e formation of the new manBogdan Ficeac The Communist Censorship and theFormation of the New Man, Nemira Publishing House,Politica collection ,1999, Bucharest, 125 pages
First published in 1999 at Nemira publishing house in the Politica collection, i may say that it is one of the first books that looks upon the instruments of opression and manipultion during the communist rgime period in Romania. But what stroke me about Ficeacs book was the multitude of examples of how the Communist Party very rapidly succeded in gaining control over all the forms of mass-information of that time. The study that Bogdan Ficeac makes is quite thoroughly, a proof of the hard work of collecting data that he had done.
The book consists mainly of two parts. The first part deals with the internal motivation of a totalitatian rgime to make its citizens to worship the political leaders. The second one is more arid because of the many quatations from the RCP govrmental ordinances, laws, and regulamentations, but in spite of this fact is the juciest part of the book, you will convince of that yourselves.
The subject is not new, but the approach is very accurate.First, an social-psychological attempt to find the utility of thought control for totalitarian rgimes, because thought control is what Ficeac says is the supreme goal of a communist or fundamentalist rgime. If you ever wondered how did the socialists induce that great amount of obedience to the great majority of the population, the answer that Bogdan Ficeac offers will surprise some of you it is not a case of obedience but rather a case of belief, a much more internal resort.The main goal of the leaders of a totalitarian system is not to govern by the use of force (coercion) nor to destroy their enemies, but rather to determine their the subjects to sincerely think the way the leaders want. In order to achieve that the leaders resort to controling the information. Thus, the indivuduals life experience and the totality of his impressions, conceptions and life conclusions are remodeled for the use of the leaders. What is the use of the leaders if not a population of hard-working, 100% compliant individuals ? Only that the leaders (do you remember ?) want their subjects to act according to the state ideology freely, by every citizen own choice. In that sense, they (the leaders) begin to create the proper framework for the (artificial) emrgence of what Ficeac calls the new man. In Romania this complicated and wicked plan was carried following the USSRs example, sometimes even to the smallest details, a good example in this sense I can recall the replacement of the word censure with a more soften formula : the control of the press, publications, and printings. This replacement has not brought any change; on the contrary, it was made for a better concealment of the hardening of the state control over basically any type of source of information.
The communist rgimes controlled all the sources of mass information for two reasons: on one hand to feed the minds of their subjects so as to direct them in the desired direction and on the other to eliminate the other sources of information that could jeopardize their mission.
Bogdan Ficeac takes a close look at the emotional and internal aspects of how people embrace the state ideology and censorship. Here he identifies eight ways trough which the state can gain control over the peoples mind : the control of human communications, the mystic manipulation, the purity request, the cult of confession, the sacred science, the re-molding of the language, the doctrine above human, and the social delimitation. The author gives examples for every way showing the actions through which the Romanian Communist Party concealed any facts that would have prejudiced the reputation of the socialist system (you have to bear in mind that the Cold War was on and the Soviet Union along with all its allies wanted to prove to the whole human kind that a socialist rgime was the best system ever, for they posed in defenders of human rights, liberty, and popular democracy). This is not new for Ficeac, who had studied the phenomenon of manipulation very closely and he has underlined the effects of mental manipulation especially through mass-media. The theorists of totalitarianism use lie as their most effective instrument in order to redefine the past (the national and even international history) and finally the language. By redefining the language they ease the implementation of the new theories concerning the superiority of the socialist rgime.
1.Bogdan Ficeac, Tehnici de manipulare(rom), Nemira 2.R.J. Lifton, Reforma gandirii si psihologia totalitarianismului (rom.) blishing House, Politica collection, 1998