Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Sliding Scale of Paranoia part 1

As promised in my post Subroutine for the Subconscious.

Perhaps everyone should be a little paranoid. But like many things in life, your level of paranoia needs to be an intellectual decision not an emotional one. How to conduct yourself while allowing the particular level of paranoia you have chosen to inform your conscious mind also has to be carefully reasoned through.

The mass media has infused our subconscious with all kinds of automatic associations with the word paranoia. That is no accident.

The first level: People want your money, and they use all kinds of tricks and cons to get at it. Those tricks and cons have been given disguised slightly with names like advertising and commercials.

Quite often these cons don't sell the product directly. Instead they associate their product with a feeling or state of being that is pleasurable. This car gives you a sense of euphoric freedom, or this car will make you cool. A car will not make you free or cool (Well, maybe I will make an exception. This one just might add a degree of coolness to your person.) I swear some people drive to work so they can afford to drive to work.

Check out SourceWatch if you want to know just how extensive and evil this network really is.

The second level: Friends, family, coworkers, etc. want to win you over to their beliefs, ideas, etc. Often not because they think this concept will improve your life. Regularly, people do this to give validity to their world view, to reassure themselves, and it is an act of dominance and control. Those who engage in such activities are not aware of why they are babbling. They are on automatic or already dead and their body just hasn't realized it yet. The road to self awareness is a long arduous road, and most are not willing, or are unable to pay the price.

The third level: Religions, belief systems, political parties, etc want you to join and direct your energy, time and money their way. Often the process involves subsuming your identity to a large collective pool of mass-mind. You are tricked into a contract. All you have to do is believe, or show up on Sunday, or vote, or proclaim this war is a just war and you receive some promise or another. There are often rituals that turn off your conscious mind.

There is an old hypnotic trick that if you can get someone to do what you say three times in a row they are yours to command. I watched a documentary about Wal-Mart where they showed a stock holders meeting. The speaker got up there and shouted, "Give me a 'W'. Give me an 'A'...", until this auditorium of people spelled it all out. Thousands of people would now believe everything this guy was going to say. He proceeded to mold these people. Part of their very being, their identity, was infused with being a Wal-Mart stock holder. In church: stand up, sing this song, sit down. You have been prepped and readied for operation.

If you think that you are too smart to fall for these tricks then you have fallen for the biggest con ever. Your ego and self-importance has soothed you into complacency. You have to be alert; there is always another con around the corner.

All of us are ripe for exploitation at any moment. Something so shocking can happen, that our emotional horse grabs the bit by the teeth and runs. We will agree to anything, we look for leadership, and a way out of turmoil and chaos.

Usually that leader will attempt to form that chaos into a reality that will benefit them, and not the masses that have thrown over the critical conscious mind desperate for relief from shock. Which is exactly how this perpetual war on terrorism was started.

So, the fourth level: You can't always completely trust your own perception of reality. When it is most important to use our intellect we could use our emotions, or vice versa. Perhaps, ideally we should strive to fuse the intellect and the emotions, and then we are better able to choose our own path. I know no one capable of doing that 100 percent of the time.

Just asking ourselves a few questions, perhaps going through a mental checklist of our own devising may help. Confering with those we have grown to trust may help, if they are willing to examine the particular issue in depth.

In my opinion, all our scales of paranoia should be set at the levels I described above. That is what I would call a healthy state of paranoia. There are dangerous levels of paranoia, and individuals exhibiting such a state are usually the examples trotted out in the media for your scoffing pleasure. I don't plan on discussing such states, since that really has little to do with the direction I am going.

I do plan on a follow up post describing further levels on the sliding scale, providing examples of those who really should adjust, or should have adjusted, it a notch or two higher than the rest of us.

I also recommend Gavin De Becker's book The Gift of Fear.

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