Cablecast and web
streaming of program in serieS
"Conversations with Harold Hudson Channer"
Cable Television/Web Show:
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APRIL 18, 2016
(Originally aired: May 1989)
ROBERT JAY LIFTON
Distinguished Professor - John Jay College / Graduate Center -
City University of New York
"Destroying the World To Save It"
Author: "The End Of Work"
The program can be
viewed in its entirety by clicking the you tube link below:
Dr. Robert Jay Lifton & Jeremey Rivkin
More about: DR. ROBERT JAY LIFTON
& JEREMY RIFKIN
From Wikipedia, the free
Robert Jay Lifton (born
1926) is an
psychiatrist and author, chiefly known for his studies
of the psychological causes and effects of
and political violence and for his theory of thought reform.
He was an early proponent of the techniques of
In 2006, Lifton appeared in a
cults on the
History Channel: "Decoding the Past", along with fellow
Peter A. Olsson.
His father was a physicst.
Lifton was born in
Brooklyn, New York, the son of Harold A. (a businessman)
and Ciel (Roth) Lifton. He studied medicine at
New York Medical College. From 1951 to 1953 he served as
Air Force psychiatrist in
Korea, to which he later attributed his interest in war
and politics. He has since worked as a teacher and
researcher at the
Washington School of Psychiatry,
Harvard University, and the
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where he helped to
found the Center for the Study of Human Violence.
He married the writer Betty Jean Kirschner in
1952 and has two children. Lifton calls
avocation; he has published two books of humorous
During the 1960s, Robert Jay Lifton, together
with his mentor
Erik Erikson and
MIT historian Bruce Mazlish, formed a group to apply
psychology and psychoanalysis to the study of history.
Meetings were held at Lifton's home in
Wellfleet, Massachusetts. The Wellfleet Psychohistory
Group, as it became known, focused mainly on psychological
motivations for war, terrorism and genocide in recent
history. In 1965, they received sponsorship from the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences to establish
psychohistory as a separate field of study. A collection of
research papers by the group was published in 1975:
Explorations in Psychohistory: The Wellfleet Papers (see
Bibliography; Lifton as editor).
On Friday October 3rd 2008, Lifton gave a lecture
to 60 students at Yale University.
Lifton's work in this field was heavily
influenced by Erikson's studies of
Hitler and other political figures, as well as
Sigmund Freud's concern with the mass social effects of
deep-seated drives, particularly attitudes toward death.
Theory of thought reform
Lifton's 1961 book
Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of
"Brainwashing" in China was a study of coercive
techniques that he labelled thought reform or "brainwashing",
though he preferred the former term. Othes have labelled it
also as "mind
control". Lifton describes in detail eight methods which
he says are used to change people's minds without their
- Milieu Control – The control of information
- Mystical Manipulation – The manipulation of
experiences that appear spontaneous but in fact were
planned and orchestrated.
- Demand for Purity – The world is viewed as
black and white and the members are constantly exhorted
to conform to the ideology of the group and strive for
- Confession – Sins, as defined by the group,
are to be confessed either to a personal monitor or
publicly to the group.
- Sacred Science – The group's doctrine or
ideology is considered to be the ultimate Truth, beyond
all questioning or dispute.
- Loading the Language – The group interprets
or uses words and phrases in new ways so that often the
outside world does not understand.
- Doctrine over person – The member's personal
experiences are subordinated to the sacred science and
any contrary experiences must be denied or reinterpreted
to fit the ideology of the group.
- Dispensing of existence – The group has the
prerogative to decide who has the right to exist and who
His name became further popularly associated with
those terms when he testified as a defense witness in the
1976 trial of
Patty Hearst, stating that the
Symbionese Liberation Army had used similar techniques
to produce a behavioral change in Hearst.
Contrary to popular notions of "brainwashing",
Lifton always maintained that such coercion could only
influence short-term behavior or produce general
neuroses, not permanently change beliefs or personality.
Margaret Singer and
Steven Hassan (author of the book
Combatting Cult Mind Control), later loosely adapted
his theories and applied his terms "totalism" and "thought
reform" to the practices of certain religious and other
types of groups.
American Sociological Association has stated that it
does not consider such an analysis scientifically valid, but
have not disavowed Lifton's original work. The
American Psychological Association has taken the
position that no definite conclusion has yet been reached.
thought-terminating cliché was popularized by Robert
Lifton in this book.
Studies of war and
His most influential books, Death in Life:
Hiroshima (1968), Home from the War:
Vietnam Veterans—Neither Victims nor Executioners
(1973), and The
Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of
Genocide (1986), focused on the mental adaptations
made by humans in extreme wartime environments—whether as
survivors of atrocities or, in the latter case,
perpetrators. In each case Lifton believed that the psychic
fragmentation experienced by his subjects was an extreme
form of the pathologies that arise in peacetime life due to
the pressures and fears of modern society.
His studies of the behavior of people who had
war crimes, both individually and in groups, concluded
that while human nature is not innately cruel and only rare
sociopaths can participate in atrocities without
suffering lasting emotional harm, such crimes do not require
any unusual degree of personal evil or mental illness, and
are nearly sure to happen given certain conditions (either
accidental or deliberately arranged) which Lifton called
"atrocity-producing situations". The Nazi Doctors was
the first in-depth study of how medical professionals
rationalized their participation in
the Holocaust, from the early stages of the
T-4 Euthanasia Program to the
In the Hiroshima and Vietnam studies, Lifton also
concluded that the sense of personal disintegration many
people experienced after witnessing death and destruction on
a mass scale could ultimately lead to a new emotional
resilience—but that without the proper support and
counseling, most survivors would remain trapped in feelings
of unreality and guilt. In his work with Vietnam veterans,
Lifton was one of the first organizers of therapeutic
discussion groups in which mental health practitioners met
with veterans, and he lobbied for the inclusion of
post-traumatic stress disorder in the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Theories of totalism and
the protean self
Totalism, a word first used in Thought
Reform, is Lifton's term for the characteristics of
ideological movements and organizations that desire total
control over human behavior and thought. (Lifton's usage
differs from theories of
totalitarianism in that it can be applied to the
ideology of groups that do not wield governmental power.) In
Lifton's opinion, though such attempts always fail, they
follow a common pattern and cause predictable types of
psychological damage in individuals and societies. He finds
two common motives in totalistic movements: the fear and
death, channeled into violence against scapegoat groups
that are made to represent a metaphorical threat to
survival, and a
reactionary fear of social change.
In his later work, Lifton has focused on defining
the type of change to which totalism is opposed, for which
he coined the term the
protean self. In the book of the same title, he
states that the development of a "fluid and many-sided
personality" is a positive trend in modern societies, and
that mental health now requires "continuous exploration and
personal experiment", which reactionary and
fundamentalist movements oppose.
Critiques of modern war
Following his work with Hiroshima survivors,
Lifton became a vocal opponent of
nuclear weapons, arguing that
nuclear strategy and warfighting doctrine made even mass
genocide banal and conceivable. While not a strict
pacifist, he has spoken against U.S. military actions in
his lifetime, particularly the
Vietnam War and
Iraq War, believing that they arose from irrational and
aggressive aspects of American politics motivated by fear.
Lifton has also criticized the current "War
on Terrorism" as a misguided and dangerous attempt to
"destroy all vulnerability". However, he regards
terrorism itself as an increasingly serious threat due
to the proliferation of nuclear and chemical weapons and
totalist ideologies. His 1999 book Destroying the World
to Save It described the
apocalyptic terrorist sect
Aum Shinrikyo as a forerunner of "the new global
On May 18, 2008 Lifton delivered the
commencement address at
Stonehill College and discussed the apparent "Superpower
Syndrome" experienced by the United States in the modern
- Thought Reform and the Psychology of
Totalism: A Study of "Brainwashing" in China, Norton
(New York City), 1961.
edited excerpts available online
- Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima,
Random House (New York City), 1968.
- Revolutionary Immortality: Mao Tse-Tung
and the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Random House,
- Birds, Words, and Birds (cartoons),
Random House, 1969.
- History and Human Survival: Essays on the
Young and the Old, Survivors and the Dead, Peace and
War, and on Contemporary Psychohistory, Random
- Boundaries, Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation (Toronto), 1969, published as Boundaries:
Psychological Man in Revolution, Random House, 1970.
- Home from the War: Vietnam
Veterans—Neither Victims nor Executioners, Simon &
Schuster (New York City), 1973.
- (With Eric Olson) Living and Dying,
- The Life of the Self: Toward a New
Psychology, Simon & Schuster, 1976.
- Psychobirds, Countryman Press, 1978.
Shuichi Kato and Michael Reich) Six Lives/Six
Deaths: Portraits from Modern Japan (originally
published in Japanese as Nihonjin no shiseikan, 1977),
Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1979.
- The Broken Connection: On Death and the
Continuity of Life, Simon & Schuster, 1979.
- (With Richard A. Falk) Indefensible
Weapons: The Political and Psychological Case against
Nuclearism, Basic Books (New York City), 1982.
- The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide, Basic Books, 1986.
- The Future of Immortality and Other
Essays for a Nuclear Age, Basic Books, 1987.
- (With Eric Markusen) The Genocidal
Mentality: Nazi Holocaust and Nuclear Threat, Basic
- The Protean Self: Human Resilience in an
Age of Fragmentation, Basic Books, 1993.
- (With Greg Mitchell) Hiroshima in
America: Fifty Years of Denial, Putnam's (New York
- Destroying the World to Save It: Aum
Shinrikyo, Apocalyptic Violence, and the New Global
Terrorism, Owl Books, 2000.
- (Co-author) Who Owns Death? Capital
Punishment, the American Conscience, and the End of
Executions, Morrow, 2000.
- Superpower Syndrome: America's
Apocalyptic Confrontation With the World, Nation
Lifton as editor
- The Woman in America, Houghton
- America and the Asian Revolutions,
Trans-Action Books, 1970, second edition, 1973.
- (With Falk and Gabriel Kolko) Crimes of
War: A Legal, Political-Documentary, and Psychological
Inquiry into the Responsibilities of Leaders, Citizens,
and Soldiers for Criminal Acts of War, Random House,
- (With Olson) Explorations in
Psychohistory: The Wellfleet Papers, Simon &
- (With Eric Chivian, Susanna Chivian, and
John E. Mack) Last Aid: The Medical Dimensions of
Nuclear War, W. H. Freeman, 1982.
- (With Nicholas Humphrey) In a Dark Time:
Images for Survival, Harvard University Press, 1984.
Fresh Air interviews:
From Wikipedia, the free
Jeremy Rifkin (born
Denver, Colorado), the founder and president of the
Foundation on Economic Trends (FOET), is an American
economist, writer, and public speaker. He is an activist who
seeks to shape public policy in the
United States and globally.
He has testified before numerous congressional
committees and has engaged in litigation extensively to
ensure "responsible" government policies on a variety of
environmental, scientific and
technology related issues. Since 1994, Rifkin has been a
fellow at the
University of Pennsylvania's
Wharton Executive Education Program, lecturing CEOs and
senior corporate management from around the world on new
trends in science and technology.
Rifkin earned degrees in
economics from the Wharton School of the
University of Pennsylvania and in
international affairs from the
Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at
Rifkin has published many books—primarily focused
on the impact of scientific and technological changes—in
which he has speculated on the end or change of
American dream, the potential of dangers unleashed by
biotechnology, and on the beginning of a new
Rifkin became one of the first major critics of
the nascent biotechnology industry with the 1977 publication
of his book, Who Should Play God? His 1995 book,
The End of Work, an international bestseller, is
credited by some with helping shape the current global
debate on technology displacement, corporate downsizing and
the future of jobs. His 1998 book, The Biotech Century,
addresses the many critical issues accompanying the new era
of genetic commerce.
Renewable hydrogen economy
After the publication of The Hydrogen Economy,
Rifkin worked both in the U.S. and the EU to advance the
political cause of renewably generated hydrogen. In the
U.S., Rifkin was instrumental in founding the Green Hydrogen
Coalition. The GHC consists of 13 environmental and
political organizations (including
MoveOn.Org) that are committed to building a renewable
hydrogen based economy.
Foundation on Economic
The Foundation on Economic Trends (FOET), based
Washington D.C. is active in both national and
international public policy issues related to the
environment, the economy, and biotechnology. FOET examines
new trends and their impacts on the environment, the
economy, culture and society, and engages in litigation,
public education, coalition building and grassroots
organizing activities to advance their goals.
Rifkin has sparked controversies about his
positions. Critics in the U.S. have called him a
professional scaremonger for supporting
precautionary principles, one group going so far as to
brand him "the intellectual guru of the
neo-Luddites," as they view many of his positions as
obstacles to technological advancement. Some groups, like
Center for Consumer Freedom through its ActivistCash
website, assert that Rifkin's books are "littered with
errors and false predictions."
Time Magazine went so far as to call him "the most
hated man in science",
although groups like the
Union of Concerned Scientists have cited some of his
publications as useful references for consumers.As
well, many have considered his understanding of the American
economy to be absolutely flawed - for in his book, European
Dream, he blamed the vastly unequal distribution of wealth
in America to be the result of unbridled market capitalism,
while many claim that the vastly disparaged class of America
have gotten that way by the government disruption of free
markets, through massive bailouts in favor of large
industrial and financial corporations, resulting in vast
debt and inflation. For example, conservatives like
Ron Paul would argue against Rifkin on this basis and
maybe state that Rifkin actually doesn't understand how the
the American economy works at all - the former clearly
describes how our ills have become resultant from excessive
government intervention and that the free-market Rifkin
speaks of is only a reality in the words of the political
candidates, not in the economic reality of America.
Nevertheless, Rifkin is a well known writer for his works on
political economy and socio economic interpretations of the
The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future is
Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream, Jeremy P.
The Hydrogen Economy: The Creation of the Worldwide
Energy Web and the Redistribution of Power on Earth,
Jeremy P. Tarcher,
The Age Of Access: The New Culture of Hypercapitalism,
Where All of Life is a Paid-For Experience,
Putnam Publishing Group,
The Biotech Century: Harnessing the Gene and Remaking
the World, J P Tarcher,
The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force
and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era, Putnam
Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture,
E. P. Dutton,
- 1992, Voting Green: Your Complete
Environmental Guide to Making Political Choices In The
90s, with Carol Grunewald Rifkin, Main Street Books,
- 1991, Biosphere Politics: A New
Consciousness for a New Century, Crown,
- 1990, The Green Lifestyle Handbook: 1001
Ways to Heal the Earth (edited by Rifkin), Henry
Holt & Co,
- 1987, Time Wars: The Primary Conflict In
Human History, Henry Holt & Co,
- 1985, Declaration of a Heretic,
Routledge & Kegan Paul Books, Ltd,
- 1983, Algeny, Viking Press,
Entropy: A New World View, with
Ted Howard (afterword by
Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen), Viking Press,
- 1979, The Emerging Order: God in the Age
of Scarcity, with Ted Howard, Putnam, ISBN
- 1978, The North Will Rise Again:
Pensions, Politics and Power in the 1980s, with
Randy Barber, Beacon Press,
- 1977, Own Your Own Job: Economic
Democracy for Working Americans
- 1977, Who Should Play God? The Artificial
Creation of Life and What it Means for the Future of the
Human, with Ted Howard, Dell Publishing Co.,
- 1973, How to Commit Revolution American
Style, with John Rossen, Book Sales,
Thompson, Dick; "The Most Hated Man In Science";
Brower, Michael; The Consumer's Guide to Effective
FOET.org - The Foundation on Economic Trends
FOET.org - 'About Jeremy Rifkin (biography)
ActivistCash.com - 'Jeremy Rifkin Biography'
Guardian.co.uk - 'Sorry, Mr President, homilies
won't stop the hurricanes: We Americans need to get out
SUVs and learn the harsh lesson of Katrina and Rita:
we are all to blame', Jeremy Rifkin,
The Guardian, (September 23, 2005)
NationalCenter.org - 'Dossier, Environmental
Scientist: Jeremy Rifkin',
National Center for Public Policy Research
Speaking.com - 'Jeremy Rifkin, topics: Technology,
Future, Economics, International Business; Fee Category:
20.0k to 25.0k'
VJolt.net - 'Biotechnology Through the Eyes of an
Opponent The Resistance of Activist Jeremy Rifkin', Paul
S. Naik, Virginia Journal of Law and Technology
WorldTrans.org - 'An Afternoon with Jeremy Rifkin'
Green Hydrogen Coalition
European Parliament Leaders announce Green Hydrogen
The Internationalist Review - Dossier on Mr Rifkin's
position concerning ecological issues published by the
MONDAY APRIL 18, 2016
(11:00 AM - NOON /
Individual programs can be
viewed each week day
Channel 34 of the
Time/Warner & Channel 82 of the Host
Cable Television Systems in Manhattan, New York.
The Program can now be viewed on the internet
at time of cable casting at
NOTE: You must adjust viewing to reflect NYC time
& click on
"wATCH nOW" AND THEN CHANNEL 1 at site