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In my previous four papers,(1) I have introduced the use of the concept of historical group fantasies as that part of my psychogenic theory which describes how the values produced by the evolution of parent-child relations are translated into historical movements. In this paper, historical group-fantasies are defined as those shared fantasies which are [1] massive displacements onto the public stage of feelings connected with the individual's search for love, [2] allowing people to use groups to relieve shared private feelings and [3] to act out and defend against re-pressed desires, rages and prohibitions which have their origins in childhoods common to the group, [4] using the same ego mechanisms of splitting, condensation, reaction formation, etc. as in personal fantasy formation, only [5] forged in public discussion [6] out of materials provided by recent historical events, [7] distributing group roles by psychoclass, and [8] producing group dynamics which can lead to a breakdown of group-fantasy, a period of paranoid collapse, and an attempted restitution through the formation of a group-delusion, [9] which result in a group-trance state which may require discharge in violent historical action.

Each of these points will receive extended empirical illustration during the course of this paper. First, however, in order that the concept of


historical group-fantasies may be distinguished from ones like "myth," ''group mind,'' and ''national character,'' I will briefly elaborate what I mean by each of the nine elements of my concept.

[1] "massive displacements of feelings onto the public stage connected with the individual 's search for love": That historical group-fantasies are displacements of private emotion onto the public stage has been commonplace ever since Freud wrote the world's first psychohistorical article on "Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of His Childhood" almost seven-ty years ago.(2) But that the core of these displacements always has to do with feelings produced by one's search for love-that the displacements are always from family to religion and politics-has not been equally as evident. Just as many psychotherapists still do not recognize that their task is to assist the patient "on a voyage of self-discovery toward the goal of love," as Reuben Fine puts it,(3) so too most historians still do not recognize that their subject matter involves emotions continuously being displaced from this same search for both the giving and receiving of love in the lives of those they study.

At first glance, although one can readily imagine people wanting to receive love from and to give love to a leader or a group, it is admittedly difficult to imagine how such violent historical events as wars and revolutions can be a result of an individual's search for love. Upon reflection, however, it is perhaps no more difficult than it once was in individual psychology to imagine murder and suicide to be part of one's search for love. It is only when the psychohistorian has a full realization of the overwhelming quantity of desperate clinging, inner emptiness and violent rage which have been the sad result of the loveless atmosphere in most families throughout history, that they can begin to appreciate the full force of the displacement of the drama of unfulfilled love, disillusionment and hostility onto the public stage.

Displacements from family to political and religious activity occur in two senses: (a) in the indirect sense that the kinds of personalities produced by the childrearing modes of each age ultimately determine the group-fantasies of a generation later, and (b) in the direct sense that the psychosexual conflicts between men and women, and between men and men, in any period of history are sources for the historical group-fantasies of that period, however distorted these erotic fantasies may appear in projected form in an historical event.

I have long been puzzled by the problem of the central moving force for change in historical group-fantasies. In previous papers I have used a working theory that the passage of time itself was sufficient to produce the decay and collapse of group-fantasies and the perception of the weakening of the fantasy-leader which my empirical research has revealed. My reasoning has been that since group-fantasies have such a large defensive function, they are inherently unstable, and, like personal


defensive structures, are subject to eventual breakdown due both to the return of the repressed and to the inability of reality to live up to the requirements of the fantasy content. This latter dynamic - - particularly the inability of the real leader to fulfill his fantasy-leader expectations emphasized the group's need to have the fantasy-leader provide magical nurturance, effortless solutions to its emotional needs and conflicts. Therefore, I have tended to view the leader-group relationship in my work to date within a more or less maternal, pre-oedipal theoretical structure.

My investigations into this pre-oedipal material in my previous four papers using the "failure of nurturant leader" model has led me to earlier and earlier imagery which I discovered in my historical material, until finally, in my "Jimmy Carter and American Fantasy" essay, in which I outlined a theory of group-fantasy stages moving from "strong," "cracking," and "collapse" to "upheaval," I suggested that these stages paralleled the stages of the earliest pre-oedipal period of infancy: birth. The more I work with the historical evidence, however, the more I see that this parallel with birth stages is only part of a more complex picture. These four group-fantasy stages - - which I initially found empirically in the historical material - - have a validity all their own over and above the birth metaphor, summarizing the basic feeling tones of the historical group as its confidence in their fantasy-leader moves toward collapse. The imagery of rebirth which I found can now be set in a more comprehensive framework. It is not so much a question of whether or not birth imagery is present in historical material. It is there in quantity, and no psychohistorian can afford to ignore desires for rebirth in historical groups. It is, however, more a question of what meaning it has, what function it plays within the group dynamics. Beginning with the "collapse" stage of the group-fantasy, the reason that there is always a proliferation of violent birth imagery-just as there is an upsurge in violent oral, anal and oedipal imagery-is because the containing group-fantasy, which had previously bound and defended against the repressed material, has collapsed.

Even though my previous excursions into early pre-oedipal material were useful in identifying the symbolic content of the regressive phases of historical group-fantasies, still the limitation in the working model in previous papers retained its emphasis on the maternal, nurturant leader-group relationship. As one trained in Freudian psychoanalysis, I have often asked myself "Where is the oedipus complex in history?" There are no obvious mothers to gain and fathers to kill in religion and politics, and history does not appear to be overtly erotic. At most, if all enemies, internal or external, are seen as fathers, there are only fathers in politics. (And only mothers in religion?) The situation seemed confusing to me for a long time. It was only when I questioned the central model of the


leader primarily as nurturer-and the traditional model of politics as the distribution of goods-that I recently have moved to a more comprehensive model, one which would contain its own group-fantasy dynamics beyond the notion of "natural decay of nurturance."

The solution is not difficult to find once the correct question is asked, which is: "If the various pre-oedipal nurturance roles are positions which historical groups are found to regress to, what are they regressing from?" The answer is, as it is with individual neurosis, the oedipal conflict itself.

But who is the father and who is the mother in historical group-fantasies? The answer is perhaps not so obvious, and will take the rest of this paper to begin to examine. I now believe that the fantasy-leader is usually the imagined father and the group itself is usually the mother in group dynamics. The central force in the movement of group-fantasy from one stage to another-which is to say the ultimate source of the movement of history itself - is therefore the continuous displacement of erotic fantasies, including pre-oedipal fantasies, organized by the oedipal drama of the killing of the leader-as-father to win the group-as-mother.

Whether or not the leader was somehow chosen by the group or whether he is said to rule "by force" is beside the point. Even if he is chosen, he is chosen to be deposed, or, more accurately, to handle the inevitable disillusionment and hatred somehow, whether through heroic defensive postures, through displacement of the rage onto enemies, or through his own symbolic death. It is also of no consequence that the individual members can in no real sense be said to be able to really "win" the group-as-mother. The leader-father is perceived as "owning" the group-mother, and every effort of every individual acting in history is influenced by this central group-fantasy and its consequences. The buildup of disillusionment and rage toward the fantasy-leader is the cause of the eventual collapse of the effective group-fantasy and the source of the leader's perceived weakening, and is avoided only when he does something to increase his apparent power over the group, to appear as its heroic savior, or to deflect this rage from himself onto others.

The various choices which fantasy-leaders and historical groups make in attempting to solve personal emotional problems with historical action will be the focus of the later empirical sections of this paper. What I would like to emphasize in this opening theoretical section is the strange role the leader plays in this psychogenic model of historical group-fantasy. Whereas in the most common model of history, that of political science, the leader is conceived of primarily as a source of power, and whereas in sociology the leader is conceived of as a distributor of nurturance, in my psychogenic model these two roles are both present but only as regression positions, only secondarily important within the primary drama of containment of and defenses against oedipal conflicts.


Both power and nurturance roles therefore vary in history according to the evolutionary stage which the group-fantasy has reached - - which is to say, according to the specific form of erotic life at each historical stage.

A more precise description of these changes of form of historical group-fantasies will become evident later in this paper. First, I want to make one more remark about the emotional task of the fantasy-leader. Even though the leader must be masochistic enough to take on the continuous oedipal hatred of the individuals within the group, he must also be sadistic enough both to be able to identify with the group's hatred of himself and also to be able to convince the group it should displace some of its rage onto others. This displacement, of course, often includes the assumption by the leader of responsibility for the most destructive actions human beings can undertake, so that the sadism normally found in each of us is not really sufficient to make an effective historical fantasy-leader. In addition, the leader must find enough gratification in "crazy" thought and action to allow himself to be a receptacle for the continuous psychotic projections of the group, including various levels of unreality, splitting, paranoid suspicion, grandiosity, violent rage and other forms of psychotic anxiety. The only thing a fantasy-leader need not be is mature. Leaders every day are "successful" though extremely disturbed emotionally-witness the Napoleons and Stalins of every age in every country.

As I shall describe in a later section, the fact that the changing forms of erotic life in each historical age determines the group-fantasies of the age means that one of the most important tasks of psychohistory is to ex-amine the precise level of relations between the sexes attained by evolving historical personalities for each group and age. Even though this psychohistory of sex has yet to be written, there is enough material already available to see something of how the evolution of sexual attitudes are projected into historical material. Each forward step in sexual relations between men and women-whether it is the new idealization of women in medieval courtly love, the attempts to explore sexuality within marriage in early modern times, the changes in the family produced by the Victorian women's rights movements or the emotional effects of the contemporary feminist movements-all are sources of the anxieties, desires, rages and guilts projected onto the political and religious spheres in each period. This is to say, the sexual relations of each age and group are indicators of and indeed effects of the higher and higher levels of solutions to the conflicts posed by the oedipus complex within continuously more evolved childrearing modes. The same, of course, holds for the psychohistory of homosexual feelings, a subject even more hidden, but crucial to the understanding of all power relationships between men. In fact, the study of "power" in history turns out to be less a matter of armies and more a question of the degree and form within which


each age arranges the homosexual surrender of resources by the majority to the few - - a subject which is part of the psychohistory of sex, not force.

The psychogenic theory of historical group-fantasies exactly reverses the direction of the casual arrow assumed in other theories of history with respect to the relationship between private love and hate and social institutions. Rather than private emotions "reflecting" the economic or social "base" of the period, the psychogenic theory states they determine the economic and social forms of each age. For instance, social commentators from Friedrich Engels to Steven Marcus have said that the ownership of women by husbands was a reflection of the economic ownership of goods, and that sexual attitudes toward women which use capitalistic terms such as "saving" and "spending" were derived from the economic sphere. This seems to me to state the case precisely backward. What actually happens is that families teach growing children attitudes toward their bodies which make them fear their own sexuality so much that they construct a sexual code which teaches them to ''save up'' their desires (and secondarily their goods) until marriage. Later, as adults, they project these sexual attitudes onto the economic sphere and construct a group-fantasy of erotic materialism to help them master their individual sexual anxieties. Notions of "saving" and "spending" of a man's sperm can be found in the history of sexuality all the way back to Aristotle, and are thus hardly new to capitalism. What is modern is the group-fantasy that money is infused with sexual fantasy, and that schemes for the redistribution of money are used to relieve castration anxieties. In the real world, it is only in the sexual sphere where great numbers of people actually fight off a desire to "spend," real capitalists in fact rarely "save" to build up their capital as the capitalistic group-fantasy imagines them doing. Thus the casual arrow in fact runs from the psychosexual to the economic sphere, not the reverse.

The same principle holds, of course, for projections of oedipal conflicts, the love and hate of each age, onto other historical group-fantasies of the time. One of the central advantages of having historical group-fantasies in the first place is that using the historical stage for projection of one's intrapsychic conflicts affords the opportunity to use group divisions to gratify libidinal desires with the "good" section and to ventilate pent-up resentments against the "bad" section without any of the irritating ambivalences present in interpersonal relations.

All of these conditions relate to the psychohistorical discovery that the end result of all historical childrearing to date has been to produce adults who, in their personal lives to various degrees, severely condemn their own deepest feelings, and who then use historical groups for the simultaneous projection and condemnation of these feelings in other persons and groups. The ability of the psychohistorian to recognize this central importance of the displacement of love and hate into history allows him or


her to discover the consistencies behind the bewildering multiplicity of historical events, no matter how well they are disguised and distorted, and to locate in the symbols of each period-from Christ on the cross to the Hiroshima mushroom cloud-the erotic group-fantasies of the age. On the other hand, failure to recognize this central hidden theme can on-ly lead to the view that all historical events are unique and beyond the reach of scientific inquiry. The focus on displaced emotional conflicts also radically sets the psychohistorian apart from those whose emphasis in studying history is on the need for equilibrium within society (sociology), or on the concept of "culture" as cause (anthropology), or the notion that historical events are primarily caused by reactions to previous historical events (narrative history).

[2] "allowing people to use groups to relieve shared private feelings": One of the foundations of psychohistory is the principle that there are major psychological advantages to individuals to get together in groups and to form and act out group-fantasies - - advantages, that is, beyond those merely private fantasies can furnish. It is not sufficient for a psycho-historian just to recognize that participation in group life somehow produces new kinds of shared fantasies, because this formulation sidesteps the all-important question of exactly what the advantages are to individuals to form new groups in the first place.

That historical group-fantasies are absolutely essential to the psychic well-being of individuals is unquestionable. People stripped of important group-fantasies-even though their private fantasy systems remain intact - - nevertheless feel they are going crazy. The most dramatic examples, perhaps, are those found in anthropologists' accounts of groups who are suddenly "deculturated," who lose their rituals and beliefs through traumatic contact with Western or other cultures. This dramatic loss of traditional group-fantasies generally leads to such severe outbreaks of personal anxieties that new group-fantasies with apocalyptic and millenarian content are usually quickly formed to replace them.(5) It ap-pears that being without a set of group-fantasies is one of the most dangerous personal conditions which can be experienced.

For instance, Germans had lost wars before World War I, yet its end came so suddenly and unexpectedly that, as Binion's study shows, most Germans felt a "paralyzing terror," "a genuine panic," a "fearful moral breakdown" with "effects so catastrophic and consequences so fateful" that even the replacement group-fantasy of the "stab in the back" by internal enemies could not contain the outbreak of anxiety.(6) The sudden removal of the group-fantasy of German invincibility produced the traumatic effects, not simply the loss of the war, for other wars had been lost without producing severe group trauma. As Binion puts it:

Eloquent among the momentos of the defeat is this diary entry of 3


October 1918 by a German seaman: "We have lost the war as if overnight... the German people were completely in the dark about developments down there. Now all at once the crash comes..." Ar-resting testimony came from many a moral casualty of the crash. Thus Franz Schauwecker: "With one blow the most tremendous expectations were dispelled. Suddenly everything had been in vain. The world appeared senseless." Ernst Junger felt weak and vulnerable at first, then developed "symptoms that, as in a chronic illness, were now more, now less pronounced without ever vanishing entirely. Among them was a sense of constriction, of being tight pressed..."(7)

Thus it is the psychological rather than the material damage which groups experience which is felt as more dangerous, even though what are actually lost are "only fantasies."

It should be emphasized at this point that I in no way mean to imply that human history is "nothing but" projections of individual anxieties, or that history is determined solely by historical group-fantasies. Like all groups, historical groups have real work to do, aside from fantasy work, and this real work is determined very much by the material reality as well as the psychological reality of the moment. When a group has a plague or a volcanic eruption or a Mongol horde sweeping down upon it, these material events certainly effect the history of the group, and the sciences of epidemiology, vulcanology and demography will be consulted to provide the explanations for the causes of these events. What psychohistory can provide as an independent science of historical motivation through the theory of historical group-fantasies is the explanation of what level of response to different situations is possible by groups made up of different psychosexual levels, with different personalities, and different strengths, anxieties and solutions available to them. Whether psychological or material reality is "more important" at any one time in history depends on whether the eruption of Vesuvius or of the group's own group-fantasies is more imminent.

[3] "to act out and defend against repressed desires, rages and prohibitions which have their origins in childhoods common to the group:" That one of the main functions of historical group-fantasies is to handle repressed desires, rages and prohibitions rooted in childhood is possibly the most controversial part of the concept, for nothing seems more ob-vious to common-sense historians than that public adult historical events, not family matters, count most in producing the historical events they study. One nation is defeated in war by another, it then constructs a revenge fantasy... surely the military defeat caused the fantasy? Yet common sense is nonetheless false, for just as often military defeats do not produce revenge fantasies. It is only when a historical event is invested


with important unconscious tasks that it has later causal effects at all. (The same, of course, is true of personal events, for unless a childhood event, however "dramatic," is woven into a personal fantasy, powered by a wish, it has no effect on later life.) If a military defeat was not unconsciously linked to repressed rage from the purely personal sphere, people would not have national revenge fantasies at all, but would say to themselves simply, "Thank God that's over. Let's never have another terrible war.''

This is not to say that the outcome of historical events themselves "does not matter." It indeed did matter whether Germany won or lost World War I. The question is: How did it matter? What did it mean? Strictly speaking, saying that Germany's loss of World War I caused World War 11 is as misleading as saying a person's second marriage broke up because the first one did, when in fact both broke up for similar psychological reasons relating to the person's childhood, psychosexual development and present personality organization. Indeed, one of the most demanding yet most rewarding tasks of a psychohistorian is tracing the contents of historical group-fantasies to their roots in childhood and later developmental patterns common to members of the group-a task requiring an intimate knowledge of the details of the history of childhood for that specific group, empirical research into the typical range of psychosexual developments, careful biographical work on representative figures important in forging and acting out the group-fantasy, and a skill in tracing the connections between these family sources and the disguised contents of the historical group-fantasy itself.

[4] "using the same ego mechanisms of splitting, condensation, reaction formation, etc. as in personal fantasy formation": In order to decode historical group-fantasy, a psychohistorian must be thoroughly familiar with every single ego defense mechanism used to interpret private fantasies, dreams and myths, as described in psychoanalytic literature over the past eight decades-and even be able to discover a few new mechanisms used only in group-fantasy formation. Sometimes the distortions are transparent, at least to one not taking part in the group-fantasy-which is to say it is always easiest to analyze other people's fantasies when one does not share them. But most of the time it takes literally years of study to unmask the many levels of disguises that underlie seemingly simple but in fact highly condensed historical group-fantasies as "the Crusades," "witch-hunting," "the Divine Right of Kings," "Protestant martyrdom," "the Secession of the South," "the Dreyfus Affair," "the November criminals," "the Jewish poisoners," "the Cuban Missile Crisis," and so on. Moreover, historical group-fantasies are multiple, are related to each other, and - - like individual fantasies - - must be classified according to their psychological connections within the emotional life of the people who hold them.


[5] 'forged in public discussion": It is not enough for fantasies to be shared for them to be considered historical group-fantasies-they must also be formed over a period of time through public communication. A crowd on a beach may all at any one moment share a fantasy of making love in the sun, but this remains on the level of a private fantasy simply held simultaneously by many individuals. Group-fantasies can be seen to evolve over time, as different people in the group suggest variations, until the precise formulation is reached which best fits the unconscious needs of the largest number at that historical moment.

To those who are unaware of the enormous emotional stake which underlies such group-fantasy work, the discussions during the formation of historical group-fantasies seem patently ludicrous. My favorite prototype of the work that goes on during the formation period for a historical group-fantasy is the early christological controversies, such as those discussed at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D., as one watches the group hammer out the precise formulation of the image of the Christian deity which would satisfy the emotional needs of the time. Was Christ god or man; how did he suffer; how die; how separate was he from God; did he defecate; how was he born; was his mother's hymen intact after his birth; and so on - all anxiety-ridden questions involving intense personal childhood fantasies shared by the people of the time. Watching the discussions about whether or not Christ was "consubstantial after the flesh" is good practice in recognizing the similarly arcane, hair-splitting, but very important formation work going on in every group-fantasy's early stages.

It is, of course, the public character of this formation process which gives the psychohistorian the documentation needed to unravel conflicting emotional strands within the group-fantasy, for fights over minute distinctions early in the formation process often reveal unconscious conflicts which are smoothed over and thoroughly disguised in the final formulation. In our example, when the Nicene formula concludes that Christ is "one substance with us as regards his manhood" it would be difficult if not impossible to untangle the condensation of personal fantasies which lay behind this final formulation, as difficult as it is for the therapist to untangle the condensations of a dream without free associations. The psychohistorian often has voluminous documentation at hand which, like free associations, can reveal the fantasies and anxieties embedded in the final formulation-in this case, the whole history of the Arian controversy which preceded the Nicene formula.

Of course, to speak of "public discussion" which is conducted as a group-fantasy evolves is not to imply that the unconscious contents of the fantasy always appear clear or undisguised. As we shall see in detail shortly, group-fantasies are communicated in a hidden language, using emotionally powerful imagery, and using metaphors, similies, body


language and other emotion-laden words which are carefully enshrouded in enough defensive material to deny them entry into conscious awareness.

[6] "out of materials provided by recent historical events": The central tenet of the narrative historian - - that historical events are simply reac-tions to earlier historical events - - turns out to be precisely the main rationalization needed to sustain a group-fantasy. How obvious it is to everyone sharing the group-fantasy that countries are simply reacting to events "the only way they could have," and how difficult it is for the psychohistorian to demonstrate unconscious choice, hidden goals, motivated historical "mistakes." Historical "mistakes," like private "slips of the tongue," are motivated. Indeed, notions like "the mistake of Munich," repeated in every history of World War II, are part of the group-fantasy. It remains for the psychohistorian to invent a science of mistakes which can reveal their hidden motivations rather than accept the public opinion of the time.

Recent historical events, as has been said before, only gain emotional importance when woven into a developing group-fantasy. Without this, they pass like ripples in the sea, leaving no trace, no matter what their "real" importance is, until they are needed later for some new group-fantasy. People wonder why interest in the Holocaust, for instance, waxes and wanes as though fulfilling some hidden needs of each decade - but in fact this is the rule for all historical events, not the exception. This becomes most obvious when we deal with the history of a far earlier time (as everything in much earlier periods seems more obvious, since we have such vastly different childhoods now and therefore do not share their most basic group-fantasies).

When, for instance, the English concluded after 1066 that William's invasion was successful because God was angry at them for having sent away so many English babies to the Irish, we smile at their linking two historical events so absurdly. Yet we do the same thing every day ourselves in order to cover up the internal group-fantasy sources of our contemporary historical actions.

As just one recent instance, when word was received in America that North and South Korean troops were fighting at the 38th parallel, the conclusion that the North had unilaterally invaded the South at the command of the Russians seemed irresistible. Evidence to the contrary was simply ignored: that the North was not mobilized for war, that the South's President, Syngman Rhee, was about to be deposed by his legislature and had good reason to provoke war, that the Russians had just walked out of the U.N. Security Council and were obviously taken by surprise by the fighting - all were ignored in the "sense of relief and unity" which the new war provided America psychologically.(8) An American ally had been "attacked" - what choice had we but to "re-


spond"? That America had many choices, that in fact we actually helped cause the conflict to break out at that time through our announcement a few weeks earlier that Korea was now outside our defense perimeter, are unpleasant facts which are denied by the group-fantasy formulation of the attack as stimulus and our troop movements as response. Like all behaviorist thinking, however, this stimulus-response model of the world is designed to hide motivations, not reveal them; and it is the internal sources of our desire to go to war in Korea which are here being hidden by the standard "behaviorist" narrative historian.

[7] "distributing group roles by psychoclass": The historical drama produced by successive group-fantasy cycles involves the splitting up of various group roles, a splitting which I believe more accurately reflects psychological class (shared childrearing modes) than economic class. This approach runs counter to that assumed by all other major contem-porary theories of history. The psychogenic theory of history is based upon the main thesis that the evolution of childrearing modes within the family produces new historical personalities, that society at any one time is made up of several of these kinds of personalities, that the values of the most advanced psychoclass clash with those of the older psychoclasses, and that this value-clash is then reflected in the conflicts of each new historical group-fantasy. Within these dramas, historical roles are taken according to psychoclass, which only roughly coincides with economic class.

One example which might be mentioned in this respect would be in comparing the roles taken in the revolutions which form the early modern nation-state. In France, because eighteenth century childrearing tended to differ considerably by economic class, roles in the French Revolution split along economic class levels more than in any other country (and thus furnished Marx with the empirical basis for his economic theory of history). But in England, where differing childrearing patterns were more closely divided between different religious groups, the Civil War split more along religious than economic lines. In contrast, in the American Revolution, it is agreed that neither economics nor religion explains why individuals became rebel or royalist, so that one must actually study family by family the differing childhoods of the two groups to understand group roles. Finally, the American Civil War split between North and South not primarily because of economic interests, but because this geographical division most closely coincided with psychodass divisions-the North having been initially settled by advanced psychoclasses, mainly intact families escaping persecution for having advanced religious views, while the South was settled more by [1] single men, [2] later-born sons who were rejected by their families and who had poorer parenting than their first-born brothers, and [3] convicts, servants and other lower psychogenic mode personalities. Thus, even when, at first


glance, groups seem to be splitting along economic, religious or geographic lines, they are in fact taking roles by psychoclass.

Role-taking by psychoclass is, of course, the central finding in many studies in applied psychoanalysis ever since Adorno's Authoritarian Personality demonstrated the correlations between authoritarian childrearing and authoritarian political attitudes. Even so, a full theory of psychoclass as the basis for historical role-taking in every historical period has yet to be attempted - owing as much, I believe, to the difficulties in conceptualization of such a radical notion as to the lack of empirical evidence on historical childrearing and personality.(9)

In any case, my psychogenic theory conceives of history as a combination of the evolution of historical personality-which I view as progressive toward greater maturity-expressed in cycles of group-fantasy, together producing a spiral pattern of history rather than merely a linear or cyclical pattern, with each spiral representing attempts toward a more mature solu-tion to the problems of living together in groups. During each cycle, the more advanced psychoclass becomes the "liberals" of the period, identifying with the id (while denying its infantile content), fearing mainly separa-tion, and seeking security in revolt, while the less advanced psychoclass becomes the "conservatives," identifying with the superego (while denying its infantile content), fearing mainly gratifications, and seeking security in order. Each sub-group represent partial psychological truths, and together they split the emotional tasks of working out the group's historical problems.

[8] "producing group dynamics which can lead to a breakdown of group fantasy, a period of paranoid collapse, and an attempted restitution through the formation of a group-delusion": Since group-fantasies require that the fantasy-leader be under continuous attack for his possession of the group, and since the leader's attempts to counter these attacks through magical and heroic efforts to prop up his image are doomed to fail, every group-fantasy eventually reaches a "collapse" stage where the leader is experienced as being extremely weak, unable to nurture the country, and in-creasingly powerless to contain the growing rage and anxiety within, the group. This collapse of ego defenses releases previously bound material at all psychosexual levels, a condition within group development which parallels that which occurs in preparanoid individuals just prior to the formation of their paranoid delusion.(10) In preparanoid individuals it often happens that some new life situation removes an important authoritarian "leader" figure from the person's emotional life, someone who previously had served to direct, organize and give meaning to his or her life. This lack of direction and containment produces a collapse of structure in the individual - a collapse from which the new paranoid delusion itself is in effect an attempt at restitution.(11) This collapse of structure can be looked at productively from any one of a number of theroretical positions: as a col-


lapse of ego functions (Freud's disintegration anxiety), a collapse of self structure (Kohut's dread of self-dissolution), collapse of alpha-function (Bion's dispersal of contact-barrier), or collapse of womb-surround (Grof's Basic Perinatal Matrix stage 2). With historical groups, this "paranoid collapse" of an important group-fantasy produces an historical moment of extreme anxiety, narcissistic rage and confusion. Since one function of historical group-fantasies is to redistribute anxieties through historical role-taking, the collapse of the effective fantasy threatens both to release id and superego elements which it had previously bound and to produce a threat of total disintegration of the self. Objectless paranoid fears, often with religious apocalyptic overtones, sweep through the group. During this "paranoid collapse" period, fears of sexual license and of political anarchy appear most prominently; oral, anal and oedipal conflicts long hidden erupt into the public consciousness and language of public discourse; and rebirth and millennial fantasies proliferate.

These periods of "paranoid collapse" - during which group-fantasies of anarchy, sexual license and rebirth emerge in full bloom - are perhaps most clearly expressed in Reformation and early modern times. For instance, during the English Reformation, the collapse of Catholic mythology led to widespread fears that changes in ritual would produce widespread bouts of wild "beast-like carnal liberty" by anabaptists, anarchic violence by sacramentarians (many of whom were in fact pacifists) and so on.(12) Similarly, the English Civil War was prefaced by fears of the outbreak of adultery and incest, including millenarian rebirth fantasies among Fifth Monarchists and others,(13) the French Revolution was preceded by a paranoid "Great Fear,"(14) the American Revolution was prefaced by groundless conspiratorial fantasies on both sides, and so on. As I shall describe later in detail, every violent group-delusion in history is preceded by a "paranoid collapse" period, whether it is called a Popish Plot, a Gallic Peril, a Yellow Peril, Alien and Sedition Acts or a Communist purge. All perform the function of concretizing the objectless rages and anxieties of the group after the collapse of the group-fantasy

During this collapse period, groups often split into opposing camps even more hostile to each other than usual. Each sub-group claims the other is the real threat to order, hierarchy and authority, projects all id material onto the other group and itself identifies with the moralistic superego. At other times, minority millennial groups, often overtly bizarre in membership and purpose, are delegated the task of acting out the anxieties of this collapse period-groups which previously the larger society paid little attention to but which now capture widespread interest and even awe as delegates of the majority's emotional state. As the fantasy-leader appears at this stage to be extremely weak and helpless, these "crazy" delegate groups appear to be both uncontrollable and yet


somehow extremely meaningful-whether they are Nazi youth groups or Millerite millenarians or Bolshevik revolutionaries or McCarthyite paranoids, they are able to hypnotize the public body far beyond their tiny size, because they reflect the main emotional conflicts of the moment of paranoid collapse far better than does the more prosaic fantasy-leader.

One note of caution in regard to the period of paranoid collapse should be emphasized here: it has nothing to do with the periods of economic collapse, as most sociological theories have posited. In fact, economic recessions are almost always periods of decreased paranoid content, and leaders during periods of low economic activity are relatively inactive in foreign policy. It is only when a group's emotional values seem to have fallen apart that it looks for fantasy-leaders who are activists in foreign policy, who will provoke other nations in order to set up as many crisis areas as possible out of which new group-delusions may be formed in order to restore the group's psychological stability.

A group-delusion, then, is a more irrational and violent group-fantasy adopted by individuals in order to ward off feelings of paranoid collapse and to gain relief from what feels like an intolerable state of emotional dissonance between the relatively calm external world and the turmoil of their internal world. The intolerable ambivalence of the collapse stage is now avoided by splitting: the repressed narcissistic rage gets directed toward the enemy, while the unfulfilled love and grandiosity are projected onto the group itself. The country is now seen as infinitely precious and superior, but endangered from the outside, not from one's own hostility.

Given the central role of the removal of "sinful" feelings in group-delusions, it is no coincidence that they are so often conducted as crusades, for the Crusades of the Middle Ages are a paradigm of violent group actions conducted for the stated purpose of cleansing the soul of all sinsince Crusaders joined the movement with the promise that this would wash their souls of all sinfulness. The group-psychological pur-pose of group-delusions is in fact identical to that of all scapegoating and sacrifice in primitive and ancient societies: the purging of pollution and impurities (which is to say sexual and hostile wishes) through redirection toward substitute victims, a purification undertaken in order to restore group stability.(15)

Like the formation of an individual delusion, the formation of a group-delusion is always restitutional. Often, it is formed during one dramatic incident, one which might be termed a "moment of group-psychotic insight,"(16) when specific concrete enemies are suddenly perceived as the cause for one's present painful condition. The psychoanalyst O. A. Will has described this moment in the formation of the individual's paranoid delusion in these terms:


As communication fails, isolation increases, and the sufferer finds himself caught in a nightmare, driven by a feeling of urgency to make sense of the incomprehensible with which he is involved. He seeks a simple formula to make all clear, and if he is unfortunate he may elaborate the paranoid solution with its grandiosity, apportioning of blame, and chronic reformulation of the past and present to refind and protect a "system" that will reduce anxiety.(17)

This group-delusion then takes over and structures the needed authoritarian component of the old group-fantasy, only in a new, more fixed, less rational and more violent form. If the group-delusion focuses on an enemy external to the group and the group goes to war, the once-weak fantasy-leader is now seen as "tough," "fighting," while his hated oedipal aspects are split off into the external enemy. If the group-delusion turns to an enemy within the group itself, the leader can be "tough" in eradicating "Jewish poisoners," "internal Communist conspiracies," or "bourgeois enemies of the people." If the group-delusion is millennial, the group can unite under a "tough" messianic figure who will effectively split the world into those to be saved and those to be killed in the coming apocalypse. And if the group-delusion is regicidal, the old weak leader can be killed off, in reality or in fantasy, under the direction of a "tough" new revolutionary leader. In all cases, the group delusion allows the anxiety, confusion and ambivalence of the paranoid collapse to be relieved by establishing a new authoritarian figure to organize the group's fantasy activities-only now with more irrational components: more paranoid, more inflexible, more irreversible, more power-centered, more intolerant, more grandiose, more violent.

This "moment of group-psychotic insight" can occur over a long period of time with each of the delusional elements being worked out by different delegate groups(18) which have split off to develop the group-delusion. Alternately, the delusion can be formed rather quickly, particularly when the group has long been in search of a delusional solution to its condition of collapse. Assassinations, for instance, are favorite organizers of group-delusions. Whether they lead to war, like "the shot at Sarajevo," or to internal persecution, like the assassination of Vom Rath which produced Kristallnacht and intensified the persecution of Jews, assassinations occurring after an extended period of paranoid collapse produce the precise feeling of "Aha! I knew the enemy was real and not just in my head" which is necessary to justify the respective group-delusions of "Germany really is being strangled by enemies" and "Jews really are blood poisoners." Although the dramatic external event appears to trigger the delusional solution-as, for instance, when the burn-ing of the Reichstag was fantasied to be a conspiracy and was used to unify Germany under Hitler-the actual formation of the group-


delusion precedes the moment of psychotic insight. For instance, as we shall show in detail shortly, the group-delusion that Fidel Castro was a dangerous extension of Russian power, and had to be wiped out by American forces, was actually formed by July of 1962. It was only in September, after Congress gave President Kennedy special war powers directed at Castro, that America sent the U-2 planes over Cuba which discovered the missiles which then appeared to trigger the delusion-based confrontation known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

It is therefore important for the psychohistorian to be alert - when studying periods in which the main group-fantasy has disintegrated - for evidence that a paranoid collapse may have occurred and that a group-delusion may have formed. As Sullivan was the first to point out,(19) in in-dividuals this transition to the delusional phase is accompanied by a sense of uncanniness, suspicion and confusion-feelings which then disappear when the delusional insight is formed, because all the weaknesses and defects which during the collapse phase were felt to be "in" the individual are, during the delusional phase, projected into the enemy, so that the world seems once more to make sense, however dangerous the real enemy then appears. These group dynamics explain the hitherto unexplained fact that when the political psychologists Holsti and North(20) constructed a "paranoia index" and conducted a content analysis of German communications before World War I, they found that the paranoid content reached its apex at the very moment when the decision to go to war was made - that is, at the moment of psychotic in-sight when the group-delusion was formed The anxiety on their graph then declined sharply, for the world "made sense" again once the external enemy was identified and the decision was made to fight, even though the actual war had yet to break out. However disastrous the next four years of carnage were to prove, they were less threatening than the terrible feelings of internal collapse and objectless rage which preceded them.

[9] "which result in a group-trance state which may require discharge in violent historical action." The more I have studied historical group-delusions in the past decade and tried to empathize with the individuals I followed through my documents, the more I have realized that something very strange was going on inside myself during this study. As I worked with primary documents, my head began to feel stuffed with cotton, my memory seemed to dull, and I began to realize that I felt exceptionally passive in the face of problems I was trying to solve - as though there were something in the study of group-delusions, particularly war, which would forever elude me, and which put this subject in a class by itself among all the problems I had ever encountered. I began to feel as though I were in a trance, a state I was somehow sharing with those I was studying. I began to suspect that people in the midst of group-delusions are themselves in a group-trance, in which normal rules of logic are sus-



Saul Bellow once captured this group-trance feeling rather well. When trying to think about the problem of war, Bellow observed, he seemed to become

very drowsy.. wakefulness, for some mysterious reason, comes and goes... Sometimes I suspect that I am myself under a frightful hypnotic influence - I do and do not know the evils of our times. I experience or suffer this alternate glowing and fading in my own person, and I see that others, too, are subject to it. I am familiar with the history of World War I and of the Russian Revolution. I know Auschwitz and the Gulag, Biafra and Bangladesh, Buenos Aires and Beirut, but when I come back to facts anew I find myself losing focus. Then I begin against reason to suspect the influence of a diffusing power - a demonic will that opposes our understanding. I am forced to consider... whether we do not go about lightly chloroformed.(21)

The group-trance contains all the primary process attributes of individual delusional thinking, using many of the mechanisms of what the Kleinian school calls the paranoid-schizoid position, but with the illogical thinking confirmed even further by group consensus. This is why group craziness is so much more powerful - and less studied - than individual craziness. Just a few of the more common rules of group-trance thinking include:

(a) Opposites never contradict: Jews can be simultaneously despised weaklings and all-powerful poisoners without the one image affecting the other; Russia can be crumbling and ineffective but at the same time at the peak of its power and expansionist desires; one can believe, as we all believe today, that war occurs regularly throughout history and that another war is bound to reoccur soon, while, at the same time, planning our lives around the axiom that war in our lifetimes is impossible. Opposites which, in normal conscious thinking, would modify each other, in trance thinking merely exist side by side.

(b) "Mistakes" proliferate: When, for instance, Truman permitted MacArthur to continue north in Korea despite Chinese warnings that they would respond militarily, it was called a "mistake," despite voluminous evidence that "mistakes" of this kind are motivated. Munich is a "mistake," Pearl Harbor is a ''mistake,'' the Bay of Pigs is a "mistake," Vietnam is a "mistake" -none are desires.

(c) Two plus two equals zero: The larger the risk, the less it is consciously felt in the group-trance. As Eichmann put it, "One hundred dead is a catastrophe. Five million dead is a statistic." When President Kennedy told us all over TV that he was turning down Khrushchev's of-


fer to exchange Cuban missiles for our obsolete Turkish missiles, and im-plied he would soon be forced to invade Cuba even though a hundred million Americans might be killed by Russian missiles, we all nodded our approval from the depths of our group trance, certain that this figure was too large to be personally meaningful.

(d) Personal embarrassments become substitutes for policy: President Kennedy's way of summing up the American relationship to Russia at the beginning of his presidency was: "If Krushchev wants to rub my nose in the dirt, it's all over.'' In return, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Krushchev admitted Russia indulged in the same kind of crazy "personalized" thinking:

When I asked the military advisers if they could assure me that holding fast would not result in the death of five hundred million human beings, they looked at me as though I was out of my mind or, what was worse, a traitor.. The biggest tragedy, as they saw it, was not that our country might be devastated and everything lost, but that the Chinese or the Albanians would accuse us of appeasement or weakness. So l said to myself: "To hell with these maniacs. If I can get the United States to assure me that it will not attempt to overthrow the Cuban government, I will remove the missiles." That is what happened. And so now I am being reviled by the Chinese and the Albanians. They say I was afraid to stand up to a paper tiger. It is all such nonsense. What good would it have done me in the last hour of my life to know that though our great nation and the United States were in complete ruins, the national honor of the Soviet Union was intact?(22)

The "personalized" reactions of the group-trance state all assume that the world outside the group is suddenly full of others who for some strange reason are out to humiliate the nation, and especially its leader. In fact, foreign policy during group-trance periods is so concerned with humiliation that the search for the group-psychotic insight is usually conducted as a search for a humiliating other." This is a result of two group processes during the collapse stage. In the first, the leader feels his group's growing rage toward himself, including continuous attacks on his self-esteem, but denies that it comes from his own group and displaces it instead to the outside world: "The American people are not trying to humiliate me - the Russians are." A careful analysis of the accusations which leaders imagine outside groups are making of them usually reveals how little disguised many of them are from those current-ly being made by members of his own group. In the second process, paralleling the first, both the group and its fantasy leader, facing a breakdown of defensive structure, a disintegration of the self, experience


extreme narcissistic rage, and become humiliation-prone. The "humiliating outsider" is simply the critical, accusing, persecutory super-ego's response, projected onto others: "American values are falling apart and we are nothing but a mass of selfish desires-the Russians see how low we have fallen and are trying to humiliate us."

(e) Nothing is real, everything is fantasy: So powerful is the derealization process of a group-trance that I have never been able to find any na-tion anywhere in history going to war which bothered to estimate the number of dead and injured expected to result from their actions. The dead are quite unreal to the planners, who are operating out of their delusional trance. During the Vietnam War, for instance, the Pentagon never once tried to make an accurate estimate of total civilian casualties, even of the civilians we were supposed to be protecting. When in 1966 a Harvard student asked Secretary of Defense McNamara, who was famous as a "real numbers whiz," how many civilians had been killed in Vietnam, he admitted he simply had no idea.

The function of dead people in the group-trance state is to confirm the internal violence of the group-delusion. If, for some reason, not enough people are dying to match the internal fantasy, something seems amiss. As Nixon put it when the number of American casualties had dropped sharply toward the end of the Vietnamese War: "American casualty figures in Vietnam had been reaching new lows. I knew that these reductions might be a ploy on the part of the Communists to make escalating the fighting that much more difficult for me."(23)

(f) Historical amnesia is the rule: In a century in which 100 million people have been killed by wars, and on a planet where there is currently destructive power equal to 10,000 tons of TNT for every man, woman and child, the mere suggestion that there may be more destruction on the horizon is regularly met by blank stares and suspicions of mental imbalance. Historical amnesia is one of the first symptoms of a group-trance. If wars and revolutions always come as a surprise, that fact may have less to do with the difficulty of predicting human violence than it does with the fact that there are presently more studies on the library shelf on jewelry than on wa r- so pervasive is our need to deny even the very existence of our group-delusions.

(g) Goals disappear, action becomes irresistible: One of the most bizarre results of group-trance thinking is that no war, revolution or other group-delusion is ever begun with a goal of what is expected to be accomplished by the action One's logical assumption that any war leader actually has a plan for what to do when the war is over and won is quite mistaken. Even though wars and revolutions are often supposed to have economic causes, no group has ever drawn up a document setting out the economic consequences of their intended action. If it had, it would never have proceeded, since group-delusions are highly


uneconomical ways of getting what you really want. The action itself is in fact the goal, not the consequences of the action. When the Japanese ignored their intelligence reports, which unanimously concluded that the U.S. would win in any conflict with Japan; when the Germans ignored their intelligence reports, which said that fighting Russia as well as England would result in German defeat; when President Johnson ignored CIA reports saying that his massive bombing of North Vietnam would not bring victory, they were not just "being optimistic." Their goal was the violence and emotional release of action itself, not its possible consequences in terms of any tangible goals which could have been considered rational by even the most ardent apologist. In a group-trance, action becomes irresistible in order to carry out delusional motives. Literally crazy thinking-which allows such notions as "preventative wars" or "better dead than Red"-becomes the rule.

(h) Violence is imperative: Because the enemy, internal or external, serves as the repository of projections during the group-delusional stage, the impulse to action implies the need to wipe out the carriers of these projected feelings. All the objectless rage of the paranoid collapse phase is now at the service of the organized group-delusion, and the enemy is now seen as worth less than vermin, existing only to be killed. The official enemy, of course, is not the only victim-the group also indirectly kills off many of its own id-representatives, its youth, who represent itself in the life-phase when it was most sexual and most aggressive.

Oddly enough, the group-delusion is so powerful that the successful outcome of the group's violence, an outcome which obviously depends on power factors alone, is always seen by the group as confirming the success of the moral values of the group-fantasy itself. Thus, American success or failure in "wars against Communism," like Korea and Vietnam, is thought to indicate the success or failure of American liberal values; the various victories of ancient Athens or Sparta somehow are supposed to prove the worth of their differing political systems; the defeat of the Spanish Armada indicates the greatness of Elizabethan values; the defeat of the American South by the North indicates the moral superiority of abolitionism; and so on. All military triumphs are rationalized by reference to the courage and superiority of the "winning" group-fantasy systems, but in fact all come down to accept-ing that might makes right and to denying the premise that all violent actions in fact represent the failure rather than the triumph of real human values.

In summary, the concept of historical group-fantasies includes a theory of history as consisting of evolving cycles of attempts by individuals to form large groups organized around shared fantasy systems, based on displacements of personal psychosexual conflicts from


successively higher psychoclasses, each cycle culminating in a paranoid collapse of the group-fantasy and the acting out of a group-delusion to relieve shared feelings of inner chaos and rage. These cycles take place because of the group's psychohistorical dynamics, in a sphere of the psyche independent from that of individual neurosis, but drawing upon its content. The independence of historical group-fantasy stages from those of individual neurosis produces the strange feeling of discontinuity between the public and private sphere that is reflected in such discussions as "Were the Germans really sick in following Hitler?" or "Did America go crazy during the Vietnam war?" The same population of individuals - with the same levels of maturity, personal psychic distress, and rates of psychosis-at one point in a group-fantasy cycle can manage successfully to bind their anxieties under a "strong" fantasy-leader, and several years later, without their individual psychodynamics or "personal health" changing at all, they can march off to war. We "go crazy together" in group-fantasy cycles of from a few to a few dozen years in length, in accordance with psychohistorical group dynamics, quite independent of cycles of personal distress, of changes in childrearing patterns, or of any other criteria.

Unlike the "natural therapy" which I believe goes on within historical families, as successive generations of parents attempt to do a better job than their own parents had done in raising their children, I do not believe that going through successive group-fantasy cycles is therapeutic. No one ever seems to learn anything from wars and revolutions, and acting out group-delusional projects seems to leave the personality structure as immature as before. In fact, group-delusional violence is actually traumatic to the individual, to the family, and to the parents' ability to pass on a more mature psychic structure to the next generation. History can therefore be viewed as a race between the therapy of family evolution and the traumas of group-delusional violence.

The empirical evidence for my theory that historical groups repeatedly lurch from stable group-fantasy to paranoid collapse to group-delusion under the group dynamics which I have described will be the task of the remaining sections of this paper. First, however, I will introduce a new technique which I believe can be useful in the task of revealing the specific historical group-fantasies hidden in the mass of empirical material available to the psychohistorian: Fantasy Analysis.


Part of the concept of historical group-fantasy is the assumption that the bulk of the public discourse which psychohistorians regularly examine is defensive in nature, designed to beguile the conscious mind into


accepting the rationalizations which hide the underlying fantasy message being shared by the members of the group. Although this purely defensive content is interesting in its own right and cannot be ignored, the underlying group-fantasy itself is more easily seen if only the more powerful emotional words are selected and set down next to each other, where connections and themes can emerge which otherwise remain buried under the sheer mass of defensive material.

One technique I have found useful over the past few years is to go through the historical document, be it a newspaper article, a Presidential speech or a Congressional committee transcript, and pick out only the metaphors, similies, body terms, strong feeling words, repetitive phrases and symbolic terms, and then examine them for thematic content. This technique, which I term Fantasy Analysis, becomes rather easy to do when one realizes that one must first read the original material for overt content, in order to satisfy one's conscious desire to find out what the person is intentionally saying about "real" events. Then, in a different mind set entirely, the same document must be reread for fantasy content alone. This fantasy content is rarely much more than one percent of the content of the document and can be elicited by following these eight rules:

  1. Record all metaphors and similes, regardless of context. This is not as easy as it may sound - the history of etymology shows all phrases beginning in a metaphoric haze and only becoming specific with long use. It is better to include borderline cases than leave them out - for instance, "arms cuts" begins to have fantasy overtones (in a disarmament conference) once connected with other fantasy words which comes to convey the literal meaning of cuts in the (human) arm.
  2. Record all body language, strong feeling tones, and strong emotional states. Obviously the words "kill," "death," "love," "hate," and so on convey important emotional messages - but what is fascinating is how often they occur in contexts that simultaneously deny their importance and defend against their "really" having an emotional meaning. Often a meeting which is deciding on going to war spends much of its time discussing procedural matters in a very dull, emotionless language, but just as everyone is about to fall asleep, slips in terms like "killing the outstanding bill" or "progress on the bill has come to a dead halt," and the psychohistorian must be alert enough to pick up just the words "killing" and "dead".
  3. Record all repetitive, unusual or gratuitous word usages. This requires total concentration, especially when a long document is being examined, since the repetitions are often pages apart and


the "unusualness" of a word or phrase depends upon context. But if, for instance, a Russian revolutionary document uses coming out" several times (to mean revolution), this should be picked up as an important unusual phrase conveying a particularly potent emotional message.

  1. Record any obviously symbolic terms, especially political terms, like flags and such, but also including familial imagery or any other overtly symbolic phrases.
  2. Eliminate all negatives. A speaker coming before you and saying "I do not want to speak today about war, revolution, death, fear and destruction" is, of course, conveying the positive message he denies. All negatives and all denials are part of the defensive, not the fantasy, structure; as Freud said long ago, the unconscious does not know the negative.
  3. Eliminate all subjects and objects. The basic defensive technique involves projection of subject and/or object, so one can-not depend on the language of the speaker to indicate the real subject/object of the fantasy. So when the document says "The Russians are cracking", only the word "cracking" is copied down; whether it is the Russians that are truly cracking or whether it is the speaker (and his group) who feel they are cracking should be left to other evidence.
  4. Record all overt group responses, laughter, moments of relaxation in meetings, breaks, asides, tense silences, and so on, wherever possible.
  5. Note any long periods of no imagery. If, in a meeting, you cannot find a single image for pages and pages of dialogue, make a note of this in brackets in your analysis - it indicates that there is a lack of group development and that group-fantasy is being severely repressed for some reason.

In order to illustrate what kinds of new connections and themes can be seen through this technique, in this section of the paper I will take a recent historical document, the Nixon Tapes, and will present in the next several pages every single word of fantasy language located under these rules - a complete Fantasy Analysis of the entire 800 pages of tapes, as supplemented and corrected by the subsequent Judiciary Committee report comparing the White House version with actual tapes available to them.(24) As an informal test of reliability, I have compared my version of the selection technique with versions of several colleagues using these rules. They have come up with virtually the same list of fantasy words, only sometimes with a few additional words they picked out which I did not. These were generally variations of the kinds of feelings I myself included, except that I tended to be quite conservative as to what con-


stituted a "strong" feeling. (Of course readers are invited to test for themselves the reliability of the method against the easily available transcript of the tapes.)

For the first two meetings, in September of 1972 and February of 1973, I have reproduced below the full sentences wherever Fantasy Analysis words appear, and have put the fantasy words in bold type, so the reader may examine the surrounding material. I have also indicated the page number in brackets, to give some notion of the limited frequency with which group-fantasy words appear in the full text. The Fantasy Analysis of the first two meetings, both between Nixon and John Dean, is as follows:

9/15/72: Nothing is going to come crashing down...this is a can of worms as you know a lot of this stuff that went on.. the way you have handled all this seems to me has been very skillful putting your fingers in the leaks that have sprung here and spring there. [61].. So you just try to button up as well as you can...[66] 2/20/73:...he is likely to float it out there and they will grab it. [70] They would give him a hot seat. [72]...It will be hot, I think they are going to be tough. I think they are going to be gory in some regards, but I am also absolutely convinced that if everyone pulls their own oar in this thing. ..[81].. The doctors say that the poor old gent had a tumor... the man had a brain tumor. [82] .. .I haven't the foggiest idea. It is a Sullivan story as to where the leak might have come from about the current Time Magazine story, which we are stone-walling totally here. [84].. .There has never been a leak out of my office. There never will be a leak out of my office. I wouldn't begin to know how to leak and I don't want to learn how you leak. [86]... I tried to get it through his thick skull. His skull is not thick... [90].. .1 am planning a number of brain sessions with some of the media people... You know, l am a small fish. [91]

The first thing one notices from following the page numbers above is the sporadic nature of fantasy content. It is as if the people in the meeting try for several minutes to hold off all fantasy language, then suddenly emit several potent emotional phrases in a short burst, then return to denial or work tasks for several more minutes. (I have found this true of most meetings, both those I have studied in transcript and those in which I have participated. Every time the group goes for five or ten minutes without any fantasy language, I begin to feel uneasy, emotionally adrift, out of touch with group development, until a new burst of fantasy language relieves the tension and puts me back in contact with the on-going group-fantasy, expressed though it is in a highly condensed language.)

A study of the fantasy words in bold type above reveals several images


and themes which I for one had never before noticed, even though I had read the entire tapes through several times previously. Although it is true that each person reading the results of a Fantasy Analysis will differ on the interpretation to be assigned to various feelings and themes, still, the existence of these themes should be something most analysts should be able to agree upon. In these two meetings, one begins by noting something small ("small fish," "worms"), a sense of floating in a liquid (''leaks,'' ''oars,'' ''floating''), a container (''can,'' ''button it up''), a threat of collapse ("crashing down") and perhaps the additional themes of a hurting head (''thick skull,'' ''brain tumor,'' ''brain sessions,'' "stonewall") and a hurting rear ("hot seat"). Obviously, how one puts these themes together will vary according to one's theoretical orientation. Some analysts might emphasize the concern with leaky boundaries, others might note infantile images of vulnerability, of trying to keep feelings buttoned up, of imminent danger, and still others might see a fantasy of a fetus floating in a leaking womb. But whatever the interpretation, one initial theme is certainly sounded, which will be further developed as the meetings continue: that the group's previously contained boundaries seem to be in danger of crashing down and releasing a flood of dangerous feelings.

The next meeting, in March of 1973, with Haldeman, Dean and Nixon present, presents us with even more prolific imagery on the themes already introduced (from here on I will only reproduce the fantasy words on each meeting):

3/I 3/ the drawer...bob and weave.. hide.. hunkering down .bob and weave.. bullet biter.. blowing up a little smoke up him... hang in there.. cross that bridge.. little bomb... piece of dynamite... uncover a shield.. cracking.. wash operation.. stroking... hard row to hoe.. .dry hole.. hang-out road.. hang-out road.. hang-out road... kicked around.. hang-out.. .hang-out. . .domino situation.. last gasp.. squeal.. squeal.. squeal.. got the hell kicked out of them... establishment is dying... ran up against walls... bear trap... real bomb.. .very hot.

By now, the group feeling seems to have reached a further stage of development. The initially milder image of something that's only hot, with slight cracks and leaks, has now turned into one with real explosiveness ("dynamite," "real bomb," "blowing up," "very hot," "bear trap") and a far more vulnerable boundary condition ("establishment is dying," "uncover a shield," "cracking," "hang-out," "up against the walls," "hide," "squeal," "last gasp"). The violence of the imagery has been stepped up several notches, and one begins to feel the growing rage and fear, along with further imagery of collapse and danger.


That this danger and rage is felt by the participants to be both external to each of them, which is to say part of the group feeling, and internal, which is to say part of their own unconscious intrapsychic fantasy system, will become evident as we move on. However, it should be noted at this point that at least one of the participants, Dean, indicated as much when he later recalled this period for the House Judiciary Committee's secret testimony on these meetings. Twice during his testimony Dean told the Committee that he felt "pregnant" during this period of time. One of the members thought he heard him wrong, and asked him, "Mr. Dean, at the risk of being indelicate, did I correctly understand you on at least two occasions during your testimony to say that you were pregnant?" Dean replied, "I used that phrase." The member, as if in disbelief, spell-ed it out, "P-r-e-g-n-a-n-t?" Dean replied, "I was pregnant with the cover-up, as I think I started testifying, and where the phrase first came from, I said I was a reluctant lady at first and soon I was pregnant." Later in the testimony he again confirmed that he felt the Watergate coverup was inside himself, using the phrase that he had actually felt "raped' during the conception.(26) As we proceed with the Fantasy Analysis of this and other meetings, it will become more obvious that the feelings being expressed refer primarily to internal feelings of growing rage and anxiety and then secondarily to perceptions of the external "reality" situation of the group.

A week later, Dean began his meeting with Nixon with his famous "we have a cancer growing on the Presidency" speech-an image which was actually introduced into this group process by Nixon himself, in an "aside" he delivered during the February meeting quoted earlier: the im-age of someone he had heard of who had a "brain tumor." (Actually, Nixon often used the 'cancer" imagery throughout his career, only usually in international affairs, as most politicians use it, as when he said in 1962 that "Cuba is a cancer" which might spread.) The Fantasy Analysis of this meeting reads as follows (the reader should try reading this whole section aloud):

3/21/73:...cancer within... growing... growing... growing... bust... bust...disaster... fish or cut bait... blows... blow... pushed without mercy... White House is not happy... White House... White House ... pushing... broken loose... containment... hold it... blow up... growing cancer... blowing... cap on the bottle... blows... growing... growing... blows... cover up... breaking... watch after their behind... protect my ass... scared... blowing... broken... pieces... over that cliff... blow... hot... blows... down the road... hunker down... cover it up... keep it buried... take the heat... take the heat... bits and pieces... broken... bits and pieces... bled to death... hanging... blowing the whistle... go down in smoke... come out... break loose... re-


luctant dragon... erosion... erosion... long road... protect their own behind... blow up... collapse... cancer growing... clean it out... clean the cancer out... cutting the cancer out... blow

Now the first thing that must be noted about this remarkably expressive and emotionally consistent meeting is that the actual Watergate situation by March of 1973 is far from having "heated up," so that in no way can fears about the coverup be said to have been responsible for the language of this meeting. Nixon has in fact just been re-elected by a very large majority, the Watergate break-in trial has ended with very little coming out, Hunt is about to be paid his hush money after this very meeting, and the cover-up looks as if it is working successfully. As will be our point throughout this paper, the language of enormous growing internal violence precedes by days, weeks, or months the external "reality" danger situation. As our theory of historical group-fantasies posits, the collapse of group-fantasy and the fantasies of growing internal violence are in fact first experienced, as in the language above, as a "cancerous growth," about to "blow" or "bust" into "bleeding" "bits and pieces" - - all "paranoid collapse" images common to this stage - and only then are external conditions set up by the group which turn the fantasy into a reality

This is quite clear in this March 21st meeting. First the group experiences the internal rage and collapse feelings, and only at the end of the meeting does the President say "get it" in relation to the Hunt hush money-which is the major act of obstruction of justice in which he was later considered for impeachment. The people in the meeting first experienced the feelings of paranoid collapse and only then proceeded to commit the illegal acts which objectified the paranoia and set up the delusional solution: the fantasized death of the leader, through the "smoking gun" he himself will fire through his own temple. The group present at this meeting did not "go along with" Nixon; they ordered him to find a solution to the intolerable condition of rage and collapse they all felt.

The second thing to note in the language of this meeting is the heavy anal overtones to the violence expressed. Not only in the overt sense of phrases such as "protect my ass" and "watch after their behind" and such, not only in the implicit sense of all that "pushing," "blowing," "coming out" and "clean it out" imagery, but also in all the "expletives deleted," which reputedly contains mostly anal imagery, the primarily anal focus to the rising anger reveals itself. This is quite often true in modern political discourse when subjected to Fantasy Analysis: the anal hostility forms the basis within which the oral and oedipal are embedded. A group with a lower psychogenic level of personalities, a primitive tribe for instance, whose anal training is less severe, might substitute earlier


level imagery for the anal - for instance, images of growing group pollution from dangerous menstrual blood. But here, with a group whose toilet training was early and severe, as with most Americans in their psychoclass growing up in the 1920s and 1930s, the imagery is heavily anal. Every participant in the meeting (Ehrlichman and Haldeman join Dean and Nixon about half-way through), no matter what the topic (and the topics ranged widely), when reaching for a metaphor or simile or emotionally expressive term, came up with one feeling, one fantasy, which grew by the end of the meeting to a command: "We've got to clean out the explosive shit-rage soon, or we'll all blow up into bleeding bits and pieces."

The feelings of paranoid collapse of a modern group-fantasy are identical with those of the moment of "sacrificial crisis"(27) in a primitive group. Feelings of growing pollution within the group-mainly feelings of growing violence-require purging through the offering-up of a substitute, a scapegoat, in order that the "social fabric," the effective group-fantasy, may be restored. Whether the sacrificial victim is a true scapegoat (animal or human) or an enemy (external or internal to the group) or the leader himself (as in the annual sacrifice of divine kings which bring on the cleansing rains to clear the group of pollution) is another matter, one which has more to do with the opportunity furnished by the historical situation than with group-fantasy stages, our present focus. In this case, Nixon's own personality was partially responsible for his opting for the "suicide of the leader" group-delusional solution, in addition to the fact that another war was hard to make palatable immediately after the Vietnam War had ended. In fact, Nixon moved toward the suicidal choice as early as the day after his re-election, when he said he felt he was about to collapse "like an exhausted volcano," and tried to combat this strong feeling state by asking for the resignations of his entire White House staff and Cabinet-thus beginning what he planned as a vast "reorganization" scheme, one guaranteed to alienate the entire executive branch and lead to the leaks which brought about his downfall. Even so, Nixon almost managed, in the middle of the Watergate crisis, to find the external enemy needed to deflect the rage outward: the October Red Alert, when he imagined out of the whole cloth a Soviet plan to land an expeditionary force in the Middle East, and when he put American forces on worldwide war alert for the first time since the Cuban Missile Crisis. But Nixon's "crisis,' was too manufactured, the Russians declined to participate in the confrontation attempt, and political suicide was the only group-delusion available to him. The point I wish to emphasize here is that whether regicide or suicide or war or revolution or millenarianism are the group-delusions resorted to, all act as group purification rites designed to displace the growing rage onto others, to clear the group of violence, and to be reborn under a new, more stable group-fantasy.


on to
page 201-230

by: Lloyd deMause
The Institute for Psychohistory
140 Riverside Drive, NY NY 10024