Been reading this book on Mao Zedong, written by Mao’s physician. Interesting stuff.
Back when Koanic had a blog he wrote about what he called ‘melonheads’; men with highly developed prefrontal cortexes. Natural manipulators. Your average man is capable of living his own life and guarding his own territory, aka finding his spot within a superorganism. The power of a melonhead is that he subverts other men for his own purpose through extensive manipulation; he ‘hijacks’ superorganisms so to say. Mao seems to have been a natural melonhead.
Communism was never about building a better China. It was about leftists grabbing power for themselves and it was so from day 1. Mao could be charismatic and friendly, but moreso he was a scheming and manipulative son of a bitch. At every turn his actions are explained by securing more power for himself. He excelled at using psychological tricks for this purpose. For instance, with great aplomb he would encourage criticism of the party in the name of bettering China, but in practice only to:
a) get rid of voices he thought too critical of him
b) use criticism of other party members to get rid of those party members
Yes, Mao was a great fan of high and low vs middle.
Truth did not really concern Mao; what concerned Mao was loyalty to Mao. He thrived on gullibility (e.g. the gullibility the physician initially exhibited) and carefully cultivated his cult of personality.
Mao’s genius shined brightest in his ability to hijack and redirect China’s superorganism in its entirety. He traveled a lot through the country to get a feel for local politics. Whenever he’d feel the communist emotional high slipping away he would adapt his policies accordingly. It seems to me the Great Leap Forward was entirely a result of Mao fearing pre-Mao traditions overtaking the importance of Mao worship. A ‘calming down’ of communism would only serve to weaken Mao, so as a response he drove China into another frenzy with shitty agricultural communes and shitty steel ovens. Ruined the country, but solidified Mao’s power once again. Very effective.
While China starved Mao lived as an emperor. Personal entourage, personal train, lots of fat food. During the Great Leap Forward rice was replanted along the tracks Mao travelled through as to give the impression the harvest was great (likely Mao was very pleased that even though China was starving, the people were taking extensive measures to make Mao think China was not starving). Also, unsurprisingly, Mao slept with hundreds if not thousands of women brought to his ‘dance parties’, while officially being married (his wife was a wreck of a woman).
Last but not least Mao was very straightforward in his hatred towards the right. ‘Exterminate the rightist elements’ was a favourite party slogan. Knowing that the left is lies and the right is truth, we can observe that Mao gave himself the freedom to get rid of pretty much anyone he pleased.