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End of Empire - Waking Zombie Nations / Psychology, Consciousness and the Egoic Mind

Cognitive Dissonance's picture




 

To be fair, this article could just as easily have been called “Waking a Zombie World”. While various people and governments point to the USA as the bad actor in this mess, in fact it has taken dozens of nations to form this conga line to hell and the rest of the world is far from blameless. Nor is America the sole residence of the world’s zombie population. However, since this writer and much of the ZH readership reside in American, we will assume an American (ego) centric focus. My apologies for the delay in posting this article which I had promised some time ago. In my defense, there are hundreds of thick and dusty books on this subject at the local library, proof that it’s not very easy to condense this complex subject into a 10 minute read. In fact, it’s impossible to do so and not even worth trying. While you can break visible light down to its primary colors, it’s actually composed of millions. The same applies to this subject. What I finally decided to do was break it down into separate postings so that the reader could find the courage and stamina to actually read it. Even with the division, be forewarned that this first posting is still a long read.

This article is an effort to understand what’s really going on, why Americans (and the rest of the world) appear to be frozen in place, seemingly helpless and hopeless in the face of incredible corruption and thieving. A quick review of history shows us this isn’t the first time it has happened, though it may be the biggest since the 1930’s. In fact, these types of disasters seem to occur regularly, following a well worn script to its inevitable conclusion. The bad guys escape with the loot while the general population looks on, tails between the legs, hands in pockets and eyes cast down, impotent to the end. Why do we allow ourselves to be used and abused like this? Why are we spectators to our own destruction? While the human condition can’t always be quantified, it can be understood to some extent, but only if we’re willing to peer into some extremely uncomfortable places. My ultimate goal in writing this “End of Empire” series is to promote reflection and understanding. Significant and lasting political and social change will not occur until we elevate our understanding and awareness far above where it is today. I most definitely don’t have all the answers and anyone who claims they do is smoking the good stuff and should share their stash with this formerly long haired hippie. Pass the bong dude.

In this article, I’ll describe how I see myself, the world and the people who live in it. By doing so, the reader will be looking over my shoulder at the workings of the human psyche, or at least my interpretation of the psyche. What you will not find is the consensus view on this subject. For that, all you need do is pop open a standard psychology 101 text book and dive in. The reason I leave the beaten path is simple. The really interesting ideas are usually found way out on the fringe and deep in the weeds. That’s not to say you can’t find “truth” or accurate knowledge within the consensus, just that cutting edge ideas and concepts aren’t tolerated well among the establishment. In my opinion, the established leaders rarely go into areas that aren’t well traveled and seldom stray from their own fields of expertise. Ironically, in a discipline that devotes much ink to the discussion of the ego, the principal players’ egos prevent little more than incremental forward progress. When you’re sipping from government and corporate grants, you don’t often make waves.

Now for the fine print disclaimer. My understanding is ever changing and evolving and I reserve the right to change my opinion before I finish this sentence or this series. The one constant thing in life is change. All I ask of the reader is to read this in its entirety and in the order written. When mucking around in the bushes, it’s very easy to take things out of context when you don’t read the context. The subject is so involved and complex that each paragraph could be expanded into 8 more and still not be complete. I ask the reader to consider that I just might have left some things out of this article in the interest of brevity and not because I’m clueless.

Established “facts” are often facts the consensus believes can be or has been proven, which in the field of psychology is usually what the majority believes to be fact. Circular logic is often accepted by the consensus because it substantiates and validates the consensus. We see this in religion, politics, science, finance, in every human behavior. Because of this, it’s impossible to understand ourselves and our world without a fundamental knowledge of psychology and philosophy and the willingness to break the boundaries of accepted thought and leave the pack. From my point of view, only when I began to color (way) outside the lines did I begin to pull together seemingly unconnected ideas and concepts into a bigger, more coherent picture. Psychology helps me understand why we do what we do and philosophy forces me (at least temporarily) to abandon any notions of right or wrong, good and bad, better or worse and see life as it really is. When thinking philosophically, I must leave my biases and prejudices at the door. I use these two tools, along with others, to gain (and hopefully maintain) perspective. 

Since I’m not a classically trained psychologist with a consensus belief system, I’m at liberty to explore multiple ideas and concepts that aren’t constrained by a formal ideology or professional field of expertise. From my point of view, I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Instead of herding everything I learn into rigid categories for emotional and intellectual comfort, I try to follow the rabbit wherever it goes. After decades of trying to do things “my way or the highway” I’ve learned the hard way it’s best to navigate life with an open mind and a loosely held belief system, in the same manner one might gently cradle a delicate butterfly rather than desperately clutch a huge sack of potatoes. By doing so, when something doesn’t fit my worldview or belief system, I simply let go and let it mold itself into any shape that’s required to fit the new information. Contrary to what one might think, this doesn’t result in radical changes but rather subtle movements. The key is mental and emotional flexibility and with lots of practice and a healthy dose of courage, it can be as easy as that.

While this process might sound nonsensical, impossible even (“you have to believe something” I’ve been told) it’s actually very easy and quite liberating once you exercise it on a regular basis. Very young children do it every day, until it’s finally conditioned out of them using an extremely effective program of dogmatic repetition and indoctrination administered by our state sponsored training institutions known as the public and private school system. For those children who require additional training, there are 4 more years of intensive focus available for a substantial additional charge. Finally, in those tragic cases where a few unfortunate children refuse to absorb their conditioning, graduate school is offered. Quite frankly, it’s their last and only hope and it’s usually financed with huge loans and paid back in monthly installments, assuming they finally secure gainful employment once released onto an unsuspecting and vulnerable world. These adult children are hopelessly institutionalized and those who survive this level of indoctrination have historically done the most damage to society.

All kidding aside (well, actually I wasn’t kidding) the training I just described is not known to produce an open mind and a flexible belief system. As I continue to work on reversing and repairing a lifetime of damage to my own psyche and spirit, the perspective gained from this flexibility allows me to forcibly move my dominant ego to the back of the bus and away from the controls. I say forcibly because the ego is the original and ultimate control freak, a crisis manger that knows it all and won’t willingly release command. The ego will not go quietly into the night. By corralling the egoic mind, it enables my intellect and awareness to explore areas my ego would normally shield from me. It took me the longest time to realize that what I thought was “me”, my “self”, my conscious mind talking and thinking was often and sometimes exclusively my ego, which is a very constrained and purposely narrow slice of my full consciousness. In essence, I discovered that my ego, that constant companion I’d always assumed was “me”, wasn’t actually “me”. Worse yet, I realized my ego lied to me. As a matter of fact, my ego lied to me all the time, in a very successful attempt to shield me from myself and the world around me.

It appears I really am wearing rose colored glasses, placed there by an hyper vigilant ego perfectly adapted to an environment made dangerous by lions, tigers and bears (oh my) but mostly useless and quite self destructive in a modern world of townhouses and tea parties. While the ego is wonderfully capable of piloting the ship through dangerous shoals and shark infested waters, it is not well suited to the everyday mundane task of cruise ship captain. It is time to extract the (ego) maniac from the pilot house and put him in charge of the bilge pumps. However, you don’t want to remove the ego completely because you need it in a pinch. While the ego will scream and holler at first, (usually manifested in fear and anxiety) it really isn’t comfortable handling delicate cruise ship piloting duties 24/7. Once you negotiate a truce with your ego by assuring your ego you need it during crisis situations, the ego will stay busy rebuilding the bilge pumps and manning the life boats, where it really is much happier. You really don’t want the antisocial and paranoid head of security running the public relations department all the time. 

Don’t believe me? Think this is silly? Well, you might be correct, but consider the following. Have you ever experienced a situation where you’re talking to someone, carrying on a somewhat heated conversation (meaning your ego is front and center) and yet at the same time you mentally float off and find yourself watching yourself as you argue with the person? Or something happens and you react instinctively, yet at the same time and in the back of your mind, you’re asking yourself why you’re doing or saying this or that? I’m talking about real time here, not after the fact. Sort of like watching yourself while also being in the “here and now”. This actually happens to many people but rarely do they talk about it publically, for fear of being branded crazy or weird. I suggest that if you’ve never experienced this, it might be because you’ve never tried or you’re more egocentric than some (that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just is what it is) and you might benefit from being aware of it.

To go a little further with this idea (and deeper into the weeds) as I’ve learned to control my dreams (I submit that dreaming is simply a different aspect of consciousness) there are times when I’m in my dream (seeing through my dream eyes in my dream body so to speak) while also watching myself in my dream, in exactly the same manner as described above. But I’ve also experienced (more accurately controlled) the third perspective while dreaming, moving in and out of my dream body at will, disembodied from myself, while at the same time watching me watch my ego in the dream. There are other perspectives as well (out of your dream body and into someone else’s dream body, which I find exhilarating) but I don’t wish to scare off the reader too soon.

I see all this as simply different perspectives or dimensions of the same consciousness. I humorously call this dream state the ultimate expression of me, myself and I (and that guy). While some people get physically and emotionally upset when I discuss this (yes, some people become quite threatened by things like this) if science can rationally discuss string and membrane theory, quantum mechanics and 11 dimensions, I can talk about expanded consciousness. For those readers experiencing a queasy stomach right about now, wondering who this lunatic is, you’re welcome to exit stage right if you like. For those readers who regularly read my comments on ZH, I’ll quote my all time favorite line from the movie “Starman”. “You wanted crazy, you got crazy.” :>)

Circling back, this heightened awareness has many different names in other cultures and (not surprisingly) it’s that place or level one wishes to reach during meditation, Yoga or intense concentration. Many “creative” and “religious” people have reported reaching a heightened state of awareness during moments of greatest inspiration and concentration. (I’ll touch the “religious” third rail in my next article.) This heightened awareness can only be reached by taking the ego out of the driver’s seat and engaging yourself. You, or more accurately your consciousness, can be found in this area of higher awareness, where your true creativity and knowledge is located. This is where you find the more fully formed you, not the everyday ego we all assume is us, which is what is exposed to the world when we’re on automatic pilot. This higher awareness is where your gut instinct resides, the place where problems are sorted out when you “sleep on it”, where you put something in the back of your mind for processing. If you think about it, there are dozens of popular cliché’s we use every day that actually describe a higher level of consciousness. While we kind of, maybe, sort of, accept this as possible, we rarely spend any time attempting to engage this area at will and use this power to our benefit.

Just think, all those wasted years in my late teens and early 20’s taking hallucinogenic drugs and looking for me when I was actually right here all the time. :>) You really can have lots of fun with this if you don’t take yourself too seriously and regularly tickle the funny bone. (I’ll cover more thoroughly the “hallucinogenic drugs” third rail next time.) My little laugh at my own expense actually highlights that most basic and fundamental aspect of being human, the longing or yearning for “meaning” that humans have described for thousands of years. Think of the tens of thousands of books, poems and songs written over the ages describing the search for the meaning and purpose of life. As you might suspect, I have some ideas on the subject but not here, not now. By the way, Microsoft’s “Word” spell check doesn’t like this article. Too many me, myself and I’s (which Word as king narcissist automatically corrects to read “me, me, me”) has Bill Gates’ crowning achievement all worked up.

Anyway, the phenomenon of watching your ego while awake and aware is sometimes called perspective but also has many other names and explanations. The real question is how are you able to do this if “you” are your ego and your ego is “you”? How can you be “you” and also be watching yourself at the same time? It’s almost as if you’re of two minds as the saying goes. In my opinion, the ego is a narrow slice of and a distinct part of your total consciousness (but a part of it none-the-less) something I call my basic self, where my mental reflexes lay, the emotional me, the crisis manager, my reptilian brain for lack of a better term. You can actually train yourself to step back and watch your ego at will, though it can be more difficult during times of stress, when the dominant ego asserts it’s primacy over your consciousness. Interestingly, during deep concentration or during meditation, when I’ve moved the ego into the background and my consciousness forward, I sense there are additional levels of awareness. It’s my understanding that it’s possible for the more highly developed conscious being (shamans, Dali Lama, etc) to “go” much further than I can even conceive of. This is a rabbit hole that’s very deep, endless even, and while I’ll never fully explore it in my lifetime, it’ll be loads of fun trying. 

Once you begin to practice this, you find it’s much easier to subvert your ego because you no longer identify yourself with the ego. “You” are not your ego and your ego is not “you”. “You” are the master, the overseer, the conscious being and your ego is your servant, in the same manner your arm is a part of you but not “you”. (Unless of course you’re Peter Seller’s arm in “Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” a wonderfully powerful examination of global insanity created and accepted by the consensus reality.) Interestingly, it appears that for the last six thousand years, the ego has gained more and more control over the human psyche; to the point where today it remains dominant nearly all the time. In fact, there is growing evidence that ancient man didn’t “think” or experience reality in the same way we do today. But since we know of nothing else, of no other way to be, we assume this is normal and natural. My studies indicate it hasn’t always been normal for the ego to be primary, front and center, crowding out our greater awareness, pushing it into the background. (I’ll expand on this in the next article.)

Of course, at times you do want a dominant ego, such as when a car is about to strike you, the ladder is about to fall or someone is waving a gun in your face. You want and need that part of your consciousness to dominate, when any hesitation might kill you. But not when you’re sitting in the board room or on the throne in the bathroom. Servants don’t dominant the master but instead follow the masters bidding. BTW, please don’t get hung up on the word “control” because it’s not about control of the ego as much as understanding, awareness and perspective of the ego and your consciousness.

The next step in understanding your consciousness (once you understand the separation of “you” and your ego) is to understand that, contrary to conventional wisdom, there is no clear division of the conscious mind separated from the unconscious mind, with the ego mixed into the mess. Instead, understand that there is only a totality called consciousness (including the collective consciousness, which will be discussed in the next article) and the ego is constraining your view of your own total consciousness in the same way a massively large but completely dark warehouse might appear to you if all you have is a small flashlight which only illuminates a very small area. Now consider that your ego, which is usually controlling the direction and intensity of the flashlight, is a hyper alert, very frightened and extremely strong child wandering through the pitch black vastness completely alone.

Clearly the child is not in the mood to explore and understand. In fact, the child will deliberately ignore anything that could possibly be threatening, frightening or even confusing. You will be blind to many things because your ego will simply not illuminate it for you. Even if the ego recedes into the background, it still very effectively filters “reality” or “truth” if you’re not aware of the ego and its methods. You can’t see what you don’t know about or what you’re not aware of. (This reminds me of that wonderfully obtuse but factually correct statement by Donald Rumsfeld. “You have your known knowns, your known unknowns and your unknown unknowns.”) Your ego is a crisis manager and is always on high alert and not rational or logical under any circumstances. In fact, the term “rational or logical ego” is the ultimate oxymoron.

The ego’s fight or flight survival instincts, when allowed to be the dominant emotion, is not very well suited to exploration and understanding of the darkened area of your consciousness, which requires curiosity, insight, reflection, sensitivity, etc. However, the ego is very well adapted to deal with crisis, hunger, severe physical stress and so on, making the ego an excellent crisis manager. The ego, which is always on high alert though not always dominant, will “see” things such as scary shapes or movement and “hear” noises that for the most part will be a complete fabrication. Now switch on the overhead flood lights, illuminating the entire warehouse, and suddenly all those previously frightening shapes and sounds turn out to be easily recognizable familiar objects.  While I don’t know how to (fully) turn on my mental flood lights, I’m absolutely convinced that if we were able to switch the lights on, we would laugh heartily at our own foolishness and insanity, for it would all make sense once we could see the big picture. We’ve all seen those picture grabs that are nearly impossible to decipher (like a circle with rods radiating outward) until we pull back to see the entire perspective (a Ferris or bicycle wheel) and suddenly it all makes sense. 

While I’m a long way from this level of awareness, significant progress can still be realized if I understand that I’m no longer compelled to allow my ego to dominate and distort everything all the time. Just as important, knowing the past is littered with distortions and lies perpetrated by the ego, I must begin the process of re-examination and reflection. In addition, once I understand what the ego is and its role in my existence, I can more easily see through the ego’s distortion and subterfuge. While my ego still throws the occasional temper tantrum in the middle of the supermarket, I’ve learned to recognize the warning signs and not take it personally, pun intended. Even if I’m unable to stop the ego tantrum, I can still quickly escort my ego outside and lock it in the car. Understanding the circumstances that color my perception will go a long way towards dealing with it. The scary monster creeping up behind me is very often my ego.

In truly dysfunctional individuals, where the ego is extremely dominant and in constant tension with the conscious mind, I suspect the ego deliberately sabotages the individual to create crisis after crisis in order to “feel” needed and useful. While the ego might be an excellent crisis manager, once we recognize that the ego sees the world from an extremely narrow point of view, we shouldn’t ever expect the ego to act like a mature adult, applying reason and insight to lessons learned in order to modify future behavior. The ego is the one tiger that will never change its stripes. This might explain why some people seem to be extremely self destructive yet when carefully questioned, report that they’re completely clueless about their behavior.

Understanding the ego and its effect on human behavior helps explain, or at least helps one understand, all kinds of bizarre human behavior. Remember, the ego doesn’t make moral judgments as we understand “moral” to be (right or wrong, just or unjust, good or bad) but simply “sees” the world from its own narrow point of view, that of harm or no harm to itself or to the entire consciousness that it’s a part of. Actually, the ego sees itself as a separate and distinct entity rather than a part of the bigger whole. The ego sees itself as THE captain of the ship and everything else as passengers and cargo that the ego is responsible for. Thus, the ego sees itself as besieged on all sides by danger and oppression, under constant assault and in continuous survival mode. Psychopathic or sociopathic behavior is more understandable when seen through the eyes of the controlling ego. If the ego has completely taken over the conscious being and is continuously and permanently in control, from the point of view of the ego, it’s constantly fighting for its very existence and anything goes. The insanity of the psychopath/sociopath makes perfect sense when you understand that the ego is permanently in the psychopath’s drivers seat.

Circling back to the concept of a lightly held worldview, I’m not actually abandoning everything I know and believe each time I let go. Instead I’m simply changing my perspective. Each time I come face to face with a fact or idea that I might have previously rejected as impossible or unbelievable, instead of meeting it with “no” and rejecting it outright, I can first try “why not”. It requires letting go of my defensive position, my ego, my fight or flight crisis management reflex and trusting that I can emotionally and mentally withstand a shock to my belief system, that the new information is valuable to me rather than threatening. The thing is, once I let go, there is no shock to the system because there’s nothing there to resist. If you don’t “own” your belief system, there is nothing to lose when it must be released for reconditioning. It can be difficult at times to leave the old conditioning behind and it shows when I write “I believe” because those words implies ownership of a belief system. Habits are obvious indications of conditioning.

Think about that old joke, how it’s not the fall that kills you but the sudden stop. By removing the need to withstand assaults to your rigid belief system (because it’s light and flexible and easily released) there’s no sudden stop. It’s as if you’re a screen door, barely affected by the gust of wind passing through. It’s really remarkable how many doors you suddenly find open once you stop pounding on the closed door in front of you and look around. By letting go of the desperate urge (created by the ego) to control or restrict the information flow, suddenly we recognize that no idea or concept can harm us (manifested as fear and anxiety) unless we oppose it. It’s never a question of being able to learn new things; the problem lay with letting go of the old stuff.

This is why children are more easily trained and so impressionable. They’re an open book, with very little old baggage to overcome and plenty of open space to be filled. Worse (and this realization has brought me to tears a few times) we, you and I, our society, are teaching our own children’s ego to be dominant and to control, to lie and to cheat. Because the ego has no mechanism to distinguish between right and wrong, while the higher consciousness might better understand the difference between a “white” lie and full blown deceit, the ego simply sees this incoming information as tools to be used, usually against the consciousness and its human host, your son or daughter.

I’ll never forget the day a few decades back when I was trying to explain to my 4 year old son (to answer his question) the difference between a small lie and a big lie. My son was completely bewildered and I could see it in his eyes. I realized then and there that I was creating my very own Frankenstein’s monster. I was teaching my son how to rationalize and justify and game the system, to accept the conditioning, to be part of the hive mentality. And even when I fought against this insanity, society was more than willing to pick up the slack. While we’re training our child about hot stoves and thin ice, we’re also teaching the ego how to lie, cheat and deceive. As we are (in) forming the child’s consciousness, we are (in) forming the ego. This is a difficult rabbit hole to go down, to recognize that you’re harming your child, but it does deserve serious thought.

Well meaning people have tried to assure me that I was just doing what I thought was best to reinforce and validate their denial (no I wasn’t, I recognized what I was doing but I was too weak, lazy and conditioned to fight my own conditioning all the time) or that if I didn’t teach my child, he would not have been as well adjusted as he obviously was (being well adjusted to a sick and insane society is not a good thing) but I’ve made peace with myself on this matter. Just realize that anyone travelling down this road must deal with this speed bump eventually. However, with regard to learning about yourself and your consciousness, you can be a wide eyed and fearless little child again; open to new ideas and concepts, resilient and adaptable, a dry sponge waiting to be filled with water. It’s a matter of willingness, not ability or intelligence. In fact initially, when you’re first learning this process, thinking often gets in the way because the conditioned egocentric intellectual process is the old rut you’re stuck in and something to be avoided. You don’t want to push yourself into the same rut you’re pushing yourself out of.

I often think of life and our perception of reality as a jigsaw puzzle. There are countless puzzle pieces in front of us and from the moment we’re born (I suggest it starts before birth) we begin assembling the pieces into a coherent picture. While most of the more complex puzzle construction takes place during the training and conditioning phase we call our education, our basic concepts and beliefs are cemented into place by 5 or 6 years of age. Think of the children as Zombies in training. We are conditioned, well before the officially structured conditioning ever begins, to believe that the world (reality) is finite, quantifiable and static. Obviously the consensus view of how the pieces fit together is predetermined by society long before you’re born and very often the pieces don’t fit together very well. Because we trust those around us to know better, we simply accept what we’re told, that the ill fitting pieces are natural and to be expected. As we grow older and develop more independence, while we can clearly see there are pieces left over even when our education is done, we’re assured by society that these pieces are inconsequential, not needed, unimportant and immaterial. And quite frankly, society tends to ostracize those who ask difficult and uncomfortable questions. So as we navigate our lives, when outlier or incompatible information pushes to the top of the froth, we follow our conditioning and compare these stray and orphan pieces against our ever changing list of socially acceptable facts. The vast majority of the time we simply discard them when they don’t fit our view or that of society.

Let’s look at this a little closer. How many times over the past 12 months have you been reading a book, newspaper, magazine, trolling the Internet, listening to a news program, whatever, when something leaps to the center of your attention and immediately prompts a “What the hell” response. Here’s a stray puzzle piece that for whatever reason has been thrust into view. It doesn’t fit anywhere in your personal puzzle but there it is, commanding your attention and demanding resolution. But this piece is “out there” and for some reason you may feel a little uncomfortable, fearful, angry even. While it’s just one little piece of the puzzle, it feels threatening to you. How dare this puzzle piece jump out in front of you and disturb your peaceful day. Or maybe not, maybe you have no feeling either way. But still it doesn’t fit. So what do you do? Do you spend the next 3 hours re-examining your belief system or this puzzle piece in an honest attempt to understand the outlier. Of course you don’t, because the piece doesn’t fit. Out it goes, usually never to be seen again.

I cannot overemphasize how powerful the impulse is for the conditioned person (again, the Zombie) to stay within societies boundaries and discard the outlier puzzle pieces. Interestingly, the type of information (how contrary it is to the consensus opinion of society) is not always the sole or even principal determination used by the person when deciding what to do with it. The credibility of the purveyor of this information is often more important. For example, if the source of the information is suspect, the piece can be (more) easily discarded. However, if the source is extremely credible, the conditioned person faces a crisis of confidence. While they trust the source, the information is very disturbing. The ego sees this emotional stress and conflict as a crisis and struggles mightily to compel the person, through fear and anxiety, to reject the puzzle piece and return to emotional stability. If the person rejects the information, the ego will turn down (but never off) the fear and anxiety. 

Even the credibility of the information itself is sometimes immaterial. The person often doesn’t even want to look at it very closely because doing so will simply make the crisis more difficult to deal with. It’s not the information that’s threatening as much as the person’s view of how that information will affect their position in society. If society is telling them that anyone who accepts this information will be rejected or ostracized, the information is downright dangerous to the person. The deeper the conditioning and the more the person has surrendered his identity to society and its conditioning, the deeper the crisis will be. This is the reason why so many people go through life with closed minds, seemingly certain they know precisely what’s right and wrong. In many ways, these people are protecting themselves from emotional crisis, though they would never admit that to themselves or to others because this insight is emotionally threatening. The dog is chasing its tail in a positive feedback loop.

If the leaders of a society wish to manipulate the population (duh) this explains why the leaders (we’re not just talking politicians here) would lie to their citizens, something I’ve repeatedly talked about on ZH. If the person (the conditioned mind) in crisis is confronted with information they desperately wish to reject, but the information or source is extremely credible, the person needs emotional help to discard the information. The ego is pounding on the person in the form of fear and anxiety to drop this hot potato, to resolve the crisis. The person is desperate for emotional cover to relieve their suffering. If they reject the information in order to stop the emotional pain and be accepted in the eyes of society (which is extremely important to the conditioned person) then they must personally reject the information and the source.

But they know deep down (though not always consciously) that they should at least look at the information more closely and quite possibly embrace it. This is what’s causing the crisis, the knowledge that it could be true. The conditioned mind always knows what the “truth” is and this exerts (additional) pressure on the conditioned mind, even if the conditioned mind is not aware of it. The person needs to receive permission to do what they want to do, which is to reject the information in a manner that allows them to relieve the emotional pain (denial will help them feel better about themselves) and still assure them of society’s acceptance. In other words, in this case they wish to reject the info in a personally and socially acceptable manner.

By the way, it doesn’t matter if “society” is not aware of this person’s crisis. It’s all about how the person see’s himself in relation to society. I will stress again that we’re talking about the conditioned mind here, the so called Zombie. People will reject information while alone at home just as quickly as they would in a public setting. To even be in possession (intellectually or physically, it doesn’t matter) of the information is often very threatening. I’m reminded of the Japanese person talking on the outdoor payphone and bowing while talking. In the person’s mind and manner (meaning in the consciousness) the other person is physically there. This is an important dynamic to understand and it helps explain the “phantom limb syndrome” many amputee’s experience. Experiments have shown that when you see a movie of someone lifting their arm, the part of your brain that controls your own arm lights up in the same manner as it does when you actually lift your own arm. The actual electrical impulses that would move the arm are blocked by another part of the brain (I think it’s your consciousness that blocks it) which apparently knows the difference between pictures and “reality”. But your brain doesn’t perceive any difference between the picture and the real thing. I guess this also explains the multibillion dollar pornography business, doesn’t it? :>) Perception is reality, at least to your brain.

When the politician (as the social leader) lies to the conditioned person (a social animal) about the information, the politician has in effect just given the conditioned mind the good housekeeping stamp of approval to do the same. Accepting the lie is good and acceptable to society because Daddy (society’s leader) says so. We’re talking about infantile responses here when examining the conditioned mind. The political leader, the “official” head of the society, has just told the person exactly what they want to hear. Daddy said it’s not true, the source is mistaken, crazy even, ignore that man behind the curtain, Daddy’s the great and mighty OZ. The conditioned mind can now safely reject the information and remain in good graces in society. Since society is willing to accept the lie, the person can do so as well. In effect, it isn’t a lie anymore because society (by way of society’s leaders) says it isn’t a lie. To the person reading this description of the dynamics of this personal and public subterfuge, it sounds incredible, unbelievable even. Yet this insanity goes on all the time, often in very subtle ways. You and I do this but since our ego won’t let us see ourselves clearly, deliberately obscuring our own self deceit and then papering it over with denial (and then denying the denial) we often remain convinced that others may do this but we don’t. But of course we do.

Let me also assure you that these dynamics are thoroughly understood and utilized by private parties (corporate advertising, sales organizations, etc) and government entities. Consider the entire alphabet soup of overt and covert government agencies here, including more and more private contractors doing the dirty work for the government these days. What exactly do you think is going on when you hear the term “psychological operations” and who do you think those “psyops” are being directed towards? Do you remember those mind control “experiments” conducted by the US government in the 50’s and 60’s, which were piggybacking on the work done by the Nazi doctors? (But let’s not go there, that’s on society’s no-no list.) The key for those who wish to manipulate and control the population is to maintain and extend the conditioning of society. I’ll give you one guess what the principal tool is and how this is accomplished. I’ll even give you a hint; the word contains the letters “T” and “V”. I’ll cover this more thoroughly in part 2 when I talk about control mechanisms.

The puzzle piece itself may be perfectly formed and acceptable in another time or place, or with another person, easily taken in and absorbed. But for this conditioned person, here and now, and for whatever reason, it’s discarded. Why? If you wish to overcome your conditioning, what’s wrong with simply seeing it as a stray puzzle piece that doesn’t yet have a home in your worldview or belief system? Rather than trashing it, you can place it back on the table for future reference. It really is that simple once you recognize that you’re creating the problem here, not the puzzle piece. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been able to pick up puzzle pieces months or years later that finally seem to fit, greatly contributing to my personal growth. I’m certain if I’d trashed them, it’s very likely they’d never be available again. This is because the more pieces I discard the deeper I surrender myself to societies conditioning. Each time we discard something, we must force ourselves deeper and deeper into denial in order to live with ourselves. The damage is cumulative and creates a growing dysfunction and neurosis. We must first deny it ever happened and them we must deny we ever denied it ever happened. This level of mental and emotional deceit can back up and needs to be cleared out occasionally or serious psychosis will develop. What happens when the toilet becomes jammed and won’t flush away life’s waste? A crisis is what happens.

As individuals and as a society, we’re growing more emotionally unstable each day. Witness the dramatic increase in school and work shootings & suicides over the past 30 years, to name just one example. Haven’t you ever wondered where this insanity is coming from? Doesn’t a little siren go off in the back of your head every time someone goes “postal”? Our insanity is increasing, which explains a population growing more obese, more dependent on drugs and distraction to make it through each day. It stands to reason then that the most disturbing puzzle pieces, and thus those most likely to be rejected by the conditioned mind, are those that pertain to society itself. To recognize that society’s leaders not only lie to us but may be trying to harm us (something that is obvious to the less condition mind) is nearly unthinkable. Similarly, recognizing that your spouse is sexually abusing your children or your father is molesting the neighborhood children is also extremely difficult to accept. To the conditioned mind, it is literally unimaginable. The ego will throw up a nearly impenetrable barrier to shield the conditioned mind from this information. How many times have you left a bad relationship and said something like “I never saw it coming” or “How could I have been so blind”? Your ego shielded you from the (coming) emotional trauma by blinding you to reality. Everyone else knew for months your spouse was cheating on you. Why didn’t you?

Sadly, this tendency is conditioned into us from birth and builds upon itself in an out-of-control positive feedback loop that acts as a control mechanism. While some might claim this is natural or just human nature to do so, I think just the opposite. I believe that the control mechanisms, the training and conditioning combined with social peer pressure and its positive feedback loop has been so completely assimilated into our very fabric and perception that it has become indistinguishable from reality, thus it is reality and by extension normal or natural. Perception, when fully and unquestionably accepted, is reality. In every sense of the word, we create our own realty on the fly, in real time, simply by the decisions we do or don’t make, the beliefs we maintain, which in turn are filtered by our rigid worldview, which is then reinforced by society and promoted by what I call “bad actors”.

Our rigid worldview is reinforced and encouraged by everything we interact with on a daily basis, enabling us to grow mentally lazy and intellectually stagnant. We’re assured by science that our material world is measurable, quantifiable, consistent and stable. We’ve been assured that most of the secrets of the universe have been teased out and independently confirmed, that matter and energy follow iron clad rules of physics and the few small inconsistencies will soon be worked out, as soon as that fancy new CERN collider in Geneva is fired up and working at full power. So how do we deal with some genuinely strange (scientific) puzzle pieces that are only now becoming widely accepted and that seem to be directly related to consciousness?

For instance, a scientific experiment confirmed that subatomic particles can instantly “communicate” across vast distances. In other words, “communicate” faster than the speed of light. This flies in the face of everything we think we know and breaks every rule we’ve been taught. Or my personal favorite, the now established fact that by simply observing something, we affect it. Matter can’t be accurately measured because it’s changed simply by being observed. When we “observe” something, what we’re really doing is directing our consciousness towards it, bringing the observed into of sphere of awareness. So does this mean our consciousness is a form of energy that can influence or even change other forms of energy (matter is energy in a different form or energy state) thus bringing full circle my constant refrain that perception is reality? If our consciousness is energy, then can it be destroyed (energy and matter are never destroyed, only changed in form or frequency) can it “die” when the human body dies? Clearly this information warrants careful study with an unbiased eye. Or do we just chuck these outliers out the window and sleep better now that we’ve maintained our rigid worldview? Is this a science, physics or consciousness puzzle piece? The rabbit hole really is bottomless when you get up a head of steam.

As much as I would love to believe that there’s a magic pill or a dynamic leader or a puzzle piece of information that would change all of this if only my neighbor would swallow it, vote for it or read it, the inescapable conclusion is that there’s no magic cure in the wings, waiting to be applied to fix what is broken. However, the unraveling has only just begun and I actually possess what I consider to be a realistic expectation that this mess will not completely implode into a seething roiling fireball of destruction. How does it end? I don’t really know but I will hazard a guess sometime down the line. If we’re honest about this, we all want our baubles and trinkets and a good paying job as well. We want everything to change and nothing to change. We want our cake and we want to eat it too.

So where does this leave us? Well, depending upon your point of view, either you’ve just wasted a chuck of your time reading this or your perspective is a little bit broader than it was earlier. As I stated at the beginning, if we’re ever going to understand why we’re frozen in place while our country is carted off piece by piece, we need to throw conventional wisdom out the door and look for alternative explanations. Every time I devote some time examining this question, I find myself falling deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole. One link leads to another which leads to another which leads to another. But I do have some ideas I’d like to share with you next time.

How do you disempower a corrupt system? By empowering yourself.
How do you awaken a sleeping population? By awakening yourself.
How do you heal a toxic society? By healing yourself.
Neil Kramer

I wish to address one housekeeping item. There have been requests for me to include web links in my articles and I’ve made a deliberate and conscious decision not to. If you think about it for a moment, bibliographies, footnotes and web links are all intended to validate and legitimize the writer. All of the ideas and concepts I’ve discussed in this article can easily be found and I urge you to do so. Just be prepared to be snowed under. But I resist leaving a trail of bread crumbs for a number of reasons, one of which is primary and explained below.

There is no doubt in my mind that my biggest and most exciting discoveries and insights came from unexpected clicks of the mouse. More than a few times I’d start an evening of research with a specific subject in mind. But after a few clicks of the mouse, I’d quickly find myself deep in the weeds and far off the beaten path. I would rarely make it back to my original destination and that was just fine with me. If the reader really is interested in exploring further, the journey must be entirely yours and yours alone. I’ve found that when venturing off the beaten path (and I assure you the answers are way off the consensus reality path) it’s best if you find your own way.

My hope is that whatever you learn be yours, from your own hand, your own research, irrefutable in your mind and thus immensely valuable and indispensible to you. The purpose of the journey is not the destination but the journey itself. Each trip is unique and your experience is a product of the path you take. I’ve studied the Masters long enough to see the wisdom in their methods so I’ll simply repeat what they teach. I’ll point you in the right direction but the rest is up to you.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this exploration, coming to a theater near you.

 

 

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Sat, 05/14/2011 - 09:50 | 1274101 isolinx
isolinx's picture

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Fri, 06/11/2010 - 02:47 | 407684 bc0203
bc0203's picture

Found this article while reading your more recent series... but have to say I'm glad to have found a kindred soul! :)

Mon, 06/07/2010 - 16:45 | 400387 downrodeo
downrodeo's picture

thank you CD. As always, after reading your article, I feel like I've remebered something I know already but have forgotten long ago. Thank you!

 

btw 'unsafe psychic relations' --- Gold, jerry, pure gold!!! (and the tangible kind too, no paper)   

Have you ever thought of turning your energies to writing? (hehe)

Wed, 02/24/2010 - 18:41 | 244044 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Talk about being late to the party.

Mon, 02/22/2010 - 01:01 | 239872 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I have read this first article and I found it extremely good, since it is addressing known reality in less known way, and that is what makes it remarkable.

I also read some of discussion about observation and changes in observed system, and there I come to my favorite ever unanswered question.

Quantum mechanics is wonderfull, and I am well educated about very structure of matter that we know of, yet it remains incomplete and asks for further clarification, especially when hidden aspect of time comes into consideration of quantum mechanics and our philosophy.

(I just hope I am not going to come out of this as a Nazi)

Is life and consciousness just an after effect of subatomic particles, forces and fields, or those are consequent to a consciousness?

(I am not reffering to me or anybody else as consciousness, since I do not see myself creating matter or energy. Yet.)

Because, there must be begining and point of origin.

Mon, 02/22/2010 - 00:58 | 239868 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I have read this first article and I found it extremely good, since it is addressing known reality in less known way, and that is what makes it remarkable.

I also read some of discussion about observation and changes in observed system, and there I come to my favorite ever unanswered question.

Quantum mechanics is wonderfull, and I am well educated about very structure of matter that we know of, yet it remains incomplete and asks for further clarification, especially when hidden aspect of time comes into consideration of quantum mechanics and our philosophy.

(I just hope I am not going to come out of this as a Nazi)

Is life and consciousness just an after effect of subatomic particles, forces and fields, or those are consequent to a consciousness?

(I am not reffering to me or anybody else as consciousness, since I do not see myself creating matter or energy. Yet.)

Because, there must be begining and point of origin.

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 16:55 | 238069 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Very poignant and thought provoking read - quite far from my initial research subject yet nicely linking many pieces of my personal puzzle together for further pondering.

It is very well true that you cannot begin to change that which is around you without first addressing change from within (if you can convince the ego to take a time out long enough that is.)

If perception is most prominant within the puzzle, then the perception of oneself, ones choices and ones world view is the only place to begin to unravel any illusion, social mind control and/or denial.

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 12:06 | 237581 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

well done, you brought the butterfly back alive!

if ten people were left on earth and they all had fully grocked what you're saying in this article, and passed it on to their progeny as committedly as religious parents pass on their particular force fields in this deluded age, i feel certain one could repopulate a planet of peace and prosperity.

serious kudos for going there deep into the abyss and having something pretty coherent to share to others about it.

if our main purpose here is to care for and entertain each other, as i believe it is, you have roundly succeeded in these noble aims with this essay, the wisdom within it was not come by easily or cheaply.

the comments have been mostly marvellous also, this really brings pscycho-philosophy to the forefront of understanding the human condition, where it belongs.

far too little good stuff like this on the web, it is 'best use' and buttresses my belief that if anything can pull humanity out of its berserker plunge-to-nowhere, it is and will be accounts by pscychonauts bringing the 'good news' that all is not how it seems any more, once one rends the veil, and allows the perspective offered to really imbue one's inner drive to ultimate reality.

bah! words never quite do consciousness justice, so all the more brave and poetic of us to try!

boy's born to blog... zombies awake indeed, lol!

melo

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 04:48 | 237273 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Thank you for your description of "the watcher" watching the watcher watching(?). Oops. did I go too far?
This is actually a real thing that can be tested objectively in the laboratory of the self.
It is awareness and I am not sure, but I think it is also called, perhaps, the 3rd level of consciousness.
And yes, we need our ego. A healthy ego is a good thing. It seems that we have been beaten with "kill the ego", which is a misinterpretation of the Buddhist Idea of putting the ego in its rightful place so that awareness may be expanded.
Just wanted to say thanks as I have never seen this written so well before.
I have studied Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism for the last 40 years and was a Christian minister as a kid.
You done good.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 15:57 | 235876 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

ego shmego
dont forget to short the stocks. youll get whats coming to you, morts

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 14:32 | 235684 Bob
Bob's picture

But, but, that's not the definition of "ego" I learned in school . . . even graduate school in clinical psych! 

But I like it.  I like it alot. 

Masterly work, CD!  The wait hasn't been easy, but now I understand that it was the right thing. 

Looking forward to the next installment, man. 

 

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 14:26 | 235675 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Dreaming within a dream or dreaming in someone else's dream. Let's go a little further and in your waking state visiting someone in their waking state. If someone is open enough they will see you if not they will at least hear you. Try it sometime it has incredible impact.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 14:23 | 235667 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

WHOA! While I was thoroughly enjoying my trip down the rabbit hole, I must interject to illuminate a fallacious and dangerous assertion.

"Finally, in those tragic cases where a few unfortunate children refuse to absorb their conditioning, graduate school is offered. Quite frankly, it’s their last and only hope and it’s usually financed with huge loans and paid back in monthly installments, assuming they finally secure gainful employment once released onto an unsuspecting and vulnerable world. These adult children are hopelessly institutionalized and those who survive this level of indoctrination have historically done the most damage to society."

Higher education is NOT the enemy, sir. It would serve your message (and your revolution) well to avoid demonizing the portion of your readership who actually pursued post-secondary learning for purposes other than job security, income inflation or ego validation. Although our institutionalized system does generally promote conformity and linear thinking, there is a sizable minority of us who have endured the obvious indoctrination in order to rally the radical underground and rattle the cage along the way. Some of us even escaped the experience, indeed even debt-free, armed with the credentials to infiltrate the ranks of leadership and power structure within the larger matrix. Then there are those like myself who have returned to the classroom as professors, eyes wide open, illusion revealed, with the sole intention of raising the consciousness of our collective.

I do not share my sentiments as a defense to my distinctions or my profession (although I do prefer to reflect on my three college degrees as something more than seven years of my life that left me "hopelessly institutionalized"). Rather, in the interest of promoting collusion among like-minds, I would hope to discourage any correlation between formal education and zombie mentality. In my classroom I do not just teach outside the box, I've set the box on fire and together we roast marshmallows around the flames as it burns to the ground.

"The real voyage of discovery consist not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

Keep fighting the good fight,
NakedMessenger

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 12:25 | 235493 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Psquared, really? c.d. says we should be able to see the world as open as a child-well A child has a sense of fairness,even balance. this article is very good,but it's not a new idea. there is no mental leap that erases the fact of the clear systemic corruption in the world. should we not stop a Hitler AND serve justice to those Bush's-Schekelgrubers in our own country that funded him-that today determine YOUR reality,if you think they don't,your hopeless.rigid and pedantic ? because i rail against a system that lets millions starve?-hmmm, much better to count the number of goldman sachs bankers that danceon the head of a credit default swap. yes we must change, but theres this THING in the way and it does not respect new ways of egoless thinking-IT COUNTS ON IT.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 12:19 | 235485 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Psquared, really? c.d. says we should be able to see the world as open as a child-well i child has a sense of fairness,even balance. this article is very good,but it's not a new idea. it goes back to some of the worst aspects of the original christians-o we are the problem,we must see the world through meek eyes=romans 13,etc. there is no mental leap that erases the fact of the clear systemic corruption in the world. should we not stop a Hitler AND serve justice to those Bush's-Schekelgrubers in our own country that funded him-that today determine YOUR reality,if you think they don't,your hopeless.rigid and pedantic ? because i rail against a system that lets millions starve?-hmmm, much better to count the number of goldman sachs bankers on the head of a credit default swap. yes we must change, but theres this THING in the way and it does not respect new ways of egoless thinking-IT COUNTS ON IT.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 12:01 | 235448 Psquared
Psquared's picture

Another method for practicing "expanded consciousness" or "fugue states" where the ego relinquishes control is through "stream of consciousness" writing. I believe this is what Jane Roberts was doing with the "Seth Material."

You must also be in a state where you are not threatened, anxious or fearful otherwise the ego will not relinquish control.

Frankly, drugs are one of the ways to achieve this and one of the reasons why they are so tightly regulated. An entire social complex has been erected around many of these drugs using concepts of psychological and physical illness and control and regulation. That is not to say they cannot be dangerous but the danger is exaggerated for the purpose of control. In effect they are saying, "we don't want the masses to wake up one day and realize what we are doing."

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 11:42 | 235405 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Interesting read, down the rabbit hole I go.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 19:22 | 236602 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Replying to myself here. Googled "Cognitive Dissonance", the great example of this is smoking. Self reflected on this and tore down my excuses to continue it, so now I no longer smoke.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 11:28 | 235388 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

You provoked a lot of thought with this post. I do have to say your perspective mirrors mine. Nice to know there are others in the neighborhood. But for the most part, the neighborhood is populated with perspectives that seem quite foreign to me, for many of the reasons you noted. Have come to some different conclusions which, as you say, only reflect where I am in the evolution of my own consciousness. Thanks for sharing. I don't feel quite so alone.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 11:21 | 235379 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

let me add to what Anon. has written-will the man who's worked hard,played by the rules now put his ego in the backseat after all his money,his job/home/wife have gone? should he? or should he send an Rpg into the offices on wall st.? because,as i see it, random acts of violence against obvious guilty world destroying criminals would be more effective then an ego shift. it would do SOMETHING! we are not going to shift into this new age love world without DEALING with the individuals/groups involved. there has to be some kind of justice first. yes, here in the States we are disimpowered, but not as (yet) as helpless as many in the third world. i don't what violent actions,but really all this "informing" the zombies is just a circle jerk. how else do you propose to resolve this?! in fact,lets your method of removing the societal ego. Nature itself dictates applying a macro level balance.you well express the mood of many,but its just another post. brian b.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 10:08 | 235299 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Masterpiece of an article.

This society has been indoctrinated to feed the ego, feed the knee-jerk child more than any other time in history. As a friend of mine said lately, we are being fed a dark-ages mentality with 21ist century technology. Its dangerous.

As far as clearing the tonal (yeah, Castenada opened a door for me, for better or worse, but eventually you find you need other's directions to the place less than the drugs, even) it is imperative for us to grow as a society to do so.

Yesterday, I wrote a piece about Polarizing Conditions which tied nicely to what I read here this morning. I'd LOVE to have you submit this essay at my blog.

(it would have been twice as good if I had read this first)

My ego is a damaged abused child, I have learned to always observe myself, and never let its first-jerk reaction to control what I do/say. Ok, almost always. But as you say, it is the great protector of the weak when in life threatening situations. So, you never can kill it completely.

Cannot wait for pt 2.

Regards,

Diane G

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 08:46 | 235274 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Andrzej Lobaczewski put this problem in perspective in his masterwork "Political Ponerology". Countries have been shaped and run by sociopaths. They don't have the same feelings, consciences as we have. Their value systems are not human based. They are to us --unhealthy, insane: thus the mass murderers Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Caesar and their henchmen.

If we apply this insight to today's economic debacle, we see how a few of these special "people" have declared economic war on certain populations to conquer them without bloodshed -- the best of Sun Tzu's options. Lies are their most often used weapons.

Sociopathic governments war against each other and against their own citizen-serfs who are so very different from and threatening to them: thus most countries today. They have egos that won't be denied or resisted and from their own point of view, superior. We are their goyim, cattle -- penned, to be devoured.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 08:27 | 235266 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

More, MORE !

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 05:27 | 235218 kurt_cagle
kurt_cagle's picture

Cognitive,

Superb article. I recommend "The Goddess and the Alphabet" as an interesting treatise on the development of the ego. A lot of Taoist and Zen Buddhist philosophy is predicated upon the notion of quieting the ego as well, and it is of course a thread that runs deep through the works of Carlos Castanedos.

Artists, writers, programmers, musicians and many athletes regularly describe their immersion into the fugue state, in which the ego becomes subordinated or even turned off temporarily, and it's fascinating to look at the "side effects" of such a state. People in fugue lose their sense of time. I'm a writer, artist, programmer and musician (sadly, athleticism is not a forte), and have experienced this innumerable times. When in fugue, you can work on a story or a difficult piece of software for several hours at a time without being aware that the time has passed, and coming out of the fugue state (regaining the ego) can often result in a certain degree of disorientation as the conscious "me" tries to recalibrate itself to the outside world.

Fugue state is also notable for its ability to make rich associations, and to that extent there's a certain degree of overlap between fugue and dreaming. It's very seldom consciously directed by definition - a writer will tell you not that they created a story but rather that she was simply the scribe of a story that was already playing out in her head without seeming conscious volition - the characters were acting and reacting within their own world, often doing things that the author had not consciously decided they should be doing. Similarly a talented programmer will often end up seeing the whole system working together even if there hasn't been a line of code written.

I believe that this ability to spawn multiple entities is the flip side to your discussion of the ego, and is a direct measure of the degree to which you can effectively evaluate multiple "realities" for their best fit to the available data. In essence each entity is a different model of reality, selecting for both inputs and processing parameters. Such people are often more flexible and adaptive in the face of changing environments, and not surprisingly many of them tend to come from environments where change was the only real constant.

Similarly, I see a strong correlation between dogmatism and ego-centricity. Ego-centric people are seldom empathic, because empathy requires the ability to shift your frame of reference to another person's world view, and ego-centricity by it's very nature makes this shift difficult if not impossible to achieve. Dogmatism, in turn, is predicated upon a highly rigid viewpoint and the belief that the rules of the given reality are fixed and solid, rather than arbitrary based upon available inputs. Egotists are largely sensory, discarding those puzzle pieces which don't seem to fit within the their model (singular) and embracing only those pieces that do. Intuitives, on the other hand, are the fugue-staters, storing the odd puzzle piece in the back of their minds until their internal models can adapt to a sufficient degree to make sense of that piece (or until one of the models in their heads fits the largest number of puzzle pieces, at which point the others are relegated to secondary status and new models are created).

Such intuitives (thinking the Jungian model that was the basis for Meyers-Briggs) are comparatively rare - 3% to 5% of the population as a whole, although I think that the number may be growing, especially among the youngest generation who are growing up in increasingly systems oriented environments. They are systemic thinkers rather than analytical ones (where what passes for analysis is simply reductionism) and they often go by hunches and instinct rather than by using the rules as tools to complete their particular projects (this is the distinction between a programmer and an architect in my way of thinking).

Einstein was such an intuitive - he developed hunches, then spent years developing gedanken experiments to support those hunches), but Einstein is not all that typical of physicists (though very typical of mathematicians, which he honestly considered himself).

However, to put this rambling commentary into something hopefully resembling cohesiveness, most political leaders, bankers, and marketers overall are not intuitives, if only because most tend to be highly ego-centric. Ego-centrists tend to have the advantage short term - they know the rules of the system, know the mechanisms that can be used to manipulate those in the system, and they aren't hampered by the intuitives major limitation. For the intuitive, their models are usually more reflective of the world as it is (in all its multifaceted aspects of change) than of the consensual reality that the egoists have had indoctrinated into them most of their lives.

This means that the intuitive is often left having to guess at the rules of the egoists, trying to make them make sense when typically they don't, because the consensual reality does not in fact need to mirror the world 1 to 1. This means that while the intuitives may understand the reason for the way that the consensual reality exists, they ironically can't know it intuitively, so they violate its rules without intending to, fail to make connections that they would if they'd been steeped in that world view from birth, and often are seen as the enemy by those who lead the egoists because they have the potential of exposing the flaws, limitations and outright lies of the system.

Thus intuitives often end up becoming, as Buckminster Fuller once noted, trim tabs - the small rudder on the back of the larger rudder plane that can dramatically change the direction of a ship with fairly little effort. I've often suspected that this is one of the reasons that, when a junta or strongman takes over power in a coup, that the intellectuals of that society are often the first to be rounded up or shot - not because the intellectuals are "authorities" in the traditional sense, but because intellectuals tend to house a larger than normal number of potential trim tabs that could in turn most successfully question the legitimacy of the government and have others believe them.

Anyway, keep writing - this is turning into a thoughtful and engaging series.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 11:52 | 235422 Psquared
Psquared's picture

Another +1000.

Fascinating how these ideas were explored in the 3-Part series, The Matrix.

I find that I have to tackle this a little at a time. When I was younger I enjoyed frequent fugue states. As I grew older this morphed into a defense mechanism called "dissociative states." I now believe they are the same thing but the latter involves a value judgment while the former does not.

When we observe ourselves we must do so without value judgment or emotional attachment. Rather we must simply observe what "is" rather than attach a label such as "good" or "bad." It simply "is" and as long as we wince we have taken the ego along for the ride. I can tell when my ego is in charge when I recall an event from the past and my moral judgment engages and results in regret or guilt. A method that works for me is to practice remembering without judgment.

Hopefully one day I will be able to enter the fugue state as I did when I was young. At the moment it is a skill I have only just begun to recover.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 05:03 | 235215 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

It speaks volumes that ZH now has TWO “contributors” who are “Truthers”, this one a neurotic gas bag.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 03:26 | 235191 moneymutt
moneymutt's picture

CD - started reading this way too late, only read top third...but on the ego and zombie thing...i don't think of ego as zombie-ish, it seems pretty clever and forward thinking, flexible...isn't it the subconscious programming that we are usually working off 98 percent of the time...of course our ego is linked to that...and when you are watching your ego, what is the "you" watching...if you can see your ego, shouldn't you be doing more than watching, shouldn't you be controlling it for good?

and going into some one else's dream body, that sounds creepy, I hope you ask permission...if a non-lucid dreamer has free will to provide permission 

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 06:41 | 235234 kurt_cagle
kurt_cagle's picture

Douglas Hofstadter recently wrote a book entitled I am a Strange Loop, that is worth the effort to read (though it can be a challenging read; he gets very deep into Kurt Goedel's theory of Incompleteness), but he also links it very effectively to the recursive layers of abstraction that make up the human mind and awareness.

As to going into someone else's dream body, isn't that effectively a form of role playing? You are creating in your own head a model of what you believe is in someone else's head. If you are sufficiently perceptive, this model can actually be fairly accurate. It doesn't mean that you can know things that the other person knows or retrieve the memories that the other person has, but it does mean that you can intuit potential assumptions about their behavior, past and present, based upon the model.

To be able to have this ability, I would suspect you'd need to be both highly perceptive and intuitive - which form the foundation for empathy.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 01:56 | 235142 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Pathetically and in retrospect, the title of this article should have read, "End of a Vampire".

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 01:33 | 235122 no1ego
no1ego's picture

 

I appreciated the great effort you put into your article. I would like to suggest another contemplation which you might find interesting.

 

 It is likely not possible for us to step aside and observe ego's functioning. It may appear to us like we have separated "ourself" from that object we are arguing with, want to fuck, or are ignoring, but we haven't really. That thought too is a trick of ego. It allows us to feel like there is some hope or escape or control of the terror which drives the functioning of ego. Ego is fear. It is seducing to think we can bring "vast awareness" to look into the corners of our dark inner world, and once we do so, it will be ok, because our fear will be seen to be unnecessary. The beautiful mystical traditions present this possibility. But it is a lie. We are fear whether we cop to it or not and it can't be dismantled without committing "self" suicide. That action is not wired into our structures. We may "think" we can separate from this functioning, but we are fooling ourselves, no matter how any years of cave meditation, yoga or deep thinking we do, it is hopeless. And coming to that conclusion, that our inner terror has no fix is absolutely and completely daunting. Nobody chooses to kill ego. That would be impossible. "I" (ego) will seperate myself from "I" and, that which observes the functioning (me) is now different, free? Imagine this, we have a cough, we go to the doctor and are diagnosed with advanced stage lung cancer. Forty two years old with 3 kids and a wife. We have 8 weeks left. That which arises in that moment and takes you over, is what I am pointing at. Is that fear newly born in that moment or is it who we are in that moment.

 

 

I know this likely sounds as if I am an arrogant dick. But really thats not the point. The point I am trying to make, is there is no escape. The fear is real and it is reasonable. It would be illogical to not be afraid of the black hole which we all fear to acknowledge. 

 

Thanks again for your thoughts.

 

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 01:30 | 235120 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I appreciated the great effort you put into your article. I would like to suggest another contemplation which you might find interesting.

It is likely not possible for us to step aside and observe ego's functioning. It may appear to us like we have separated "ourself" from that object we are arguing with, want to fuck, or are ignoring, but we haven't really. That thought too is a trick of ego. It allows us to feel like there is some hope or escape or control of the terror which drives the functioning of ego. Ego is fear. It is seducing to think we can bring "vast awareness" to look into the corners of our dark inner world, and once we do so, it will be ok, because our fear will be seen to be unnecessary. The beautiful mystical traditions present this possibility. But it is a lie. We are fear whether we cop to it or not and it can't be dismantled without committing "self" suicide. That action is not wired into our structures. We may "think" we can separate from this functioning, but we are fooling ourselves, no matter how any years of cave meditation, yoga or deep thinking we do, it is hopeless. And coming to that conclusion, that our inner terror has no fix is absolutely and completely daunting. Nobody chooses to kill ego. That would be impossible. "I" (ego) will seperate myself from "I" and, that which observes the functioning (me) is now different, free? Imagine this, we have a cough, we go to the doctor and are diagnosed with advanced stage lung cancer. Forty two years old with 3 kids and a wife. We have 8 weeks left. That which arises in that moment and takes you over, is what I am pointing at. Is that fear newly born in that moment or is it who we are in that moment.

I know this likely sounds as if I am an arrogant dick. But really thats not the point. The point I am trying to make, is there is no escape. The fear is real and it is reasonable. It would be illogical to not be afraid of the black hole which we all fear to acknowledge.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 01:26 | 235118 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I appreciated the great effort you put into your article. I would like to suggest another contemplation which you might find interesting.

It is likely not possible for us to step aside and observe ego's functioning. It may appear to us like we have separated "ourself" from that object we are arguing with, want to fuck, or are ignoring, but we haven't really. That thought too is a trick of ego. It allows us to feel like there is some hope or escape or control of the terror which drives the functioning of ego. Ego is fear. It is seducing to think we can bring "vast awareness" to look into the corners of our dark inner world, and once we do so, it will be ok, because our fear will be seen to be unnecessary. The beautiful mystical traditions present this possibility. But it is a lie. We are fear whether we cop to it or not and it can't be dismantled without committing "self" suicide. That action is not wired into our structures. We may "think" we can separate from this functioning, but we are fooling ourselves, no matter how any years of cave meditation, yoga or deep thinking we do, it is hopeless. And coming to that conclusion, that our inner terror has no fix is absolutely and completely daunting. Nobody chooses to kill ego. That would be impossible. "I" (ego) will seperate myself from "I" and, that which observes the functioning (me) is now different, free? Imagine this, we have a cough, we go to the doctor and are diagnosed with advanced stage lung cancer. Forty two years old with 3 kids and a wife. We have 8 weeks left. That which arises in that moment and takes you over, is what I am pointing at. Is that fear newly born in that moment or is it who we are in that moment.

I know this likely sounds as if I am an arrogant dick. But really thats not the point. The point I am trying to make, is there is no escape. The fear is real and it is reasonable. It would be illogical to not be afraid of the black hole which we all fear to acknowledge.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 11:37 | 235395 Psquared
Psquared's picture

Interesting. It is certainly possible there is no escape, but figure this. How much effort has been put into just such a possibility by so many people in history. Christianity talks about "dying to self." The Hindu, Buddhist and Moslem have devoted much energy to the cause. Perhaps it is only the desire or hope of escape which deludes all of us who think it possible.

Modern psychological literature (Marsha Linehan) has developed a rather radical approach to self-help based on the "wise mind" which is just another way of saying "expanded consciousness." When we ask, "who or what is doing the observing" we are told it is the real self observing the psuedo-self. When we ask, "how do we know" the answer is muddled.

Is it possible or not? The ego says, "test it" and if the empirical data supports it then it is likely true. But what part of us says, "take it on faith?" And what part of us analyzes whether such an "observing state" is even possible? By those very acts we have disengaged the ego by some small measure.

When I contemplate these things I feel anxiety and fear. So when I think it possible to look around the corner, or peek over the edge of the maze and I feel less anxious and less fearful have I deluded myself or is it possible to do?

How do I know?

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 01:19 | 235113 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Constipated, vacuous psychobabble wedges, served alongside a main entrée of narcissism, garnished with a heaping helping of hot air… particularly ironic due to the author’s ostensible theme, ‘self-awareness’, and his use of the term “zombie”.

One can only wonder whether this is the result of some sort of ZH “affirmative action” program for autistic “contributors“.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 15:39 | 235830 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Mom, you promised you'd stop leaving nasty comments below my articles if I lifted the restraining order. I lifted but you haven't stopped. Expect to hear from my lawyer and the prosecutor. You do remember you're on probation, right?

What did I ever do to you other than give you stretch marks?

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 11:03 | 235354 Psquared
Psquared's picture

^^ Thanks for providing us with a wonderful example of the rigid and pedantic ego.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 01:15 | 235112 Get_to_the_choppa
Get_to_the_choppa's picture

That was excellent.  It was like a summary (if not a bit longer than the one in my head) of the questions/experiences/discoveries I've asked/encountered over the last several years.  I'm glad you had the fortitude to actually commit it to paper for the benefit of us all.  And cheers to you for going on this journey with the not insignificant delta in the equation of raising children.

And did I detect a little Jane Roberts influence in there or was it just the universal 'truthiness' of the concepts shining through?

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 06:57 | 235242 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

This is what I love about the comment section. More stuff to explore, like those random mouse clicks I talked about but others are clicking for me.

This is the first time I've heard the name Jane Roberts but after a few quick clicks, I assure you it will not be the last. The Seth Material looks very interesting.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 10:52 | 235337 Trifecta Man
Trifecta Man's picture

I think "the Nature of Personal Reality" by Jane Roberts is the most important book I ever read.  Start out with that one.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 01:12 | 235107 Psquared
Psquared's picture

CD, I read the entire thing and was mesmerized. I have not read all the comments but scanned a few. Many people missed the entire point. The ego directs our understanding unless we train ourselves to step back and observe. I once attended a session where we spent the afternoon practicing "observing ourselves." I finally asked the question, if we are observing ourselves then who or what is doing the observing?

The instructor clapped and said, "you got it." I said, "I got what?" She replied that the observing self is the "real self" and the observed self is the psuedo-self or ego. I then asked her, "how do you know?" She was stumped at that point.

I majored in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy in college. I used to argue with my professors who insisted on taking a completely scientific approach to psychology - particularly to perception. I nearly flunked "Visual Perception" and "Experiemental Psychology" until I designed an experiment to actually test (rather crudely but it was a good effort) for the effect of programming on learning and perception.

I have cut and pasted what you have written to a document so that I can read it again. The trick with something like this is to let it percolate and not analyze. It loses its power when analyzed. As you said, reading cannot help but open ones awareness - if you can get through it. I wonder how many people stopped after the first paragraph.

Thoughts, hopes, dreams - everything the human mind can do is power. Those that use those powers to control us have overreached. They have, by the fault of their own faulty egos and perceptions, underestimated the human spirit and its full power when unleashed by the "Great Spirit", "God" the "Collective Unconscious" or whatever name you choose to apply. They always have and they always will. They refine their powers but we continue to escape.

The world and the people in it are evolving. They cannot stop that anymore than they can stop the universe from expanding. The soul seeks freedom and one of the powers of expanded consciousness is intuition and intuition tells us, even if the ego lies, that we are still not free. But we can be and we will be.

We will evolve. We must evolve. Throw off the shackles of the narrow minded egocentric soul. Both ours and theirs. But as you say, first ours.

Thanks for such an enlightening and bold writing. I feel both more uneasy and safer knowing there are more and more people who not only think this way but are willing to say it.

Beware the black and the white, the good and the bad, and the right and the wrong. There may be absolutes but they are most likely not discoverable in this existence - in this life. Perhaps in Heaven.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 01:05 | 235102 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I’ll quote my all time favorite line from the movie “Starman”.

Personally, I was always partial to "Red light stop. Green light go. Yellow light go very fast."

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 00:38 | 235092 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

Hmmmm, the lip of the volcano.  PEEK!

 

Psychology has, thankfully, not become a science.  It would be dreadfully misused if it ever did so.  Currently it's more like a set of parables or frameworks.  We all have to struggle with language to find a platform for communal sharing of ideas.  The Tibetan Book of the DeadMan And His Symbols?  Fight Club?

Portions of psychology are, however, very potent.  The psychology of influence and advertising, now used with devastating effect in political life especially here in the US since 1980...the science of perception, the pharmacological and neurological strands that have often appeared dominant, only because they have empirically testable results, have tended to obscure the fact that there is no science of mind

Are we losing the ability to think critically as a society?  Are we losing the war of Maslow's hierarchy of needs?  If we don't have security, peer approval, a job, can we (or many people in society) be expected to pursue such things as self-awareness, self-actualization as Maslow put it, or even simply to bother to try to follow the clashes among elites and organizations in the current Clusterfuck of Titans?

Or is the Internet and the onrush of technology and time and population creating more critical mass, a smarter society, a more aware populace?  Can't we have both dynamics going on at once?

In John Brunner's The Shockwave Rider, wisdom is defined as the quality of being able to know the right course of action in an unprecedented situation.  I believe there is such as thing as wisdom, and that critical systems in global society are currently blind to it, if not actually hostile. 

Our future depends on fighting against the elements in the system, notably corruption and concentration of power, that are preventing wise, human, compassionate control over objectified organizations, be they corporate or statist.

And it can start in each one of our infantile yet infinite psyches.

Carry on!  Pip pip!

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 00:37 | 235091 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Bravo. Excellent piece. What a relief!

For the past year or two, I thought I was the one going mad and society was sane. Silly me!

Basically, it comes down to:

"to think for oneself and to make your own decisions...oh, and turn off that damn TV!"

Looking forward to the next piece.

Peter

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 23:17 | 235029 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Hey CD,

Nice post, kind of a leg up for Mr. & Mrs. John Doe but I found the length only affected by the wordiness of your supporting examples, often times your points and references seemed fine but overly drawn out ...

Also I was sort of distraught when you chose to cite a principle of physics (quantum spooky action at a distance) as if it were relevant or substantive to support anything herein. Let science be science and speak from authority without a need for interdisciplinary support else I feel you risk losing authority for want of a title.

Lastly, I rather enjoyed your lead in about the multiple dimensions or perspectives of the ego viewed from the 'self' but was surprised by your broad brush comment on hallucinagenics, drug use, etc. which seemed very 'conditioned' imho. Might want to revisit that topic from your 'self' after rereading some huxley and erowid.org personal accounts. Imho hallucinagenics are simply poision used to affect the sensory baseline or remap the sensory range that the 'self' needs to assert itself into 'reality'.

Again, good post, nicely sophomoric, hope to see your next soon, Sincerely,

Joe Schmoe

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 22:23 | 234972 deadhead
deadhead's picture

CD...i read this on and off all day.

You have a masterful way with words. Please keep writing and thank you for this extraordinary effort.  Well done!

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 21:22 | 234906 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I tend to overthink and sometimes overworry.

I have found that getting outside, planting a garden, building a campfire or fishing really helps.

We are designed to be much simpler, calmer creatures. Take up woodcarving or sheepherding and get out of your head.

It will be about community, skills and the ability to take all the g-forces coming our way. Don't replay all the possible scenes in your head, it will fatigue you.

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 10:57 | 235346 Psquared
Psquared's picture

+ 1000

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 23:11 | 235021 Winisk
Winisk's picture

An excellent point that needed to be said.    Worry and self awareness is a curse sometimes.  We should all have our Walden Pond to keep us rooted.  I feel most at peace when I'm immersed in a simple endeavour that engages my attention outward.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 21:20 | 234902 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

A helpful and effective post. It fairly suggests a handling of the human condition that glorifies confusion, lies and "clever strokes" which constitute the very essence of theft, swindling and all sorts of similar anti-social deeds.

As you infer much improvement lay in the path of sorting-out our selves and our baggage of unworkable views that often operate on "automatic" because they are uninspected, even unsuspected.

A way must be found to spot and handle unworkable fixed-ideas that degrade our condition and fight improvement.

The way certainly involves more understanding and fewer of the mis-leaders and mis-directors that spread confusion and fear and herding.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 20:25 | 234831 ThreeTrees
ThreeTrees's picture

I tend to find that your posts are steeped in the so-called Paranoid Style and while I often disagree with your prognoses I am always enthralled by your analysis.

This particular one I find of great interest.  That part of the human psyche is capable of resisting change and obfuscating reality is of particular importance to me as I feel I have been working through a discoordination, of sorts, in my own perception of my...perception and it has been rather jarring.  While I believed I was coping in a healthy way your words have given me confidence that I am on the right track in dealing with my new perspectives.

Excellent post.  Consider me thoroughly intrigued.

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