongoing alignment is also confirmed.
In light of all this, there is really reason to take Trump and his backers seriously too.