If we accept our social ego as real, how will we protect our children from intentional madness? Ever mindful of the model we are presenting to the next generation, I ask; is it possible to provide some immunity to self-induced deception?
The pervasive role self-deception plays surfaced in a recent Bohm-inspired dialogue. Ray McGovern, a retired CIA analyst asked Professor Geoffrey Roberts Emeritus, a recognized authority on Stalin, the Second World War, Soviet military, and foreign policy, if, from Putin’s perspective, the current war in Ukraine was provoked by the West, meaning notably the US, and is therefore defensive, not savagely aggressive as portrayed by western propaganda? Ray and Geoffrey agreed the war in Ukraine was and is provoked, using JFK’s Cuban missile crisis as the most silent example of what provoked means. Ray, by the way, served seven US Presidents from 1963 to 1990, chairing the National Intelligence Estimates and preparing the President’s Daily Brief. Ray received the Intelligence Commendation Medal at his retirement, returning it in 2006 to protest the CIA's involvement in torture during the Iraq war.
Ray asked Geoffrey; “If he were not Emeritus, would he be as willing to publically make strong statements that contradict the mainstream political narrative?” Roberts said, “No.” The pressure to conform permeates all of academia, as it does medicine (see The Real Anthony Fauci), education, the courts, and corporations. In other interviews Ray shares that the same pressure to conform, or self-deception, percolates throughout all levels of government and the intelligence community, elevating people as biased and delusional a Joseph McCarthy to the highest levels, which in turn feeds the mainstream’s narrative we consume every day. A sobering image indeed.
David Bohm, in his two-decade exploration of thought and human consciousness with J. Krishnamurti, focused on the ever-present danger of self-deception that is woven into the fabric of ‘thought as a system.” Thought happens so fast, and the hypnotic propensity for self-deception is so high, that most don’t catch the falsehood or statement that misleads, hides, or promotes a belief, concept, idea, or image that is not true. Like the proverbial snowball, one missed deception attracts another creating a compounding virtual reality that is absurdly complex and dangerous, to self and all others. Perhaps most disturbing is the way this virtual reality assumes normality as if there is nothing odd or worth questioning. There is a core assumption that what the brain and nervous system display is true, even when it is not, which is where raw imagination comes in.
Our personal self-image or ego is a fine example, as is nationalism, racism, being identified as a Communist or Democrat, Buddhist or Muslim. Take your chair at the Mad Hatters Tea Party. In a strict sense, all these ideas or images are delusional. Elevate this to a national scale and we get Joseph McCarthy’s Red Scare in the 50s, the fraudulent ‘weapons of mass destruction’ used to invade Iraq in 1991, the COVID hysteria in 2020, the pretext for the Ukraine war today. FYI: A report from the Costs of War project at Brown University revealed that 20 years of post-9/11 wars have cost the U.S. an estimated $8 trillion and have killed more than 900,000 people. The $113 billion appropriated by Congress in 2022 (just one year) for Ukraine approaches the $146 billion spent in 20 years for military and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. That is Billion with a capital “B.” Money makes the world go round and deception makes a lot of money.
“Future Shock,” 1970 by Alvin Toffler, predicted how the human mind would be overwhelmed by information. In “The Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television,” 1978, Jerry Mander describes how technology literally shoots messages directly into the brains of millions of people simultaneously, with the intent of hypnotizing masses of people with behavior-controlling suggestions that would not exist otherwise. Hypnosis is a powerful form of deception.
Dramatic theater, theatrical films, YouTube, and digital virtual reality all mimic and exploit this inherent capacity for self-deception. With these formats, however, at least there is some glimmer that we know what we are doing to ourselves. But, often not. Years ago Robert Young received truckloads of mail asking his TV character, Marcus Webley MD, for medical advice. Wars, the COVID narrative, nationalism, and organized religions are not much different. Does this:
Lead to this?
The capacity to distinguish between direct, immediate perception and our abstracted, theatrical virtual mental realms is decisive. Without this ever watchful, mindful clarity, we are a ship without a rudder, masses of sensitive, gullible hypnotic-prone subjects surrounded by a sea of clever, selfish, and deceitful hypnotists, now armed with instantaneous global propaganda technologies, the most sophisticated ever created, that “we carry with us every day,” ever-anxious and alert for the next injected episode.
Effective propaganda is theater, pretending not to be theater, just like the pretense of our social ego. Though stupid and heartfelt, Henny Penny screaming the sky is falling is gossip propaganda, and so is much of what we experience on social media, another CIA brainchild. Is it possible to provide some immunity to self-induced deception?
Actually, it may be quite simple. Thought and its consciousness are forever abstract and metaphoric. Every child must now be trained, as we do with reading and numbers, to distinguish between what is experienced and perceived directly, and what is imagined, appreciating that re-membered experiences and thought are our primary forms of imagination. Based on this embodied discernment, a child’s core identity must be grounded in primary experience, how they feel and experience their bodies, their relationship with others, and the natural world. With this immediate, nonverbal grounding in primary experience as the foundation, the abstract comparisons, shaming, and rules culture imprint can take their proper place as roles played, without losing one’s authentic nature as the ground of our true identity. This nudges us closer to the way native cultures name their children; Iron Cloud, Little Big Man, or Dances with Wolves, describing embodied traits, not alien abstractions. Instead of Carly, my daughter, how about, “walks with confidence,” or “clear, strong, and kind.”
The words “true” and “truth” come to mind; being consistent with fact or reality; not false or erroneous: synonym: real, honest. Not counterfeit; genuine: synonym: authentic, reliable. From this ‘real’ perspective, what is a Michael? Pure abstraction. The virtual world of digital communication, the meta-verse, alter-ego avatars, social media, and fake news further extinguishes this grounding in embodied authenticity and replaces it with easily controlled abstractions. This flip, from honoring what is ‘real’ to the worship of not real alien abstractions changed the course of human history with the genocide of paganism by the emerging salvation-redemption religions, the replacing of Sophia/Gaia/Nature by a punishing God that is separate from nature. Self-deception is the primary tool of this forced conversion.
A few clips from my interview with Jerry Mander, and “The Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television.”
Of all the species of the planet, and all the cultures of the human species, we twentieth-century Americans have become the first in history to live predominately inside the projections of our own minds.
Observing my kids watching television it became very clear that they were entering an artificial reality, one where people no longer remember what the world was like without television. It is a reality cut off from the natural world - one created and controlled by a limited number of corporations.
Television exploits a genetic fight-flight tendency in human beings. When living in pre-industrial environments we had to be aware of changes in the environment to survive. Television comes along and presents images that trigger the same survival response. If something violent is happening on television, we react. We may be intellectually aware that the violence is not “real” but our emotions don’t discriminate. They react. It is part of our survival reflex and advertisers and programmers exploit this tendency as much as possible.
Working in advertising allowed me to understand how easy that was to move information into people’s consciousness if you had enough money and understood the media. It was easy to change public consciousness. At first, this was fun and amusing. After a while, I was horrified by it. Actually, most people in advertising are horrified by it.
There are hints and reminders; “Actions speak louder than words,” or, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never harm me.” But for most, the hypnotic daydreaming state we call normal is the easiest. Gathering and maintaining a state of complete attention takes work, like an Olympic athlete. Quite the opposite of ADD and surfing the net. And yet, nearly every so-called spiritual practice begins by gathering attention and mindful attention to the distinction between what is experienced directly and what is imagined. In rare cases, coaching is added, distilling attention by Always Awakening from self-deception.
No, this quality of mind and distilled attention-perception is not part of the daily skool curriculum. The entire structure, now taken over by technology, has other intentions. (See John Taylor Gatto, “Dumbing Us Down,” and “The Hidden Agenda of Compulsory Schooling.”)
Normalizing self-deception is the stage magician’s, pickpocket’s, church Bishop and sociopath’s dream come true. Drawing attention to some abstract mental image sucks the life and energy out of cultivating and developing that aspect of each human being that “sees what the gods see,” to use a Gnostic phrase for our inherent creative divinity, always for a price.
Distilling imagination, as in proper science, creates a strong foundation. Being mindful of the subtle ways thought deceives itself. Is it possible to provide some immunity to self-induced deception? A grounding in primary perception, and a core identity that is authentic, real, true, and truthful, where we walk in beauty, appreciate, honor, and protect nature every day. This is the antidote to the programmed madness we are marinating in. And no, we don’t need an app.