The Psychology of Communism
Added: 2017-10-30
Added: 2017-10-30
Dr.Lidia Sudyka



The selected fragments are from Psychologia komunizmu (“The Psychology of Communism”), published in the collection Bolszewizm (“Bolshevism”): Lublin 1938, pp. 234-249.


Communism appeals to human drives and passions, trying to bring them to its side and influence ideology through them. Stirring the emotional sphere of man, rousing the natural desires and using them for its own purposes, communism shakes the individual out of passivity, brings him to an excited state and forces him to take interest in the causes which have been presented to him. Thus it uses simple, ordinary, but effective means: it stirs the primitive, vital urges, pointing at the possibilities of their satisfaction. It is easy to excite the selfish desire for comfort and leisure by painting a vision of a system where the workload will be reduced to a minimum. It is easy to arouse anger, hate, and desire for revenge when one proves that other people are responsible for our suffering. One can enflame the lowest instincts and drive people to crime when crime goes unpunished and can bring personal satisfaction as well as material profit.

Communism knows how to speak to the “underground man”. who in the atmosphere of Christian culture felt constrained by the prescriptions of the spirit. Now, when all external checks, such as law and respectability, have been removed, and the weak inner constraint of the conscience ceased to function, the underground man feels that he is free. Communism studies the mentality of an average person and does not approach this mentality with an arsenal of rational arguments. It does not offer abstract ideas, which, even if they were the most logical and substantiated, would remain unintelligible and unattractive to the mindset of the broad masses. Communism sticks with brief, intense, vivid images, which appeal to the imagination and incite the passions. Instead of arguments, it offers short, concise, and artful ideas formulated in extreme terms; instead of defending its views, it mounts a continuous attack, repeats the same slogans, excites the urges and pre-empts debate. The aim is to enflame the passions, and especially to arouse hatred in such a way as to hinder dispassionate, sober judgment. We must remember that lofty causes of universal import exert a magnetic pull on the masses, if they go along with the desires and ambitions of the masses.

The attitude of communism towards reason is distrustful and critical. It is true that communism boasts of its “philosophical” underpinnings and casts itself in the role of a reformer who applies the prescriptions of science in order to create a new man; but in fact it tries to achieve its goals in a different, irrational way. Thought is not autonomous and cannot detach itself from the practice established by the dynamics of the communist movement. Theory explains and justifies the actual state of things, but it is powerless against life and does not shape its form. Therefore communism does not recognize freedom of thought, bans criticism, does not accept any compromises and does not consent to any different theoretical solution. Both in theory and in practice dogmatic thinking is obligatory. Thought cannot claim the managerial right. It is only a small particle of reality, thrown into the turmoil of change. Although the consciousness it is pervaded with allows man to come to a realization of the historical processes around him, it cannot arrest them or even control them. Its role is reduced to explaining and justifying the actual state of things. According to Lenin, science should help the exploited classes in their battle for emancipation. Since class struggle constitutes the essential dynamism of social life, human reason should offer a philosophical justification for it – to present it as a historical necessity, work out methods of conducting it, and point to the advantages it provides.

However, the established communist assertions cannot be subjected to criticism, because criticism breeds doubt, weakens their propelling force, and engenders conceptual confusion. Liberalism in the field of ideas and inconsistencies in tactics have a decomposing effect on a social system based on an established ideology. The communist man must believe in and adjust his conduct to the commands of the party. He is not allowed to doubt or question assertions established, or rather enforced by relevant bodies. [...]

Unable to bring his narrow, limited thinking into the play of events, the communist man focuses his forces on the field of will and action. His thinking, enclosed by the commonplaces pronounced by the party, is not distracted and torn by doubts. His entire vital energy is mobilized by the will. With stubbornness, with unswerving consistency, with all the passion of feeling it works towards the acquisition of power. It incites the feelings of the masses and arouses the passions to pull the masses behind it. It acts in a deliberate fashion, making allowances for every contingency and preparing for any unexpected occurrence. In the communist view man is not a rational being who pursues the truth and needs to be persuaded, but an animal, desiring profit and pleasure. Reason is rather a force suppressing the essential urge of human nature. Instead of appealing to reason, one should inflame the lowest passions, bringing to the surface the human animal, not restricted by the law of the spirit.

In order to use such methods, it was necessary first to break with the hitherto prevailing ethics, which held that human life is subject to higher spiritual norms, that it is part of a higher order, and therefore that man cannot act as he thinks fit, but is accountable for his actions before God.

The communist ethics is based on different premises – it does not recognize spiritual norms or accountability for actions, it rejects the existence of an absolute, universally applicable morality, and it proclaims autonomy, or rather license of conduct, guided by considerations of selfish material interest.

It is understandable that communism easily takes root in the mindset given to the principle of self-indulgence and not recognizing higher ethical standards. When one’s life is enclosed within the bounds of earthly existence and one recognizes no criteria of moral judgment other than personal pleasure, public opinion, and customary and conventional forms, one will subconsciously gravitate towards such forms of life which correspond to one’s inclinations. The appeal to one’s lowest mental instincts will find a willing response, for man aims at creating an outlook that will be in harmony with his lifestyle, with his predilections and desires. He hates discrepancies between thought and action, between ideology and life. Unless the discord between them is removed, it will sooner or later throw the human mind out of balance. Although cognition is primary in creating ideas, action too, in a sense, plays a role here.

Communism understands this and is practical in inculcating its ideology, undermining the ideals of religious ethics. Sexual promiscuity, the subversion of authority, the call to “self-realization”, the destruction of the family, relaxed marital mores, utilitarian ideals, and the subversion of the discipline of everyday life – all these prepare the mind for communism.

Human culture grew on the soil of sacrifice and on the work of the human spirit. Creating and struggling, overcoming his lower self, in short, following the line of most resistance, man grows and creates permanent cultural values. The law of spiritual life is enacted through subjecting matter and the senses to its commands. The human spirit leads man through work and suffering, communism brings him down to the comfortable sphere of the senses. The spirit requires inner discipline and self-control; communism relaxes the integrity of the individual, creates psychoses, and teaches him to go along the line of least effort. Propaganda of this kind is carried out very skillfully. It used to march under the banner of liberalism, and today it is the banner of democracy, left-wing patriotism, freethinking, socialism, etc. Wrapped in lofty, fine-sounding slogans of freedom, it injects into the soul the venom of spiritual anarchy, saps its resistance, and makes it prone to accept communism. This antimoral propaganda uses a broad range of methods and its sphere of influence is very extensive. The daily and periodical press, literature and the arts, institutions, education, and a number of other means are at the disposal of this campaign.

Fighting against it is difficult inasmuch as the enemy does not accept any ethical rules beside his own interest. Lying, slandering, not honoring his word, enflaming the lowest passions, and if need be, assassination and any other evil – these are the methods used by communism. Misconceived freedom, as it is now understood in democratic countries, becomes a handy screen from behind which the communist campaign is carried out. If it does not encounter major obstacles, it is because in the last century the European mentality has assimilated many ideas that make it similar to the communist outlook. These ideas were preached by materialism, relativism, and philosophical skepticism.


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