Thursday, February 21, 2019

Decoding the Qanon Psyop: Putin does the Nostradamus Hustle

Authors note: Around a year ago (when QAnon was still an obscure internet phenomenon) I posted several extensive pieces on the Something Awful Forums about this topic. These articles have proven quite prescient and the article below is an improved and expanded version of that material.

If you are to any degree active on (politically oriented) social media these days it is a virtual certainty that at some point you have encountered Qanon material. Much hay has been made of the bizarre claims and weird otherworld that Qanon devotees have created for themselves, and while many have tried to explain the phenomenon I feel that existing efforts to that effect have focused their attention on the wrong aspects. To that end I am presenting in this article an argument that Qanon is a weaponized form of a long existing type of occult scam (what I have dubbed a "Nostradamus Hustle") and I will further argue that the most likely culprit behind this psyop is Russian intelligence*.

*That is not to say that it is Russians doing most of the grunt work of writing or interpreting Q posts, rather that they are the source of the structure/purpose and funding for this psyop.

The Nostradamus Hustle is a type of scam that in my pre-reform days (when I was still very much a cultist traveling in fringe groups and ideologies) that I fell for repeatedly- that is why I am so familiar with the specifics of how it operates. (Understanding why I was taken advantage of by this type of scam was actually a topic that I spent considerable time focusing during my recovery.) It is my belief that once understood the format and utility of this type of scam becomes easily recognized, and further that spreading awareness of the particulars of this scam is one of the best things that can be done* to inoculate the public against it.

*at least right now in the hell-timeline we all seem to stuck in.

The Nostradamus Hustle functions by 1.) creating a stylized form of gibberish that contains disjointed words and phrases, and then 2.) convincing people* that secret/arcane information that indicates how future events will turn out can be had by decoding your gibberish. Once these two preconditions have been met the manipulator can steer his audience towards a desired end** by carefully manipulating the narrative that emerges from decoding the gibberish. In the case of Nostradamus he accomplished this task through the use of quatrains; whereas in the case of the people behind the Bible Code they essentially use a mathematical formula that transforms the Torah into a word search, and in the case of HalfPastHuman (the people behind the infamous WebBot that was very popular during the height of the 2012 doomsday fad) they generate complete gibberish that is claimed to be the result of an algorithm that tracks changes over time in how people use language online. Let us consider a sample of each, starting with the Bible Code.

*vulnerable marks

**in every case except Qanon this desired end has been "give me your money".

From Wikipedia:
The Bible code (Hebrew: הצופן התנ"כי‎, hatzofen hatanachi), also known as the Torah code, is a purported set of secret messages encoded within the Hebrew text of the Torah. This hidden code has been described as a method by which specific letters from the text can be selected to reveal an otherwise obscured message. Although Bible codes have been postulated and studied for centuries, the subject has been popularized in modern times by Michael Drosnin's book The Bible Code and the movie The Omega Code.
Many examples have been documented in the past. One cited example is that by taking every 50th letter of the Book of Genesis starting with the first taw, the Hebrew word "torah" is spelled out. The same happens in the Book of Exodus. Modern computers have been used to search for similar patterns and more complex variants, as well as quantifying its statistical likelihood.


As you can see above the Bible Code is nothing but pseudo-mystical nonsense created by applying a simple mathematical formulae to the Torah and then basically doing word-finding exercises and trying to extrapolate meanings from there. A variety of scam artists have found ways to financially profit from this over the years, most notably Michael Drosnin.

Next up we consider the Web Bot project. From Wikipedia:

Web Bot is an internet bot computer program whose developers claim is able to predict future events by tracking keywords entered on the internet. It was developed in 1997, originally to predict stock market trends.[1] The creator of the Web Bot Project, Clif High, along with his associate George Ure, keep the technology and algorithms largely secret and sell the predictions via the website.


Internet bots monitor news articles, blogs, forums, and other forms of Internet chatter. Words in the lexicon are assigned numeric values for emotional quantifiers such as duration, impact, immediacy, intensity, and others. The lexicon is dynamic, and changes according to shifts in emotional tension, and how humans communicate those changes using the Internet. As of 2008, there were about 300,000 keywords in the lexicon, along with emotional context,[2] which are fed into a computer-generated modelspace.
The operators of Web Bot interpret the bot's results and make a report called the "ALTA report" available on their website to paying subscribers. ALTA stands for "asymmetric language trend analysis".[3] Many believe the predictions are pseudoscientific and too vague to be meaningful.[4] Despite this, the creators have made many claims after the fact that their reports have predicted important events.
Below is a sample of a very old ALTA report:

These areas also indicate that [revenge assassinations] will be taking place over the latter third of
2010 and throughout most of 2011 at a planetary level as those [thought/presumed (to be) guilty]
of ['murdering' terra] are themselves [punished] by some very {ed note: probably justified}
[unbalanced persons]. Note that there are pointers for a [wave of assassinations] that seemingly
are being [engineered], and whose target will be [Jesuits] and other [jewish/zionists minions] of the
[church (of the sorcerers - aka roman catholic papists)]. That this area is buried within the [oil
volcano] side effects is unusual. There are extensive cross links over to TPTB entity. Within the
termination points here, there are many pointers to [attempts (some successful, some not)] against
the [gangs] of the [banksters (aka -rose protected, and stone buddy boys)]. At least one of the
successful [executions] is indicated to be [within sight/smell of] the [oil volcano].
The [oil volcano] sub set continues to gain data in support of the [ill winds] area, and still is gaining
support for those sub sets indicating that 1.289+ billion people will [perish] as a direct result of the
[ill winds] and the [oil volcano]. This area also continues to be tied into the [israeli mistake] sub set
in the Terra entity, the Populace/USofA entity, and the GlobalPop entity.
Noting that the [oil volcano] was created by the [zionist funded, crown owned British Petroleum
(same group that paid the CIA to put the Shah of Iran into power in 1953 among other crimes
against humanity)], it remains to be seen whether more of the [sticky dirt] of the [planetary
poisoning] will yet come to rest on the [shoulders] of the [israelis] as events progress through the
[torments of Summer] and into the [tortures of Fall, 2010].
Against the [officialdom claims] of a [cleaned well, ready for use] to be [available/accomplished in
August], the data suggests that this [claim] will also be [exposed] as [hollow] and [duplicitous] by
mid August as [nefarious (geologic) manipulation] comes [to the surface] of the [public
consciousness]. {ed note: this area is tied into the Populace/USofA entity and SpaceGoatFarts
entity by cross links that terminate in the 'big gains' of public awareness for the woo-woo
community starting in July.}
In the [ill winds] sub set newly acquired supporting layers are several indicating that in at least one
instance the [ill winds] will be so [dense/heavy] that they will be [stopped (at the) base] of a
[mountain range]. This is indicated to create a [lake of death air] at the [base of the mountains] in
what is also described as a [v-shaped (half vesica) depression]. This is not a box canyon as there
is egress to and from this area, but for the [heavy winds] the [depression/hollow] will form an
[atmospheric-lake bed].
This [lake of death air] has a major [road way] that comes over or through the [mountains], and
descends into an area that is currently [lush] with [plants]. The data shows that the [plant and
animal life] of the [region] will also die, along with [many humans] who will either be [trapped] in
the [lake of death air] or will unwittingly [travel into it]. Further the data shows the [heavy death air]
is so [toxic] that [even worms] will perish under it. This is but a single instance of thousands of
detail layers about the [ill winds] and their effects on the planet.
The basic outline of the Nostradamus Hustle is also evident here: invent some form of gibberish that you control and then manipulate the narratives that emerge to steer your marks towards a desired end.

An important concept to note here is that the mastermind/director of a Nostradamus Hustle must be extremely tuned in to their your marks- in point of fact reading the crowd is the more relevant (and rarer) skillset that separates a successful Nostradamus Hustle from the endless sea of wannabe's that never get any traction. Clif High is particularly skilled at this and that is why the Web Bot has swung from initially being targeted at stock investors to later profiting handsomely off the 2012 doomsday paranoia* to focusing almost exclusively on Bitcoin in recent years. (Credit where credit is due, Clif High knows a group of vulnerable marks when he spots them.)

*the Web Bot actually contributed so much doomsday hysteria in various occult communities that it was outright banned from discussion in places like .

As demonstrated in the above examples the general format of the scam is pretty straightforward- create a bunch of gibberish (doesn't really matter how, it just matters that your gibberish creates disjointed phrases) and then convince people somehow that your gibberish contains actionable information about future events. Once you've gotten enough people to buy in you can basically keep the scam running more-or-less indefinitely so long as you pay constant attention to your audience and always feed them exactly what they want to hear. The primary downside to this particular scam is that it requires an all-consuming focus on your audience; you can't simply half-ass things or just throw things out in the proper format. You have to continuously expend significant effort to keep prodding your audience into going along with giving you money, and in order to do that your audience has to be being told what they want to hear. (Thus Web Bots shift from stocks to 2012 doomsaying to Bitcoin)


A timeless classic with Russian Dressing.


The evidence that leads me to conclude that Q Anon on is a Russian intelligence is complicated; in the first place I've never seen a Nostradamus Hustle conducted purely for propaganda/radicaliztion purposes without any significant attempt to acquire financial gain or public attention*, the psychological toolkit required to successfully run this scam basically only appears and individuals who would use this scam for some sort of personal gain. Running a Nostradamus hustle is a pretty all-consuming affair, at least one individual operating the scam must be extremely tuned in to everything their audience of suckers is saying or doing in order to keep the scam running. In the second place I've never seen a Nostradamus Hustle that seemed designed specifically to drive compaction cycle's among Narrativists- while Narrativists are a frequent target audience for this sort of scam, it's usually just to relieve them of their money. This is the first time I have observed a Nostradamus Hustle that was seemingly set up just to provide a venue for a huge number of Narrativists to compact over and over. (Normally people running this scam try to avoid compaction cycles to the extent possible because they has a strong tendency to shrink their customer base.)


*There is a variety of Qanon merch available but this was a later development that only occurred once the psyop was already very widespread/succesful.

I also think that the selection of first 4chan and now 8Chan to operate this scam on only make sense if it's a Russian intelligence operation. Despite common perceptions; it is actually much easier for a small group of individuals to manipulate consensus on the 'chans then people realize. (e.g. project Chanology was launched via a campaign of creating false consensus on 4chan that was engaged in by the hacker group Marblecaek.) I believe that Russian intelligence operatives are hanging around Q Anon threads and strategically posting to drive the conversation in a desired direction*, I believe this is why they probably switched from 4chan to 8Chan. Once Q Anon started to pick up steam it was getting too much attention on 4chan for the manipulators to handle, so they switched to the much lower traffic 8Chan in order to make their task easier.

*Russia also seems to either control or at least influence several of the most prominent Qanon interpreters.

Among the stronger pieces of evidence for a Russian origin of the Q Anon psyop is the way in which various Russian assets were deployed and initially spreading and supporting Q Anon material. For example we have this December 2017 video from Russia Today:




Also known Russian asset Jerome Coursi was the first media figure of any influence to pick up on Q Anon, and although you later turned on the movement he was the psyops biggest initiall booster:



Whatever else one might wish to say about the Qanon psyop- it does require a pretty sophisticated understanding of American politics to execute properly. It seems quite clear now that it's primary function is to enable a huge and diverse group of Narrativists to psychologically live within their personal inner narrative  in an environment where they are practically drowning in (perpetual) narrative dysphoria. Under any context having this many people be this disconnected from reality for any appreciable period of time would cause significant disruption in the affected population. Under present conditions it is highly likely to continue driving the emerging wave of violence that we are seeing play out at present*.

*Qanon is like a strong and sustained wind blowing on a bonfire. It keeps increasing the flame and heat the longer it goes on until eventually the bonfire escapes the fire ring.

Personally I don't think there is any specific endgame or specific goal for the Q Anon scam, I think they are just going to run it as long as they can to keep driving compaction cycles and keep Americans radicalizing. Eventually the scam will probably come crashing down once Mueller indicts Trump, and when that happens their are going to be a great deal of extremely furious and confused Narrativists who will be extremely amenable to adopting any new radical Narrative (particularly one that provides an outlet for the violent rage they will be feeling at that point) that appears within the right-wing media echosphere. In essence even once the Q Anon scam falls apart, Russian intelligence will still profit handsomely because it will still be very easy for them to just insert whatever desired narrative (or perhaps even another Nostradamus Hustle) into the same audience.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Understanding Trump and the way his mind works: Disassociation

 Introduction.

     In order to give a proper explanation of my theories about the various examples of abnormal psychology that are so numerous in Trump and his supporters it is necessary to start somewhere; and personally I can think of no more logical starting point for our collective journey into madness than with a deep examination of the man at the center of all this- Donald J. Trump. Despite the real chaos that constantly surrounds everything the man touches, there is a comprehensible rhyme and reason to what he does. Its just that understanding the man requires one to first discard every unspoken assumption about the inner world of human beings that the average person has hitherto never realized they were carrying about. For Donald Trump does not experience reality in a way that is comprehensible to anyone who only known regular waking consciousness in their life. Donald Trump is in a permanently disassociated "autopilot" state- and he is further (quite literally) physically addicted to receiving public praise.

     Before I dive deeply into this material I must get some disclaimers out in the open. I am first and foremost a survivor of severe narcissistic abuse that I experienced both at the hands of my biological mother (whom has N.P.D.) and the leader who ran the religious "school" that my k-8 education*. Although I broke away from that cult in my teen years-, my late teens through my 20's saw me involved with a variety of cults and cult-like groups** (e.g. I was both a 1st generation 9-11 truther and an influential thinker in the very early Otherkin community). Eventually I hit my personal rock bottom and checked myself into treatment, got a formal diagnosis (Schizoaffective Disorder, PTSD, Agoraphobia), started medication/therapy and haven't looked back since. My theories are a result of reflecting on my experiences and how I understand the motivations/inner world/experiences of the person(cultist) I once was. I am not a scientist and possess no formal training in psychology. I further possess only four years of actual education (Grades 9-12) and beyond that have done the best I can do teach myself and patch the holes in my education.

*Accelerated Christian Education is (and I state this emphatically) nothing more than weaponized child abuse that has been enabled for political purposes by the GOP.

**Often but not always these groups were lead by individuals with Cluster B Personality disorders such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

     Now with that bit of personal history* out of the way let us focus on what I theorize is going on in the head of a Narcissist like Donald Trump**. As hinted at above there are two primary factors at work in the mind of Donald Trump:

  1. A permanently dissasocaited "autopilot" state brought on by extreme and repeated traumas during childhood.
  2. A physical addiction (as in the brain has physically rewired itself in the same manner as a substance addict) to narcissistic supply.


*Narcissism

**Disclaimer: I do not believe that every individual with NPD will conform to my model of Narcissism, rather that Donald Trump (in all probability) represents an identifiable sub type of the disorder.

Running on Autopilot.

     It is very important to specify here that when I state that Trump is in a disassociated "autopilot" state that I am referring to a specific disassociated state. Quoted from The Brain in Defense Mode: How Dissociation Helps Us Survive
Dissociation occurs when someone disconnects from some part of himself or herself or the environment. It can occur in a number of different ways, including disconnection from one’s emotions, body sensations, memories, senses, etc. A normal and common phenomenon, dissociation can happen in mild forms even when there is not imminent danger or stress. Think of a time you drove somewhere, arrived, and then couldn’t remember the drive because your mind was wandering; an instance when you lost track of time because you were engrossed in a riveting television show; or when you disconnected from body sensations to avoid going to the bathroom when you were on a tight deadline at work.

Dissociation is something we all do, and it is a vital part of our ingrained survival system. It is a part of the system that helps us to cope with stressful situations, which may otherwise feel overwhelming (Steinberg and Schnall, 2001). It is built in and is not pathological (Ross and Halpern, 2011). However, when a trauma occurs, sometimes this built-in system disconnects to a greater degree in an effort to protect the individual from traumatic material, body sensations, emotions, or memories that may be overwhelming.
Dissociation related to trauma occurs in varying degrees. On the lower end of the dissociation spectrum, for example, let’s say someone was in a car accident. A few days after the accident, the person finds that he or she cannot recall parts of the accident, even though reports of others were that he or she was conscious and responsive during those times he or she cannot recall. On the other end of the spectrum, someone who was severely abused throughout life can dissociate to the point that he or she has more than one personality, all of whom display and contain their own characteristics and who hold different memories associated with the trauma.
For the traumatized individual, dissociation may help him or her to survive circumstances that may have otherwise been intolerable. Dissociation can help a person feel as if situations, his or her body sensations, emotions that would have been overwhelming, etc., are muted and distorted so he or she can then go into “autopilot” mode and survive extreme situations and circumstances. When trauma is ongoing, dissociation can become “fixed and automatic” (Steinberg and Schnall, 2001). When this is the case, integration of memories becomes difficult for the brain, and the brain also continues to send of signals of danger, even when the traumatic situation is over (Steinberg and Schnall, 2001). This can continue for years after a traumatic situation has ended.


     My contention here is that Trump is not merely disassociated from his real emotions and identity- he is so extremely disassociated that for all intents and purposes his brain cannot process his experiences from a 1st person perspective. It is important to understand that there are a variety of dissociative symptoms and dissociative states, I am arguing that what Trump experiences is the sort of full "autopilot" mode that is sometimes triggered in times of great crisis. (If you have ever read a diseaster survivors account of seeming to watch themselves going through something horrific-  being capable of literally anything in the moment then it is that specific state I am discussing here.) Even amongst those with disassociative disorders who have experienced this state (such as myself, unfortunately) this particular degree of disassociation is usually a temporary affair that passes shortly after the danger does. (Although other symptoms of disassociation will remain in effect for much longer after such an experience, the particular state of full "autopilot" disassociation will pass.) It is my belief that while this state is a normal response to extreme danger/stress- remaining permanently in such a state is not.

     I have several times experienced this state for myself as a result of extreme situations, and in one case I experienced a prolonged period of this autopilot state that lasted several months. It is......difficult to explain what spending an extended period of time in such a radically different psychological state is like or what it means, but I will endeavor to do my best to convey the essence of the experience.

     It is as if the portion of the mind that is responsible for creating an internal monologue/internal experience of reality has been switched off- only a machine with an agenda remains. That agenda is always about surviving the trauma/stress that initially triggered the autopilot state, but after that has passed and the autopilot state remains the agenda will shift. Bereft of any form of conscience or restraint an individual in this state rapidly becomes a pleasure seeking machine driven by the urges of a completely unrestrained id.

    Another complication of this autopilot state is the lack of internal feedback one experiences about oneself- without an internal monologue the brain has no way of knowing anything about itself. As a result a dependency on others to provide a substitute for the missing internal monologue rapidly develops. As a result the Narcissist can only acquire information about themselves through the medium of the reactions they produce in other human beings. Narcissists are often being depicted as obsessively staring into a mirror- I believe this is a perfect metaphor if you modify it slightly so that all the mirrors are the faces of those around the Narcissist. Stated another way, a Narcissist can only acquire information about themselves in the 3rd person- they rely on the reactions they produce in others to replace their lost inner dialogue. In the case of the subject of this essay it is highly probable that this unfortunate state of affairs was brought about by horrific and extensive abuse perpetrated on a young Donald Trump by his parents.

    To clarify: I am arguing here then that (in order to first produce this autopilot state) during his very early formative years Donald Trump was repeatedly put into this emergency autopilot state by the abuse/trauma his parents visited upon him- until one time the autopilot state never switched back off and instead became his default (and only) mode of operation. This is the first half of what I believe comprises a Trump-style Narcissist, the 2nd half is a physical addiction to narcissistic supply.




Constantly high on his own Supply.




     Once this permanent autopilot state is attained the brain will (over a period of time) reorient itself to its new operating environment. In the abstract the brain is a pleasure seeking machine, and without any form of internal restraint whatsoever* the brain will simply seek pleasure wherever it finds it without regards for any of the consequences that their behavior has on other people. Because a person trapped in this permanent autopilot state can only acquire information about themselves through the medium of the reactions they generate in other human beings- they are only capable of experiencing pleasure through this convoluted medium as well. So in order to experience pleasure a Narcissist must be told they are experiencing pleasure through the reactions they generate in others- and a Narcissist quickly becomes attuned to the specific reactions of others that cause them to experience pleasure. The pleasure the Narcissist experiences from certain reactions can produce a euphoric "high" that is druglike both in its intensity and duration. This druglike euphoria is what I define as "narcissistic supply", and like any other addict the life of the Narcissist becomes singularly focused on remaining forever in this euphoric state.



    

 *No conscience, no self awareness, no guilt, no shame, no regret, no recognition of the sentience or inner world of other people. 




Friday, September 21, 2018

Weekly content updates starting 9/28. Here is a bit of a preview.

Whew, it has been entirely too long since I updated this website. Personally I think its well past time I changed that state of affairs, as I just hate it when an oddball internet personality abandons an interesting project/stops updating. So I refuse to be the girl that does that.

I haven't updated in a long time for a variety of reasons- but they mostly come down to needing to work on some personal issues before I was prepared to address this kind of material during the Presidency of one Donald J. Trump. And while work on those personal issues continues I feel I am at a point where I can return to this project. More importantly though- I am at a point where this project once again excites me- I am really looking forwards to sharing the neat ideas I have developed over the past year.

During my long hiatus this project was never far from my mind and in the background I have been steadily creating material that I intend to roll out with weekly updates over (at least) the next six months. The scope of my theoretical work has increased tremendously in that time- well beyond just the Narrativist Framework. I now consider Narrativism to be one example of a "Self Replicating Behavior Pattern"; that is to say an identifiable behavior pattern that is transmissible from person to person.

In addition to Narrativists I have created several new frameworks that describe two additional self replicating patterns (Cooperators and Metathinkers), as well as what I consider to be the two archetypes that separate distinct forms of each pattern (Structuralists and Integrators). Underlying all of this is a theory of the subconscious mind that is my current best attempt to explain the existence of Self Replicating Behavior Patterns (HumanOS Framework*)

*Despite the implications of the name the HumanOS Framework is not meant to argue that the human brain is literally a computer, rather it uses concepts from computing as metaphors to explain my theories about the relationship between the conscious and subconscious mind. I have discarded two previous versions of this framework- 1.) an attempt to explain these theories using the bridge of the Starship Enterprise as a basis and 2.) a version of this framework that compared the subconscious mind to a gigantic industrial facility and the conscious mind as an out-of-touch manager that had never "visited the factory floor". For a variety of reasons both of these were discarded in favor of using computer metaphors.

Once I have elaborated on these new Frameworks (as well as doing a general rewrite/improvement on the existing articles for Narrativism) I intend to use these concepts to explore various cultures/subcultures from a novel perspective. For example I consider the Anabaptist subculture (Amish and Mennonites) to be an example of a "Structuralist/Narrativist" culture- one whose 500 year stability gives a hint of both the strength of human unity that can be achieved through a commonly shared story as well as hinting at Narrativism having been at one time in human history a beneficial self replicating pattern. Another example of my future work is a small series of essays laying out the case that the phenomenon of Hikkikomori in Japan is a consequence of a dramatic increase in the Integrator pattern in Japanese society- with a hypothesis that this shift was in large caused by Japanese youth experiencing a dramatic increase in their media consumption in the years since the end of WWII.

The coming updates to this website are not limited solely to my theoretical work- one of the lessons of the past year has been that I need to follow my muse a little more often instead of trying to force myself to write a specific sequence of articles. Towards this end I am working on articles that will dive deeply into a variety of topics that have caught my interest- everything from the (mostly forgotten) history of Slenderman to a deep dive on the underlying psychology being exploited by the operators of the Qanon cult. (And yes, at this point it is a cult.)

So keep an eye on this blog and spread the word. Weekly (perhaps even a little more) updates to this website begin on 9/28.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Decoding the Red Pill: Social Media and the rise and radicalization of the Alt-Reich.




Greetings and welcome to a detailed discussion of the specific psychological mechanisms that underpin the radicalization process and how social media has been weaponized by corporate and political actors to exploit this specific (naturally occurring) emergent behavior. This essay will explain how certain types of media (often heavily reliant on the spoken word) can "teach" the human brain to accept/reject new information based on its adherence to a recognizable formula, (a process I call "Narrative Induction") and that once so induced a specific types of media result in a predictable and steady process of radicalization- progressing from nonviolent (at first) to violent* (the "Radicalization Engine"). 

*Violence appears first as lone wolfs attempting to fire the "first shots" of what they expect to be a great war (e.g. the Charleston Shooter), and if left unchecked this progresses to small groups taking to public spaces to enact violence on targeted minorities (e.g. Charlottesville).

But first a few words about the author. I was raised in an authoritarian cult environment and despite rebelling against the specific cult I was raised in wound up involved in a series of cults during the early stages of my adult life. Eventually my dysfunction (as well as my untreated mental illness) resulted in my becoming homeless. While homeless I finally hit my personal rock bottom and checked myself into treatment. I spent several years in intensive therapy learning to deprogram myself. (as well as manage my schizophrenia) During the process of deprogramming I started a personal vanity project meant to both help myself understand the environment I had been raised in as well as to help others understand the authoritarian mindset. With the (genuinely heartwarming) support an an internet community I was able to develop my ideas into the "Narrativist Framework- a detailed psychological framework that describes the behavior/mindset of the extremists I was raised around and used to be myself.

I mention all this upfront because I want to make clear that I am not a credentialed expert and do not have a college education. The cult I was raised in had its own school and they were largely responsible for my education growing up. (I have been trying my best to fill in the gaps ever since I graduated high school but I was largely taught irrational fantasy nonsense.) Rather I prefer to think of myself as being akin to Mowgli trying his best to explain the Jungle to those who have never lived in it. I understand all of this on an intuitive level and (as a result of my schizophrenia) have an unusual capacity for pattern recognition. I am therefor doing my best to convey an intuitive understanding of this topic- I am not always perfect or completely correct but I feel my work is well reasoned and insightful enough to be worth hearing out.

Lastly before I dive into the meat of this (it's coming I swear) I want to clarify my reasons for writing this in the first place. I aim to 1.) explain the radicalization process in such a way as that the average person can both recognize and understand why groups like Gamergaters or r/Incel became so radicalized and 2.) prevent the same from happening (even more than it already is) on the progressive left. (The progressive lefts love-affair with purity tests can result in the exact same radicalization process playing out in progressive communities if left unchecked.) While much of this essay will cite examples from the Alt-Reich that is only because they present the most clear and well-known examples of the behaviors described- I could have used examples exclusively from the left if I had been willing to put in about 4 times the legwork/been willing to use examples that required more explanation. (Radicalization is much more widespread/developed on the right at present than it is on the left, but there is plenty enough radicalization on the left to warrant concern.)

Returning (finally) to the main thrust of this essay let me first explain how new Narrativists are created before I explain how radicalization occurs. Narrativism is what I call a "Self Replicating Behavior Pattern"- that is to say that Narrativism is a naturally occurring behavior pattern that results from changes to the way the way the brain processes information. These changes in the way the brain accepts/rejects new information are caused by exposure to Narrativist media over a sufficiently long period of time. (The younger the mind the less overall exposure required- this is why tweens and young teens are becoming very quickly radicalized by youtubers like PewDiePie.) Specifically media that communicates using what I call "Bypass Logic" through the medium of the spoken word seems to be the most reliable method of inducing the brain to adopt Narrativism.

For a demonstration of this process impacting an adult mind I would like to cite the excellent documentary "The Brainwashing of My Dad". In the trailer for this documentary you can see the general premise of my argument demonstrated: A normal father begins to listen to right wing radio (spoken word relying heavily on Bypass Logic) during long commutes. This results in the father becoming a clear example of a Narrativist and undergoing a steady radicalization over the years. (Thankfully in this case the story ultimately has a happy ending.)



Next we come to the Radicalization Engine. In order to explain this concept I will need to heavily reference terms and concepts from the Narrativist Framework. While brief descriptions of each of these concepts are provided here it is strongly recommended that readers new to this material also read the longer definitions provided for each term.

*I am occasionally asked why I rely heavily on using the Narrativist Framework instead of referencing similar concepts that exist elsewhere in academic circles. The reason is because while it may lend a bit of credibility it would require so much extra explanation as to ultimately cancel out any positive benefits in my view. While a number of my concepts have similar counterparts, there are are often enough differences that I would need a significant explanation next to each term- in addition to a number of my concepts being completely novel and requiring the creation of a new term in either case. Furthermore modern psychology has not yet attempted to connect these concepts in the way I have and I would be taking pieces from 20 different theoretical frameworks while needing to explain what pieces of which theory are relevant and why. The overall result would be a confusing mess for both myself and the reader. As a result I feel it is just far simpler to use my own terms for these concepts: the Narrativist Framework was meant to describe how these concepts are interlinked to begin with and once understood it requires far less effort to communicate far more information with the Narrativist Framework than it would be using/adapting existing concepts within academia.

The Radicalization Engine is a three step process:
  • 1.) Narrative Dysphoria: When the experience of the real world does not align to the expectations generated by the Inner Narrative a form of cognitive dissonance that I call Narrative Dysphoria. This cognitive dissonance is relieved in a Narrativist group by engaging in a 
  • 2.) Compaction Cycle: The ritualized scapegoating and expulsion of a member of a Narrativist community*. Events that generate large amounts of Narrative dysphoria often produce visible Compaction cycles in online communities as the less radicalized are driven out by their more radicalized brethren. Those driven out from one Narrativist group very rarely stop being Narrativists however and instead will often join a new Narrativist group. After a Compaction Cycle there is very frequently a clear period of
  • 3.) Inner Narrative Evolution: The stresses of the Compaction Cycle cause the brain of the Narrativist to adopt Bypass logic ever more heavily- resulting in The Enemy becoming a steadily greater threat (with an ever-increasing retinue of unearthly powers) and justifying ever greater (and eventually violent) responses in order for the Narrativist to defend themselves from expected annihilation.

*If the Narrativist community is large and radicalized enough they will also target non-Narrativists for scapegoating/harassment and expulsion from society.

The above process can be seen playing out over and over in virtually every single right-wing affilaited space at present- from the notorious FreeRepublic.com to the (thankfully now closed) r/Incels and r/physicalremoval*. (This process can also be observed playing out in smaller scales on a number of left-oriented online communities as well.) Once recognized the cycle becomes clear and almost routine: a wave of Narrative Dysphoria (of late these are often caused by the bumbling of the Trump administration) is followed shortly thereafter by a Compaction Cycle (often targeting anyone who publicly questions the emerging groupthink), then shortly after the Compaction Cycle there is a noted uptick in the radicalized behaviors exhibited by the involved groups.

*I would argue that the very name "Physical Removal" is a direct reference to the psychological imperative to engage in Compaction Cycles.

One of the cleanest examples of this process comes from the Trump administration itself in the form of the firing of Reince Priebus. The various leaks in the administration were an ongoing source of Narrative Dysphoria and Reince was first scapegoated for these leaks before being publicly Compacted out of the Trump administration. Shortly thereafter there was a noted uptick in radicalization among Trumps inner circle- particularly when a month after Reince was fired Trump gave his infamous speech supporting white supremacists in the wake of Charlottesville.

It is my contention that Narrativism (and all attendant behaviors like Narrative Induction) are naturally occurring behaviors: I would even argue that early on in mankinds history Narrativism likely provided a community with more benefits than costs. When human communities were very small (often sub 200 members) Narrativism would have presented a way of creating a group united by common beliefs instead of by familial ties- and during the first 180,000 odd years of human existence that very likely may have been a significant survival advantage over human groups that relied solely on familial ties for alliances. Narrativism would have spread from speaker to listener- but only very slowly as much of the average persons time was occupied with meeting basic needs. The much smaller community sizes also meant generally fewer opportunities for Compaction Cycles- and therefor a sort of "soft cap" on the degree of radicalization that could occur in a given community before it became too small/dysfunctional for the process to continue unabated. 

However modern mass media overcomes all these soft limits and makes it possible for large numbers of individuals to be radicalized quickly (as happened in Nazi Germany). The 24/7 barrage of Narrativist media enabled by modern social media has enabled Narrativism to develop even faster-it has also enabled hostile foreign actors to interfere in rival countries simply by monetarily supporting media that supports either Narrative Induction or some portion of the Radicalization Engine.* (Russia has been slowly trial-and-erroring its way to a better understanding of how to manipulate Narrativism over the past several years: Its most notable successes thus far being Brexit and Trump's election.) 

* The following video demonstrates this very nicely I think:

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

An Ouroboros of Delusion: Why Cults and Other Extremist Groups are Often Lead by Narcissists.

Greetings gentle reader, my name is Prester Jane. I am a reformed authoritarian cultist who has written a detailed guide for understanding how extremist groups function, operate, spread their ideas, and radicalize- called the "Narrativist Framework". Although familiarity with the Narrativist Framework is not required to understand the following blog entry, it is strongly suggested. While most of this article will be a discussion of a novel way to understand narcissists it presumes a familiarity on the part of the reader when discussing some of the finer points of how narcissists interact with Narrativism. (For the convenience of readers new to this material I have included a link to the definition of each concept from the Narrativist Framework the first time it appears in this article.)

This blog entry will address one of the more common topics I am asked about by readers- the relationship between narcissists like Donald Trump and Narrativists. Many readers have noted the similarities between the delusional self-image that a narcissist projects and the delusional reality that a Narrativist experiences and query me about various aspects of how they relate- as a result I have addressed aspects of this topic in a sort of piecemeal fashion across a variety of platforms (reddit, FB, SomethingAwful, etc). Naturally this state of affairs is proving quite unsatisfactory as my readership grows, so I am making this blog entry as a way of providing a centralized resource for the specifics of my thinking on how narcissists and Narrativists interact.

Presuming one is already familiar with my definition of a Narrativist I must define specifically what I mean by a narcissist. I am not speaking of someone who merely has a few narcissistic traits or very low empathy in conjunction with very high self image- I am talking about an individual who has a combination of two very specific psychological traits which I will describe in detail below. As I do so I ask the reader to keep Donald Trump in their mind, as he is by far the clearest example of an individual with these two traits that exists in the public sphere.


As regards this discussion a narcissist is an individual who has a personality disorder that results from the combination of two distinct psychological conditions:

1.) They are in a more-or-less permanent state of disassociation, a psychological state which is most frequently caused by severe childhood abuse. (It can occur naturally in certain rare individuals, but the majority of Narcissists are created by their parents/caretakers during childhood.) As a result of this a narcissist has literally no internal dialogue and is functionally incapable of processing information from a first person perspective. This is not an exaggeration, a narcissist cannot process information from a first person perspective and must rely on the reactions of those around them to process any information about themselves at all. A narcissist can only recognize their own existence within the reactions of other human beings. Without human beings to get reactions from a narcissist is quite literally unable to recognize any sense of themselves and experience a tremendous existential dread. Much of their moment-to-moment existence is premised upon first and foremost avoiding the experience of this dread by constantly getting reactions from those around them.


2.) The Narcissist has developed a literal psychological addiction to what I will call here "Narcissistic Supply", hereafter just "Supply" for short. A Narcissist creates a false self image that they use to constantly force reactions from those around them. The Narcissist will actually have multiple false self-images but will have a few that represent unrealistic fantasies that the Narcissist has of themselves. When these particular false self-images are validated by the reactions of those around them, the Narcissist experiences a massive rush of the brains natural feel-good chemicals. This results in an almost heroin-like euphoria that can last far far far longer than heroin ever can. (Once a developing narcissist makes the connection between validating a particular false self and experiencing a rush of bliss the the onset of addiction is rapid.) However- like any other addiction the pleasure of Supply is subject to the hedonic treadmill. Greater and greater Supply are always needed to maintain ever diminishing results. Also like a heroin addict a Narcissist can "binge" on Supply. Under the right circumstances they can sustain a binge for months or years- however this will take a massive toll on their cognitive abilities and a narcissist will noticeably deteriorate during a prolonged Supply binge. (e.g. the rapid degeneration of Donald Trump from his performances during the first GOP Primary debates compared to his public conduct at present- Trump has been on one long Supply binge the entire time and is now starting to deteriorate before our very eyes.)


With these two factors understood I can elaborate a little bit on the behavior of a Narcissist. Their primary goal is to avoid experiencing the empty sense of dread that is the result of their lack of an inner dialogue, so first and foremost they must generate any reaction from anyone around them. However, they will always have a preference for having their idealized fantasies of themselves validated, as this results in a drug like euphoria that is literally on par with heroin.

Unlike heroin however this drug-like euphoria can crash within moments, and the narcissist can switch from experiencing this euphoria (which they will believe is their default "true" state) into experiencing the existential dread that is their true existence. This switch can cause them to lash out at the slightest thing that interrupts their delusions of themselves. Although they often understand enough to restrain these impulses in public, in private they will unleash their full fury on those they have control over.

Broadly speaking Supply can either be Positive (worshipful praise) or Negative (hatred and scorn), and each Narcissist generally acquires a taste for their own particular mix. In the case of Donald Trump he seeks purely positive Supply, in the case of Martin Shkrelli purely negative, and in the case of Milo Yiannapolis he prefers a mix of being adored by his fans and hated by his enemies. To the narcissist what matters is the euphoric rush of brain chemicals- how they get it and what they have to do (or how badly they have to hurt someone) are completely irrelevant concerns.

The narcissists' need for constant validation is where they interact with Narrativists. Narcissists naturally learn how to be incredibly manipulative people- as a result they become experts at detecting individuals whom they can potentially manipulative. A Narrativists' need for constant validation/reinforcement of their Inner narrative drives them to seek social authority figures who will provide that validation/reinforcement. As a result many a narcissist has figured out how to appeal to Inner narratives in order to gain Supply- and in the course of history more than a few well-positioned narcissists have been able to convert Narrativist movements/organizations into their personal Supply dealers.

The relationship is entirely transactional: The narcissist receives constant Supply by spouting whatever nonsense his Narrativist supporters desire him to, and the Narrativists get the ability to (at least psychologically and temporarily) live in the delusional world of their Inner narrative. Once a narcissist gains power within a Narrativist group they can be exceedingly difficult to remove or impede- the regular tactics of a narcissist (such as smear campaigns) make them natural masters of the Compaction cycle, and they often become quite adept at using Compaction cycles to both eliminate rivals and deflect consequences for their personal failures.

An example of the above playing out would be the firing of Reince Preibus- a textbook Compaction cycle if there ever was one. Trump (a clear example of a narcissist as discussed above) was successful in pinning the blame for the Narrative dysphoria his supporters were experiencing (resulting from the leaks to the press) on Reince Priebus. Trump then arranged in grand fashion to have Priebus compacted out of the group in what amounted to a public ritual. The result shortly thereafter was that Trump's inner circle became noticeably more radicalized and extreme.*.


*Thankfully that trend has been reversed now that Kelly has become White House Chief of Staff, but it is still rather concerning that a military low-compaction Narrativist (which Kelly demonstrably is) is so influential within the halls of power.)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

How the GOP (accidentally) became a doomsday cult: Introduction to the Narrativist Framework.

Greetings gentle reader, my name is Prester Jane and I would like to welcome you to a very fascinating and ongoing discussion about the present political situation in the United States. To explain why this discussion is so interesting I will have to provide some background both on myself (the primary author of the Narrativist Framework) as well as explain the context and conditions under which this discussion evolved.

Over the years I have learned that with a history like mine the only viable approach to explaining it is to be frank and direct. So without further preamble I was raised in a cult that had its own k-12 school, and I either attended this school or was homeschooled under the supervision of this cult until I turned 14. At which point I went out and got a Social Security Number of my own volition (SSN's were a precursor to "the mark of the beast") and enrolled myself in a public school.

In my high-school years and for approximately a decade afterwards I become involved in a series of small cults. Also during this period I slowly developed schizophrenia. The net result of these two factors was that I eventually hit my personal rock bottom and checked myself in to receive professional mental health help. I shortly thereafter received a formal diagnosis (schizoaffective disorder) as well as extensive medication support and therapy.

In the course of my recovery and deprogramming (which as you can imagine involved rather a great deal of therapy) I began to develop my own personal framework for understanding the mindset and behavior of the extremists groups I had spent so much time living in and amongst. In 2015 I began publishing pieces of this framework on a paywalled discussion forum.

The community that I chose to publish on permitted an unusual experiment in collaboration. I approached the community very openly about my schizophrenia as well as my lack of formal education. I was also very open about explaining that the source of these ideas was an artifact of how my mental illness altered the way I think. Under these conditions the community was able to engage with my ideas as a sort of collective experiment in directing the freewheeling nature of a schizophrenics thought process and was very honest but fair in its reactions/disagreements/critiques, and as a result a (rarely seen on the internet these days) spirit of collaboration became the underlying groundrule for the discussion.

In short I approached the conversation well aware that I was both a schizophrenic (as well as lacking in a formal education) and that I would need to be on guard at all times for how my illness can impact my thinking, and the community approached my material by investing enough of their own time/energy to be able to discuss my ideas in my own (often very schizophrenic) terms. In general the discussion proceeded by my introducining a new concept (often with its own associated vocabulary) along with a some supporting examples culled from media and my best attempt at a rough explanation of what it meant and how this concept fit in with others. There would then follow a great deal of back and forth discussion as the thoughtful reactions of many other participants allowed me to hone both my own understanding of the concept as well as how to better explain it to others. Then there would follow a discussion about the refinements themselves and so and so forth.

One of the fruits of over two years of this unusual experiment is what this paper is primarily about: The Narrativist Framework. Before I delve deeply into that discussion just yet though I must further beg the gentle readers patience by first providing a discussion on exactly what I feel this framework describes- and what it does not. (The import of making these distinctions early will become obvious over time as the reader delves into the body of this work.)

The Narrativist Framework is a description of a particular set of behaviors and the social environment that individuals exhibiting these behaviors tend to recreate whenever they reach a sufficient threshold of influence in society. These behaviors (and their underlying causes) are ultimately apolitical in nature: They are explicitly and emphatically not inherently right or left wing in nature. Any individual or organization can potentially exhibit these behaviors regardless of their political leanings.

The Narrativist Framework is also primarily a description of the structure of the beliefs that Narrativists/Narrativist organizations embrace. The nitty-gritty specifics of the beliefs any group discussed here are not nearly as important as how those specifics all conform to an identical structure, a story-like format that I have named the Grand Narrative.

Finally the Narrativist Framework is (and I must emphasize this here) not an attempt to pathologize the right wing, it is an attempt to describe a particular set of behaviors exhibited by individuals whom within the present American zeitgeist tend very frequently to be right wing oriented- this is a result of historic forces with the Republican Party itself (notably the backroom dealings of Barry Goldwater) as well as the logical consequence of utilizing the particular public relations strategy ("dog-whistling") that the GOP has embraced for several decades now. I want to state very clearly that in my view the present insanity we see playing out in the Trump administration could just as easily had a D next to its name if the Democratic Party*** had made the same sorts of decisions.

***In fairness to the Democratic Party, despite this Millenials' personal criticisms of the DNC (and they are varied, nuanced, detailed, and acid edged) the Democrats as a whole have not engaged in the sorts of political strategies that court Narrativism, and as a result left-leaning Narrativists in the US are a rare and mostly toothless breed, although pockets of them do exist. (TERF's, Tankies, "Tumblrina's" various tiny Marxist cults, etc.)

And last of all I would like to take a moment to thank the numerous community members of SA that have made significant contributions to this work, and in particular I would like to thank poster Fuschia Tude for taking the time to condense a great deal of material into the present format, as well as taking the time to clean up many of the particular artifacts that my illness had on my earlier writing.




Authors Note: The structure of the ideas and their meaning is mine, but much credit is owed to the SomethingAwful.com Debate and Discussion community for making numerous contributions to the descriptions contained as well as the naming conventions used herein. Further this present work represents a first attempt at uniting the entire framework into a single cohesive whole. As a result I have struck the supporting arguments (which are considerably larger than the definitions themselves) presented for each of these terms, as some of these terms have individually resulted in 10's of thousands of words worth of debate in and of themselves. The following Glossary therefore represents the easiest path to learning the basics of the Narrativist Framework without diving into the (incredibly interesting but nonetheless lengthy and tedious) underlying discussions that spawned many of these terms.





Continue on to "Narrativism/Narrativist".

Full Glossary of Terms.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Authoritarians and the Bypass of Perfect Safety: Why Sessions threats to journalists will resonate with Trumps radicalized base.

Greetings gentle reader- my name is Prester Jane and this article is intended to use a nuanced discussion of Jeff Sessions recent threats to jail journalists as a way of both providing insight into the authoritarian mindset as well as providing a detailed introduction to a couple of basic concepts of a theoretical framework used to describe/understand the behavior of authoritarians- the "Narrativist Framework".

I am the author of the Narrativist Framework* and before I delve into it I need to clear a few things up. The Narrativist framework is based upon my own experiences growing up and around several cults throughout my childhood and young adult years. To cut a great deal of personal testimony down to its relevant bits I eventually escaped and sought proper mental health treatment. (I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder as well as PTSD and general anxiety disorder and have taken my ongoing recovery very seriously). The Narrativist Framework then is a product of my best-faith efforts to convey the b mindset that I formerly lived in- and to make that mindset comprehensible to those who have no direct experience of it. I mention all this up front because I feel it is important for the reader to bear in mind that my work here is that of (at best) a talented amateur with a unique insight- I readily concede that my theories would be well served with refinement at the hands of formally trained experts.

*More like primary author- an entire community has contributed to the overall framework and I have at times served more as conductor than author.

With all that pre-amble out of the way let us return to the matter at hand- putting Jeff Sessions recent public threats to arrest journalists into context. I will refer the reader to the video below as the rest of the article will be centered around explaining how the Narrativist Framework can provide deep insight into the rhetoric that Sessions is using here as well as why that rhetoric will resound so deeply with Trumps radicalized base (while turning off everyone else.)







Whew, we made it through that. (Scary stuff, huh). Well to my mind the fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of them all and to that end I shall en-devour to enlighten the reader as to the nature of authoritarians (hereafter referred to as Narrativists) with an aim to make the unknown into the known. Whether or not this will reduce the readers fear of authoritarians is a question that is presently stuck in endless clinical trials whose participants are bound by ironclad NDA's. There is much more at work here then generic impending fascism stuff- there is a comprehensible method to the madness of how Jeff Sessions is thinking and why he is making this threat in this very specific way.

You see Jeff Sessions is what I would call a Narrativist**- a specific type of extremist that filters their conscious experience of reality through a story-like filter that I call the "Narrative". Jeff Sessions is here appealing to other Narrativists- a group that presently composes the bulk of Trumps hardcore supporters.  Specifically Sessions is using a particular form of rhetorical manipulation of Narrativists that I call "Bypass" logic. That is to say; Sessions is framing his words in such a manner as to appeal to Narrativists by exploiting a conditioned response- one that is inherent to Narrativists.

** I consider Jeff Sessions to be a Narrativist that falls comfortably within the Racist Cluster.

While there are calculating imitators of Narrativists who understand how to do this only through careful study (e.g. Ted Cruz), Sessions is a Narrativist himself and as such understands how to perform this particular form of rhetorical manipulation on an instinctual level. The inner world of Jeff Sessions is governed by Bypass logic, and as such when he seeks to justify an action in pursuit of his Inner Narrative he does so using Bypass logic by default.

Now we can (finally) get into some serious meat here- the above video allows me to provide a real-world demonstration of all three primary forms of Bypass logic:


  • Bypass of Perfect Safety: Sessions directly implies that leaks are killing our troops and putting us all at risk- this we must be made perfectly safe from this threat by stopping all leakers. How do we stop all leakers? Narrativists know only one solution to every problem, and that is the Bypass of Maximum Force.
  • Bypass of Maximum Force: "Use as much force as you can as quickly as you can in every situation" is more or less the Narrativist credo. Sessions is threatening to imprison journalists because that is the maximum amount of force he can bring against them right now. That is literally the entirety of the depth of the reasoning at play here. Thing (journalists reporting on leaks) bad so me hurt thing bad. Why is thing bad? Because journalists reporting on leaks is both a strong source of Narrative dysphoria (described in detail below) as well as the simple existence of leakers running contrary to the Bypass of Purity
  • Bypass of Purity: Everything is black and white in the Narrativist world- Good guys are all good and bad guys are bad. The world is a series of conflicts between clearly identified foes and allies. You can always trust your allies and you must always destroy your enemies. When your allies turn out to be untrustworthy (when Trumps subordinates expose his insanity) this simplistic teamsport-based conceptualization of reality is damaged, and a Narrativist will instinctively reject information that violates the Bypass of purity because the Narrativist subconsciously presumes that the natural state of the world is in full adherence with the Bypass of Purity. (Therefor if something violates the Bypass of purity, it must be discarded because it must be wrong.)


Now lets get into some really neat stuff. Remember that term above that I promised to go into detail about ("Narrative dysphoria), well now it is time to discuss what that is and how it is the fuel that drives the complicated process of radicalization among Narrativists. All Narrativists have some form of Inner narrative- a set of beliefs that always pits them as a participant in a (desperate and ongoing) grand battle between good and evil- with the stakes always as high as they can possibly be and rising ever higher. (Broadly speaking the more radicalized a Narrativist is the more they emotionally invested themselves in their Inner narrative.) The belief in this Inner narrative generates certain expectations about how situations the Narrativist feels invested in will play out, (Narrativists think they are living in a story (Grand narrative), and they expect the story to unfold according to their Inner narrative). When this does not happen (which is often) the Narrativist experiences this conflict between reality and what they expected from reality as a particular form of cognitive dissonance, and it is this cognitive dissonance that I have labeled "Narrative dysphoria".

There is a common belief shared among a lot of non-narrativists, when they observe how narrativists behave, that narrativists are incapable of feeling cognitive dissonance, or as I previously coined it, "Narrative Dysphoria". This belief is so prevalent that it has become one of those unstated assumptions about extremists that everyone takes as read. Based on my experiences both growing up with and having been a Narrativist, I strongly disagree with this idea. In a Narrativist group wherein a sufficient portion of the members are experiencing Narrative dysphoria at the same time the (eventual) result will be a building of tensions that finally gets released via a "Compaction cycle"- the ritualized scapegoating and casting out of members of the group. (If you read one concept I link to you then I urge you to make Compaction cycle that one thing- it is such an important concept that I even linked it twice.)

A Compaction cycle is when a Narrativist group such as Trump, his inner circle and his base - although Trump himself is just a parasite with a particular mental illness that allows him to easily exploit Narrativists - forcefully expels someone from their midst. This is often done after placing the blame for the Narrative dysphoria on them. Compaction cycles are often conducted in the most publicly humiliating and vicious way possible. Reince Priebus is an excellent demonstration of these concepts: Reince was scapegoated as the source of Narrative dysphoria (the leaks to the press from the Trump White House) and was ritually forced out of the inner circle in the most vicious and publicly humiliating way possible. 

In the wake of a Compaction cycle there is also another distinct step in the process of radicalization of a Narrativist group- the process of "Inner narrative evolution". In the wake of a Compaction cycle any negative emotions a Narrativist might experience (they are still in fact human beings who just attacked a comrade for no reason, that still hurts deep down) will drive them to develop a more elaborate version of their Inner narrative- one that makes their actions into a heroic act against a wicked enemy rather than a sudden betrayal of an associate. Developing this Inner narrative will cause the Narrativist to incorporate Bypass logic on an even deeper level- impacting even more of their thinking. This process often takes a few days/weeks to play out- but we can see some of the early impacts of the Compaction cycle against Reince Priebus (Scaramucci was a Compaction cycle as well but for contextually complicated reasons beyond the scope of the present discussion) resulting in Sessions public attack on journalists.


Following along this theme we can see a pattern emerging within the Trump Presidency, one that allows us to have some fairly detailed expectations for how events are likely to continue to play out in the Trump administration - absent the intervention of some external force, that is. Sources of Narrative dysphoria (the leaks, though important, being far from the only one) will cause more Compaction cycles to play out within Trumps White House.

And then more Narrative dysphoria will set the whole process in motion again.