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Elegant Abstract Background

ALL SOLDIERS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE?  

 

Liviu Poenaru

  

UNLIMITED WAR AGAINST ONESELF 

  

The questions posed by Albert Einstein to Sigmund Freud in 1933 remain pertinent nearly a century later: "How is it possible for the masses to be inflamed (...) to the point of frenzy and self-sacrifice? (...) Is there a way to direct the psychological development of men so that they become more resistant to the psychoses of hatred and annihilation?" (Einstein, Freud, 1933, p. 67). However, the contemporary context of neoliberal and cybercapitalist warfare is radically different from the military wars referenced by Einstein and Freud. Alliez and Lazzarato (2016) view liberalism as a "philosophy of total war" and consider capital as "ontologically anti-democratic." They propose a continuity and interdependence between the economy and war that gives rise to the "capitalocene," which generates the "anthropocene."

 

This suggests that the "peace-crisis-war-solution" sequence involving military action has been fundamentally altered in the total war within the population that follows the evolution of capitalism. This war within-against-for the populations is indefinite and infinite, paralleling the law of capital accumulation, and manifests in a plurality of wars: of classes, races, sexes, intelligences (Alexandre, 2017), information (Colon, 2023), etc. The war against subjectivities and simultaneously for the creation of unlimited, consumable-consumerist-productivist subjectivities (Poenaru, 2023) undergoes massive repression (colluding with dominant propaganda) within clinical psychology research, while the academic-military-economic complex draws its strategies from the multiple fields of psychological sciences. 

"Deterritorialized war is no longer inter-state war but an uninterrupted series of multiple wars against populations, permanently pushing 'governmentality' toward governance in a common enterprise of denial of global civil wars. (...) The matrix of these civil wars is colonial war. The latter was never a war between states but essentially a war within and against the population, where distinctions between peace and war, between combatants and non-combatants, between economic, political, and military aspects never applied. (...) Its war will be both fractal and transversal: fractal, because it produces its invariance indefinitely through constant change of scale (its 'irregularity' and the 'fractures' it introduces operate at various scales of reality); and transversal, because it unfolds simultaneously at the macropolitical level (playing with all the great dual oppositions: social classes, whites and non-whites, men and women...) and at the micropolitical level (through molecular engineering favoring the highest interactions)" (Alliez, Lazzarato, 2016, p. 28-29). 

Freud responds to Einstein by recalling his theory of instinctual ambivalence and the interplay of life-preserving and aggressive instincts. These flourish under the influence of Eros and Thanatos, determining a permanent and necessary entanglement of life and death instincts driving evolution. History, of course, confirms the indelible intertwining of various instincts theorized by Freud. 

"(...) more attention should be devoted than has been done so far to educate a layer of men thinking independently, inaccessible to intimidation and striving for the truth, who would lead the non-autonomous masses. It requires no demonstration that the encroachments of state powers and the prohibition of thought by the Church are not conducive to raising such men. The ideal state would naturally be a community of men who have subjected their instinctual life to the dictatorship of reason" (Einstein, Freud, 1933, p. 79). 

The critique of how state powers raise men and the proposal to educate a layer of independently thinking men, inaccessible to intimidation, is commendable. However, the creation of a "superior layer" remains debatable, as does questioning the lack of autonomy of the masses: is it natural or naturalized, constructed by states and a colonizing civilization (of mass psychology) driven by capital, producing subjectivities enslaved to the wage regime and production-consumption? What is the power of states compared to the increasing dictates of corporate powers over global, collective, individual, and unconscious laws?

 

Freud criticizes the Church's prohibition of thought, but what about the lack of freedom of thought and autonomy in academic circles (Chomsky, 1967/2017; Beaud, 2021)? Who will educate this mass of autonomous individuals if disciplinary institutions (Foucault, 1975) remain subject to the fractal and transversal war of capital and the early conditionings preparing future adults for anthropological and economic cataclysm? Why the dictatorship of reason if unreason is part of the epistemic balance and if human reason is now infested with artificial intelligence? Moreover, Freud believes that "everything that promotes cultural development works at the same time against war" (Einstein, Freud, 1933, p. 81). However, this viewpoint is obsolete in a world where culture has become one of the main vectors of political-economic propaganda (brilliantly analyzed by Guy Debord in 1967, in *The Society of the Spectacle*). 

Psychological warfare, which concerns us, is an integral part of total war, one of the many facets of a belligerent kaleidoscope producing the illusion of democracy, progress, security, and population well-being. Its fundamental strategies and techniques aim to destabilize the opponent, making them believe they are in a position of weakness and should surrender. This is precisely what we experience in the era of the internet and social networks. Yet, the fractal and transversal psycho-economic war of cybercapitalism has not stopped at destabilizing the opponent. Psychological operations (PSYOP) institutionalize the manipulation of the economic unconscious (Poenaru, 2023) via military and scientific omnipotence (justifying RAND research and development programs) since the outbreak of World War II: 

"Psychological operations (PSYOP) are operations aimed at conveying selected information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of governments, organizations, groups, and foreign powers. The goal of U.S. psychological operations is to induce or reinforce behavior perceived as favorable to U.S. objectives. They are an important part of the range of diplomatic, informational, military, and economic activities available to the United States. They can be used in peacetime as well as in conflict. (...) They can also disrupt, confuse, and prolong the adversary's decision-making process, thereby undermining command and control" [Wikipedia, Psychological operations (United States)]. 

The objectives of PSYOP are clear: to modify the objective reasoning and behavior of individuals and governments, disrupt decision-making and control processes... in peacetime as well as in conflict. This confirms the fractal nature of total war as theorized by Alliez and Lazzarato (2016). Einstein's observations remain relevant: crowds are still frenzied, and it is even more challenging to resist the psychosis of annihilation when it is intertwined with well-being and reward down to the nanometer scale. The global and disproportionate success of the American way of life is well known. The PSYOP program (with its ramifications) and its conscious and unconscious psychological effects are undoubtedly among the most monstrous in history, introducing humanity into total propaganda (Colon, 2019) and the war of well-being and unlimited progress by any means (Welfare through warfare!). It successfully manipulates the neuro-cognitive-behavioral and emotional complex by exploiting governments, armies, industries, education, social influence, the manufacturing of consent (Chomsky, Herman, 1988), media, culture, the pathologization of populations, the modification of thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and reflexes, etc. 

"Both world wars realized for the first time the 'total' subordination (or 'real subsumption') of society and its 'productive forces' to the war economy through the organization and planning of production, labor, and technology, science, and consumption on an unprecedented scale. The involvement of the entire population in 'production' was accompanied by the formation of mass subjectivation processes through the management of communication and opinion-making techniques. From unprecedented research programs focused on 'destruction' came scientific and technological discoveries that, transferred to the production of 'goods,' constituted new generations of constant capital" (Alliez, Lazzarato, 2016, p. 22-23). 

The arsenal of cybercapitalist psychological warfare (CPW) is unprecedented due to a multiplication of strategies combined with artificial intelligence (AI), generating new programming of the economic unconscious. This belligerent logic has a dual aspect: a corporate face (co-produced with AI, which can be subject to serious errors in the health sector, for example, according to WHO4) and an intrapsychic face. The latter is exposed to the voluntary induction of ordinary addiction and a constant bidirectionality of injection-extraction of codes and psychic productions requiring defense mechanisms still little studied by clinical psychology. This work defends the thesis of the emergence of a new type of war within CPW: the war against oneself. This hypothesis is supported by the arsenal of CPW and more than eloquent epidemiological data concerning mainly psychopathologies of self-aggression (related to the use of the Instagram app, for example) and autoimmune diseases that can be interpreted as a war against oneself. To explore this hypothesis, we will decrypt in more detail the modus operandi and arsenal of CPW as well as its pathological effects. Finally, some clinical reflections will be proposed for addressing the repressions (individual, collective, disciplinary, and political) of the economic unconscious. We hypothesize that these repressions continue to wreak havoc while being largely denied-repressed in clinical perspectives. 

Indeed, Freud's responses to Einstein's questions are insufficient in the face of the rapid evolution of capital wars, although the psychological functioning revealed by CPW seems to demonstrate the use of human nature, through cunning (a well-known strategy in war), for a skilful and confusing combination of life and death instincts, while exacerbating destructive instincts directed against oneself (but also against others, the Great Other, symbols, civilization). Wylie (2019), former scientific director of the Cambridge Analytica project, highlights the main strategies exploited by the internet, social networks, and corporations: manipulating perceptions, emotions, and behaviors; stimulating, through expert dosing of rewards (likes, comments, statistics, etc.) and frustrations (faced with infinite possibilities), the vulnerable points of individuals and digital dependence; parasitizing defense mechanisms; promoting membership in groups of paranoia and anger that allow the expression of accumulated frustration and ensure increased online engagement associated with exposure to advertising and propaganda. The continuity with the PSYOP program is indisputable! 

It remains to be seen whether the conjunction of instincts and the defense mechanism of "turning against oneself" explains the war against oneself. Or is it a psychosomatic "autoimmune" attempt to eliminate a multiplication of "non-self" objects (Poenaru, 2023) forcibly injected during ordinary artificial dependence, functioning both as parasites and psychic predators? Note that "non-self" objects can be linked to traumatic memories that Freud (1895) conceives as "foreign bodies" requiring hysterical defenses and a compulsion to repeat (1939) easily identifiable in digital relationships and the collective-global hysteria they generate. These theses are confirmed by the study of post-traumatic stress. Eustache and Desgranges (2012) evoke hypersensitivity to stimuli related to trauma (or micro-traumas of ordinary digital addiction). This dynamic could be underpinned by unconscious implicit memory mechanisms (saturated with perceptual priming that shatter the self) and linked to the phenomenon of automatic (irresistible) reliving requiring compulsive defenses. Thus, the more traumatized we are (ingeniously associated with rewards to consolidate addiction), the more we increase our online engagement, consumption, and participation in the war.  

 

MODUS OPERANDI AND ARSENAL OF CPW 

 

Prisoner of the compulsion to repeat, hypnotized by the distraction-dissociation regimes of internet content, social networks, and (war) video games that only permeabilize the unconscious to external injunctions, bombarded and primed by an infinity of stimuli modifying perceptions, reasoning, and behaviors, contaminated by social and emotional influence, colonized by the consumption society's codes vectorized by sensory and semantic aggregations, the consumable-consumerist-productivist subject of cybercapitalist psychological warfare (CPW) is stuck in the fight-flight-freeze triad. This automatic triad appears sequentially and alternately in the animal kingdom (fight or flee or freeze) to protect against a threat or danger. It seems evident that internet engineers have succeeded in simultaneously activating these three options in front of predatory-hypnotic screens: 

  • Fight: with fascinating raptors, invasive "non-self" object injections, addictive capture, induced stress, opponent processes, confusions generated by perceptual modifications or fake news favoring hypnotic permeability, psychic limits excitement, hallucinatory overflows, micro-traumas, etc. 

  • Flight: from the internal and external reality produced by the same system, while seeking defensive solutions and rewards. 

  • Freeze: for hours, as predators are always present, external and internalized, as we quest for an increasingly unattainable pleasure at the origin of addiction and significant screen time increases. 

This mutation of instincts demonstrates the denaturation power of CPW and one of its most pathogenic successes. This experimental and necropolitical triumph, even more lethal than the atomic bomb9 – announced by *Le Monde* on August 8, 1945, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki's destruction, as a "scientific revolution" – has occurred thanks to an increasingly fine knowledge of the neuro-cognitive-behavioral and emotional complex now governed by Big Tech, Big Science, and Big Data. Neuroculture, one of this war's arsenals, provides cutting-edge knowledge guaranteeing the emergence of the prosthetic, augmented, highly performative, and voluntarily destroyed posthuman in the post-industrial society. Paradoxically, the belligerent performance culture increasingly weakens humans for optimal sale of various prosthetics promising a more glorious struggle against one's own and others' limits. 

Neuroculture examines brain functioning and its implications for well-being, industries, politics, wars, etc., by combining multiple approaches and disciplines studying molecular, cellular, developmental, neuroanatomical, neurophysiological, genetic, evolutionary, computational, neurobiological, cognitive, psychological, social, economic, financial aspects related to the nervous system. Unconscious dimensions responsible for the inseparability of perception-memory-emotion (Poenaru, 2015) and decision-making (regarding consumption, online engagement, professional, physical, and mental performance, cultural and economic consensus creation, submission, etc.) are at the core of these studies. Neuromarketing combines a multitude of methods and techniques: functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography, positron emission tomography, magnetoencephalography, eye tracking, facial recognition, recording cardiovascular parameters, skin conductance (galvanic skin response), etc. 

To this arsenal used by neuromarketing, we must add that employed by nanomarketing. Nanosciences and nanotechnologies refer to the study, fabrication, and manipulation processes of structures, devices, and material systems at the nanometer scale (the closest unit to the distance between two atoms). Nanomarketing, a new revolution in the history of fundamental knowledge and the consumer-producer, combines and corroborates, as Mileti et al. (2016) recall, results obtained by various technologies and "non-invasive" experiments. This necessarily multidisciplinary approach collects real-time data on neurophysiological indicators and mental, cognitive, and emotional processes. Correlating conclusions from the multiple fields mentioned provides a true digital and biological "DNA" and allows a genuine mapping of the economic unconscious, identifying with significant objectivity individual and collective preferences and impulses in response to certain stimuli to better predict our political-economic future and shape the psychological profile of total war soldiers. 

The use of nanodevices for behavior manipulation (Flores et al., 2014) raises many ethical questions about free will, mental control, personal identity, intentions, and needs related to brain functioning (Roskies, 2002). This questions their effects on existing moral and social structures, such as the violation of privacy (Costa Rozan Fortunato et al., 2014) and the exploitation of vulnerable groups, particularly children. Ulman et al. (2015) consider these strategies have a real impact on human dignity and violate bioethical principles and individual values such as autonomy (Murphy et al., 2008), self-determination, confidentiality, and respect for privacy (Zuboff, 2019). These issues recall the "psychological rape of crowds by political propaganda" studied by Tchakhotine in 1952. 

Behaviorism, despite psychoanalysts' objections, is one of the most significant revolutions in psychology, economics, and politics. The father of this new perspective, John Broadus Watson (1913), immediately announced that consciousness could not be studied and introspection could only hinder the development of psychological theories. Undoubtedly, behavior is profitable for the economy, not the critical self, philosophy, or morality – also denied by the psychoanalytic approach – which risk hindering consumerist-productive-belligerent action in the context of unlimited and unreasonable capital accumulation. Watson was inspired by the principles of classical conditioning proposed by Pavlov (1927) and remains one of the main weapons (along with Skinner's operant conditioning, 1938) of economic-psychological warfare. Conditioning is also recognized for its effectiveness in cognitive-behavioral therapies. 

Additionally, Turel (2021) observes a strong association between frustration, reward, and risk. Animals adopt more dangerous behaviors when their perceived calorie needs are high, while humans take more financial risks when they perceive dissatisfaction with what they possess. This information is a boon for belligerent conditioning enthusiasts! Therefore, it is essential to maintain the individual, through exposure to myriad stimuli and conditionings, in a permanent, fractal, and transversal dissatisfaction (social, cultural, political, economic) that promotes the accumulation of objects and capital. Again, we are far from the ethical principles sometimes supported, but often deceitfully, by science and politics. Skinner (1971) himself later published *Beyond Freedom and Dignity*, questioning the potential violations of his historical concepts on freedom and human dignity and their use by public authorities not to organize society in respect of ethical principles. 

Returning to Freud, who advocated for the necessary development of individual autonomy and independence, how can we achieve this with so many economic unconscious predators applying what has been discovered as pathological in rats to gain capital with humans? Indeed, Terranova (2013) argues that rats, electrodes, imaging techniques, graphs, computers, artificial intelligence, and augmented-modified humans could be linked by a chain depicting the mad logic of capitalism actively working to alter our brains' neural structure. This again recalls the war described by Alliez and Lazzarato (2016), also played out at the micropolitical level through "molecular engineering." Regarding neural modifications, the constructivist approach (Quartz and Sejnowski, 2010) postulates that our environment not only produces genetic and epigenetic changes but also influences, through dynamic interactions, neuronal growth and activity. Squire and Kandel (2005), among many others, demonstrate the plasticity of synaptic connections and memory, modifiable by learning activities and exposure to external stimuli (increasingly invasive and conditioning). For these authors, sensitization to certain stimuli is linked to strengthening neuronal synapses that promote learning the characteristics of dangerous or threatening stimuli. Fear is therefore crucial in this learning dynamic. 

In the belligerent landscape we study, emotions represent the most fruitful goldmine of psychological colonialism and consensual anthropo-cybercrime, gradually transforming us into a psycho-somatic minefield where CPW occurs. For Freud, the drive cannot exist without its essential constituents: affect (emotion) and representation (memory of a stimulus, object, person, etc.). It is essential to note, to better understand CPW's modus operandi, that according to Adolphs and Anderson (2018), "emotions are decoupled reflexes" (p. 18) resulting in "blocks" of emotional constructions similar to reflexes but that can be displaced onto different situations. This point is crucial because the manipulations we highlight graft onto the reflex arc, representing another monstrous advance in capital war. 

Among the most profitable emotions for limbic capitalism (Courtwright, 2019) that diverts and denatures bio-psychological systems related to pleasure and motivation, fear seems to occupy a central place. Therefore, it is crucial to identify, nourish, strengthen the synapses associated with it, and program it artificially as long as it can be incorporated into rapid cognitive processes (Damasio, 1994) that do not require passing through consciousness and knowledge. AI reprograms what is biologically programmed: our priority attention to certain stimuli from the external world and our body, prisoners of addiction and the fight-flight-freeze triad. Fear and the cascade of bio-psycho-chemical reactions it entails suppose the identification, by fundamental sensory cortices, of crucial traits of an entity associated with a risk. This is followed by an innate first response and a second, modifiable-exploitable, based on acquired experience and our interaction history with the (insidiously belligerent) environment and its conditionings that contribute to neuronal constructivism. The exploitation and modification of human nature offer, thanks to the accumulation of these strategies for operational research and development, dizzying possibilities of enrolling all populations in total war. These possibilities escape human reason and intelligence and are automatically repressed due to the anxieties they cause. We will see below that repression is also a massive source of capital. 

"The war machine of capital is the engine of this science of organization and operational research tending to abolish disciplinary boundaries by producing hybrids between 'pure' mathematics (which become foundational), hard sciences (with their monumental equipment that can only be shared: the birth of Big Science), engineering, and social sciences (falling under the control of 'behavioral sciences' and cognitive psychology: behaviorism)" (Alliez, Lazzarato, 2016, p. 259). 

 

We know that the social dimension and its digital social networks are also one of the most powerful weapons of CPW. Harris (1977) lists four theories on the origin of war: 

  1. War as a social cohesion factor: rallying behind the superior destiny of the homeland; making a sacred union and supporting the best defender. 

  2. War as a game: linked to the sale of millions of war video games and the addiction these practices induce. 

  3. War as a co-substantial product of human nature: history confirms this theory. 

  4. War as a continuation of politics: related to the inseparability of war-capital-politics developed by Alliez and Lazzarato (2016). 

Regarding the first theory mentioned by Harris, for the French population, for example, is the best defender of the "homeland" Emmanuel Macron (who announced "We are at war" at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic-syndemic12) or Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Meta? Recall that Meta has nearly 3 billion active monthly users for Facebook, 1.3 billion for Instagram, and WhatsApp is used by 25% of the world's population. What is the relevance of the notion of "homeland" in the face of the globalization of influence powers that only annihilate local politics and values? What becomes of social cohesion in this monstrous network of posthuman and viral influences? 

Frances Haugen (Vaidhyanathan, 2021), engineer and whistleblower, former Meta employee, disclosed tens of thousands of internal company documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Wall Street Journal in 2021. The documents showed that the company knew, through internal research, that its applications led to increased suicide rates among young girls: "We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls," read a slide from an internal researchers' presentation in 2019. Yet nothing was done to stop this highly profitable adolescent genocide! According to Statista: 

"In 2021, 84% of respondents used Instagram, compared to 64% in 2017, a 20-point increase in 5 years. The number of young users has been steadily increasing since 2017 and exceeded 80% in 2019. The platform remains the most used social network by young people, ahead of Snapchat and TikTok." 

If one in three teenage girls is at risk, and we only consider Instagram use (excluding TikTok or Snapchat effects and more broadly the internet and its propaganda), it is not difficult to estimate the destruction of the young generation with impunity (not to mention the effects on adults). Meta is also accused of slavery, hate advertising, human trafficking, lack of data protection, lobbying, promoting racial and far-right content, etc. 

The endangerment of young people (especially girls) is just one of the many examples of the deadly effects of war within the social matrix using necropolitical logics (Mbembé, 2019) allowing optimal capital extraction through social and political power dictating how certain people can live and how others can die. Authorities adept at necropolitics contribute (confirmed by the absence of genuine public policies to stop this genocide and the destruction of family and social bonds) to the irresponsibility and depoliticization of those who lead to annihilation or murder. Of course, there is no necro-economic war without victims! 

Cybercapitalism's unprecedented social network war occurs via (Poenaru, 2023): 

  1. Exploitation of social "cohesion". 

  2. Emotional and viral contamination by algorithms favoring the publication of extreme content. 

  3. Social pressure multiplied by the exponential number of users. 

  4. Hypnotic sequence of content (permeabilizing the unconscious and making it available, faced with uncertainty and chaos, for the injection of propaganda codes), making individuals even more sensitive to social influence (Johnson, Hashtroudi, Lindsay, 1993). 

  5. Permanent modification of memory traces subjected, due to sensory bombardment, to continuous rearrangements and reconsolidations. 

  6. Hypermnestic effect created by deadly-anxious content, addiction, opponent processes, and their traumatic nature. 

The aberrant and gigantic consequences of digital social influence and programmed psychic colonialism are still insufficiently evaluated and considered in clinical perspectives. However, as suggested by Singer and Brooking (2018): 

"These new wars are not won by missiles and bombs, but by those who can shape the narratives that frame our understanding, provoke responses that drive us to action, connect with us at the most personal level, create a sense of camaraderie, and organize to do all this on a global scale, over and over again" (Singer and Brooking, 2018, p. 21). 

  

 

PATHOLOGIES OF WAR AGAINST ONESELF 

 

The multifaceted, multifactorial, fractal, and transversal psychological war we study, resulting from progress and necropolitics, gives rise to a belligerent typology that, by default, falls under the radar of clinical psychology and psychiatry research: the war against oneself. Yet, many medical specialties address its somatic form: autoimmune diseases. Maté (2022) suggests it is clearly an "internal civil war": 

  

"Scleroderma17 is one of eighty related diseases classified as autoimmune, each representing a virtual civil war within the body. Indeed, autoimmunity equals an assault by a person's immune system against the body it should defend" (Maté, 2022, p. 69-70). 

An autoimmune disease is a type of disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues and organs, considering them foreign or harmful invaders. The immune system is responsible for defending the body against infections and pathogens; in autoimmune diseases, it "errs" and targets healthy tissues. Autoimmune diseases are a leading cause of death among young and middle-aged women in the United States (Cooper, Stroehla, 2003). In recent decades, there has been a significant increase in these diseases (Vargas-Parada, 2021), although epidemiological data may also be related to changes in diagnosis and reporting of these diseases. 

It is interesting to note that stress alters the body's autoimmune response. Pruett (2003), among many researchers, notes that there is now irrefutable evidence that stress responses can cause clinically relevant immunosuppression and other types of immune system dysfunctions. The production and action of stress mediators are primarily responsible for the observed immunological effects. High and prolonged stress may lead to a blunted response of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. There is also a link between HPA axis dysregulation, inflammation, and resulting autoimmune response. 

"Many factors can intertwine and induce a breakdown of self-tolerance leading to autoimmune diseases (AID). Stress is one of them. It activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the autonomic nervous system, causing glucocorticoid (GC) and catecholamine secretion aimed at restoring balance that pre-existed the stressful event. However, the long-term effects of stress lead to decreased cellular immunity and stimulation of humoral immunity, which can increase susceptibility to infectious, tumoral, or autoimmune diseases" (Delévaux, Chamoux, Aumaître, 2013, p. 487). 

The World Health Organization (Friedli, 2009) examines the influence of prolonged psychological stress, even of low intensity, on the hyperactivation of neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, and immunological systems. According to this report, there is a link between cortisol (stress hormone) production and the development of chronic conditions such as coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, medical conditions, and mental illnesses. Jones and Gwenin (2020) show a notable effect of emotional stress on biological processes involved in heart disease. Overexposure to cortisol leads to cell desensitization, causing vascular inflammation, carotid artery plaque formation, atherosclerosis progression, and cardiovascular disease development. 

Regarding the psychological aspect of the war against oneself, epidemiological data indicate a significant increase in suicides, self-harming acts (self-mutilations), and self-image degradation. Experts explain this evolution by the Covid-19 pandemic, which altered social and family relationships and generated uncertainties about the future of younger generations. They fail to mention another factor: the pandemic pushed humanity into "all-digital," meaning a significant increase in screen time and thus exposure to capital war and strategies of denaturation-exploitation of human nature, instincts, and reflexes discussed earlier. Experts also repress the sharp rise in psychiatric disorders among young people (and adults) long before the pandemic. 

Jean Twenge (2017, 2020) discovered before the pandemic, examining an ongoing longitudinal study in the United States, that girls aged 12-14 were three times more likely to commit suicide in 2015 compared to 2007. Twenge links these data to the introduction of the iPhone (and more broadly smartphones) and emphasizes an increasingly deadly digital environment, leading to a significant decline in social interactions and an explosion of depressive and helpless symptoms among adolescents. Paradoxically, advances in medical knowledge and technologies over the past 20 years have led to an increase in children living with some form of chronic illness; prevalence rates in developed countries indicate that 27% of children aged 5-14 in Australia and 26% in the United States live with a form of long-term chronic illness (Kish, Newcombe, and Haslam, 2018). 

In addition to the tripling of youth suicides between 2007 and 2015, Twenge et al. (2022) note a substantial increase, starting in 2012, in depression and anxiety among adolescents, but also across the entire population: 

"Given the magnitude of the association between digital media use and deteriorating mental health found in the three large data sets we analyzed, it seems plausible that the increase in digital media use could be responsible for the substantial increases in depression and anxiety among adolescents that began around 2012. However, since these increases in mental health problems occurred at the population level, future research should explore how social media has changed the collective dynamics of social interaction. (...) Why did the rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicide attempts start to increase among adolescents around 2012? For now, social media should remain on the list of possible explanations" (Twenge, Haidt, Lozano, Cummins, 2022). 

If there is an obvious link between stress and autoimmune diseases ("civil war" within oneself), what is the bio-psycho-somatic and chemical outcome of the neuro-cognitive-behavioral and emotional manipulations mentioned earlier, which are based on stress and fear increasing individual needs to enroll in CPW? The paradox of stimulations, polarizations, anxieties, and induced effects by this dictatorial regime seems to trap the subject in a vicious circle of indistinguishable rewards and aggressions; it forces individuals into continual readaptations to cope with all kinds of accelerations, the social stress causing neurovascular pathologies responsible for depression (Ménard et al., 2017). Moreover, one can imagine that new generations inherit specific genetic stress linked to their parents' consumption-production stress. The genetic and epigenetic transmission of stress (Zaidan, Leshem, Gaisler-Salomon, 2013) demonstrates, beyond genetics, that stress and anxiety alter epigenetics or how genes are expressed. 

If we accept the relevance of the hypothesis of permanent injection of "non-self" objects by extractivist-inoculist CPW and that these objects are recognized and treated by psycho-somatic mechanisms as invaders-predators-parasites, it seems evident that an internal war is declared within oneself in an equally automatic and reflexive attempt to defend and eliminate these pathogens disrupting psycho-physiological homeostasis. Because we have been forcibly and unknowingly enlisted in an imperceptible war that, based on epidemiological data and self-attacks, wreaks havoc like all wars, also (if not more so) among dominant army soldiers in Western countries. 

"(...) neo-Nazis of all stripes embody the suicidal subjectivation of the capitalist 'destruction mode.' It is also the final scene of the return of colonial repression (...). Endocolonization thus becomes the generalized mode of conjugation of the 'topical' violence of the most intensive domination of capitalism over populations" (Allize, Lazzarato, 2016, p. 30). 

The Lancet (Geoffroy & al., 2022) and numerous recent articles report an increasing number of suicide deaths and emergency visits for suicidal ideation and self-harm among children. A French report by the Haut conseil de la famille, de l’enfance et de l’âge (202319) warns, based on prospective and cross-cutting expertise, of an urgent public health issue: the psychological suffering of young people and the exponential increase in psychotropic medication consumption (well beyond regulatory frameworks and international scientific consensus). In Switzerland, the *Job Stress Index 202220* announces: "The proportion of active people feeling emotionally exhausted exceeds 30% for the first time since 2014, with a rate of 30.3%." 

Is capitalism so mutilating and self-mutilating? Does the proliferation of prosthetics, information saturation, and invasion of our bodies and brains produce an intolerable amputation and dispossession of oneself, one's self, to urgently reconfigure into an augmented-destroyed posthuman for CPW? Is falling ill an attempt to reclaim one's authentic self and the only way to desert the battlefield? 

  

 

PSY FUNCTION CLINIC 

 

CPW's clinic suffers from massive and consensual repression of many factors responsible for contemporary pathologies. The lack of knowledge induced by propaganda and dominant powers – which, from a Marxist perspective, determine the dominant thoughts of an era – means that we do not know that we receive in our consultations traumatized soldiers of economic war and individuals whose right to dignity, autonomy, and self-determination is not respected. Indeed, the first principle of the Code of Ethics for Psychotherapy Professionals (at least in Switzerland) refers to the "respect for the rights and dignity of the person": 

"Members respect and protect the fundamental rights, dignity, and value of all human beings. They particularly respect their right to autonomy and self-determination, confidentiality, and respect for privacy" (Swiss Federation of Psychologists21, p. 16). 

This principle, articulated with the above, raises many questions. It is likely that in our practices, we fall into one of the most dramatic blind spots of clinical psychology and psychiatry. How do we respect fundamental rights if they are not part of clinical theory and we are unaware (in the sense that we do not know they are not respected by dominant powers or that patients suffer from them)? Does this principle mean that we ourselves must respect human rights even though the socio-political-economic context does not? How do we respect them if we are complicit with CPW and are ourselves soldiers (or officers?) of this war? Should we at least address the consequences to help patients make sense of their suffering? To paraphrase Deleuze and Guattari (1972), by our profession, do we attempt to deterritorialize the psychic apparatus from the captivity of the nuclear family and its traumas generated by the same war (promising emancipation, maturation, autonomy, freedom of expression) to reterritorialize it through CPW's psychic colonialism to make better soldiers? 

We have enough evidence that global CPW, which has subjected all governments and societies to its logics and capital dictatorship, does not respect human rights, human dignity (Ulman et al., 2015), autonomy (Murphy et al., 2008), self-determination, or privacy (Zuboff, 2019; Wylie, 2019). Skinner (1971) himself, the scientist who theorized one of CPW's most used concepts, operant conditioning, acknowledges the potential violations of his concepts on freedom and human dignity. 

For Alliez and Lazzarato (2016), inspired by Foucault's concept of "biopower" (Foucault, 1976), "psy knowledge" is part of the "surpowers" exercised for individuals' correction, via medical-psychological knowledge, within the generalized civil war governing families, favoring the strategic (not ideological) connection of the popular family to the bourgeois family: 

"When the modern family fails to fulfill its normalization functions guaranteed by the concrete arrangement of domination relations within it, when an individual proves unable to follow school discipline or that of the factory, the army, or prison, the 'psy function' will then intervene, not directly as a power (disciplinary), but as a knowledge (medical) of intimate pathologies aiming at behavioral correction. Thus, another type of power, or 'surpower,' whose apparatus will contribute to the broader reproduction of individuals as subjects and subjects to truth discourses" (Alliez, Lazzarato, 2016, p. 138-139). 

The elaboration and theorization of repressions are at the heart of the psychoanalytic therapeutic approach. In the Freudian perspective, the unconscious contains desires and repressions invested by the libido and governed by the pleasure principle, while a set of affections is due to individuals having repressed certain representations and conflicting memories charged with intolerable affects, as well as wishes built upon them (Freud, 1907). In 1915 (in *The Unconscious*), Freud argues that the original repression contains the first and true object investments based on psycho-erotic-affective relationships (whose prototype is represented by the primary mother-baby relationship). With the concept of machinic unconscious, Guattari (1979) provokes dialectics by supposing that material, biological, and social arrangements can "machine" their own fate and create complex heterogeneous universes that help us understand how the most intimate desire can communicate with the social field. 

How should we understand and theorize repression within the economic unconscious if it is both the engine and the voluntary-involuntary unknowable enigma? Is repression as the engine of the psychic apparatus and modern life not the most exploited defense mechanism by capitalism? If we accept the concept of priming22 contributing to successive repressions and conditionings, memories are to be integrated into a commercialized vicious circle by cybercapitalism. For the more intolerable the anxieties and affects generated by confrontation with oneself and one's environment, the more significant the socio-cognitive conflict23 (loss of social and financial capital, fear of exclusion and self-image degradation), and the more this promotes the repression of representations currently saturating the psychic apparatus. How do we theoretically and clinically elaborate what escapes both patients and clinicians and is at the root of many pathologies? Should we develop a psychagogy24 allowing individuals to desert the CPW field and redefine the values and philosophy of an alternative and pacifist existence? 

The Critical Ego (Poenaru, 2022) has not been the subject of psychoanalytic theorization either. Freud considers the Ego (one of the three instances, along with the Id and Superego, in his second topography) as a fundamentally dependent entity, in a defensive-compulsive struggle with an internal and external reality currently co-modified by its own unconscious contributions linked to its own repressions and internalizations (transformed into instincts and anxieties). Freud prepares, in his way, the submission of the modern individual and seems to eliminate at the same time any possibility of revolt, disobedience, and agency by offering 20th and 21st-century politics tools for the consensual subjugation of populations. Could the Critical Self be a possible answer to the questions Einstein poses to Freud (Einstein, Freud, 1933)? Could it be a viable alternative to reduce the masses' frenzy and self-sacrifice and a form of resistance against psychoses of hatred and annihilation? 

We do not have all the answers, but it seems urgent to work, in clinical settings as in theoretical elaborations, on defusing the psychological minefield scattered by total war and developing a Self aware of the series of repressions and conflicts we have examined. This theoretical and clinical focus could offer individuals paths for mentalization that reconfigure latent contents and re-fluidify vital flows territorialized-sclerotized by the production of consumable-consumerist-productive subjectivities. In this perspective, it is equally urgent to elaborate on the subtlety of early stimuli, conditionings, and reflex arc parasitism, but also transgenerational childhood traumas and their possible links with the denaturations exerted by CPW on the nuclear family now under the control of corporate fathers. 

For all these reasons, it is imperative that health professionals participate in public debates (but isn't this the duty of every scientist?) with the aim of contributing, through their knowledge articulated with a more than worrying health and social reality, to real political decisions that protect current and future generations from the ravages of total war. It is also essential to address moral values such as human dignity, altruism (as a counter-individualism), humility, or simplicity (returning to fundamental needs in rupture with commodity fetishism, accumulation, and alienation) not to live in frustration (as propaganda or our recorded conditionings teach us), but to reterritorialize vital flows, rediscover life's multi-dimensionality and infinity (which are so many riches). 

What degrades and destroys us the most: ambivalent parents, loving and neglectful at the same time, or a society that does everything to undermine us and make us lose our dignity, transform us into soldiers of total and democratic war, and reduce us to a stimulus-response couple, locking us for life in a speculative bubble whose filters are decided by the injection-modification-extraction trio?

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