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We are all Pavlov’s dogs now

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We are all Pavlov’s dogs now

by DR BRUCE SCOTT Sunday, 2nd May 2021

Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.


In the book, The White Nights: Pages from a Russian doctor’s notebook (1956), Dr Boris Sokoloff describes an account of an incredible visit to the laboratory of Dr Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), the famous Russian physiologist who is primarily known for his work in classical conditioning which has informed much thinking around behaviourism in psychology. A fascinating and sinister section from the book reads (from page 205/6, 2018 edition published by Bowen Press, Texas):

“What is wrong with these poor creatures?” [Sokoloff] asked. “What have you given them to make them so nervous?”

Zelenyi laughed. “This is our prize project. Ivan Petrovitch [Pavlov] attributes great importance to it. As you know, he has proved that the central nervous system directs and controls all functions of the body, in man and animals alike. But now he wants us to establish, through a series of experiments, that such diseases as cancer are also influenced by the central nervous system. Or that neurotic persons, whose nervous system is overstrained, are much more predisposed to cancer than persons with a well-balanced, normal nervous system.”

An ambitious project,” [Sokoloff] remarked.

“Quite…But we hope to prove that the etiology of cancer is in the alterations of the central nervous system…Well, this is the first step in that direction. I rendered these dogs neurotic.”

“How?” I was fascinated.

“By using the technique of conditioned reflexes. First, by forming them with a bell or a light, and then inhibiting them. This technique can induce a state of extreme neurosis in normal dogs. You can see yourself that they are neurotic.”

And they were, indeed.

“Now,”, Zelenyi continued, “we shall see if a malignant tumor develops in these dogs. We might know in a year or two.”

It was to take more than twenty years, however, to complete the investigation. Not until after the death of Pavlov and Zelenyi were the results published by Dr Maria Petrova and other Pavlov students, partially confirming their master’s theory.”

It is now well known that induced stress, fear and anxiety are linked to a myriad of physical and psychological disorders; that is irrefutable. Public health initiatives often implore us to lead healthy and stress-free lives for the good of our physical and psychological health.

It might come as a surprise then, that the UK Government and devolved administrations, on the advice of psychologists from SPI-B of SAGE and the Behavioural Insights Team (Cabinet Office), are using methods derived from Pavlov in the response to Covid-19 which are making us all psychologically and physically unwell: deliberately so.

As mentioned in my previous articles on UK Column, “Psychological attack on the UK” and “Ethical psychotherapy versus the unethical applied psychology of SPI-B and the UK government”, their motivation and tactics are explicit; to deliberately to make us more fearful and to shame us (and get people to shame each other) through propaganda and societal/interpersonal pressure or demands to get us to submit/conform to the Covid-19 regulations and dictates.

These tactics do not come out of nowhere. SPI-B and the UK government have not just invented them for the purposes of Covid-19. The links to Pavlovian theory are clear.

When one looks at the use of psychology as used in totalitarian regimes, especially totalitarian communist regimes of the old Eastern Bloc communist countries and the Soviet Union (the formative political landscape that shaped Pavlov’s ideas), we see clearly that the tactics of SPI-B and the UK government are no coincidence.

Lavrentiy Beria was a Georgian Bolshevik and Soviet politician, Marshal of the Soviet Union and state security administrator, chief of the Soviet security service, and chief of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) under Joseph Stalin during World War II, and promoted to deputy premier under Stalin from 1941. He later officially joined the Politburo in 1946.

Beria quote

A text supposedly attributed to him, “Brain-washing: a synthesis of the communist textbook of politics”, an address to students at Lenin University, explicates a great deal of the origins and methods of SPI-B/Behavioural Insights Team/UK government’s psychological tactics, and what is occurring in the UK at present.

There is controversy about the validity of Beria’s authorship of this address and how the text may have been fabricated by anti-communist Americans to disseminate anti-communist propaganda. Nevertheless, much of the material within the introduction and actual text corroborates other writings; e.g. New lies for Old by Anatoliy Golitsyn, an ex-KGB officer; Christopher Story’s European Union Collective: Enemy of its member states, a study in Russian and German strategy to complete Lenin’s world revolution; the talks of ex-KGB operative Yuri Bezmenov; Russian dissidents/authors against totalitarian communism Vladimir Bukovsky and Alexander Solzhenitsyn; the writings of dissidents against communism in Czechoslovakia Václav Havel (e.g. The Power of the Powerless) and Václav Benda (e.g. The Long Night of the Watchman”); as well as the personal testimonies of people who described what it was like living under the psycho-political conditions of totalitarian communism, for example Stasiland: Stories from behind the Berlin Wall by Anne Funder, and Live not by Lies: a manual for Christian dissidents by Rod Dreher.

Therefore, psychopolitics or the psy-op, and the applied behavioural psychology as experienced by and applied to the UK population today, has not come out of thin air.

(As a side note, it has not gone unnoticed that one of the highly influential chief protagonists of SPI-B, the applied psychology team of SAGE, is Professor Susan Michie, a member of the British Communist Party.)

In the introduction to “Brain-washing”, Eric D Butler highlights the foundations of psychopolitical subversion, which was influenced by Pavlov, how this was an experiment in trying to standardise human thought and behaviour, and how this was to be used to infiltrate and influence the West, ideologically and politically. This has been in development for decades before COVID19. As Butler reminds us:

In an address to the BBC on the 11th November 1953 a Dr Sargent indicated that the attack upon the mind is the most serious problem threatening Western Civilization today. Dr Sargent’s talk dealt with subject of indoctrination, and he outlined the developments of Pavlov’s theories in the modern political world. Pavlov is, of course, one of the founders of psychopolitics.

Butler highlights a direct quote from Dr Sargent:

Now we in British medicine are trying to learn all we can about these terrible and most effective methods of changing men’s thoughts and beliefs on a large scale, because I believe ultimately the fate of the world will depend on the conversion of the mases to one idea of life or another.

A striking quote by Butler in his introduction is from American Senator Jack Tenny, a militant Christian patriot who directed the official investigation of the Communist conspiracy in California. In his report on “Mind-washing in America”, Tenny writes:

Under ordinary circumstances the efforts of a small, almost infinitesimal fraction of society to brainwash the overwhelming majority of its citizens or build insane asylums for them would be incredible and fantastically funny. But these are not ordinary circumstances or ordinary times. We are in the age of Great Delusionswhen black appears white, and white appears blackwhen the sane are made to appear insane and the insane act as the world psychiatrists…

The quote above embodies the spirit of the deluge of psychopolitical propaganda and tactics by the UK government: a small number of people (i.e., psychologists of SPI-B/Behavioural Insights Team) are motivated to make as many people as irrationally fearful of COVID-19 as possible.

As outlined in my article “Ethical psychotherapy versus the unethical applied psychology of SPI-B and the UK Government”, the applied psychological tactics are designed to get people to adhere to illogicality regarding the actual risk and threat to them from COVID-19; to make black appear as white and white as black.

In other words, an attempt to make as many people as possible fearful of an insignificant statistical risk of COVID-19. If one rejects such a transformation towards fear, one is regarded as insane (e.g. a “Covid denier”).

The logic of the Government psychologists adopts the illogical delusion of the risk of COVID-19 and demands ordinary people adopt this delusion without question.

This was quite clear in the propaganda damage limitation from Sir Keir Starmer’s ill-fated meeting with the pub landlord Rod Humphris in Bath.

Starmer (and the Labour Party press team) literally changed the words of the landlord and dismissed any notion of the logical nature of Humphris’ argument (claiming that Humphris was deluded and that his argument that statistically, the risk of COVID-19 and an analysis of the ONS data did not necessitate societal lockdown, was nonsense).

This kind of propaganda, in essence, is the same as used in the Soviet Union; the psychopathologisation of dissidents and the nefarious use of science, psychiatry and psychology for unethical ends.

Note the widespread use of terms such as “conspiracy theorist” and “covidiot” about protesters and the recent anti-lockdown protest in London, used by the mainstream media and social media users.

As I have written about elsewhere, the mainstream media, the political left and mental health activists/organisations, predominantly on the left, have blindingly adopted the cultural hegemony of mental health; the psychopathologising of everyday life and a reverence for therapeutic culture.

Many have previously warned about this “virus” coming from totalitarian communist regimes to infect the West previously (e.g., Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Vladimir Bukovsky). Indeed, in the introduction of Brain-washingA.K. Chesterton writes about the psychopolitics of mental healing that will infect the West:

The western half of the projected World Police State seems to be preparing the way for silencing its political opponents. Its method will be somewhat more subtle than that employed by the murderers and enslavers of the Kremlin. I quote from the letter of one of my most reliable Canadian correspondents: The Health Department is still at it, trying to make everybody mental-health conscious, so that they will think nothing of being sent to a psychiatrist, thence to an asylum.

As Butler reiterates, the communist psychopolitical tactics in manufacturing mental healthism in the West also involve attempts to destroy the value of words, in how one perceives and understands words versus the actual reality (think of the mainstream COVID-19 narrative and the inflation of risk from COVID-19). Indeed, Pavlov placed a high importance on words as a medium of reality.

In 1896, the French philosopher, Gustave Le Bon, in his book The Crowd, highlighted how most revolutions are created by changing the meaning of words. Communist psychopolitics, derived from Pavlovian theory, have created a science of changing the meaning of words, with the result of a confusion of ideas.

The desired outcome of such a process is to get a large number of people, via propaganda and the medium of public health initiatives of the state, to adopt and repeat carefully crafted phrases, notions, and ideas without realising their true implications.

As quoted by Butler in in the introduction to Brain-washing, Charles Morgan, quoting a psychiatrist friend in his book Liberties of the mind, writes:

…we are all being conditioned to accept a limitation of freedom . . . I fear that, unconsciously, even if we are ready to accept this new infection which could not have harmed us before 1937. There is no such immunity in the great mass of our people and no consciousness of danger… One can think of many ways in which the population as a whole is being conditioned or prepared for this mental change, this loss of individuality and identity.

In light of Morgan’s and Chesterton’s writings, one can think of the restrictions regarding COVID19, the slogans used by the UK government: “Stay at home, Protect the NHS, Save lives”, “Stay alert, Control the virus, Save lives”, “Hands, Face, Space”, and the horrific UK government fearmongering adverts (from their Twitter account):

It is irrefutable that these fearmongering slogans and adverts, along with the explicit fearmongering tactics of SPI-B of SAGE, are deliberate. From the March 2020 SPI-B document:

A substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened.


The perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messaging.

The psychologists of SPI-B and the UK Government also use the promotion of social approval for desired behaviours (reward), considering enacting legislation to compel required behaviours (punishment), and considering the use of social disapproval (punishment) for failure to comply.

They have used the mainstream media and social media, along with false “fact-checking” and censorship, to instil and reinforce their message of fear, punishment, reward, confusion, to induce neurosis/mental ill health in the UK population; straight out the Pavlovian playbook of behavioural psychology.

Sceptical readers might think that suggestion that the deliberate Pavlovian manipulation and coercion by our own Government is stretching things too far into the realms of conspiracy. However, the work of Jacques Ellul and his 1965 book, Propaganda: The formation of men’s attitudes, describes the workings of such propaganda; how it manipulates people. His book wonderfully captures and mirrors the COVID-19 narrative and its agenda.

Ellul was well aware of the sceptics, who doubted that the masses could be manipulated through propaganda and who claimed that even psychologists disagreed upon its effectiveness. He wrote:

Some people object to this [the efficacy of propaganda] … after a careful look at Stalinist propaganda…one comes to this conclusion: Stalinist propaganda was in great measure founded on Pavlov’s theory of the conditioned reflex…let us not forget that if this theory, put to use by the propagandist, brings results and proves to be effective…. doctrinal criticism can then no longer demonstrate its inaccuracy.

Propaganda: The formation of men’s attitudes, 1978 edition, pp. 5-6

Looking at the effects of the information/propaganda machine of the UK Government and its effects of the population with regard to the perceived threat of Covid-19 (see HART re mental and physical health), does it not cause one to pause to be cognisant of these real effects during the Covid-19 era; e.g., people body swerving in a supermarket to maintain distance from another; hugging each other through plastic; washing one’s shopping and leaving for three days before touching again; shop owners washing physical cash in a fish tank; living in constant fear despite having a 99.999% survival rate if one gets Covid-19; jumping at the chance to take an experimental mRNA vaccine developed in a matter of months (when it usually take years); and where the long-term side effects of the experimental drug are unknown (e.g., on fertility/pregnancy). These are all real examples of what has occurred. Continues….

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