The Art of Gaslighting

By Cynthia Chung

For those who have not seen the 1944 psychological thriller “Gaslight” directed by George Cukor, I would highly recommend you do so since there is an invaluable lesson contained within, that is especially applicable to what I suspect many of us are experiencing nowadays.

The story starts with a 14 year old Paula (played by Ingrid Bergman) who is being taken to Italy after her Aunt Alice Alquist, a famous opera singer and caretaker of Paula, is found murdered in her home in London. Paula is the one who found the body, and horror stricken is never her old self again. Her Aunt was the only family Paula had left in her life. The decision is made to send her away from London to Italy to continue her studies to become a world-renowned opera singer like her Aunt Alice.

Years go by, Paula lives a very sheltered life and a heavy somberness is always present within her, she can never seem to feel any kind of happiness. During her singing studies she meets a mysterious man (her piano accompanist during her lessons) and falls deeply in love with him. However, she knows hardly anything about the man named Gregory.

Paula agrees to marry Gregory after a two week romance and is quickly convinced to move back into her Aunt’s house in London that was left abandoned all these years. As soon as she enters the house, the haunting of the night of the murder revisits her and she is consumed with panic and fear. Gregory tries to calm her and talks about the house needing just a little bit of air and sun, and then Paula comes across a letter written to her Aunt from a Sergis Bauer which confirms that he was in contact with Alice just a few days before her murder. At this finding, Gregory becomes bizarrely agitated and grabs the letter from Paula. He quickly tries to justify his anger blaming the letter for upsetting her. Gregory then decides to lock all of her Aunt’s belongings in the attic, to apparently spare Paula any further anguish.

It is at this point that Gregory starts to change his behaviour dramatically. Always under the pretext for “Paula’s sake”, everything that is considered “upsetting” to Paula must be removed from her presence. And thus quickly the house is turned into a form of prison. Paula is told it is for her best not to leave the house unaccompanied, not to have visitors and that self-isolation is the best remedy for her “anxieties” which are getting worst. Paula is never strictly forbidden at the beginning but rather is told that she should obey these restrictions for her own good.

Before a walk, he gives as a gift a beautiful heirloom brooch that belonged to his mother. Because the pin needs replacing, he instructs Paula to keep it in her handbag, and then says rather out of context, “Don’t forget where you put it now Paula, I don’t want you losing it.” Paula remarks thinking the warning absurd, “Of course I won’t forget!” When they return from their walk, Gregory asks for the brooch, Paula searches in her handbag but it is not there.

It continues on like this, with Gregory giving warnings and reminders, seemingly to help Paula with her “forgetfulness” and “anxieties”. Paula starts to question her own judgement and sanity as these events become more and more frequent. She has no one else to talk to but Gregory, who is the only witness to these apparent mishaps. It gets to a point where completely nonsensical behaviour is being attributed to Paula by Gregory. A painting is found missing on the wall one night. Gregory talks to Paula like she is a 5 year child and asks her to put it back. Paula insists she does not know who took it down. After her persistent passionate insistence that it was not her, she walks up the stairs almost like she were in a dream state and pulls the painting from behind a statue. Gregory asks why she lied, but Paula insists that she only thought to look there because that is where it was found the last two times this occurred.

For weeks now, Paula thinks she has been seeing things, the gas lights of the house dimming for no reason, she also hears footsteps above her bedroom. No one else seems to take notice. Paula is also told by Gregory that he found out that her mother, who passed away when she was very young, had actually gone insane and died in an asylum.

Despite Paula being reduced to a condition of an ongoing stupor, she decides one night to make a stand and regain control over her life. Paula is invited, by one of her Aunt Alice’s close friends Lady Dalroy, to attend a high society evening with musical performances. Recall that Paula’s life gravitated around music before her encounter with Gregory. Music was her life. Paula gets magnificently dressed up for the evening and on her way out tells Gregory that she is going to this event. Gregory tries to convince her that she is not well enough to attend such a social gathering, when Paula calmly insists that she is going and that this woman was a dear friend of her Aunt, Gregory answers that he refuses to accompany her (in those days that was a big deal). Paula accepts this and walks with a solid dignity, undeterred towards the horse carriage. In a very telling scene, Gregory is left momentarily by himself and panic stricken, his eyes bulging he snaps his cigar case shut and runs after Paula. He laughingly calls to her, “Paula, you did not think I was serious? I had no idea that this party meant so much to you. Wait, I will get ready.” As he is getting ready in front of the mirror, a devilish smirk appears.

Paula and Gregory show up to Lady Dalroy’s house late, the pianist is in the middle of the 1st movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata #8 in C minor. They quickly are escorted to two empty seats. Paula is immediately immersed in the piece, and Gregory can see his control is slipping. After only a few minutes, he goes to look at his pocket watch but it is not in his pocket. He whispers into Paula’s ear, “My watch is missing”. Immediately, Paula looks like she is going to be sick. Gregory takes her handbag and Paula looks in horror as he pulls out his pocket watch, insinuating that Paula had put it there. She immediately starts losing control and has a very public emotional breakdown. Gregory takes her away, as he remarks to Lady Dalroy that this is why he didn’t want Paula coming in the first place.

When they arrive home, Paula has by now completely succumbed to the thought that she is indeed completely insane. Gregory says that it would be best if they go away somewhere for an indefinite period of time. We later find out that Gregory is intending on committing her to an asylum. Paula agrees to leave London with Gregory and leaves her fate entirely in his hands.

Before we proceed further and see how this story ends, let us take a look at its relevance for today’s mass psyche.

Why is a Raven like a Writing Desk?

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” 
said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” 
said Alice.
“You must be,” 
said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

– Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

We are living in a world where the degree of disinformation and outright lying has reached such a state of affairs that, possibly for the first time ever, we see the majority of the western world starting to question their own and surrounding level of sanity. The increasing frenzied distrust in everything “authoritative” mixed with the desperate incredulity that “everybody couldn’t possibly be in on it!” is slowly rocking many back and forth into a tighter and tighter straight jacket. “Question everything” has become the new motto, but are we capable of answering those questions?

Presently the answer is a resounding no. The social behaviourist sick joke of making everyone obsessed with toilet paper of all things, during a time of crisis, is an example of how much control they have over that red button labelled “commence initiation of level 4 mass panic”.

And can the people be blamed? After all, if we are being lied to, how can we possibly rally together and point the finger at the root of this tyranny, aren’t we at the point where it is everywhere?

Well, that is the problem, because if too many people actually allow themselves to believe such foolishness, we will be left with a population that has essentially agreed to gouge out their eyes. That is, if the people accept that such a tyranny is everywhere and yet remains faceless to them, we will have a population that is no different from the sad case of Paula, who leaves her fate to her very oppressor.

In the case of Paula it is clear. She has been suspecting that Gregory has something to do with her “situation” but he has very artfully created an environment where Paula herself doubts whether this is a matter of unfathomable villainy or whether she is indeed going mad. It is rather because she is not mad that she doubts herself, because there is seemingly no reason for why Gregory would put so much time and energy into making it look like she were mad, or at least so it first appears. But what if the purpose to her believing in her madness was simply a matter of who is in control?

Paula almost succeeds in gaining the upper-hand in this power-struggle, the evening she decided to go out on her own no matter what Gregory insisted was in her best interest. If she would have held her ground at Lady Dalroy’s house and simply replied, “I have no idea why your stupid watch ended up in my handbag and I could care less. Now stop interrupting this performance, you are making a scene!” Gregory’s spell would have been broken as simple as that. If he were to complain to others about the situation, they would also respond, “Who cares man, why are you so obsessed about your damn watch?”

We are in a very similar situation to Paula. And the voice of Gregory is represented by the narrative of false news and the apocalyptic social behaviourist programming in our forms of entertainment. The things most people voluntarily subject themselves to on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Socially conditioning them, like a pack of salivating Pavlovian dogs, to think it is just a matter of time before the world ends and with a ring of their master’s bell…be at each other’s throats.

Paula ends up being saved in the end by a man named Joseph Cotten (a detective), who took notice and quickly discerned that something was amiss. In the end Gregory is arrested. It is revealed that Gregory is in fact Sergis Bauer. That he killed Alice Alquist and that he has returned to the scene of the crime after all these years in search for the famous jewels of the opera singer. The jewels were in fact rather worthless from the standpoint that they were too famous to be sold, however, Gregory never intended on selling these jewels but rather had become obsessed with the desire to merely possess them.

That is, it is Gregory who has been entirely mad all this time.

A Gregory is absolutely dangerous. He would have been the end of Paula if nothing had intervened. However, the power that Gregory held was conditional to the degree that Paula allowed it to control her. Paula’s extreme deconstruction was thus entirely dependent on her choice to let the voice of Gregory in. That is, a Gregory is only dangerous if we allow ourselves to sleep walk into the nightmare he has constructed for us.

As Goebbels infamously stated,

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State [under fascism].”

And here we find ourselves today, at the brink of fascism. However, we have to first agree to forfeit our civil rights as a collective before fascism can completely dominate. That is, the big lie can only succeed if the majority fails to call it out, for if the majority were to recognise it for what it is, it would truly hold no power.

Thus during times like these, where we are faced with a crisis situation, we need to be very careful with what we agree to concede to. One tragic concession was displayed by Tulsi Gabbard’s decision to bow out of the race and endorse a demented Biden (who likely won’t even remember his name four years from now), as a response to this “state emergency”.

This tragic decision of Tulsi’s has now made it official that the 2020 elections will indeed be subject to the “necessity” to “adapt” to the “emergency situation”, the extent of which we are told to “stay tuned”.

While there are yet many unknowns, one thing is certain: there will be many more emergency measures that will be advocated during this global crisis. Some of these measures may be necessary while others will certainly be advanced by forces wishing to abuse power. Thus, let us recognise that it is within our duty and power to ensure this crisis is used to advance positive reforms of society, rather than passively permit ourselves to be gaslighted into accepting a dictatorship that disorients us against one another and gradually removes our freedoms, like a Paula, as we sleepwalk towards our own destruction.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master that’s all.”

– Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass

This article was originally published on Strategic Culture Foundation.

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. Marcela Cruz-Gibbons says:

    So strange – I was just remembering this great movie the other day, after using the term “gaslighting”. This is a brilliant and prescient analysis of our current situation, inspired by that movie and term.

    Marcela

    On Thu, Mar 26, 2020 at 6:59 PM Rising Tide Foundation wrote:

    > ibykus20 posted: ” By Cynthia Chung > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BICqcEvzhVw&feature=emb_logo For those > who have not seen the 1944 psychological thriller “Gaslight” directed by > George Cukor, I would highly recommend you do so since there is an > invaluable les” >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ibykus20 says:

      Thank you Marcela! Glad you liked the article. 🙂

      Like

  2. Jeff Stahl says:

    Very well written analysis- thanks. But from another perspective; this could be a “how to manual” on how to drive people insane, with emphasis put on “what could go wrong” with the plan. Paula has no chance to save herself without outside help, so for Gregory, not anticipating and stopping “Joseph Cotton” was his downfall. Paula is the rightful owner of an legendary treasure, but like everyone else, she doesn’t know where it is. Gregory, the suave unsuspected murderer, is obsessed with possessing it, and that means driving Paula insane first.
    What are “moving pictures” anyway? They are extremely expensive “works of art”. that are produced by people who have theaters in their own homes, aka oligarchs. Since the time of the Pharaohs, oligarchs have used “secret” codes or languages to communicate with one another, hieroglyphics if you will. Hieroglyphics are a complex form of symbolic “picture” writing, whose meanings are known only to those Schiller identified as “hierophants”. Like the hieroglyphics of old, where the “Hebrews” saw them everywhere, but had no idea of what they communicated, today we have “moving picture writing”. (Moses, the only Hebrew who could read hieroglyphics, turned out to be a big problem for the pharaoh).
    If one proceeds from this hypothesis, and thinks like Poe or Riemann, one can begin to “decipher” the symbols. Our world, like Paula, has been driven insane, and there is a “legendary treasure” that has been lost. The oligarchy is desperate to keep it out of the hands of those who rightfully own it, and keep it “safe” for themselves. Schiller describes the difficulties encountered by Moses in dealing with the enslaved Hebrews, and Plato describes the difficulties of the one who, after freeing himself from the cave, must take his old seat in the cave. With that in mind, I offer this “translation” of the “movie” above; Paula is a symbol for St. Paul, and represents Christianity, with her beauty. Gregory represents one of the many Popes (Gregory ll comes to mind) who as Aristotelians have driven the world mad. The “savior” is Joseph Cotton, who’s initials are J C, for Jesus Christ. And the “legendary treasure”, that must be kept away from the people at all costs is; that most Platonic of all human abilities, the creation and use of metaphor, represented by the ironic “tell tale” dimming of the gaslight.
    There is always a clue that the mind of Poe finds important, and there is always a reality that Riemann cannot ignore. The reality that must be recognized is; The oligarchy has “tricked” humanity into “loving” it for millennia, with a false expression of “loving” their subjects, while dumbing them down, and driving them insane, with their promotion of Aristotle, and suppression of Plato. And the “treasure” that they can’t sell, only possess, is metaphor, that uniquely human ability to communicate ideas, and make discoveries, LaRouche is the master at recognizing those ironies that expose the crimes of the oligarchy, and he gave us the key to understanding the crucial nature of metaphor when he said; “Every scientific principle is a metaphor”. The corollary to this must be understood also; Every metaphor carries or transfers a scientific principle.
    What makes art art? Metaphor, because it transfers scientific principles from one mind to another. A final thought on our movie; from who’s perspective should we view it? From a Republican or Christian perspective, or from an oligarchic perspective? Remember Moses, Jesus, Joan of Arc, George Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Gandhi, Kennedy, and LaRouche, etc may be heroes to some, but to the oligarchy, they are existential threats that are hated. One must ask; How do the oligarchs discuss such existential matters to their system, without giving away the “game”? Hieroglyphics!
    Schiller left us this warning in his “Mission of Moses” about attempting to decipher hieroglyphics, or discover their hidden wisdom; “Of one, who so presumptuous as to open the chest, (of secrets) it is told, that he suddenly became insane.” Again, from who’s perspective? In our world today, maybe being thought of as crazy, is not a bad thing. The Oligarchy has spent a lot of money trying to make people think LaRouche is “crazy”.

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    1. ibykus20 says:

      Thank you Jeff for your reply. First off, your reasoning that the lesson is more how to drive someone insane rather than for them to learn that such techniques of villainy exist means that you don’t understand tragedy. The fact that Paula didn’t recognise it and depended on a third character to save her, does not mean thus, that someone who watches the play (for this was originally a play), would thus suffer the exact same fate. Why is the play ‘Hamlet’ so powerful? Also, Schiller’s ‘Ghost Seer’ takes up a very challenging subject that most people would not fare well in, and it does not end well for the prince, but it is still an extremely useful lesson. Including lessons from actual history, such as Julius Caesar. By studying other people’s tragedy we learn and are better equipped to avoid it. Schiller specifies this as his intention for the writing of ‘Ghost Seer’ within the first paragraph, that is, to understand the nature of villainy is key before one can thwart it. So, I completely disagree with your reasoning in first approaching this lesson.

      Secondly, the fact that this is a Hollywood movie does not make it evil or the play thing of the oligarchy. What do you think of the movie ‘7 Days in May’, or ‘Birdman’, or ‘Judgement at Nuremberg’ etc. Do you think these are also play things of the oligarchy and contain no valuable lesson for the public? Or more recent movies like ‘Executive Action’ and ‘JFK’, the latter including Jim Garrison and Colonel Prouty as advisors to the script and editing process? It is not so clear cut my friend, and unfortunately you do have to use your better judgement to decide on whether a movie is good or bad. This cannot be done without studying the classics I agree, but that does not mean that all movies are tools of manipulation by the oligarchy.

      Thirdly, I would be very very careful with how you choose to use ‘symbols’ to interpret meanings into things, because this can very easily be fouled up, and most people are not so equipped in this specialised field such as a Poe, Riemann or Schiller. Might I also add that Champollion (whom Poe studied deeply) used the Rosetta Stone to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics proving that these were not simply mere crypto symbols for the oligarchy but a coherent language susceptible to reason.

      Your attempt at interpreting this movie using symbology has shot itself in the foot before you even got to a trot. You see, I made I mistake in my paper, and accidentally used the actor’s name instead of the character’s name for the detective. Joseph Cotten is the actor, his character is Brian Cameron. So there goes your whole Jesus Christ theory up in smoke.

      Your choice to end that the oligarchy wishes people to think LaRouche is mad, has absolutely no bearing to what the movie or my article is expressing as a lesson. It is rather the opposite, since the person that everyone, or most people, think is mad, is actually perfectly sane, and it is the perpetrator of this illusion who is in fact mad. This is clearly expressed as a lesson in the movie….so by your logic, the oligarchy is thus showcasing that it is in fact themselves who are mad since it is them who want to project the illusion of madness unto LaRouche.

      I am not sure if you have been following what we have been producing on RTF, but right beside this article is a very thorough study of Schiller’s ‘Ghost Seer’ which is in fact quite linked with this lesson (on our website’s homepage). We generally use classical literature lessons, and like I already stated, I do believe these are an absolute necessity to an education. However, that does not mean that our choice in talking about a film is thus throwing away good learning but rather putting it to use on things that most people are already familiar with on some level, and introducing a higher lesson that will also serve, for those who hunger for it, a gateway to writer’s such as Schiller, Poe and Shakespeare.

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  3. Jeff Stahl says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I would like you to know that my intent was not a critique of your article, but rather to present a different perspective or hypothesis. I have to admit I haven’t seen this movie in awhile, so I was relying on my memory.
    I will probably walk with a limp for awhile over the J C part of my analysis, but the fact remains that he did play the savior in the movie. I may indeed not know everything about tragedies, but I do know they do not have happy endings. If this movie is a tragedy, it is only tragic from Gregory’s point of view.

    The title of the movie “Gaslight” is a hint to the irony or anomaly that proves to be Gregory’s downfall. That unavoidable dimming of the gaslight in Paula’s room when Gregory secretly “removes energy from the system”, like the tiny puncture marks left by Dracula on the throats of his victims. Something that, like Schiller’s cranes or Poe’s Tell Tale Heart, is always worrying to the villain.

    My hypothesis that “moving pictures” have a hieroglyphic-al subtext is not a condemnation of all movies. Hieroglyphics is a language that can convey positive or negative ideas, but was only taught to the “upper classes” or elites. Even with the Rosetta Stone, they were a great challenge to decipher.

    When viewing a motion picture, we must perceive them as shadows in Plato’s Cave, and ask ourselves (hypothesize); “what are the models being used to cast these shadows” And ask again (higher hypothesis) what are the real things, that the models merely represent, that exist outside the cave? (this is what I find most interesting when watching movies)

    The movie screen is the modern equivalent of the wall in Plato’s Cave. You mentioned a few movies that you believe to be “good” and I, with a few reservations agree. But how about the “classics” written by H. G. Wells, head of British intelligence? You mentioned JFK, and I liked it at the time, but I ask; What was more traumatic, having our beloved president murdered before our eyes, or having the murderers get away with it and take over our country? The movie only amplifies that trauma. And can it not be argued how corrosive Hollywood movies have been on our culture since the movie Birth of a Nation? (This would be the reality that Riemann would not ignore, and I like to think he would write something like; “On the hypothesis which underlie moving pictures.” His celebrated 1854 paper of course overturned 2000 years of false axioms.)

    The same method used in analyzing a great painting can be used to analyze a movie, to the same effect; to reproduce the original idea of the artist, in your own mind. That is what I attempted to do above.

    So there is no misunderstanding, I have been studying LaRouche for over 25 years, and I have nothing but admiration for him and his organization. In fact, I have him to thank for reminding me that I am a human being. I used Schiller’s account of a sacred chest of hidden wisdom, in his Mission of Moses, as a metaphor to explain that in a world driven mad, the one who is sane is considered “crazy”. LaRouche took a good look into that chest, (oh “the mystery-mongering of the wretched priests” it revealed) and thus, for all those who are unaware of it’s existence or contents, he appears “crazy” to them. He has allowed me a “gimps” into that chest also, so I guess I’m a bit “touched” too
    .
    I will look forward to future comments and articles.
    Stay safe and healthy!
    Jeff Stahl

    Like

    1. ibykus20 says:

      Yes, Gaslight is a Hollywood movie and real tragedy is not often portrayed in movies since people really want a happy ending no matter what. However, I wouldn’t say it is a tragedy just for Gregory nor that because it has a happy ending that therefore there is no lesson in tragedy. A tragedy is something that causes a great deal of destruction and distress that could have been completely if not mostly avoided, or an action could have changed the qualitative effect for the better but it didn’t. In this case then, Paula is indeed very tragic.

      The degree of tragedy is measured against whether this tragedy encompasses simply an individual, or a society, or the world, whose effects are felt for centuries, and the degree things could have changed if an alternate course were taken. Therefore, the greatest tragedies are those which have affected the course of things for centuries. For example, Hamlet is a truly tragic figure and his actions failed the people of Denmark. But the dynamic of the situation sealing the fate of Rome during Caesar’s time is a greater tragedy because it’s effects are still felt to this day. The same goes for a tragedy such as Joan of Arc and what it meant for all of Europe.

      However, this does not mean that the tragedy of an individual is not also an invaluable lesson, and very necessary in drama. After all, large tragedies are filled with the tragedy of individuals, that is a failure of a society, of its people. Therefore, when Schiller says “a great moment found a little people” in reference to the French Revolution, we can understand such a lesson in the most intimate and personal way, through the lens of an individual’s tragedy.

      By the way, a villain is always tragic, because they do not comprehend that their path will lead them to destruction one way or another. Whether a villain is successful or not in their plot, they are by their very nature tragic. As Plato discusses in ‘Gorgias’, the tyrant is the most starved, empty, disempowered type of person and that they believe that their course is necessary when in fact it harms them more than anyone else.

      It seems you are using a rather too simple ‘formula’ for tragedy. I would suggest you take a look at Schiller’s essays “On the Reason Why We Take Pleasure in Tragic Subjects” and “On Tragic Art”. Paula’s Aunt, who was a mother to her, was murdered by this man, and she allowed herself to become his prey and thought she was in love at first. Going through such an experience of deconstruction, though she survived, does not mean that Paula nor we as the audience are not deeply horrified by the whole affair, nor that the audience is not deeply touched by this avoidable torment she suffered. I would argue that what remains with the audience is the discovery that such a villainy does exist and what it depends on to maintain control. This is not a cartoonish portrayal of villainy, which I think is the worst thing you could do to an audience, but rather it is very accurate and astute. It also portrays its weaknesses correctly. Again, Schiller did this with the Ghost Seer and Shakespeare did this many times, but his character Iago is probably the best example. Schiller and Shakespeare understood that it was very important that part of the aesthetical education of their audience is to understand the nature of villainy, I cannot stress this enough, it is in fact IMPERATIVE that an audience develops such a capability, otherwise they are helpless to exit the tragedy they live in.

      If you argue that it depends on how you ‘choose’ to interpret such a movie, that is a bit of a cheap shot since Shakespeare has been interpreted endless ways with endless use of very bad symbology and an endless array of genres. Most people do not understand the tragedy of Hamlet, look at the disaster that Kenneth Branagh made and was received with a standing ovation and I think he received an Oscar for it. It was thought to be the most accurate portrayal of Hamlet simply because he used the entire script. (Hamlet is the longest play Shakespeare wrote). Even stage performances usually end up cutting out sections. Hamlet is one of the most misunderstood plays of Shakespeare but does that mean he made a mistake in composing it? That the lesson depends on how the public receives it? Same goes for Schiller’s Don Carlos, to which he had to write an explanation for since everyone was thoroughly confused. And forget about the understanding of Ghost Seer, especially the philosophical dialogue, hardly anyone gets that story and the focus is rather on the mysticism which is exactly what you are not supposed to do. The fact that a movie is interpreted many different ways is no different from any art form. The question is how do we judge the lesson that is actually contained within the drama. People are confused and will continue to be confused until they properly study the classics but do not be so quick to blame the art if they fail to understand the lesson.

      I am not sure why you brought up the movie JFK as you did. The point we were discussing is whether there are movies out there that are not the play things of the oligarchy, to which JFK is an excellent example. (Yes, HG Wells’ movies are the play thing of the oligarchy, I never said anything that contradicted that.) But you rather went off discussing which was the greater tragedy: the death of JFK or the American people’s reaction to this, of course the people were the greater tragedy but that does not mean that what the movie JFK goes over is not absolutely vital information. It accomplished its purpose, which was to expose the villainy behind his assassination. You are mistaken if you think that this information disempowers people. What are you saying anyway? That people shouldn’t know that the CIA assassinated JFK? What an absurdity! The reality of the world you live in, is that such villainy exists, if you don’t want to look at it in the face you are simply reacting out of fear and you will never be empowered to address this tyranny.

      If now you admit that there are good Hollywood movies, than you admit that it ultimately comes down to a method of judgement as to whether a movie is good or bad and not simply that it was popular and thus bad. It is not useful bringing up the fact that there are bad movies as somehow a reason as to why Gaslight is thus a bad movie. Also, your attempt in using Plato’s hypothesis of the higher hypothesis is severely flawed, since you have no foundation for actually judging the truth. As you yourself said, you are merely introducing another hypothesis or ‘interpretation’ of a story. Such an approach is closer to the endless possibilities that quants get sucked into rather than narrowing in on truth. Also, your talk of madness is rather concerning. True that within a society that exudes insanity, the norm mostly likely partakes in the insane, but that does not immediately equate that everything black is white and vice versa, and thus those who are called insane by the majority must therefore possess sanity. This is not a proof of anything.

      I have a feeling Jeff that it is not just you not having watched Gaslight in many years but that I suspect you haven’t really studied tragedy. To have read a play once or twice, in my opinion, does not count as studying the play. My apologies if my first response seemed a tad harsh, it is due to having many conversations at this point with people from “the movement” and if I am to be honest, it is getting quite obnoxious at this point. What I mean by this, is that there is a lot of repetition of lines, but no follow through in qualitative mentation. For example, you are right that the key to good science and to good art is the mental action best described as ‘metaphor’, a form of mental ‘least action’ pathway, for which LaRouche has expounded on in his “Poetry Must Begin to Supercede Mathematics in Physics” and his “On the Subject of Metaphor”, which I very much am in accord with. However, the problem I have is that this line is often repeated by people who don’t actually study metaphor in either the sciences or art, and the best they can do is simply repeat the statement made by LaRouche. It is a truthful statement that he has made because of a discovery he made, however, for another to simply repeat such a line does not in of itself contain ‘knowledge’ nor is that person who repeats a truth, somehow partaking in that superior activity. It is repeated by that individual not because they understand it or can reproduce it, but because of the admiration of another’s intellect. Further, nothing can be more removed from the actual practice of metaphor than simply repeating a line over and over again. The other issue I have is that there is not a proper understanding of Schiller, whose name is also repeated often but it becomes quickly evident that the individual repeating Schiller’s name has not actually studied Schiller. For if they had, they would be aware that their approach to speaking about Schiller’s aesthetical education is completely Kantian in its approach. One of the most basic lessons from Schiller is almost entirely forgotten, that the highest art form is when freedom, beauty and morality meet naturally and not by force. That is, art is not good based on its ‘moralising’ lesson, but rather art is its highest form when the reader is moved to a higher sense of morality by choice, that when they feel their most free is also when they feel their most moral, and beauty is what links the two together. A good essay on this by Schiller is “Kallias, Or on the Beautiful”. Therefore, to rigidly moralise or preach is the worst thing one can do to free another. We are not moved by ‘statements’ or ‘facts’ as humans but by beauty, including beautiful acts within a tragic environment. This is at the core of Schiller’s philosophy and everything he did in drama and poetry. Schiller is a gold standard to which we should all strive towards, let us not make the mistake that we have reached that goal before our time. We are all students and always in the process of learning, ‘knowledge’ is not something one possesses but rather is something that we must constantly remind ourselves we are in a dance with, if we stop this dance, we lose our connection to it.

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  4. Jeff Stahl says:

    Cynthia, Thank you for taking so much of your time to reply. I took the time to reread your article, and your responses, and I find very little to disagree with, and in fact your choice of this movie is quite timely. It seams we have been engaged in a kind of long distance fencing match here. I love a good match , especially with such an accomplished “partner”, because I can always learn something, and hopefully I become better. Fencing was a necessary preparation for actual warfare, and uses protective gear, like a mesh mask and a cap over the tip of the rapier. The mesh mask is used to protect the face, but it also makes the contest impersonal, because you can’t see the other’s face. The cap over the tip prevents “the drawing of blood” in the heat of the context, and is used to make “fair” points. Whatever my skill level my be, we are on the same team, and the fact remains, the other “team” has been bringing home the trophy almost every year for the past 5000 years. So if we are to do this without the mesh masks and caps on the tips of our rapiers, may I suggest we do so against the other team?

    You made a good point about the movie JFK informing the public about the conspiracy involving the CIA, and Oliver Stone may have done the best job he could, but if he had consulted with Jeffery Steinberg of EIR, the movie would have been much more effective, as it would have identified the British connection. Jeffrey Steinberg mans the counterintelligence desk at EIR. Counterintelligence is a very important and essential component in warfare, figuring out what the other side is up to, breaking codes, and whatnot. Another equally important component, is that of drill instructor, the hard-nosed, by the book, in your face D.I. If I can use this analogy without offending you, and I mean this as a compliment, you sound like you would make an excellent D.I. Both of these components have the same goal in mind; to make the recruits more effective in battle. Except no matter how well prepared the recruits become in basic training, they can be wasted on the battlefield without good counterintelligence.

    I have never been very comfortable with “hand to hand” combat, but I do find counterintelligence very exciting. So if my analogy here is correct, we may have a slightly different perspective, but I am convinced that both perspectives are equally necessary.

    I would like to respond to a few points you made in your reply, so, On Guard! I mentioned a certain chest of secrets that Schiller talked about in his “Mission of Moses” (with quote). In the 1931(?) movie The Mummy, an ancient chest is discovered in Egypt, along with an “unnamed” mummy. Two archeologists, one old and wise, and one young and impetuous, are examining the chest (that contains the secret of life!). The young one wants to open it, but the old one wants to wait, plus the chest has a curse written on it. The old one retires for the night, but the young one opens the chest and starts to decipher the sacred scroll.The act of deciphering the scroll brings the mummy back to life, and the mummy grabs the scroll and slowly walks away. This causes the young archeologists to begin to laugh uncontrollably. A bit later in the movie it was mentioned; ” too bad about that chap, he never recovered and died in an insane asylum”. Coincidence? Plagiarism? Or the faint beating of the Tell-Tale heart?

    Schiller must have had a reason for writing “Mission of Moses”, and as there is no archeological evidence of Moses, or the Hebrews for that matter, ever being in Egypt, his primary source of information would have to have been the Biblical account. The Biblical account of Moses verses the Pharaoh, has been the subject of countless Hollywood movies-why? From a counterintelligence perspective, it contains the strategy on how to defeat the oligarchy, and set the oppressed people free. It is also a great tragedy, as none of it had to happen, and Moses never reaches the “promised” land.

    If we approach this “story”, not from a factual perspective, but from metaphorical perspective, like a play (or essay) from Schiller or Shakespeare, it reveals some astounding insights ie; We read that after 40 years of living in the house of the Pharaoh. and “learning all the wisdom of the Egyptians”, Moses “…spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way …” That’s the “punctum saliens”, the “to be or not to be” moment. Does he remain living the good life, or does he risk the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, and do something about the suffering of his fellow man? Unlike Hamlet, he chooses to NOT TO BE an Egyptian (oligarch) and TO BE a leader. (This is a lesson every human being should learn)

    How has Hollywood subverted this? By making it a historical account of Aristotelian “facts”. Take the “feel good” and seemingly benign movie The Lion King. In this movie the evil uncle lion kills the king lion, marries his widow, and the whole jungle is doomed if the cute little heir doesn’t get his shit together. Not to worry, little Simba (or what ever his name is) because he is his father’s son (bloodlines are so very important), finds the courage to save the jungle. Do I need to explain how this turns Hamlet on it’s head? Shakespeare must be turning in his grave, and the audience has lost “the name of action” .

    As I said above, none of this had to happen, but the tragedy has to be told for posterity’s sake, especially now when the plagues are upon us. A complete analysis of the story is beyond the scope of the present discussion, but the ultimate tragedy is set up when; “there arose up a new king over Egypt, which new not Joseph.” Remember Joseph? He was the Hebrew, who 400 years earlier, had the 14 year plan, provided for the general welfare, and built storehouses (Along with all the necessary infrastructure). How does one know someone who lived 400 years earlier? Maybe someone forgot to study the history of what made their country an economic success, and allowed the people to “increase abundantly”. Forget about history, let’s build “treasure cities!”

    It should be obvious how this relates to our time, but let’s recap; Today, in America, we have forgotten The American System of Political Economy. We no longer promote the general welfare, but bail out the speculators in the treasure cities of New York and London. Our storehouses are empty, and our infrastructure is crumbling. Our Relative Potential Population Density is collapsing. The oligarchy thinks there are too many of us, so our numbers must be reduced, which is the reason Moses’ mother put him in the bulrushes in the first place!

    AND; We are inflected with all kinds of plagues. The authors of the story were not aware of the nature of the current Corona virus, but the angel of death is now upon us. (the Passover is a very interesting metaphor) LaRouche has provided us with the lawful reasons why all of this is now occurring. Plus on the horizon is the specter of thousands of trillions of “locusts”, and I’m not referring to those now plaguing Africa and India, I am referring to the 2 quadrillion dollar speculative bubble that is about to be unleashed in a hyper-inflationary blowout. Like locusts, each one of these dollars is going to want to “consume” something.

    So, the counterintelligence officer and the Drill Instructor are in a bar having a beer, trying to convince the other one who has the most important job. About that time a guy comes in wearing his threadbare work clothes from the munitions factory down the street. That would be me. That’s my day job.

    One of LaRouche’s four laws calls for a crash course in fusion power. Do you want fusion power? Well Ms. D.I. if we can “fuse” this story with LaRouche’s principles, in the minds of all those nominal Christians, Jews, and Muslims out there, who have been severely “Gaslighted”, we can light up the world.

    LaRouche told us to have fun, so just for fun; We read that Moses “slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand”. What does that dead Egyptian have in common with the “unnamed” Mummy in the movie? A hint; When Moses had his “To be or not to be” moment it was a soliloquy. The correct answer gets one of Paula’s aunt’s priceless jewels. Have fun!

    As always, thank you for your time and patience. I look forward to your comments.

    Jeff Stahl

    ,

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  5. ibykus20 says:

    Dearest Jeff,

    I can see your intention means well but at this point I am at a real loss as to what your purpose is in initially starting this dialogue, you say your are fencing with me but it looks rather like you are fencing with a mirage. The reason why I may seem hard on you is because there needs to be some responsibility and follow through with what we say to others, something that is seriously lacking these days. People say something and then act like it wasn’t them who said it. Especially now that you say you don’t really have a problem with my article, my choosing of a Hollywood movie and how I am addressing the role of tragedy which is what spurred this conversation, there needs to be something acknowledged from your part in all of this.

    If you want to have a dialogue rather than this ‘fencing match’ I would recommend you drop your sword then. Talk about a subject with me, without assuming that I am ignorant in what you are discussing. You don’t seem to realise that you have been incredibly condescending towards me from the very start and assume my ignorance in everything you talk about. You approach the conversation as if you have something to ‘teach’ me before assessing what I know. You have been corrected multiple times in this discussion, and yet, you continue to talk in this manner with me then wonder why I am getting offended!

    Again, you are incredibly condescending by calling me a D.I., especially since the characteristics you used were hard nosed, by the book and in your face! That is, putting me into such a closed description and painting me as primarily strict and aggressive as my main characteristics. Wow, should I be thanking you for that Jeff? That is supposed to be a compliment?

    You also seem to not understand the purpose of our RTF website and mission statement. I know that you have followed what we are doing on some level, so yes, to be reduced to a DI is incredibly insulting, especially with all the work I put into this for a humanist education and not ‘drilling’ things into people’s minds. Just because I am responding to you in a somewhat tough manner, is not reflective of how I develop ideas in my writing nor how I engage with people in general. It is you who have been rude Jeff!

    You seem to want to lecture me endlessly yet have had to give me the point for any subject I have challenged you on thus far. If you had bothered to read my ‘Ghost Seer’ article, you would know that I am no stranger to counter-intelligence. I am aware that Schiller studied the intelligence aspects of history, I am not denying that, nor have I not looked into that component of Schiller’s work in particular. But we were not talking about intelligence work, we were initially talking about tragedy and whether there exist good Hollywood movies not controlled by the oligarchy. You again, are changing the subject mid-sentence. Have you actually studied Plato because you can’t seem to finish a thought.

    You do not seem like the guy in threadbare work clothes since you seem to think you are filling in the counter-intelligence aspect of this dialogue. You keep shifting your focus in our discussion, and it is starting to seem more deflective than anything else, that is, we could go on and on, bringing in another point and another point, but what exactly is the purpose of this conversation???

    I am aware of Jeff Steinberg. Saying how a movie would have been more perfect, though it was on point in its intelligence revelations, has its limitations in useful critique. I have a feeling you don’t even remember all the intel that movie went over, which was IMMENSE. And before criticising how a very good movie could have been better. How about you focus on your own dirty laundry which needs a good wash. The LaRouche movement itself has been far from perfect in its analysis, though you like to act like it has been, and has had to make a lot of adjustments in their ‘counter-intelligence’. Including having denounced JFK, Bobby Kennedy and Ramsey Clark’s name and accusing Clark of being the MAIN organiser of the Shah of Iran’s regime change. The LaRouche movement also put a lot of onus on JFK for this, they encouraged the Shah to also think of JFK this way. They continued to attack JFK and Bobby Kennedy when they were dead in their graves! And you are so smug as to say Stone missed the mark in his movie? Wow! You want to talk about getting your intel right, why don’t you bring this up? Why doesn’t the LaRouche movement apologise for the sort of fallacious diatribe and slander within the EIR reports of the 1970s and 80s? They don’t even want their Campaigners circulated anymore because there are even more holes in those reports! Ramsey Clark was graceful enough to forgive them for this attack on his character, that went on for years! He even advocated for LaRouche during his trial and has participated in past Schiller Institute Conferences.

    My point is that the counter-intelligence of this movement is useful, very useful, but it is far from perfect and should always be approached in such a way that certain things are not truths set in stone. But humility was never a strong suit with you guys. You’re always ‘perfect’ in your analysis even when you are attacking an ally rather than an enemy. Also, Jeff Steinberg left the movement, so it is somewhat ironic that you say that Oliver Stone should have paid more heed to Jeff Steinberg than…the actual LaRouche movement? At the time, Jeff Steinberg was being heavily attacked by members of the organisation for backing Trump. Yes, because the LaRouche movement was actually backing Hillary for YEARS, up until a very embarrassing point in time, that is, only months before the election. There was a EIR report published Aug 14, 2015 https://larouchepac.com/20150817/british-empire-roots-american-social-control, and there was much hype around this report from LPAC, that was being circulated with the purpose of dissuading Americans from voting for Trump. There was even the insane rumour that James Mattis was a potential black horse in the race, which for weeks the movement was describing as ‘president material’. Numerous times, a LaRouchePAC spokesperson, who will remain unnamed, even said something along the lines, “I don’t know much about General Mattis, but I do know that he has a massive library of books, and always makes a point to travel with a great number of books wherever he goes. That to me, says something about his upright character.” Then we saw what kind of guy General Mattis really was, which is certainly not ‘president material’.

    Don’t get me wrong Jeff, I am not trying to attack the LaRouche movement, I do consider us having a common goal to have a stable peace and a renaissance culture. However, there is a dangerous level of self-righteousness exuded and not enough admission to when a wrong has been done. That is a very destructive and dangerous thing my friend! I think with just the points I have mentioned, the ‘intelligence’ of the organisation is not without some major problems, and especially the conduct of this organisation during the last American election, was absolutely wrong, just plain wrong. The analysis on Trump was wrong from the profiling that was done and the organising of ‘intel’ to describe his intention. Now LaRouchePAC has taken a complete turn around on Trump, but it wasn’t from anything they were able to predict or analyse, so I would chew on that for a long while….it certainly doesn’t look like the ‘code-breaking’ profession is working out for you guys. Anyway Jeff, I do sincerely hope that we can spark a conversation about history, and not a fencing match, sometime down the road since I do consider us ultimately on the same team. But I think it best to take a little break for now.

    Hope all goes well for you during these challenging times,
    Cynthia

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  6. Jeff Stahl says:

    Cynthia, I sincerely hope you write faster than I do, as my responses take a great deal of thought. I will try here to make my purpose for initiating our discussion more clear. My use of a fencing match to describe the tenor of your reply I thought appropriate, and it allowed me to introduce the metaphor of war. Your choice of the movie Gaslight does illustrate a kind of warfare, that of Gregory’s war on the unsuspecting Paula. This type of asymmetrical warfare is what the oligarchy has been waging on humanity for thousands of years, and has led to our current existential crisis. I honestly thought the the image of fencing, where the hard work, dedication, grace, and skill of a ballet dancer is required to become a deadly warrior, would not offend you in anyway.

    My use of the image of Drill Instructor, that I stated you could preform excellently, by no means meant limiting your abilities in any way, but referred to the essential nature of instructor, or teacher, that your writings demonstrate, and stayed within the motif of the war metaphor. I did rewrite that part three times, in an attempt to not offend you, but I needed the tension it created to emphasize the counterpoint to the irony of the role of munition worker later.

    Success in any war is determined by which side has the best “war machine”. A machine, like a gasoline engine, has many parts all equally essential, but it is just a boat anchor without gasoline. Even with plenty of gas, an engine is useless without “spark”, which is what I was trying to provoke by asking the question about the dead Egyptian in the story of Moses. and the name of the Mummy in the movie of the same name. Well I got no “spark”, so that is on me, but with every failure, I get closer to success. I was hopping to share with you the joy I felt when that “spark” of discovery first “exploded” in my mind. I will here now, not use this “key”, but “hot wire” our engine, in the hopes of getting it started. The Egyptian Moses “slew” and the name of the Mummy are the same; Moses. In the Biblical account of Moses, from the perspective of the Pharaoh, Moses is a treacherous traitor, and a potential existential threat. In the movie, the Mummy is this same “undead monster” accidentally uncovered in Egypt! Also in the movie is the existence of a 3000 year old secret society whose only “job” on earth, is to prevent the discovery of the Mummy. In the movie Gaslight, it is Gregory that first hides all of Paula’s aunt’s things, because he is obsessed with the “legendary” jewels, not to display them as Paula’s aunt did, and Paula, the rightful heir would do, but rather to play with, and admire them in private. The correct answer to the question above becomes a beautiful and priceless adornment to anyone who discovers it. That was the purpose of all of this Cynthia, I thought such a jewel would be a beautiful addition to your collection.

    Today we find many “secret societies” in existence, the kind John F Kennedy found so “repugnant”, before he was murdered. What purpose do they serve? Who belongs to these groups, that have existed for hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of years? How does one join one of these groups? These, I think are important questions. The Rosetta Stone was written in three languages, the language of the “common” people, in Greek, the language of the learned class, and hieroglyphics, the language of the priests and oligarchy. When they all say the same thing, that is what is true.

    What I see today, is what Plato tells us in his Parmenides, that there are “patterns fixed in nature”. The Rosetta Stone represents an example of such patterns, ( the sign Pilot put over Jesus on the cross was written in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, which the priests objected to). Today we have current events (common to all), and Greek (the classics of which all art belongs), and we have Latin, the language of the oligarchs, “moving picture” writing. What I am trying to do, and share with others, is get others to see that these are all saying the same thing; That the oligarchy, as in the time of Moses, thinks there are to many of us “Hebrews”, and are trying to reduce our numbers (or else we “might join their enemies”), and are making life impossible with their cruel and greedy policies. What I am trying to do is provide a vast army with the right “ammunition”, the right counterintelligence, and to recruit able “instructors”, to stop them. For this reason I found you, and your Rising Tide Foundation, as natural and potential allies.

    I will end here for now, knowing I have left out a lot, but hopping I have taken off my “mask”, and made my motives a bit clearer. But I just can’t resist sharing with you a scene from the movie Robin Hood. Robin Hood, played by Errol Flinn, wants to cross over a creek on a log bridge, but is confronted, coming the other direction by Little John, played by Allen Hale. Neither of them is willing to yield. Little John says Robin Hood’s bow would not be a fair fight against his staff. So Robin agrees to use a staff, to see who will yield the bridge. It is a fair and even match, with both sides making some hits, until Little John hits Robin in the foot, and pushes him in the creek. Robin emerges from the water all wet but smiling, and realizes he had been bettered, but on Little John’s terms*. They then realize that they are natural allies fighting the same foe, the cruel and greedy Prince John, played by Claude Rains, and his equally despicable henchman, the Sheriff of Nottingham. They were both going about their business that day, just going in different directions (different perspectives), when they realized they were both better off working together. It is my hope that you and I can come to a similar understanding.

    Once again thank you for your time and patience.

    Jeff Stahl

    * The English longbow was a deadly and devastating weapon, but was rendered obsolete by the musket. The musket was rendered obsolete by the rifle, and the rifle by the machine gun. In each case the old system must be abandoned, and the new system embraced. We must be willing to venture to “The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn no traveler returns” The archer must become the musketeer, and the musketeer become the rifleman. The rifleman must become a machine gunner, and that is going to take a lot of ammunition.

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