ANDREW M. LOBACZEWSKI
Scientists living under an oppressive regime decide to clinically study the founders and supporters of evil regimes to determine what common factor is at play in the rise and propagation of man's inhumanity to man.
"The Christmas hope for peace and good will toward all men can no longer be dismissed as a kind of pious dream of some utopian. If we don't have good will toward men in this world, we will destroy ourselves by the misuse of our own instruments and our own power. Wisdom born of experience should tell us that war is obsolete. We must either learn to live together as brothers or we are going to perish together as fools." - Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Christmas Eve sermon, 1967
The most characteristic feature of such a period is widespread hysteria, like that of the quarter century in Europe preceding WWI. "Happy" times of peace are necessarily dependent on social injustice, and children of the privileged class learn early to repress ideas that they and their families are benefiting from the injustice of others. Such unconscious defense mechanisms cause these individuals to disparage the values of those whose work they exploit. These processes lead to an hysterical state of inhibited logic and reasoning. This rigidity of thought then gets passed on to the next generation to an even greater degree.
During good times, people progressively lose sight of the need for profound reflection, introspection, knowledge of others, and an understanding of life's complicated laws. Is it worth pondering the properties of human nature and man's flawed personality, whether one's own or someone else's? Can we understand the creative meaning of suffering we have not undergone ourselves, instead of taking the easy way out and blaming the victim? Any excess mental effort seems like pointless labor if life's joys appear to be available for the taking. A clever, liberal, and merry individual is a good sport; a more farsighted person predicting dire results becomes a wet-blanket killjoy.
Perception of the truth about the real environment, especially an understanding of the human personality and its values, ceases to be a virtue during the so-called "happy" times; thoughtful doubters are decried as meddlers who cannot leave well enough alone. This, in turn, leads to an impoverishment of psychological knowledge, the capacity of differentiating the properties of human nature and personality, and the ability to mold minds creatively. The cult of power thus supplants those mental values so essential for maintaining law and order by peaceful means. A nation's enrichment or involution regarding its psychological world view could be considered an indicator of whether its future will be good or bad.
During "good" times, the search for truth becomes uncomfortable because it reveals inconvenient facts.