Modern Russian reality is something between the virtual life of a smartphone and what is seen “out of the window”. Staged in this way, artificial reality blocks three basic human motivations: competence, autonomy, and attachment. Instead, the Russians received uncertainty in their own sensory experience and the effect of false participation in the “great idea”.
This reality constantly flows from one type to another: one time it may be more fictional, but the next day it is more real, just like the prices of groceries in a store. Then again change from real to unreal “the Third World War is going on in Ukraine”, etc. And so every day. The real ground was knocked out from under the people's feet. The constructed Russian myth does not have a sensual and emotional experience in the reality surrounding a person. The new experience is unreliable, people cannot rely on it, and the reliable things are only the ones from the past.
What was in the past?
There was only something that for years has been slipped to the layman, inexperienced in psychological games. Everyday experience constantly changes from one kind to another, back and forth. “The West is lying”, “local politicians do not agree”, “prices are rising”, and “China wants to kill everyone with the help of the coronavirus”. These and many other narratives are deliberately introduced into the daily news broadcast.
These narratives easily affect the already shattered psyche, which is less and less resistant to harmful influences from outside. Accepting any of these narratives gives a “calming” effect. This provides an explanation for ordinary Russians why “such a rich country like Russia lives so poorly”. A person needs to do something irrational, emotionally justified, to get a clear answer.
In this case, symbolic sacrifice is the only possible way out: go to the light side through an irrational tribute to the dark side. But in the opposite direction. In Russia in the 21st century, everything is now the other way around. Only such conditions can revive the image of the “Orthodox hero”. In the 1990s, Russia did everything “like in the West”. But what did it lead to? Corruption, ruin, and humiliation. Now the “hero” will do the opposite but in a “correct” way. He was reborn from the ashes in order to turn all the insults and excesses of Western influence on Russia into ashes.
(It is not for nothing that they have always tried to create an aura of a young and strong politician around the image of Putin, and the supreme patriarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church blessed him for the feat of the victim).
Such a semi-real reality does not develop on its own, as ordinary Russians would like it. This is not a law of the development of history or society. The new myth is the result of direct intervention in events and manipulation of mass consciousness. The “Orthodox revival” has its masters. And they know exactly how to further manipulate the reality created for the population. Here, symbolic sacrifices become sacred, and real ones become symbolic. And they know this for sure.
Quasi-reality for an ordinary Russian
For modern Russia, the entire past history is so far a threshold to the future. If such a future twisted by the Russian myth is possible, it will shake the foundations of the Western free world much more than the awareness that the Earth is round and “hangs” in space no one knows where.
Within the framework of such an alternative reality, created by central propaganda, when the Russian special services themselves blow up factories and warehouses on the border with Ukraine, the reality becomes “justified” for the Russian mass consumer.
The world around them is clear and explained. Whether the world is good or not, it is not for them to judge. Everything bad in it is a third-party influence, and everything that already happened in the past is good. There is no question here if the surrounding world is real for Russians. They face another question: to what extent sacred sacrifice (both Russians and outsiders) is sufficient to justify a new mythical reality. Their current reality is very confusing for an outside observer. There, already exist their own heroes, social connections, and real duties, which from the outside turn out to be just another criminal and lawlessness. But not within the framework of the myth.
Myth creates its own rules. The main thing that attracts Russians to the new reality is the need for its existence. Imposed by the Kremlin, today this necessity is presented as the only possible way of survival for everything which is “Russian, Orthodox, and sacred”.
The war is going on in their country already! Even though it is only imaginary and it comes only from the Kremlin, which is even more striving to centralize power and channel information sources. The transfer of virtual warfare from TV screens to the real world gives it significance. So the war acquires a sacred meaning. But it should not be universal - some Russians are spectators, and others are participants. If everyone is a participant, then the TV will lose its meaning. If everyone is a spectator, then the war will remain virtual, not as significant as it is necessary for the authorities in the Kremlin.
A world full of devastation, corruption, violence, and self-will turned out to be not virtual, not on television, but real. Such a world has become the property of each Russian. Now not only oligarchs, politicians, and deputies are involved in crimes and anti-democratic actions. Every Russian is a participant in the creation of a myth. The new myth and the future world will become common for everyone in Russia.
No one can take possession of themselves personally. The sacrifice will be collective, and therefore the future will be common even if the FSB intends to blow up weapons depots or military factories. In the future, there will be their own “Orthodox heroes” (and more than one hero: at least, this is what they hope for in Russia), but the new, revived world of “Russian greatness” will become common for everyone. Everyone is equal in it and everyone can become a hero or a victim. They, ordinary inhabitants, are no longer provided with the sources of existence of such a world. Economic or other sanctions are not real for Russians, they exist only in a world that has yet to be corrected or sacrificed.
They have become part of myth-making when the real is inextricably linked with the imaginary. Negative emotional reactions to the surrounding, and constantly changing reality can no longer harm the psyche. Moral and mental health is no longer under threat. Russia and all of its people are part of the “real” history that they themselves create every day. This is not a delusion for the Russians. They are participants in the “restoration” of the myth about Great Russia. It’s enough of weakness and evasions, as the Motherland will not tolerate this.
Like the ancient Colossus or the Phoenix, such a myth will rise again from the ashes. History repeats. Mythical perception of the world took up over reality. The compensatory function of the psyche has won. Russia is “really” fighting against fascism, and the ancient Orthodox hero is actually “reborn”. This reality is the only one of its kind – it’s Russian. Therefore, others cannot comprehend it as they are not involved in the virtual reality of what is happening. Sacrifice is the only way for all “non-Russians” to join the revival of the Colossus. Only the Colossus itself has feet of clay, while history tends to repeat itself.
What will happen when they wake up, resuscitate from an imaginary reality? What will be the reaction to the real world? Nobody knows. But one thing is clear: the failure of the Kremlin's creation of myths will lay the foundation for a future myths. Not only history is cyclical, but also the human psyche and its idea of the surrounding world. If the new world is explained within the familiar categories, it will become. The things, that already happened, are always good. This is a fairly common way of compensation and protection from the outside world that human uses.
So, the myth is debunked...
Long live the New Myth!
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1 month ago by Palina
Smh Belgorod citizens feel the war rather significantly but still don’t seem to doubt its purpose 🙃
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