Yes, everyone is talking about Davos - the gathering of the rich and powerful held annually at the ski resort in Switzerland.
Here, guests are invited to watch presentations and to take part in bespoke experiences. One popular one is the “Syrian Refugee Experience,” where participants are blindfolded and shouted out in Arabic for 45 minutes. (True!) Afterwards, they sit down for a 5-course meal. Later on, there will be parties and a chance to schmooze with related power-brokers from the other side of the globe, forging friendships and cooking-up collaborations.
These days, those who seek to guide this club of apex predators are keen to re-brand it. They don’t want it to seem like stark, exploitative capitalism but rather something more caring. Billionaires Against Inequality is the general direction.
But, I think that this will be to little avail. Davos’ days seem numbered, as evidenced by the significant drop in real A-list power-brokers attending this year.
Why should this be? The answer, I think, is simple. Post-Covid, the very concept of Davos has become a lightning-rod for populist conspiracy theories. You couldn’t dream up a better scenario for every disenchanted sheet-metal worker the world over to project their fantasies of hidden control onto. Even the scriptwriters for the next James Bond movie would struggle to top what already exists.
And the absence of real transparency only makes things worse. You can’t do secrecy and ultra-wealth anymore. It matters not that Klaus Schwab might be genuinely well-motivated. It matters not that other billionaires might really have a caring streak underneath it all. You just can’t do secrecy and ultra-wealth any more. Or if you do, you going to have to make it a lot more secret than Davos.
Increasing numbers of people no longer trust institutions or mainstream media. Yes, most will go along with what they say. But in the background there exists a growing fascination with the idea of a hidden echelon of control. And these days there are heaps of conspiracy theorists willing to fulfil that market. Everyone and his dog now knows about Davos and very few are happy about it.
Two years ago, as an adjunct to his Great Reset agenda, Schwab also revealed his idea for a Great Narrative - a single way of interpreting the world that all citizens could get behind. World-class scientists, historians and philosophers were to be drafted in to come up with it. Yes, I get his motivation. He sees the memetic chaos out in the world. Competing interpretations of global events abound. And his solution is to promote just one narrative - the true one!
Schwab’s attempt to push one narrative into people’s brains mirrors the attempt of our conscious mind to think only in one direction. Perhaps positively, for example. But it doesn’t work. The more you try to barricade off so-called “negative” thoughts, and keep them away, the more power you give them! And they will wield that power. Many of us have plenty of first-hand experience of this. Certainly I do.
The more that Schwab and his billionaire cronies attempt to push one version of reality down people’s throats, the more power he also gives to every conspiracy theorist in every part of town. For every attempt to tighten the screw another turn, millions more start to pick up conspiracy memes and propagate them.
And, at some point, even billionaires start to stay away from Davos, for fear of falling prey to the negative lightning-rod effect. They do not wish to be associated with such an increasingly controversial gathering. They too, do not finally believe in narrative control and they are certainly not willing to risk their wealth for it. People still want Bill Gates’ money, but few want to have that number of conspiracy theories circulating about them.
As I have written in a piece on Schwab and trust, earlier this week, what is missing in Schwab’s approach is “palpable openness.” This means a level of honesty and spontaneity that can be actually felt by the recipient. It is this that Schwab does not take the risk to give.
You can’t just seek to control the thinking of other people. Even if you believe it’s for their own good. It is not enough. At some point, when those people feel their core needs are being threatened, they will not trust. And they will subscribe to alternative theories of what is going on, no matter how poorly researched such theories might be.
Memetic narrative warfare ensues. And, in this game, you’d better not ignore the underdog. Conspiracy theories are equally as capable of creating global change as those pushed by the mainstream media. Whether they are true or not simply doesn’t matter. It is entirely irrelevant. What matters is how many people believe them and how much those people are willing to push back.
Being a therapist, I find this whole process pretty damn fascinating.
It’s like I want to have a simple framework through which to understand my world and this gives me a sense of being in control of my life. But at some point, if the level of control starts to feel excessive, a rebellion from deep within me begins. The part of my ego that still desires to seek new experiences feels threatened. I don’t want to live in some kind of prison with happy pictures on the walls. So, to justify my growing sense of unease, I begin to subscribe to conspiracy theories. They give me a new framework through which to interpret what’s happening and to justify my felt need to resist.
How much external control each of us is willing to tolerate, before we start kicking off, depends on a variety of factors.
Our childhood experience of authority. Did it seem positive and supportive, or punishing and malign?
How convinced are we of the need for more social control? Do we trust the narratives that tell us that we must acquiesce - the reasoning behind them? Do we trust those who tell us them?
How scared of rebellion are we? What do we think will happen to us if we don’t agree? Again, our childhood experience of authority matters much here. Did we actively fight back as kids? Or did we just accept that we must acquiesce to those who are bigger than us? Perhaps we went along physically but resolved to never surrender internally.
Are new levels of perceived social control manifesting slowly and progressively, or quickly?
All these factors and more dictate the narratives we tend to accept as true. Stories which push the need for control jostle within our minds with those that push the need for freedom. Narrative warfare is the battleground of our unconscious mind.
And I believe that finally, all roads lead to a felt need for more palpable openness in those who lead us. The days when we needed leaders who could stand firm, and not be swayed by feelings, are now over.
This is really great! I like the idea "palpable openness."
As I read this, I realized that we average people really aren't the target for these mind games. But the people with the money Klaus is the older brother to SBF. They are all aiming to extract as much money as possible from all those rich people. Is this the real story of the 21st century. Rich people acting like children and willingly being used by sociopaths to play out a simulated reality that games the entire world system of order. Unbelievable.