Let us remember that in Orwell's novel 1984, when Winston Smith is found to
be in love with Julia, he has formed an inner life that excludes Big Brother.
In Big Brother's regime, this is forbidden.
Big Brother's enforcers intervene and destroy their love.
How Totalism Works -- Alexandra Stein
This entire article is worth a close look. Here are a few quotations.
Not all leaders want to get rich, gain sexual favours, or grab political power. But all want utter control over others. Money, sex, free labour or loyal combatants are all fringe benefits, and certainly most leaders take advantage of these, some in a big way. But absolute control over their relationships is the key....Meanwhile, the leader keeps the inner circle off-balance by sowing distrust, and promoting and demoting personnel seemingly at random.
People in totalist organisations are pressed so tightly together that their individuality is erased – as are any trusting interactions among them. Everyone is a ‘friend’ but true friendship is suppressed as a diversion from, and a threat to, attachment to the cause, the leader and the group. In fact, far from finding true comradeship or companionship, followers face a triple isolation: from the outside world, from each other within the closed system, and from their own internal dialogue, where clear thinking about the group might arise.
For a totalist system to wield complete control, the leader must tap fear – this is the fourth element of totalism. The process of brainwashing that totalist systems engage in is one of psychological, coercive manipulation where the leader or group alternates terror with ‘love’. Bowlby said that when we are frightened, we don’t simply run away from the fear, but run to a safe haven, ‘to someone…’ – and that someone is usually a person to whom we feel attached. But when the supposed safe haven is also the source of the fear, then running to that person is a failing strategy, causing the frightened person to freeze, trapped between approach and avoidance.
Mary Main, the renowned attachment researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, called this type of fear-based relationship ‘disorganised attachment’. This has a two-fold result: a confused emotional bonding to the source of fear in a failed attempt to seek comfort, and a cognitive dissociation, that is, the inability to think about one’s feelings.
Fear or stress without escape – ‘fright without solution’, as attachment researchers refer to it – is a traumatic state that derails a person’s ability to think logically and clearly about the situation and therefore to take action to resolve it. Further, never achieving safety from the threat, they will keep returning to the relationship trying to gain that safety. Having disabled logical thinking about the traumatic relationship, the leader can then introduce even more of the fictitious ideology to explain away and redirect the follower’s terror.
Once this fear-based control is in place, it is quite difficult to break: the follower’s dissociation and disorganised emotional attachment to the leader or group makes it extremely difficult to look clearly at what is happening. In fact, any attempt to do so only creates more fear, causing further disorganised bonding to the group to attempt to ease the stress
Different groups have different fear-arousing themes and methods: the oncoming apocalypse, fear of outsiders, fear of punishment, and exhaustion, among many other types of threatening strategies. But the leader is always the sole saviour, the one who will lead them away from (or through) the fear they are experiencing to a wonderful safety, to paradise, to a perfect, transformed world.
Isolating and fear-driven systems led by authoritarian figures yield deployable followers who override their own survival needs and autonomy in the service of the group. This creation of deployable followers is the fifth characteristic of such groups.