The Other Virus: Learned Helplessness

Below is a post from Peckford42 that provides an excellent summary of the corroding nature of learned helplessness and how the giant Covid PSYOP of this past year has shoved us in to a societal wide, curled fetal position. Give it a read, ask yourself some tough questions and then check out Peckford’s excellent site.

What is a culture of compliance, and ever-shifting rules, doing to us?

Why would any American allow the government to deny him a final goodbye to the person who raised him? Why would anyone allow grandma to die untouched in a hospital room without fighting back? In the post-vaccination era, why don’t people remove their masks? Learned helplessness, employed as a control tool.

Learned helplessness is well documented. It takes place when an individual believes he continuously faces a negative, uncontrollable situation and stops trying to improve his circumstances, even when he has the ability to do so. Discovering the loss of control elicits a passive reaction to a harmful situation. Psychologists call this a maladaptive response, characterized by avoidance of challenges and the collapse of problem-solving when obstacles arise. You give up trying to fight back.

An example may help: You must keep up with ever-changing mask and other hygiene theater rules, many of which make no sense (mask in the gym, but not the pool; mask when going to the restaurant toilet but not at your table; NYC hotels are closed while Vegas casinos are open; Disney California closed while Disney Florida was open) and comply.

You could push back, but you have been made afraid at a core level (forget about yourself rascal, you’re going to kill grandma if you don’t do what we say) and so you just give in. Once upon a time we were told a vaccine would end it all, yet the restrictions remain largely in place. You’re left believing nothing will fix this. Helpless to resist, you comply, “out of an abundance of caution.”

American psychologists Martin Seligman and Steven Maier created the term “learned helplessness” in 1967. They were studying animal behavior by delivering electric shocks to dogs (it was a simpler time). Dogs who learned they couldn’t escape the shock simply stopped trying, even after the scientists removed a barrier and the dog could have jumped away.

Learned helplessness has three main features: a passive response to trauma, disbelief that trauma can be controlled, and stress.

Example: You are being stalked by a killer disease which often has no outward symptoms. There is nothing you can do but hide inside and buy things from Amazon. The government failed to stop the virus initially, failed to warn you, failed to supply ventilators and PPE gear, and failed to produce a vaccine quickly enough. You may die. You may kill your family members along the way. You have lost your job by government decree and are forced to survive on unemployment and the odd stimulus check—manufactured dependence. It is all very real: WebMD saw a 251 percent increase in searches for anxiety this April.

Americans, with their cult-like devotion to victimhood, are primed for learned helplessness. Your problems are because you’re a POC, or fat, or on some spectrum. You are not responsible, can’t fix something so systemic, and best do what you are told.

The way out is to allow people to make decisions and choices on their own. This therapy is used with victims of learned helplessness such as hostages. During their confinement all the important decisions of their life, and most of the minor ones, were made by their captors. Upon release, many hostages fear things as simple as a meal choice and need to be coaxed out of helplessness one micro-choice at a time.

Example: You cannot choose where to stand, so follow the marks on the floor. Ignore the research saying three feet apart is as useful or useless as six feet apart. Don’t think about why the rules are the same inside a narrow hallway and outsidein the fresh air but don’t apply at all on airplanes.

Kin to learned helplessness are enforcers. Suddenly your waitress transitions from someone serving you into someone ordering you to wear a mask, sit alone, eat outside, etc. Flight attendants morph from delivering drinks to holding the power to have security haul you to jail for unmasking when not actively eating. Companies once run by entrepreneurs are today controlled by the harassment-stalking undead from HR. We’ve become a republic of hall monitors. And there it is. The wrong people are in charge.

One of the better examples of learned helplessness is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a great book made into an impressive movie starring a lean Jack Nicholson. Nurse Ratched cows a group of mentally ill men into complete learned helplessness, encouraging them to rat each other out for small offenses, and to follow her every order no matter how absurd. The kicker comes near the end when we learn all of the men (except Nicholson) are free to leave the hospital at any time. They just…can’t.

It is amazing how fast people stepped into the Nurse Ratched role. Within moments of COVID’s arrival in the national conscience, officials like California’s Gavin Newsom, and New York’s Andrew Cuomo and Bill De Blasio raced to assume fat emergency powers. They spent not one moment assessing the impact of their decisions to lock down against the effects of the lock down. They ignored information questioning the value of lock down. 

They turned topsy-turvy the idea that in a free society the burden of proof is on those who would restrict freedom and not on those who resist such restrictions.

They were aided in manufacturing learned helplessness by the most sophisticated propaganda operation ever created. Already engorged with the coin of three years of fake news, the legacy media saw the value of a new crisis in working toward their two real goals: making as much money as possible garnering clicks, and defeating Donald Trump. Previous shows—Russiagate, with a hat tip to 9/11 when Americans demanded fewer freedoms to feel safer—illustrated the way. On a 24/7 basis Americans were injected with the message: You are helpless and Donald “COVID” Trump will kill you; your only hope is to comply fully with the people at CNN who are administering the electric shocks.

Truth is useless to propagandists, actually a threat. 

Look at what turned out to be false (in addition to Russiagate): We never ran out of ventilators or PPE or nurses or ICU beds or morgues. Masks are not needed outdoors. We did in fact develop a vaccine, several for that matter, in less than a year. Almost everyone who died was elderly or had serious comorbidities (a distinct class) but we salivated over “new case numbers” as the primary metric anyway because they went up so much faster. When people questioned the real-world view against the media portrayal, they were told about “asymptomatic COVID” or shunned as hoaxers. Everyone makes mistakes. But just as with Russiagate, all the media mistakes swung one way.

It worked. Condo boards boarded up their gyms. Restaurants forced diners to eat outside in the rain. Entire industries, such as tourism and hospitality, disappeared overnight. New groups were shoved into poverty and unemployment. Children were denied education, criminals released from jails. People were told not to hug their loved ones or celebrate birthdays or attend church. We were told to fear our neighbors as potential carriers.

Every time dissenting information popped up—Florida opening its beaches for Spring Break, for example—the media rushed in to declare everyone was going to die. Texas was declared dead, South Dakota was declared dead, and Americans believed it all even when reports of survivors started drifting out of Disney World.

Americans are not comfortable accepting that their lives are being manipulated at this level, the way for example many Russians assume it to be so. We tend to dismiss such things as conspiracy theories and make an Oliver Stone joke. 

But ask yourself how many of the temporary security and surveillance measures enacted after 9/11 are still controlling our lives almost 20 years later. Is the terror threat still so real the FBI needs to monitor our social media in bulk? Was it ever?

Nothing here is to say vaccines don’t work, or are themselves dangerous. That’s another debate. 

This is about the politics of mass control. Add up the “doesn’t really make sense but we do it anyway” COVID rules and try to make sense of them. Why would otherwise smart leaders implement such rules, for example in New York’s case, purposely impoverishing a city or seeking to defund the police in the midst of triple digit rises in crime? Every time your answer is, “it just doesn’t make sense,” consider a scenario beyond coincidence where it would make sense, however out there that might be. It might be the most important thing you can do.

Then look out the window. Remember “15 days to flatten the curve?” With no voting or debate, a system based on a medical procedure capable of controlling our travel, which businesses we can visit, which hotels we can stay in, what jobs we can hold, what education we can access, at which point it is no more “voluntary” than breathing, was put into place. We no longer need to ask what is going to happen. 

Remember the real question is always why.

Peter Van Buren is the author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi PeopleHooper’s War: A Novel of WWII Japan, and Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the 99 Perc

This entry was posted in COVID-19, fear mongering, Political, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to The Other Virus: Learned Helplessness

  1. Thanks for the providing this wonderful article. It is amazing that we just shut up and took it (for the most part). What a case study in fear and the power of shaming.

    Blessings my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on The Culture Alternative and commented:
    This is stunning article passed on to us from Tricia. Great insight about learned helplessness.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Freedom Through Empowerment | Sue's Pen 2 Paper Blog

  4. This is so informative and I hope many learn, and wake up to what has really been going on (and still is) because of it. It certainly speaks to the term given, “sheeple.” My reblog is messed up so I copied and pasted to my blog. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. successbmine says:

    This is an excellent article, very well expressed and filled with the truth of the situation. And the problem with learned helplessness is that it quickly turns into learned hopelessness. Hence the huge rise in suicides. It is a sad state, and we do need to stand up against it. Thank you so much for sharing this article.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful, Tricia! Thanks for posting that article. I am particularly sensitive to learned helplessness, so I know I must do something that scares me everyday just to break that cycle and to check for a pulse. Sometimes all I can do is pray, but even that is a way to acknowledge this not ok, this is not my ”new normal.”

    I laughed at this, ”Suddenly your waitress transitions from someone serving you into someone ordering you to wear a mask, sit alone, eat outside..” yep!! I really loved my job, but about six months into covid last year, I knew I just couldn’t enable people anymore. I had to be an enforcer and it was so unethical, I was helping to make people sick, to keep them trapped.

    I’m really tough too, but the psy/ops around this thing totally threw me for loop, at least for the first few weeks before I began to recognize it. I try to remember that because I tend to just want to slap people and wake them up. Nope, I have to be patient, many people have actually been victimized and brainwashed and they are responding just like trauma victims do.

    There are some though, who know exactly what they are doing, and oh man, they make me so mad.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tricia says:

      Oh those people make me so angry as well IB! I keep praying for justice to be served but I have to remember that this will happen, but maybe not for some time. But I know what you mean, the psy/ops totally took me by surprise, like literally every day I’d say, this can’t be happening when a whole new level of ridiculousness was reached.

      It’s all so unethical what’s going on and I’m glad you refused to go along with it and enable people further in to their psychosis. That’s what it is really, a mass psychosis that’s brainwashed so many and caused so many foolish things to happen.

      And now we’ve “progressed” to vaccinating kids who face 0 Covid threat and don’t really spread it. This won’t end well.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Salvageable says:

    This is a very good article. But the key question is not, what happened? The key question is, what do we do now? J.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Well that is a very good question Salvageable and something my husband and I have been discussing a lot. We both think things are going to get much worse, especially with how the government and media are throwing everything they can at mass vaccination and demonizing those of us that remain skeptical towards getting it. We are trying to gather more with others with similar viewpoints and to figure out ways to organize larger groups to protest coerced vaccinations and to never allow this whole sorry episode to happen again. That’s where it’s headed you know, every time a bad flu or new virus comes along calls for mask mandates and shutdowns will rear back up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is exactly why I opposed the shutdown from the get-go, even before I knew that what we were getting our knickers in a twist over was just a cold virus with a better-than-99% survival rate. You can’t shut the country down every time a new bug comes along. Diseases and epidemics are a fact of life, always have been, always will be, and you just have to deal with them — hiding from them not only doesn’t work, but it makes matters worse and ends up costing more lives in the long run.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Lisa V says:

    Great post. I am still so baffled by how many people I know, smart people, that have become sheeple without even questioning things. I really think it’s become a sort of cult. In their need to not feel helpless, I think it makes people feel powerful (if not sanctimonious) that they are “saving the world” by going along to get along. And pointing fingers at, and belittling the rest of us comes with that power. I am so sick of strangers asking me if I got the vaccine! It’s none of their business! I suppose I should feel sorry for them, but I really don’t. They’ve had lots of time to do their own research (as a lot of us have) and yet they continue to follow Fauci, and the powers that be. Whatever to make yourself feel better, I guess. I am just so done.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Tricia says:

      I’m so done as well Lisa. they point their fingers at us “conspiracy theorists”, but I mean none of what’s been held over our heads like an axe this past year has turned out to be true. Masks, don’t work and in all probability make things worse for an aerosolized respiratory virus, asymptomatic spread, you know that thing we shut down the entire world for, turns out not to be such a thing, hospitalized or died WITH and not BECAUSE of COVID-19 turned out to be huge thing and PCR testing is absolutely bunk. But hey, let’s trust them on the vaccines, ok sure.

      There needs to be a huge reckoning, but my fear is not only will that not happen but things will get worse as far as mandated vaxxing to participate in every day life and and the enormous precedent that’s been set as far as our civil liberties having been squashed.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We are currently living in a Hitchcock movie and I don’t like it!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Mel Wild says:

    Very well said, Tricia. As I said on IB’s post about this, the only existential threat out there is our voluntary powerlessness. People need to peacefully and graciously stand up and not comply with their foolishness. The data is in, even the CDC had to admit it. It’s time to come out of our politically-induced Covid fog and live life again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Thanks Mel and I totally agree about living life. We’ve tried to live as close to normal amidst all the nonsense mandates as we could but I know too many others that barely left their house this last year. It’s going to take a lot for those people to move forward.

      Liked by 1 person

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