Wednesday, 28 October 2020

E Editorial

Post-Revolutionary Frustration

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Revolutions, as a rule, are accompanied by the infectious enthusiasm of the masses.  In the crowd people are invested with a feeling of equality, commonality and endearment toward each other; that is the fraternity of struggle.  The multitudes are intertwined by common concept, the spirit of the good fight, and dreams of a happy future.  The main challenge happens after the “power of evil” has been deposed and the crowd has gone home, and then the time for “gathering the stones” arrives.  People start making “debit-credit” accounts--what we had before the revolution and what we have received after it.  And it is at this time that post-revolutionary frustration sets in.

Frustration has taken root from the Latin frustratio, which literally means deception, a false expectation.  That is a very complex psychological state that obtains when expectations are not justified.

One of the manifestations of psychological frustration is when people are surrounded by the sense of dissatisfaction, but continue to wait for something--for what they often cannot formulate.

Psychological dissatisfaction and the collapse of great expectations bring about frustrational aggression.  In the relevant sciences there are many quite interesting studies and theories about “frustrational aggressiveness.”  Many psychologists are of the opinion that the source of aggression is frustration; distorted expectations or unfounded hopes in an individual’s demeanor give rise to aggression.  Mass frustration brings forth mass aggression, a situation in which
everyone becomes enemy to all.  When public objectives are not formulated, and expectations are not anchored in rational theories and understandings, people begin to look for enemies in the other.

Let us call that elemental, subconscious aggression.  There also exists group frustration.  Let us consider an example from our times.  The groupings that have lost their political relevance are awaiting the downfall of the “revolutionary rulers.”  They repeat that like gospel, take heart, spread the word by media, but the unmet expectations of “doomsday” lead to group frustration, that is to say, the sentiment that their expectations are void, which in turn gives birth to “group frustrational aggression.”

Let us return from group frustration to mass frustration.  The expectations were great from the results of the revolution.  That was a manifestation of mass euphoria.  However high expectations might be, equally high are disappointments when the former are not met or materialize with delay.

In psychology there is another formulation according to which a sense of being unsatisfied in life is expressed through the search for a guilty party for one's own failures.  In other words, a person, an interest group, or an entire society seeks scapegoats for its own failures.

A study of social media can make some intriguing discoveries about manifestations of frustrational aggression.  Those informational systems are replete with enmity, curses, and searches for culpable parties.  Hunts for the “guilty” also are the focus of political groupings with partisan agendas.  The incumbent administration has deemed the “black forces” guilty, the “black forces” have deemed the “white forces” guilty, some already are determining guilt among the “geopolitical centers” according to old and new conspiracy theories.

This list can read long.  Every given success story has its author, but failures have no master.

The social media are the mirror of our public’s consciousness.  We look for blame among each other, we suspect each other, but we just cannot with cool-headed calculation evaluate the past and the delivered reality and, instead of looking for culprits, seek solutions in which there are no fall guys and no aggression but rather creative conscious expectation.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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