Memetic archetypes in information warfare

What the cultural chaos-patterns tell us about the far-right terror

“The passion for destruction is also a creative power.” Mikhail Bakunin, Russian anarchist

In the information noise created through aggressive building of social media algorithms, we can see the uncanny cognitive chaos, swallowing people like The Infinity War of Thanos. Our civilization was built on the cornerstone of truth, verification, evidence and superiority of science. Is there any hope to turn the chaos into consensus again or have we crossed the Rubicon and gone to war?

The eternal return

Those who chose the far-right ideology as a tool to overthrow democracy, share some similar patterns in their stories and cultural memes. Surprisingly, the way to destroy our roots of evidence-based thinking leads through archetypes of the opposite idea of Christianity.

Bannon and Surkov: two false prophets

By unravelling technological and narrative patterns, sooner or later you’ll come across two names. Vladislav Surkov and Stephen Bannon. Those two have something in common. They both spent part of their lives in the army, both studied business at the elite schools in their countries and then moved to dream factories, theatre and film. Bannon, too, has experience in the gaming industry. And they both ended up as the chief architects of the propaganda war machine, based on the military techniques of persuasion. Both have been able to create content that speaks to the collective demons we carry within, who speak to us in symbols of the inherited unconscious memory of our ancestors.

Becoming Tyler Durden

In the Jungian world, there is a shift between the Ego and the Shadow. A thin border between meaning and absurdity, between order and chaos. For traumatized people, there is nothing worse than to face the chaos, than the idea that their suffering was just coincidental, without meaning. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I see this pattern kept repeating, again and again, even my own friend who suffered a trauma from fire as a kid is now that kind of “esoteric freak” trying desperately find the answer: “Why me?”

The Destroyer

Just to understand the character, listen to what Tyler Durden says and why he became such a cult person:

Feed the Demons: The ultimate method

Banon and Surkov almost won. Their product was the awakening and feeding of our old destructive unconscious demons left us by philosophers of the eternal return (I wrote a whole political thriller around this story named Feed the Demons). Digging deep in the patterns of human behavioural psychology, the propaganda masters found a huge seductive power of violent destruction, which led the German people in 1933 to the new mystical hope of “being a part of something much bigger”. They both understood that people break every rule if offered a HIGHER PURPOSE to their meaningless monotonous lives. This is what propaganda does. In fact, it´s a substitute for religion or a missing sense of human value. Modern capitalism has nothing to offer except buying stuff or consuming amusement to make us addicted to the circle of emptiness. The people who stormed Capitol were maybe people with different sorts of trauma scraped by propaganda and PsyOp, but definitely not the “deplorables”. I saw a crowd of people seeking their purpose in life. And yes, states that fail to find that “meaning” are condemned to have their citizens “hacked” by foreign or domestic propagandists. Or both.

Alex Alvarova

Research of Russian disinfo, seminar leader and public speaker. Author of books on Information Warfare.

Author, columnist, political marketing expert. Vancouver B.C.