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"Naming Evil" with Ariane Bilheran

Updated: 4 days ago

journalist Yves RASIR at NéoSanté Editions

One wonders if this "war" against the virus, announced by President Macron, has not become, through collapse, a psychological war against the people. Marion Bonny, a former military doctor trained in infectious diseases and in dealing with health disasters, has even filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court for economic, social and cultural genocide [1] ... You specialize in the analysis of the art of manipulation and the pathologies of power. Can you tell us about your background and how your studies allow you to decipher this news?

Ariane Bilheran: I have always been immersed in environments of abuse of power, which led me since my adolescence to think about the abuses of power, first through moral and political philosophy (Hannah Arendt and Hegel in particular, then I did a master's degree in moral and political philosophy at the Sorbonne on the disease of civilization according to Nietzsche) and then from psychology (harassment, manipulation, perversion, paranoia).

For about ten years, I audited cases of harassment complaints in companies of different sizes, cultures, countries and sectors. This has allowed me to observe collectives when they become disconnected from reality and give way to paradoxical and sadistic discourses.

I am particularly interested in deciphering the mechanism of "delirious contagion" between individuals and within collectives, a mechanism that can explain in history the adhesion of peoples to totalitarianism and to various crimes against humanity. Moreover, my studies at the École Normale Supérieure de Paris, in Classics, gave me the basis to analyze sophistry in speeches, that is to say the presence of "false reasoning", when a reasoning seems true but is not. This corruption of reasoning is rooted in a loss of meaning in language. An example today is to qualifier as "non-essential" what is not actually "useful" from the point of view of capitalist production. Useful refers to a tool in the service of technical and/or economic production.

This has nothing to do with the essential, which speaks of our essence as human beings.

Art and culture in this sense are absolutely essential for our humanity. It is clear that the choice of words perverts or not the reasoning that uses them, and leads to a new, more abusive relationship with the world. I have also been interested for a long time in neologisms, that is to say in these "new words" which are often a marker of individual and collective madness, as Lacan had already spotted; "Complotism" is one of them.

You were revealed to the general public with an interview conducted for the film Hold-Up. What is your general feeling about what we are going through today?

I had already intervened for NEXUS in 2016 [ii], where I described exactly, without being prescient, the slippery slope on which we were engaged. I said this: "Paranoia carries within it a project of death and for that it uses terror, the totalitarianism of the single thought, that of human interchangeability, that of absolute control. The dominant word is propaganda, in which the victims of terror are designated as guilty, and those who resist submission as traitors.

Paranoia desires to create a "new man," denying roots, origins, traditions, history, and all forms of otherness. Under its influence, the people divide themselves into "friends" and "enemies," thus paving the way for fratricidal wars, which feeds the expansion of paranoid power ("divide and conquer"). The people, victims of this pathological power, are showing more and more symptoms of suffering: loss of reference points, psychic confusion, feelings of powerlessness, and stupefaction. They do not understand what is happening to them, because they are caught up in this mass manipulation and paranoid sophistry."

Doesn't that seem to you to describe the current situation?

More precisely, in 2010, I had already, in one of my books, Tous des harcelés? (Armand Colin) spoke of "creeping totalitarianism". Today we are experiencing a totalitarianism that is decomplexed, trivialized, and even claimed and desired by many, as if totalitarianism were a justifiable and acceptable way of exercising power. For, we must ask the question: what justifies and authorizes, for humanity, its submission in a totalitarian regime that is likely to trace global contours (I refer to the Great Reset project in particular)? The answer is simple: NOTHING!

You are referring to the mode of governance of the crisis that some call "techno-sanitary dictatorship"?

Some speak of a "health dictatorship", but the term is absolutely false.

Dictatorship has a time limit (6 months maximum in Ancient Rome), whereas what we are experiencing seems to be a "political paradigm shift", unexpected by the majority of the population. This change is just as violent as it was carefully and cynically prepared by a small, unscrupulous global plutocracy.

A plutocracy?

Plutocracy is a term in political philosophy that refers to a system of governance where power belongs to the rich (Ploutos was the Greek god of wealth). Curiously, we abandon analysis from the perspective of class struggle as we reach an imbalance, never before reached at this point in history, between those, very much in the minority who have confiscated the wealth and the poor. The totalitarian regime differs from dictatorships and tyrannies in that it aims at "total domination," i.e., it intrudes into the totality of social, private, and intimate spheres, right down to the psyche of individuals, and has as its "ideological claim" "planetary domination," I'm just picking up on Hannah Arendt's analysis.

So obviously, those who have pulled their heads out of the sand have well understood the program at work in the "Great Reset," long known to the researchers behind the scenes of power, namely the total suppression of human freedoms, the unrestricted advent of transhumanism and commodity capitalism, all underpinned by eugenicist and segregationist ideologies and a confiscation of natural resources in the hands of private interests. The "new world order" does have the ambition of "planetary domination" of which the surveillance of all

social, private and intimate spheres of the individual is a prerequisite.

What exactly is the crisis we are going through? And besides, is it a crisis?

A crisis, in ancient Greek, is a moment when one discovers what was hidden. In an article I wrote on August 31, 2020, I spoke of a "totalitarian onslaught", and I am pleased to see that many people are now using my expression to describe the present situation. It is a totalitarian tide. The people who think I am exaggerating are of the same ilk as those who call the infanticide of a 9-month-old baby "abortion" (cf. the bioethics bill). They are accomplices of the "banality of evil", to use an expression that Hannah Arendt used about the high Nazi official Eichmann.

The totalitarian upsurge represents "the moment of the negative" in history, as the philosopher Hegel called it. It is the moment when a civilization collapses. The collapse is primarily moral, as the Stoics said. According to them, the corruption of language was only the manifestation of moral corruption, and it was through the corruption of morals that the Roman Empire collapsed. Well, I think we are on the verge of the collapse of our civilization. Should it be precipitated? I don't think so. Will it be short-lived? I don't think so either. The Roman Empire took several centuries to collapse, and the morals of the rulers have nothing to envy to those of


What do you mean by that?

In the moral collapse, the four pillars that hold the house of a civilization are no longer operative: prohibition of murder, prohibition of incest, generational difference and gender difference. These four pillars must also be understood in their complexity and their derivatives: the prohibition of murder is also the prohibition of social murder (slander, libel, etc.), ostracism...); the prohibition of incest is also the more general prohibition of sexualizing children and appropriating them sexually; the difference between generations is the inscription of a temporality before/after, which prevents the denial of origins that totalitarianism claims (it is self-engendered and 'after the flood', i.e. the responsibility of being articulated in the past/present/future time of a civilisation is not inscribed); the difference between the sexes is the primordial castration, and the learning of otherness: the other is other, because he is profoundly and structurally different from me, and it is this path towards the other that I must unfold in myself, because, by his difference, he is also my missing and complementary part. It is important to understand that without these four structuring pillars of the psyche, regression to delirium and acting out (murder, incest, transgressions of all kinds) is certain. And I think that our civilization is ripe for this level of collapse.

What are the different mechanisms at work in the identity collapse we are witnessing?

I don't know if it's a matter of a collapse of identity. In my opinion, it is a long process of loss of transmission, which Hannah Arendt had already highlighted, concerning the crisis of authority. I refer to my book Psychopathology of Authority. Only authority (not to be confused with authoritarianism or laxity) makes it possible to transform, by bringing the human being back to a posture of humility, human impulses into humanizing works and structuring ideals that block chaos. What is not authority is the destruction of civilization.

Perversion and paranoia are two pathologies that have precisely not accessed the Oedipus complex, the fundamental stage that allows openness to temporality (origin, fi l i a t i o n ), to morality, to ethics, to otherness, to the dimension of the universal. At the same time as we are the children of our parents, we are the children of a genealogy, a history, a culture, an identity. Because there is transcendence towards our ancestors, but also transcendence towards the idea of an infini that would be perfectly good, well, just and beautiful, we are in search of surpassing ourselves so as not to disappoint the former, and to perfect ourselves in the light of the latter.

But I am not surprised. The crisis became clear in 2020 through a pseudosanitary political ideology and revealed many things, in particular the role of the mass media in brainwashing, and their passion for sensationalism over rationality. These media have a huge responsibility in the renunciation of critical thinking; the exhibition of opinions takes the lead, instead of real

reasoning. For this to happen, our societies should not have given up so easily on the search for truth, and on its conditions. All this is the fruit of a renunciation that is first and foremost moral, and which is rooted, in my opinion, in the "it is forbidden to forbid", the reign of immediate consumption and unrestrained enjoyment. This is the perverse reign, and in psychology we know that perversion is the queen mother of paradoxes that stagger thought and prevent the construction of a social bond. Perversion is what corrupts the bond, by nature. Paranoia can follow in its footsteps to create "new bonds", a "new normality", "a new man", and these bonds are based on delusion.


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