Celebrity worshipping culture: Its mutilating effects on the mass mental apparatus and critical thinking

Celebrity worshippers1

Young women crazed on seeing their star.  It is extreme, but shows the essence of the mass psychology of star worship.

By Fazal Rahman, Ph.D.          November 11, 2015

Observationally and instinctively, I have known for a long time that the culture and cults of star worship and addictions are causing great damages to mass consciousness, mass psychology, and mental health in this, other Advanced Capitalist-Imperialist Technocratic Societies (ACITS), and their Third World imitators. Contents of the following article in the Daily Mail verify those observations:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-192343/Addicted-stars.html

Daily Mail, London, UK November 11, 2015

Addicted to the stars

One in 10 people may be addicted celebrity worshippers, it was claimed today.

Research suggests as many as 10% of the public are developing unhealthy obsessions with celebrities which can lead to depression, anxiety and psychosis.

They may, for instance, believe they have a special personal bond with a particular star.

The next stage is a “borderline pathological” condition found in around 1% of people, say researchers.

These include stalkers and individuals who are prepared to harm themselves or others in the name of their idol.

According to psychologists in the United States, about a third of ordinary people are suffering from some degree of Celebrity Worship Syndrome (CWS).

Dr Lynn McCutcheon, from DeVry University in Orlando, Florida, and Dr James Houran, from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, carried out a survey of more than 600 people to test their interest in celebrities.

They were asked a series of questions designed to reveal what they really thought about the rich and famous.

The researchers identified three different stages of celebrity worship, New Scientist magazine reported.

At the entry level, one in five people followed celebrities for “entertainment-social” reasons. Anyone burning to know every detail about a favourite star, such as which Madrid mansion Posh and Becks will buy, falls into this category. Such fan worship might seem harmless. But even these individuals are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression and social dysfunction than non-worshippers, say the researchers.

Worshippers who took the next step developed “intense-personal” attitudes towards an idol. The survey indicated that 10% of people were at this point, where celebrity worship was becoming an addiction.

The “borderline-pathological” condition was the final, most intense stage of celebrity worship and could be marked by criminal or dangerous behaviour.

Dr. Houran said: “Just worshipping a celebrity does not make you dysfunctional, but it does put you at risk of being so. “There is this progression of behaviours, and if you start, we don’t know what’s going to stop you.” Houran and McCutcheon suspect that an interest in celebrities may start with a search for identity and a “sense of fulfilment” Worshippers then get so absorbed in the details of the lives of their idols that they start to feel emotional attachment, leading to obsession. The psychologists call this the “absorption-addiction” model. It predicts that people should tend to get interested in celebrities at times when they are looking for direction in life, such as during their teenage years. This “absorption” progresses to “addiction” if they experience a crisis such as the loss of a loved one.

End of the Daily Mail article

There are all types of big and small “stars” (anthropocentric misusage of the same terminology for the huge physical bodies of matter and energy in the sky and petty little humans, most of them corrupt money-bags) in entertainment, sports, academia, media, pornography, businesses, corporations, industry, religion, politics, and many other areas. Tens of thousands of them. If anything, the above article greatly underestimates the percentage of population addicted to their stars in all those areas. I will here focus on the political stars.

This is also a form of the personality cult, of which communist societies were accused of, for example, under Stalin, whose immense popularity in the former USSR, during his leadership, was based upon the great real accomplishments, like defeating the greatest and most powerful invasion of history by the Nazi military-hence winning the Second World War, before the deliberately delayed opening of the Second Front by the US and UK, catapulting the Soviet industry and economy to unprecedented levels of growth and development, and saving the socialist system from the internal and external threats, etc. Now, in the US and other ACITS and their Third World imitators, there are tens of thousands of big and small celebrities in virtually every area of life, partly mentioned above, which, individually and collectively, exercise enormous influence on the mass psychology of large parts of the populations, mostly without any real positive social accomplishments or influences, and frequently doing the opposite, that is, among other things, parasitizing the mass psychology with hedonism; diversions to superfluity, shallowness, financial materialism, and consumerism, etc.; drowning the mass psychology in the deliberately and methodically mutilated oceans of “knowledge” and “information”; mesmerizing the audiences with extraordinary demagogic and oratory skills; molding the mass critical thinking and feeling faculties into their own patterns and making them reproduce and disseminate these, etc.

Fragmentation and mutilation of human mental apparatus, mass psychology, and critical thinking have complex philosophical, historical, politico-economic, and technocratic causes. I have dealt with some of them in some of my previous articles (1, 2, 3). Earlier, Marcuse had done complex philosophical and psychological analyses of some of these problems in his “One-dimensional Man” (4) and other writings. Along with other factors and processes, he attributed a major role to the overwhelming dominance of Technological Rationality in the mutilation of critical thinking and fragmentation of human mental apparatus. My own analyses of these problems, in my above articles, have a few similarities with those of Marcuse, but these are much broader and diverse, and include additional areas, like epigenetics, and more recent research information. Also, I have introduced the category of Capitalist Technological Rationality, replacing the Technological Rationality of Marcuse, which is a more accurate reflection of the reality of forces and processes, involved in these matters, in the ACITS.

Humans, tailored by the above-mentioned complex forces and processes, become more vulnerable to the culture and cults of celebrity worship and addictions. Among numerous other areas, this also happens in politics and political economy. In the ACITS, there are, like in other areas, small and big “stars” of the Mainstream, the Right, and the Left. Stars of the Mainstream produce the effects of adjusting their followers to the status quo of an evil and unjust capitalist-imperialist system and its various monstrous manifestations, while stars of the Right influence their followers in even more extreme directions. In variable types and degrees of opposition to the status quo and the Mainstream and the Right, numerous stars of the Left produce contradictory effects in their followers. As pointed out in one of my previous papers (5), on the one hand, they usually disseminate accurate information and analyses against the status quo and its various manifestations, while, on the other, the fundamentally important inaccuracies, flaws, and contradictions in their theoretical and politico-economic foundations counteract and cancel out the positive effects of the former. The overall effects of their usually excessive written and spoken outputs are negative and become obstacles in the way of creating and implementing the necessary strategies and tactics for effectively confronting the forces of the status quo and bringing about revolutionary transformations for the solutions of immense social problems that are impossible to be solved without such transformations. Professor Noam Chomsky, the late Howard Zinn, Professor Richard Wolff, Ralph Nader, Cornel West, and the relatively new-comer wannabe star, Chris Hedges, are some of the examples of this type of leftist stars in the US.   In spite of superabundance of writings and talks that become repetitious and blasé, they have not accomplished anything, except establishing and promoting their star status, and making a lot of money from selling their books and talks.   Nader, besides bringing some changes in some areas of consumer protection, did not achieve anything else.  He definitely imagines that the system can be reformed through electoral politics, public education and participation, and legislative changes, without a socialist revolution.  In spite of lack of any accomplishments in changing the status quo- which has been getting much worse over time, not any better-, some of them, like Chomsky, Hedges (who only parrots Chomsky, as he himself is, obviously,  astoundingly ignorant of Marx’s and Lenin’s works), and Wolff, unleash bizarre slanders against Lenin- under whose leadership the greatest and most progressive socialist revolution had been brought about in the largest country on the planet, which constituted an unmatchable historical accomplishment- and against the USSR, to such an extreme degree that they even deny that it had a socialist political economy!  They get away with such extreme arrogant asininity, distortions, and lies because of the ignorance and/or complicity of their followers.  One of Professor Zinn’s books, A Peoples History of the United States, published in 1980, achieved great popularity and success.  It is an important and passionately written alternative to the prevalent falsification and whitewashing of the horrendous history of the US, starting with the enslavement and genocide of the Native Americans,  by the pet historians of the officialdoms of this country.    Even though, the basic facts of that history are known to all minimally educated and honest people, the specific details are not known to most, and this country is full of all kinds of dishonest “highly educated”, “educated”, and uneducated people, who need and demand to be reinforced in their dishonest convictions and their magical transformations into “facts” by the complicit and dishonest historians of the officialdom.  Professor Zinn’s book has filled in most of the essential and accurate details of real history in that regard, which is not unique, but has reached wider audience than those of other highly qualified and honest historians of American history, like Herbert Apthekar, who was a communist, and suffered multidimensional discrimination because of that.  In spite of that, he was able to produce great amounts of important historical output.   Much of contents of that book are not based upon Zinn’s own research, but have been taken from the researches of other writers, especially those who started questioning and refuting the official versions during and after the 1960s’ anti-establishment and antiwar movements.  Like the others above, he was also anti-Soviet, obviously with little knowledge of and/or regard for the great accomplishments of real socialism in the USSR, under extremely adverse internal and external conditions.  Also like others, in practical terms, his numerous writings and other activities failed to accomplish anything, and the  politico-economic environment in the US has grown much worse, more right-wing, capitalistic, imperialistic, and militaristic.  As far as the realistic solutions to the great problems of capitalism and imperialism are concerned, they have none.  After all their super-diarrheal outputs and analyses, they end up being reformists, and not revolutionaries, even though some of them claim to be, and preach their own subjective versions of “socialism” that regress into some  pre-Marxist utopian forms.   Some of them, particularly Hedges, are themselves confused and are spreading toxic disinformation, illusions, and confusions about the nature of socialism and how it can be arrived at.  Hedges, who has been uttering anti-communist statements for years, at the same time, has been, most dishonestly and shamelessly, including some out-of-context quotes of Marx, Engels, and some other communists, in his writings and speeches, to confuse people, in the service of his own agenda, which seems to be more personal than political.  With friends like that, real socialism does not need any enemies.  In practical term, criticisms of the existing reality-no matter how accurate these might be-are only effective and useful if these include realistic and clear proposals and programs for solutions and alternatives, like the ones one finds in Marxism and Leninism.  This type of leftists- by slandering and opposing Marxism and Leninism, or distorting and stabbing it, like what Wolff does, in the name of Marxism- oppose and eliminate the only real alternatives to capitalism and imperialism, and the only real solutions to those greatest and most complex of all the problems that mankind has ever faced.  Their outputs mostly consist of criticisms of the policies that generate constant domestic and international evils and injustices, policies that are structurally rooted in the capitalist-imperialist system and which cannot be radically changed without changing that system, radically, that is, through a socialist revolution, and replacing it with Marxist Socialism.   However, as mentioned above, they oppose such changes in the system, and by doing that, objectively, they aid in the continuation and perpetuation of those policies, which they oppose subjectively and rhetorically.  One naturally wonders why such talented anti-officialdom writers share the anti-communism and anti-Sovietism with the capitalist-imperialist ruling class, government, mass media, and highly propagandized population of the US.  Can it be that by doing that they aim to become acceptable to as large portions of such population as possible?  The Left is very weak in the US and its weaknesses have been greatly increasing since the first half of the 20th Century.  Its earlier authentic and revolutionary socialist leaders have been replaced by the opportunists, half-truthers and half-liers, pseudo-socialists, and reformers.  Under these conditions, real socialism is not on the horizon.  However, this does not mean that the leftists should follow the so-called celebrity critics of the system, uncritically, and let them get away with flaws that are crucial in comprehensive understanding and knowledge of the immense problems of the system or their effective and realistic solutions. There are only a few leftist stars free from the above-mentioned contradictions and problems, but they do not have as much clout as the former, and their numbers have been decreasing. Some of the examples of this type are the late Victor Perlo, Dr. Michael Parenti, and Professor James Petras. They have also not confronted the former vigorously or effectively, hence leaving large numbers of leftists or potential leftists vulnerable to their influences. Much of the leftist media is also dominated by the former types, who overwhelmingly peddle the outputs of their own types of leftist stars.

As the major divisions among the Left and its stars involve the questions of socialism, Marxism, communism, capitalism, imperialism, and various forms of democracy, sufficient theoretical understanding and knowledge in these areas are essential for accurate critical assessments of the positions of various stars of the Left, in this regard.  It is mainly the deficiencies in these areas that cause so many of the leftists to be so easily misled.

One of the worst effects of the political stars is that vast numbers of people start relying on their usually selective, limited, manipulative, and processed knowledge and information and analyses, not using or minimally using their own critical thinking and feelings, which increasingly get lost because of disuse.

In sheer numbers, the numerous entertainment, sports, financial, and porn stars probably have more followers individually than all of the leftist stars combined. What an inspiring example of a “Developed Society” for others to emulate and which they are trying to export and propagate everywhere! How lucky of me to have ended up here!

I only have time to write a brief skeleton of an important social problem here, on which the flesh needs to be grown.

Notes

1. Rahman, F. Effects of the contemporary technological model on the genetic regulation of inner human faculties. Journal of Social and Biological Structures. 3, 375-389, 1980.

https://imperialismandthethirdworld.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/effects-of-the-contemporary-technological-model-on-the-genetic-regulation-of-inner-human-faculties-by-fazal-rahman-ph-d/

2. Rahman, F.  Biosocial and epigenetic relativity of human nature: Relative to political economy, technology, and culture.

https://imperialismandthethirdworld.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/biosocial-and-epigenetic-relativity-of-human-nature-relative-to-political-economy-technology-and-culture-by-fazal-rahman-phd/

3. Rahman, F. Multidimensional and complex nature and effects of imperialism on democracy, society, nature, and human nature.

https://imperialismandthethirdworld.wordpress.com/2015/03/29/multidimensional-and-complex-nature-and-effects-of-imperialism-on-democracy-society-nature-and-human-nature-updated-by-fazal-rahman-phd/

4. Marcuse, H. (1964). One Dimensional Man. Boston: Beacon Press.

5. Rahman, F.  Brief, partial, and necessary critical reviews of some of the stars of American Left: Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, Richard Wolff, Stephen Resnick, Noam Chomsky, and Chris Hedges.

https://imperialismandthethirdworld.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/brief-partial-and-necessary-critical-reviews-of-some-of-the-stars-of-american-left-michael-hardt-antonio-negri-richard-wolff-stephen-resnick-noam-chomsky-and-chris-hedges-by-fazal-rahman-phd/

6. Rahman, F.  Regulation of political, electoral, and other behaviors of Americans by the Devil-God of Capital: Hypothesis of its epigenetic and mass psychological role inside the mass mental apparatus.

https://imperialismandthethirdworld.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/regulation-of-political-electoral-and-other-behaviors-of-americans-by-the-devil-god-of-capital-hypothesis-of-its-epigenetic-and-mass-psychological-role-inside-the-mass-mental-apparatus-by-fazal-rahman/

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