Comment // Mind

The Fall of the Tavistockians: Defeating the "Mother" of All Brainwashing

This piece was first published on David Gosselin's Substack blog, Age of Muses. It has been followed up there by a sequel entitled "From Trance to Transcendence: Reflections on Saving a Dying Republic".


The recent explosion of scandals involving the London Tavistock Clinic’s radical gender reassignment experiments on children and young adults have revealed one of the dark sides of modern psychiatry, particularly, British psychiatry. However, these scandals have only begun lifting the veil on an even darker history, one that gave birth to modern Anglo-American psy-ops. 

After a lengthy inquiry, the Tavistock Clinic was found to have egregiously violated basic standards of care—through a systemic practice of giving psychologically vulnerable individuals the “suggestion” and affirmation that they were in the wrong body, and then proceeding to rush them into medical gender reassignment. However, rather than being an exception to the rule, Tavistock’s radical experimentation on psychologically vulnerable groups and trauma victims has been the norm since its very beginning. Guided by a belief in the endless possibility of refashioning human personality and “the images of man”, Tavistockians and their progeny have for over a century functioned as premier social engineers for an Anglo-American financial establishment committed to “re-imagining” humanity à la Brave New World

For modern Tavistockians and the City of London-Wall Street “gods” whom they serve, human beings are nothing more than blank slates to be written on, individuals with personalities that can be shaped and remolded into whatever image these social engineers deem fit. There is no innate divine spark of creative reason; there exists no deeper science of the human soul—only the conditioning of reflexes and thought patterns in talking animals. In a word: humanity is but a collection of slightly more complicated Pavlovian dogs, or more complex worms, but ultimately made up of the same matter—and nothing more

In the eyes of the Tavistockians and modern behavioral “scientists”, the same “shock doctrines”, strategies of terror, and reflex conditioning applied to beasts are equally applicable to humanity. A human being’s ability to unearth the natural laws of the universe and generate fundamentally new conceptions in art and science, leading to qualitatively new ideas that transform humanity’s ability to act and thrive in the universe, is nothing more than the by-product of sublimated neurosis and irrational, albeit statistically mappable behaviors. 

Even the quality of human genius embodied by the greatest minds across history is ultimately dismissed as nothing more than a special kind of madness—or epiphenomenon—which however impressive, remains unintelligible, and certainly not learnable. 


Tavistock Revisited 

Despite these irrational behaviorist theories, a closer examination reveals what these various ideas overlook about the deeper nature of human beings, the mind, and how the natural spark of creative reason found in each human individual is ultimately something that can be either brought forth or suppressed. More importantly, an honest and open exploration of these practices today can provide us with a deeper appreciation of how the latest attempts to create a Brave New World may not only be opposed but defeated at their very core. 

One way of situating the broader strategic picture is by considering what Plato identified as the problem of “imitation” in his Republic. Plato developed his conception of imitation after witnessing the Athenian Republic being destroyed by an overwhelming number of clever politicians and smooth talkers—none of whom possessed, or desired to possess, the wisdom necessary to rule either themselves or a state. Whether it be the representation of human nature in a drama or song, or the presentation of some new policy or idea in a speech by a rhetorician, these “imitations” were characterized by Plato as the artful mimicry of certain outward or formalized characteristics of human nature and experience, which however close in their appearance to truth, were not “the real thing.” Since that time, the most dangerous ideas have always been those most capable of artfully wearing the guise of truth. Indeed, virtually all modern psy-ops are premised on this idea. For, the closer they sound and appear like the Good and True, the more effective they become at convincing large swaths of citizens that they are indeed “the real thing.” 

From an enlightened humanity delivered in the form of psychedelic trips of creative “consciousness” and “flow states” to sensual pleasure substituted for genuine creative human joy, intimacy, and spiritual development, our modern world has no shortage of “imitations.” Then as today, what these various imitations and false theories of human nature share in common is that they effectively divert people from “the real thing”—one which any genuinely sovereign creative individual possesses the capacity to discover and bring forth within themselves, if they can only succeed in remembering what the many imitations made them forget

Perhaps one of the most famous and perverse examples of “imitations” in the twentieth century is Aldous Huxley’s famous novel, Brave New World. Huxley envisioned a world in which human beings became so depraved and enslaved by their own desire for momentary pleasure and happiness that they lost interest in any and all forms of Beauty, Truth, and Goodness. Huxley’s novel ultimately posited the cynical view that such a world was possible, implying that the innate spark of creative reason and the desire for eternal things seated within each human individual—whether they be aware of it or not—could ultimately be trained out of everyone. In this dystopian world, creativity would ultimately be reserved for those willing to use their own powers of insight and creativity for the purposes of understanding how to better control this spark in others. 

In reality, Huxley’s novel was nothing more than a Malthusian and eugenicist rip-off of Shakespeare’s final drama, The Tempest. In the case of the latter, Shakespeare composed his drama as a playful exploration of the then-contemporary theme of establishing a “New World”—one situated far away from the oligarchical trappings that have cursed Europe since nearly its birth.  

What happens to the best of Western civilization and its greatest traditions today remains to be seen. However, our ability to understand the deeper nature and history of the intellectual and spiritual disease that has rotted out much of the Western world may very well decide whether our civilization succeeds in removing the cancer, whether the disease consumes the entire body, or if we simply end up chopping off the wrong parts. 

The history is clear; the future is still unwritten.


The Shaping of Psychiatry by War 

War is a valuable testing ground for the most of us, and certainly this is true of psychiatrists.” 
Brigadier John Rawlings Rees, The Shaping of Psychiatry by War 

Understanding our deeper human drama requires going back to the 1920s, where we find waves of shell-shock victims flooding the psychiatric world in the wake of the First World War. Tucked away in a discreet London suburb, under the direction of Brigadier John Rawlings Rees, Tavistock would quickly become the mother of modern psychological warfare, thanks to its many experiments on war-time trauma victims. Indeed, much of what we know as modern psychiatry is an outgrowth of these wartime experiments. 

Take for instance the case of hypnosis and psychosurgery evangelist and Tavistock-related Maudsley Military Hospital resident, Dr. William Sargant. A resident of the British military hospital turned civilian psychiatric ward, Sargant described the history of hypnosis and research into altered-states through the study of First World War shell-shock victims in his 1972 book, The Mind Possessed: A Physiology of Possession, Mysticism, and Faith: 

The origin of this book dates back to the Second World War and the treatment of battle neuroses—psychological disorders stemming from horrifying and mentally overwhelming experiences of war. Soldiers who had broken down, in combat or afterwards, sometimes became totally preoccupied by their memories of what had happened to them. In other cases, these memories had been repressed into the subconscious mind but were causing feelings of depression, fatigue, irritability, irrational fears or nightmares.

(p. 3)

These trauma victims became the subjects for experimenting with various “altered states” of emotion. These “researchers” found that hypnotic or altered-states, which fall under a more general category of “trance”, could be induced by various methods, including drugs, torture, and even simply language. These techniques were found to be innovative ways of steering and directing people’s emotions—and consequently, their thoughts—without the need of conscious decision-making processes. Commenting on this research, Sargant wrote: 

A state of heightened suggestibility, intense sensitivity to one’s surroundings and a readiness to obey commands even when they go against the grain, is one of the most striking characteristics of hypnotized behavior, and hypnosis has given its name to the ‘hypnoid’ phase of brain activity. […] this phase can be caused by stress and creates a state of greatly increased suggestibility in which a human being uncritically adopts ideas to which they would not normally be open.
Breuer was interested in this phenomenon at the end of the last century and his findings, reported in a masterly chapter which he contributed to a joint book with Freud, were repeatedly confirmed in our experience with drug abreactions during the war. Breuer begins by quoting Möbius as saying, in 1890:
‘The necessary condition for the (pathogenic) operation of ideas is, on the one hand, an innate—that is, hysterical—disposition and, on the other, a special frame of mind […] It must resemble a state of hypnosis: it must correspond to some kind of consciousness in which an emerging idea meets with no resistance from any other—in which, so to speak, the field is clear for the first comer. We know that a state of this kind can be brought about not only by hypnotism but by emotional shock (fight, anger, etc.) and by exhausting factors (sleeplessness, hunger, and so on).’

(Id., p. 32)

Offering a particularly revealing example, in chapter six of his book, Sargant writes: 

An actor, who had what he himself described as a ‘histrionic’ temperament, told me after the last war how, as a prisoner of the Japanese, he had to go each day to receive orders from the local Japanese camp commandment. He never knew whether he was going to be beaten up or praised or just ignored. When he was beaten up, which happened frequently, he found that if he could succeed in fixing his thoughts on a certain mountain in Wales, and keep his mind completely concentrated on it, he could often inhibit much of the physical pain of the beating.
Pain and other strong sensory impressions can sometimes be completely inhibited in a moment of great crisis, with its heightened state of nervous excitement, and also in states of hypnosis. With the mind entirely focused on some present danger, it is possible to remain unaware that you have been seriously hurt at the time; you only realize it afterwards.

(Id., pp. 72–73)

On the American side, Kurt Lewin—known as the father of “social psychology”—would be recruited by Tavistock’s Eric Trist—the first director of the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations. It would be tasked with shaping modern organizational structures, bureaucracies, and what we today know as modern “office culture.” As the founder of the MIT Center for Group Dynamics and founder of the National Training Laboratories for Applied Behavioral Science,  Lewin would become one of the chief minds spearheading this new age of social engineering in the USA—the chief target of this new invisible empire. These ends would be pursued by pioneering the fields of “Group Dynamics” and “Topological Psychology”. Lewin’s work would ultimately define the broader field of applied behavioural science, which now shapes public messaging and MSM propaganda across virtually all spheres of the Western “Five Eyes” system. 

Building on the early wartime research into mass psychology and group psychology, Lewin wrote: 

One of the main techniques for breaking morale through a 'strategy of terror' consists in exactly this tactic—keep the person hazy as to where he stands and just what he may expect. If in addition frequent vacillations between severe disciplinary measures and promises of good treatment together with spreading of contradictory news, make the ‘cognitive structure’ of this situation utterly unclear, then the individual may cease to even know when a particular plan would lead toward or away from his goal. Under these conditions even those who have definite goals and are ready to take risks, will be paralyzed by severe inner conflicts in regard to what to do.

Kurt Lewin, Time Perspective and Morale (1942) 

Notably, the first issue of Tavistock’s journal, Human Relations, featured two papers on Lewin’s “group dynamics”. These seminal works would go on to shape the approach of Tavistock and its Anglo-American nodes on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Of interest is that Lewin, as a premier social engineer in America, approached the engineering of society and the various relations among the many moving parts from the top down. Whereas modern academia is structured in a manner that emphasizes specialization and compartmentalization across vast systems of categories, essentially forcing people to think from the bottom up, and largely only in respect to their own fields of specialization, the literature and research of social engineers and behavioral scientists was from its very beginning approached holistically. It would be concerned with shaping macro processes in culture, science, and philosophy, which over longer intervals of time were understood to translate into qualitatively new systems—new images of man. 

From the practice of taking groups, groups of groups, or entire societies as the basic units by which to formulate practical theories for behavior change, modern social engineering would be birthed by a few maverick “researchers”. With his holistic approaches in “Field Theory”—adapted from the field of Gestalt psychology—the various pairwise interactions and dynamics among the many individual parts would be diligently mapped out, always with an eye to seeing how the structure of the whole could shape and influence interactions among the various and seemingly independent parts. 

Lewin’s ideas were complemented by theories like Melanie Klein’s “Object Relations”, which viewed the relationships between an infant and the various objects and environment as the primary causal feature shaping early human psyche formation. These ideas were then adapted for molding and reshaping human personality as a whole, which were seen as especially effective when the initial dynamics of earlier childhood psyche formation could be accessed and altered using cues and changes in environment. 

Tasked with applying these various models of behavior change and group dynamics to corporate culture and the organizational structure of governmental bureaucracies, the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations would play no small role in shaping what we today know as modern “office culture”. 


Human Relations and Cybernetics 

Building on Tavistock’s work, as the director of the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations, Kurt Lewin recruiter Eric Trist would pioneer a sociotechnical systems approach to shaping organizational structures top-down, which in broader terms fell under the category of “General Systems Theory” and “Cybernetics”. These theories would be used a means of shaping modern organizational structures on all levels of society. Ultimately, the result would take the form of sophisticated bureaucratic systems designed with specifically structured and compartmentalized management tiers.

These new “cybernetic” systems essentially ensured that the right hand never fully knew what the left hand was doing, with only a few within the upper echelons of the managerial structures positioned high enough over the vast system of information feedback loops to see the bigger picture, or know exactly where the ship was headed. One can imagine an ancient ship with myriad rowers and workers occupied by their immediate exertions, with only a few helmsmen at the top actually possessing knowledge of the stars or navigational skills, and but small portions of that information being translated to the laborers in the form short signals and commands. 

Alas, contrary to the Hollywood “Fight Club” variety of conspiracy theories, much of the control of our modern society depends on individuals being too zoomed-in to visualize the bigger picture, with others who might attempt to think in those terms lacking knowledge of the basic frameworks and organizational models which would, if understood even in rudimentary terms, make transparent the seemingly invisible empire and its modern “governance” structures. 

To shepherd this new era, social engineers took particular interest in the field of Cybernetics. Commenting on the developments and promises of Cybernetics applications for society at large, one of the leading members of the Cybernetics Macy Conference, anthropologist and long-time CIA-associated mind-control operative of MK Ultra notoriety, Gregory Bateson, said the following:

The growing together of a number of ideas which had developed in different places during World War II [...] the aggregate of these ideas [being called] cybernetics, or communication theory, or information theory, or systems theory. The ideas were generated in many places: in Vienna by Bertalanffy, in Harvard by Wiener, in Princeton by von Neumann, in Bell Telephone labs by Shannon, in Cambridge by Craik, and so on.
All these separate developments in different intellectual centers dealt with [...] the problem of what sort of a thing is an organized system [...] I think that cybernetics is the biggest bite out of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge that mankind has taken in the last 2000 years.

(1972, pp. 482–484) 

A theory developed for the purposes of creating sophisticated systems of information feedback loops for military radar technology, these wartime developments would lead to an era of “General Systems Theory”—a roadmap for molding new “images of man”.  


Changing Images of Man 

Perhaps one of the most telling documents explicitly concerning itself with “the bigger picture” is the Tavistock-related Stanford Research Institute (SRI) Changing Images of Man report. In it, the authors describe what they view as the obsolete “rationalist” Renaissance Judeo-Christian image of humanity, one in which the mind of man—the microcosm—is understood to be organized in a manner coherent with the natural principles organizing the universe as a whole—the macrocosm. This “rationalist” view made new fundamental discoveries in both art and science the basis for human progress and the cultivation of the creative spark of reason found in each individual. Instead, they looked to an earlier pagan Greek image of man as more adaptive:

In contrast to the Greek notion of "man", the Judeo-Christian view holds that "man" is essentially separate from the rightful master over nature. This view inspired a sharp rate of increase in technological advances in Western Europe throughout the Medieval period. On the other hand, the severe limitations of scholastic methodology, and the restrictive views of the Church, prevented the formulation of an adequate scientific paradigm.
It was not until the Renaissance brought a new climate of individualism and free inquiry that the necessary conditions for a new paradigm were provided. Interestingly, the Renaissance scholars turned to the Greeks to rediscover the empirical method. The Greeks possessed an objective science of things "out there," which D. Campbell (1959) terms the "epistemology of the other." This was the basic notion that nature was governed by laws and principles which could be discovered, and it was this that the Renaissance scholars then developed into science as we have come to know it.

(p. 104)

Here, the children of Tavistock make themselves quite clear. The notion that the human mind and the ordering of the universe at large are coherent, and that the investigation of one is ultimately an investigation of the other—making man a co-creator capable of acting as imago viva Dei and capax Dei—must be rejected. In Greek terms, the Promethean image of man—which the authors mistakenly cast as a strictly formalist Apollonian “rationalist” unfeeling man—would have to be overtaken by the Erotic and the Dionysian. 

A civilization based on feeling and emotion—and devoid of reason—was seen as the more adaptive mode of being. Rather than progressing, individuals could busy themselves with the pursuit of an ever-expanding array of mystical experiences—largely through drugs and sex cults—and increasing levels of “consciousness”, including parapsychology. This new vision was deemed to be the most promising means of diverting the seemingly inextinguishable interest with unearthing the eternal laws of the universe and using them to better the conditions for all life on Earth and beyond. Instead, the “unsustainable” Renaissance image of man would have to be recast into the gnostic pagan shadows of earlier more “sustainable” times, i.e. pre-Renaissance times. 

So we find in the 1960s a pivotal moment in the West’s shift towards a new post-industrial utopia. There, we find Aldous Huxley and Dr. Timothy Leary musing about a “coming revolution”. Not only did Huxley explore the possibilities in his famous dystopian novel Brave New World, but also in his later works, including his final utopian novel, The Island. The invariant in both novels was a culture of eugenics, sex cults, and mass drug use. While in a Brave New World these drugs were used to dull the pain, in The Island, they became the means of expanding one’s “spiritual” consciousness. 

In his autobiographical account, Flashback, Dr. Leary recounted some of the exchanges he had with Aldous about what they viewed as obstacles to any kind of “new paradigm.” Huxley first told Leary:

These brain drugs, mass produced in the laboratories, will bring about vast changes in society. This will happen with or without you or me. All we can do is spread the word. The obstacle to this evolution, Timothy, is the Bible.

Leary reflected on the obstacles they encountered as they sought to develop and flesh out their vision of a new enlightened society: 

We had run up against the Judeo-Christian commitment to one God, one religion, one reality, that has cursed Europe for centuries and America since our founding days. Drugs that open the mind to multiple realities inevitably lead to a polytheistic view of the universe. We sensed that the time for a new humanist religion based on intelligence, good-natured pluralism and scientific paganism had arrived.

Of note is that the “new paradigm” would have its own particular set of rules and boundaries conditions, which the authors of Changing Images of Man called the ecological ethic of “New Scarcity” (p. 114). This new scarcity would serve as the impetus for getting human beings to change their basic modes of behavior, ultimately under the threat of famine, biblical floods, and apocalyptic fires, all of which would be framed as the consequences of humanity’s hubris, i.e. its continuous attempts to wield and discover new forms of Promethean “fire”. 

Regardless of one’s religious views, or lack thereof, on an epistemological level, one can understand that a Judeo-Christian view of man and the universe, centered on the sacredness of the individual, has and always was understood to be incompatible with the kind of neo-pagan Malthusian or Gaia-centric order, which the old imperial houses of Europe have yearned to regain since the “aberration” of the Golden Renaissance

The conversations between Huxley and Leary reflect discussions that were being had by many of the chief visionaries of a dystopian “brave new world”. It was a world in which genuine spiritual and epistemological development of the individual would be replaced with drugs, psychedelic experiences, and the constant stumbling in and out of trances of every kind. These experiences would feel like a philosophical and spiritual development, and share many of the outward characteristics, but ultimately be yet another imitation.

For the Gaia-centric pagan view has always emphasized the sacredness and “equality” of all life forms, with an abstracted “Mother Nature”, i.e. Gaia, ruling as the supreme “mother” over humanity. Despite human beings being the only creatures endowed with a unique spark of creative reason, this uniquely human quality—the principle that defines man as imago viva Dei—was essentially dismissed and reduced to a sensual pseudo-mystical gnosticism.

Departing from the Renaissance conception of every human individual being a living image of God, one in which man could directly know his Creator by virtue of his ability to discover and cultivate his own innate powers of creative reason, creative thought would remain essentially irrational and unintelligible, and only accessible as a kind of feeling or mystical quality aided by drugs and other means of inducing heightened emotional states, i.e. altered states

On the other hand, the Promethean and Christian Renaissance conception treated man as the only creature capable of self-consciously discovering and striving towards “the Good” or “the Logos”. The oligarchical view, whether embodied in its ancient forms by the priests of Marduk in ancient Babylon or in the modern radical Malthusian post-industrialist utopians, knowledge and creativity would remain essentially unknowable, and only accessible by virtue of pseudo-mystical experiences, or super computers programmed by the technetronic gods over at Facebook and Google. 


Defeating the “Mother” 

Rather than being new, these ideas belong to a very old tradition, one typified by the philosopher Aristotle and his epistemologically backward view of a human being as essentially a blank slate, a tabula rasa, which could be written on and re-written, thereby generating the “phantasma” of the mind, i.e. the pictures inside the heads of human beings. By denying the essential spark inside each human being, which a classical education is designed to prompt in order to cause the light to turn on, the Aristotelian and Tavistockian varieties of education and conditioning consist in manipulating and redrawing the images inside the heads of human beings.

So, for Aristotle, learning is reduced to a series of logical deductive steps equivalent to a dog going place A and getting punished, then going place B and being rewarded, and therefore coming to the deductive conclusion that place A is bad and place B is good. However complex, whether in the form of super computers programmed with a dizzying number of 1s and 0s, or brute force classical conditioning, there is never any notion of a light turning on, there is no genuine soul, only a collection of “phantasma” or 1s and 0s, which can be reprogrammed ad infinitum

Thus, rather than coming up with something fundamentally new, modern social engineers simply did what oligarchies have always done: rehash attempts at shaping the imagination of the masses through imagery, language, and spectacle. Thus, early Freud collaborator and mass psychology enthusiast, Walter Lippman, described the essential approach of this not-so-new new paradigm as one of manipulating “Public Opinion”:  

The pictures inside the heads of human beings, the pictures of themselves, of others, of their needs and purposes, and relationship, are their public opinions. Those pictures which are acted upon by groups of people, or by individuals acting in the name of groups, are Public Opinion, with capital letters.

Walter Lippman, Public Opinion (1923) 

 Describing who controlled this “Public Opinion”, in the same book Lippman wrote that it was a:

[...] powerful, socially superior, successful, rich urban social set [which] is fundamentally international throughout the Western Hemisphere and in many ways, London is its center. It counts among its membership the most influential people in the world, containing as it does the diplomatic sets, high finance, the upper circles of the army and navy, some princes of the church, the great newspaper proprietors, their wives, mothers, and daughters who wield the scepter of invitation. It is at once a great circle of talk and a real social set.

At the core of the problem lies a fundamental question: what image of man is the right one? Are human beings simply more complex animals who must be trained and conditioned like dogs? Are education and morality merely a system of reward and punishment—of pleasure and pain—which can be refashioned and remolded to fit the desires of a reigning “elect”? Or is the purpose of education a system in which ideas and knowledge are presented in the form of new questions and fundamental paradoxes that cause the light to turn on? 

The former Aristotelian system of education produces the slave morality that we see populating virtually all systems of higher learning in the Western world (with only a few exceptions). The latter outlook ignites the original spark, which may for many exist only in the form of a faint glimmer from childhood, but which however faint, is always there. In the case of the latter, it is perhaps best typified by Plato’s famous example from the Meno dialogue where a young uneducated slave boy is led to discovering the solution to the geometric problem of doubling the square using nothing but a series of questions. 

While the Tavistockians and their psychological shock troops have come very far, the religious belief in their own twisted theories of human nature may very well be the thing that leads to their downfall. For, as much as they may try to change the images of man and mold people according to their own utopian ideas, human nature remains unchanged. While the Tavistockians advance in their designs with the belief that they are writing on tabula rasas, whether viewed as programmable bio-computers or conditioned dogs, they deny that fundamental creative spark of reason which, while immaterial—and because it is immaterial—remains indestructible and ignitable at any moment. 



One meaningful dialogue with one’s own inner voice has the potential to erase thousands upon thousands of hours of brainwashing and images. For this reason, the invisible empire invests billions upon billions in its narrative matrix—its entertainment industries—and its 24/7 mainstream media “journalism”. All these channels of “communication” and “entertainment” ultimately perform one task: getting people to forget

As much as they may attempt to “model” human behavior, and very nearly approximate it, these models remain as Plato observed, “imitations”. Some imitations and models may mimic reality more closely. However, the deeper nature of the soul and the immutable quality of mind which allows for the light to turn on, which may have escaped us for many years—even generations—perseveres. So, the story of man is a story filled with times where the truth, like some great flood or light, suddenly comes crashing in. 

We need only remember.