PSYCHOLOGY: Psychological dynamics and how to achieve a Paradigm shift
Psychological dynamics are essential to the Truth Movement. It is imperative to examine the psychology of our culture and of ourselves in order to gain a wider scope on the political and social issues that we are studying.
There is some mystique around psychology—that it is obscure or even dangerous. It is an often overlooked aspect to social movements and political discourse. Actually, much psychological discourse can be intuitive, commonly understood and extremely enlightening.
Ignoring psychological aspects not only keeps us from a fuller understanding of ourselves and our world, it also leaves us open to be manipulated by those who do understand psychology and seek to use it against us.
The basic psychology of the Truth Movement is a process of awakening in which we come to question forces (external and internal) which have shaped our reality, largely without our conscious knowledge or consent. Through this awakening, we can take control of our own minds and encourage others to do the same.
The Psychology section addresses ways in which our minds can be kept from the truth (social control, cognitive dissonance, denial, avoidance) and the challenges and opportunities of overcoming these barriers.
Questions of psychology: How do people rationalize or avoid their own complicity in a corrupt system? Is it laziness, conditioning, fear? How does a small group maintain control over a much larger one? What keeps people from recognizing deception or questioning authority? What are the psychological principles that tie society together?
A FEW TERMS:
- Credulity - readiness or willingness to believe especially on slight or uncertain evidence.
- Incredulous - unwilling to admit or accept what is offered as true, skeptical.
- Epistemology - the study of knowledge, of how we “know things.”
Think about these concepts for a second. Think about how you “know” the things you think you “know.” How confident are you that you know them? Do you have first hand knowledge of them? Can you point to evidence? Do you understand that evidence or are you just reciting it? How do you even know there is a war in Iraq? Have you been there? Who told that there was a war?
Another question one might ask oneself is, “What happened on 9/11?” Such a question might seem silly, because it is “common knowledge” what happened. The mainstream story of al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden and 19 Islamic hijackers is the automatic response.
But where did this story come from, who constructed it? Why does this story have such an air of officiality to it, a stamp of approval? Because it is on TV, in the newspapers and in every other common outlet of information? Why do these sources get to decide what “reality” is? Is it true because “everyone” believes it? Does “everyone” really believe it? Can “everyone” be wrong?
Our patterns of thinking are highly influenced by the media we observe and the culture surrounding us. The result is a cohesive society consisting of common conventions, knowledge, language, and values. This is a necessary and generally positive aspect to society. However, it also leaves the populace open to influence and manipulation if certain groups or interests have unequal control over media, culture, law, etc.
This is certainly the case across the US and much of the world—in which corporations, the rich and powerful, and the government have most of the control over what we see and hear, what is allowed and what is not. Truth movers deconstruct the ways in which our reality has been shaped for us by these questionable forces.
Our society is influenced and held together by a variety of forces. The uninitiated may be skeptical of the idea that certain forces—classes, organizations, interests—consciously seek to control society by controlling its citizens. Control can be simply built-in and institutional to a given system as well as specifically conspiratorial and conscious.
There is a dangerous tendency in US society to characterize the suspicion or study of controlling forces as “paranoid” and “delusional.” Instead, we are encouraged to simply “have faith” and not wonder about what or who is influencing our lives.
The often repeated attitude that “things are just crazy” or “nobody controls things” or “the world is just chaotic” is a particularly anti-intellectual, anti-questioning and anti-democratic perspective. This attitude seeks to unburden itself of responsibility for understanding its own world and doing anything to make it better.
Social control can range from covert policies of influence or manipulation to overt use of force—policing, incarceration, etc.
Agencies of the government, politicians, think tanks, lobbyists, corporations, individuals, etc.—nearly everyone seeks to control their world to a certain degree. But some are more systematic, sophisticated and influential in their efforts. Intelligence agencies such as the NSA and CIA have a mandate to exert influence in order to protect “national security.”
Sometimes we must remind ourselves that there are forces who plan and plot to control society in very sophisticated ways. Things do not just happen by chaos, much of our world is shaped and influenced in a very calculated way.
The essence of social control can be traced to influences over what people care about; what their values are, and what’s important to them. In the US, the messages of what to care about are very clear from birth: yourself, your status, your beauty, your wealth, your people, your country. While the focus is the individual, the values are all dictated from outside. We call this phenomenon “depersonalized narcissism”—the individual thinks and cares almost exclusively about “himself” but only in the externally, societally proscribed ways.
In reality, the supposed “self-interest” that motivates the individual in society is nothing of the sort. Instead, it is the programmed interest of those who have the power to impose their will upon the masses. This is true to the extent that millions of people continue to participate in an essentially “suicidal” system which is destroying our home planet and the ecosystems which sustain our species as well as all others.
Through television, advertising and the world around us, we are told what beautiful is, what success means, what is stylish, and what is “normal.” By what we do and do not see on television or in other media, we are taught what is important and what to think about. We have in-depth coverage of sports and celebrity gossip while environmental news is barely even mentioned.
Justifying our capitalist system is a strange economic concept that all individuals acting out of selfishness will result in the greatest good for the society as a whole. Think about that for a second. Does it make sense, in theory or practice? Is it in line with the values of any sort of religion? Why would selfishness be a good thing to base a society on?
US social control is much more sophisticated than outright authoritarianism. In fact, social control is so effective in the US mostly because people are taught not to be on the lookout for it. The forces of control have essentially kept us in a childlike mental state—helpless and dependant upon their authority.
Systems of social control have developed as a combination of evolutionary human traits, institutional structures, and outright conspiratorial machinations. Truth movers are dedicated to deconstructing social control, striving for true personal freedom, and encouraging others to do the same.
EXAMPLES OF SOCIAL CONTROL
EXAMPLES OF SOCIAL CONTROL
- Spatial Deconcentration - a policy/theory explored after the urban riots of the 60s in order to control poor and minority uprisings. 2
- Incarceration is one of the more blatant tools of social control. The United States has the hightest rate of incarceration of any country in the world. The “justice system” disproportionally affects poor and minority citizens.
- “If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it?” - Edward Bernays, “the father of public relations” 3
The threat of social alienation causes us to behave according to social norms. The law provides that we will go to prison if we do not comply. Our family and friends expect us to be the same person each day and support their norms. Our appearance, behavior, and expression dictate our access to financial and social opportunities. Products, drugs, and procedures that make people look or act more “normal” are sold with a strategy of promoting an unattainable norm that alienates the widest group of consumers.
While it is easy to view social alienation only as a threat originating from outside of ourselves, each of us is also personally active in maintaining what is normal and supporting its authority. Everyone wants to be comfortable.
One critical result of dependence upon this socially reinforced and yet self-imposed normalcy is that we are far more likely to reject alternative views of history and society not supported by our popular culture or peers. Mainstream views promoted by our government, corporations, and media, are accepted by the public as the established norm, often based on inaccurate or incomplete information. Alternative views are stigmatized regardless of their veracity.
For over 40 years it has been “abnormal” to believe that US government officials were complicit in the assassination of JFK. We now know for certain that other people played a more important role in the assassination than Lee Harvey Oswald. All of those millions of people supporting the official story were not only wrong, but in many cases, hiding themselves from an ugly truth.
Those who simply do not accept facts that contradict their view are prone to fundamentalism. This anti-intellectual position, very prominent in our present popular culture, is one that supports the widespread innocence in this country of our historic role in the world. The fear of alienation encourages self-imposed ignorance and dependence on external authority, conditions corrosive to democratic and Constitutional order. We impose the threat of alienation in order to avoid it, and in doing so we avoid the truth.
You likely have heard someone say that “its unpatriotic to question the President in a time of war.” Yet our present “War on Terror,” with no foreseeable end, was justified based on a long series of abject lies. When people become aware of such a blatant contradiction as this, they have only two choices: ignore or respond.
Most people in this country know that pollution is degrading the environment, that their clothes were made with low wage labor, and that many innocent people die in war. Most do not respond. They decide to accept the repressive structure of their system in exchange for a hollow and short-sighted optimism and comfort.
The time for avoidance and false hope has passed. We must respond. Popular awareness must rise to the challenge of formulating a better plan. But that is a very significant personal and social challenge. In a significant personal transformation, many brave individuals seeking independence and insight trade their personal fear of alienation for a sense of social responsibility in exposing the limitations of the mainstream view.
Few decisions are more challenging than deciding to operate in contradiction to social norms. When expressing the truth, we struggle to retake the authority that we have given our popular culture. In doing so we threaten the dependencies of those around us. Overcoming our tendency to support the norm in ourselves and for others, we risk losing friends, becoming estranged from relatives, losing our jobs, and even our personal safety.
And yet this is what each of us must do if we are to halt the slide of this society toward an undemocratic future. If we are to counter a number of dire threats to our Constitutional heritage, we must find independence from our fear of alienation and help others to do the same. Each of us must make a commitment to values, facts, and actions that emerge from the widest possible view.
“In sociology and critical social theory, alienation refers to the individual’s estrangement from traditional community and others in general. It is considered by many that the atomism of modern society means that individuals have shallower relations with other people than they would in a traditional community. This, it is argued, leads to difficulties in understanding and adapting to each other’s uniqueness…” 1
- Some philosophers believe that alienation is inevitably produced by a shallow and depersonalized society. Hegel, for example, believed that alienation involves an individuals failure to understand objective reality.
- Political Science / Sociology
- The separation of individuals from their humanity or the fragmentation of social bonds and community. In Marxist theory, for example, the domination of humans by their own products; material, political, and ideological.
- Some psychiatrists consider alienation to be a dissociation of a person’s feelings, causing the individual to experience internal conflict. Freud, for example, assumed that alienation involves a separation between different parts of the psyche.
- Religious Studies
- “The separation of Man from God.” 2
**********************************************************************************Cognitive dissonanceDenial and avoidance are among the most important psychological concepts to the Truth Movement. Mentally, what allows people to block out clear signs that our modern way of life is corrupt and unsustainable? What keeps people from caring?How are people able to go on with their lives as normal when they hear that 50% of all species will be extinct by 2100 or that at least 7 of the alleged 9/11 hijackers could still be alive? Why don’t such facts disturb people and make them curious enough to start looking into the details for themselves?Cognitive dissonance relates to the concept of being exposed to information or having experiences that conflict with our existing base of “what we know.” The theory holds that our minds are not always flexible or rational when it comes to evaluating uncomfortable information or questioning our own beliefs.The theory holds that “dissonant cognitions” will cause us to dismiss or alter conflicting information or add justification to one side or the other—not necessarily rationally—in order to regain psychological balance. It’s an important concept to consider in terms of the way people block things out or justify things to themselves.If there is a lot of built up psychological stake in a certain position or attitude and a piece of solid evidence comes in which conflicts with that position, it may be easier, psychologically, to dismiss the new information than alter the existing structure.You can imagine how engrained psychological structures can be when a human being is raised within a certain country, system, or reality. Growing up in the US, you will absorb an overwhelming number of messages about what is true, what is possible, and what is important.Many of of these messages are absorbed subconsciously and become part of the basic structure of our reality. It becomes very difficult to question the fundamentals when opposing messages only come in small doses from the “fringe.”CONSIDER THESE TWO EXAMPLES:
“Conspiracy theories” seem to be the quintessentially cognitive dissonant concepts of our culture. For many people, the idea that JFK was killed by the government or “9/11 was an inside job” threatens the entire fabric of their consciousness. These things simply cannot be true and people will bend over backwards and resort to irrationality and ridicule to avoid considering them.Cognitive dissonance can work both ways. It is extremely difficult to maintain a vigilantly open mind. Whatever your dominant perspective or worldview happens to be, it is inevitable that you will sometimes use rationalizations in order to save the time or mental stress of dealing with conflicting information. Cognitive dissonance is actually a necessary and natural mental function, but it is also a phenomenon that we should be aware of, in ourselves and others, as it is a process that does not always serve us well in the quest for objectivity and truth.**********************************************************************************OptimismThe foundation of all mental illness is the unwillingness to experience legitimate suffering. - CG JungThe information we are promoting is decidedly not pleasant or reassuring. Much of it can be shocking, frightening, and depressing.There may seem to be no justification for hope or optimism when faced with fanatical authoritarian leadership, environmental catastrophe, and a brainwashing corporate-controlled media. We live in a world that definitely seems to be getting worse rather than better.But there is a way by which facing these daunting realities we can reach new levels of clarity, optimism, and purpose. We know—we’ve been through it personally. By coming to understand the nature of our predicament, no matter how dire, we have taken the first step towards doing something about it.Action—facing and addressing issues and adversities rather than running way from them—is the heart of optimism. You will notice that many people involved in bringing about social progress have a sense of authentic positivity and hope. While it is certainly not easy to go against the destructive “values” and myths of one’s society, it is, historically and morally, the right thing to do.It is those who live in avoidance and blind subservience to authority who are truly hopeless. No matter how confident, “normal,” and “happy” they appear, these people live in ignorance—exchanging their free will for false security.As part of the Truth Movement, we choose a different path. We do not put our physical or psychological comfort over facing reality. We seek a full understanding of our world so that we can affect change in an informed, rational manner.Human civilization has evolved to a point at which the fight or flight instincts will no longer save us. We must commit to a sober, rational analysis of what we’ve gotten ourselves into. We must become conscious in the true sense—by seeing our connection to everything around us, learning to think for ourselves, and realizing who we really are.As you may have noticed, this site is not written in a tone of defeatism. We are not just giving up and heading for the hills to save ourselves. No matter what struggles lay ahead, we feel that the values outlined here must and will survive. The human spark of love and consciousness will survive the wars and catastrophes of the future and will continue to inspire social values of equality, justice, and democracy.The ruling classes—the controllers, planners and shapers of society—are not solely to blame. We are one species and one planet. Whatever we do to ourselves and our planet will be our fate—and all of us are personally responsible.Facing unpleasant truths can result in overwhelming feelings of negativity and despair, but such is the path of enlightenment and true positivity. Depression often comes from a feeling of powerlessness. It can also be a natural reaction to loss (of people, illusions, things) or shock. The Truth Movement is a movement of empowerment. By facing the worst, we hold the power to create the better.There is a sinister social dynamic related to political consciousness, awakening, and optimism. This is the reinforcing of negativity and hopelessness by those who choose avoidance rather than awareness and action. Very much related to the topic of alienation, those who are “unwilling to experience the legitimate suffering” of facing unpleasant realities, tend to marginalize and belittle those who are making an effort. They don’t like our message, they say we are negative, or obsessive or egotistical. They don’t like questioning their world or themselves. So they attack us.We must not be swayed by such destructive, self-hating, weak people. Our optimism and purpose threaten them. We must be resolute, and at the same time, retain sympathy for other’s viewpoints and circumstances.In trying we do not fail. Hopelessness; not trying, is the path of failure. Progress is a process; utopia is not reality. If the goal seems unattainable to you, or if you don’t see the point in trying, you have lost sight of the moment and the possibilities. If you refuse to try and discourage others who do, you have lost. We have not.**********************************************************************************
Believing that your friend is trustworthy (having built up that attitude over years of experience) is a cognition that would be dissonant with the sudden discovery of your friend stealing money from you. As a result, you might seek to dismiss or minimize the importance of this new information—maybe telling yourself it was a freak thing, a joke, or an accident, or that he was broke or desperate or on drugs. You might even try to forget that you saw it.
In presenting new, contradictory (dissonant) evidence concerning 9/11, it is frustrating how many people immediately begin to bring up rationalizations and excuses in order to dismiss the significance of the information. You can often witness cognitive dissonance in action as these skeptics try to avoid the psychological turmoil of facing the very disturbing implications of 9/11 Truth. The collapse of WTC 7 is an interesting example. Skeptics are likely to quickly dismiss this piece of evidence rather than acknowledge the suspicious fact that the destruction of a third skyscraper was essentially blacked-out of the official story of 9/11 by the government and media.