We are imprisoned by a virtual world which defines and manipulates us. This world is constructed, maintained and controlled by the mass media. To break free from this virtual prison we must let go of our identity.
OUR WORLDVIEWS OR REALITYMAPS not only define our world, but in defining that world they define who we think we are. So who we think we are is in direct reciprocation to our worldview: 'out there' reflects 'in here', and vice versa. Our maps of reality define us either because we see ourselves in the world — our maps giving us positionality in that world — or because we see the world in ourselves — a more psychological/metaphysical perspective. Either way, the map says as much about us as it does the world. The two are one.
This is why we are usually so eager to defend our worldview: any challenge to our worldview is a challenge to us personally. The more sure we are of ourselves, of who we are, the more entrenched we tend to be in the worldview that defines us, and so the more vociferously we will defend our worldview. On the other hand, those of us less sure about ourselves and who we are — those of us with a more nebulous sense of self — will be more willing to modify our maps of reality. This is why we cannot really be open-minded if we are too sure of who we are and our place in the world, and is the reason why it is generally younger people, those who have not yet found their place in the world, who are more open minded and creative.
Of course, there are ways to unconsciously modify worldviews of even those with the strongest sense of self — something the advertising industry has been applying for a century. Worldviews are like icebergs, most of them are below the surface in unconscious feelings, associations and symbols. Using just a rudimentary understanding of the language of the unconscious, people's worldviews can be tweaked — their realities modified — usually without them being aware of the process. And as we behave in accordance to our worldviews, the power to modify the mass perception of reality is the power to control the people. And that is exactly what the media does.
The media are our eyes and ears to the world: they present most of the information upon which we construct our worldviews. Control the media and you control that process of worldview construction; and so media-control is people-control, including what and how much they buy, their obedience to authority, and who they vote for. This is why media control is so attractive to corporations and governments, and why there has been a big scramble for media control by big business. As Ben Bagdikian wrote in his seminal book The Media Monopoly on the American media:
"In 1982, when I completed research for my book, The Media Monopoly, 50 corporations controlled half or more of the media business. By December 1986, when I finished a revision for a second edition, the 50 had shrunk to 29. When the [next] edition was published in 1993, the number was down to 20."
Bagdikian then reported that the number was down to 10 in the 2000 edition of this book, and, in his new book The New Media Monopoly, he now states that the number is down to just 5. This media buyout is happening the world over as the corporate sector realizes the massive benefits and potential profits of mass media control. In Australia, for example, 8 out of the 12 major newspapers are owned by Rupert Murdock's News Corporation. [For a list of who owns the vast majority of the US media, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_cross-ownership_in_the_United_States) and for a more general worldwide media ownership site, see www.mondotimes.com.]
Big business wants control of the mass media because it wants to control the market. Control public fantasy and you control the public. But such control seriously erodes democracy. After all, if you can influence how people vote by controlling their worldviews, then you can persuade them to make choices that are decidedly not in their interests, but rather in the interests of those media controllers and those who curry favour with them — which is invariably big business and government.
For example, the recent wars the West has waged in the Middle East have served only to enrich big business (not the American people), line the pockets of the politicians involved, and massively increase government power. The ordinary people have borne all the costs, both with their lives and with their taxes, not to mention the destruction of democratic freedoms in the name of 'security'. And yet, most are still quite happy to vote for governments that wage these unnecessary and immoral wars — all in the name of the blind patriotism and propaganda disseminated by the mainstream media. For big business and government, war is a means to loot other countries and their own taxpayers, and centralize power by eroding domestic freedom, all at the expense of mass murder, primarily in those other countries. Defense and freedom have become pretexts for war — fairy tales used to sell mass murder and destruction to the voters and the troops. But many are now waking up to the fact that these are just lies to justify the plunder of other countries and increasing corporate control back home.
The corporate elite are well known to have funded both sides of major wars because that maximises their profits, and also ingratiates them to the winning side. Because war is so profitable, they have also funded many of the revolutionary uprisings such as those which occurred in France, Russia and many African nations.
For ordinary people, the reality of war is murderous, impoverishing, terrifying and traumatising — an absolute last resort. For our psychopathic leaders, on the other hand, war is a welcome means to the end of more private wealth and power. The two perspectives could not be more different, which is why the mass media is vital for big business and government to manipulate (program) the people into supporting something so diabolical. For as long as we have a semblance of democracy, public support is still largely sought for invasion of other countries, although Western governments are starting to disregard public opinion. (For example, some of the largest anti-war demonstrations in history took place in Europe before the illegal invasion of Iraq, but European governments who were supposed to be representing the interests of the electorate went ahead anyway with their war crimes due to 'other' loyalties.) These massive anti-war demonstrations were deliberately underreported by the mass media, and the dangerous from foreign attack shamlessly exaggerated, especially in the US which was spearheading the invasion, in order prevent too much public opposition. This is the power of the mass media, and why big business is so willing to spend billions of dollars buying up every media outlet they can get their hands on. They are buying the power to skew democracy by the manipulation of public perception and opinion.
It is no coincidence that America, the most corporatized nation in the world, has the most powerful military. Big business instills, through its massive influence over politicians and the political process, a profit-above-all mentality in governments, so that governments no longer serve the interests of the ordinary man, woman and child in the street, but primarily that of the corporations that control it. There is no point shaking our heads in disbelief when governments increase surveillance, pay off bankers, cut hospital and care funding, and turn a blind eye to the fact that the biggest corporations pay little to no tax. (For example, between 2008 and 2011, 30 major US corporations managed to get away with paying zero federal income tax, whilst making $205 billion in profits between them.)
If we understand that governments are working primarily in the interests of big business and not the people, then suddenly their behaviour no longer seems crazy and inexplicable, and everything starts to become clear. They are acting perfectly rationally by looking after the interests of their personal paymasters, whilst paying lip service to the illusion of modern democracy. Politicians, after all, do not make the bulk of their money from their government salaries, but by bribes during office and by selling their influence and experience to the corporate world after office.
Ex UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, for example, was estimated to earn more than £20 million in 2011 alone for advising business chiefs, banks, foreign governments and giving after-dinner speeches. This is in stark contrast to his relatively meagre annual salary of approx £150k during his time as Prime Minister. Blair would have been well aware of his potential future earnings during his time in office, and was probably assured of future lucrative employment by the heads of some of the large corporations he met as Prime Minister. This would undoubtedly have had an enormous influence on his decisions and loyalties during office. Only someone extremely naive would believe that, whilst Prime Minister, Blair was working primarily in the interests of the British electorate; his legacy in office is often described as a 'sell-out' of the British people, by both those in his own party and those in the opposition party. (This is not necessarily an indictment of Blair: only very few individuals with high morals and integrity could resist the temptation to feather their own nests to that degree if given half a chance… and most of those integrous individuals would understandably avoid becoming politicians in the first place!)
It is important to realize that this collusion with big business applies to ALL the major political parties — corporate bribes and promises of future employment have made sure of that. The people no longer make meaningful choices at the polls because the choices they are presented with are cosmetic, and the mass media will never give enough coverage to independents for them to have any realistic chance to be elected. And as long as the mainstream media is controlled by the corporate elite and the government, it will spin a media-induced reality that fits its agendas. So the only way forward for ordinary people is to bypass government/corporate control and the mass media, at least until there is enough public awareness to demand real choices at the polls.
This is why the Internet is so important: it is the primary communication and networking system that allows creative individuals to set up new government-independent social systems that are run in the interests of the people and not the corporations. It is the only way that we are all going to see what is really going on in the world. Bypassing the mass media is essential to the process of liberating society from corporate and government control. But it seems that anyone for the interests of ordinary people is vilified by the establishment. Indeed, it is a sign of our times that making human welfare a primary consideration has become a revolutionary act, one that can easily get a person labelled as a terrorist. This is why governments are so keen to control the internet: it presents the greatest threat to the corporate takeover of society, a takeover that relies on a media-generated virtual reality to keep us all lost in the illusions of danger and locked in the emtions of fear. The battle line for humanity's future is drawn in cyberspace, and it is here through the free movement of information — in transparency — that we have the antidote to the secrecy that enables the corporate conspiracy.
Conspiracy is a word that generally evokes derision because the mass media has always poked fun at conspiracy theories. For the majority of us, programmed by the mass media, it is unthinkable that governments or corporations would secretly and treacherously make plans for their own ends, plans that are not in the interest of the electorate. But such a stance is fatuous when one considers that the history we learn at school is one massive catalogue of conspiracy — government, ruler, corporate and religious conspiracies against the people, as well as conspiracies by groups and organisations against the ruling elites. People throughout history have conspired together to gain financial and political advantage. Today, the biggest conspirators are our own governments, in league with big business. This is certainly not an easy truth to admit — it is far more more comfortable to believe in a patriarchal government that is looking out for the people — but when we are able to finally let go of the fantasy of benign government, the idea of democratically elected officials conspiring against those that elected them becomes an unfortunate reality, and the term 'conspiracy' loses its pejorative connotation. Conspiracy has always been an unfortunate facet of human societies, and exploits ordinary people the most.
Secrecy is oxygen to conspiracy. It allows one group to profit at the expense of another. Without it, conspiracies wilt and wither under the light of public awareness. And this is exactly why governments, including Western democratic governments, keep so much of their own activity secret. The excuse is invariably 'national security' — but the irony is that secrecy primarily protects those who are conspiring. For this reason, breaking government secrecy, except where such action genuinely endangers society, is a duty for every individual who cares about freedom, democracy and their children's futures. Secrecy nearly always results in the abuse of humanity; and transparency nearly always benefits humanity. And this is where organisations like WikiLeaks and Anonymous, as well as alternative news sites, come into the picture: by exposing government and corporate secrets — by whistleblowing — they prevent those organisations from successfully conspiring against the interests of the people.
Many, of course, regard whistleblowing as treachery, demanding that those involved are dealt with harshly. Jeffrey Kuhner of The Washington Times, stated that Julian Assange, the spokesperson of WikiLeaks, is "aiding and abetting terrorists in their war against America" and that "the administration must take care of the problem — effectively and permanently." He goes on to say that "we should treat Mr. Assange the same way as other high-value terrorist targets," — in other words, he seems to be recommending that Assange be murdered. And Kuhner is far from isolated in his views: in fact, the same Washington propaganda sheet claimed, in a 2010 poll, that 68% of the American public believe that the WikiLeaks exposure of government documents harms the public interest, and 59% believe Assange should be arrested and charged for the crime.
Fortunately, Assange is just one amongst a growing number of concerned individuals who are pushing for information transparency in the interests of humanity. There is even a push for the whole country of Iceland to become a free-information zone, effectively making the whole country a kind of WikiLeaks where freedom of speech, whistleblowing and information transparency are government supported. This is a radical idea and one that is being spearheaded by Icelandic Member of Parliament, poet and internet pioneer, Birgitta Jónsdóttir. You may remember Jónsdóttir as the Icelandic Member of Parliament who was subpoenaed by the US government over the WikiLeaks release of evidence of US war crimes. For more information on this, there is a documentary being released about her struggle for information transparency called The Mouse That Roared, and you can see the trailer at http://judithehrlich.com.
Whistleblowing is not a crime when one considers the bigger picture? For example, when Nixon was exposed for his crimes, it was certainly an embarrassment for the American people, but there was none of the vilification of the investigative journalists involved and the papers that published those investigations as there is for those exposing US war crimes. Back in 1970s, journalism was predominantly in the public interest and whistleblowing was considered a public service — indeed duty. Times have changed though, and these days, as we have seen, the mass media is centrally and stringently controlled, so evidence of our own nation's war crimes is either ignored or dismissed as 'conspiracy theory'. Truth unfortunately is not as profitable as lies. Far better to believe in benign old Uncle Sam and allow him to shamelessly fleece and enslave the people, whilst big business carries out its empire expansion both home and abroad with impunity. Uncle Sam, after all, is part of our identity; malign him and we malign ourselves. That is the way that patriotism works. As Tolstoy wrote: "Patriotism is slavery."
Patriotism is a smokescreen that governments and corporations have always incited and hidden behind whilst they undertake actions that are not in the interests of the people. Without patriotism, which is always blind, it would be impossible to get soldiers to lay down their lives for the latest plunder-campaign in some far-off resource-rich country. And without patriotism, liberty would not be so easily surrendered for safety.
"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons."
Most of this blind patriotism — surprise, surprise — is stirred by by the centralised mass-media, a mass-media that encourages people to wave their national flags whilst voting for candidates representing policy that is decidedly not in their own interests, nor those of their children. Every election that comes up, the herd is quite willingly to follow the family identity: "Well my parents were Democrats (or Republicans or whatever), so I must be," or "It is un-American to vote for an independent," they will say with that vacant look in their eyes. One feels like shaking them sometimes and shouting: "Don't you realize that your choices may seem patriotic and 'American', but they will make the lives of your children and your children's children a living hell? Don't you see that democracy and freedom are long-dead and buried in the good ol' US of A?" (This of course applies to any democratic country these days.) In the US, mass media control has destroyed democracy, and deliberately created one of the most uninformed nations on the planet, a nation lost in media hallucinations. (Ignorance is a vital ingredient for manipulated democracies!)
If governments are treacherous and murderous abroad, they will be treacherous and murderous at home. If they act without integrity in far-off places, they will not hesitate to act without integrity in our local councils. This is why it is so important to monitor how our governments behave to human beings in other countries. We may feel triumphant at the defeat of another nation we have attacked, based usually on the lie that they were a dangerous threat to us, but that triumphalism soon turns sour as the misfortune we have bestowed upon others comes home to be our misfortune too. The chickens always come home to roost — it is called blowback. The soldiers we sent to fight our righteous wars in other countries — killing and maiming, and being killed and maimed, all in the name of patriotism — come home traumatised by their experience of war. And as trauma, like any psychological disease, is infectious, those who bring it back from the battlefield end up infecting the whole of society, including local communities; we may think we are thousands of miles away from the trouble, but war crimes have a way of percolating back to our own communities, so that we all suffer abuse of one sort or another.
It is no coincidence that murderous Western foreign policies are being matched by derogation of civil liberties back home. They go hand in hand. Modern empire building requires a tightly controlled home population, and that control masquerades under the false label of 'national security'.
This is why it is so important for WikiLeaks and similar organisations to expose war crimes: these crimes do not end in Afghanistan or Iraq, but come home to destroy our societies as well. Nobody wins, no matter how one-sided a conflict may appear to be. And if in exposing war crimes our rampant patriotism feels betrayed, so be it. Perhaps it is time to change our whole definition of patriotism to prevent national suicide; blindly supporting our government is not the best practice in a world where governments have repeatedly sold out their people to corporate interests. As Thomas Paine is quoted as saying: "It is the duty of the Patriot to protect his country from his government." Whistleblowing is not a crime; it is a duty that should be applauded. And those who regard this public service as a crime, are directly supporting government/corporate abuse, both home and abroad, whether they realize it or not. Patriotism protects the abusers.
"Dissent from public policy can be the highest form of patriotism. I don't think democracy can survive without it, even though you may be crucified by it at times."
Dorothy Hewitt Hutchinson
Most commentators, like Bagdikian mentioned earlier, focus on the affront to democracy by mass media control, but there is a much larger issue afoot. It is true that people's behaviour (such as their general worldview, their voting choices and their buying patterns) are being manipulated, and this certainly distorts the democratic process, but what about the effect on who we think we are? If our realitymaps define us, then this media manipulation, in influencing our worldview, also manipulates our sense of self. We know that large corporations promote consumerism, and politically promote the spread of corporatism into every facet of society. But what sense of self are they promoting?
Certainly a pathological self: one addicted to acquisition, status, novelty, violence, egotism, drama, aggression, competitiveness, titillation, fantasy, surface beauty and polarized perspectives — ideal characteristics for supporting rampant consumerism. Indeed, "I consume, therefore I am" has become our modern mantra, and this is borne out by the depressing fact that shopping is now our favourite pastime. This pathological self is lost like a child in its own gratification, sacrificing its life to knee-jerk acquisition and farcical status-symbols. Our deepest truths are superficially expressed in 140-character tweets, and we define our individuality primarily through such things as the fashion we wear, the music we listen to, and the car we drive.
Whilst obsession with acquisition obviously makes us good consumers, it is our obsession with status that makes us obedient consumers. As long as we are entranced by status, we will fear and obey those we perceive to have a higher status — which is invariably those in positions of authority, those with wealth, those who wear a uniform and/or those with high media exposure. So wanting a better car than your neighbour or wanting to be famous may seem benign, but these sorts of status desires foster obedience. In fact, obedience is the lifeblood of hierarchy; as long as we are social climbing, either consciously or unconsciously, we will give those at the top undeserved respect, fear and envy, acquiescing to their perceived power over us, whilst treating those we consider lower in status to us with disrespect, indifference and even with intimidation. We are acting no different to a troop of primates.
We fear those with a higher status because we believe they have more power than us and can therefore hurt us. With primates, social hierarchies usually revolve around physical strength. Step out of line, and one faces physical danger. With governments, on the other hand, physical intimidation (prison, torture etc.) is secondary to financial intimidation — stop obeying and you will find yourself with little money to survive. This power will become a lot worse when we finally become a cashless society, and those that misbehave will have their cards or chips simply switched off.
So governments (and their controllers, big business) use the mass media to pump out a lot of fear because they know that a fearful population will be supportive to their plans for ever greater power and control. Frightened people always vote for safety and support 'security' legislation; they are quite happy to give up the freedoms that their forebears literally died fighting for. In addition to this, frightened people are easier to program and condition. Today, fear levels in human society have been racked up by the spectre of 'terrorism', a threat that has been manufactured to allow 'democratic' governments to enslave their people in the name of 'safety' and 'security'. Fear manufacture and then a security solution is a standard and effect tactic for enslaving populations, and it was effectively used by the Nazis to turn Germany into a fascist dictatorship that could then be used as a weapon of war.
"… it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
To maintain control, our leaders need an enemy 'out there' — something so frightening that the people beg their governments to protect them at the cost of their freedom and self-interest. And this also serves to create a diversion from the activities of the real terrorists, which are unfortunately our own governments. It is they that pose the greatest danger by far to our health and happiness, and that of future generations.
Fortunately, enough freedom still remains in modern democracy for individuals to set up fundamentally different social systems that are not based on hierarchy, fear, control and competition. These pioneers are actively finding ways to bypass central control, and carefully avoid or limit mass media outlets like television, films and newspapers which are used to control populations. For these new societies, the Internet has become the medium of choice to encourage people to stop blindly obeying government and to take back their power. As we still have the semblance of democracy, even governments and the multinationals have to feign support for freedom of speech and expression, and these freedoms remain our last lifeline to a viable future.
Naturally, governments regard those creating new social systems outside of their control as 'subversives' who need to be marginalized or counteracted before they can do too much damage to the general populace, which is why our governments have implemented a massive campaign of surveillance, once again in the name of 'public safety'. (Examples of these universal spying systems include Stella Wind and ECHELON; with an even more extensive one with facial recognition included being implemented by Abraxas/Trapwire.) These computer surveillance systems are prototypes of Orwell's Big Brother, and they monitor every email sent, every website or blog posted, and every phone call made, as well as CCTV camera footage, sifting through looking for trigger words and phrases and suspicious behaviour, and 'hot list' individuals. Governments today are wary of the people, because governments know that the people are increasingly onto the fact that they are really working for the interests of the large corporations — the machine — and not for the people.
By the time the bulk of the general population finally wake up to this conspiracy against them, the plan seems to be to have some kind of martial law ready to enforce at a moment's notice in order to maintain 'law and order' — again in the name of public 'safety' and 'security'. However, people everywhere are starting to wake up from the trance of Western society, and are beginning to really question the assumptions upon which we base our lives. More and more of us are seeking alternative media sources as we start to reject the propaganda and subliminal messages being put out by the mainstream media. As a consequence, the grip and intensity of the mass media is being ramped up, so that Orwell's 1984 dystopia is becoming an unfortunate reality. Big Brother has opened his eyes and is now watching our every move, and governments are doing everything they can to intimidate the people to raise the feeling of general powerlessness. For example, the TSA in the US treats travellers like cattle, conditioning Americans and visitors to America to feel powerless before a system that actually has no proven security advantage over the old security systems.
Only people who feel powerless are blindly obedient to authority, and so powerlessness is programmed into the population along with consumption. This creates consumers who are easy to control and manipulate; a population under the illusion of self-determination. We think we are free to chose our futures because we have choice in which brands to buy, which music to listen to, which television programs to watch, which sport to follow and which puppet leader to vote for. But these are inconsequential choices; these choices do not involve anything substantial. Modern democracy and freedom is such a satisfying illusion that masks our actual slavery to an economic system.
But slavery out there is reflected by slavery in here. If the free world is becoming enslaved under the control and manipulation of the corporate sector, then this reflects control and manipulation at the heart of each of us. We have become slaves to the false self — the ego — with exaggerated expression of that false self becoming pandemic. Today, most of us use social networking sites, blogs and forums to encourage and express our false self and its desires, to underline the person we think we are, and his or her qualities. This is the age of egotism, a time when we glorify in our individuality and specialness.
But the more we become this conceptual self the more we yearn to be free from this tyranny of the conceptual self. We drink alcohol, take drugs, watch movies, overindulge in sensual pleasures and peak experiences… anything to temporarily escape the prison of the machine-self. Because we are so controlled, we are driven to find means to lose control, and the result is a society which appears to be descending into chaos. And the more chaotic it becomes, the more we clamor to our leaders for more external control, and accept pernicious legislation and surveillance. Governments are obsessed with control because we are.
It is said that we get the government we deserve, so what sort of government do fake people deserve? Certainly one that reflects our own efforts to try to control and manipulate who and what we think we are. There is absolutely no point in railing against the excessive control and manipulation of government when we are quite happy to exercise excessive control and manipulation of ourselves.
Society is crumbling because its members are increasingly fake, fixated by the material world, identifying almost solely with our bodies. This may be good for consumerism, but it is a denial of our true nature. And as long as we believe we manipulate ourselves into being just cogs in a machine — a belief that has been programmed into us by the machine so that we serve the machine — we will unconsciously sabotage the harmony of the machine. This is why people are doing such crazy things these days — this is unconscious rage against the machine. People are not cogs, but multidimensional beings that require much more than material objects to be truly fulfilled, but material objects are being pushed onto the population as the solution to this empty uneasiness we feel inside — this hunger for something more. And the solution is not religion.
Before secular government controlled the population, religious government did. But the religious system was also set up to enslave the people into a system that served and enriched the elite. It seems that humans are always looking for an advantage over other humans — at the expense of other humans. Humanity seems caught in a win-lose paradigm.
We rail against the immorality and greed of the elite, whether we label them Bilderbergs, Rothschilds or Reptilians, but the truth of the matter is that most humans would actually do the same if they found themselves in positions of real power. The old adage that power corrupts is true, and when power is absolute, it corrupts absolutely. We are all potential monsters inside, and as long as we think we are immune to being a monster because we believe that monsters are a different species to us, we will be in danger of becoming monsters. Only those who are actually aware of the monster inside them have the awareness and sensitivity not to act it out. We are so afraid of the shadow, trying to deny it with copious amounts of finger pointing and political correctness, that we are facing the real danger of it expressing itself destructively. Indeed, perhaps the corporate elite who are enslaving humanity is the expression of this denied collective shadow.
So it all comes back to our own consciousness. We make a grave mistake if we think that this game of freedom fighting and peace making is an external one. The freedom fighter fixated on the world without any consideration for the processes going on inside is merely a pawn to much greater unconscious forces which only perpetuate the struggle. If we play this game of world transformation and liberation unconsciously, we abandon ourselves to unconscious forces that will lock us into perpetual struggle and destruction.
This is the time to step up to the plate — each one of us — and to realize peace and liberation within ourselves. Only then can we be effective agents to world peace and liberation. Those men and women who have made a real and lasting difference to the harmony and liberty of the world have all first faced that struggle internally, whether we are talking about Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks or Mahatma Ghandi. To make a real difference in this world we have no choice but to face our inner demons; it is a rite of passage from freedom fighter to liberator.
How do we move from freedom fighter to liberator? How do we bring about real peace on Earth? It all comes down to correcting distortions of perception.
We think of ourselves as objective individuals who live in an objective world. This has been programmed into us, as mentioned above, by the mass media, and by society in general. We see ourselves primarily as material objects, often with the belief that these objects are animated by nebulous things like 'consciousness' or 'spirit'. As such, we see the world 'out there' as objective and therefore real; and the world 'in here' as subjective and therefore unreal. This does not mean that we are not aware of the inner world — we may strongly feel emotions and be keenly aware of our thoughts; but even though that inner world affects us deeply, we do not give it the same reality or credibility that we give to the 'real' outer world. We are a civilisation fixated by a space-time perspective — a three dimensional spacial world with a time dimension added to it.
This may all seem very philosophical but it has major implications for our behaviour. For as long as we see this space-time world as real then our behaviour will be tuned to making space-time changes, regardless of our states of mind. In other words, there is a separation between the objective world 'out there' and the subjective world 'in here'. And it is this separation that ends up sabotaging our intentions for world change.
Most activists trying to make the world into a better place — the ecowarrors, the animal rights activists, the computer hackers etc. — are primarily doing it for their own inner psychological reasons, usually without realizing it. They are trying to change the world as a means to change themselves. There is nothing necessarily wrong with this in the short-term if it gets the job done in the process, but these are the people who are setting up the new communities, and if their personal issues remain unresolved because they have been projected outwards onto the world, then those new communities will carry the same fatal flaws and will not last. Only whole individuals can create wholesome communities, and so the focus must be on resolving personal issues in whatever way we can without unconsciously trying to play them out on the world stage. We may feel we are being helpful, but if our personal issues are unresolved, that helpfulness will be ineffective at best, and counterproductive at worst. There are many instances of freedom fighters who have deposed abusive leaders only to become, themselves, abusive leaders. Unless we wake up from the dream of space-time, the solutions we find will just be another part of that dream.
How we deal with our own psychological issues is beyond the scope of this essay. There are many very efficient techniques out there such as meditation, EFT, Matrix Reimprinting, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, acupuncture, homeopathy, counselling, psychotherapy, Ayahuasca ceremonies etc. that can help us to find an authentic psychological and energetic wholeness. These take us on an individual journey and help us to resolve our world before trying to tackle the world.
The same applies to the health of our bodies. How can any of us effectively promote world peace if we are quite happy to choose a diet that involves enormous cruelty and suffering? The two do not go together. Or how can any of us effectively campaign for curbs on industrial pollution when are addicted to polluting the ecosystem of our own bodies with unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices? Or, how can any of us castigate the government for immorality when, in our personal lives, we do not act with integrity? (I have known many eco-warriors who have little personal integrity, and animal rights activists filled with hatred.)
Individuals who are not whole will be the ones who fixate on the fragmentation in society. Individuals without integrity will be the ones who fixate on integrity issues of government and corporations. Individuals with unresolved inner pain will be the ones who fixate on all the pain in the world and human/animal rights. Individuals bereft of inner peace will be the ones with the loudest voices at anti-war rallies. We like to think we are all Chirons — wounded healers — but the fact is that no wounded individual ever brought wholeness. They simply do not have it in them.
This charade arises because we have been brainwashed by the space-time worldview, a worldview in which we divide subject from object. We play out our issues and try to heal our wounds 'out there' because we regard 'out there' as real. And we leave inner issues unresolved and are ignorant of how our minds fabricate reality because we regard 'in here' as unreal. Again, this all sounds philosophical — the musings of armchair activism — but it is upon this 'philosophy' that our own lack of wholeness and all the problems in the world are ultimately based on.
We despise armchair activism because of its ineffectiveness, but armchair activism is itself a product of a fragmented worldview in which the 'activist' takes no direct action because he sees himself a one tiny individual against a whole world — he feels powerless. So the same worldview or reality map that sabotages the 'real' activists is sabotaging armchair activists; they are just two expressions of the same paradigm that blocks our collective return to wholeness.
If we want to heal collectively, we have to heal individually. And if we want to heal individually, we have to drop the illusion of individuality — of the fragmented self. And we cannot drop the illusion of individuality until we have resolved personal issues that trap us into addiction to individuality. We identify with our pain; we identify with our wounds. Most of us hold on tightly to our issues because those issues are old friends that give life meaning, despite yearning to be free from that identification. This is why alcohol and other recreational drug use is so prevalent — we are tired of being a personality, of playing the starring role in the story of our lives. But these drug solutions offer only temporary relief — a temporary glimpse at the solution — and they can be counterproductive due to their addictive nature, locking us into a vicious cycle of pain and oblivion.
Eventually, we do start to take off the safety wheels and step into the unknown. Not necessarily because we want to, but because we have exhausted every other option. Constantly being a somebody becomes just too wearisome after a while, and we yearn for freedom from this conceptual self. We just want the curtain to come down so that we can stop this tedious performance, and relax into who we really are, which is the awareness that watches the whole imaginary show. And when that happens, we taste real freedom — the freedom from self. And only then will the world be transformed.
And when we are free from self, we become effective catalysts in the world because we are no longer using the world as a canvas on which to unconsciously resolve personal issues. Our actions spontaneously become the right actions because we are coming from the right place — the empty place. The demarcation between 'out there' and 'in here' dissolves because awareness underlies both, and our wholeness becomes a catalyst for world wholeness. During this time of world crisis, wholeness is the only quality that will see us through. Anyone or anything that puts out fear, indignation, anger, polarize debate, intellectualism, hopelessness, conspiracy etc., is actually only encouraging fragmentation. And fragmentation will only exacerbate the problems we face because it is the cause of them.
Moving away from the 'doer' into awareness may seem like a recipe for inactivity and passivity to minds conditioned to think that control is essential to get anything done, but such minds have never experienced spontaneous right action from dropping the self. Such minds are addicted to control and therefore cannot even imagine effective action without it. But there is great, great power in letting go of all control. And this is the irony: to change the world we have to start where we feel we are least effective… on our puny selves. The ecosystem is collapsing and society is disintegrating, but we have to have the humility to take a step back and heal ourselves first. Only then are we able to get out of the way of the natural 'wholeing' process. If we want to be real activists, we need to stop trying to change the world, but rather change ourselves by dropping the self, by letting go of identity. That is when real changes starts to happen as this profound change in our perception, this dropping of the doer, invariably percolates through to right action, so long as we do not raise the curtain on a new enlightened self. In fact, if right action does not follow, then we have cheated the process and have not dropped identity.
Letting go of our identity or ego requires trust — a trust that things will be okay because the whole process of life is working for us. This is the innocence of being. Everything about modern life is telling us not to trust empty awareness and spontaneous action. Everything is pushing in the other direction — trying to fill up the emptiness with infinite distractions, and control our activity through pseudo-objectivity. Society abhors the emptiness, silence and stillness at the center of being because these take away the ability of society to manipulate us. An empty person cannot be controlled because he or she has no identity on which control systems grip; propaganda techniques and media delusions do not work on those who have dropped ego identification. An empty person is energetically invisible to "the system". It is no coincidence that dropping the ego — the delusory control system most of us are fixated by — makes us immune to government and corporate control. For as long as we try to control ourselves, we will be open to 'external' control. In fact, you could say from a more holistic perspective that increasing government and corporate control is a reflection of increasing ego control, which is why inner work can be so powerful.
So becoming empty, becoming invisible is the most radical thing we can do. Letting go of identity is true activism. For as long as we are playing a role, as long as we are this or that person doing this or that in the world, society has a hook in us — we are actors with all the thespian glamour, inauthenticity and delusion. People play games, people act roles, but awareness does not. People are delusional; awareness is never delusional.
When we accept the state of the world because we ourselves are complete and whole, we do not become complicit in the horror because we are embodying the solution of wholeness. It is the person who acts a role in the horror movie — whether as perpetrator, victim or rescuer — that is supporting and perpetuating the horror movie business. Movies need actors, and by taking our stand in pure awareness, we are giving up our Equity card and returning to real life; by taking off our mask, by stepping out of our costume, we become a catalyst for wholeness and deep resolution. Otherwise we remain in Hollywood, accepting role after role after role, perpetuating the virtual-reality business, afraid to give up the dream for unmitigated reality.
So it is time to stop playing the roles of eco-warriors, freedom fighters, human and animal rights activists, healers and other social activists. There is nothing wrong with these activities per se: it is just the identification with these activities that sabotages their effectiveness. Just be in the moment and do what arises spontaneously from an open heart. Then we become truly effective. We are conditioned to believe that only act-ors take act-ion — only actors can get things done. But plays are not reality, and actors do not change the world, even with Oscar-winning performances. We are conditioned to believe that the stage the mass media presents us with is the real world. But stages are not reality, even the most realistic of stage settings. We must realize that actors and stages are there to entrance us by deceiving us, locking us out of reality in a virtual world.
If we want to change the real world — truly transform that world and our collective lives in that world — we need to stop playacting and have the courage to give up our conceptual safety-blankets and face the reality of spontaneous awareness. And that takes courage, real courage. For letting go of who we think we are can be the most frightening process any of us face because we generally base our security as human beings on social identity and individuality. But like all securities, eventually it becomes suffocating, and then jumping into the unknown becomes a last resort we willingly take. That jump is real activism.
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