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The Creation of Society’s Shared Hallucinations | Humanity’s Test

The Creation of Society’s Shared Hallucinations | Humanity’s Test.

Posted on February 28, 2014 by rboyd

 This is another of my draft chapters from the book, “Schizophrenic Society”, that I am working on. Please feel free to provide editorial feedback.

Since the advent of the printing press and general literacy, media organizations have constructed parallel realities for the general populace. Radio and silent films, followed by “talking pictures” and television went further by creating artificial worlds that can be seen and heard in the same way that the real world is perceived. The human mind  evolved in an environment with no access to such artificial worlds and thus even though a person may know that these worlds are not real their brain will in many ways treat such worlds as if they were. For example, a 1938 radio program in the United States depicting an alien invasion lead many to believe that there really was such an invasion taking place1.

Many psychologists have noticed the similarities between the mental state of dreaming and that of watching television or a movie2. Such a mental state bypasses some of the conscious mechanisms that people utilize to judge between reality and artificial representations, thus making them more susceptible to internalizing media output as if it were real. There have been many documented cases where the media has been shown to affect social reality, from the media emphasis on below-average sized women3 to the extensive usage of violence4 and the objectification of women5. Gerrig6 proposes that there is in fact no clean delineation in a person’s mind between the real and the artificial, with social reality being a combined construct of real world and media experiences.

Thus, media output acts in the same way as the images created by the mind of a hallucinating individual. Not being able to distinguish between the real and the imagined, the individual integrates the two into his conception of reality. The advent of computer games, with the individual transformed into an active participant within the game, only intensifies the challenges to the brain’s ability to assess what is truly real and what is only an artificial illusion. In many cases gamers even prefer their artificial existence to their real one. The same has been noted of participants in the Second Life artificial world.

As societies have grown in size and complexity, and the “local” has become highly integrated with other geographical areas, the individual has become more and more reliant upon the media to provide the information and conceptual structures with which to make sense of the larger world. This reality was captured vividly by Walter Lippman, “Inevitably our opinions cover a bigger space, a longer reach of time, a greater number of things, than we can directly observe. They have, therefore, to be pieced together out of what others have reported and what we can imagine.”7 Thus individuals rely upon the predominant media sources, such as television and film, to both inform them of events and general cultural trends, and help them construct the conceptual frameworks required to understand their meaning and importance. As Lippman noted, “The only feeling that anyone can have about an event he does not experience is the feeling aroused by his mental image of that event”7, and that mental image is heavily dependent upon the medias depiction of it.

With the power to directly affect the social reality through which individuals make sense of the world, and to decide what events and issues individuals should be made aware of, the media is a central force in the creation of the ruling societal discourse. In a fully working democracy one would expect extensive regulations and oversight to make sure that a great diversity of groups have fair access to media outlets and that such outlets represent a diversity of opinions. Unfortunately, this is not the case as the media industry has become dominated by large private corporations funded by advertising revenue, together with government-funded organizations. Thus, unlike an individual’s hallucinations, the media-created hallucinations are consciously produced predominantly for material gain, or under political constraints.

As Herman and Chomsky have pointed out8, with the advertising revenue model media groups become vehicles to sell things to consumers, rather than the independent purveyors of information about the wider world. Anything that gets in the way of ongoing consumption, and thus the success of advertisements focused on increasing that consumption, will reduce the attractiveness of individual media organizations to the corporations paying for the advertisements. The issues of Climate Change, Peak Resources, and Ecological Degradation are certainly not ones that serve to increase an  individual’s consumption habits. In addition, a greater awareness and understanding of such things could lead to political action to force changes directly upon corporations. If media organizations started to focus heavily on such matters they would be “biting the hand that feeds them”, and thus a high degree of self-censorship would be expected. In many cases advertisers are also directly involved in the process of selecting and developing programs (hence the term “soap operas” which were at first funded by soap companies), allowing them to filter out any “problematic” subjects and themes.

Private media organizations may also be constrained by the need to maintain government licenses, and access for their staff to government officials. In addition, such groups may also want to keep good relationships with the government as they work to reduce regulatory restrictions and grow through mergers and acquisitions that require government approval. Government departments may also offer beneficial support through access to knowledgeable staff and expensive resources for media productions that further their aims. For example, the military have given significant support to television program, film, and even computer game productions that show them in a positive light9,10,11. They can also severely constrain what they see as “bad” reporting, as shown by the embedded journalist program during the Iraqi war, which was designed to eradicate the extensive negative journalism (from the U.S. government’s point of view) seen during the Vietnam war.

With the purchase of media organizations by non-media companies, such as General Electric, and Sony, there is also the increasing problem of not wanting to negatively effect other parts of the conglomerate. In the case of G.E., that may include staying away from contentious stories on nuclear power, the efficacy of mammogram machines, military spending, and foreign arms sales. As media organizations have been allowed to consolidate into massive global corporations focused on growing revenue and profits they also become part of the wealthy and powerful elites. Too much focus on the shortcomings of the economic and social system within which they have flourished, and too heavy a positive coverage of alternatives, would be threatening to their own future prospects.

Overall, the media groups that create our shared hallucinations will tend to be very conservative, protecting the economic and social environment within which they have thrived. This will be reinforced by both the corporations who pay for advertising space and governmental organizations. As humanity’s destruction of the environment continues apace, and becomes more and more visible, these media groups could be expected to work harder to protect the status quo and ignore or downplay inconvenient facts and occurrences. In this light, reductions in staffing and coverage of climate change by media organizations, while the impacts and science become more irrefutable, could be seen as quite logical actions.

In 2013 the TV evening news broadcasts of ABC, CBS, and NBC in the United States covered climate change for a joint one hour and forty two minutes, an improvement over 2012 but still below the 2009 level12. Media groups have also tended to report on weather events as stand-alone occurrences without mentioning climate change13,14. A number of media groups have also significantly reduced the number of journalists covering environmental issues in recent years15,16,17. In addition, a false sense of balance has been used to give climate deniers much more airtime than their representation with the scientific community, less than 5%, would warrant18,19,20, and one news agency has even appointed a “climate skeptic” as its managing editor21. Coverage of climate issues has also predominantly relied upon the use of politicians and social scientists, rather than providing an avenue for scientists to communicate their concerns and findings directly to the public.

The fundamental problem with issues such as Climate Change and Ecological Degradation is that they stem from a core problem, the exponential growth of human demands upon the earth, and thus the only solution is an end to that growth. With the industrialized human societies having spent the past two centuries developing a tight fit to the exponential growth facilitated by fossil fuels, an end to that growth will require wrenching changes to how those societies are structured and operate. Such changes, while producing great concern to the general populace, will be extremely threatening to those that have succeeded under the current societal arrangements. These are the rich and powerful that have most control over media organizations, as well as other determinants of social reality such as the school system and the workplace. To help affect the creation of social reality in their favor, they have created many so-called “independent” think-tanks, and hired public relations groups, to help create a perception of uncertainty on subjects such as climate change and to gain more access for skeptics to the media22,23.

Just as it may have made sense for the Mayan elites to call for more sacrifices to forestall their societies downfall, rather than accept the reality in front of them, it may make sense for the current elites to call for the magic of the “invisible hand” of economics and the wonders of human technology, rather than accept the current reality that so threatens their own wealth and privileges. The longer they practice such conscious ignorance, the more they stand to be accused and attacked, the more such ignorance will be seen as beneficial. Once the media spell is broken, and the duplicity of the elites understood, the wrath of the general populace may be truly horrific. The search for others to “pin the blame on”, and ongoing extensions to the means to monitor and control society, are completely rational actions in this context. If even the members of the police and armed forces come to blame the elites for not taking the actions required to stave off calamity though, nothing may save the rich and powerful from a brutal denouement.

Hence the desperate need to keep control of the construction of social reality, and have the general population live in a mental world made up more of misleading hallucinations than actual reality. Such a state can be maintained for lengthy periods of time, as has been the case with the North Korean population who have for decades existed in a social reality more made up of fantasy than reality. Many commentators also give significant weighting to the inability of the East German authorities to block the television signals from the much more prosperous West Germany in undermining the basis of the communist state. Those that consider the internet to be a democratizing antidote to media concentration and control both misunderstand the ongoing concentration within media 24,25,26 on the internet, and the ability of authorities to block sources they find threatening. Also, as has been shown by the details provided by such whistle-blowers as Snowdon27, our new connected age may make the tracking of dissident opinion-formers much easier for the authorities.

References

  1. Lovgren, Stefan (2005), War of the Worlds: Behind the 1938 Radio Show Panic.Accessed athttp://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/06/0617_050617_warworlds.html

2.     Rieber, Robert & Kelly, Robert (2014), Film, television and the psychology of thesocial dream, Springer.

3.     Stice, Eric & Shaw, Heather (1994), Adverse Effects of the Media Portrayed ThinIdeal on Women and Linkages to Bulimic Symtomatology, Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 1994 13.3.288.

4.     Dill, Karen (2009), How Fantasy Becomes Reality: Seeing Through Media Influence,Oxford University Press

5.     Berberick, Stephanie Nicholl (2010), The Objectification of Women in Mass Media:Female Self Image in Misogynyst Society, Volume 5 2010.

6.     Shanahan, James (1999), Television and its Viewers: Cultivation Theory and Research, Cambridge University Press.

7.    Lippman, Walter (2012), Public Opinion, Dover Publications

8.   Herman, Edward & Chomsky, Noam (1988), Manufacturing Consent, Pantheon Books

9.   n/a (2006), U.S. Military Helps Create Hollywood Films On War and Warriors,PBSNewshour. Accessed at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/entertainment-july-dec06-hollywood_10-06/

10.   Rose, Steve (2009), The US military storm hollywood, The Guardian. Accessed athttp://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/jul/06/us-military-hollywood

11.  Zakarin, Jordan (2012), ‘Act of Valor’ And The Military’s Long Hollywood Mission,Huffington Post. Accessed at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/17/act-of-valor-military-hollywood_n_1284338.html

12.   Santhanam, Laura (2014), STUDY: How Broadcast News Covered Climate ChangeIn The Last Five Years, Media Matters. Accessed athttp://mediamatters.org/research/2014/01/16/study-how-broadcast-news-covered-climate-change/197612

13.  Fitzsimmons, Jill & Theel, Shauna (2013), STUDY: Media Ignore Climate ChangeContext of Midwest Floods, Accessed athttp://mediamatters.org/research/2013/05/07/study-media-ignore-climate-context-of-midwest-f/193936

14.  n/a (2013), TV News and Extreme Weather, Don’t Mention Climate Change, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting. Accessed at http://fair.org/press-release/tv-news-and-extreme-weather-dont-mention-climate-change/

15.  Bagley, Katherine (2013), New York Times Dismantles Its Environment Desk,InsideClimate News. Accessed at http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20130111/new-york-   times-dismantles-environmental-desk-journalism-fracking-climate-change-science-global-warming-economy

16.  Ward, Bill (2013), New York Times Cuts Back Again: Farewell to Green Blog,TheYale Forum on Climate Change and the Media. Accessed athttp://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2013/03/new-york-times-cuts-back-again-farewell-to-green-blog/

17.  Brainard, Curtis (2008), CNN Cuts Entire Science, Tech Team, ColumbiaJournalism Review. Accessed athttp://www.cjr.org/the_observatory/cnn_cuts_entire_science_tech_t.php?page=all

18.  Nucitelli, Dana (2013), Conservative media outlets found guilty of biased globalwarming coverage, The Guardian. Accessed athttp://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/oct/11/climate-change-political-media-ipcc-coverage

19.  Valentine, Katie (2013), Britain Cuts Environment Staff As BBC Comes Under FireFor Giving Airtime to Climate Deniers, Climate Progress. Accessed athttp://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/10/28/2847831/britain-environment-staff-bbc/#

20.  Hartman, Thom (2014), The Mainstream Medias Criminal Climate Coverage,TruthOut. Accessed at http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/22123-the-mainstream-medias-criminal-climate-coverage

21.  Robbins, Denise (2014), Report: Reuters Climate Change Coverage Continues ToDecline Under Skeptic Editor, Media Matters for America. Accessed athttp://mediamatters.org/research/2014/02/26/report-reuters-climate-coverage-continues-to-de/198220

22.  Bagley, Katherine (2013), Climate Skeptic Groups Launch Global Anti-ScienceCampaign, Bloomberg. Accessed at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-19/climate-skeptic-groups-launch-global-anti-science-campaign.html

23.  Goldenberg, Suzanne (2013), Secret funding helped fund vast network of climatedenial thinktank, The Guardian. Accessed at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/feb/14/funding-climate-change-denial-thinktanks-network

24.     n/a (2010), Media Concentration Around the World: Empirical Studies, Columbia University. Accessed at http://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/citi/events/mediacon2010

25.     Noam, Eli M. (2013), Who Owns the World Media?, Columbia Business School. Accessed at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2242670

26.  Hindman, Matthew (2008), The Myth of Digital Democracy, Princeton University  Press

27.     n/a (2014), Snowden: Missions already accomplishedAl Jazeera. Accessed at http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/12/24/snowden-mission-salreadyaccomplished.html

The Creation of Society’s Shared Hallucinations | Humanity's Test

The Creation of Society’s Shared Hallucinations | Humanity’s Test.

Posted on February 28, 2014 by rboyd

 This is another of my draft chapters from the book, “Schizophrenic Society”, that I am working on. Please feel free to provide editorial feedback.

Since the advent of the printing press and general literacy, media organizations have constructed parallel realities for the general populace. Radio and silent films, followed by “talking pictures” and television went further by creating artificial worlds that can be seen and heard in the same way that the real world is perceived. The human mind  evolved in an environment with no access to such artificial worlds and thus even though a person may know that these worlds are not real their brain will in many ways treat such worlds as if they were. For example, a 1938 radio program in the United States depicting an alien invasion lead many to believe that there really was such an invasion taking place1.

Many psychologists have noticed the similarities between the mental state of dreaming and that of watching television or a movie2. Such a mental state bypasses some of the conscious mechanisms that people utilize to judge between reality and artificial representations, thus making them more susceptible to internalizing media output as if it were real. There have been many documented cases where the media has been shown to affect social reality, from the media emphasis on below-average sized women3 to the extensive usage of violence4 and the objectification of women5. Gerrig6 proposes that there is in fact no clean delineation in a person’s mind between the real and the artificial, with social reality being a combined construct of real world and media experiences.

Thus, media output acts in the same way as the images created by the mind of a hallucinating individual. Not being able to distinguish between the real and the imagined, the individual integrates the two into his conception of reality. The advent of computer games, with the individual transformed into an active participant within the game, only intensifies the challenges to the brain’s ability to assess what is truly real and what is only an artificial illusion. In many cases gamers even prefer their artificial existence to their real one. The same has been noted of participants in the Second Life artificial world.

As societies have grown in size and complexity, and the “local” has become highly integrated with other geographical areas, the individual has become more and more reliant upon the media to provide the information and conceptual structures with which to make sense of the larger world. This reality was captured vividly by Walter Lippman, “Inevitably our opinions cover a bigger space, a longer reach of time, a greater number of things, than we can directly observe. They have, therefore, to be pieced together out of what others have reported and what we can imagine.”7 Thus individuals rely upon the predominant media sources, such as television and film, to both inform them of events and general cultural trends, and help them construct the conceptual frameworks required to understand their meaning and importance. As Lippman noted, “The only feeling that anyone can have about an event he does not experience is the feeling aroused by his mental image of that event”7, and that mental image is heavily dependent upon the medias depiction of it.

With the power to directly affect the social reality through which individuals make sense of the world, and to decide what events and issues individuals should be made aware of, the media is a central force in the creation of the ruling societal discourse. In a fully working democracy one would expect extensive regulations and oversight to make sure that a great diversity of groups have fair access to media outlets and that such outlets represent a diversity of opinions. Unfortunately, this is not the case as the media industry has become dominated by large private corporations funded by advertising revenue, together with government-funded organizations. Thus, unlike an individual’s hallucinations, the media-created hallucinations are consciously produced predominantly for material gain, or under political constraints.

As Herman and Chomsky have pointed out8, with the advertising revenue model media groups become vehicles to sell things to consumers, rather than the independent purveyors of information about the wider world. Anything that gets in the way of ongoing consumption, and thus the success of advertisements focused on increasing that consumption, will reduce the attractiveness of individual media organizations to the corporations paying for the advertisements. The issues of Climate Change, Peak Resources, and Ecological Degradation are certainly not ones that serve to increase an  individual’s consumption habits. In addition, a greater awareness and understanding of such things could lead to political action to force changes directly upon corporations. If media organizations started to focus heavily on such matters they would be “biting the hand that feeds them”, and thus a high degree of self-censorship would be expected. In many cases advertisers are also directly involved in the process of selecting and developing programs (hence the term “soap operas” which were at first funded by soap companies), allowing them to filter out any “problematic” subjects and themes.

Private media organizations may also be constrained by the need to maintain government licenses, and access for their staff to government officials. In addition, such groups may also want to keep good relationships with the government as they work to reduce regulatory restrictions and grow through mergers and acquisitions that require government approval. Government departments may also offer beneficial support through access to knowledgeable staff and expensive resources for media productions that further their aims. For example, the military have given significant support to television program, film, and even computer game productions that show them in a positive light9,10,11. They can also severely constrain what they see as “bad” reporting, as shown by the embedded journalist program during the Iraqi war, which was designed to eradicate the extensive negative journalism (from the U.S. government’s point of view) seen during the Vietnam war.

With the purchase of media organizations by non-media companies, such as General Electric, and Sony, there is also the increasing problem of not wanting to negatively effect other parts of the conglomerate. In the case of G.E., that may include staying away from contentious stories on nuclear power, the efficacy of mammogram machines, military spending, and foreign arms sales. As media organizations have been allowed to consolidate into massive global corporations focused on growing revenue and profits they also become part of the wealthy and powerful elites. Too much focus on the shortcomings of the economic and social system within which they have flourished, and too heavy a positive coverage of alternatives, would be threatening to their own future prospects.

Overall, the media groups that create our shared hallucinations will tend to be very conservative, protecting the economic and social environment within which they have thrived. This will be reinforced by both the corporations who pay for advertising space and governmental organizations. As humanity’s destruction of the environment continues apace, and becomes more and more visible, these media groups could be expected to work harder to protect the status quo and ignore or downplay inconvenient facts and occurrences. In this light, reductions in staffing and coverage of climate change by media organizations, while the impacts and science become more irrefutable, could be seen as quite logical actions.

In 2013 the TV evening news broadcasts of ABC, CBS, and NBC in the United States covered climate change for a joint one hour and forty two minutes, an improvement over 2012 but still below the 2009 level12. Media groups have also tended to report on weather events as stand-alone occurrences without mentioning climate change13,14. A number of media groups have also significantly reduced the number of journalists covering environmental issues in recent years15,16,17. In addition, a false sense of balance has been used to give climate deniers much more airtime than their representation with the scientific community, less than 5%, would warrant18,19,20, and one news agency has even appointed a “climate skeptic” as its managing editor21. Coverage of climate issues has also predominantly relied upon the use of politicians and social scientists, rather than providing an avenue for scientists to communicate their concerns and findings directly to the public.

The fundamental problem with issues such as Climate Change and Ecological Degradation is that they stem from a core problem, the exponential growth of human demands upon the earth, and thus the only solution is an end to that growth. With the industrialized human societies having spent the past two centuries developing a tight fit to the exponential growth facilitated by fossil fuels, an end to that growth will require wrenching changes to how those societies are structured and operate. Such changes, while producing great concern to the general populace, will be extremely threatening to those that have succeeded under the current societal arrangements. These are the rich and powerful that have most control over media organizations, as well as other determinants of social reality such as the school system and the workplace. To help affect the creation of social reality in their favor, they have created many so-called “independent” think-tanks, and hired public relations groups, to help create a perception of uncertainty on subjects such as climate change and to gain more access for skeptics to the media22,23.

Just as it may have made sense for the Mayan elites to call for more sacrifices to forestall their societies downfall, rather than accept the reality in front of them, it may make sense for the current elites to call for the magic of the “invisible hand” of economics and the wonders of human technology, rather than accept the current reality that so threatens their own wealth and privileges. The longer they practice such conscious ignorance, the more they stand to be accused and attacked, the more such ignorance will be seen as beneficial. Once the media spell is broken, and the duplicity of the elites understood, the wrath of the general populace may be truly horrific. The search for others to “pin the blame on”, and ongoing extensions to the means to monitor and control society, are completely rational actions in this context. If even the members of the police and armed forces come to blame the elites for not taking the actions required to stave off calamity though, nothing may save the rich and powerful from a brutal denouement.

Hence the desperate need to keep control of the construction of social reality, and have the general population live in a mental world made up more of misleading hallucinations than actual reality. Such a state can be maintained for lengthy periods of time, as has been the case with the North Korean population who have for decades existed in a social reality more made up of fantasy than reality. Many commentators also give significant weighting to the inability of the East German authorities to block the television signals from the much more prosperous West Germany in undermining the basis of the communist state. Those that consider the internet to be a democratizing antidote to media concentration and control both misunderstand the ongoing concentration within media 24,25,26 on the internet, and the ability of authorities to block sources they find threatening. Also, as has been shown by the details provided by such whistle-blowers as Snowdon27, our new connected age may make the tracking of dissident opinion-formers much easier for the authorities.

References

  1. Lovgren, Stefan (2005), War of the Worlds: Behind the 1938 Radio Show Panic.Accessed athttp://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/06/0617_050617_warworlds.html

2.     Rieber, Robert & Kelly, Robert (2014), Film, television and the psychology of thesocial dream, Springer.

3.     Stice, Eric & Shaw, Heather (1994), Adverse Effects of the Media Portrayed ThinIdeal on Women and Linkages to Bulimic Symtomatology, Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 1994 13.3.288.

4.     Dill, Karen (2009), How Fantasy Becomes Reality: Seeing Through Media Influence,Oxford University Press

5.     Berberick, Stephanie Nicholl (2010), The Objectification of Women in Mass Media:Female Self Image in Misogynyst Society, Volume 5 2010.

6.     Shanahan, James (1999), Television and its Viewers: Cultivation Theory and Research, Cambridge University Press.

7.    Lippman, Walter (2012), Public Opinion, Dover Publications

8.   Herman, Edward & Chomsky, Noam (1988), Manufacturing Consent, Pantheon Books

9.   n/a (2006), U.S. Military Helps Create Hollywood Films On War and Warriors,PBSNewshour. Accessed at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/entertainment-july-dec06-hollywood_10-06/

10.   Rose, Steve (2009), The US military storm hollywood, The Guardian. Accessed athttp://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/jul/06/us-military-hollywood

11.  Zakarin, Jordan (2012), ‘Act of Valor’ And The Military’s Long Hollywood Mission,Huffington Post. Accessed at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/17/act-of-valor-military-hollywood_n_1284338.html

12.   Santhanam, Laura (2014), STUDY: How Broadcast News Covered Climate ChangeIn The Last Five Years, Media Matters. Accessed athttp://mediamatters.org/research/2014/01/16/study-how-broadcast-news-covered-climate-change/197612

13.  Fitzsimmons, Jill & Theel, Shauna (2013), STUDY: Media Ignore Climate ChangeContext of Midwest Floods, Accessed athttp://mediamatters.org/research/2013/05/07/study-media-ignore-climate-context-of-midwest-f/193936

14.  n/a (2013), TV News and Extreme Weather, Don’t Mention Climate Change, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting. Accessed at http://fair.org/press-release/tv-news-and-extreme-weather-dont-mention-climate-change/

15.  Bagley, Katherine (2013), New York Times Dismantles Its Environment Desk,InsideClimate News. Accessed at http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20130111/new-york-   times-dismantles-environmental-desk-journalism-fracking-climate-change-science-global-warming-economy

16.  Ward, Bill (2013), New York Times Cuts Back Again: Farewell to Green Blog,TheYale Forum on Climate Change and the Media. Accessed athttp://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2013/03/new-york-times-cuts-back-again-farewell-to-green-blog/

17.  Brainard, Curtis (2008), CNN Cuts Entire Science, Tech Team, ColumbiaJournalism Review. Accessed athttp://www.cjr.org/the_observatory/cnn_cuts_entire_science_tech_t.php?page=all

18.  Nucitelli, Dana (2013), Conservative media outlets found guilty of biased globalwarming coverage, The Guardian. Accessed athttp://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/oct/11/climate-change-political-media-ipcc-coverage

19.  Valentine, Katie (2013), Britain Cuts Environment Staff As BBC Comes Under FireFor Giving Airtime to Climate Deniers, Climate Progress. Accessed athttp://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/10/28/2847831/britain-environment-staff-bbc/#

20.  Hartman, Thom (2014), The Mainstream Medias Criminal Climate Coverage,TruthOut. Accessed at http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/22123-the-mainstream-medias-criminal-climate-coverage

21.  Robbins, Denise (2014), Report: Reuters Climate Change Coverage Continues ToDecline Under Skeptic Editor, Media Matters for America. Accessed athttp://mediamatters.org/research/2014/02/26/report-reuters-climate-coverage-continues-to-de/198220

22.  Bagley, Katherine (2013), Climate Skeptic Groups Launch Global Anti-ScienceCampaign, Bloomberg. Accessed at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-19/climate-skeptic-groups-launch-global-anti-science-campaign.html

23.  Goldenberg, Suzanne (2013), Secret funding helped fund vast network of climatedenial thinktank, The Guardian. Accessed at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/feb/14/funding-climate-change-denial-thinktanks-network

24.     n/a (2010), Media Concentration Around the World: Empirical Studies, Columbia University. Accessed at http://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/citi/events/mediacon2010

25.     Noam, Eli M. (2013), Who Owns the World Media?, Columbia Business School. Accessed at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2242670

26.  Hindman, Matthew (2008), The Myth of Digital Democracy, Princeton University  Press

27.     n/a (2014), Snowden: Missions already accomplishedAl Jazeera. Accessed at http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/12/24/snowden-mission-salreadyaccomplished.html

Perhaps a Crumble Rather Than a Collapse – Chapter One | Two Ice Floes

Perhaps a Crumble Rather Than a Collapse – Chapter One | Two Ice Floes.

Why even question the obvious?

When contemplating a complex subject, especially one in which I hold a strong emotional investment, I find it extremely valuable to seriously and consistently challenge my own thinking, to play devil’s advocate with my oftentimes emotional mind. A ‘truth’ untested, particularly one I’m emotionally bound to, is little more than a belief, a comforting factoid that confirms my biases rather than enlightening and informing my mind. If I am to progress in my personal development I must test the mettle of my beliefs up to, and if need be well past, their destruction. For only then can I truly be free to exercise, and honor, my personal sovereignty on an everyday basis.

So it is that I’ve been considering the concept of ‘collapse’ with regard to society and its socioeconomic system(s), both on a personal and collective emotional and psychological basis. While it is always dangerous to paint detailed pictures with broad brushes, to some degree or another we are all emotional human beings. So while the cognitive details may vary (greatly) from person to person, our tendencies and triggers are very similar (partly because of a shared and distorted worldview) and relatively easy to discern if we have the courage to first look deeply within and then apply what we have found to the world around us. A word of warning here because this article is not a technical or fundamental economic analysis, at least not based upon the traditional financial definition of those terms.

Among the contrary crowd, of which I proudly count myself a member in good standing, it is widely accepted that an economic collapse that quickly leads to violent social upheaval is not only very possible, but inevitable, a ‘given’ fact so to speak. For the most part we accept that a collapse is not a question of if, but of when and in what form and of what severity. The consensus is that this rapid socioeconomic decline, when it comes, will be sudden and complete, thus the popular use of the term ‘collapse’. This ‘a priori’ position, which truth be told is simply a strongly held belief, is in serious need of examination if we are to follow our inner Golden Rule, that of questioning everything beginning with ourselves and our most cherished and firmly held beliefs and opinions.

Before going any further I wish to emphasize that the following is simply a thought experiment, a mental dalliance and a delicate dance with what if, how about and why not. Just because I argue a position doesn’t necessarily mean I’m wed to it or even that I support it. The ultimate purpose of my internal interrogatory is not necessarily to replace my current thinking, but to test it again and again and again, particularly if I consider my thinking solid and essentially beyond reproach. In my opinion this is where true personal courage is born and nurtured, for if I am willing to honestly face myself, particularly those deep dark places even I wish to hide from, then anything I might face externally pales in comparison.

Many more times than I care to admit I have found that what I previously thought was a solid conclusion was actually based not upon facts and reasoning, but upon preconceived notions (aka my conditioned worldview) as well as group think and/or consensus seeking. And just as often the real reason for my blind acceptance of certain facts and conclusions was to push my confirmation bias endorphin triggers again and again, as all severely addicted drug addicts are compelled to do. And boy oh boy do I love triggering my confirmation bias. There is no other drug induced high quite like knowing that I’m right and you’re wrong………except knowing that I’m right and everyone else is wrong.

Running with the (contrary) herd

Rather than denying or rejecting the notion that we are deeply influenced by the herd, a typical egoic response even if the herd is considered contrary (and don’t forget that the herd, contrary or not, might simply be a construct of my mind and populated solely by me, myself and I) if we wish to consider ourselves to be sentient sovereign beings then we must remain constantly alert to, and aware of, the herd’s influence on our emotional and spiritual centering. In addition, we need to be ever vigilant of its corrosive effects on our thought process and the conclusions we draw from within that distortion.

This is the big lie that influences us all, that while we might be part of a herd (if we can even manage to admit that much) we are thoughtful, intelligent and educated adults and thus not really affected by the herd to any significant degree. But common sense and life experience tells us otherwise, that this just isn’t true, that we are very much herding humans (whether by nature, nurture or both, ultimately it really doesn’t matter) and that we are most certainly influenced by others. In fact I would go so far as to say that for the most part we do not enjoy freedom from the herd, just freedom to choose the herd we run and think with.

The soothing self deception that we are stoic free thinking individuals, our psychological Achilles Heel if you will, is repeatedly and successfully leveraged against us by those who wish to manipulate and control. Very often it is not an outside force that blinds us, but rather an outside force that leverages our own blindness. This is why we must always question everything, beginning with ourselves. It is our own (mis)perception and worldview that is being manipulated, which often leads to our own blind and unquestioning support of policies, positions and laws that are entirely contrary to our own self interest or the collective (herds) good.

We often blame the herding rat race for our own lot in life (either on a micro or macro level) confidently declaring that ‘they’ are the problem so we are exempt from blame and responsibility. Then we do next to nothing to change our own circumstances, claiming it’s futile to even try because ‘they’ block the way forward towards significant and lasting personal and social change.

After successfully doing nothing we proudly take the softer easier highway to hell, a path that is conveniently laid out and paved by our controllers. Then we sit back smug as a bug in our self righteous indignation when anyone dares to place the blame back at the source of our own servitude. Our controllers love that we don’t even try to pick up the cognitive tools that lie scattered at our feet, let alone use them to defend and empower us. Hands down the most powerful weapon in the world used repeatedly against us is ourselves. Blunt force trauma by self (and group) is extremely effective when self (and group) corralling.

Certainty breeds contempt of our self

At times I struggle to remind myself that the more certain I am of something the greater the likelihood that I’m wrong, if for no other reason than that my absolute certainty most definitely closes my mind to alternative possibilities no matter how obvious they may appear to others. Not recognizing or even considering the possibility that I might be wrong feeds my confirmation bias and rewards my circular thinking with another shot of delicious cognitive dissonance soothing endorphins. Do not underestimate the power of this positive feedback loop for it claims all of us at one time or another, particularly when we confidently claim that it is not now doing so. Our critical thinking is often the weakest precisely when we believe it to be the strongest.

For the vast majority of us a new thought trail is blazed one cautious step at a time despite our egotistic self delusions that we bravely and willingly go where we’ve never cognitively gone before. And for the most part we all color well within the socially correct lines with very rare and short lived deviations beyond the border and into the cognitive badlands. Thus the reason for my venturing outside conventional contrary thinking and into what at first blush might appear to be the mainstream meme. Rigid beliefs and preordained conclusions must never dictate the (self) discovery process or the intent of that process.

Despite egoic protestations to the contrary it is downright frightening to venture outside the comfortable confines and safety of the consensus herd’s artificial reality, thus one of the reasons we keep tripping over our own (and other’s) cognitive dissonance. Once off the reservation we tend to huddle with other similarly off-the-beaten-track explorers, a perfect example being our affinity for Zero Hedge and its own equally artificial reality. The only thing better than being right when we know everyone else is wrong is cahooting with others who validate our beliefs. You scratch my confirmation bias and I’ll scratch yours.

If we are unwilling to travel in new perceptual directions, even if we can conceive of no readily apparent benefit and especially if we feel emotional pain while doing so and quickly back off, then all we ever manage to do is endlessly cover the same well marked territory regardless of its perceived (validating) distance from the majority consensus. Just because our intellectual hunting grounds may lie outside the mainstream meme doesn’t mean we are immune to our own brand of rutted rigid thinking and herd mentality. In fact we often justify our own rote thinking by pointing to our contrary stance as proof we are flexible and thorough in our self examination.

Mind Control

Self inflicted mind control

One man’s collapse is another man’s crumble, two seemingly divergent points of view formed in large part by very different perspectives as to the meaning of both terms as well as the active ingredients propelling the use of those terms within our respective (mostly false) world views. While on the surface this may seem painfully obvious, very often we do not practice what we perceive and even less often do we perceive without self deceiving, without externally and internally self inflicted distortions and blurring.

This is the art of mind control and false realty creation, to induce you and me to willingly create an alternatively perceived reality, often entirely within our own minds, thereby eliminating the need for messy ‘reality’ based rules, independent verification and basic fact checking. And for the most part we do this in response to manipulated external stimuli which is often in direct conflict with our true inner knowing.

The key to this manipulation is to convince all of us that it is in our best interest to ignore our better judgment, our inner voice of caution and prudence, and willingly surrender our personal sovereignty to a false external authority while rejecting our genuine inner sovereign authority. I say all of us because to some degree or another and at one time or another we have all done so, usually with plenty of excuses, rationalizations and justifications for doing so safely tucked away in our back pockets.

We surrendered our personal sovereignty long before we were ever threatened with concocted external ‘terrorist’ threats when we consciously decided to ignore the obvious early warning signs of an increasingly out of control and hijacked government and instead pursued our own ideology, financial self interest and assorted pleasures. Unfortunately very few of us will admit this, thereby keeping us locked in our own vicious circle of denial and dependence.

We rationalize(d) it all away by saying that at least we aren’t as bad as ‘those guys over there’, when ‘they’ are saying the exact same thing about us. Or worse, we utter the entirely self absorbed and narcissistic declaration that “It’s not my problem” or “I didn’t vote for that guy so…..” The litany of excuses given for our inaction, both for internal and external issues, is endless.

Within this skewed alternative reality state of mind, where we stand depends entirely upon where we sit, and where we sit nearly always depends upon our financial, emotional and psychological self deceptions as well as our strategically selected denials and raging co-dependencies. Essentially we achieve a perpetual infantile state of mind in return for transient material comforts and a false sense of security, security that could quickly and easily be achieved if only we were to (re)connect with our own personal sovereignty.

Like a dog endlessly chasing its tail, we can never practice true freedom of thought and being while deeply dependent upon and fully immersed within someone else’s version of reality, particularly when it is self induced. Yet after a sufficiently long enough period of time of sustained conditioning within our mentally confined cognitive box (achieved for the most part during our state sponsored education and in concert with the willing assistance of our loving parents who passed on their own cognitive conditioning) we find it nearly impossible to conceive of a life of true freedom (that of a practicing personal sovereign) without our deeply embedded co-dependencies and ingrained notions of how the world works, thereby completing the circular co-opting of our inner spiritual and sovereign being.

Freedom to choose………slavery

The brilliance behind our so-called (illusionary) freedom (of choice) is that we almost always consciously choose our own enslavement. The genius lay in never forcing us to make one large and final decision in favor of enslavement. “Sure, I’ll be a slave for life. Are there any fringe benefits?” The socioeconomic control system helpfully breaks the decision making process down into tiny little bite sized bits of slippery slope while sweetening the gruel with flashing lights and artificial colors, tastes and textures.“OMG, it’s the iPad mini in white and silver with a ruby red cover. Can I charge it?”

And when we do willingly choose enslavement we almost always make the choice based upon our own personally customized reasons that helpfully mesh with our mostly programmed pursuits and interests (reasons that just happen to be wonderfully aligned with the control systems’ own agenda) in the same way a cattle shoot funnels the willing cattle to their own personal date with slaughterhouse destiny. I don’t need to list them because there are hundreds of millions of them, several hundred of which I have personally used myself.

Regardless of whether these thousands of tiny little micro decisions appeal to our ego, vanity, sense of self worth, hidden inner fears or unsated (mostly externally manufactured) hopes and dreams (just review Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for a more complete list) and even if the decision is made by default, meaning we make no decision other than to stay with the status quo, the deed is still done. The ultimate Catch 22 is the cognitive catch you never fully recognize, but still willingly embrace. Where is John Yossarian when you need him?

Our ‘willing’ participation within the present paradigm only serves to strengthen the cognitive binds that tie us to our internal and external dependencies. It matters not if it is an agnostic, mindless, resentful or even hostile participation, just that we all march to the same narrow range of emotional and spiritual frequencies. And it really doesn’t matter if we are fully or partially aware of our dependencies nor that we might strenuously object to them, only that we participate in order to enable this powerful form of consent. Our slavery is always hidden in plain sight under layer after layer of willing consent, regardless if most of it is coerced with threats of state violence.

Catch 22

 

Socioeconomically addicted

To directly oppose this addictive material compulsion (whether by force of mind or body) only serves to nourish and strengthen it simply because it is cognitively and spiritually designed to absorb our misdirected emotional and physical energy by using it to feed other parts of the whole in the same manner someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol fails to secure his or her release from the addiction by way of denial or brute opposing mental force.

Ask any long term recovering drug addict or alcoholic (to name just two examples of deeply embedded co-dependencies) if they were able to free themselves from their addiction by just saying NO (and really meaning it this time) and their responses will be overwhelmingly negative. The consumed active addict simply refuses to acknowledge that they can no longer participate in their obsessive activity. Their battle is always to limit the addiction and never to admit defeat in their ability to control their addiction. Always they wish to bargain and always they lose more ground to the addiction. If asked, the intelligence services might call this socioeconomic addict a ‘compromised person’.

At first glance this appears to be a huge contradiction since how can you ‘control’ something by admitting defeat. The key is not to (even try to) control, but simply to disarm and disempower that which is controlling us. This allows the addicted to move beyond this seemingly impenetrable roadblock rather than meeting it head-on. The fight is always with us and within us, not externally where the illusion makes it appear to be, and the way to personal and spiritual release is not to fight, not even to try to ‘win’.

Our ego simply refuses to recognize that we are physically and mentally consumed and spiritually broken. The longer the battle for control rages the more consumed the ego becomes in winning a battle that only exists within and can never be won and only be lost. The solution is to accept completely and unquestioningly that the battle can never be won, then turn in an entirely different direction and begin to do those things we never would have done before because we were consumed with pounding on the closed door of addiction directly in front of us and oblivious to the dozens of open doors all around.

By opposing the addictive force directly the addicted is hopelessly consumed by himself, by his mental, emotional and spiritual defects. His directed energy, the force he applies when trying to break the addictive binds that tie, is mirrored and deflected back towards him, creating a situation where he is literally fighting with himself. Imagine a split personality pushing on both sides of an open door at the same time, one trying to force it closed while the other tries to push it open. Any increase in force from either side is immediately met with an equal and opposite force from the other. The only way to ‘win’ is not to play at all, to circumvent any notion what-so-ever of winning or losing and just walk away. Clearly this is easier said than done and thus exactly why the socioeconomic addict remains consumed and compromised.

This process describes very well the convoluted and conflicted mind of the severely socioeconomically co-dependent addict and it applies both externally in the ‘real’ world as well as internally, within our controlled and manipulated minds. To ignore this dynamic is to be totally controlled by it, the ultimate fulcrum that is leveraged against us by external mind control forces.

The Trojan horse money meme

The all consuming fear based economic mind control money meme of (among other things) contrived scarcity is the Trojan horse that gains entry to our mind and spirit and it is something we for the most part willingly embrace even while denouncing certain select portions of it as ‘the’ problem. We are simply unwilling to look critically at the entire money meme, at the artificial and contrived scarcity of many resources which is designed to demand of us that we ‘pay’ (our masters) just so that we may continue to exist.

We do not wish to look too deeply into the fundamental flaws of this system, of our willing and complicit bondage, because that might entail leaving it all behind once we recognize its true nature. This is our root addiction and one we are loath to abandon because that would entail embracing true freedom, not just freedom of choice. We have allowed ourselves to become institutionalized, sated fat rats that are more than willing to run the maze each day for our daily keep. We are a slave nation and rapidly becoming a slave Earth.

Like the (completely) consumed drug addict or alcoholic, we are desperate to control the money meme’s hold on us so that we can still partake of certain select (believed) ‘good’ components rather than to admit total defeat and begin to do those things we really don’t wish to do, to first look within and recognize who and what we are, and then to act upon those discoveries. We convince ourselves that if only this component was removed or that participant was properly controlled or regulated that the socioeconomic system would function properly.

This is the big lie. The money meme itself is designed to mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically enslave you and me while enriching and empowering a select few regardless of how well we think it can work if only we ousted the rogue elements, an excuse which is itself a colossal self deception. Explain to me again why we wish to salvage this? But of course logic and reason fall on deaf ears with the consumed compromised addict.

This concept can be difficult to comprehend for a mind thoroughly immersed within the right-wrong, good-bad, left-right present day paradigm. Or worse, it is impossible to accept for a mind that perceives itself as not afflicted by the money meme mind virus at all, as above the sordid fray and immune to the collective madness. To some degree or another we are all specialists in our own psychological damage control. We are experts in blame, involvement and personal responsibility avoidance at all cost because……well, it’s the other guy who’s to blame, not me. Tell him to get his house in order, and then maybe I’ll take a look at mine.

The amount of energy we expend to rationalize away our own direct and indirect involvement, of our actual willing participation, would be truly staggering to measure if it weren’t so sad to behold. I am constantly amazed how quickly we shed any personal blame whatsoever once we begin to gain some insight into the ugly underbelly of the mind control machine of the money meme. It seems as if once a portion of the manipulation is unearthed we become desperate to believe that now that the infection is somewhat visible to the naked eye, the virus is no longer infectious to us, as if our (limited) awareness somehow sterilizes the madness.

It’s the best of both worlds. At first we aren’t affected when we are clueless because ignorance is bliss, then we become magically immune once we are (somewhat) aware of the illusion. Sadly these are the first, second and third orders of our addiction; the denial, then the denial of the denial, and finally the denial that there ever was any denial in the first place. “I don’t know whatyou’re talking about. I can clearly see what the issue is and it sure as hell ain’t me. It’s you and those idiots over there that’s the problem, not me.”

Our distorted worldview

Once we begin to peak beneath the surface layer we become so certain of our understanding of how the ‘real’ world works now(as opposed to how certain we were about how it worked before our revelation) that we rarely give it a second look, let alone devote any time to examine it critically. And why should we? Why venture too far down the rabbit hole when the next conveniently presented answer is right in front of us? The fact is that nowadays we are so completely bombarded with absurdity after absurdity on an exponentially increasing scale that we begin to lose all touch with common sense and reality…………including our own.

Stay high or drunk on the money meme long enough and reality becomes so strange that it is to be avoided at all costs. Soon enough our warped sense of perception comes measured by our dependencies rather than despite them. This all too common state of emotional and intellectual paralysis might help to explain certain vows of poverty and abstinence practiced by tens of thousands of history’s thinkers, philosophers and holy/spiritual men. One cannot see clearly while in the midst of the madnessusing only the cognitive tools and worldview assumptions supported and promoted by the madness.

Simply put if we allow ourselves the conceit of believing that we are thinking outside the box without actually (destructively) testing our predispositions, all we’re ever really doing is confirming for ourselves not only our imagined outlaw status, but our more perfectly conditioned and captured mental state. It is highly likely, absent a rigorous and continuous self examination, that we are blindly trapped within another smaller, though still thoroughly confined, psychological thought control box a la those fascinating little Russian nesting dolls.

With this entirely self imposed cognitive impediment blocking our way forward (meaning our unwillingness to destructively test our own thinking) our only claim to fame might actually be that we are still somewhat closer to the core issues of our own self enslavement. Tragically, this slightly higher state of self awareness in no way mitigates the fact that we are still hopelessly mired within the muddy waters of the present day false reality paradigm.

Chapter Two and Three here

Perhaps a Crumble Rather Than a Collapse – Chapter One | Two Ice Floes

Perhaps a Crumble Rather Than a Collapse – Chapter One | Two Ice Floes.

Why even question the obvious?

When contemplating a complex subject, especially one in which I hold a strong emotional investment, I find it extremely valuable to seriously and consistently challenge my own thinking, to play devil’s advocate with my oftentimes emotional mind. A ‘truth’ untested, particularly one I’m emotionally bound to, is little more than a belief, a comforting factoid that confirms my biases rather than enlightening and informing my mind. If I am to progress in my personal development I must test the mettle of my beliefs up to, and if need be well past, their destruction. For only then can I truly be free to exercise, and honor, my personal sovereignty on an everyday basis.

So it is that I’ve been considering the concept of ‘collapse’ with regard to society and its socioeconomic system(s), both on a personal and collective emotional and psychological basis. While it is always dangerous to paint detailed pictures with broad brushes, to some degree or another we are all emotional human beings. So while the cognitive details may vary (greatly) from person to person, our tendencies and triggers are very similar (partly because of a shared and distorted worldview) and relatively easy to discern if we have the courage to first look deeply within and then apply what we have found to the world around us. A word of warning here because this article is not a technical or fundamental economic analysis, at least not based upon the traditional financial definition of those terms.

Among the contrary crowd, of which I proudly count myself a member in good standing, it is widely accepted that an economic collapse that quickly leads to violent social upheaval is not only very possible, but inevitable, a ‘given’ fact so to speak. For the most part we accept that a collapse is not a question of if, but of when and in what form and of what severity. The consensus is that this rapid socioeconomic decline, when it comes, will be sudden and complete, thus the popular use of the term ‘collapse’. This ‘a priori’ position, which truth be told is simply a strongly held belief, is in serious need of examination if we are to follow our inner Golden Rule, that of questioning everything beginning with ourselves and our most cherished and firmly held beliefs and opinions.

Before going any further I wish to emphasize that the following is simply a thought experiment, a mental dalliance and a delicate dance with what if, how about and why not. Just because I argue a position doesn’t necessarily mean I’m wed to it or even that I support it. The ultimate purpose of my internal interrogatory is not necessarily to replace my current thinking, but to test it again and again and again, particularly if I consider my thinking solid and essentially beyond reproach. In my opinion this is where true personal courage is born and nurtured, for if I am willing to honestly face myself, particularly those deep dark places even I wish to hide from, then anything I might face externally pales in comparison.

Many more times than I care to admit I have found that what I previously thought was a solid conclusion was actually based not upon facts and reasoning, but upon preconceived notions (aka my conditioned worldview) as well as group think and/or consensus seeking. And just as often the real reason for my blind acceptance of certain facts and conclusions was to push my confirmation bias endorphin triggers again and again, as all severely addicted drug addicts are compelled to do. And boy oh boy do I love triggering my confirmation bias. There is no other drug induced high quite like knowing that I’m right and you’re wrong………except knowing that I’m right and everyone else is wrong.

Running with the (contrary) herd

Rather than denying or rejecting the notion that we are deeply influenced by the herd, a typical egoic response even if the herd is considered contrary (and don’t forget that the herd, contrary or not, might simply be a construct of my mind and populated solely by me, myself and I) if we wish to consider ourselves to be sentient sovereign beings then we must remain constantly alert to, and aware of, the herd’s influence on our emotional and spiritual centering. In addition, we need to be ever vigilant of its corrosive effects on our thought process and the conclusions we draw from within that distortion.

This is the big lie that influences us all, that while we might be part of a herd (if we can even manage to admit that much) we are thoughtful, intelligent and educated adults and thus not really affected by the herd to any significant degree. But common sense and life experience tells us otherwise, that this just isn’t true, that we are very much herding humans (whether by nature, nurture or both, ultimately it really doesn’t matter) and that we are most certainly influenced by others. In fact I would go so far as to say that for the most part we do not enjoy freedom from the herd, just freedom to choose the herd we run and think with.

The soothing self deception that we are stoic free thinking individuals, our psychological Achilles Heel if you will, is repeatedly and successfully leveraged against us by those who wish to manipulate and control. Very often it is not an outside force that blinds us, but rather an outside force that leverages our own blindness. This is why we must always question everything, beginning with ourselves. It is our own (mis)perception and worldview that is being manipulated, which often leads to our own blind and unquestioning support of policies, positions and laws that are entirely contrary to our own self interest or the collective (herds) good.

We often blame the herding rat race for our own lot in life (either on a micro or macro level) confidently declaring that ‘they’ are the problem so we are exempt from blame and responsibility. Then we do next to nothing to change our own circumstances, claiming it’s futile to even try because ‘they’ block the way forward towards significant and lasting personal and social change.

After successfully doing nothing we proudly take the softer easier highway to hell, a path that is conveniently laid out and paved by our controllers. Then we sit back smug as a bug in our self righteous indignation when anyone dares to place the blame back at the source of our own servitude. Our controllers love that we don’t even try to pick up the cognitive tools that lie scattered at our feet, let alone use them to defend and empower us. Hands down the most powerful weapon in the world used repeatedly against us is ourselves. Blunt force trauma by self (and group) is extremely effective when self (and group) corralling.

Certainty breeds contempt of our self

At times I struggle to remind myself that the more certain I am of something the greater the likelihood that I’m wrong, if for no other reason than that my absolute certainty most definitely closes my mind to alternative possibilities no matter how obvious they may appear to others. Not recognizing or even considering the possibility that I might be wrong feeds my confirmation bias and rewards my circular thinking with another shot of delicious cognitive dissonance soothing endorphins. Do not underestimate the power of this positive feedback loop for it claims all of us at one time or another, particularly when we confidently claim that it is not now doing so. Our critical thinking is often the weakest precisely when we believe it to be the strongest.

For the vast majority of us a new thought trail is blazed one cautious step at a time despite our egotistic self delusions that we bravely and willingly go where we’ve never cognitively gone before. And for the most part we all color well within the socially correct lines with very rare and short lived deviations beyond the border and into the cognitive badlands. Thus the reason for my venturing outside conventional contrary thinking and into what at first blush might appear to be the mainstream meme. Rigid beliefs and preordained conclusions must never dictate the (self) discovery process or the intent of that process.

Despite egoic protestations to the contrary it is downright frightening to venture outside the comfortable confines and safety of the consensus herd’s artificial reality, thus one of the reasons we keep tripping over our own (and other’s) cognitive dissonance. Once off the reservation we tend to huddle with other similarly off-the-beaten-track explorers, a perfect example being our affinity for Zero Hedge and its own equally artificial reality. The only thing better than being right when we know everyone else is wrong is cahooting with others who validate our beliefs. You scratch my confirmation bias and I’ll scratch yours.

If we are unwilling to travel in new perceptual directions, even if we can conceive of no readily apparent benefit and especially if we feel emotional pain while doing so and quickly back off, then all we ever manage to do is endlessly cover the same well marked territory regardless of its perceived (validating) distance from the majority consensus. Just because our intellectual hunting grounds may lie outside the mainstream meme doesn’t mean we are immune to our own brand of rutted rigid thinking and herd mentality. In fact we often justify our own rote thinking by pointing to our contrary stance as proof we are flexible and thorough in our self examination.

Mind Control

Self inflicted mind control

One man’s collapse is another man’s crumble, two seemingly divergent points of view formed in large part by very different perspectives as to the meaning of both terms as well as the active ingredients propelling the use of those terms within our respective (mostly false) world views. While on the surface this may seem painfully obvious, very often we do not practice what we perceive and even less often do we perceive without self deceiving, without externally and internally self inflicted distortions and blurring.

This is the art of mind control and false realty creation, to induce you and me to willingly create an alternatively perceived reality, often entirely within our own minds, thereby eliminating the need for messy ‘reality’ based rules, independent verification and basic fact checking. And for the most part we do this in response to manipulated external stimuli which is often in direct conflict with our true inner knowing.

The key to this manipulation is to convince all of us that it is in our best interest to ignore our better judgment, our inner voice of caution and prudence, and willingly surrender our personal sovereignty to a false external authority while rejecting our genuine inner sovereign authority. I say all of us because to some degree or another and at one time or another we have all done so, usually with plenty of excuses, rationalizations and justifications for doing so safely tucked away in our back pockets.

We surrendered our personal sovereignty long before we were ever threatened with concocted external ‘terrorist’ threats when we consciously decided to ignore the obvious early warning signs of an increasingly out of control and hijacked government and instead pursued our own ideology, financial self interest and assorted pleasures. Unfortunately very few of us will admit this, thereby keeping us locked in our own vicious circle of denial and dependence.

We rationalize(d) it all away by saying that at least we aren’t as bad as ‘those guys over there’, when ‘they’ are saying the exact same thing about us. Or worse, we utter the entirely self absorbed and narcissistic declaration that “It’s not my problem” or “I didn’t vote for that guy so…..” The litany of excuses given for our inaction, both for internal and external issues, is endless.

Within this skewed alternative reality state of mind, where we stand depends entirely upon where we sit, and where we sit nearly always depends upon our financial, emotional and psychological self deceptions as well as our strategically selected denials and raging co-dependencies. Essentially we achieve a perpetual infantile state of mind in return for transient material comforts and a false sense of security, security that could quickly and easily be achieved if only we were to (re)connect with our own personal sovereignty.

Like a dog endlessly chasing its tail, we can never practice true freedom of thought and being while deeply dependent upon and fully immersed within someone else’s version of reality, particularly when it is self induced. Yet after a sufficiently long enough period of time of sustained conditioning within our mentally confined cognitive box (achieved for the most part during our state sponsored education and in concert with the willing assistance of our loving parents who passed on their own cognitive conditioning) we find it nearly impossible to conceive of a life of true freedom (that of a practicing personal sovereign) without our deeply embedded co-dependencies and ingrained notions of how the world works, thereby completing the circular co-opting of our inner spiritual and sovereign being.

Freedom to choose………slavery

The brilliance behind our so-called (illusionary) freedom (of choice) is that we almost always consciously choose our own enslavement. The genius lay in never forcing us to make one large and final decision in favor of enslavement. “Sure, I’ll be a slave for life. Are there any fringe benefits?” The socioeconomic control system helpfully breaks the decision making process down into tiny little bite sized bits of slippery slope while sweetening the gruel with flashing lights and artificial colors, tastes and textures.“OMG, it’s the iPad mini in white and silver with a ruby red cover. Can I charge it?”

And when we do willingly choose enslavement we almost always make the choice based upon our own personally customized reasons that helpfully mesh with our mostly programmed pursuits and interests (reasons that just happen to be wonderfully aligned with the control systems’ own agenda) in the same way a cattle shoot funnels the willing cattle to their own personal date with slaughterhouse destiny. I don’t need to list them because there are hundreds of millions of them, several hundred of which I have personally used myself.

Regardless of whether these thousands of tiny little micro decisions appeal to our ego, vanity, sense of self worth, hidden inner fears or unsated (mostly externally manufactured) hopes and dreams (just review Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for a more complete list) and even if the decision is made by default, meaning we make no decision other than to stay with the status quo, the deed is still done. The ultimate Catch 22 is the cognitive catch you never fully recognize, but still willingly embrace. Where is John Yossarian when you need him?

Our ‘willing’ participation within the present paradigm only serves to strengthen the cognitive binds that tie us to our internal and external dependencies. It matters not if it is an agnostic, mindless, resentful or even hostile participation, just that we all march to the same narrow range of emotional and spiritual frequencies. And it really doesn’t matter if we are fully or partially aware of our dependencies nor that we might strenuously object to them, only that we participate in order to enable this powerful form of consent. Our slavery is always hidden in plain sight under layer after layer of willing consent, regardless if most of it is coerced with threats of state violence.

Catch 22

 

Socioeconomically addicted

To directly oppose this addictive material compulsion (whether by force of mind or body) only serves to nourish and strengthen it simply because it is cognitively and spiritually designed to absorb our misdirected emotional and physical energy by using it to feed other parts of the whole in the same manner someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol fails to secure his or her release from the addiction by way of denial or brute opposing mental force.

Ask any long term recovering drug addict or alcoholic (to name just two examples of deeply embedded co-dependencies) if they were able to free themselves from their addiction by just saying NO (and really meaning it this time) and their responses will be overwhelmingly negative. The consumed active addict simply refuses to acknowledge that they can no longer participate in their obsessive activity. Their battle is always to limit the addiction and never to admit defeat in their ability to control their addiction. Always they wish to bargain and always they lose more ground to the addiction. If asked, the intelligence services might call this socioeconomic addict a ‘compromised person’.

At first glance this appears to be a huge contradiction since how can you ‘control’ something by admitting defeat. The key is not to (even try to) control, but simply to disarm and disempower that which is controlling us. This allows the addicted to move beyond this seemingly impenetrable roadblock rather than meeting it head-on. The fight is always with us and within us, not externally where the illusion makes it appear to be, and the way to personal and spiritual release is not to fight, not even to try to ‘win’.

Our ego simply refuses to recognize that we are physically and mentally consumed and spiritually broken. The longer the battle for control rages the more consumed the ego becomes in winning a battle that only exists within and can never be won and only be lost. The solution is to accept completely and unquestioningly that the battle can never be won, then turn in an entirely different direction and begin to do those things we never would have done before because we were consumed with pounding on the closed door of addiction directly in front of us and oblivious to the dozens of open doors all around.

By opposing the addictive force directly the addicted is hopelessly consumed by himself, by his mental, emotional and spiritual defects. His directed energy, the force he applies when trying to break the addictive binds that tie, is mirrored and deflected back towards him, creating a situation where he is literally fighting with himself. Imagine a split personality pushing on both sides of an open door at the same time, one trying to force it closed while the other tries to push it open. Any increase in force from either side is immediately met with an equal and opposite force from the other. The only way to ‘win’ is not to play at all, to circumvent any notion what-so-ever of winning or losing and just walk away. Clearly this is easier said than done and thus exactly why the socioeconomic addict remains consumed and compromised.

This process describes very well the convoluted and conflicted mind of the severely socioeconomically co-dependent addict and it applies both externally in the ‘real’ world as well as internally, within our controlled and manipulated minds. To ignore this dynamic is to be totally controlled by it, the ultimate fulcrum that is leveraged against us by external mind control forces.

The Trojan horse money meme

The all consuming fear based economic mind control money meme of (among other things) contrived scarcity is the Trojan horse that gains entry to our mind and spirit and it is something we for the most part willingly embrace even while denouncing certain select portions of it as ‘the’ problem. We are simply unwilling to look critically at the entire money meme, at the artificial and contrived scarcity of many resources which is designed to demand of us that we ‘pay’ (our masters) just so that we may continue to exist.

We do not wish to look too deeply into the fundamental flaws of this system, of our willing and complicit bondage, because that might entail leaving it all behind once we recognize its true nature. This is our root addiction and one we are loath to abandon because that would entail embracing true freedom, not just freedom of choice. We have allowed ourselves to become institutionalized, sated fat rats that are more than willing to run the maze each day for our daily keep. We are a slave nation and rapidly becoming a slave Earth.

Like the (completely) consumed drug addict or alcoholic, we are desperate to control the money meme’s hold on us so that we can still partake of certain select (believed) ‘good’ components rather than to admit total defeat and begin to do those things we really don’t wish to do, to first look within and recognize who and what we are, and then to act upon those discoveries. We convince ourselves that if only this component was removed or that participant was properly controlled or regulated that the socioeconomic system would function properly.

This is the big lie. The money meme itself is designed to mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically enslave you and me while enriching and empowering a select few regardless of how well we think it can work if only we ousted the rogue elements, an excuse which is itself a colossal self deception. Explain to me again why we wish to salvage this? But of course logic and reason fall on deaf ears with the consumed compromised addict.

This concept can be difficult to comprehend for a mind thoroughly immersed within the right-wrong, good-bad, left-right present day paradigm. Or worse, it is impossible to accept for a mind that perceives itself as not afflicted by the money meme mind virus at all, as above the sordid fray and immune to the collective madness. To some degree or another we are all specialists in our own psychological damage control. We are experts in blame, involvement and personal responsibility avoidance at all cost because……well, it’s the other guy who’s to blame, not me. Tell him to get his house in order, and then maybe I’ll take a look at mine.

The amount of energy we expend to rationalize away our own direct and indirect involvement, of our actual willing participation, would be truly staggering to measure if it weren’t so sad to behold. I am constantly amazed how quickly we shed any personal blame whatsoever once we begin to gain some insight into the ugly underbelly of the mind control machine of the money meme. It seems as if once a portion of the manipulation is unearthed we become desperate to believe that now that the infection is somewhat visible to the naked eye, the virus is no longer infectious to us, as if our (limited) awareness somehow sterilizes the madness.

It’s the best of both worlds. At first we aren’t affected when we are clueless because ignorance is bliss, then we become magically immune once we are (somewhat) aware of the illusion. Sadly these are the first, second and third orders of our addiction; the denial, then the denial of the denial, and finally the denial that there ever was any denial in the first place. “I don’t know whatyou’re talking about. I can clearly see what the issue is and it sure as hell ain’t me. It’s you and those idiots over there that’s the problem, not me.”

Our distorted worldview

Once we begin to peak beneath the surface layer we become so certain of our understanding of how the ‘real’ world works now(as opposed to how certain we were about how it worked before our revelation) that we rarely give it a second look, let alone devote any time to examine it critically. And why should we? Why venture too far down the rabbit hole when the next conveniently presented answer is right in front of us? The fact is that nowadays we are so completely bombarded with absurdity after absurdity on an exponentially increasing scale that we begin to lose all touch with common sense and reality…………including our own.

Stay high or drunk on the money meme long enough and reality becomes so strange that it is to be avoided at all costs. Soon enough our warped sense of perception comes measured by our dependencies rather than despite them. This all too common state of emotional and intellectual paralysis might help to explain certain vows of poverty and abstinence practiced by tens of thousands of history’s thinkers, philosophers and holy/spiritual men. One cannot see clearly while in the midst of the madnessusing only the cognitive tools and worldview assumptions supported and promoted by the madness.

Simply put if we allow ourselves the conceit of believing that we are thinking outside the box without actually (destructively) testing our predispositions, all we’re ever really doing is confirming for ourselves not only our imagined outlaw status, but our more perfectly conditioned and captured mental state. It is highly likely, absent a rigorous and continuous self examination, that we are blindly trapped within another smaller, though still thoroughly confined, psychological thought control box a la those fascinating little Russian nesting dolls.

With this entirely self imposed cognitive impediment blocking our way forward (meaning our unwillingness to destructively test our own thinking) our only claim to fame might actually be that we are still somewhat closer to the core issues of our own self enslavement. Tragically, this slightly higher state of self awareness in no way mitigates the fact that we are still hopelessly mired within the muddy waters of the present day false reality paradigm.

Chapter Two and Three here

Social influence, global crisis and lack of awareness — Transition Voice

Social influence, global crisis and lack of awareness — Transition Voice.

crowd looking up

Photo: jdn.

As our civilization proceeds down the slope of the post-peak-oil curve, global trade will become more and more expensive, so our economies will naturally localize. The energy-efficiency benefits of localized economies are obvious to us, but there are also social and even psycho-social benefits that aren’t often contemplated.

I had the good fortune to work with respected crowd-behavior expert Alan Berkowitz several years ago on a film project about “bystander behavior.” Berkowitz is a psychologist and sociologist who advises, writes, and speaks on bystander behavior, as well as a number of other health and social justice subjects. He founded and edited the Report on Social Norms.

I later interviewed him for my documentary, GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth. I was curious about why human beings react so irrationally to evidence we are harming our planet and the life support systems on which we depend. “Bystander behavior” or “crowd behavior” theories offer some useful ideas. Berkowitz offers a concise summary in Applications Of Social Norms Theory To Other Health And Social Justice Issues:

Individuals may see that others are not doing anything and assume that there isn’t a problem (social influence), may fear doing something that may cause embarrassment (audience inhibition), or may assume that if they don’t do anything someone else will (diffusion of responsibility).

The phenomenon of “social influence” plays a huge role, in my view. Here’s how it plays out for an ordinary Joe:

One evening Joe sees a film, reads a news report or explores a scientific study that convinces him we are in a global emergency; we are about to drive our civilization off a cliff. The next morning, Joe walks out the door and sees his neighbors carrying on just as they have for the last several years.

As he goes through his day, he is surrounded by people behaving just as they did the day before. Life seems pretty normal. There is no apparent state of emergency. What goes through his head? According to Berkowitz:

“When I don’t see other people doing something, I think, ‘Well maybe it’s not really so bad, its blown out of proportion, because if it was really as bad as you say, someone else would be doing something.”

And so, Joe does nothing, just like the vast majority of people – and for the same reason. This is social influence at work.

Nonetheless, there are many other people around the world, however, who do actually understand that we are in a state of crisis. Many of them are even doing something about it. They are changing the way they live. But they’re spread around the world and therefore pretty invisible to the ordinary Joes out there.

Imagine, however, what will happen as our economies re-localize. Connections will be formed among people who share the same concerns and are similarly motivated. We will be increasingly surrounded by people who are changing their behavior. In such a case, social influence will inspire us to alter our behavior even more.

I’ve experienced this myself, as I’ve engaged more and more in my local Colorado Springs Transition group and in another local group called the Green Cities Coalition. I’ve noted that hanging out with these wonderful folks is changing my own norms. Behavior that might be considered completely normal among a group of stockbrokers (serving food on disposable plates, for example) suddenly becomes embarrassing when you’re mingling with sustainable-living advocates.

Berkowitz explained when I interviewed him:

The presence of other people inhibits the desire to help when there’s confusion about what’s really true for other people. Now let’s take a different situation. Let’s say I grow up in a community where I’m taught very clear values and guidelines about when I’m supposed to help and I know that the other people in my community share my values. We have a well-articulated shared set of values that in this situation we do X. So if you and I are both friends, lifelong friends, we went to high school together, whatever, and we’re driving a car and we see situation X, without even saying anything we’ll both get out of the car and go help because we know that we both share these values that we need to do these things. In this case the presence of other people encourages the desire to help because we have a shared value system.

Who you hang out with can either strengthen sustainable living values or weaken them. I’m not suggesting you avoid groups and friends who don’t share your commitment. In fact, being aware of the power of social influence, you may be able to start raising awareness and shifting values of those groups if you’re clever. Be sure to come back to your tribe frequently for a refill of values affirmation. Then go back out and infect more people with sustainable-living thinking.

Berkowitz offered this observation:

So we live in communities, we’re all walking around feeling unhappy and not allowed to tell each other that we’re all unhappy because we think we’re the only one. So there’s this whole system that maintains … forces us to keep the unhappiness as a secret. Why can’t we admit that we’re good people, we’re trying really hard, we’ve done the right thing and it hasn’t worked? And so we need to rethink some of our fundamental assumptions, like the world isn’t flat, and the sun doesn’t go around the earth and that women are smart enough to exercise the privilege to vote and own property and that the growth paradigm isn’t producing the results it promised us.

As our economies re-localize, our social connections will be reinvigorated, and we’ll find ourselves more and more in touch with others who share our values.

I believe this will serve to accelerate the transition. Many of us are experiencing it already, and we can manage that to our benefit. Hang out with people who reinforce your values and desired behaviors, and invite others in. They may be out there thinking they’re the only ones troubled by what’s going on out there.

Want to know more? This article from Forbes is worthwhile reading on social influence, as is this piece from Scientific American.

This article is based on a piece originally published in Shift magazine.

– Dave Gardner, Transition Voice

8 Logical Fallacies That Misinform Our Minds | DeSmog Canada

8 Logical Fallacies That Misinform Our Minds | DeSmog Canada.

Imagine coming across a piece of reliable information that contradicts everything you’ve ever believed about, say, global warming or the war on terror. It would likely prompt the question: if you were wrong about such an important issue, what else could you be wrong about? What’s more, if you’ve been wrong about a bunch of things, then perhaps you’re not quite as well-informed as you had previously believed.
Thoughts like these are jarring ones because they threaten our sense of self — making us feel stupid, empty, even worthless. Unsurprisingly then, most people’s willingness to open up to new information depends largely on how this information will challenge or coincide with their preconceived notions of what is good or bad, right or wrong, true or false.
According to a study by researchers at the University of Waterloo, called Self-Affirmation and Sensitivity to Argument Strength, when people are presented with corrective information that runs counter to their ideology, those who most strongly identify with the ideology will intensify their incorrect beliefs. And as such, the greater the challenge new information poses to a person’s self-worth, the less likely it is to have any impact at all on them.
If there’s something positive to draw from these uncomfortable realizations of our purposeful ignorance, it’s that if we take the time to better understand why and how people think and feel the way they do, these inherent biases can be successfully mitigated and controlled.
And with this aim in mind, what follows — keeping in mind that I have likely succumb to a few of these during the writing of this piece, as you will during the process of reading it — are eight of the most commonplace logical fallacies that misinform our minds every day.
1. Backfire effect: As mentioned above, the more a piece of information lowers self-worth, the more likely it is to be rejected outright. Therefore, new information can create such ideological insecurity that people will manufacture counterarguments to the point that they overcompensate and become more convinced of their original views. Hence, instead of convincing someone to question an invalidated belief, fresh information can actually ‘backfire’ by strengthening the grasp a refuted opinion has on an individual.
Monkey see, monkey do. Image Credit: danmachold/Flickr
2. Status quo bias: We tend to be apprehensive of change, and this often leads us to make choices motivated by the desire to keep things as familiar as possible. This is because for most people the current baseline is taken as a reference point, and any change from that baseline is perceived as a loss. Needless to say, preference for the status quo represents a core component of conservative ideology – militarism, austerity and environmental exploitation are all-too-familiar attempts to hold on to the status quo.
3. Confirmation fallacy: We love to agree with those who agree with us. We visit websites that re-express our political opinions, re-read literature that reaffirms our cultural upbringings, befriend people with likeminded attitudes and form cohesive social circles based around similar key viewpoints. At the same time, we practice a reactive reasoning in that we undervalue, scrutinise and dismiss arguments, figures, and people that challenge our entrenched worldviews — after all, we are our own biggest censors.
4. In-group fallacy: Similar to the confirmation fallacy, due to our innate desire to be socially accepted, we tend to favour the thoughts, ideals and sentiments of those with whom we racially and culturally identify with most. And conversely, this means we are suspicious, fearful and ignorant of the preferences, wants, needs and values of groups and peoples that we have difficulty identifying with — this goes a long way toward explaining why racism remains so rampant in liberal-democratic countries.
5. False consensus bias: As we cannot really experience anything outside of our own consciousness, we tend to believe most people think like we do. In group settings, false consensus biases cause us to accept that the opinions, preferences and values of our own group reflect the larger population. And since groups tend to reach a consensus and avoid those who dispute it, they believe everyone thinks that way. This is the sort of groupthink that convinces political extremists they have widespread support.
Put a stop to groupthink by jumping off the bandwagon. Image Credit: caffeina/Flickr
6. Bandwagon Effect: Opinions and viewpoints spread infectiously among people, meaning we are very likely to adopt a belief merely because lots of other people believe it too. In other words, people are both socially insecure and cognitively lazy. We don’t want to think for ourselves, and we often assume that if someone else has already adopted something, it can’t be bad. Even though the popularity of an argument has little bearing on its validity, we disregard our own judgements in an attempt to assimilate.
7. Current moment fallacy: A cognitive tragedy of the commons, we have a hard time imagining ourselves in the future and altering our behaviours accordingly. As such, most opt for gratification now, saving discomfort for later. This lack of self-control, where most people would rather exchange serious troubles in the not-to-distant future for more trivial pleasures in the moment, personifies the impulsive decision-making that is responsible for the financial meltdown, political corruption and developments that harm the environment.
8. Blind Spot Bias: Ironically enough, if you read this article thinking that these biases don’t apply to you, you might suffer from this logically fallacy, which makes us think that while biases may apply to others, we are immune to them. This is because when we assess ourselves for irrationality, we look inward, searching through our thoughts and feelings for bias. But biases operate unconsciously, so while we have little trouble pointing out the biases in others, it is exceedingly difficult for us to take note of our own.
But why go through all this trouble to point out the logical fallacies that seem to be driving ignorance and close-mindedness in our society? Well, the political implications of this sort of self-reflexive psychoanalytic exercise should be pretty obvious…
In the past year alone, Canadians have borne witness to half a dozen Senate corruption scandals, a spying agency that’s quietly collecting and sharing our personal information, the actual burning of priceless scientific archives and a relentless war on science and knowledge — all of which serve to demonstrate just how ideological our government has become.
So as we inch closer to the 2015 federal election, it is our responsibility as democratic citizens to take note of the ways these logical fallacies — and the dozens of others we succumb to — can misinform our minds, and those of our political leaders, each and everyday. For if we work at becoming a more cognizant and well-informed citizenry it will spill over into the polling station, and with any luck, onto Parliament Hill as well.
Title Image Credit: Andrew Mason/Wikimedia Commons

Does Your Gang Affiliation Prevent You From Thinking Clearly? | Zero Hedge

Does Your Gang Affiliation Prevent You From Thinking Clearly? | Zero Hedge.

 

 

Whether we will admit it or not, a lot of us engage in gang member-like thinking that destroys our ability to divergently think, critically think and even consider the truth when the truth challenges the group-think of the “gang”.

 

Ishmael Cisneros, a member of the notorious global crime syndicate, the Mara Salvatrucha, better known as MS-13, says that once you join a gang, “your mind closes off to the rest of the world and you’re capable of doing anything for the gang…don’t get caught up in the world of gangs, especially for those that think there’s something good in it. It’s all lies.”

 

Yet many of us that deny we ever engage in the vapid and counter-productive gang mentality that Cisneros describes above unintentionally allow ourselves to be bound by this gang mentality by TPTB that deliberately shuttle people into adopting gang mentality through divide and conquer tactics based upon religious, political, and racial affiliations.

 

If we are truly honest with ourselves, we will all admit to having engaged in “gang-think” at one point in our lives, and perhaps of still engaging in these counter-productive thought patterns today. It’s time to deconstruct this type of mentality so that we can awaken to the truth and always choose what is best for the greater good of humanity over what is best for our gang only as we move forward. Separating ourselves from gang think will be essential for not only survival but also for a positive mental health state in coming years as Central Banks keep destroying the purchasing power of fiat currencies and people’s struggles all over the world consequently intensify.

 

 

Is It Hot in Here or Is It Just Me Telling You It’s Hot in Here? – Bloomberg

Is It Hot in Here or Is It Just Me Telling You It’s Hot in Here? – Bloomberg.

As the mercury drops in the eastern U.S. this week, expect snow, icy driving conditions and ludicrous statements about global warming from Donald Trump andRush Limbaugh.

These statements are caricatures of debate, and obscure the real and persistent way that weather actually does make climate change confusing.

Many people apparently have weather on the brain when the topic turns to climate change. The ease with which we confuse the two offers a window into how the human mind works: Asked about a complex issue, people often will provide an answer about a related, easier topic. It’s an example of “attribute substitution,” a mental process defined by behavioral economists Daniel Kahneman and Shane Frederick in 2002, the same year Kahneman won the Nobel Prize in economics.

This particular phenomenon, in which people instinctively allow weather to influence their judgments about climate change, has been called the local warming effect.

A new study in a leading peer-reviewed journal, Nature Climate Change, asks why the local warming effect should be so influential. The researchers conducted several experiments to try to overcome participants’ reliance on cues from weather. The work was led by Lisa Zaval of Columbia University’s Center for Research on Environmental Decisions.

Source: Land and Ocean Percentiles, Jan.-Dec. 2013. NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center

NOAA reported yesterday that “most regions across the globe were warmer than average.”…Read More

They tested to see whether survey questions containing the phrase “global warming” caused people to believe or be concerned about science any more than questions with “climate change” did. They didn’t, and the researchers concluded that the local weather effect isn’t driven by buzzwords.

In another test, they gave participants information explaining that local weather and global climate change are different things, adapting NASA material to say, for example, “climate is what you expect, like a hot summer, and weather is what you get, like a hot day with thunderstorms.” Explaining this difference to research subjects didn’t kill the local weather effect.

A third approach investigated the effect of “priming,” or providing subtle topic cues. Researchers gave subjects hotness or coldness cues before answering questions about climate change. Study participants were asked to make four-word sentences from five-word groups, such as:

potatoes she the roasted it

Or:

the shivers man old of

People who were given “hot” priming sentences tended to believe and be concerned about climate change science more than those given “cold” or neutral sentences.

A further test, which involved asking people about yesterday’s temperature, led the researchers to conclude that the previous day’s temperature didn’t have as large an effect as it today’s. Recent sensation — “the immediacy of experience with temperature” — influences thoughts about climate change most. Humans evolved big, reasoning brains that still have trouble competing with the five senses.

That weather can guide people’s thinking so strongly, and that this bias is so difficult to overcome, is indicative of a larger problem not limited to climate change. “The local warming effect is an important real-world demonstration of how opinion on important issues can be constructed in response to a direct enquiry, rather than retrieved from memory,” the authors write.

In other words, when asked to say what they think about climate change, many people don’t retrieve and open their mental file on climate; they make up a new one, drawing on a seemingly related and easier topic, the temperature outside. After all, as Bob Dylan put it, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

“Priming” studies are common in behavioral research. Scientists still don’t know as much about it as one might like. If streets and news media were filled with images of people sweating and thirsty in a desert, it wouldn’t lead to a rational federal climate policy. But just why it wouldn’t isn’t well understood.

As Zaval explained over email: “Unfortunately, we just don’t know how long the effects of temperature cues might last — concern for climate change sometimes seems to be as transient as the weather.”

Warning: What This Dead Comedian Said About The “American Dream” Might Upset You | Zero Hedge

Warning: What This Dead Comedian Said About The “American Dream” Might Upset You | Zero Hedge. (source/link)

“The only true American value that is left… Buying Things…” There’s a reason for why education sucks and why it’s never going to be fixed, and that’s not the only hard hitting truths that George Carlin shares in this video…

 

Psychology and the Prevention of War Trauma: An Article Rejected by American Psychologist – Censored Notebook, Investigative Research

Psychology and the Prevention of War Trauma: An Article Rejected by American Psychologist – Censored Notebook, Investigative Research.

 

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