Chapter 4
The decision process, or the reign of the irrational

In the previous chapter, we studied dissonance and other cognitive biases, and found that this results in unsatisfactory functioning in companies, namely a formal organization based on myths. We will, in this chapter, through a few examples, enter into the details of the decision mechanics at work, and then improve it at the end of chapter 7.

To do this, let's start by laying the foundations, by specifying that a serious decision process supposes having satisfied four constraints. First of all, the person who leads the decision-making process must have the necessary skills. Then, he should provide the amount of work required by the complexity of the subject. Third, he must be sincere in his conclusions, as opposed to directing them based on a particular interest. Finally, that he must not be the victim of beliefs that would lead him to bias his conclusions in good faith.

Some examples

Let us illustrate this with a first example: the different points of the electoral program of a French president, elected by universal suffrage with two rounds. Who guarantees the relevance of each of them, and how robust is the process that led to their development?
If we assume that the seriousness of the program is guaranteed by the candidate and his campaign team, then the third constraint, namely sincerity, poses serious problems. Indeed, we all know that the campaigns now last several months, and that the candidates model their program via a feedback loop from the surveys. In these circumstances, can we say that a particular measure is the result of careful study, or must we admit that it is much more likely to be an element for optimizing a marketing positioning.
If we now assume that the validation of these points comes from the sovereign choice of the voters, then it is even more problematic. Indeed, how to consider that there was validation by the election of a point in particular when, on the one hand the second round saw opposing a moderate candidate and a candidate from the extreme, and therefore that the voters have mostly taken position based on this single element, and when, on the other hand, the voter does not have the opportunity to decide individually on the different points of the campaign.
However, once the election is over, recent governments present respect for campaign promises as a pledge of seriousness. This simply amounts to abolishing reason in favor of making the voter's vote sacred.
Through this first example, we see that the broad lines of decisions concerning the community in the medium term have been defined by the application of a biased methodology, and validated by a dogmatic methodology.

Now let's take a second example. At the beginning of the 21st century, at a certain stage of their development, companies feel the need to adopt an Entreprise Resource Planning software, to carry out IT monitoring of all of their activity. The choice of this software has major and long-term consequences on the future of the company, because it represents for it an operation as critical as the merging two companies. Indeed, the company had a culture, that is to say its own way of understanding its activity, stemming from its particular history. On the other hand, the ERP involves a standardized way of performing the activity. The challenge will therefore be to bring these two different visions of the business together. In the best of all worlds, the ERP system would be adapted to the particularities of the company, but in practice, the cost of the adaptations is such that it is only carried out very partially, and it is largely the company which finds himself forced to adopt the logic of ERP, as if, in fact, it had been absorbed by the company that it symbolically models. This leads to a considerable aggravation of the phenomenon of a practical organization, that of the operational staff, which is set up alongside the official organization, that of the ERP, as described in Meyer and Rowan, which we have just seen in chapter 3 .
We now come to what interests us more particularly here, namely the process that leads to the choice of ERP and the anticipation of the adaptations to be made, as well as the visualization of the future organization that will result from it. What practice shows is that the ERP is going to be "sold" to the company via an absolutely general presentation, a PowerPoint, the heart of which is, on the one hand, the list of the ERP references. that is to say the resolution by social reinforcement of the cognitive dissonance linked to choice, and on the other hand mythical concepts such as the presumed return on investment.
We are therefore dealing here with an extreme case of what we have just defined, at the end of chapter 3, as the cognitive bias of symbolic evaluation. Indeed, apart from the references, the comparison with other ERP systems conducted by the company is generally limited to a simplistic list of the respective functionalities of the different softwares, most often evaluated in the form of a cross or a number. When will the company assess the cost of adapting to all of its activities as it practices them? Never. When will the company assess the effect of the presence of ERP on its future ability to adapt its activity? Never.
In the end, we note that the heuristic which presided over the decision process is here the social reinforcement of cognitive dissonance, or to put it more bluntly, gregarious behavior. However, knowing that in a company, approximately half of the optimizations of the organization involve IT, the choice of the ERP has absolutely major consequences on the future of the company. How then to explain such a casual approach? It is linked to the fact that today, the educated digital man does not exist. A young person leaving a business school, or other large generalist school, does not have the slightest concrete mastery of the implementation of a computerized process, even a simple one. For him, it is necessary to have a specification drawn up by a specialist. In fact, it has no ability to anticipate either the complexity that will result from it, or the level of adequacy of the final result vis-à-vis the actual activity. Consequently, the cognitive bias of overconfidence, explained in chapter 3, acts very strongly at the time of the decision. If we come back to the decomposition of the decision-making process in four stages presented at the beginning of this chapter, we note that, in this case, there is neither the necessary skills, nor the sufficient amount of work, therefore the company is just gambling on the sole basis of "others have done it", which explains the high number of projects of this type which slip or completely fail. For example the deployment of SAP at DHL (1), or the Chorus and Louvois projects in France (2). The message from Frank Appel, CEO of DHL, following the failure of the deployment is very revealing: "We are taking new measures to ensure that this modernization is properly focused on the needs of the trades". On the Chorus side, we find the illustration of the second cognitive bias mentioned in Chapter 3, very frequent at the level of State projects in which the initial decision-maker is the final arbiter, namely the headlong rush, with the risk of a greater loss than if the situation had been rationally assessed as soon as the unforeseen difficulties became clear.
We will review this in chapter 15 which will present a rational way of understanding the digital revolution.

What we see from these two examples is that current decision-making processes do not simply need to be improved. They are in fact completely archaic. In other words, in the 17th century, we adopted the scientific method which led to a gradual revolution in our technological know-how, but on the other hand, in terms of decision-making processes, there was no significant improvement compared to practices of Antiquity or the Middle Ages.

The human is potitical before being rational

Let’s start again, methodically. A rigorous decision process involves satisfying four conditions:
1. That the person leading the decision-making process has the necessary skills.
2. That it provides the amount of work required by the complexity of the subject.
3. Let it be sincere in its conclusions as opposed to orienting them according to a particular interest.
4. That she is not the victim of beliefs that would lead her to bias her conclusions in good faith.

First of all, note that condition # 3 represents the ability to restrain the effects of social ambition seen in chapter 2, and that condition # 4 represents the ability to restrain the effects of cognitive dissonance seen in chapter 3.

Then remember that meeting three out of four conditions does not guarantee a rigorous final decision.
Our intuition and our culture lead us to look at what has been positive in terms of the means implemented (cognitive bias of symbolic evaluation). For example a large amount of work, or an illustrious character in charge of the file. However, reality works in the other direction: a serious decision supposes to satisfy simultaneously the four conditions. As soon as there is a failure concerning one, the quality of implementation concerning the others becomes non-significant.
To illustrate this constraint, suppose that we challenge our mechanic, because our car gear change gets blocked at times, and that the machanic, instead of dealing with the problem concerning the gear change, begins to explain to us that it is a super car with a fantastic suspension, a very powerful engine and in addition economical, exceptional living space, etc., so in the end it is generally a good car, and our request is therefore unfounded. We risk taking it badly, because as long as the gear change gets blocked at times, the whole car is unusable, and that is obvious to us.
What is surprising is that the same kind of argument provided by a decision-maker to justify a decision made will very often be seen, neither by him nor by us, as perfectly inappropriate. A likely explanation is that, as seen in chapter 2, the main motivation of a human is the game of alliances and not the search for the truth. In fact, we favor rhetoric over any serious form of reasoning, because rhetoric reveals individuals capable of emerging victorious from social jousts, therefore the powerful individuals of the group, therefore the individuals with whom it is interesting to ally. In other words, usually, reasoning is not so much aimed at establishing or simply better approaching the truth as at showing the social status of the person holding it.

At the level of the production of the argument, the natural functioning of humans does not consist in a rigorous analysis of the situation in all its facets, leading to the choice of the right decision. It consists of starting from a conclusion, chosen for reasons that will never be explained, and very often that we are not even awared of because of cognitive dissonance. Starting from the conclusion, all we are trying to do is produce a a posteriori reasoning that supports it, as credible as possible, not on a scientific basis that we have just mentioned in the form of the four conditions to be met, but on the basis of the culture of our social environment, that is to say, taking as truth all the beliefs which are widely accepted there. Once again, we are only illustrating the cognitive bias of symbolic evaluation.

The natural relationship of humans to reasoning can therefore be qualified as naive, to say the least. It would even be more accurate to qualify it as pervert because it boils down to play games with the truth. However, we suffer the consequences of the bad decisions that result from it, that is to say decisions going against the collective interest and very often against common sense itself. Since, moreover, we are aware of these consequences, and that this does not translate in practice into a questioning of the decision-making process itself as we do here, this results in a diffuse feeling of mistrust towards the elites seen as the source of decisions: "all rotten!" And the problem does not stop there, because this feeling is itself re-used, not on the basis of a serious analysis of its cause as we do here, but always using the same rhetorical process, which is the source fueling populism.
In summary, as the decision process is flawed, bad decisions are made. As we gradually become aware of bad decisions through their consequences, but we persist in not questioning this decision process, we adopt belief-type explanations which are then exploited by the populists. From there, the generalized nepotism seen in chapter 2 is unleashed in the literal sense, and social violence gradually becomes uncontrollable.

This first level of analysis therefore shows us a triple methodological deficiency. On the one hand that humans do not naturally understand the basics of logic. On the other hand, our main motivation is the quest for a good social place and not the quest for the truth. Finally, that in practice, we start from a pre-chosen solution and we are content to add some socially plausible arguments. This pre-chosen solution is both a conscious reflection of our interests and an unconscious one resulting from our beliefs and taboos related to cognitive dissonance. Let us illustrate all this with a third example.

Rhetoric on the background of beliefs

In 2018 a popular revolt broke out in France known as "yellow vests". One of the reasons was a feeling of fiscal overkill of the most modest when at the same time the tax burden on the most favored had decreased. The measure symbolizing this policy best was the abolition of the wealth tax (ISF in french), and its replacement by the property wealth tax (IFI). The difference between the two is that financial income is no longer taxed.
However, at the heart of the conflict, the president of the republic announced a major national debate, while excluding from the outset the re-establishment of the ISF, and justified his decision by:
"This tax has been removed for those who invest in our economy, and therefore help create jobs"
The program Secrets d'info broadcasted on February 23, 2019 on the radio station France inter under the title ISF: a first half-hearted assessment exposed the results of their in-depth investigation on the subject.
Several elements stand out:
First of all, the beginning of the sentence is simply incorrect. It is not investing in our economy that causes tax exemption. The exemption is unconditional. Perhaps we should then take "Those who invest in our economy" in the broad sense, like the social class of capitalists in the sense of Marx. But in this case, the whole sentence becomes a simple apology for ultra-liberalism.
Then, the program shows that the second part of the sentence concerning job creation is a gratuitous statement. Indeed, the abolition of the wealth tax had the concrete effect of drying up tax loopholes from which certain young innovative companies benefited, so at this stage nothing proves that the additional attractiveness of France vis-à-vis foreign investments resulting of this symbolic measure will have a greater effect in terms of investments.
Finally, the basic problem of such an approach is that when we go from the ISF to the IFI, the State revenues is roughly reduced by 3 billion euros. So if we have not clearly formulated the assessment of what the State can do best for employment with 3 billion euros, whether it is subsidized jobs, support for certain key sectors, or any other form of action, then we haven't formulated what we deprive ourselves of, so emphasizing hypothetical gain is just not serious.

Let us now examine to what extent the four methodological conditions mentioned above that are necessary to produce a serious decision were met at the level of the decision to withdraw the ISF here defended.
First of all, in terms of competence, the investigation from France inter reveals that the effects are not well understood by the Ministry of Finance, but above all that the relevant data have not been made available to researchers, so there have been no effort to establish optimum competence in this matter.
Regarding the quantity of work, it seems nobody took care to assess the loss on the job market linked to the 3 billion that would no longer be available, so nobody gave oneself the  means of a serious study.
As for sincerity, the simple fact of having presented the question in such a biased manner suffices to conclude that there is no sincerity.
Finally, concerning the risk of being the victim of beliefs, when we cross-check different declarations of the executive, we note that the central point is to "make the country attractive to investors", and that then all decisions are taken in function from this simple belief that if the country is attractive to investors, the economy will be doing well.

This last point is crucial. In fact, investors are not people of extraordinary clairvoyance, but on the contrary people who act in a gregarious and irresponsible manner, as shown by periodic economic crises, the most recent being the fall of Lehman Brothers.
So when we adopt the guiding principle of becoming attractive to investors, we have given up reason on two fronts. First, the belief that an influx of capital is enough to create prosperity is dogmatic. This is just a variant of the tickle-down theory, or the Kuznets curve if we prefer (3). Then and above all, we no longer seek to grasp the complexity of our social and production system, but just to move in the direction of a simplistic ideology. In other words, we have just shown that this reasoning is the archetype of reasoning built upside down, where one starts from a chosen conclusion, and where one adds, a posteriori, a probable reasoning ... assuming the beliefs of our social milieu to be accepted by all. What is special about this example is that a single belief, fairly easy to guess, was enough to determine the conclusion at the starting point. This belief is that if we are attractive to investors, the economy will be doing well.
The social weakness of such reasoning is just as obvious: this belief is not shared by the entire population.

Therefore, what is interesting to observe is what happens when the crisis arrives, in this case the revolt of the yellow vests and the significant support of the population. Where common sense would have dictated to stop the rhetoric, and to resume a certain number of files and rework their substance, we note instead on the one hand an answer by new small sentences, like we have just seen, that is to say the inability to integrate cultural difference and to give up basing oneself on beliefs specific to one's own social environment, and on the other hand the opening of a great global debate , that is to say a subject so broad that it too can only be dominated by rhetoric.
How can such biased reasoning, both in substance and in the social support it implies, be produced after careful consideration following the crisis? Because the belief that sustains it about investors who make the economy healthy has not been questioned. This is a perfect illustration of the effects of cognitive dissonance described in the book by Leon Festinger. Faced with a questioning by facts, here the belief is not shared by the whole electorate, the individual chooses to reinforce it instead of questioning it. Festinger addresses this more specifically in Chapter 6, drawing on the work of Cooper and Jahoda:
“[…] A person full of prejudice is so imbued with it that his perception of questions having a frame of reference different from his reshapes them so as to harmonize them with his own convictions. Unaware of violating the truth, he imposed his own frame of reference on the subject of propaganda [p. 20]  (0)”
What Festinger, Cooper and Jahoda note but do not explain is the cause of this strengthening of conviction specific to a social group, where one would expect a questioning of the beliefs, or at least its not use since it is not shared by the group to which the message is addressed at this particular time. This cause must be sought from the other pillar of this book, namely generalized nepotism: in crisis, that is to say social tension, the natural reflex of humans is the "us against them", therefore "we" close ranks, and therefore it is out of order to question what makes us, namely the beliefs of our social group.
In other words, the crisis has led to a strengthening of "us against them" to the detriment of reasoning, therefore ultimately a strengthening of beliefs on both sides.

Let us continue our exploration of the collective decision-making system currently in place. In 2017, the french president Macron was elected on the basis of "I want to change the way of doing politics to stem the rise of extremes linked to discredited elites". In his representation, the discredited elites are the politicians whose main occupation is the conquest of power within the different parties, while his personal only concern will be to reform the country.
Here we have a new illustration of the effects of cognitive dissonance. In fact, the discredit of the elites is absolutely not due to the fact that they are fighting for power, which the majority of people do not give a damn about, but to the fact that their decisions are not credible. Now we have just shown that the new ruling party proceeds in exactly the same non-credible manner to produce decisions, namely that it obeys dogmas, and we see that the opposition parties, moderate or extremist, also proceed in the same way in the opposition, therefore also do not prepare to implement any real change of method in the exercise of power. What we are witnessing is simply the struggle between competing ideologies. The new paradigm in this area is called participatory democracy, which is just the belief that a decision from below, or from consensus, would be better.
Let us return to the base which serves as our guiding thread: a decision is better if and only if the process which served to produce it is more rigorous, in the sense of better satisfying simultaneously the four conditions which we explained at the beginning of this chapter. In other words, the only thing that changes something is to get out of ideology to adopt rationality. But for that, it is not enough to affirm that such or such vision is fairer, more effective, more natural, etc. It is necessary to pass to decisions constructed methodically, and clarified precisely.

The habit does not make the monk, but it makes the decision maker, and begets the populist

We have just brought to light the ineptitude of the mode of reasoning which supports current decisions. Let us now see why such a system has been implemented historically, and continues today.

It should be noted for this that the social structure which frames the current mode of reasoning rests on three pillars. The first is the statutory competence of the person making the decision. This mode of organization, which seems to us absurd vis-à-vis the rationality expressed at the beginning of this chapter in the form of four conditions, takes on its full meaning as soon as we place ourselves in a social environment in which it is the belief which prevails and not scientific reason, that is to say a world before the seventeenth century. Indeed, in a world of beliefs the statutory distribution of power makes it possible to effectively limit the effect of generalized nepotism: to each his prerogatives.
However, once the rules of the scientific approach are well established, and mass education effective, the decisions which result from a simple statutory distribution of power cease to be credible for a large part of the population.
Indeed, one would have thought that the myths which are used by the elites to build their decisions on simplistic heuristics are shared by all, which would have the effect of creating a broad consensus, and therefore making the decisions acceptable. However, the interviews reported in the book The Stupidity Paradox: The Power and Pitfalls of Functional Stupidity at Work show that the situation is asymmetrical. Only decision-makers believe in myths; the people who undergo the decisions are not fooled. The recent revolt known as yellow vests is another illustration.

The second pillar, namely the strength of the social group that supports a decision, used to ensure the stability of the social system. Since the decisions is supported by the most powerful groups, any inclination to challenge it can be quelled in the bud.
Again, democracy, which has emerged in multiple countries following the technological revolution, has gradually undermined this foundation. Indeed, using the troop to subdue the collective challenge of a decision is no longer considered an acceptable mode of government in a democracy.

Finally, the third pillar is repetition. This could possibly take the form of a large book, each argument of which is weak, but which acquires a certain credibility by simple accumulation, because the one who wrote all of this gives the impression of knowing a great deal about the subject.
This can more probably take the form of a few arguments repeated over and over, which although being myths, end up appearing to be true, at least partially, because gradually anchored in our memory under the effect of repetition, therefore merging with, or gradually biasing, our own experience (4). Let us give as examples the capitalism tickle-down theory (5), and the various 'problems' linked to immigration (6).

In the end, we maintained a decision-making system without realizing that its first two pillars no longer rested on solid cultural foundations. In other words, the crisis that began in the time of Marx, due to the technological revolution produced by the implementation of the scientific method, is a crisis in the credibility of the decision-making process. This crisis has lasted for several centuries, simply masked by repression in the 19th century, then the years of reconstruction following the wars in the 20th century. It will only find its outcome following the adoption of a decision-making process in line with our new technological capabilities, that is to say credible for current citizens.
At this point, we can complete the criticism that we started in chapter 2 concerning the explanation of the origins of totalitarianism given by Hannah Arendt. Indeed, she seeks explanation on the side of the content of ideologies (7). What we are putting forward here is, on the one hand, that once we have produced distrust in the decision system, it is illusory to think that no populist group will be formed in the aim to exploit this rancor without scruples to gain power. It will be done through channeling by means of a myth the powerful instinct "us against them" mentioned in chapter 2. On the other hand, fight by reason or morality the myth itself, whether it be the fear of an invasion by strangers or the rejection of a social group identified by its mores, its physical appearance or its religious beliefs, is practically impossible. Indeed, adherence to the proposed myth is the result of the work of cognitive dissonance seen in chapter 3, that is to say the materialization of another yet not expressed anxiety. To accept that the myth is false is for the person to end up with an anxiety that can no longer be explained. The person does not believe in the myth: he truely needs it to explain th anxiety. For details, see Chapter 10 of Festinger's book on the emergence of rumors following the earthquakes. If it is largely illusory to want to fight the content, as the progressives seek to do, which it is important to fight, and which Hannah Arendt does not approach, it is the source of this diffuse anxiety, which is lack of confidence in collective decisions.
Divorce at this level between the elites and the broad population is absolutely not linked to the fact that the elites would be less inclined to believe populist myths because they are better educated, contrary to what is too often asserted. It is linked to the dissymmetry mentioned above: as the elites are more involved in the decision system, they lie more to themselves about its relevance, so they have less need of other mythical justifications. Put bluntly, the elites are no more open; their myths simply aim more to justify the decision system rather than to explain the anxiety linked to not believing in the relevance of its functioning.
In summary, by relying on the third pillar (repetition), populism creates myths based on the principle of "us against them" to channel, at the end of accession to power, the anxiety linked to the non-trust in decisions.

In this chapter, we have just illustrated how the collective decision-making process works. If the citizen tends to perceive it as unsatisfactory because of a lack of concern by the leaders for the general interest, which the most moderate attribute to a simple relaxation of moral values, and the most extreme summarize in the expression 'all rotten ', it now seems more accurate to call it inept.
From this it becomes clear that the main characteristic of any system of social organization which aims to put progress at the service of all can only be its capacity to produce decisions in accordance with the common interest, even if decision making humans are, and will remain, biased by generalized nepotism and cognitive dissonance.
In the next two chapters, we will provide some additional details no longer concerning human nature, but our cultural environment, and above all we will clarify what characterizes our era, so that we can finally lay out in chapter 7 the broad outlines of this new social organization.


This is double translation, from english to french, and then from french to english instead of beeing the original wording. Sorry about that.

The transport company DHL had planned to adopt the integrated SAP software, but ended up giving up the project, resulting in an estimated loss of € 345 million.

Chrorus is a platform for the management of dematerialized invoices in administration.
Louvois is centralized pay software for the French army, the cost of which is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of euros. See the investigation led by the France inter investigative team exposed in the Secrets d'Info program on June 22, 2018.
In both cases, it is not the choice of modernization that is criticized, but the initial decision process, in particular at the level of the assessment of foreseeable needs and difficulties linked to the local variability of needs and constraints at the level of large structures, and especially that of taking into account the difficulties encountered.

The tickle-down theory is not, strictly speaking, an economic theory, but an image that came into public discourse with the advent of ultra-liberalism in the 1980s. It conveys the idea that if the wealthiest get richer, they will invest in the economy, and as a result, the entire population will benefit in the long run.
Simon Kuznets affirms that, in the event of economic growth, even if at the outset inequalities increase, “The fruits of growth consequently spread to other sectors of the economy”. Hence the expression of inverted U curve concerning the evolution of inequalities. This theory has been challenged by the work of Thomas Piketty, who shows that the progress in the distribution of wealth in the first two thirds of the twentieth century is more a positive effect of the two world wars.

The propaganda of totalitarian countries uses an even more effective version of the repetition system. Indeed, if we get on individual to perform an action, for example attending a national event, cognitive dissonance then pushes him to adhere to the principles that he endorsed by participating, even if it is against his will. Festinger also teaches us that the effect obtained is all the greater when the pressure exerted on the individual to obtain his participation has been low, because the individual can then more difficultly justify his action by a simple 'i had no choice'.

See the article 'Tickle-down theory' on Wikipedia:
"The Merriam-Webster dictionary notes that the first use of the word" runoff "in the economic sense dates back to 1944, and that of 'runoff theory' in 1954.
The tickle-down theory appeared in public debate in the 1980s with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher."
Then, the term evolves according to the objectives of political positioning.
“Emmanuel Macron defends the metaphor of the 'first of the rope'."

The French political party 'Front national', created in 1972, owes its rise in large part to the hammering in the public debate of spooky problems linked to immigration, and especially to its capacity to finally make this question omnipotent.
For example, during the political program 'Questions politiques' on April 2, 2017, Stéphane Ravier, Front-national Senator said: "I would remind you, for example, that there is a massive immigration policy in this country that is costing the French around 70 billion euros per year "
It is interesting to compare this statement with the article in the CNRS Journal entitled On the Beneficial Effect of Migration on the Economy: "Our work rightly suggests that the political debate on immigration focuses far too much on the supposed 'economic cost' of migrants. We show that their presence, whether permanent migrants or asylum seekers, has no negative economic impact."

We have chosen to take Hannah Arendt as a reference not so much by support or opposition to her theses, but because of the importance of the work she has devoted to the research of the causes that led to the Autoco.
It should be noted that looking for the causes on the side of ideological content and historical conditions refers to her great book The Origins of Totalitarianism, and that the work of Hannah Arendt does not stop there. Indeed, after having attended the trial of the Nazi Adolph Eichmann, she affirms that the accused was dominated by his objective of social advancement and not by personal convictions, and especially that from a certain stage he simply stopped thinking about the moral aspect of his personal involvement. She then forges the concept of "banality of evil", which will be controversial, because it goes against the reassuring conviction that a horror such as the Holocaust can only be perpetuated by monsters fundamentally different from us, especially at the level of higher hierarchical levels.
However, Hannah Arendt does not make the connection with cognitive dissonance as the main tool of personal blindness, nor with the generalized nepotism which leads to "us against them" as a toxic by-product of social ambition, and even less with the lack of confidence in the decisions taken by the elites to explain the first phase, namely the rise of populism.