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Political Sociopathy & the Dark Art of Ketman

The following essay explores the dark art of Ketman (a form of play-acting for the purposes of achieving success) as it manifests in present day, Western society.

Pictured above: Roman Republican or Early Imperial Relief depicting the poet Menander with masks of New Comedy, 1st century B.C. – early 1st century A.D.. (Princeton University Art Museum)

What is Ketman?

Ketman is the individual practice of social deception for the purposes of personal advancement and material gain. It’s tactical, clinical, and socially cleansed in the bureaucratic bathhouse. Ketman is a form of play-acting, except it’s play-acting for keeps in the real world. It’s slightly more sociopathic than it is schizophrenic. The underlying metaphysic (or approach to life) supposes that the bearers of Ketmanic doctrine walk in the full light, and the secrets of that light must be kept from the benighted: those with whom they often share a common ethnicity, but with whom they secretly disagree fundamentally, and consequently, among whom the players of Ketman must strive and struggle to survive without betraying publicly the truth about who they really are and what they honestly believe. More clever than the silly, fellow-believers who comprise their friends and colleagues, the enlightened players of Ketman analyse the customs and the state machinery, and leverage them to their profit, in a game of Whoever dies with the most toys wins. That’s the materialist spirit of Ketman as a Persian social phenomenon of the 1850s, as I understand it from Czeslaw Milosz’s book, The Captive Mind. (It is perhaps worth noting that there is also a positive, spiritual form of Ketman that Milosz touches upon. This essay, however, concerns itself with the materialist, spiritually harmful side of the teaching.)

Milosz’s purpose in invoking the idea of Ketman is to help describe the psychic shift he witnessed in his social circles and in the press as the people succumbed to totalitarian oppression in Soviet Poland, where what Milosz calls “the New Faith” exercised a tyrannical grip on all aspects of life. So Milosz’s Ketman is a new beast, quite different from the Persian kind. Here’s how he describes it, using the subject of poetry as a figure for the greater state of play:

“Poetry as we know it, can be defined as the individual temperament refracted through social convention. The poetry of the New Faith can, on the contrary, be defined as social convention refracted through the individual temperament.”

Captive Mind

Milosz’s Ketman, then, is a hollowing out of the individual; a sort of Aliens or Body Snatchers or even Exorcist-type scenario, where a parasite—or parasitic social movement or demon—displaces the individual and takes control of the body in pursuit of ends that are not in the best interests of the host. 

This analogy suggests unconscious psychological displacement. Ketman, however, is a more slippery art than that. It is a game, often played consciously, that nevertheless turns unconscious as individuals learn to play-act their role in the totalitarian state. Here’s Milosz:

“Conscious acting, if one practices it long enough, develops those traits which one uses most in one’s role. . .After long acquaintance with his role, a man grows into it so closely that he can no longer differentiate his true self from the self he simulates.”

Captive Mind

I picture a hand puppeteering Guy Smiley, and the Guy Smiley puppet spreading, taking over first the arm and gradually devouring the whole body like a snake until all the puppeteer is entirely engulfed in a new skin and consumed by its new smiley purpose. 

Some personalities are especially suited to Ketman and thrive under dictatorships. Happy to finally be having their turn on the wheel of fortune, this class of people take pride in their skill set and their success, enjoying a perverse pleasure in what we today would call gaslighting:

“To say something is white when one thinks it’s black, to smile inwardly when one is outwardly solemn, to hate when one manifests love, to know, when one pretends not to know, and thus to play one’s adversary for a fool (even as he is playing you for one)—these actions lead one to prize one’s own cunning above all else.” 

Captive Mind

To summarise, Milosz presents a form of Ketman that amounts to a conscious effort on the part of an individual to supplant his own personality, his own desires, his own beliefs in favour of a bureaucratic role in the machinery of fakery and total social control. Once the schizoid displacement is achieved, the original personality fades into the background, while the state persona dominates. The better one is at psychological compartmentalisation, the prouder one is likely to be of the achievement of Borg-like self-annihilation. As a consequence of this pride, a master of Ketman is often cruel to those he perceives as naive enough to have scruples and abide by notions of honesty, integrity, courage, honour, loyalty, equality, and liberty . . . because the practitioner of Ketman thrives during periods of ethical decline and values cunning above all else. The rational, humane world, on the other hand, represents an order in which he is powerless. Ethical behaviour is, therefore, anathema to a natural expert of Ketman. 

“It is impossible to enumerate all the forms of Ketman,” Milosz writes. But he makes an effort to supply us with a sense of Ketman’s many guises. Indeed what renders Milosz’s exploration of the concept so useful to us is his introduction of subcategories, such as Metaphysical Ketman, National Ketman, Aesthetic Ketman, Professional Ketman, Sceptical Ketman, and Ethical Ketman, among others. By way of this taxonomy, Milosz extends the potential of the term to describe the same impulse as it manifests in various areas of human activity. Once a reader understands how Ketman insinuates itself into every aspect of life in an authoritarian regime, he is better equipped to spot the disease of play-acting in his own state and determine just how pervasive the corruption is. 

Headshot portrait of Polish author Czeslaw Milosz.  
(Photo by Horst Tappe/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004) was a Polish poet and literary figure who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980. He defected from Communist Poland to the West in 1951 to escape the oppressive regime that came to power after World War II. In 1953 he published The Captive Mind, a collection of essays exploring how Communism corrupted the minds of his fellows.

(Photo by Horst Tappe/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Educational Ketman

With that abridged provenance of the term behind us, let’s turn to Ketman in the western world today. It is most certainly among us, but it is no longer Milosz’s Ketman, no longer an intellectual game worthy of being compared to chess. Today’s Ketman has very little intellectual dimension, though we mustn’t discount the strategic expertise slithering out of the Pharmaceutical-Industrial Complex. But even giving that beast its due, today’s Ketman is an intellectual disease arising from New Atheist demystification, a cultural reincarnation of ennui, a white-shoe cynicism and contempt for “the system.” And this “system” we speak of, which at first glance may appear to be a nebulous mirage, we are each of us, in fact, intimately familiar with: it is the impersonal bureaucratic edifice that stands between us (the grassroots) and the formidable surpluses the central banks, the leading corporations and the governments are sitting on. Meanwhile, those surpluses include human beings. So everything . . . everyone . . . is disposable. 

The high school, the college and the university have become training grounds, inculcating students, mainly with lessons on how to cunningly ply the Ketmanic tool kit.

This socio-cultural atmosphere nurtures and rewards cunning, and thereby installs Ketman. The high school, the college and the university have become training grounds, inculcating students, mainly with lessons on how to cunningly ply the Ketmanic tool kit. And students are incentivised with grades, and grades are too often, now in the teaching racket, mere number games involving superfluous grade distribution to water down failure of a student to give a shit. The administration calls this “student success”; and they rate a teacher’s performance using this metric of how many scoundrels a teacher has enabled, rewarded for viciousness and set loose upon society. All of this is Ketman because all involved know they have been a party to both moral and civil corruption, often referring to it amongst themselves as “bullshit.” 

Let’s take a peek at the tool kit presented to a student to encourage a turn at the game of Ketman. A student can make a disability claim and gain the privilege of extra time to write exams and complete assignments. A student might file an anonymous complaint against a recalcitrant teacher who stands firmly on principle. Often enough, the teacher in question is not in the least ethical, and is also a practitioner of Ketman; but then again, at times a teacher is firm for good reason. No matter, the student can complain of sexual harassment, of misgendering, of feeling unsafe, or accuse a teacher of spreading misinformation, or of using offensive terminology and lord knows what else. Students who find doing their homework uncomfortable, and feel they are owed a passing grade until society atones for its sins, confront teachers and intimidate them with their “feelings” regarding their use of language or teaching materials. An anonymous complaint can be levelled at a teacher, and before they know it, they’re in HR’s banana republic, kangaroo court facing a tribunal of administrators. How many times out of ten are students who pull at the levers of such socially corrective regulations, in fact taking pleasure in exploiting the cracks a broken system? Let’s call this society-wide Ketman that emerges from a culture of disposability, Systemic Ketman. 

Here comes the part I find most disturbing because it coils at the heart of human error and is the portal to all manner of evil. In order to make these victim claims viable, the individual filing one must present anxiety. In other words, one is encouraged to method act for bureaucratic leverage. Keep in mind that those who would merit a high grade for intelligence, hard work and progress do not generally seek bureaucratic solutions to their homework. Those students who would make the best philosophers, researchers, investigative journalists, or honest, visionary politicians rarely resort to lying to themselves because they are too self-conscious and feel shame when they cheat. To play-act strikes them as immature and dishonest. These students are penalised by Systemic Ketman: they are penalised by having their commitment and their talents diminished in the cooked ledger book of “student success”; and because these students of merit represent the world as it ought to be, they are despised by the impostors against whom they must vie for advancement. (See imposter syndrome.) In short, most disturbing about this disposable society is that folks are trained to lie to themselves and resent true virtue; and once you go down that road, it is very difficult finding your way back home, emotionally and psychologically speaking. 

In the same category of mendacious self-corruption, and somewhere in the zone of Educational Ketman and Expert Ketman we find an all-too-common breed of professor who believes that having paid his dues, he has been blessed with a sort of Gnostic relationship to truth that precludes his having to exercise his sitzfleisch. Consider the case of a fellow who teaches Research Methods, who balked when informed that Wikipedia and Snopes were not acceptable sources of reference for his conclusions. His response: “How dare you criticise me! I teach Research Methods. This is my area of expertise.” This practitioner of Ketman uses his certification to pose as an expert. In other words, research methods are apparently unnecessary if one is an expert®.

Fiduciary Ketman

Money is also disposable at present, hence fraud, racketeering, endless lockdowns and government shakedowns; even war is cheap. When you run out of money, you just print more. When you can just cook up more junk, there is no accountability. I know a young man who maxed out his credit card at $20,000 and never paid it, and never had to! He was also issued a new card before a few years were up. It cost the bank too much to hunt him down for payment, and benefitted the bank far more to hook him up with credit. I urge the reader to pause here and consider a moment the implications—the surpluses the bank must be hoarding for that equation to work . . . To his father’s chagrin, he was rewarded for his Ketman. Certain corporations are deemed too big to fail—a phrase resonant with Ketman. Rewards are handed out to blackguards, the best practitioners of Ketman. Inflation is their friend, so they tell you it’s yours too. 

[N]ow a “bank account” was a “financial product”—so that by the magic of lawyer trickery bullshit and bureaucratic incantations, my account is transformed into a money resort . . .

The TD bank strikes me today as what one would expect of a McDee’s Bank, if such a thing existed. When I first put money in that institution in the late 1980s, they employed knowledgeable staff and service reps, whereas now one is generally more informed than the person serving you. With online services in play, the folks on staff are generally unqualified to advise on anything. When you peek in on a branch, note how the tellers and managers seem to be biding their time, waiting for the robots to take over. Adding insult to injury, one is obligated to rent one’s bank account like a money hotel for your cash despite the diminished use of cash and despite the diminished use of manpower and time. The deal I had with the bank when I joined up was that they worked hard to earn and maintain my trust, and I, in return, would do my banking with them. They never dreamed back then of toying with me, of waxing clever and gaslighting me by telling me they were now providing me with a “service,” that now a “bank account” was a “financial product”—so that by the magic of lawyer trickery bullshit and bureaucratic incantations, my account is transformed into a money resort . . . And presto! Which would you like, sir, a basic or all-inclusive? 

Funny money; fake money.
Funny money. Don’t miss visuals here.

Shopping Ketman is a more light-hearted form of playing Pretend in a world full of cheap, disposable junk: the practice of purchasing an item, usually from a large box-store, without any intention of retaining it, but only to hold and use for the duration of the return period stipulated in store policy. Some play this game with expensive clothes, including shoes worn for one outing. Who wants to buy a computer printer when the built-in obsolescence period on these things is so short, that by the time you get through the backup inks you bought with the machine, the cartridges are obsolete? Those who understand Ketman respond with “Fooled me once…”; and the next time they “buy” a printer, they use it for their project and return it by the best-before date for a full refund. 

Of a similar species is Energy Ketman, or green® energy and appliance efficiency® to reduce electricity consumption. Your average electric dishwasher built in the 1980s actually washed your dishes. One loaded the machine with food-encrusted plates and cutlery over a couple of days, as one does, and when it was full, one added detergent from a box, turned the thing on and wow! Later, in the 90s, new efficiency® models of dishwasher came to market, and these appliances have had no business calling themselves dishwashers because they are essentially ornamental. The form of efficiency® involved is actually a devolution of energy, where the buck is passed to the stakeholder® who now must wash his dishes before placing them in the machine which provides a secondary wash for good measure—which is hardly an example of efficiency or even of usefulness. These new appliances would be better billed as “dishwashing aids,” because “dishwasher” is false advertising. Now imagine this sort of approach to energy efficiency® on a wider scale, with experts®—so narrow minded, they can see through keyholes—legislating endless policies to make tidy ledger books for the Ministry of Climate Change, while in fact passing the energy buck elsewhere down the production, pollution and waste line.

This isn’t quite a fiduciary form, but I’d be remiss not to mention Sexual Ketman, a form of social posturing and friend® manipulation: this might involve posting a sexually provocative image of oneself or of sharing® beauty shots on the Facebook or whereeverhaveyou for the purposes of exhorting “affirmation” from one’s “network” or “community”—which is mechanically compelled to provide affirmation when given the signal. Sexual Ketman includes all manner of virtue signalling. I remember a friend I had in my twenties telling me he’d pretended to be a Quebecois revolutionary for one night so he could sleep with a woman. How many men pretend they are feminists, or pretend so convincingly, they don’t recognise the pretence and are devoured by their own puppet . . . for the express purpose of getting laid? How many women do the same? Sexual partners are disposable. Sexual fantasies are disposable. And in hyper-populated cities, one’s very identity is disposable. So one’s beliefs are equally disposable. 

Qualitative life suffers under administrative regimes because quality has no bureaucratic value. Beauty has no bureaucratic value. Love has no bureaucratic value.

CBC deploys gaslighting strategy to demonise the word freedom. See the article for a lesson in Linguistic Ketman.

Linguistic Ketman

Linguistic Ketman has recently gone commando with regard to a whole spectrum of terms. There has, throughout my life, been a continual game of Political Correctness (PC), for example, around how to politely make reference to intellectually delayed persons. On the tip of every tongue sits the word retarded, but we mustn’t use it. So many terms have come and gone to replace the original word, it is difficult to keep track. Inevitably, one dances around it hoping to propitiate the PC sensibility which flutters around every conversation like a dark spirit of surveillance. Similarly, writers feel the need to use “inclusive” language to signal their compliance with politically correct policies, using they and their when they know damn well the gender of the person indicated; fumbling with written stammerings like s/he his/hers or the tedious “he and she” which symbolise and instantiate self-censorship along with compelled speech. 

Consider how no one actually cares about these pieties, except bureaucrats, and for them it’s not that they care; it’s simply their purpose. The administrative purpose lies in its power which is circumscribed by the job description and a rule to be administered. Petty rules are therefore essential to administrative practice. Proof of work to a bureaucrat is a spreadsheet showing some form of numeric growth. To make activity mensurable, administrators encourage robotic, repeatable production inputs and outcomes. And to get their way, they implement petty, arbitrary rules, or hold back resources. Qualitative life suffers under administrative regimes because quality has no bureaucratic value. Beauty has no bureaucratic value. Love has no bureaucratic value. Pleasure and happiness wind up in a ledger book of some kind, cherry picking the metrics best suited to arrive at a result most positive to the ledger-book regime. Once the metrics are determined, a system is locked in place to reproduce output results that look good according to the administrator’s book-keeping. The reality being measured, however, may have little to nothing to do with the means of measurement. In fact, too often the bureaucratic avenue causes more harm than good much the way someone trying to be helpful at a worksite might pick up a 12-foot iron bar and swing it round without realising how many heads he’s caved in: perhaps he meant to be helpful, but if so, he also caused collateral damage enough that we would have been better off without his help.

Facebook fact checkers are more correctly referred to as *fact checkers®.

Think a moment about how the word, fact, has recently been touched by a legal sleight of hand, such that a fact is nothing other than a species of opinion: hence, Facebook fact checkers are more correctly referred to as *fact checkers® which refers to nothing more than an opinion police employed to promote bureaucratically sanctioned opinions. As a result, what is presently tagged “misinformation” by our *fact checkers® is not in fact misinformation: instead, both fact and misinformation have been transformed into virtual reality synthetics, avatars, fungible, electronic badges. Make no mistake! The cynical manipulation of the word fact is a conscious act of Ketman, and it’s the Devil’s way of shifting reality. We are not comforted to learn that George Soros has just funded a fact checking, “good news” initiative. Soros is known for his philanthropic support of the American Democratic party and leftist activism. Ergo, over the next while, we can expect an intensification of the politicisation of facts and misinformation

It behoves us to dwell a moment on how bureaucrats recruit language into a game of definitions to imbue words with administrative purpose. The covid scam, for instance, is predicated on a strategic alteration of the definition of the term pandemic from a word denoting a deadly disease with high infection rate, to a word without connection to disease, danger, or death. Once words fall into the hands of Ketman, the bureaucrat can tell you that up is down, that a man menstruates, that a woman is a social construct, that dangerous is safe®, that safe is dangerous and that vaccines® do not confer immunity from death and disease, nor do they prevent transmission, but are nevertheless *vaccines® (see the fine print). 

This is the condition that ensues when words are deemed disposable. Hence the idea that vaccinations and boosters are a short-term solution (which somehow isn’t a bad thing) and are required “to remain up to date” on a 5-month basis forever (possibly every 3 months in the near future). If batteries had to be replaced for something that often, consumers would reject the product and “buy” with no intention of ownership. Sobering to consider that with acceptance of a jab every 6 months, one is essentially buying into the idea of renting one’s health, and by extension, of leasing one’s body. Worth the effort to figure out to whom you are ceding ownership, no? It strikes me as a drug dealer’s typical approach to business. But this situation smacks more of a drug cartel that engages in human trafficking.

So, as a result of this health scam, the latest Ketman game in town is Booster Ketman. We are beyond Vaccine Ketman, here. Listen to this repartee overheard while helping some fellas move the other day:

“Did you get the boost?”

“Yeah. I qualified right away. You know how?”


“Well, I had a double of the Astra Zeneca, right? . . . and this time, I went for a Pfizer.”

“Riiight! I get it. Yeah. Pfizer. That would do it.”

Massive highway-side billboards blast in emergency red, “Boost Up!” – “Book your booster now.” Boost Up is notable for its double meaning, its implied social boost, required for you to keep up, with the vaguest whiff of a threat encoded there that if you miss your boost, you may fall behind and become an outcast. Some expert Ketman there, right out of a Marketing and PR room. It sounds a little Nike-like with its Just do it vibe. Boost Up! And the above conversation reflects the sport of it, too, a cynical gaming of the system: the reason for switching brands was to get his dose sooner than he otherwise would have. Sure there was a risk, but that’s part of the booster fun; it’s about being part of the experiment, of taking part directly in The Science™. And queue jumping is a Ketman favourite. Moreover, the above quoted conversation is the complete extent of the exchange I witnessed. Nothing regarding health preceded or succeeded that quick, matter of fact chatter. It came up suddenly and out of nowhere, like a friendly rivalry between close friends or cousins. Boosting Up® is now a game of who can outmanoeuvre the system to get boosted® first.

If health is disposable, then human life is not far behind. Indeed, human life is presently felt to be disposable. Hence the acceptance of collateral damage due to lockdowns and vaccine injuries. Hence the promotion of unrestricted abortion, including very late-term. 

A further example of Linguistic Ketman that is not to be missed is the recent smear piece perpetrated on the word, Freedom, by the Canadian propaganda arm of the Trudeau dictatorship, the CBC, and meant to undermine the positive optics of the 2022 Freedom Convoy. In an article published February 14th, 2022, one can read how “The word has become common among far-right groups, experts say.” Experts® indeed. Via these luminaries, our souls are enriched by wisdoms such as, “For many, freedom is a malleable term — one that’s open to interpretation.” Another expert plies us with, “You can define it and understand it and sort of manipulate it in a way that makes sense to you and is useful to you.” Sound familiar? Ketman Classic: gaslighting. Freedom is a social construct. One imagines the Trudeau apparatchik cooking up this crack during late hour Zoom sessions, with unscrupulous think-tankers desperately trying to dig their way out of the bad optics of a government standing against freedom. The article continues to insult the average intelligence by suggesting that “freedom” is a word resonant with hate that leads directly to violence of the sort that erupted at the U.S. Capitol during the January 6th insurrection®. One recalls a time when terrorists were being rebranded as freedom fighters. Now peaceful freedom fighters are being rebranded as domestic terrorists and perpetrators of “violent freedom.”

Professional Ketman

A post by a vaccine activist (from late 2021) compared vaccine refusal to refusal to use snow tires on one’s car without it occurring to him that if any batch of snow tires caused collateral damage (including injury and death), there’d be a recall and an investigation into quality control. Likely someone would be fired and possibly jailed for negligence. What we’re witnessing here is Medical Ketman, a play-acting sphere in which the rules applied elsewhere do not apply to public health interventions: this is a form of Linguistic Ketman, a favourite tool of administrative and lawyerly prestidigitation. 

CDC PR spokesperson, Rochelle Walensky, left. Ontario Premier, Doug Ford, right. Both putting on the same practiced face of anxiety-ridden earnestness and concern
CDC PR spokesperson, Rochelle Walensky, left. Ontario Premier, Doug Ford, right. Both putting on the same practiced face of anxiety-ridden earnestness and concern while lying to the public.

A most glaring example of this phenomenon of fakery today is the preamble one hears from politicians who understand that the medical emergency is a bureaucratically engineered power grab, and a dangerous one that will lead to unrestrained segregation, dehumanisation and tyranny . . . and still they feel the Ketmanic obligation to utter their sincerely play-acted acknowledgment of the (false) severity of the disease and the (false) safety and efficacy of the vaccines. In other words, before he can take a stand against the administrative coup détat, the supposedly well-meaning politician surrenders the battlefield by offering up the linguistic grounds of opposition; for surely, if the disease is indeed so severe and the safety and efficacy of the vaccines so certain, vaccine mandates are not opposable on any meaningful grounds other than vaguely moralistic ones of purely academic interest. The politician may understand this trouble, but nevertheless he feels that should he not lead with such preamble, he will be publicly shredded and cancelled, and his chances to ameliorate the situation will be lost. Some may perceive such a politician as a coward, and this may be so; but he is also practicing Ketman. And let us not jump to conclusions, the best players of Ketman never betray whether they are acting defensively or offensively. 

The climate changes. This is how. Shut up! Only stupid people ask questions . . . Take your safety sacrament and take part in the body of The Science™ or face the inquisition and extended isolation. 

The theatre of acknowledgment presents us with another example of compelled preambles. One who wishes to be known as upstanding and worthy among progressives must signal one’s allegiances using acknowledgement preambles or be deemed a denier and a hater. These words are presently being bureaucratised, and will very soon be terms bearing legalistic, administrative condemnation, entailing fines and sanctions as per a social credit system. If one fails to acknowledge that he stands on un-ceded First Nations territory, for example, or if he fails to acknowledge the immense harm being caused by anthropogenic climate change, he will be in breach of a bureaucratic policy and will be promptly excommunicated and deprived of livelihood without hope of a defence. 

No one involved in this system has to believe he is participating in a good or worthy system because, as far as he can tell, he’s just doing his job, just filling the role set before him, just playing the game of Ketman. And at this stage of the game of pretend, he does not see that he has any choice. After all, he is told, This is how things work. Its settled. The stars move. This is how. The climate changes. This is how. Shut up! Only stupid people ask questions. Speak these words at the appointed times. Meet with the robed officiate. Take your safety sacrament and take part in the body of The Science™ or face the inquisition and extended isolation. 

True, Ketman has been with us here in the West a long time. Perhaps, there’s always a little Ketman going on, and no such thing as politics without it and no community without its politics. There’s always some measure of fakery and skullduggery afoot. The question then must be, to what extent? And how exactly did the dry rot creep up on us? How do we stop it? And if we succeed in halting the progress of this horrifying game of pretend, how do we prevent the nihilistic cynicism, this insubstantial, groundless ground from finding its way under our feet again in the future? 

What I have presented here is a mere reintroduction to Ketman for our age and our desperate moment as we face intensifying state control, engineered fear, manufactured panic, along with cynical scapegoating and mindless segregation. As Milosz indicated, Ketman presents innumerable shapes, and this essay only scratches the surface. Doubtless, readers will discover it everywhere once they make a point of watching themselves and their friends with an eye for it. My concern is that as the totalitarian dome closes over our heads, many are mistaking their cynicism for a shield, and many are mistaking their Ketman for a superior cleverness, when in fact these are the vaseline of submission, forms of self-distancing and self-mechanising that lead to heartlessness and cruelty. 

Dare we take comfort in the fact that Ketman will not prove a winning strategy for much longer because what’s at stake is our long-term health and quality of life? More people are awakening to this realisation, but still too slowly. By force of Ketman, we are not permitting ourselves to think certain thoughts, or to research facts or to speak up and say something at our place of employment. And let’s face it, not everyone knows how to conduct research. And when someone with no research skills “researches” “the facts,” he’s liable to wind up in the teeth of the *fact checkers® reading “good® information®” or alternatively on the shoals of the flat earth, wearing a foil hat. To these research tourists, branding and marketing are everything. Consequently, people are accepting a shake® in place of a milkshake because they don’t understand the lawyer trickery bullshit terms of the scam. These days, when we think we’re playing the system, it’s not true; it is we who are being played. 

What does this mean in practical terms? Many of us are still using Facebook and its Meta offspring, still using Google and Youtube. We are telling ourselves that we are, after all, subverting the system from within. But that is simply not the case. So long as we continue to support the companies colluding with corrupt governments to censor us and suppress the truth, to help spread disinformation and label truth as disinformation®, to sow fear and division . . . so long as we provide their investors with incentive, through our participation, to finance these evil activities, we are collaborators and not at all the resistance.

Asa Boxer is an award-winning writer. His latest book The Narrow Cabinet: A Zombie Chronicle is available as of spring 2022, and can be found at the usual online shops. Boxer is known for his grit, sardonic humour and accessible poetry.


  1. Frank+Farrar says:

    I’m rather surprised that there have been so few comments. Perhaps that’s to be expected.

    I’ve just ordered a copy of “The Captive Mind” in order to study it myself.

    The problem I see is that we are no longer in a position to know what is happening because even actual realities are being used as clubs by those whose purpose is to seize power and take their revenge. (Not to solve the problem, but to acquire power for other, selfish purposes.) In this game the practical truth does not matter. All that matters is that fear can be aroused in some portion of the population. If that fear is grounded in a terrifying reality, then SO MUCH THE BETTER!

    An example: I take the directly observable ongoing rise in atmospheric CO2 as a real problem. Let’s assume this is the case. How is it that the “Only acceptable ” response is to save everyone while imposing equality and equity on those who are the most wealthy and powerful? Good luck with that!

    Any and all actually legitimate problems are exploited by those seeking power through fear. They like nothing better than to see attention of any kind focused on the problems (Real or imaginary) because that distracts attention away from their goals. Extreme Left or extreme Right are both playing this game.

    God help us all!

  2. Asa Boxer says:

    Thanks @Frank+Farrar. Glad you’re ordering the book. Enjoy! I agree that both sides of the political divide are essentially wrong. I reject politics and political motivations because they are fundamentally manipulative. Ethics is very important to me. So I prefer the spiritual and psychological avenue to the political, and disagree with those who would have it that all we do and say is political, that indeed, “the personal is the political.” Surely, this need not be the case. The Dali Lama is a politicised figure, but that is merely the temporal inflection of a spiritually motivated soul. What the politically minded miss is the axis of love and fear, where fear leads only to division and destruction and where love leads to creative solutions, to coming together, to reconciliation, empathy, transformation and growth. Whoever is selling fear is also selling hate, division and war. As one wise man put it, “You will know them by their fruits.” So whether it’s CO2 or SARS-CoV-2, the ethical question is “What is the avenue of love?” Because love is the engine of the creative and miraculous, the engine of new life, whereas fear is the engine of evil. Do we hide under our beds with 3 masks and lash out violently at those who walk fearlessly? or do we step up with courage, empathy and love for our fellow? So love emboldens the heart, where fear shrivels the heart and makes cowards. In short, the political divide feeds on fears: for the Liberals, it’s literally fear of everything and everyone, including one’s own breath; for the Neocons, it’s fear of the world taking what’s theirs. In the end, they both feed the Military-Industrial Complex.

  3. Frank+Farrar says:

    Thanks, Asa.
    We do agree about Love.
    The more real Love becomes
    The less there is to fear and hate.

  4. Sarah Engelhard says:

    The reason that I didn’t leave a message earlier is because: what more was there to add? But then I thought, I need to add the weight to what I consider a mind turning realization. We are playing a game, we are in a game that has a name – Ketman – Especially timely to understand the Ketman game is how it is played with Covid-19.

    Who, then, when understanding the Keman game, would not be more enlightened into oneself, and therefore into others, and evaluating the game, in real time, the newsmakers guiding our lives. How proficient are they at winning over us?

    But now, understanding the Ketman game, we at least have a chance not to be hoodwinked to the degree that we were before we saw that we all partake in the game.

    Who doesn’t want to partake in a game? So many looking into their iPhones for a game, to win in. This article might make many winners out of us. But first it has to be read, broadcast, the fact that we are all playing it. Better to know what we’re playing.

  5. Excellent essay–incisive and elegantly written.

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