How Do You Kill an Elephant With a Needle?
Here we have the Zinoviev imperative — how do you kill an elephant with a needle. The idea behind it — one that connects many small occurrences, including historical facts — is as simple and transparent as spring water: how to find your enemy, adversary or opponent's weak spot, regardless of his size or his arsenal (literal or figurative).
This was something only Alexander Zinoviev, a master of thought and analysis, could understand or proclaim. For him, the words and concepts he created seemingly on the fly were actually part of his own standards of purity and integrity of his image.
One could think imaginatively, but they would not be creating an image, even less so because we are talking about a phenomenal person here — an adept at logica assoluta, absolute logic, who firmly and mercilessly cut out all unnecessary words, nonsense and tautology.
Therefore, it is worth being reminded of his astonishing ability to create words — apart from his prohibitively black humor, burlesque and oxymoron. Suffice it to recall such neologisms as "Yawning Heights," "catastroika," "global human-thill," "horned hares" and others.
Alexander Zinoviev gave us the general concept "that one of the competitors is able to be dangerous for another to a fairly high degree. In the modern world with its modern weapons and communications, this ability becomes especially important."
This principle leads us to the following conclusion: One needs to put opponents in such a position that they cannot use their superior strength.
He cites a whole series of highly visual examples, like in the classroom, from his own (the story of the pencil compass) to classic historical examples, such as the case of Francisco Pizarro (the Spanish conquistador who defeated the Incan Empire) by showing remarkable intelligence and finding a weak point of his enemy (the Indians). Abashed by an attack on their leader they worshiped as a god and saw as invulnerable and untouchable by a handful of Pizarro's soldiers, the Indians surrendered without a fight. According to Zinoviev, Pizarro spotted the Incan army's vulnerability, its Achilles' heel.
The idea of "killing an elephant with a needle" is yet another reason for Alexander Zinoviev to reflect on the role of information, its use and how billions of people get brainwashed, manipulated with only one goal: to make them accept being manipulated.
He drew particular attention to the phenomenon of terrorism, which is often described as the absolute evil, worse still, unprovoked evil. It appears that from time to time, certain defective creatures are born. Subhumans. Where do they come from? This isn't really a question, Zinoviev says. Yet, "terrorism is not an unfounded phenomenon. Neither is it based on any imperfections of human biological nature. It is a social phenomenon rooted in the conditions of people' social genesis. What is called ‘the world terrorism' in the USA today is in fact a regular reaction of certain states and nations that became victims of globalization and westernization…"
The information needle introduced into pre-emptied brains of ordinary people can do so much damage they won't even know where to begin. The entire text and visual information landscape (TV included) is strewn with examples.
Here we could recall the "liberation" of Serbia at the end of the 20th century; the unforgettable attacks of September 11, 2001; and the shamefully forgotten events that took place in Odessa in 2014. Somehow, no one organized thousands-strong protest marches of people declaring "I am Odessa." We may recall the "victorious strikes" the West carried out on ISIS positions (a radical terrorist organization, whose activities are prohibited in Russia), mainly on unwatched motorcycles or defenseless Red Cross hospitals, while planting fake stories in mass consciousness about Russia being the one to target hospitals and clinics.
All this provides an operating room for the deliberate introduction of information needles on an area the size of the planet. So that we no longer remember the series of "color" revolutions, which uncannily followed the same scenario everywhere. It appears that every time, without exception, the attackers found the most unprotected place, the Achilles' heel, striking their enemy's weakest point, thereby causing chaos, disorder, devastation — a situation where they could easily catch any fish in troubled waters of anxiety and panic inflicted from the outside.
In such circumstances, you can do anything you want with the human material, as it is much easier to indoctrinate the masses than to make a staunch loner who challenges his time and a priori maxims, change his mind. The "Ministry of Truth" tirelessly works the human brain, softening it, reducing it to a system with easily replaceable propaganda programs. As a result, there is no need to explain the difference between terrorist thugs and moderate opponents in ISIS.
Meanwhile, the modern West has its Achilles' heel, too. Zinoviev's how-to-kill-an-elephant-with-a-needle phrase refers to it directly — to the West, now confident in its strength of an elephant.
In the seven short examples he offers ‒ from the "Pencil Compass Case" to "The Two Disciplines" ‒ Alexander Zinoviev tirelessly returns to the idea that is best explained in his last book (The Comprehension Factor), in which he describes this idea as the main ideologeme in modern Russia: We need to outsmart the West.
At the end of his article How to kill an elephant with a needle, Zinoviev addresses the following words to his contemporaries: "You have to have a scientific knowledge of ‘the beast' standing against you and of "the compass" which would help you to force your way in history."
So I would like us all to think about how we still can "outsmart" the West and find a way to kill an elephant with a needle, meaning to discourage the West and other adversaries once and for all from declaring Russia an enemy and seeking to destroy it.