“A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness”. – wrote Alfred Korzybski in his book “Science and Sanity” in far 1933, when Nazi Party get its power in Germany.
Hitler could propose to German people the MAP that was attractive enough to give him power. Germany was absolutely demoralized after World War I and repatriations that had to be given to France. The people felt themselves humiliated and crushed. And in this moment somebody has proposed them belief in their invincibility, greatness, particularity and global significance. They’ve made an Olympiad, where they’ve got as many gold medals as it was possible. And then they were told that another people live very wrong, because they don’t have any spirituality and the divine purpose, majority of them are freaks and fagots with decaying values… And that Germans have to protect themselves from worldwide Zionist conspiracy against them.
Have not you noticed anything familiar? Humiliation and poverty, then authoritarian power, then belief in divine purpose and spirituality, then Olympics (this time Winter Olympics) with majority of gold medals, and then – war, to protect oneself from worldwide conspiracy (this time “anglo-saxon worldwide conspiracy” as they say).
Alfred Korzybski was a Polish-American independent scholar who developed a field called general semantics, which he viewed as both distinct from, and more encompassing than, the field of semantics. He argued that human knowledge of the world is limited both by the human nervous system and the languages humans have developed, and thus no one can have direct access to reality, given that the most we can know is that which is filtered through the brain’s responses to reality. During WWI Korzybski served as an intelligence officer in the Russian Army.
One day, Korzybski was giving a lecture to a group of students, and he interrupted the lesson suddenly in order to retrieve a packet of biscuits, wrapped in white paper, from his briefcase. He muttered that he just had to eat something, and he asked the students on the seats in the front row if they would also like a biscuit. A few students took a biscuit. «Nice biscuit, don’t you think,» said Korzybski, while he took a second one. The students were chewing vigorously. Then he tore the white paper from the biscuits, in order to reveal the original packaging. On it was a big picture of a dog’s head and the words «Dog Cookies.» The students looked at the package, and were shocked. Two of them wanted to vomit, put their hands in front of their mouths, and ran out of the lecture hall to the toilet. «You see,» Korzybski remarked, «I have just demonstrated that people don’t just eat food, but also words, and that the taste of the former is often outdone by the taste of the latter.»
Another American scientist, a sociologist, William Isaac Thomas accidentally (by some opinions) has formulated a fundamental principle of sociology, known as the “Thomas theorem”. Thomas theorem says to us: “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences”.
In other words, the interpretation of a situation causes the action. This interpretation is not objective. Actions are affected by subjective perceptions of situations.
In other words, if anybody watching TV sees fascists crucifying little children days and nights – it’s naturally that he grabs the gun and goes to kill these fascists. He will do it regardless of the fact that it’s true or not. He saw it; he believed it and he reacted the way he believed to be right.
I guess that many of Germans believed in 1933 that this is right to vote for Hitler. Because he was only one, who could sell the idea that people of Germany would be defended from the worldwide conspiracy.
Security is always the primary need of any human being. But, with the development of information space and communications and media this critical need can be switched on and switched of, if it is necessary, with the help of Thomas theorem and television. And, unfortunately, we are talking not about Russia. Take a look at the leader of presidential primaries in US – Donald Trump. Or pay close attention to the Austrian elections, where for the first time since WWII one of the leaders in presidential elections is a politician of right-wing party.
Their success is formed from two aspects. The first is ability to show the challenges that facing society as the real threats, or draw these threats if there are no any at a time. And the second is ability to sell “the map” that leads the way out of this situation of danger. Unfortunately, our mutual history says that this way can lead us to the global disaster. This is why we have to watch carefully the signs of this “proposed ways”.
New Manifests of Fascism
April 18th, 2016 one of the popular Russian online media – Kommersant.ru – has published the article of the Head of Investigative Committee of Russia Alexander Bastrykin “It’s time to put an effective barrier to the information war”.
I’m sure that European, media have already reacted in proper way to this, but I don’t think that anyone in European countries have real understanding of the threats that posed by the publication from one of the leaders of the country. And you have to consider that Bastrykin is very close to Putin, and Investigative Committee has the power comparable to FSB.
In his article Alexander Bastrykin says that the US and its allies have started hybrid war against Russia and used the same methods of information warfare that were used for the collapse of the Soviet Union — ethnic strife and radicalization of social groups.
To answer these threats Bastrykin proposed: “Enough already to play false democracy, following the pseudo liberal values”. The head of the one of the central law-enforcement governmental bodies thinks that it is very necessary “to create an ideological concept of the country development”; to aim the ideological education of the new generation; to check all religious, national-cultural and youth organizations for compliance with Russian law; to control and censure the internet totally as China does; to close some media, etc.
Meanwhile Ukraine still suffers from information war and uncontrolled spreading of hatred content from Russian media, but according to European “advices” remains in the frame of democratic approaches to information space. Naturally, this situation of boiling kettle gives birth to the opposite opinions.
April 28th, 2016, Ukrainian analytics portal “Khvylya” has published anonymous article on Ukrainian information policy deep analysis – “Information policy of Ukraine – why “it” looks like this way”
The author of the article says:” First and foremost, we must recognize that our present real priority — bans and increased penalties. For everybody. We need a special legal regime in terms of information sphere regulating at Anti-Terrorist Operation zone on the East of the country”.
As you can see, everything says that we are heading to the situation when the voltage, stress and failure to discuss different points of view increases. And obviously it can lead to the end of democratic development of the world. Because information space does not have any borders and you cannot say “ah, this is happening 1000 miles from us, why bother?”
In January 2016 Vogue.com has interviewed Erik Skjoldbjærg, one of the “Occupied” Norwegian TV-show primary writers. “Occupied” is Norway’s most successful (and expensive) TV series ever. It is about the consequences of imaginary Russian hybrid war against Norway. But, according to Skjoldbjærg, it is also about the reaction of people on the situation when somebody takes away their freedom.
In his answers to the journalist’s questions Skjoldbjærg says:
“If our democratic rights were taken away from us, how would we react? I believe the vast majority would not take up arms. And I think, statistically, that is proven in both World Wars and in other conflicts with occupations. Most people would focus on their family, their jobs, their economy, their social status. These things are even more important than freedom of speech and other rights, at least for a while”.
But in my humble opinion these words are not about Ukrainians. And it says how far Ukrainians really are from Europeans.
Analyzing EU actions on the situation of hybrid threats, I tried to monitor any real steps except of “deep concern”. April 6th, 2016 European Commission has issued “Joint communication to the European Parliament and the Council — Joint Framework on countering hybrid threats a European Union response”
This document inspires cautious optimism after two years of hybrid war with Russian Federation. At last we have some specific propositions at least to spend some resources on studying the real danger of these threats.
Joint Framework includes “Actions” that European Commission proposes to do. And first two of them are (1) to launch a hybrid risk surveys in EU Member States to identify key vulnerabilities, including specific hybrid related indicators, potentially affecting national and pan-European structures and networks; and (2) to create of an EU Hybrid Fusion Cell within the existing EU INTCEN structure, capable of receiving and analyzing classified and open source information on hybrid threats.
As a former Ukrainian intelligence officer I think that this is right and perspective decision because, working in the information-analytical sphere more than 10 years I am confident that representatives of media, NGOs and other civil organizations are not prepared enough to develop and implement strategies and new approaches to counter hybrid threats.
Unfortunately, discussing the freedom of speech questions and fakes debunking we have forgotten that actually we are facing multiple special operations that try to give us “Russian map of the territory”, while the territory is different.
And this is why it is so important to work in two ways at a time: to debunk fakes, to use open source intelligence and to spread media literacy for everybody, so we could have instruments of how to verify if our “map” matches our “territory”; and what is more important – to develop our own “maps”.
By “developing maps” I mean making and communicating our decisions of how we see our mutual future. Do we want our laws and law-enforcement organizations to regulate our information space instead of us and our children? Do we want people, who sells us “security” and “fear of threats” lead our way? Or, shell we seek for other answers and transform into postinformation society?