Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The War on Consciousness

Cults throughout history have shown a remarkable proficiency in the art of mind control. For those that doubt the legitimacy of the prior statement I suggest that you contemplate the horrors of Jonestown and Heaven's Gate and ponder how they could have been induced without the aid of master mind manipulators. This unique legacy of course stretches much further back than that -Consider the lengths that the Hashshashins or the Dionysians went to in their rituals and acts. This fact was no lost on various intelligence agencies and would be social engineers. Various techniques of these sects would be adopted wholesale into the mass conditioning that would define the 20th century.

A common goal of the engineers of mass conditioning and the heads of cults is the severing of the individual from their family. In the case of cults, the sect itself is supposed to replace the family. In order to achieve this, the individual must break off all contact with family members, typically after a period of long isolation with the cult. While a common stereotype of cult members is that they are weak and unstable people that are easily manipulated the
reality is that even highly sophisticated and intelligent persons can fall pray. Scientology has proven especially effective at recruiting well coined followers in the latter half of the 20th century.

Consider the case of Vivian Kubrick, the daughter of legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, surely a man that knew a thing or two about the realities of the world. Shortly after Stanley died in 1999 Vivian was permanently lost to the clutches of Scientology to her family. Consider these comments from Christine Kubrick, Stanley's widow and Vivian's daughter:

"On the day of Stanley's funeral, Christiane says, Vivian arrived with a woman nobody recognised. 'She just sat in Vivian's room. Never said hello to us. Just sat. We were all spooked. Who was this person? Turns out she was a Scientology something-or-other, don't know what.'

" 'I think she must have been very upset,' Christiane says, 'but, again, I wouldn't know. I know nothing. That is the truth. I can't reach her at all. I've had two conversations with her since Stanley died. The last one was eight years ago. She became a Scientologist and didn't want to talk to us any more and didn't see her dying sister, didn't come to her funeral. And these were children that had been joined at the hip.' "

Mass conditioning had much the same goal. Writing in 1901 in his book Social Control, sociologist, Stanford academic and a major figure of early criminology, Edward A Ross stated:

"Plans are underway to replace community, family, and church with propaganda, education, and mass media... the State shakes loose from Church, reaches out to School... People are only little plastic lumps of dough."
(quote taken from The Underground History of American Education, John Taylor Gatto, pg. 58)

With such visionaries as Mr. Ross molding Stanford in the early 20th century we need not wonder at its epic research into mass conditioning as the century wore on.

As Ross alludes to, the first step in creating the mass man is the educational system. This is a common thread with many Mystery Schools of antiquity. Many of these institutions sent would be members through the various Academies of the ancient world as a process of 'purification' for their eventual initiation. Similar methods were used by the Shia branch of Islam, a minority party that felt it could overcome its rivals by superior organization. To achieve these ends they created numerous secret societies (from which the Hashshasins derive, among others), many of which were centered around colleges that taught a secret doctrine to the sons of the Elect. One such institution was the Abode of Learning in Cairo which led initiates through nine separate degrees, the last of which supposedly revealed the secrets of the ages.

The trend continues to this day in the form of our public school system. It is here that a process of what I like to think of as institutionalized alienation is begun in earnest in persons life -alienation from both their family and themselves. Former New York State and City Teacher of the Year John Taylor Gatto elaborates:

"...correctly managed mass schooling would result in a population so dependent upon leaders that schism and revolution would be things of the past. If a world state could be cobbled together by Hegelian tactical manipulation, and such a school plan imposed upon it, history itself would stop. No more wars, no civil disputes, just people waiting around pleasantly like the Eloi in Wells' The Time Machine. Waiting for Teacher to tell them what to do. The psychological tool was alienation. The trick was to alienate children from themselves so they couldn't turn inside for strength from their families, religions, cultures, etc so no countervailing force could intervene."
(The Underground History of American Education, pg. 107)

Gatto further elaborates:

"Nearly a hundred years ago, this schoolman thought self-alienation was the secret to successful industrial society. Surely he was right. When you stand at a machine or sit at a computer you require an ability to withdraw from life, to alienate yourself without a supervisor. How else could that be tolerated unless prepared in advance by simulated Birkenhead drills? School, thought Harris, was sensible preparation for a life of alienation."
(ibid, pg. 106)
The Harris Gatto is referring to is William Torrey Harris, a major figure in education in the late 19th and early 20th century that was instrumental in molding the modern system. Here's an example to Harris' approach to schooling:

"The great purpose of school can be realized better in dark, airless, ugly places... It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty of nature. School should develop the power to withdraw from the external world."
(ibid, pg. 106, taken form Harris' The Philosophy of Education)

If the purpose of education is cut man off from nature, then Harris' goal seems to finally be coming to maturity as we limp into the 21st century. Gatto implies that the gradual decline in discipline within schools has been intentional as well. This, along with filthy, ugly schools and unnatural hours has created an increasingly 'ADD' ridden and traumatized student body that loses the ability of independent thought a little more each year. The current national 'debate' over school bullying is downright comical in this sense. How do you stop abuse in an institution that, from its conception, was designed to be trauma inducing? If the public truly cared about the safety of the nation's children then they would pass laws against public schooling and not bullying.

Students replace their own individuality with cliques or risk total rejection by their peers. From this point onward most people are perpetually wired into the Group Mind. Now they are completely susceptible to the state of total propaganda the mass media projects.

Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, was a pioneer of propaganda and 'public relations' that specialized in manipulating the public via their subconscious. Among his greatest achievements were the marketing of cigarettes to women and selling the US invasion of Guatemala on behalf of the United Fruit Company to the American people.

Of the Group Mind, he wrote:

"Universal literacy was supposed to educate the common man to control his environment. Once he could read and write he would have a mind fit to rule. So ran the democratic doctrine. But instead of a mind, universal literacy has given him rubber stamps, rubber stamps inked with advertising slogans, with editorials, with published scientific data, with the trivialities of the tabloids and the platitudes of history, but quite innocent of original thought. Each man's rubber stamps are the duplicates of millions of others, so that when those millions are exposed to the same stimuli, all received identical imprints. It may seem an exaggeration to say that the American public gets most of its ideas in this wholesale fashion. The mechanism by which ideas are disseminated on a large scale is propaganda, in the broad sense of an organized effort to spread a particular belief or doctrine."
(Propaganda, pg. 48)
To Bernays it was a given that a small, anonymous group of individuals would be able to rule society through mass propaganda:

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.

"We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.

"Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.

"They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons -a trifling fraction of our one hundred and twenty million -who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world."
(Propaganda, pgs. 37-38)

According to social critic Jacques Ellul, a state of personal alienation makes an individual totally susceptible to propaganda in the fashion Bernays described above:

"To be alienated means to be someone other (alienus) than oneself; it can also mean to belong to someone else. In a more profound sense, it means to be deprived of one's self. That is definitely the effect of propaganda. Propaganda strips the individual, robs him of a part of himself, and makes him live an alien and artificial life, to such an extent that he becomes another person and obeys impulses foreign to him. He obeys someone else."
(Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes, pg. 169)

Twilight language is used to manipulate men through their subconscious. People, so submerged in the collective, begin to identify with archetypes while their own personalities are savagely suppressed. Continuing with Ellul:

"In this process of alienation, the individual loses control and submits to external impulses; his personal inclinations and tastes give way to participation in the collective. But that collective will always be best idealized, patterned, and represented by the hero. The cult of the hero is the absolute necessary complement of the massification of society. We see the automatic creation of this cult in connection with champion athletes, movie stars, and even abstractions as Davy Crockett in the United States and Canada in 1955. This exaltation of the hero proves that one lives in am ass society. The individual who is prevented by circumstances from being a real person, who can no longer express himself through personal thought or action, who finds his aspirations frustrated, projects onto the hero all he would wish to be."
(Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes, pg. 172)

The Hero is of course one of Jung's prime archetypes and one that appears time and again in the twilight language of mass media. But this is nothing new. Despots throughout history have tried to get their subjects to identify with archetypes rather than finding themselves:

"The highest concern of all mythologies, ceremonials, ethical systems, and social organizations of the agriculturally based societies has been the suppressing the manifestations of individualism; and this has been generally achieved by compelling or persuading people to identify themselves not with their own interests, intuitions, or modes of experience, but with the archetypes of behavior and systems of sentiment developed and maintained in the public domain."
(The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology, Joseph Campbell, pg. 240)
On the flip side of the coin, public relations gurus also created negative archetypes, which Walter Lippmann referred to as stereotypes, to demonize before the public so that anger is misplaced. Historian Peter Levenda notes:

"Stereotypes can be created, and manipulated, by the gurus of mass communications and psychological warfare. Stereotypes are culturally-loaded and therefore not 'value neutral.' We make snap judgments based on the nature of the stereotype; in the hands of the psy-war expert, a stereotype does not contain much complexity or depth. The idea is not to make the target think too clearly or too profoundly about the 'text' but instead to react, in a Pavlovian manner, to the stimulus it provides."
(Sinister Forces: Book One, pg. 127) 

That the mass man continue to identify with archetypes while fearing and loathing stereotypes is crucial to the American way of life.It is only through the total subjection of the individual to the collective consciousness that modern Americans could be expected to make the sacrifices that they have in terms of privacy invasions, loss of freedom, work, taxation, etc. For instance, Americans work more hours than any other peoples on Earth except for the Chinese and Japanese yet a common stereotype set forth by the media is one of a domestic population s riddled with doles and sloth that it general refuses to work. This intern inspires the population to identify more with their righteous, hard working corporate overlords rather than the 'trash' that comprises the lower classes of this country. That corporations take more in doles via the Federal Reserve's 'quantitative easing' policies that all the common folks combined is never even allowed into the debate and would be a concept barely even understood or believed by most potential voters if it were.

To replace the loss of family, culture, and individuality modern man is given consumerism. His thoughts are no longer his own, but hs shirt is chic.

Professor and social critic Christopher Lasch lays down the modern image of 'the good life':

"... the good life... conceived as endless novelty, change, and excitement, as the titillation of the senses by every available stimulant, as unlimited possibility. 'Make it new' is the message not just of modern art.. but of modern consumerism. The modern capitalist economy rests on the techniques of mass production pioneered by Henry Ford but also, no less solidly, on t principle of planned obsolescence introduced by Alfred Sloane when he instituted the annual model change. Relentless 'improvement' of the product and upgrading of consumer tastes are the heart of mass merchandising, and these imperatives are built into the mass media at every level.

"Even the reporting of news has to be understood not as propaganda for any particular ideology, liberal or conservative, but as propaganda for commodities -for the replacement of things by commodities, use values by exchange values, and events by images. The very concept of news celebrates newness. The value of news, like that of any other commodity, consists primarily of its novelty, only secondarily of its informational value... the model of possession, in a society organized around mass consumption is addiction. The need for novelty and fresh stimulation becomes more and more intense, intervening interludes of boredom increasingly intolerable.
"It is only in their capacity a quintessential consumers that young professionals dominate the airwaves and set the tone of American life. Their distinctive manner of living embodies the restless ambition, the nagging dissatisfaction with things as they are, they are fostered by a consumer economy... 'Leisure,' for them, closely resembles work, since much of it consists of strenuous and for the most part solitary exercise. Even shopping, heir ruling passion, takes on the character of a grueling ordeal: 'Shop till you drop.' Like exercise, it often seems to present itself as a form of therapy, designed to restore a sense of wholeness and well-being after long hours of unrewarding work. 'It hardly matters what I buy, I just get a kick out of buying. It's like the first whiff of cocaine. It's euphoric and I just get higher and higher as I buy.' Sociological profiles of the 'compulsive shopper' report that 40 percent are 'most likely to buy something when feeling bad about themselves.' According to a summary of these studies in the Wall Street Journal, shopping serves as a means of 'alleviating loneliness,' 'dispelling boredom,' and 'relieving depression.' 'They don't really need what they are shopping for. Often they don't even know what they're after.' A survey of shoppers in malls indicates that only 25 percent come to buy a particular item."
(The True and Only Heaven, pg. 520-522) 
In other words, addiction is the driving factor behind the 'values' of modern America. Of course this is glossed over by noble and high-minded rhetoric about 'work ethic' and 'the future of the children' but this is merely a justification for a destructive way life, either personally or to the society as a whole.

With addictive forms of behavior being hardwired into the minds of Americans routinely for the past fifty years it's no wonder that the late 20th century witnessed the rise of widespread drug use. As Lasch implies above, modern consumerism provides a thrill similar to what the addict gets from his fix. Many times when people can't get this rush from consumption for whatever reason drugs will easily fill the void. Of course the CIA and other branches of the US intelligence community were quick to harness this trend, which they were also largely responsible for creating. This led to the 'counterculture' and the 'War on Drugs.' I have already written on this topic extensively, which can be viewed here.

In the 21st century we face a second wave of the mass drugging of America, only this time with the rubber stamp of the medical community. Over the past decade prescription med abuse has become epidemic. Consider this recent report:

"U.S. officials reported a 400 percent increase over 10 years in the proportion of Americans treated for prescription painkiller abuse and said on Thursday the problem cut across age groups, geography and income...

"They said 9.8 percent of hospital admissions for substance abuse in 2008 involved painkillers, up from 2.2 percent in 1998. The percentage of people admitted to treatment for alcohol dropped by 5 percent and for cocaine dropped by 16 percent over the same period...

"Fifty-six percent of the patients got their drugs for free from a friend or relative, and another 9 percent purchased them from someone they knew."
This is only painkillers. For all prescription meds the figures are even more disturbing, as this citation from the Journal of the American Medical Association highlights:

"The annual death toll from synthetic prescription drugs, both from the correctly prescribed and the incorrectly prescribed, amounts to about 231,000 deaths every year. To put this into perspective, this is the equivalent of a world trade center disaster every week for over a year and a half or the crash of two fully loaded 747 aircraft every day of the year. No information was reported on the number of outpatient and doctor's office deaths caused by these very same drugs when prescribed by these very same doctors. The reported figures alone, however, make drug deaths caused by physicians the third leading cause of death in the US. It is far ahead of accidents, drunk driving, homicides, airline accidents, as well as all other disease with the sole exceptions of cancer and heart disease."

While the sheer loss of life is surely troubling the long term social effects of the mass drugging of society has even more dire implications. Writing on antidepressants, the use of which he dubs 'Artificial Happiness' Dr. Ronald Dworkin writes:

"Because people feel Artificial Happiness independent of life or age, the life cycle generated by Artificial Happiness has nothing to do with moving forward in life. In the traditional life cycle, a new kind of happiness beckons at each stage, but in Artificial Happiness people have no reason to advance through stages, since they enjoy happiness independent of life's progression. Although Happy Children become Happy Adults, who in turn become Happy Seniors, the whole process lacks a sense of movement with direction."
(Artificial Happiness, pgs. 260-261)

In other words people are finally cut off from personal growth all together. Personal development is thus permanently retarded and we become total cripples with no recourse but to dumb ourselves with whatever thrills are overlords provide for us. Truly the most disturbing state of affairs is not that this is happening to us, but that most Americans would hardly see the loss of personal growth, independent thought, culture and family as things to concerned over in the face of the latest novelty and buzz. That life is meaningless without petty distractions is taken for granted by most peoples in the streets nowadays.

We marvel at the individuals at Jonestown, at Waco, at Heaven's Gate and so forth and the sacrifices that they made to live the lifestyles that they lived in these communities. But at least many of the individuals believed in some higher principle which led them to join these cults. What does modern man believe in? The stock market? His football team? Daily he makes even more incredible sacrifices than the cultist which he puts himself above and he does it for increasingly diminishing highs.

While the techniques the cult guru and the public relations official are similar, it the PR man that is by far the greater master.



  2. My mind's soundtrack was playing Follow the Leaders by Killing Joke whilst reading your post. 8 )

  3. Kendra-

    I actually had never heard Killing Joke wrote this post. As a big Neurosis fan, I knew them by reputation, but had never checked out there music. But after reading Chris Knowles' musings on them on the Secret Sun, I checked them out a few years ago and fell in love. One of the little perks of running this blog, I suppose.:)

    And yes, "Follow the Leader" would be most appropriate.:)