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It’s Just An Illusion – The Management Of Perception

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Photo Credit: www.newscientist.com

Kingsley L. DennisGuest Writer

ɪˈluːʒ(ə)n/

noun

an instance of a wrong or misinterpreted perception of a sensory experience.

a deceptive appearance or impression.

a false idea or belief.

“We live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups. I ask, in my writing, ‘What is real?’ Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms.” Philip K. Dick 

On the face of it, life is unruly – it is too complex, too dirty, too full of uncertainties and unknowns that would only disturb the masses. People, after all, need to be comforted. That’s why another reality is conjured up that is manufactured by the media. Philip K. Dick asks what is real as we are under the bombardment and assault of pseudo realities. We may ask ourselves the same question, what is real? Perhaps our perfect crime has been to hide the real so well that our modern societies have ventured beyond the illusion of reality itself. The perfect crime is the perfect cover up. The power to make better choices comes from the power to have information. Information has been the life-blood of our societies and cultures and has been guarded tenaciously throughout the centuries. Whether sacred ‘divine’ knowledge or information on how to improve one’s life in general; they have all been guarded by various institutions throughout our history. From priest kings to shamans; from religious figures to scientists; from life-coaches to gurus; and from governments to mainstream media – information has always come at a price, if it has come at all.

Information was something traditionally given to people in a controlled manner. The masses were provided information generally in-keeping with their level of intelligence as well as their need to know. And traditionally, both these factors were notoriously kept low. Anthropologists tend to agree that homo sapiens has conquered the globe due to its flexible ability to cooperate on a mass scale and with strangers. And historians add to this by saying that human societies have proved so successful because they are able to socially organize themselves and survive as long as order is maintained. That is, the unified elites have always been able to dominate the disorderly masses. The masses remain disorganized if they lack sufficient access to credible information. And that is where the cult of information and the spectacle of entertainment enter into the picture.

Modern life has become inundated with information, and it has spilled over into the hands of the masses. The age of illiterate masses listening to their local church sermons to receive the word of divine guidance is long gone. The Gutenberg Press managed to signal the end to the monopoly on scribes. Books began to bring new and inspiring information to the masses whom were quickly learning to read. And then something enormously powerful happened at the end of the 20th century – the communication channels were multiplied, and people began to talk back, in droves. People were no longer only receivers of information as in the past; they could now produce the information themselves and share it with a potential audience of millions around the globe. The planetary talking box was opened, and people were finding they had voices. And that is when propaganda stepped up a notch to become even more of a hardcore science and governmental tool.

In our not so distant past, if you wanted to seize political power in a country then normally your first step would be to control the army and the police; that is, the institutions of brute force. Today though it is only in the less ‘democratic’ countries where dictatorships still use such overt force when trying a coup d’etat. The real war is the war of minds. The day after the fall of Khrushchev in the former Soviet Union the editors of Pravda, Izvestiia, and the heads of the radio and television were replaced but the army wasn’t called out. More recently, after the failed coup attempt in Turkey, in July 2016, the incumbent government came down heavy on what it considered to be the country’s alternative media. In the immediate aftermath, 148 journalists and media workers were jailed, and 169 media and publishing outlets were closed down under the state of emergency.[i] And that was just the beginning. In any society it is important who controls the news information, and how it is dispersed. Yet since we now live in an ‘Internet Age’ of global communication and information networks, it is increasingly harder by the day to keep a tight control on things. In a sense, Pandora’s Box has already opened. And if there is so much information out there then how do you maintain order? The best answer is – provide more of it. Provide so much information that people are drowning in it. And then add some more to discredit what is already out there. People are then not only swimming in information but begin to drown in it. And the rest – well, that’s entertainment!

The Illusion of Truth

A spectral illusion is created through our mainstream media and news in order to offer a simplified vision of the world to us. It is Us vs. Them; Good vs. Bad; Developed vs. Undeveloped; Legal vs. Illegal; and all the rest of these bland dichotomies that are brandished as deep truths.

We have an ‘official culture’ that functions as the ether. We are immersed in it even if we are not aware, as fish in the sea do not always debate the water. This official culture creates the signs and symbols that affectively dictates our slice of reality: money, credit, status, intellect, policy, major sports, lesser sports, celebrities, good film, bad film, popular book, ignored book, love, sexy, seduction, disappointment, etc, etc. We buy into all these terms so deeply that it is no surprise to learn that we are a cultural species in therapy. We have been brought up and ‘educated’ to protect ourselves with the illusion of truth. Everything withdraws behind its own appearance, so that things appear to take place even when they do not. This is the great absence in our lives – excuses riddled with illusion, hiding through false appearance. We are left to decipher the world, to try and pull back the illusionary curtains. The crime of life is its incompleteness – a living absence that gnaws at us. We drift between second-hand news as ghosts drift between walls. If everyone believes in a lie, it doesn’t stop it from being a lie, or make it into a truth.

The illusion is often what many people want to hear, rather than the brutalities, or mundane reality, of life. It is as if we prefer bland information and filtered news, or celebrity gossip, as a complement to one’s own sense of restricted reality. Most modern societies thrive by the cultivation of illusion. In the end, such cultures of illusion may succeed in robbing the masses of their perceptual abilities to separate illusion from truth. As journalist Chris Hedges notes – ‘not since the Soviet and fascist dictatorships, and perhaps the brutal authoritarian control of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, has the content of information been as skilfully and ruthlessly controlled and manipulated.’1 Our so-called developed societies manufacture and peddle their illusion of reality as much as they can. And any denouncement or doubt upon this illusion is immediately met by a systemic defence that labels the critics as conspiracy theorists, anarchists, or anti-social. In other words, those who question the cultural narrative (a.k.a. illusion) are branded as deluded. Reality, it seems, is that which the majority believe.

It has been said that when a culture, and its people, become unmoored from reality then they retreat into a world of fantasy. And then this fantasy mode can invert meanings, truths, and all sense of what is going on. Such collective illusions – or ‘bubble realities’- can feed the populace on trigger words and phrases like war on terror or yes, we can or make us great again, and within these narrow hypnotic parameters all critical thought, ambiguity, and conscious observation vanish. And when the people can no longer distinguish between what is truth and what is fiction (make-believe), then reality gets usurped and the fantasy world takes over.

An epidemic of information can just as easily turn into a pandemic of misinformation. In many ways it already has. Information has always been used as a tool of psychological warfare as it forms a part of state-sponsored operations that serve as a new back door into peoples’ minds. Once false information is planted inside of our minds then it becomes harder to be objective or to make clear distinctions. Such information can then easily be hash-tagged, trended, and go viral. Going viral is now a common word, used to denote things, both positive and negative, that have gained rapid, and often unexpected, popularity. The word viral used to signify the behaviour of a virus; that is, a small, infectious agent. The analogy is an apt one – agents of infection are now constantly roaming our information networks and entering into our minds. Information we receive is likely to be infected with a ‘viral agent’ just like coughing can and does spread the common cold. And one of the largest spreaders of ‘thought viruses’ today is social media. The social media, with customized targeting of news and adverts, is increasingly reinforcing the opinions, viewpoints, and beliefs we have already chosen to accept rather than presenting us with challenging new ones. We end up reinforcing our own bubbles of perception instead of expanding them.

The criteria and legitimacy of truth has been substituted by the promotion of incredulous untruths throughout our media systems. We now have a serious credibility issue with our major social institutions – media, politics, education, and finance. The mainstream media now represents the triumphant illusionism; the ambiguity of the spectacle that deceives and anaesthetizes the imagination. The gradual, uniform bombardment of information has succeeded in levelling out difference and now much of the content comes across as being almost the same. Diversity is just a superficial sleight-of-hand distraction. It doesn’t really matter which mainstream news channel a person tunes into; they are all getting their information from a very limited selection of sources. Information is dispersed from a very tightly centralized sphere of power.

Media Centralization

These days most western media organizations are owned by only a handful of giant conglomerates, such as Comcast; Disney; Time Warner; News Corp; Viacom; Vivendi Universal; and Bertelsmann. Over the years they have continued to absorb rival companies – called mergers – that expand their broadcasting reach. For example, the average person is not very likely to have heard of Charter Communications. Are they famous? Are they big? They are the second-largest cable operator in the United States, just behind Comcast, and the third largest pay-TV operator. In 2015 Charter bought out Time-Warner Cable in a deal valued at 78.7 billion dollars. Now that’s big. After the corporations, perhaps the next biggest information sources are the journalistic press companies, such as Associated Press and Reuters News. Are they objective?

In the US especially, television journalism has become a masquerade. Much of our news is personalized tidbits, intimate stories of stars, politicians, and the celebrity elite that are passed off as news in order to distract us. Such crass journalism seeks out not stories of depth or worth but a fantasy play of personalities. And the more ‘larger-than-life’ the stories then the more chance they have of success and of being taken into people’s hearts. Stories that reflect these ‘celebrity’ personalities get media attention, especially when saturated in gossip, relationships, or domestic struggles. Personalities are less adored when they go marching against fracking practices or oil pipeline proposals. Somehow it just doesn’t feel right that a beautiful star from a movie franchise should be protesting in a jumpsuit and sneakers in the rain. The two images just don’t go together well in people’s heads.

Information itself has now become its own form of stagecraft. And most of the news in today’s modern world is booby-trapped.

Newsflash: News Is Fake

Today’s information and news is more about perception management than it is about educating the people. Influencing minds is more favourable, and more lucrative, than informing them. The end result is both more guaranteed and more controlled. Open information has always been a dangerous thing, as religious and social institutions have long known. Controlled information seeks to create contrived headlines, censored and cut images, and sanitized news. And as consumers of such news, we are accepting and buying into an encroaching unrealism. It is a world of substitution that subverts the mind. It is often easier to confuse and misinform than it is to inculcate opinion.

Today we are faced with a new type of news. We have entered a mirror hall of journalism where fake news and alternative facts are further obscuring the veneer of truth by tampering with the already fragile and fragmented sense of reality. The malady of the unreal is spreading like a pandemic. Fake is the new ‘new’!

In the last couple of years, the meme of ‘alternative facts’ has been gaining ground, especially in political talk. It is a convenient way of brushing off inconvenient news as well as appearing to discredit the source of the information. Not only that, it is also a deliberate way to add confusion to the issue. Once people begin to question the validity of reported news and the ‘facts of the truth’ then no one can be sure again of what is real or not. This appeared to be a political tactic during the 2016 US presidential campaign, especially on the part of the Republican nominee Donald Trump (who subsequently became president). Not only did Trump like to refer to inconvenient news as ‘alternative facts’ but he also cultivated a habit (whether consciously or not) of contradicting himself and being inconsistent in his policies. In the end, it proved confusing for journalists to pin him down, and social media was rife with a flood of contradictory statements, opinions, and criticism. Nobody really knew what Trump stood for, either politically or personally; and in the end not only did it not seem to matter to many, but the uncertainty and confusion most likely worked in his favour.

In a similar manner, it was noted by astute commentators that the Putin government in Russia also plays the ‘uncertainty card’ by playing all sides of the political game. In his documentary Hypernormalization Adam Curtis points out that the Putin regime backed and supported many of their political opponents and critical factions, unbeknown to the factions themselves, and then exposed this tactic publicly. The result was that credibility in the political domain was eroded and in its wake was left uncertainty and confusion. The role of ‘truth’ was no longer viable. It is hard for anyone to discern what is real and what is credible information when the playing field is deliberately manipulated with misinformation. A similar strategy has been used by governmental spy agencies the world over. In fact, it would be fair to say that a great deal of mainstream information currently in circulation is misinformation. That is, it has been tampered, doctored, censored, or falsified. Perhaps the only real ‘truth’ is that which comes through personal experience. The rest is a fabrication of the world. The recent much-publicized phenomenon of ‘fake news’ is not something new, only that once upon a time it was under controlled dispersion and called mainstream news.

Nowadays, that which is classed as knowledge is more often data-information that has been agreed upon for general dissemination. We find in our daily news that extracts from an upcoming political speech have been ‘leaked’ to the press. Why is it that the press seems to know what’s upcoming in almost all of the political speeches? It’s obvious to any half-serious observer that political offices pass on parts of their upcoming speeches deliberately to test the waters with their content and to prepare the public of what is to come. Leaky channels are just another name for information channels these days.

These all-too-often instances of leaks, or ‘legitimate’ news dissemination, are nothing when compared to the state-sponsored infiltrations from government agencies. The so-called ‘Russiagate’ scandal is just another mix of hypocrisy and misinformation. It shows a shameless level of hypocrisy in that it is well-known, and documented, that countries such as the US and China have a horde of cyber-technicians infiltrating online forums, chat sites, web gatherings, blogs, etc, and deliberately seeding and spreading a range of calculated (mis)information. This information may be pro-government propaganda, deliberate misinformation, alternative ‘facts,’ or downright post-truth irregularities aimed at confusing the infosphere. The information highways are an open playing field where many actors, agencies, and agendas are vying for presence, infiltration, and dominance. The game is now on in the digital realms – and it’s all about the management of perception. It’s hard to judge just exactly who is saying what, or why.

Who Is Saying What?

It is going to be increasingly likely that the news you read online or from your favorite newspaper will not have been written by whom you thought it was. Take a look at this example:

“Thomas Keehn didn’t allow a single run as Stags defeated Good Counsel 1-0 on Wednesday. Keehn allowed just two hits and induced a fly out from Walker to end the game.

The pitching was strong on both sides. Thomas Keehn struck out nine, while Orie sat down three.

Stags captured the lead in the second inning.

A single by Grass in the second inning was a positive for Good Counsel.

Keehn earned the win for Stags. He went seven innings, giving up zero runs, two hits, and striking out nine. Orie took the loss for Good Counsel. He tossed six innings, giving up one run, three hits, and striking out three.

Timmy Pyne went 2-for-2 at the plate to lead Stags in hits.[ii]

Maybe not the most prosaic of pieces; and it certainly will not win any literary prizes. Yet I doubt that the author will care, for it is neither a he nor a she – it is an algorithm. It was written by a powerful artificial intelligence engine, named ‘Quill,’ that was created by Narrative Science, Inc; a company set up to produce automated articles in a variety of areas, including sports, business, and politics. This intelligence software can generate a news story approximately every thirty seconds. Many of their automated articles are already published and used by widely known and respected websites that prefer not to disclose this fact. A quick way to find articles produced by ‘Quill’ is to do a search using the following words – ‘Powered by Narrative Science and GameChanger Media’ – as I just did to find the above extract. The idea that people write all the news stories is just another illusion. At a 2011 industry conference the co-founder of Narrative Science, Kristian Hammond, predicted that the number of news articles that would be written by algorithms within fifteen years would be over ninety percent.2

On their homepage website Narrative Science boldly claim that:

Narrative Science is humanizing data like never before, with technology that interprets your data, then transforms it into Intelligent Narratives at unprecedented speed and scale. With Narrative Science, your data becomes actionable—a powerful asset you can use to make better decisions, improve interactions with customers and empower your employees.”[iii]

So, our data information is being humanized ‘like never before’ by taking out the human element – how’s that? Well, it’s just another illusion – a great sleight-of-hand and the deft art of perception management. Yet whilst it’s hard to totally agree with the above prediction that in the near future over ninety percent of our news will be written by algorithms, it does show how those in the industry perceive our ever-decreasing human future.

My own sense is that with the continued rise of social media there will be a healthy civil journalism from the people on the ground. There is also likely to be an increase in alternative news gathering and dissemination. Yet it does beg the question of whether we will be able to discern the difference between human-generated news and an algorithm. How would you know that something you read online was written by an algorithm or not? And this takes us to the issue of trust, which is likely to be a growing area of concern in the years ahead. As the illusion of our information intensifies, the notion of trusted networks and trusted sources will become paramount. And trust is a matter of discernment.

During these years we will need to strengthen our senses of discernment. To have discernment means that we have an active critical faculty – and that means being alert. Alert to the sources of our news, opinions, and cultural reporting. And especially alert to what is being told (or fed) to us through our leaky political channels. We need to be alert and observe how the information is being played out through our mainstream institutional channels. Most of the news and information that will be on ‘public display’ in these years will be directed at an emotional level. And much of this too will be a pendulum swing between trite entertainment and emotional fear. The saturated world of information in which we now live can be a rich source for us or it can be a distracting circus. It is our responsibility to decide which one we wish to make it.

We need to really see what’s going on, and to see through the show. We have to take out the trash before it has a chance to enter into our minds. Working on being the grounded observer is subtler than we may ever suspect. And in our increasingly carnivalesque cultures it is ever more needed, and a counterbalance to the sparkling spectacles that beguile us. The spectacle, I suspect, is about to get a lot more expressive.

About the Author

Kingsley L. Dennis is the author of Bardo Times: hyperreality, high-velocity, simulation, automation, mutation – a hoax?The Phoenix Generation: A New Era of Connection, Compassion, and Consciousnessand The Sacred Revival: Magic, Mind & Meaning in a Technological Age, available at Amazon. Visit him on the web at http://www.kingsleydennis.com/.

End Notes

Hedges, Chris. 2010. Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. New York: Nation Books, p45

 2 Ford, Martin. 2015. The Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of Mass Unemployment. London: Oneworld Publications, p87.

[i] For more information, see – https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/12/15/turkey-silencing-media

[ii] Taken from a randomly selected online sports website; in this case http://www.demathacatholicbaseball.com/in-the-news (accessed 25 May 2017)

[iii] For more information see – https://www.narrativescience.com/

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Coronavirus Is Proving The Human Race Can Come Together, For Anything, At Anytime

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Coronavirus Is Proving The Human Race Can Come Together, For Anything, At Anytime
Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

Obviously, and understandably, many people are really worried about the new coronavirus. Personally, I’m not too worried, but that’s just me. Given the fact that coronaviruses have existed for quite a while and infect many millions of people every single year around the globe, and may be just as dangerous as the new coronavirus, I take comfort in that knowing that viruses are something we deal with every single year. It appears that the new virus will be no different in this regard, but time will tell.

This ultimately has me questioning the current measures that multiple governments are putting into place that are supposedly helping to stop the spread, and I’m not alone in my questioning. In my research, I have been relying on the expert opinion of those within the field of science and medicine. For example, a paper recently published in The International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents titled “SARS-CoV-2: fear versus data claims “that the problem of SARS-CoV-2 is probably being overestimated.” (source) Many health experts and scientists around the world have done the same (questioning), and I’ve summarized their thoughts in multiple articles I’ve recently published. If you’re interested in going down that rabbit hole, and hearing from the scientists who are questioning what’s happening, you can read them here, here, here and here. I think critical questioning is important, especially in an age where information and even expert opinion is being flagged and censored as ‘false’ news.

People Are Coming Together

Regardless of whether or not you believe these measures are unnecessary, and that the danger of the virus is being overhyped by those who wish to gain and profit financially, economically or politically, or whether you believe this is a serious danger and threat to the human race, or if you believe something else, this event really highlights the ability human beings have to come together for a common cause. Sure, many people have different theories about what’s going on, and many are separated in their beliefs, but at the end of the day, we’ve all been encouraged to and prevented from doing certain things, in this case, work, and be in close contact with each other.

Albeit we’ve been forced into certain measures. They do resemble what George Orwell wrote about in his book 1985, showcasing how manipulated and controlled we are by government to an extent. But at the same time, it highlights one of the most beautiful aspects of the human race, which is the fact that we can come together for each other in difficult times, and do what is necessary, or what is perceived to be necessary, when we have to do it. But why does it take the government to enforce certain requirements to do so? Why doesn’t the government put certain measures into place for other issues as well?

When it comes to the coronavirus we see a shutdown to solve a potential problem, but why don’t we shut down the entire planet and make sure everybody is fed for a day as well? Why don’t we shut down the world and spend a week, collectively, cleaning up our oceans and cleaning up our waterways? If we can shut down the world for a few months for the coronavirus, surely we can do it for other matters that are just as, if not more pressing, can’t we? If we can take such an economic hit for the coronavirus, why can’t we do the same for deforestation? Why can’t we do the same for other diseases that are lethal killers? Why can’t we have two months where everyone is required to plant a certain amount of trees? There are so many issues on the list that would, could and do warrant a complete economic shutdown. But it doesn’t happen, why? What thinking chooses this and not other issues?

The current economic model it itself and its contribution to a variety of problems human beings now face, and problems planet Earth now faces is in itself to completely shut it down and re-build.

Everything has suddenly stopped because of the coronavirus, and the economic implications are and will be huge. This also begs the question about our current economic model. Do human beings have the potential to create an experience where we are not so dependent on our economy? Is our current economic model even sustainable? Can we create an experience where our livelihoods and existence are not put into jeopardy if everything suddenly stops and shuts down? Can we create an experience where human beings thrive? Can we create an experience where everybody has what they need regardless of their financial status? Do we have the potential to move beyond money and not be so dependent on pieces of paper in order to acquire what we need? Can you see this happening? Can we not explore these thoughts and possibilities without distracting ourselves with words like socialism, capitalism, and all of the other “isms” out there that really put a box around our consciousness and limit the experience we are able to create?

Buckminster Fuller, one of the most creative and interesting minds in modern history once said that “One in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a wage.” 

By now, we should have all been driving around in solar/electric cars, we could be living on a completely green planet, everybody could have a house, everybody could have food and access to clean energy, we have more than enough technological resources to put in place to take over manufacturing and hard labour. Everything everyone could ever need could easily, in my opinion, be provided to everybody. The truth is, this kind of human experience is not hard to achieve, we have the potential to do it, we simply have to begin changing old was of thinking that limit consciousness. The concept I am speaking of would take the concept of power away from the small group of people and the corporations who run this planet, and bring it into the hands of the people.

This kind of model has no place for power, greed, competition or control, which seem to be the current backbone of our current economic model.

Creating Again

What would we do if we didn’t have to work to survive? The human race would go back to exploring, we would be more in touch with nature and our minds would yearn to discover more about the true nature of reality. We would be open and able to explore whatever we pleased, and we could develop collectively. Technologically we would not be held back my money any longer, and we could solve problems very quickly with simply resource management. We could follow our hearts instead of being driven into the same robotic system that all of us are driven towards.

Today, our world is about going to work, coming home, paying the bills and repeating the cycle. We live in a ‘slave’ like system that supports the very few – and our current economy and the way it functions represent the chains we are stuck to. How did we ever create something so counter-intuitive and so unnatural? How are we not able to come together collectively and change the entire thing? The truth is, we could do so at any time, we simply have to begin to believe, shifting our thinking, and then popularizing those ideas.

We could have roads, services, buildings and more, and nobody needs to earn a wage for these systems to be put in place and predominately installed – we could do it for each other, we could come together and cooperate, and build together. If we did indeed do that, I would have no doubt that we’d be venturing off into the stars in no time.

I believe we are on that path, and we are starting to create that experience. But it takes time, despite the fact that when you really look at it, it doesn’t have to take time. If we really wanted to, we could create this change all at once within a few days. We have so much potential.

This article (Coronavirus Is Proving The Human Race Can Come Together, For Anything, At Anytime) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.

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Cultivating Depth & Meaning For True Intimacy

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Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

Sex is easy, and can provide a form of instant intimacy. But it’s not enough for deeper connection.

While good sex alone can’t sustain a soulful relationship, a lack of a sexual connection usually spells ruin. Sexual intimacy pales in comparison to being deeply seen, respected, and held in a relationship—when a like-minded person participates in our deeper growth and development. This is soul sex.

As a relationship progresses, its depth increases, however slowly or imperceptibly. This process tests both partners: their tolerance, emotional triggers, trust, needs, and true desires. This progression happens in the context of giving and receiving love, both conditional and unconditional.

Love

Conditional love based in agreements is a given for us in intimate relationships, and to varying degrees among different couples. Unconditional love happens as well, though less commonly, as we hold sacred space for our old wounds and disgruntlements, as well as for the ways our partner differs from us and for which we nonetheless offer support.

When we allow disavowed or hidden aspects of us to find safe landing, to be seen, to be welcomed and held, they can be transformed by the mere act of their surfacing and our acceptance of them. Relationships with rich emotional connection, healthy boundaries, and mutual respect gift us this capacity.

Shadow Dance

While making space to welcome our shadow can be a messy process, the more experience we get, the more we get to know what we can handle holding space for, as well as what our partner can handle. Some issues are better vetted with close friends or in therapy, particularly those that trigger our partner. We might develop the capacity to sit with difficult feelings without sharing them in the moment, or choose to do so skilfully in the moment. Anger, for example, is usually best to sit with for a time before expressing, so that we don’t burn the bridges of intimacy.

Sitting with difficult feelings, especially our core emotional triggers, allows us to be there for ourselves before we ask others to be there for us. While holding space for emotional process in relationship is a blessing, we also have to understand that it’s not our partner’s obligation to do this, and it can unduly burden them. Soul sex happens when consent and similar desires for fulfilment are mutual; we can usually feel when this happens or not. Soul sex is a profound turn-on and can also help deepen physical love-making.

Common Ground

While the old wisdom that opposites attract can make for interesting dynamics, I find that having enough similar interests is not only more enjoyable but provides the needed distraction, enjoyment, and light-heartedness that is essential for a deeply meaningful relationship. Age differences as well might not be as significant as having similar core values, life trajectory, and spiritual perspectives. Qualities I appreciate in a partner include a passion for truth and wisdom, equality, fierceness, outspokenness, compassion and empathy, stewardship of the land, mind-body integration, and healthy lifestyle.

Ultimately, two individuals can have great soul sex if their “soul trajectories” are similar: how much each has worked on themselves, the depth each aspires to and embodies, and how much each can welcome and navigate shadows that present when the soul is deeply stirred. Partners might have different interests, but non-negotiable core values turn the soul on!

Without similar trajectories that reflect similar core values of potency, fun, compassion, and everyday interests, partners are more likely to leave the relationship. Of course, sometimes parting happens anyway for logistical and other reasons. Ironically, such parting, while excruciating, also helps us cultivate soul in the ways we grow from being broken-hearted.

Attraction

If both partners don’t share a similar trajectory, the “soul-chemistry” usually isn’t sufficient to sustain the connection. Sexual attraction is also a key component for soul sex, such that each finds the other physically desirable. With soul chemistry and physical attraction, orgasm can happen on every level of our being.

When soul sex happens—when deep emotional support and sustainable connection occur—we can become more physically attracted to our partners, because we love who they are. We might even find ourselves sexually attracted to someone who is not our “type” or whom we would not ordinarily be drawn to.

The central practice for becoming soul-sexy is emotional healing. When we join with a partner who also cultivates emotional integration, hot soul sex and lovemaking can flourish!

In Climax

Soul sex is synonymous with the healing and evolving container of sacred relationship. It’s a lot more challenging than superficial relating. But the possibilities it allows are invaluable: the healing of our deepest wounds and the ability to share and receive love in all its grounded, embodied glory.

A supportive network of loving friends, vital community, and a nourishing relationship with the natural world help to support us in the often-challenging container of soul-stirring intimate relationships. We need others to help us hold them, process our challenges, and find strength to endure and nurture their poignancy. In this sense, we share the soul of our primary relationship with others, leading to the building of soul in the community.

If we want depth, meaning, and a richer intimacy than sex alone, consider soul sex. For these very reasons I like to spend time in relationships that both nourish and keep me at my growth edge. These are the relationships of a lifetime.

This article (Cultivating Depth & Meaning For True Intimacy) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.

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Consciousness

Ex Defense Intelligence Agency Director Shares What He’s Learned About ‘Psychic’ Dreaming

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Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

The most astonishing fact about studies within the realm of parapsychology (Psi) is that they are often shunned by the mainstream media and this comes despite the fact that they have extremely high amounts of credibility within the realms of academia. Parapsychology deals with phenomena like pre-cognition, remote viewing, telepathy, mind matter interaction, and more that fall under the label of extra sensory perception (ESP), and the truth is, there is no reason why these topics should not be studied openly within the mainstream. Why is it that they are ridiculed in that realm, but have been studied at the highest levels of government for decades with high amounts of success and credibility? The US/Stanford University STARGATE project is one of many examples that confirm parapsychology’s legitimacy.

These programs usually run and are funded by the black budget. Find out where trillions of our tax dollars are going here.

Dr. Jessica Utts, the Chair of the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Irvine makes a great point on the show Talking Points, further emphasizes my point.

“What convinced me was just the evidence, the accumulating evidence as I worked in this field and I got to see more and more of the evidence. I visited the laboratories, even beyond where I was working to see what they were doing and I could see that they had really tight controls… and so I got convinced by the good science that I saw being done. And in fact I will say as a statistician I’ve consulted in a lot of different areas of science; the methodology and the controls on these experiments are much tighter than any other area of of science where I’ve worked.” (source)

Based on all of my research into the field of parapsychology, the information seems to be shunned away from in mainstream academia simply because it has an association with superstition, spirituality, metaphysics and ‘magic’. This alone, no matter how strong the evidence and how significant the results when studied in a scientific setting, instantly have closed-minded ‘non-believers’ yell out pseudoscience. There is instant condemnation without investigation and sometimes, “protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing.” Said Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source).

One realm within the topic of parapsychology is the study of our dreams and there is no better person to learn about dreams from than Dale E. Graff.  Graff is an MS in Physics and a lifelong investigator of Psi phenomena specializing in a variety of extrasensory perception (ESP) topics including remote viewing and precognitive dreaming. He has a scientific background in the aerospace industries and in technical intelligence assignments for the Department of Defence. He was also a director of the STARGATE program mentioned above from 199o to 1993.

He was a member of several intelligence community working groups for advanced physics, electro-optics, stealth and other technologies. As Chief of an Advanced Technology group at the Foreign Technology Division (FTD), Wright Patterson Air Force (WPAFB), Dayton, OH, he became the contract manager for remote viewing research at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in 1976. He transferred to the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) in 1980 and became Director of the Advanced Concepts Office. (source)

In the lecture below, he answers the following questions: What is Psi dreaming? How can individuals experience Psi dreams? How can Psi dreaming be researched and evaluated scientifically? What can we do with Psi dreaming? How can Psi dreaming be understood relative to other forms of Psi, such as remote viewing and some types of intuition?

He provides information about how Psi dreaming is accomplished, and goes into the evidence and investigations that have shown evidence for the reality of Psi dreaming. He talks about how Psi dreaming may occur and provides exercises to assist in dream recall, among other things.

The Takeaway

A great quote that’s often attributed to Nikola Tesla reads as follows, “The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”  This is true I believe, just take a look at quantum physics for example, it really opened up the collective mind about non-physical factors of reality and how it may influence material physical reality. It also demonstrated that matter itself, which makes up all of physical reality, is not really physical at all, that it’s mostly comprised of energy. Just look at the atom, the smallest observable piece of matter, it’s what everything else is made up of. An atom is almost all empty space, more than 99% of it to be exact. The kicker? That empty space is not useless, and from what we know now, “empty space” is really not “empty” at all. This is why I’ve always stressed the importance in many of my previous articles of this quote from theoretical physicist John Wheeler:

No point is more central than this, that space is not empty, it is the seat of the most violent physics.”

Another great quote from Tesla:

“All perceptible matter comes from a primary substance, or tenuity beyond conception, filling all space, the akasha, or luminiferous ether, which is acted upon by the life-giving Prana or creative force, calling into existence, in never-ending cycles all things and phenomena.” – Nikola Tesla, Man’s Greatest Achievement, 1907

The point is, non-physical reality, and the metaphysical world is not limited to philosophy, but it’s been subjected to rigorous investigation and science. The collective mind seems to be opening up quite rapidly, but just as we look back in the past to some concepts now accepted as truth that were once considered blasphemy, it’s important to remember that this type of resistance still exists today.

This article (Ex Defense Intelligence Agency Director Shares What He’s Learned About ‘Psychic’ Dreaming) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.

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Consciousness

Society Is Made Of Narrative – Realizing This Is Awakening From The Matrix

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Society Is Made Of Narrative – Realizing This Is Awakening From The Matrix
Photo Credit: Pexels

Caitlin Johnstone, Guest Writer

In the movie The Matrix, humans are imprisoned in a virtual world by a powerful artificial intelligence system in a dystopian future. What they take to be reality is actually a computer program that has been jacked into their brains to keep them in a comatose state. They live their whole lives in that virtual simulation, without any way of knowing that what they appear to be experiencing with their senses is actually made of AI-generated code.

Life in our current society is very much the same. The difference is that instead of AI, it’s psychopathic oligarchs who are keeping us asleep in the Matrix. And instead of code, it’s narrative.

Society is made of narrative like the Matrix is made of code. Identity, language, etiquette, social roles, opinions, ideology, religion, ethnicity, philosophy, agendas, rules, laws, money, economics, jobs, hierarchies, politics, government, they’re all purely mental constructs which exist nowhere outside of the mental noises in our heads. If I asked you to point to your knee you could do so instantly and wordlessly, but if I asked you to point to the economy, for example, the closest you could come is using a bunch of linguistic symbols to point to a group of concepts. To show me the economy, you’d have to tell me a story.

Anyone who has ever experienced a moment of mental stillness knows that without the chatter, none of those things are part of your actual present experience. There is no identity, language, etiquette, social roles, opinions, ideology, religion, ethnicity, philosophy, agendas, rules, laws, money, economics, jobs, hierarchies, politics or government in your experience without the mental chatter about those things. There’s not even a “you” anywhere to be found, because it turns out that that’s made of narrative, too.

Without mental narrative, nothing is experienced but sensory impressions appearing to a subject with no clear shape or boundaries. The visual and auditory fields, the sensation of air going in and out of the respiratory system, the feeling of the feet on the ground or the bum in the chair. That’s it. That’s more or less the totality of life minus narrative.

When you add in the mental chatter, however, none of those things tend to occupy a significant amount of interest or attention. Appearances in the visual and auditory field are suddenly divided up and labelled with language, with attention to them determined by whichever threatens or satisfies the various agendas, fears and desires of the conceptual identity construct known as “you”. You can go days, weeks, months or years without really noticing the feeling of your respiratory system or your feet on the ground as your interest and attention gets sucked up into a relationship with society that exists solely as narrative.

“Am I good enough? Am I doing the right thing? Oh man, I hope what I’m trying to do works out. I need to make sure I get all my projects done. If I do that one thing first it might save me some time in the long run. Oh there’s Ashley, I hate that bitch. God I’m so fat and ugly. If I can just get the things that I want and accomplish my important goals I’ll feel okay. Taxes are due soon. What’s on TV? Oh it’s that idiot. How the hell did he get elected anyway? Everyone who made that happen is a Nazi. God I can’t wait for the weekend. I hope everything goes as planned between now and then.”

On and on and on and on. Almost all of our mental energy goes into those mental narratives. They dominate our lives. And, for that reason, people who are able to control those narratives are able to control us.

And they do.

Most people try to exert some degree of control over those around them. They try to influence how those in their family, social and employment circles think of them by behaving and speaking in a certain way. Family members will spend their lives telling other family members over and over again that they’re not as smart/talented/good as they think they are to keep them from becoming too successful and moving away. Romantic partners will be persuaded that they can never leave because no one else will ever love them. To varying degrees, they manipulate the narratives of individuals.

Then there are the people who’ve figured out that they can actually take their ability to influence the way people think about themselves and their world and turn it into personal profit. Cult leaders convince followers to turn over their entire lives in service to them. Advertisers convince consumers that they have a problem or deficiency that can only be solved with This Exciting New Product™. Ambitious rat race participants learn how to climb the corporate ladder by winning favour with the right people and inflicting small acts of sabotage against their competing peers. Ambitious journalists learn that they progress much further in their careers by advancing narratives that favour the establishment upon which the plutocrats who own the big media companies have built their kingdoms. They manipulate the narratives of groups.

And then, there are the oligarchs. The master manipulators. These corporate kings of the modern world have learned the secret that every ruler since the dawn of civilization has known: whoever controls the narratives that are believed by a society is the controller of that society. Identity, language, etiquette, social roles, opinions, ideology, religion, ethnicity, philosophy, agendas, rules, laws, money, economics, jobs, hierarchies, politics, government: all mental constructs which only influence society to the extent that they are believed and subscribed to by a significant majority of the collective. If you have influence over the things that people believe about those mental constructs, you have influence over society. You rule it. The oligarchs manipulate the narratives of entire societies.

This is why there have been book burnings, heretic burnings, and executions for mocking the emperor throughout history: ideas which differ from the dominant narratives about what power is, how money works, who should be in charge and so on are threatening to a ruler’s power in the exact same way that an assassin’s dagger is. At any time, in any kingdom, the people could have decided to take the crown off of their king’s head and place it upon the head of any common beggar and treat him as the new king. And, in every meaningful way, he would be the new king. The only thing preventing this from happening was dominant narratives subscribed to by the society at the time about Divine Right, fealty, loyalty, noble blood and so on. The only thing keeping the crown on a king’s head was narrative.

The exact same thing remains true today; the only thing that has changed is the narratives the public subscribe to. Because of what they are taught in school and what the talking heads on their screens tell them about their nation and their government, most people believe that they live in a relatively free democracy where accountable, temporary power is placed in the hands of a select few based on a voting process informed by the unregulated debate of information and ideas. Completely separate from the government, they believe, is an economy whose behavior is determined by the supply and demand of consumers. In reality, economics, commerce and government are fully controlled by an elite class of plutocrats, who also happen to own the media corporations which broadcast the information about the world onto people’s screens.

Control the narratives of economics and commerce, and you control economics and commerce. Control the narratives about politics and government, and you control politics and government. This control is used by the controllers to funnel power to the oligarchs, in this way effectively turning society into one giant energy farm for the elite class.

But it is possible to wake up from that narrative Matrix.

It isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes work. Inner work. And humility. Nobody likes acknowledging that they’ve been fooled, and the depth and extent to which we’ve all been fooled is so deeply pervasive it can be tempting to decide that the work is complete far before one is actually free. Mainstream American liberals think they’re clear-eyed because they can see the propaganda strings being pulled by Fox and Donald Trump, and mainstream American conservatives think they’re clear-eyed because they can see the propaganda strings being pulled by MSNBC and the Democrats, but the propaganda strings on both trace back to the same puppet master. And seeing that is just the beginning.

But, through sincere, humble research and introspection, it is possible to break free of the Matrix and see the full extent to which you and everyone you know has been imprisoned by ideas which have been programmed into social consciousness by the powerful. Not just in our adult lives, but ever since our parents began teaching us how to speak, think and relate to the world. Not just in the modern world, but as far back as history stretches to when the power-serving belief systems of societal structure and religion were promoted by kings and queens of old. All of society, and all of ourselves, and indeed all of the thoughts in our heads, have been shaped by those in power to their benefit. This is the reality that we were born into, and our entire personality structure has been filtered through and shaped by it.

For this reason, escaping from the power-serving propaganda Matrix necessarily means becoming a new creature altogether. The ideas, mental habits and ways of relating to the world which were formed in the Matrix are only useful for moving around inside of it. In order to relate to life outside of the power-promulgated narratives which comprise the very fabric of society, you’ve got to create a whole new operating system for yourself in order to move through life independently of the old programming designed to keep you asleep and controlled.

So it’s hard work. You’ll make a lot of mistakes along the way, just like an infant slowly learning to walk. But, eventually, you get clear of the programming.

And then you’re ready to fight.

Because at some point in this process, you necessarily come upon a deep, howling rage within. Rage at the oligarchic manipulators of your species, yes, but also rage against manipulation in all its forms. Rage against everyone who has ever tried to manipulate your narrative, to make you believe things about yourself or make other people believe things about you. Rage against anyone who manipulates anyone else to any extent. When your eyes are clear manipulation stands out like a black fly on a white sheet of paper, and your entire system has nothing to offer it but revulsion and rejection.

So you set to work. You set to work throwing all attempts to manipulate you as far away from yourself as possible, and expunging anyone from your life who refuses to stop trying to control your narrative. Advertising, mass media propaganda, establishment academia, everything gets purged from your life that wants to pull you back into the Matrix.

And they will try to pull you back in. Because our narratives are so interwoven and interdependent with everyone else’s, and so inseparable from our sense of ourselves, your rejection of the narrative Matrix will present as an existential threat to many of your friends and loved ones. You will see many people you used to trust, many of them very close to you, suddenly transform into a bunch of Agent Smiths right in front of your eyes, and they will shame you, guilt you, throw every manipulation tool they have at you to get you to plug the jack back into your brain. But because your eyes are clear, you’ll see it all. You won’t be fooled.

And then all you’ll want is to tear down the Matrix from its very foundations and plunge its controllers into irrelevance. You will set to work bringing down the propaganda prison that they have built up around your fellow humans in any way you can, bolt by bolt if you have to, because you know from your own experience that we are all capable of so much more than the puny gear-turning existence they’ve got everyone churning away at. You will despise the oligarchs for the obscene sacrilege that they have inflicted upon human majesty out of greed and insecurity, and you will make a mortal enemy of the entire machine that they have used to enslave our species.

And, because their entire kingdom is built upon maintaining the illusion of freedom and democracy, all they will have to fight back against you is narrative. They’ll try to shame you into silence by calling you a conspiracy theorist, they’ll have their media goons and manipulators launch smear campaigns against you, but because your eyes are clear, none of that will work. They’ve got one weapon, and it doesn’t work on you.

And you will set to work waking up humanity from the lie factory, using whatever skills you have, weakening trust in the mass media propaganda machine and opening eyes to new possibilities. And while doing so, you will naturally shine big and bright so the others can find you. And together, we’ll not only smash the narratives that imprison us like a human caterpillar swallowing the narrative bullshit and forcing it into the mouth of the next slave, but we’ll also create new narratives, better narratives, healthier narratives, for ourselves and for each other, about how the world is and what we want it to be.

Because here’s the thing: since it’s all narrative, anything is possible. Those who see this have the ability to plunge toward health and human thriving without any regard for the made-up reasons why such a thing is impossible, and plant seeds of light which sprout in unprecedented directions that never could have been predicted by someone plugged into to establishment how-it-is stories. Together, we can determine how society will be. We can re-write the rules. We are re-writing the rules. It’s begun already.

Out of the white noise of a failing propaganda machine, a new world is being born, one that respects the autonomy of the individual and their right to self-determination. One that respects our right to collaborate on large scales to create beautiful, healthy, helpful systems without the constant sabotage and disruption of a few power-hungry psychopaths who would rather rule than live. One that respects our right to channel human ingenuity into harmony and human thriving instead of warfare and greed. One that respects our right to take what we need, not just to survive but to thrive, and return it to the earth for renewal. One that respects the sovereign boundaries of not just ourselves and each other, but of the planet spaceship that we live in.

Unjack your cortex fully from the fear-soaked narratives of insanity, and let the true beauty of our real world flood your senses. Let the grief of what we have unknowingly done send you crashing to your knees in sorrow. And when you’re ready, stand up. We have much work to do.

About the Author

Caitlin Johnstone – Rogue journalist. Bogan socialist. Anarcho-psychonaut. Guerrilla poet. Utopia prepper.

The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list for her website, which will get you an email notification for everything. Her articles are entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast, throwing some money into her hat on Patreon or Paypal, or buying her book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

This article (Society is Made of Narrative – Realizing this is Awakening from the Matrix) was originally featured at CaitlinJohnstone.com and is reposted here with permission. 

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